Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rethinking "The Parting of the Ways"

This one looks interesting, in today from Fortress (who also never send me books, by the way, just in case you were wondering):
Rethinking the “Parting of the Ways” Between Judaism and Christianity

MINNEAPOLIS (July 31, 2007)—For the last two decades historians have sought the decisive point in Roman antiquity at which the “parting of the ways” between early Judaism and Christianity was complete. The essays gathered in the newly released The Ways That Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages challenge the assumption that any “parting” took place, arguing for ongoing relationships between Jews and Christians, in different and complex ways, for the first few centuries of the common era.

“A major paradigm shift in our understanding of the complex interactions between Jewish and Christian tradition. This outstanding collection, with its lucid and incisive introduction, offers students and scholars an exciting range of new approaches to the history of western culture.”

—Elaine Pagels, Harrington Professor of Religion, Princeton University

“The dramatic purge of the landscape of ancient religion that left Judaism and Christianity as lone survivors standing in the west did not come naturally, or easily, or quickly. The Ways That Never Parted opens important new lines of sight into a noisy, prolonged, and surprising history.”

—James J. O’Donnell, Professor of Classics, Georgetown University

Contributors include Adam H. Becker, Ra’anan S. Boustan (Abusch) Daniel Boyarin, Averil Cameron, David Frankfurter, Paula Fredriksen, John G. Gager, E. Leigh Gibson, Martin Goodman, Andrew S. Jacobs, Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Robert A. Kraft, Simon R.F. Price, Annette Yoshiko Reed, Alison Salveson, Peter Schäfer, Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra, and Amram Tropp.

Adam H. Becker is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at New York University and the author of The Fear of God and the Beginning of Wisdom: The School of Nisibis and the Development of Scholastic Culture in Late Antique Mesopotamia (2006).

Annette Yoshiko Reed is Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (forthcoming), and coeditor of Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions (2004).

The Ways That Never Parted

Edited by Adam H. Becker and Annette Yoshiko Reed

Foreword by Martin Goodman, Simon Price, and Peter Schäfer

Format: 6” x 6”, Paperback, 424 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0-8006-6209-7

Price: $29.00/ CAN $35.00

Publisher: Fortress Press

Rights: Canada and USA

To order The Ways That Never Parted please call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the Web site at www.augsburgfortress.org.

To request review copies (for media) please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or e-mail toddb@augsburgfortress.org.

To request exam copies for classroom use (professors) go to www.fortresspress.com/examcopy

Encouragement to learn Coptic

On the Forbidden Gospels Blog, April DeConick has an excellent call to learn Coptic, which I would like to second. If you are a graduate student on a Christian Origins type programme, I would particularly encourage you to get started on Coptic now, if possible. I have come to it late and have not always found it easy, but it is definitely worthwhile; I wish I had had the opportunity or encouragement to do it earlier. I don't yet think I would be competent to teach it formally and I am lucky in that we have down the road here at UNC Chapel Hill Zlatko Plese. One of his Coptic students, Ben White, led us in our Coptic lessons in the first half of our Gospel of Thomas course this last semester, and I was delighted to delegate to him for that part of the class, not least since he did a fine job. We used the Lambdin introductory grammar, which has been the standard, but the arrival of Bentley Layton's new grammar may change that in the future. Like April, I don't have my copy yet (you see, all these publishers get plugs for free here on the NT Gateway blog, and I don't even get copies of the books I plug, which is quite nice of me, I think).

Update (1 August, 00.32): Judy Redman comments and Daniel Foster writes the following (brought up from comments to this post):
Rick Brannan also offered an apology for Sahidic Coptic last fall, with some very specific examples of how a knowledge of Coptic is helpful in NT studies.

And since you're giving away free plugs...maybe you could throw in a plug for the electronic editions of Crum's Coptic Dictionary and the Sahidic Coptic Collection, which are struggling to attract enough interest to be put into production. :-)

Vigiliae Christianae latest

There is a new edition of Vigiliae Christianae available to subscribers:

Vigiliae Christianae
Volume 61, Number 2, 2007

The Admonition to Assemble Together in Didache 16.2 Reappraised
pp. 121-141(21)
Author: Khomych, Taras

"Judaizing" Christian Interpretations of the Prophets As Seen by Saint Jerome
pp. 142-156(15)
Author: Graves, Michael

Demons and Divine Illumination: A Consideration of Eight Prayers by Gregory of Nazianzus
pp. 157-188(32)
Author: Kalleres, Dayna S.

The Authenticity of Maximus the Confessor's Letter to Marinus: The Argument from Theological Consistency
pp. 189-227(39)
Author: Siecienski, A. Edward


Justin Martyr, Apologie pour les chrétiens
pp. 228-229(2)
Author: van Winden, J.C.M.

