Sunday, September 30, 2007

On Luke's use of sources

I have enjoyed reading some of April DeConick's questions and reflections on Luke and History in The Forbidden Gospels Blog. In particular, a post headed Is Luke a Trustworthy Historian? asks:
Why is Acts written off today as a Lukan myth with little or no historical value? Why do scholars who wish to argue for the historicity of elements of Acts have to go through an inordinate amount of justification before doing so?
and there are a series of interesting points that focus the question, and I would like to comment on these points, even though doing so takes me off at tangents from April's main points.
1. When Luke uses Mark, he does not rework Mark as much as Matthew.
I did a double take when I first read this, thinking that perhaps April had joined us in the Q sceptical camp, but then I realized that I was reading it incorrectly! It is "he does not rework Mark as much as Matthew (reworks Mark)" and not "he does not rework Mark as much as (he reworks) Matthew". Nevertheless, I think the comment is debatable and for several reasons. First, Matthew features much more of Mark than Luke does; or, to put it another way, Luke omits much more of Mark than Matthew does. Second, the perception that Luke generally retains Mark's order more carefully than Matthew does is problematic. Matthew's rearrangement of Mark is primarily limited to Matt. 8-12. After Matthew 13 // Mark 4, Matthew follows Mark's order very closely. Luke is radical in some of his treatment of Mark, especially drawing forward the Rejection at Nazareth (Luke 4.16-30) from a much later point in Mark, and drawing forward the Anointing (Luke 7.36-50) from a later point still. (I have more on this in The Case Against Q, 86-90). Third, I would draw special attention to the Passion Narratives in the three Synoptics. Luke departs far more from Mark here than does Matthew. It is worth reminding ourselves that B. H. Streeter and Vincent Taylor conceived the Proto-Luke theory on the basis of Luke's massive departures from Mark in material like that.
2. When Luke uses Q, Q-scholars tell us that he retains Q better in terms of verbage and order than Matthew. In fact, our reconstructed Q is versed according to Luke.
From my reading of Q scholarship, I think this overstates the standard view. It is consensus in Q scholarship that Luke retains the order of Q better than does Matthew, but opinions are divided on how far Matthew and how far Luke retains Q's wording and there is no real tendency in either direction, at least if we are to go on the work of the IQP. With respect to the Lucan chapter and verses getting used for referring to Q, a practice I have criticized (e.g. in Case Against Q, 8), it is important to note that it has always been said that this is done for convenience and without prejudice to decisions about whether or not the order of a given pericope is better reflected in Luke or Matthew.
3. Luke tells us in the beginning of his gospel that he relied on older sources to rewrite the Christian narrative which we apparently trust given our hypothesis that Luke is a second edition of Mark.
4. If we think that Luke used Mark and Q as literary sources, wouldn't the best assumption be that he also used older traditional sources for the composition of Acts?
5. If 4 is valid, then shouldn't we be trying to figure out what those older traditions are and what they tell us about Christianity earlier than Luke?
These are interesting points. One thing that is worth taking seriously is to find out what we can about Luke's compositional and redactional habits from an analysis of his Gospel sources Mark and (I would say) Matthew and to learn from them in working out how he is writing in Acts. I argued on this blog a while ago (A Chronological Clue in Acts 9.25, The Jerusalem Council: Gal. 2.1-10 = Acts 15 and The Jerusalem Council: Gal. 2.1-10 = Acts 15: Response to Critics) and one day I will publish on this, that where Luke has Paul visiting Jerusalem in Acts 9, clearly out of sequence when we look at Galatians 1, he has brought the account forward in his narrative from its natural location three years later, just as he draws forward the Rejection at Nazareth in his Gospel from its Marcan location later in the ministry. My own feeling is that the more familiar one gets with Luke from studying his use of sources in the Gospel, the more light it sheds on the way he behaves in Acts, where we have Paul's letters as a useful point of comparison.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

More ITSEE news

More from ITSEE:
Publication of the New Testament in Greek IV
The Gospel according to St. John
Volume Two: The Majuscules

The latest volume of the International Greek New Testament Project's edition of The Gospel according to St. John, edited by U.B. Schmid with W.J. Elliott and D.C. Parker, has now been published by Brill. An electronic edition of the manuscripts, featuring transcriptions not included in the print volume, is now available on the website

Friday, September 28, 2007

Go, Zotero, go

Over on Hastac, Cathy Davidson sings the praises of Zotero. It's a free bibliographical research tool that works with the Firefox browser. I've been using it for several months now and I can recommend it very highly. There's a nice Youtube exposition of its benefits here:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is Romans a "bread and butter letter"?

