Joel B Green new Dean at Fuller

Tuesday, July 1, saw the beginning of a new deanship for Fuller Seminary’s School of Theology. Joel B. Green, world-renowned New Testament scholar, has taken the leadership role vacated by retiring dean Howard Loewen. –

Congratulations to prof. Green.

See further Fuller News.

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Studia Philonica Annual Webpage

The Studia Philonica Annual is a scholarly journal devoted to furthuring the study of Hellenistic Judaism, and in particular of the writings and thought of the great Hellenistic-Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria (circa 15 B.C.E. to circa 50 C.E.). The Journal appears annually in November and is available at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature held in that month. In November 2013 it celebrated its 25th year of existence with a special reception organized by its publisher at the Annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Baltimore, MD.
It contains the following sections (although not all sections appear in every volume):

Articles presenting the results of new research;
Special sections presenting discussions held at seminars and conferences;
Review articles discussing important books or research developments;
Instruments of research;
Annual bibliographies of Philonic scholarship compiled by the team of the International Philo Bibliography Project;
Reviews of books on Philo and other aspects of Hellenistic Judaism;
News and notes about conferences and other events.
The journal will consider the publication of articles on the Septuagint if they are not too technical. Articles on Josephus will be considered if they focus on his relation to Judaism and classical culture.

The Studia Philonica Annual has a renewed website at the web address of the Yale Divinity School. It was high time that it was brought up to date, and now it is very informative.
It can be visited at
http://divinity.yale.edu/philo-alexandria.

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Bible Odyssey

Bible Odyssey: People, Places, and Passages

Explore the fascinating origins of the Bible and its eventful history. On Bible Odyssey, the world’s leading scholars share the latest historical and literary research on key people, places, and passages of the Bible.

Go here: http://www.bibleodyssey.com.

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Jews or Judeans?

For some time there has been a discussion in scholarly circles and journals about how to translate the Greek term ioudaios/ioudaioi. Tradionally it has been translated Jew/Jews, but in some recent studies the translation Judean/-s have been suggested as more appropriate.

Now Adele Reinhartz has published a strong support for the traditional rendering. I think this should be read by many; she may very well have delivered some very strong arguments for keeping the traditional rendering, at least in most cases.

Her conclusion runs thus:

“Those who propose to turn all ioudaioi into Judeans claim that Judeans is both a more precise and a more ethical translation. I argue the opposite. The term Jew is more precise because it signals the complex type of identity that the ancient sources associate with the Greek term ioudaios and also because it allows Judean to retain its primary meaning as a geographical designation, so useful when discussing, say, the inhabitants or topography of Judea. The term is more ethical because it acknowledges the Jewish connection to this period of history and these ancient texts, and also because it opens up the possibility, indeed the necessity, of confronting the role of the New Testament in the history of anti-Semitism.

Let us restore Judean to its primary geographical meaning, as pertaining to the region of Judea and its residents. Political designations such as the Judean People’s Front, the People’s Front of Judea, the Judean Popular People’s Front, or the Popular Front of Judea would also be appropriate, as per one authoritative source (see Monty Python’s Life of Brian). Let us not make the mistake of defining Jews only in religious terms. Let us rather understand the term Jew as a complex identity marker that encompasses ethnic, political, cultural, genealogical, religious and other elements in proportions that vary among eras, regions of the world, and individuals. Let us not rupture the vital connection — the persistence of identity — between ancient and modern Jews. And let those who nevertheless elect to (mis)use Judean to translate all occurrences of ioudaios justify their usage beyond merely footnoting others who have done so.”

Posted in Article, Judaism, Judea, New Testament | 2 Comments

PhD and Postdoctoral Research

The MHS School of Mission and Theology (Stavanger, Norway) will January 1, 2015, start up a three years research project on popular biblical interpretation among the Maasai of East Africa. Linked to this project, two research positions are now open: one PhD Research Fellowship and one Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, both in Biblical Studies, and both starting up January 1, 2015.
The MHS School of Mission and Theology (Stavanger, Norway, http://www.mhs.no/en/) invites applications to two positions—one PhD Research Scholarship and one Postdoctoral Research Scholarship—in Biblical Studies. Both positions are linked to a research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and directed by Professor Knut Holter: Potentials and Problems of Popular Inculturation Hermeneutics in Maasai Biblical Interpretation.

Read more here.

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HBCE

The Society of Biblical Literature is announcing its publishing commitment to a major text-critical project: The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition (HBCE), under the general editorship of Ronald Hendel.

The HBCE will be an eclectic edition of the Hebrew Bible, featuring a critical text with extensive text-critical introductions and commentaries. The project anticipates twenty-one volumes, with an international team of volume authors.

The first volume—Michael V. Fox, Proverbs: An Eclectic Edition with Introduction and Textual Commentary—will publish in the second half of 2014.

The most distinctive feature of the HBCE project is its method of producing critical texts. HBCE constructs an eclectic text, drawing together readings from many manuscripts and, where warranted, conjectural readings. In other cases, such as Jeremiah, entirely variant texts of books are set side by side. While a common approach for critical editions of other ancient books, such as the New Testament and the Greek and Latin classics, this is not the norm for textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. 

In this respect, the approach and scope of this project is a first of its kind for the Hebrew Bible, since our other modern text-critical editions are diplomatic, representing a primary manuscript, in each case, the Masoretic tradition.