A Synopsis of the Apocryphal Nativity and Infancy Narratives
pp. 230-231(2)
Author: Nicklas, Tobias

Porfirio de Tiro contra los cristianos. Recopilación de fragmentos, traducción, introducción y notas
pp. 232-234(3)
Author: Quiroga, Alberto

Lettres tome I, livres I et II
pp. 235-238(4)
Author: van Waarden, Joop

Monday, July 30, 2007

Review of Biblical Literature Latest

Latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature under the NT and related heading:

Octavian D. Baban
On the Road Encounters in Luke-Acts: Hellenistic Mimesis and Luke's Theology of the Way
Reviewed by Thomas L. Brodie

Stephen Barton, ed.
The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels
Reviewed by Paul Foster

John A. Bertone
The Law of the Spirit: Experience of the Spirit and Displacement of the Law in Romans 8:1-16
Reviewed by Volker Rabens

Thomas L. Brodie, Dennis MacDonald, and Stanley E. Porter, eds.
The Intertextuality of the Epistles: Explorations of Theory and Practice
Reviewed by Korinna Zamfir

Trevor J. Burke and J. Keith Elliott, eds.
Paul and the Corinthians: Studies on a Community in Conflict. Essays in Honour of Margaret Thrall
Reviewed by Joubert Stephan

Dennis Hamm
The Acts of the Apostles
Reviewed by Steve Walton

Mikeal Parsons
Luke: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist
Reviewed by Robert C. Tannehill

Wolfgang Schrage
Vorsehung Gottes? Zur Rede von der providentia Dei in der Antike und im Neuen Testament
Reviewed by Michael Labahn

JSNT Latest

The latest issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament is now available to subscribers:
Special issue: New Testament Interpretations in Africa: 1 September 2007;
Vol. 30, No. 1

URL: http://jnt.sagepub.com/content/vol30/issue1/?etoc

Jean-Claude Loba-Mkole and Nicholas H. Taylor
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2007;30 3-5

The New Testament and Intercultural Exegesis in Africa
Jean-Claude Loba-Mkole
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2007;30 7-28

Opening a Narrative Programme: Luke 4.16-30 and the Black Bagr Narrative
Richard K. Baawobr
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2007;30 29-53

Head-Waiter and Bridegroom of the Wedding at Cana: Structure and Meaning of
John 2.1-12
Jean-Bosco Matand Bulembat
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2007;30 55-73

A Dialogical Exegesis of Romans 3.25a
John D.K. Ekem
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2007;30 75-93

Revisiting 1 Corinthians 11.27-34: Paul's Discussion of the Lord's Supper
and African Meals
J. Ayodeji Adewuya
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2007;30 95-112

Hearing the Politics of Peace in Ephesians: A Proposal from an African
Postcolonial Perspective
Gosnell L. Yorke
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2007;30 113-127

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My new blog

I have decided to experiment with a new blog in addition, of course, to this one, which will remain the same. My new blog will be of interest only to a few readers of this blog because it is for all the non NT related stuff that I don't write about here. If you are interested, you can find it at:

Mark Goodacre's Personal Blog

It took me a long time to come up with that name, as you can imagine.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Wikipedia Story

I mention this since it is an occasional topic of conversation on this blog, and a correspondent mentioned the programme to me the other day. This week's Radio 4 Choice Podcast is The Wikipedia Story, presented by Clive Anderson. Go to the Radio 4 Choice Podcast page to download if you don't already subscribe, or listen to the stream.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Liddell and Scott Poetry and Rhymes

Over on Laudator Temporis Acti today, Michael Gilleland has a post on Liddell and Scott, a poem by Thomas Hardy "Liddell and Scott On the Completion of their Lexicon". The post gave birth to a nice thread on b-greek in which James Spinti offered an unattributed:
Scott knew Liddell,
And Liddell knew less
I noodled around for a source, found none, but did find this:
Two men wrote a lexicon, Liddell and Scott;
Some parts were clever, but some parts were not.
Hear, all ye learned, and read me this riddle,
How the wrong parts wrote Scott and the right parts wrote Liddell
The latter is cited in Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr., "How the Wrong Parts Wrote Scott and the Right Parts Wrote Liddell", The Classical Journal 84/1 (Oct. - Nov., 1988): 47-52 (51-2). In a follow up to Kitchell's article, William Calder III notes that Kitchell's ultimate source is Henry L. Thompson, Henry George Liddell, D.D. Dean of Christ Church Oxford (New York, 1899), and he goes on to explain that there is an alternative version preserved by Liddell's distant cousin, Augustus J. C. Hare, as follows:
Two men wrote a lexicon,
Liddell and Scott;
One half was clever,
And one half was not.
Give me the answer, boys,
Quick to this riddle,
Which was by Scott
And which was by Liddell?
This is from Augustus J. C. Hare, The Story of My Life II (London, 1896), 10, cited in William M. Calder III, "In Response to Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr., "'How the Wrong Parts Wrote Scott and the Right Parts Wrote Liddell,'" The Westminster Epigram on Dean Liddell (in Responses)", The Classical Journal 84/3 (Feb.-Mar., 1989): 265-266). Calder gives reasons for preferring Hare's version (the second one above). Kitchell then responds to Calder in the same journal, giving reasons for preferring the first version, Thompson's, Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr., "In Response to Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr., "'How the Wrong Parts Wrote Scott and the Right Parts Wrote Liddell,'" The "Liddell Riddle": Some Further Thoughts (in Responses)", The Classical Journal, 84/3 (Feb.-Mar., 1989): 266-268.