When introducing the Epistle to the Romans in my class on the Life and Letters of Paul yesterday, I mentioned the following quotation from J. Paul Sampley, one that I once used in an examination question:
It is an apostolic response to ethnic problems in those churches, and it is a “bread-and-butter” letter written in advance of his arrival, seeking support for his mission to Spain.
I asked the class if they knew the expression "bread and butter letter" but none of them did. As I tried to explain it, I realized that I had always heard the expression used after a visit rather than ahead of one. I think of it as a thank you letter, written to your host, traditionally, the woman of the house. I looked up the expression in a variety of places, through the ease of Google, and it seems that the usage I am familiar with is indeed the standard. An article on The art of the thank-you note, for example, has the following:
A further subset of the thank-you note is the bread-and-butter note, a letter written after a stay at someone's house. While the specific origins of this expression are obscure — members of the Writing Center at Princeton University were at a loss — "The Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English" dates the term's appearance in American vocabulary to the turn of the century.

As might be expected, Ms. Post believes the bread-and-butter note is a must, unless the host or hostess is a family member or close friend with whom the guest stays frequently. And her final word on the matter is: "Never think, because you cannot write a letter easily, that it is better not to write at all. The most awkward note imaginable is better than none."
The "Ms. Post" here mentioned is the author of Emily Post's Etiquette: A Guide to Modern Manners. Her book, written in 1922, is all available online and is very enjoyable reading, the relevant section for this topic being Notes and Shorter Letters.

As far as I can tell, therefore, the twentieth century usage of "bread and butter letter" is not used to describe a letter of introduction like the Epistle to the Romans. But did the ancients write bread and butter letters? Mary Johnston says not:
The bread-and-butter letter, as we call it now, does not seem to have been required from appreciative guests after visits. Horace addressed an Epode (III) in complaint to Maecenas after the garlic at dinner had disagreed with him, and Catullus wrote to Licinius that he could not sleep after their poetic contest over the wine. Pliny's letter to his mother-in-law (I,4) was written after a visit to her villas in her absence. Whether Caesar wrote to thank Cicero for his hospitality at Puteoli I do not know . . . ("Hospites Venturi", The Classical Journal 28/3 (Dec. 1932): 197-206).
In short, it seems that the term "bread-and-butter letter" is not ideal for describing the Epistle to the Romans.

Note: I can't find my reference for the Sampley quotation above. If anyone happens to know its location, I would be very grateful.

1 Peter blog

Torrey Seland has launched a new blog on 1 Peter:

Research Notes on 1 Peter
Welcome to this new blog on 1 Peter. I have for some time been very interested in the First letter of Peter, and as I have not discovered any blogs dealing primarily with 1 Peter, I hereby launch my little contribution. It will focus on 1 Peter research, e.g., recent literature on 1 Peter published, exegetical problems discussed, etc etc, but you will probably also find several other postings related to New Testament studies in general, ranging from computer technology issues to issues related to teaching the New Testament in a theological seminary setting.

