PhD Research Fellowship in Norway

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.

Information and application:
For more information, see here and get in contact with Professor Knut Holter:

The application should be sent as an e-mail with PDF attachments to by 1. September 2014.

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García Martínez on Philo

The Review of Biblical Literature has posted some more reviews; among those published last week also one about a collection of articles, written by Florentino García Martínez:

García Martínez, Florentino, Najman, Hindy and Eibert Tigchelaar, editors, Between Philology and Theology: Contributions to the Study of Ancient Jewish Interpretation
Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, 162 Leiden: Brill, 2013 pp. xvi + 194. $149.00

Two of the eleven essays published have also a strong focus on Philo of Alexandria. The reviewer, George J. Brooke (University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom), writes thus about these studies:

In “Abraham and the Gods: The Paths to Monotheism in Jewish Religion,” the paths from monolatry to monotheism are traced through a close reading of those Second Temple period texts that portray Abraham as the inventor of monotheism. In Palestinian Judaism there is a look at Judith (still proclaiming monolatry), a reconsideration of passages from the book of Jubilees (moving toward monotheism but not yet there), and a glance at the Apocalypse of Abraham (clearly monotheistic). The precise move toward the view that there can only be one God is seen in the first-century works of Philo and Josephus in which Abraham is depicted quite explicitly as the inventor of monotheism. That move is ascribed to the influence of the Greek philosophers, whose ideas were in circulation in Judaism in the second century BCE or earlier: the Letter of Aristeas (132–138) uses the concept of philosophical monotheism, as does the author of the book of Wisdom (13:1–5). It is at the turn of the era, it is argued, that Abraham is explicitly identified as the founder of monotheism and the trajectory of scriptural and other reflections on the experience of being the people of God are combined with the logic of a single creative principle.

The other one he characterizes thus:

“Divine Sonship at Qumran and in Philo” is an exemplary summary of how key ideas emerge in sharper focus when juxtaposed with other traditions. Like all good teachers,García Martínez cites primary source texts extensively and is able to indicate very swiftly much of the distinctiveness of both Qumran and Philonic views on sonship. For the latter in particular he comments on Philo’s nonscriptural but Platonic view of the cosmos as Son of God, in fact, on the intelligible world as firstborn and the sensible world as the younger son. In relation to the firstborn, Philo is also concerned with the Logos as prōtogonos (never as prōtotokos), the guide of the whole world as a divine lieutenant, who is also cosmic high priest. In this essay there is notable appreciation for the beauty of each author’s lexical choices.

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Danieliou on Philo translated

Due to a brief note in Ken Schenk’s blog Common Denominator, I became aware of the recently published translation of Jean Danieliou’s little introductory book on Philo.
The book was originally published in French in the 1950ies, but is now available to a wider public.
However, it is somewhat strange to have an over 50 years old book translated; it will inevitable not be able to interact with more recent trends in research. Nevertheless, reading it (anew) might be profitable even today. It is available from Amazon both in paper and as a Kindle book.

We now have several Introductions to Philo available, and in November one more will be published (Reading Philo). More info on this volume will be presented here in a few weeks.

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Today, on Aug. 1., 2014, I am retiring from my position as Dean of Studies / Professor in NT at The School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger.

It is not my intention, however, to retire from reading and writing (also called research), and I am not retiring this blog or my Resource Pages for Biblical Studies yet.

Quite on the contrary, I hope to get more time for research, and also for updating these webpages.
See you here!

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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

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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:

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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.”

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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, 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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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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