This is still not the end of the story, though. Back on b-greek, Stephen Goranson notes the following source which gives the boy author's name:
Recollections of a Town Boy at Westminster, 1849-1855 by Francis Markham (London, 1903) p.57: the poem "was recited before Liddell by Edward Waterfield, a town boy (the man who fought with Old Slade)." After hearing it "Liddell took it well, gave his usual scornful sniff, and presented Waterfield with his silver penny...."
It's a fascinating little bit of trivia, all the more so as it relates, it seems, to differing oral traditions circulating about the same rhyme, and its circumstances, for over fifty years. Markham's text is particularly interesting since it comes from almost the same period as the Hare and Thompson versions above, and it provides a slightly different version again:
Two men wrote a lexicon--Liddell and Scott;
Some parts were right, some parts were not.
Now come, all ye wise men, and solve me this riddle:
Why the wrong parts wrote Scott, and the right parts wrote Liddell?
Markham also gives a little context that makes good sense of the rhyme,
The joke was, that often when at work with the Sixth, Liddell would object to the translation of, or use of, some word. The boy would reply, "Please, sir, I found it used that way in your lexicon," when Liddell would reply, "Scott wrote that part." (ibid.).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review of Dungan, Constantine's Bible

The Church Times has a characteristically brief but interesting review of David Dungan's new book on Constantine's Bible:

Chosen reading
Peter Anthony on how the canon of the NT was established

On Faith latest: Wright and Crossan

Tom Wright and John Dominic Crossan weigh in again in the latest of the On Faith column from The Washington Post and Newsweek, both on the Pope, Wright's headed A Caste System for Chrisitans and Crossan's Primacy and Insecurity. Of relevance to the NT too is Randall Balmer, Peter, a rock he was not.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Birger Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism

Latest from Fortress:

Fortress Press Releases Ancient Gnosticism

Minneapolis (July 20, 2007) — In the newly released Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature, Birger A. Pearson provides authoritative answers to the questions: Who were the Gnostics? What did they believe?

Even as public interest is attracted to this esoteric religion, scholars have debated its origins, its relationship to Judaism and Christianity, and even whether one distinctive and separate Gnostic “religion” ever existed. Pearson’s expert and accessible introduction brings the reader into this debate.

In Ancient Gnosticism Pearson surveys all the primary literary evidence for ancient Gnosticism, providing a clear and succinct introduction to each individual writing (including the newly published Gospel of Judas from the Tchacos Codex), along with a judicious consideration of the historical origin of Gnosticism. The classic schools of Christian Gnosticism are discussed, along with Hermetic Gnosis, Manichaeism, and the Mandaeans. Chapters are helpfully keyed to all the standard translations of Gnostic writings, including The Nag Hammadji Scriptures: The International Edition, edited by Marvin W. Meyer (2007). The book includes illustrations, maps, timeline, and a bibliography.


Maps and Illustrations


Map of the World of Ancient Gnosticism

1. What is Gnosticism?

2. Heresiological Reports on Early Gnostic Teachers and Systems

3. Sethian or Classic Gnosticism

4. Gnostic Biblical Interpretation: The Gnostic Genesis

5. Basilides and Basilidian Gnosis

6. Valentinus and Valentinian Gnosis

7. Three-Principle Systems

8. Coptic Gnostic Writings of Uncertain Affiliation

9. Thomas Christianity

10. Hermes Trismegistus and Hermetic Gnosis

11. Mani and Manichaeism

12. The Mandaeans: A Surviving Relic of Ancient Gnosis

Epilogue: The Persistence of Gnosticism

Suggestions for Further Reading


Birger A. Pearson is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a leading expert on Gnosticism. His previous books include The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (Fortress Press, 1997), Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity (Fortress Press, 1990; new release 2006), and Gnosticism and Christianity in Roman and Coptic Egypt (2004). He is the translator of Nag Hammadi Codices IX and X (1997) and (with Frederik Wisse) of Nag Hammadi Codex VII (1996).

Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature
By Birger A. Pearson

Item Number: 978-0-8006-3258-8

Price: $25.00 / CAN $30.00/ UK £14.99
Specs: 6” x 9”, paperback, 256 pages

To order Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the Web site at www.fortresspress.com.

To request review copies (for media) or to inquire about speaking opportunities and interviews with the authors please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or e-mail toddb@augsburgfortress.org

To request exam copies for classroom use (professors) go to www.fortresspress.com/examcopy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Favourite Greek Grammar Poll Results

Last Wednesday, I asked the question, What is your preferred introductory Greek Grammar?. The results are as follows:

William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek: 62 votes (38%)

David Alan Black, Learn to Read Biblical Greek: 29 votes (18%)

Other (please say which in comments): 18 votes (11%)

J. W. Wenham, The Elements of New Testament Greek: 14 votes (8%)

J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners: 13 votes (8%)

John H. Dobson, Learn New Testament Greek: 6 votes (4%)

Jeremy Duff, The Elements of New Testament Greek: 11 votes (7%)

Ian MacNair, Teach Yourself New Testament Greek: 6 votes (4%)

James Allen Hewitt, A Beginning and Intermediate Grammar: 4 votes (2%)

Ray Summers, Thomas Sawyer, Essentials of New Testament Greek: 2 votes (1%)

Total Votes: 165

There were many useful comments, and they revealed that one important one I'd missed was Clayton Croy, A Primer of Biblical Greek, which would have picked up several votes and certainly made it into the top ten. There were other important contributions questioning the very idea of learning from a book specifically geared to "New Testament Greek".

A couple of things I picked up from this: (1) I had no idea just how popular Mounce's Introduction was until now, perhaps because it is very little used in the UK, if at all. (2) Duff is not yet supplanting Wenham, in spite of the fact that it is designed as its replacement, but that may just be a question of time.

Thanks to everyone who participated and commented.