Theological German and Theological French

Worth another mention: two new blogs to help you work on your Theological French and your Theological German (hat tip Novum Testamentum blog, J. C. Baker and others):

Theological French/Français théologique

Theological German/Theologisches Deutsch

Electronic edition of the old Latin manuscripts of John

ITSEE News at the University of Birmingham announces that the first stage of the new edition of the Vetus Latina Iohannes, an electronic edition of the extant manuscripts, is now available online:

Vetus Latina Iohannes Electronic Edition

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kloppenborg on Variation in the Reproduction of the Double Tradition

Over on Hypotyposeis, Kloppenborg Nixes an Oral Q, Stephen Carlson draws attention to a new article: John S. Kloppenborg, “Variation in the Reproduction of the Double Tradition and an Oral Q?”, ETL 83 (2007): 53-80. As it happens, I have just read the same article myself and I was mighty impressed with it. Kloppenborg's primary targets are James D. G. Dunn and Terence Mournet, though there is surprisingly no reference to Jimmy Dunn's huge Jesus Remembered. What particularly impressed me about the article was its focus on a feature that is not often remarked upon in Synoptic studies, viz. the remarkable degree of verbatim agreement in some double tradition passages, drawing attention to the relative paucity of parallels to this high proportion of agreement among similar kinds of documents. Because of our familiarity with the Synoptics, we often assume that this kind of agreement among dependent texts is the norm, and not unusual.

Perhaps given Kloppenborg's own extensive work on the Synoptic Problem, and given the article's focus specifically on Q, it is churlish of me to make the following remark, but I will make it all the same. A lot of the data gathered here is of interest and relevance more broadly in studies of the Synoptic Problem, and I find it a bit disappointing that the double tradition material is discussed solely in relation to the Q hypothesis, without any mention of competing theories. The issue is particularly focused in relation to verbatim agreement in the double tradition, where one is looking at the coincidence of independent close copying of a hypothetical document by both Matthew and Luke. In other words, it is even more remarkable that Matthew and Luke agree so closely in this double tradition material if they are both doing this independently of one another in relation to another entity (unseen by us). Kloppenborg is right to problematize the high proportion of verbatim agreement in double tradition material with respect to theories about an oral Q; I would like to take it a stage further and problematize the high proportion of verbatim agreement in double tradition material with respect to a written Q.

Those comments, though, require some further teasing out, and I hope to publish on the issue in due course. (I discussed this a bit in my paper in Baltimore in March, and I'll be touching on it in my paper at the SBL Annual Meeting Q Section (abstract here, see number 1). In this blog post, I just wanted to register my opinion on what a fine and valuable article this is, compulsory reading for those researching the Synoptic Gospels.

Biblical Studies Bulletin 43

The missing Biblical Studies Bulletin is now online:

Biblical Studies Bulletin 43 (March 2007)

The bulletin includes some nice comments about the biblioblogs, including this one, in the computer corner.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature under the NT and related heading. One particularly interesting feature (and I am commenting at the top of the post today rather than the bottom, because it turns out that many miss the comments at the bottom) is the first on the list here, a whopping 47 pages by Scott Brown on Peter Jeffery on Secret Mark. As someone who has written more extensive RBL reviews myself, I must say that I like the fact that this electronic journal is using its lack of print restrictions to do things like this, a good use of the flexibility electronic publication provides. I also look forward to Stephen Carlson's comments on this review.

ESSAY REVIEW (47 pages)
Peter Jeffery
The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery
Reviewed by Scott G. Brown

Peter Busch
Magie in neutestamentlicher Zeit
Reviewed by Mladen Popović

Martin Goodman
Judaism in the Roman World: Collected Essays
Reviewed by Judith M. Lieu

Isaac Kalimi and Peter J. Haas, eds.
Biblical Interpretation in Judaism and Christianity
Reviewed by Craig A. Evans

Andreas Köhn, ed.
Ernst Lohmeyers Zeugnis im Kirchenkampf: Breslauer Universitätspredigten
Reviewed by Michael Labahn

Michelle V. Lee
Paul, the Stoics, and the Body of Christ
Reviewed by Richard A. Wright

Alastair H. B. Logan
The Gnostics: Identifying an Early Christian Cult
Reviewed by Jon Ma. Asgeirsson

Francisco Lozada Jr. and Tom Thatcher, eds.
New Currents Through John: A Global Perspective
Reviewed by Uta Poplutz