 

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Novum Testamentum Supplements Online

Brill, the international scholarly publisher, launches the online version of its well-known and respected book series, Novum Testamentum Supplements Online, this month.

This month Brill launches the online version of its well-known and respected book series, Novum Testamentum Supplements Online. Every volume published in the Novum Testamentum, Supplements is now available on the BrillOnline Books and Journals platform, beginning with the first volume published in 1963 and including more than 150 titles. For more information please visit brill.com/ntso.

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Ethics and Philo

Surfing around an early morning most recently, I became aware of- via Academia.edu – several articles dealing with Philo and ethics, published by Volker Rabens. This is a field of interest that, as far as I know, has not been dealt with in many other studies in recent years; hence this focus is most welcome. Once again I have profited by being a member of Acedemia.edu; hence again, this site is recommended too.

Volker Rabens is now “seit 2013 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Lehrstuhl für Neues Testament (Prof. Dr. Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr) an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena”. In his research he is mainly interested in Ethics, Pneumatology, Paul, John, 1 Peter, Early Judaism (Philo included), and hermeneutics. His List of publications, with – most graciously – a lot of links for downloading many of his works, is available here: Rabens Bibliography.

Here is a list of what I found directly related to Philo:

Volker Rabens, ‘Geistes-Geschichte. Die Rede vom Geist im Horizont der Griechisch-romischen und judisch-hellenistischen Literatur,’ Zeitschrift fur Neues Testament 25 Jahrgang 13 (2010):46-55.

Volker Rabens, ‘Johannine Perspectives on Ethical Enabling in the Context of Stoic and Philonic Ethics,’ In J. van der Watt and R. Zimmermann (eds.), Rethinking the Ethics of John: “Implicit Ethics” in the Johannine Writings (Kontexte und Normen neutestamentlicher Ethik / Contexts and Norms of New Testament Ethics III; WUNT I/291; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012): 114-139.

Volker Rabens, ‘Philo’s Attractive Ethics on the “Religious Market” of Ancient Alexandria,’ In Peter Wick and Volker Rabens, eds., Religions and Trade: Religious Formation, Transformation and Cross-Cultural Exchange between East and West. (Dynamics in the History of Religions 5; Leiden: Brill, 2013 (Copyrighted:2014): 333-355.

Volker Rabens, Pneuma and the Beholding of God: Reading Paul in the Context of Philonic Mystical Traditions,’ In Jörg Frey and Jack Levison eds., The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity. Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Ekstasis: Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Middle Ages 5; Berlin-New York; DeGruyter – forthcoming.) I am a little confused here as prof. Rabens gives the title of the volume as The Historical origins of the Holy Spirit; the other title here is taken from the DeGruyter website.

One should probably also mention his dissertation; though this focuses primarily on Paul, it also has a few pages on Philo as part of possible background material:
Volker Rabens, The Holy Spirit and Ethics in Paul: Transformation and Empowering for Religious-Ethical Life, Second Revised Edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.

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Congratulations to prof. Joan Taylor at Kings College, London

Joan TaylorJoan Taylor held her inauguration lecture last week (May 1st) as a Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at Kings College, School of Arts and Humanities, Theology and Religious Studies.
Her topic chosen for the lecture was: Mary Magdalene and the case of missing Magdala, and it is summarized thus on the Department’s webpage:

Traditionally, Mary Magdalene is assumed to have come from a place called Magdala, meaning ‘the Tower’. However, there is no such place mentioned in the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament, though there was a small village attested in rabbinic literature as Migdal Nuniya (‘Tower of Fish’), lying just one mile north of Tiberias, and many other villages called ‘Tower of [Something]’ in Galilee and wider Judaea. The place called ‘Magdala’ or ‘Migdal’ in Israel today, 3.5 miles north of Tiberias, continues a Byzantine identification, from the fifth or sixth centuries CE when pilgrim sites were plotted in Palestine, and it is often assumed that the earlier sizeable town now coming to light there was called Tarichaea-Magdala. However, Josephus clearly indicates that Tarichaea lay south of Tiberias, and that this town north of Tiberias was called Homonoia. This lecture will explore Mary’s name ‘the Magdalene’, the actual location of her home village, and the possibility that her epithet may be understood as a double-entendre, meaning ‘the Tower-ess’: a nickname like others Jesus gave to his closest apostles.

Prof. Taylor will be well-known to Philo-scholars and others interested in Philo of Alexandria. She has written, i.a., a book on Jewish Women Philosophers of First Century Alexandria. Philoæs Therapeutae’ Reconsidered (Oxford 2003), and is now (probably inter alia,) engaged in writing a commentary on Philo’s De vita contemplativa (The Contemplative Life), for the Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series (PACS).

Congratulations to Joan Taylor for her new position!

PS: Sorry, Joan, for stealing the picture from your Facebook page, but I had no other!   :)

 

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Persecution in 1 Peter – a Review

My review of Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering, by Travis B. Williams, have now been posted on Review of Biblical Literature. You can read the review here: Review of Williams, Persecution

This impressive book is probably also the most comprehensive study available concerning the topic of persecution in 1 Peter. While there have been many previous studies in forms of articles and a few larger sections in some commentaries, this volume will probably remain a standard presentation and a must reading for students of 1 Peter for years to come both because of its comprehensive discussion and its tightly knit argumentation. That is not to say that all readers will be convinced by all its arguments, but a serious discussion of the topic persecution in 1 Peter should not be carried out without engaging in its views and arguments.

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