One troubling thing I have realized too is that Bravenet polls appear to be introducing pop-ups to the site; two correspondents have been in touch with me about this. I am removing the poll now, and that should fix the problem. In future, I will look elsewhere for polls. (Blogger does not yet provide polls for those whose blogs are hosted on their own server, as the NT Gateway blog is).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Review of Biblical Literature Latest

Latest from the Review of Biblical Literature under the NT (and related) heading:

Alessandro Falcetta, ed.
James Rendel Harris: New Testament Autographs and Other Essays
Reviewed by Christopher Tuckett

Jennifer A. Glancy
Slavery in Early Christianity
Reviewed by Fabian E. Udoh

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre
Jesus among Her Children: Q, Eschatology, and the Construction of Christian Origins
Reviewed by Harry T. Fleddermann

Stanley E. Porter, ed.
Paul and His Theology
Reviewed by M. Eugene Boring

Paul A Rainbow
The Way of Salvation: The Role of Christian Obedience in Justification
Reviewed by Timothy Gombis

Horst Simonsen
Leonhard Goppelt (1911-1973)-Eine theologische Biographie: Exegese in theologischer und kirchlicher Verantwortung
Reviewed by Jim West

Anthony C. Thiselton
Thiselton on Hermeneutics: Collected Works with New Essays
Reviewed by Stanley E. Porter

Johan C. Thom
Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus: Text, Translation, and Commentary
Reviewed by Troels Engberg-Pedersen

Martin Wallraff, ed.
Julius Africanus und die Christliche Weltchronistik
Reviewed by Jutta Tloka

A minor note: Christopher Tuckett's review refers to Alessandro Falcetta as "she" but he was most definitely a man when I last saw him (Marinus de Jonge and I examined his PhD on J. Rendel Harris at the University of Birmingham).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Expository Times Latest

The latest issue of The Expository Times was announced on 1 July:

1 July 2007; Vol. 118, No. 10, http://ext.sagepub.com/content/vol118/issue10/?etoc

Articles of relevance to the NT include:

The Gospel of Thomas
April D. Deconick
The Expository Times 2007;118 469-479

Salvation Language in the Pastoral Epistles: George M. Wieland, The
Significance of Salvation: A Study of Salvation Language in the Pastoral
Epistles (Paternoster Biblical Monographs; Milton Keynes: Paternoster,
2006. £24.99. pp. xxii + 344. ISBN 1--84227--257--8)
Lloyd K. Pietersen
The Expository Times 2007;118 487

Robert Henry Lightfoot (30th September 1883 -- 24th November 1953)
John M. Court
The Expository Times 2007;118 488-492

The Jesus of Testimony: Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The
Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006.
£18.99/$32.00. pp. xiii + 538. ISBN: 0--8028--3162--1)
Paul Foster
The Expository Times 2007;118 493-494

STILL UP TO DATE Robert A. Spivey, D. Moody Smith and C. Clifton Black,
Anatomy of the New Testament (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007.
$57.33. pp. xxix + 499. ISBN 0 --13--189703-- 9)
P.J. Williams
The Expository Times 2007;118 500

Book Review: The Gospel of Mark and Ancient Historiography
Tobias Nicklas
The Expository Times 2007;118 510

Book Review: Getting To Know the Dead Sea Scrolls
Geza Vermes
The Expository Times 2007;118 510-511

Book Review: A Commentary On 4 Maccabees
Michael F. Bird
The Expository Times 2007;118 511

Book Review: The Gospel of Judas
Paul Foster
The Expository Times 2007;118 511-512

Book Review: JUDAISM IN THE ROMAN WORLD Martin Goodman, Judaism in the
Roman World
Paul Foster
The Expository Times 2007;118 512-513

Book Review: Thinking Greek
Nicholas King
The Expository Times 2007;118 513

Book Review: Isaiah in the New Testament
Hon Lee Kwok
The Expository Times 2007;118 515-516

Book Review: 1 Corinthians -- Short[Ish] But Not Lite
Paul Foster
The Expository Times 2007;118 516

Book Review: The Communicative Aspect of Early Christian Prayer
Tobias Nicklas
The Expository Times 2007;118 516-517

Book Review: The Spirit Emerges From the Apocalypse
Siang-Nuan Leong
The Expository Times 2007;118 517-518

Book Review: Socio-Rhetorical Approach To Thessalonian Correspondance
Paul Foster
The Expository Times 2007;118 518-519

Review of Biblical Literature Backlog

While excavating the email mountain, I came across some Review of Biblical Literature alerts that I had not included, from March, so here are the missing ones, for the sake of completeness, in one big post. As usual, it's those under the NT and related heading:

François Bovon; Kristin Hennessy, trans.
The Last Days of Jesus
Reviewed by Kevin B. McCruden

Catherine A. Cory
The Book of Revelation
Reviewed by Pieter G. R. de Villiers

James Crossley
Why Christianity Happened: A Sociohistorical Account of Christian Origins (26-50 CE)
Reviewed by Richard L. Rohrbaugh

Charlotte Hempel and Judith M. Lieu, eds.
Biblical Traditions in Transmission: Essays in Honour of Michael A. Knibb
Reviewed by Gerbern S. Oegema

Shalom M. Paul, Robert A. Kraft, Lawrence H. Schiffman, and Weston W. Fields, eds.
Emanuel: Studies in Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, and Dead Sea Scrolls in Honor of Emanuel Tov
Reviewed by Leonard Greenspoon

Thomas E. Phillips, ed.
Acts and Ethics
Reviewed by Gert J. Steyn

Dieter Sänger, ed.
Gottessohn und Menschensohn: Exegetische Studien zu zwei Paradigmen biblischer Intertextualität
Reviewed by Delbert Royce Burkett

Harold W. Attridge
The HarperCollins Study Bible Fully Revised and Updated: Including Apocryphal Deuterocanonical Books with Concordance
Reviewed by Timothy Friedrichsen