David Pastorelli
Le Paraclet dans le corpus johannique
Reviewed by Jörg Frey

Vincent A. Pizzuto
A Cosmic Leap of Faith: An Authorial, Structural, and Theological Investigation of the Cosmic Christology in Col 1:15-20
Reviewed by Matthew E. Gordley

Gregory Wong
Compositional Strategy of the Book of Judges: An Inductive, Rhetorical Study
Reviewed by Klaas Spronk

Monday, September 17, 2007

Teaching Notes: Continuity Errors and Fatigue

One of the benefits of larger classes at Duke appears to be that you get a nicer, more modern classroom. Instead of Gray Building, where we in the Department of Religion normally teach, I am teaching my New Testament Introduction class in one of the classes in Westbrook, which belongs to the Divinity School. If A/V equipment is easier to use, and the class arrangement more congenial to its use, I find myself illustrating classes much more regularly. Today I wanted a little something to introduce the topic of editorial fatigue in the Synoptics. I was going through the arguments for Marcan Priority, and saving fatigue for the end. In my 1998 NTS article, I wrote:
Like continuity errors in film and television, examples of fatigue will be unconscious mistakes, small errors of detail which naturally arise in the course of constructing a narrative. (46)
It occurred to me that I could illustrate the point by pointing to a couple of continuity errors in one of my favourite TV series, Columbo. Anyone who has watched the series as often as I have will have noticed the lieutenant's cigar shrink and expand between shots, and a site rather inelegantly entitled Columbo Goofs lists dozens of similar continuity errors, including William Shatner's changing moustache. Continuity errors like these are "seams" in the film that point to the history of the construction of that film, revealing evidence of shooting schedules that we might otherwise have been ignorant of. I found it an enjoyable way of illustrating some of the seams in the Synoptics in the category of "editorial fatigue", which seem to point to Marcan Priority.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Testament Studies latest

The latest issue of New Testament Studies is now available to subscribers:

New Testament Studies
Volume 53 - Issue 04 - October 2007

Ein himmlischer Stehplatz: Die Haltung Jesu in der Stephanusvision (Apg 7.55-56) und ihre Bedeutung
New Testament Studies, Volume 53, Issue 04, October 2007, pp 459 - 488
doi: 10.1017/S0028688507000239
Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Sep 2007
[ abstract ]

The Identification of Paul's Spectacle of Death Metaphor in 1 Corinthians 4.9
New Testament Studies, Volume 53, Issue 04, October 2007, pp 489 - 501
doi: 10.1017/S0028688507000240
Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Sep 2007
[ abstract ]

The Meaning of κατακαλυπτω and κατα κεφαλη[final small sigma] εχων in 1 Corinthians 11.2-16
New Testament Studies, Volume 53, Issue 04, October 2007, pp 502 - 523
doi: 10.1017/S0028688507000252
Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Sep 2007
[ abstract ]

Zur Argumentation von Galater 3.10-12
New Testament Studies, Volume 53, Issue 04, October 2007, pp 524 - 544
doi: 10.1017/S0028688507000264
Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Sep 2007
[ abstract ]

Apostate Turned Prophet: Paul's Prophetic Self-Understanding and Prophetic Hermeneutic with Special Reference to Galatians 3.10-12
New Testament Studies, Volume 53, Issue 04, October 2007, pp 545 - 565
doi: 10.1017/S0028688507000276
Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Sep 2007
[ abstract ]

[Epsilon][Rho][Eta][Alpha][Rho][Alpha][Chi]: The One and the Many in Hebrews
New Testament Studies, Volume 53, Issue 04, October 2007, pp 566 - 581
doi: 10.1017/S0028688507000288
Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Sep 2007
[ abstract ]

T. C. Skeat, P64+67 and P4, and the Problem of Fibre Orientation in Codicological Reconstruction
New Testament Studies, Volume 53, Issue 04, October 2007, pp 582 - 604
doi: 10.1017/S002868850700029X
Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Sep 2007
[ abstract ]
I've not corrected the weird way that the Greek comes out in the email and web based contents lists.

Let me add that for non-subscribers, the currently available free for all issue is 53/1 (January 2007).

