Tuesday, May 01, 2007

BMCR Review of Malherbe Festschrift

In the latest Bryn Mawr Classical Review:

John T. Fitzgerald, Thomas H. Olbricht, L. Michael White, Early Christianity and Classical Culture: Comparative Studies in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe. Leiden: Brill, 2003
Reviewed by Elizabeth Digeser

It's not an especially positive review, for example:
Unfortunately, the volume as a whole is a disappointment. With 27 contributors, not to mention the editors' introductory essays, the book is too long (740 pp.) and too expensive (a shocking $211.00). If it were a superb reference book, the cost might be justifiable for a research library. But the authors do not, in general, set out either the significance of their own individual projects, nor the broader importance of their topics overall. Instead, the book's contributors, addressing themselves to one another, make little or no effort to make connections between their own concerns and those of scholars with related interests. While such a focus is entirely appropriate for the panels that gave rise to the volume, it limits the book's usefulness as a collection and means that its primary utility will be as a source for someone whose own scholarship addresses themes in one or two chapters.
But one can't help thinking that something similar could be said about almost all Festschriften, and Malherbe's at least has some unified themes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the many things that is off-putting about that review is that it is appearing four years after the publication of the book, and in the meantime, a paperback edition has appeared that costs $50 on amazon (and has been on sale at AAR/SBL meetings for around $40--not unreasonable for a 750+ page book).