Walther Bindermann
Jünger und Brüder: Studien zum Differenzierungsprozess von Kirche und Judentum
Reviewed by Wolfgang Kraus

Mark Chancey
Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus
Reviewed by Jonathan L. Reed

William Horbury
Herodian Judaism and New Testament Study
Reviewed by Douglas Estes

David G. Horrell
Solidarity and Difference: A Contemporary Reading of Paul's Ethics
Reviewed by Victor Paul Furnish

Reinhard Gregor Kratz and Hermann Spieckermann, eds.
Götterbilder - Gottesbilder - Weltbilder: Polytheismus und Monotheismus in der Welt der Antike, Vol. 1: Ägypten, Mesopotamien, Kleinasien, Syrien, Palästina
Reviewed by Konrad Schmid

Reinhard Gregor Kratz and Hermann Spieckermann, eds.
Götterbilder - Gottesbilder - Weltbilder: Polytheismus und Monotheismus in der Welt der Antike, Vol. 2: Griechenland und Rom, Judentum, Christentum und Islam
Reviewed by Konrad Schmid

Jacob Neusner
Rabbinic Categories: Construction and Comparison
Reviewed by Arian Verheij

Eugen J. Pentiuc
Jesus the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Andrew Steinmann

Christoph Riedo-Emmenegger
Prophetisch-messianische Provokateure der Pax Romana: Jesus von Nazaret und andere Störenfriede im Konflikt mit dem Römischen Reich
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Eckhard J. Schnabel
Early Christian Mission
Reviewed by Andreas J. Kostenberger

Koester, Paul and His World

Latest alert from Fortress:
Landmark Explorations of the Environment of the Early Church

"Koester's monumental volume of essays spans a whole generation of his work on the Pauline letter corpus, the interpretation of Pauline theology, the locations where Paul worked, and the archaeology of these sites, which he has year after year himself examined on site. It is a must for anyone working on Paul and his churches."
—James M. Robinson, Claremont Graduate University Emeritus and Institute for Antiquity and Christianity

In Paul and His World: Interpreting the New Testament and Its Context, Helmut Koester, one of the most erudite New Testament scholars of our time brings insight from a career of interpretation and a wealth of archaeological, historical, and cultural data to illuminate Paul's place in his world.

Paul and His World is the first of two volumes of landmark essays in New Testament interpretation from Koester. This volume presents critical essays on theology and eschatology in Paul's letters, the apostle's religious and cultural context, and the interaction of early Christianity with its Greco-Roman environment, as reflected in ancient literature and archaeological remains.

Charting the religious and philosophical currents of the Greco-Roman world in which Paul and the early Christians moved, Koester explores:

* Paul's Thought and the Pauline Legacy
* The Religious Environment of the Roman Mediterranean
* Currents in and around Early Christianity

Order your copy today!

Deinde takes a short break and BAS latest

Danny Zacharias has been in touch to let me know that Deinde is currently on a short break. It is undergoing an upgrade which should be done within the next week or two. He also notes that there are updates over on the Biblical Archaeology Society including Real or Fake? A Special Report Brings You the Latest.

More from archive.org: C. H. Dodd

More from the Internet Archive:

C. H. Dodd, The Johannine Epistles (The Moffatt New Testament Commentary; New York, Evanston and London: Harper and Row, 1946)

C. H. Dodd, The Meaning of Paul for Today (New York: Georg H. Doran, 1920)

With each, there are multiple downloading possibilities, including txt and PDF, but I strongly recommend Flipbook, which is delightful -- just like turning the pages of the actual book.

Monday, July 16, 2007

In Defence of Wikipedia III

Back in March, I wrote In Defence of Wikipedia and followed it with In Defence of Wikipedia Response, specifically to criticize the trendiness of academic sneering at a resource that students are using more and more. I offered a range of reasons to suggest that our reaction to Wikipedia should be more nuanced. Putting our fingers in our ears and closing our eyes is not a realistic option. As always, the academic's best option is critical engagement. Inevitably, some misread the posts; others disagreed. It is encouraging to see John Hobbins writing intelligently about Wikipedia, Bible Study and the SBL, from which this is an excerpt:
How might Wikipedia’s presentation of biblical and related literature be improved? Let me count the ways. Coverage is spotty and sometimes amateurish. Links are not always top-notch. Bibliographies often seem slanted.

But, as I said before, improvement over time is noticeable.

Wikipedia does not adhere to the shameful practice of much scholarship in the humanities, whereby essays published decades ago are republished unchanged with nary a nod to developments in the field since original publication.

Wikipedia is a community effort. It is up to scholars to stop griping, roll up their electronic sleeves, and improve it themselves.
The ever reasonable and always interesting Doug Chaplin has a nice follow-up on Metacatholic headed Wikipedia or Wickedpedia? with the message "Wikipedia is here. Deal with it." One of the most important ways of embracing this challenge is the one suggested by John, echoing my own earlier suggestions of getting involved. If one is serious about rigorous academic life, then one should be serious about being a critical participant rather than a critical outsider.

Jim West criticized my earlier piece and he now does the same again. As Doug mentions, I earlier suggested that a way out of the impasse would be to test Jim's claims by means of the Wikipedia article on Zwingli. I would be interested to know if Jim has taken up that challenge and how he feels about the resulting product. Jim suggested that I too test things by working on the Wikipedia article on the Q document, which I have been doing, just every now and then. So far, I've been pleased with what I have seen. The article is looking OK, though with some work still necessary, but when I make changes, they usually stay. To be honest, the real challenge would have been the Synoptic Problem article, which is a bit of a mess and needs some serious work. But I've recently written a lengthy encyclopaedia article for a print volume (which therefore will get far less exposure than Wikipedia) on that topic, so I am loathe to end up duplicating my work there, all the more so as I already have something of a web presence on this topic. So perhaps others would enjoy taking up this challenge?