Andrew Maguire has put together a nice new website focusing on the early Christian texts. At the moment it is a nicely indexed web of links to primary texts and related information on the web, with a number of texts original to the site, and more planned in due course:

Early Church Texts

It's a promising site. One thing I'd like to see added would be an updates page, or a blog or an RSS feed or similar, so that one can track the changes being made.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Simon Gathercole on Sanders

Simon Gathercole comments with respect to recent comments here (Simon Gathercole on the New Perspective on Paul and E. P. Sanders's Relationship to W. D. Davies):
The question of Sanders' legacy as far as Paul himself is concerned is an interesting one.

I suppose I'm of the view that Sanders' Pauline exegesis was much less successful than his treatment of Judaism: as William Horbury put it in his review of PPJ, Paul and his Jewish contemporaries end up - on Sanders' approach - 'passing like ships in the night'. There are some who have nevertheless followed this approach - in his own way, Lou Martyn does. But it seems to me to have been the Dunn-Wright trajectory of Sanders interpretation that has really taken off.

But we're all shaped by our own locations in this. I studied in Durham, so perhaps am bound to think this way. You - being an Oxford and a Duke man - might be just as bound to have a more Sanders-centric view!!!
I want to comment properly on Simon's article in Christianity Today, all the more so as I am currently teaching Paul, and will do so in due course, and bear the above in mind, though I won't be apologizing for my Sanders-centric view!

Talpiot Tomb Statistics Article

Thanks to Mark Elliott, formerly of (now that was a great site!), for alerting me to the new article he has co-authored with Kevin Kilty:

Probability, Statistics, and the Talpiot Tomb
Kevin T. Kilty, Ph.D., P.E.,
Mark Elliott, Ph.D.

It's already been noted by several people, including James Tabor and Darrell Bock, the latter with some interesting comments on Yoseh. I would like to comment on this article myself in due course, but I am working through a backlog at the moment and may not have time for a little. I look forward to comments from the statistical experts who earlier weighed in on this topic.

Patterson on Evans on Secret Mark

There's a very interesting review by Stephen Patterson of Craig Evans's Fabricating Jesus on the latest SBL Review of Biblical Literature. There was one note that I found a bit disappointing, though, a passing comment on Evans on Secret Mark,
His view, in brief, is that Secret Mark was forged by Morton Smith—citing evidence from an attorney and apparent handwriting analyst. . .
Stephen Carlson's Gospel Hoax is a fine piece of work, with several scholarly endorsements, that deserves proper mention in this context, rather than the implied disparagement here. Although Evans was viewing a pre-publication version of Carlson's book, the latter has now been out for almost two years, and it should not be passed over lightly. Let me add, though, that I think Patterson's review makes some very interesting points and is well worth reading; I just wanted to comment briefly on that comment.

Review of Biblical Literature Latest

Latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature; these ones under the New Testament and related heading:

Peter H. Davids
The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude
Reviewed by James P. Sweeney
Reviewed by Daniel B. Wallace

Craig A. Evans
Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels
Reviewed by Stephen J. Patterson

Garrett C. Kenney
Mark's Gospel: Lectures and Lessons
Reviewed by Tom Shepherd

Lars Kierspel
The Jews and the World in the Fourth Gospel: Parallelism, Function, and Context
Reviewed by Adele Reinhartz

Jonathan D. Lawrence
Washing in Water: Trajectories of Ritual Bathing in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature
Reviewed by James W. Watts

Anthony C. Thiselton
1 Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Dieter Vieweger
Archäologie der biblischen Welt
Reviewed by Jonathan L. Reed

20th Anniversary Edition of Shadow of the Galilean

From Fortress this morning:
Fortress Press Releases 20th Anniversary Edition of Classic Bestseller

Minneapolis (September 10, 2007)—A contemporary classic, The Shadow of the Galilean is an acclaimed and popular work of historical fiction about Jesus. Written by one of this generation’s great New Testament scholars, Gerd Theissen, the work vividly captures the tensions and turmoil of Jesus’ time, as well as the enormous attraction and unpredictability of the figure of Jesus as he affects his Jewish environment under Roman sway.