One last thing: I was shocked to see that there was no Wikipedia article on Michael Goulder, so I have added one. At the moment it's just a skeleton, but I hope to add to it in due course, or perhaps you would like to?

Crossan, Back to Greek, or, Better, Aramaic?

Crossan's latest contribution to On Faith is:

Back to Greek, or, Better, Aramaic?
. . . . In terms of Roman Catholicism, our ancestors in faith began with Aramaic, changed to Greek, then tried Latin, and finally, moved into the various vernaculars. If we wish to revert to our linguistic origins, why just to Latin, why not to Aramaic with Jesus or Greek with the New Testament? . . .
It is a response to the latest question, "Pope Benedict is encouraging wider use of Latin Mass. What elements of tradition -- including language -- are essential for worship?"

Call for Papers: St Andrews

The following is posted on behalf of Bruce Longenecker:
The Biblical Studies Seminar of the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews invites paper proposals on economic features of early Christianity, as reflected in extant data from the first three centuries ce. Of particular interest are proposals with a theological component that consider the topic in relation to:

a) New Testament texts; or

b) the use of the New Testament or the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in Christian writings of the first three centuries ce.

The accepted papers are expected to be included in the Biblical Studies Seminar programme from February through May 2008. The Seminar will incur the presenters¹ costs for B&B and for travel within Britain. Some of the papers may be published in a volume of collected essays.

Please send proposals of 500 words, by 15 September, to Dr Bruce Longenecker (BWL2@st-andrews.ac.uk), indicating full contact details and availability between February and May 2008. Proposals are invited from scholars at PhD level through to senior professors. Proposals from PhD students need to be accompanied by a letter of approval and recommendation from their PhD supervisor.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic?

In Exploring our Matrix, James McGrath asks Will hell freeze over or will hell break loose?, which gives me the opportunity, rather gratuitously, to mention my internet article on this urban legend. This lecture was given as part of a series of Cadbury Lectures in the University of Birmingham's Department of Theology and Religion on the theme of "Religion and Globalization" in 2004. In the piece I reflect on the way in which urban legends develop on the net, and make some playful analogies with Christian origins. The lecture itself is called "The Tale of Theresa Banyan" and there is an associated hand-out on text types:

The Tale of Theresa Banyan (MS Word format)

Is Hell Exothermic or Endorthermic: Text Types (MS Word format)

The Tale of Theresa Banyan (PDF format)

Is Hell Exothermic or Endorthermic: Text Types (PDF format)

Dominus Flevit Ossuaries

Antonio Lombatti emails:
After the documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus, many foreign scholars asked me about the ossuaries of the Dominus Flevit. Since the publication by Bagatti and Milik is out of print and it was written in Italian, I've uploaded on my website the full list of inscriptions found on the 122 ossuaries. Hope this will be helpful.


Biblical Studies Bulletin 42

It looks like I missed this one at the time. Edited by Michael Thompson, it is the latest Biblical Studies Bulletin from Grove Books and based at Ridley Hall, Cambridge:

Biblical Studies Bulletin 42

This issue includes a report on the last British New Testament Conference, Book Reviews, Comments on Commentaries and Computer Corner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What is your preferred Introductory Greek Grammar?

It's high time we had a poll here, and this is my first attempt at producing one. I am using Bravenet and just learning how to configure it properly, but it is already doing enough to be functional.

It will be interesting to know which introductory Greek grammars people are using these days. Apologies if your favourite is not listed; I only had ten spaces and went for the nine that I had most often heard of people using. If your favourite is not listed, please go for "Other" and then list it in the comments. And of course you all should feel free to comment in the comments section after you have voted. Oh, and you can only vote once.

Update: 19 July: Poll results are now available.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

Messianic Materials in Doctor Who

Warning: post contains spoilers, and links to posts with spoilers

The fabulous third season of the new Doctor Who finished last week, while we were still in England, just as it gets underway here in the States on SciFi Channel every Friday (after which it will probably go to BBC America, and then to PBS channels, if the first season is anything to go by; but America has not yet woken up to new Doctor Who, which is consistently at the top of the ratings in the UK). I'll be watching the whole series again in the US, all the time waiting for the Christmas special guest-starring Kylie in a few months time. I sympathise with Caitlin Moran in The Times who gets it exactly right in her review Doctor Who is Simply Masterful, "I know that, in many respects, I am lucky that the ending of Doctor Who is the most traumatic occurrence in my life, in any given year . . ." Me too. What has brought the recent season of Doctor Who onto this blog for the first time, though, has been the rather striking Christian imagery, first in Human Nature, adapted by Paul Cornell from his earlier novel of the same name, which provided a brilliant imaginative analogy to kenotic theories of the incarnation (Doctor Who, Human Nature and Kenosis). The following episode, Family of Blood, the second in the two parter and also penned by Cornell, had an unmissable parallel with The Last Temptation of Christ, as John Smith imagines the future that he could have with Joan including marriage, children and domestic bliss, before giving up that life to become the Doctor, just as Jesus in Last Temptation sees the domestic bliss of a future he must sacrifice.

The subtlety of that imagery from those episodes did not prepare me for the remarkably blatant Christian imagery of the final episode, The Last of the Time Lords, a classic good versus evil, super-hero / super-villain match-up between the Doctor and the Master with a clustering of themes that have raised a few eyebrows, defeating evil through "faith and hope", "prayer" (the Master's terms), Martha travelling the world to tell the good news of how the doctor has often saved people without their realizing it, and the Doctor rising from humiliation to defeat evil, and forgive its perpetrator. In her Times Online Blog, Dr Who?, Ruth Gledhill asks "Is there some subversive Christian working behind the scenes at Dr Who?" It is remarkable to think that the writer of the episode, Russell T. Davies, the guru of the re-invented Doctor Who, is an atheist. Some fans hated this last episode (e.g. Behind the Sofa); others loved it (e.g. He's not the Messiah, he's the doctor . . .). I was with the latter. Of course there is an extent to which the themes are just good old fashioned good vs. evil, divine hero coming to save the world, along with a typical deus ex machina ending, but the particular cluster of Christian themes -- gospel, salvation, faith, hope, prayer, forgiveness -- make the link with the New Testament here pretty striking. I suppose it says something of the power of the story that an atheist can borrow from it so unashamedly.

I am not thinking of giving up blogging

I just want to clarify, in relation to my post about How access to the internet interferes with writing, that I wouldn't dream of giving up blogging, with thanks to comments on Ricoblog and Jim West. I love it, and will continue to do it even if my readership goes down to a handful. Attempts to streamline my use of the internet are more about resisting the urge to follow up every small reference, to satisfy every curiosity as it arises online, to provide full, detailed and speedy responses to every single email received, and so on. Like housework, another thing that occupies far too much of my time, internet usage will always expand to fill the time available, and for academics that means that it seeps into one's writing time and crowds it out. At its best, academic blogging aids the writing task, whether by giving one the opportunity to develop ideas, to engage with others over work in progress, or in getting involved in what's going on in the area. The danger that I see with the internet is not those things but rather that it is ever present, always giving the impression of unexplored territory, ready to provide me with answers to questions I happen to be bothered about at any given point in time.

I think broadband is to blame. When I began writing The Case Against Q in the late 1990s, I was on a dial-up connection, and it was easier to impose discipline. I would just look up my references when I was next in the library, for example. Now, it is too easy to go and check them out straight away, and for one reference to lead one to another article I had not realized existed and so on. None of this is problematic in itself; it is just that the broadband era requires a great deal more discipline in writing practices, at least for me. I liked James McGrath's comment on my previous post, which I will repeat here, a great tip for graduate students and for easily distracted academics:
Your point about not looking up every last reference is also a good one. A nice trick I learned from my doctoral supervisor Jimmy Dunn is to put a sign $$$ in those places where one needs to go back and add a reference or further information. Since that sign has no other use, you just go back later and search for $$$ and track down the missing references then. It is a good way of keeping the writing flowing, even when one could theoretically stop and look for the needed citation.

Biblical Studies Blog Carnival Latest

I was away when this was published, but I always like to mention the Biblical Studies Blog Carnivals, not least because the authors put so much hard work into doing them. This month Stephen Cook has done a great job over at Biblische Ausbildung:

Biblical Studies Carnival XIX

Thanks, Stephen; and thanks, Tyler, for organising these.

I should also mention that the Biblioblogger of the month for July 2007 is Claude Mariottini.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tyndale Tech Latest: Lexicons for Biblical Studies

The latest Tyndale Tech, originally sent out as an email in May 2007, is now available online and the topic this time is Lexicons:

Lexicons for Biblical Studies

As always, it's full of useful tips and great links. (One typo: "Sahedic" for Sahidic).

Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism Latest

The Journal of Greco Roman Christianity and Judaism has added a new article to Volume 4:

Nathan Eubank, Bakhtin and Lukan Politics: A Carnivalesque Reading of the Last Supper in the Third Gospel (PDF)

It is a particular pleasure for us to see this debut article from Nathan Eubank since he is joining the PhD programme here at Duke next month. I read the article several months ago and it is a fascinating piece.

Time to move on from SPIonic

A recent correspondent commented on a repeated problem with the use of the SPIonic font, the free Scholars Press font designed by James Adair that has served Biblical scholars and students well for over ten years. The problem is that many users have confused the vau/digamma with the final sigma. Published books and articles are regularly produced with the wrong letter. It's something I have battled with for a long time, often having to point this out to graduate students, or correcting it in manuscripts I am reviewing or editing. There are other serious issues with the font too, not least among which is the necessity to use different keystrokes for accenting different width of vowels, something few users realize, and which results in some horrible looking manuscripts. For a long time, the solution was simply education, to make scholars, students and publishers aware of the difficulties. But the time has now surely come to say a warm and nostalgic thanks and to bid it adieu. For those who have not yet embraced unicode, now is the time to do it. For those who have, let's continue to try to persuade those who haven't.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Syneidon Survey

Syneidon now has its own RSS feed, which is good news for the increasing numbers who access everything this way, and it is asking the question today about what tools you find most useful:

Bible Study on the Internet Survey

How access to the internet interferes with writing

I have often wondered how much more productive I would be if I didn't have such easy, regular access to the internet. When I say "productive", I mean in terms of proper, published books and articles and not just extensive web-published materials. I know that we all now spend inordinate amounts of time ploughing through the daily batch of emails, and being away for over two weeks, three including Bellingham and Seattle too, and not having regular access to the net, or time to spend there, impresses me about just how much time I must spend every day working on correspondence, and correspondence related activities, as well as reading blogs, blogging myself and so on. I love the internet; I enjoy corresponding; I love blogging; I love reading materials made available on the internet, yet there is always going to be that part of me that wonders just how much more research and writing I would have done and would be doing were it not for the net.