First published in 1987 by Fortress Press, this 20th anniversary edition includes careful documentation in the footnotes showing that much of the narrative is based on ancient resources and also includes a new Afterword from the author.

“An achievement in ‘narrative theology,’ illuminating the social world of Jesus from rich sources and imaginative reconstruction. Theissen’s book combines scholarship and story. The author supplements his fictional creations with letters to a professional colleague, Dr. Kratzinger, illuminating methodology. The book should be a boon to preachers of the Gospels.”

John Reumann, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

Gerd Theissen is Professor of New Testament at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and the author of The Bible and Contemporary Culture (2007); the Fortress Introduction to the New Testament (2003); and The Religion of the Earliest Churches (1999), all from Fortress Press. He is co-author of The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide (1988) and co-editor of The Social Setting of Jesus and the Gospels (2002), also from Fortress Press.

The Shadow of the Galilean

By Gerd Theissen

Item No: 9780800639006
Format: Paperback, 232 pgs, 5.5 x 8.5 inches

Price: $22.00

To order The Shadow of the Galilean call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the Web site at

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

To request exam copies for classroom use (professors) go to
There is a minor error above -- The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide was 1998, not 1988.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hays on Benedict on Jesus

April DeConick and others have been commenting on Pope Benedict's recent book on Jesus, and Gerd Lüdemann's review of it; April remarks:
Again, kudos to Gerd, and I hope that other scholars studying the historical Jesus will step up and respond in kind.
Let me draw attention, therefore, to the fine review article by my colleague Richard Hays in the current issue of First Things (August / September 2007), headed "Benedict and the Biblical Jesus". It's not yet available online, though it should be in due course. I think he gets the tone exactly right.

British New Testament Conference 2007

I wish I'd been there. It still feels very odd to me not to be capping the summer off with the BNTC. This year it was in Exeter, and Jim Davila has a write-up with pictures on Paleojudaica. For the second year running, Jim has a photo of himself with my former doctoral students Helen Ingram and Catherine Smith, with a message, which is reciprocated. I am delighted to hear that Helen's paper in the Social World seminar generated some stimulating discussion, which does not surprise me at all.

Updates (Monday, 8.41am and 6.37pm): Ben has a nice review of the conference on Dunelm Road and James Crossley on Earliest Christian History, in which he reveals that he skips the formal meals and goes out for his own with friends, SBL-style, very naughty. I like James's speculation about what the state of the British NT establishment will look like in a few years given the creative work currently being done by scholars in their 30s and 40s.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

H. Benedict Green

I was sorry to hear this morning, via the BNTS list, of the death of H. Benedict Green. I got to know Father Benedict, who was based at The Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, at the SNTS in Strasbourg in 1996, and thereafter every year at the British New Testament Conference, where he was a regular contributor in the Synoptics Seminar. We often talked and sometimes corresponded about the Synoptic Gospels, and he encouraged me a good deal in the writing of The Case Against Q. He was a long-time Q sceptic himself, and wrote a key article called "The Credibility of Luke's Transformation of Matthew" in C. M. Tuckett (ed.), Synoptic Studies: The Ampleforth Conferences of 1982 and 1983 (JSNTSup, 7; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1984), 131-56.

His two major books on the New Testament were The Gospel According to Matthew in the Revised Standard Version (The New Clarendon Bible; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), a much underrated small commentary on Matthew that is often, in my experience, worth consulting, and is ideal for student introduction, and Matthew: Poet of the Beatitudes (JSNT Sup. 203; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), a fine monograph making the detailed case for the beatitudes (and related texts) as a Matthean literary creation.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Once again, a good crop of reviews from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature; these are the ones under the NT and related heading:

M. Eugene Boring
Mark: A Commentary
Reviewed by Darrell L. Bock

Robert L. Brawley, ed.
Character Ethics and the New Testament: Moral Dimensions of Scripture
Reviewed by Patrick J. Hartin