For the first few days of our recent return to the UK, we had a delightful stay in a secluded cottage in the middle of the country near Llandeilo in South Wales. There was no internet availability, no mobile phone signal, even the radio and TV signals were weak. It was bliss. One night, perhaps because of the jet lag, I couldn't sleep, which is very, very rare for me. I decided to spend the time rethinking the book I am writing on the Gospel of Thomas at the moment. Once satisfied, I was able to sleep. The next day, I found a spare couple of hours to begin writing chapter 5 of the book, which is about parable and allegory in the Synoptics and Thomas, and I don't recall ever having written so quickly, or to have found writing so enjoyable. What intrigued me was that the absence of the availability of the net meant that I could not just keep checking up those little references, following up those little niggles or thoughts that arise all the time. I was able to understand more clearly than before why it is that some scholars are able to bang out such enormous volumes of material.

The moral of the story? It's difficult to find it. I am tempted to say that I should allow myself regular abstinence from the internet, that I should be more selfish with my time, that I should introduce a far more rigorous discipline into the way that I work. Given the joys of regular internet access, I know that that is going to be very difficult to do, but I am inclined to give it a serious try.

Friday, July 06, 2007

My endorsement of Horrell's Introduction

One of the latest reviews in the Review of Biblical Literature is by Stephen Westerholm (PDF) of David Horrell's Introduction to the Study of Paul. In it, he concludes by writing:
The book does what it sets out to do extremely well. I am myself somewhat loath to endorse Mark Goodacre’s recommendation, cited on the cover of the book, to put “other books on Paul to one side and begin here.” But students for whom this textbook is assigned will undoubtedly be well served.
Well, my endorsement is addressed to new students of Paul, and I note that earlier in the same review, Westerholm writes:
It is difficult to imagine how students could better be introduced to the discipline of Pauline scholarship.
Isn't that saying something similar?

New Layton Introductory Coptic Grammar

I am grateful to Ben White for drawing my attention to Bentley Layton's new book:

Coptic in 20 Lessons
Introduction to Sahidic Coptic With Exercises & Vocabularies

That link is to the Peeters catalogue on the book, which also has a table of contents (PDF). Up until now, the only realistic option for an introductory grammar was Lambdin, so I am excited about the new Layton book. I don't have a copy yet, but will report on it as soon as I have one. Amazon have it for $34. Layton is "the man" when it comes to Coptic, so the publication of this looks like very good news.

Review of Biblical Literature Latest

Last couple of Review of Biblical Literature listings, those under the NT or related headings:

David Tuesday Adamo, ed.
Biblical Interpretation in African Perspective
Reviewed by Jan van der Watt

Eve-Marie Becker and Peter Pilhofer, eds.
Biographie und Persönlichkeit des Paulus
Reviewed by Günter Röhser

April D. DeConick
Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth
Reviewed by Eric Noffke

David L. Dungan
Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament
Reviewed by Jean-François Racine
Reviewed by Garwood P. Anderson

Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino
The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History
Reviewed by Jonathan Reed

Israel Knohl
The Divine Symphony: The Bible's Many Voices
Reviewed by Richard S. Briggs

Moisés Mayordomo
Argumentiert Paulus logisch? Eine Analyse vor dem Hintergrund antiker Logik
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Steven Roy
How Much Does God Foreknow? A Comprehensive Biblical Study
Reviewed by Craig L. Blomberg

Wolfgang Schrage
Der 1. Brief an die Korinther: 1 Kor 1,1-6,11
Reviewed by Mark W. Elliott

Blake Shipp
Paul the Reluctant Witness: Power and Weakness in Luke's Portrayal
Reviewed by Ruben Dupertuis

Hans Strauß
".eine kleine Biblia": Exegesen von dreizehn ausgewählten Psalmen
Reviewed by Gert T. M. Prinsloo

James D. Tabor
The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity
Reviewed by Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte

Stephen C. Carlson
The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark
Reviewed by Craig L. Blomberg

Michael E. Fuller
The Restoration of Israel: Israel's Re-gathering and the Fate of the Nations in Early Jewish Literature and Luke-Acts
Reviewed by M. Eugene Boring

Joseph H. Hellerman
Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: Carmen Christi as Cursus Pudorum
Reviewed by Jason Lamoreaux

David G. Horrell
An Introduction to the Study of Paul
Reviewed by Christopher Stanley
Reviewed by Stephen Westerholm

Henry Ansgar Kelly
Satan: A Biography
Reviewed by Jim West

Bernhard Mutschler
Das Corpus Johanneum bei Irenäus von Lyon: Studien und Kommentar zum dritten Buch von Adversus Haereses
Reviewed by Riemer Roukema

John F. A. Sawyer, ed.
The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture
Reviewed by Dan W. Clanton Jr.

Albert Wifstrand; Lars Rydbeck and Stanley E. Porter, eds.
Epochs and Styles: Selected Writings on the New Testament, Greek Language and Greek Culture in the Post-Classical Era
Reviewed by Steven Thompson

Back in the USA and Ready to Blog

We're back home in North Carolina again where it is a lot warmer and a lot drier than it is in England at the moment. We like to be back there for momentous events like a changeover in Prime Minister and, more importantly, the last two episodes of the third season of the new Doctor Who. I have an unbelievable number of emails to plough through, but I look forward to being back to blogging very soon. Expect some boring catch-up blog entries to start off with.