David B. Gowler
What Are They Saying about the Historical Jesus
Reviewed by Mary J. Marshall

Larry W. Hurtado
The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins
Reviewed by James F. McGrath
Reviewed by Joseph Verheyden

Giorgio Jossa
Giudei o cristiani? I seguaci di Gesù in cerca di una propria identità
Reviewed by Joseph Verheyden

Richard Kalmin
Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine
Reviewed by Lester L. Grabbe

Hillel Newman, edited by Ruth Ludlam
Proximity to Power and Jewish Sectarian Groups of the Ancient Period: A Review of Lifestyle, Values, and Halakhah in the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Qumran
Reviewed by Gerbern Oegema

Jerome H. Neyrey
The Gospel of John
Reviewed by Mary L. Coloe

Reinhard Nordsieck
Das Thomas-Evangelium: Einleitung; Zur Frage des historischen Jesus; Kommentierung aller 114 Logien
Reviewed by Ismo Dunderberg

Brant Pitre
Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement
Reviewed by Matthew S. Harmon

Peter Wick
Reviewed by Matthias Konradt

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

E. P. Sanders's relationship to W. D. Davies

In a recent post on Sibboleth on Degree Value, Daniel Kirk reflects on what has happened at Duke, the home of his PhD, in complimentary terms. He is less happy with what has happened at his seminary, which has published a book called Justification in Christ: God's Plan for Us in Justification. The book appears to be more in the American "Reformed" backlash against the New Perspective on Paul. There is a sample chapter available which at one point describes the work of E. P. Sanders. As usual on such occasions, the focus is all on Sanders's arguments about Judaism, and his contribution on Paul is largely ignored. I would like to comment a bit more on this trend in future posts, partly in response to Simon Gathercole's recent article in Christianity Today, and because I am thinking about these things in relation to a course I am teaching at the moment on Paul. But I wanted to make a minor correction in relation to this sentence:
A sea-change came with the work of E. P. Sanders (son-in-law to W. D. Davies). His work Paul and Palestinian Judaism took further the trajectory of his predecessors in a way that has revolutionized the map of New Testament, and particularly Pauline, studies in the past quarter century.
The comment in brackets is incorrect, a mistake that may arise from thinking that Margaret Davies is W. D.'s daughter (she is not).

Oxford Conference in the Synoptic Problem

I received this announcement from Andrew Gregory this morning:

Oxford Conference in the Synoptic Problem
Lincoln College, Oxford
7 - 10 April 2008


This conference is designed to mark the centenary of the landmark conversations that occurred in Oxford and led to Oxford Studies in the Synoptic Problem (ed. William Sanday; Oxford: Clarendon, 1911). The purpose of the 2008 Conference is both to give a comprehensive assessment of the state of research into the synoptic problem over the last hundred years and to indicate potential ways in which discussion may be advanced. It will also highlight and critically examine key methodological issues that shape the way in which the discussion is conducted. The conference papers, together with other commissioned essays, will be published by Peeters of Leuven. Participants in the conference and/or contributors to the book are as follows:

RICHARD BAUCKHAM (St. Andrew’s) John and the Synoptic Problem; EUGENE BORING (Brite Divinity School) The minor agreements and the synoptic problem; SCOTT G. BROWN (Toronto) The Longer Gospel of Mark and other evidence for the Deutero-Markus hypothesis; DAVID CATCHPOLE(Salisbury) The infancy narratives and the synoptic problem; KATHLEEN CORLEY (University of Wisconsin) Why is the synoptic problem the preserve of white European and North American men?; ALEX DAMM (Toronto) Ancient rhetoric and the Synoptic Problem; HENK DE JONGE (Leiden) The synoptic problem and the fourfold gospel; ROBERT DERRENBACKER (Regent College) Compositional habits and the synoptic problem; F. GERALD DOWNING (Manchester), Ancient analogies to the synoptic problem; ERIC EVE (Oxford), The synoptic problem without Q?; PAUL FOSTER (Edinburgh) What happened to the M source?; TIMOTHY FRIEDRICHSEN (Catholic University of America) Deutero-Marcus; MARK GOODACRE (Duke), The evangelists' use of the Old Testament; ANDREW GREGORY (Oxford) What is literary dependence?; PETER HEAD (Cambridge), Textual criticism and the synoptic problem; CHARLES W. HEDRICK (Southwest Missouri State University) The Parables and the synoptic problem; CHRISTOPH HEIL (Gräz) Reconstructing Q; RUDOLF HOPPE (Bonn), Roman Catholic biblical scholarship on the synoptic problem; ALAN KIRK (James Madison University), Orality, Scribality and Memory; JOHN S. KLOPPENBORG (Toronto) The creation of a synopsis; ANDREAS LINDEMANN (Bethel), The Apostolic Fathers and the synoptic problem; WILLIAM LOADER (Perth), Attitudes to Judaism and the Law; DIETER LÜHRMANN (Marburg) Other non-canonical gospels and the synoptic problem; ULRICH LUZ (Bern) Matthew and Q; DANIEL MARGUERAT (Lausanne), Reading Acts and the synoptic problem; ROBERT MORGAN (Oxford), Oxford Studies in the Synoptic Problem: an assessment of its contribution to the study of the synoptic problem; JOHN MUDDIMAN, The date of Luke-Acts and the synoptic problem; STEPHEN PATTERSON (Eden Theological Seminary) Thomas and the synoptic problem; DAVID PEABODY (Nebraska Wesleyan University), Reading the Gospels on different synoptic theories; RON PIPER (St. Andrew’s) Q: From hypothesis to entity?; DUNCAN REID (Toronto) Miracles and the synoptic problem; CHRISTOPHER ROWLAND (Oxford), The reception history of the gospels and the synoptic problem; UDO SCHNELLE (Halle-Wittenberg), Protestant biblical scholarship on the synoptic problem; JENS SCHRÖTER (Leipzig) The historical Jesus and the synoptic problem; ROBERT STEIN (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Duplicate expressions in Mark; CHRISTOPHER TUCKETT (Oxford) The Current State of the Synoptic Problem; JOSEPH VERHEYDEN (Leuven) Proto-Luke

Booking information
The conference begins with lunch on Monday 7 April at 1pm (registration from 11.30am) and finishes after lunch (served at 1pm) on Thursday 10 April. Places are strictly limited to a maximum of 80 delegates, and ensuite accommodation in Lincoln College is available for 60 delegates. Full board will cost £435.00. A non-resident rate, including lunch and dinner, is available for £255.00. Some bed and breakfast accommodation may also be available in college before and after the conference. All payments must be made at the time of booking.

If you wish to attend the conference, please contact Andrew Gregory (, or Dr Andrew Gregory, University College, Oxford, OX1 4BH, UK) by 1 October 2007. You will then be notified by 1 November 2007 if a place is available and (if applicable) sent a booking form. Please note that we will require booking and payment before 1 December 2007 to secure your place at the conference.

Further information about Lincoln College is available here:

Information about other accommodation in Oxford is available here:

Information about travelling to Oxford is available here:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Biblical Studies Carnival XXI

I'd liked to add my word of appreciation to Duane Smith for producing an excellent Biblical Studies carnival:

Biblical Studies Carnival XXI

The blog on which it appears, Abnormal Interests, is a new one to me, and it's good to see the ever-increasing range of experts and enthusiasts who are putting together these monthly carnivals.

Biblical Studies Bulletin 44

The latest Biblical Studies Bulletin, edited by Michael Thompson, is now online at Ridley Hall, Cambridge / Grove Books:

Biblical Studies Bulletin 44 (June 2007)

The title states that it is 42, but I think that that is a typo. 43 does not appear to be online. This edition features several things of interest, including some remarks on Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and some of the standard gushing about the Accordance Bible Software.

Happy blogiversary to me

Happy fourth birthday to the NT Gateway blog! It's birthday was actually yesterday, but I was away from the blogging machine and so unable to celebrate. This blog began on 2 September 2003 and there have been 2,599 posts since then.