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Philo on education and personal formation

98 XXIX. Since, therefore, He thus invisibly enters into this region of the soul, let us prepare that place in the best way the case admits of, to be an abode worthy of God; for if we do not, he, without our being aware of it, will quit us and migrate to some other habitation, which shall appear to him to be more excellently provided.
99 For if when we are about to receive kings, we prepare our houses to wear a more magnificent appearance, neglecting nothing which may give them ornament, but using every thing in a liberal and unsparing manner, having for our object that they shall have an abode pleasant to them, and in all respects suitable to their majesty; what sort of habitation ought we to prepare for the King of kings, for God the ruler of the whole universe, condescending in his mercy and lovingkindness for man to visit the beings whom he has created, and to come down from the borders of heaven to the lowest regions of the earth, for the purpose of benefiting our race?
100 Shall we prepare him a house of stone or of wooden materials? Away! such an idea is not holy even to utter; for not even if the whole earth were to change its nature and to become on a sudden gold, or something more valuable than gold, and if it were then to be wholly consumed by the skill of workmen, who should make it into porticoes and vestibules, and chambers, and precincts, and temples– not even then could it be a place worthy for his feet to tread upon, but a pious soul is his fitting abode.
101 XXX. If therefore we call the invisible soul the terrestrial habitation of the invisible God, we shall be speaking justly and according to reason; but that the house may be firm and beautiful, let a good disposition and knowledge be laid as its foundations, and on these foundations let the virtues be built up in union with good actions, and let the ornaments of the front be the due comprehension of the encyclical branches of elementary instruction;
102 for from goodness of disposition arise skill, perseverance, memory; and from knowledge arise learning and attention, as the roots of a tree which is about to bring forth eatable fruit, and without which it is impossible to bring the intellect to perfection.
103 But by the virtues, and by actions in accordance with them, a firm and strong foundation for a lasting building is secured, in order that anything which may endeavor to separate and alienate the soul from honesty and make it such another haunt, may be powerless against so strong a defense,
104 and by means of the study of the encyclical branches of elementary education, the things requisite for the ornament of the soul are provided; for as whitewashing, and paintings, and tablets, and the arrangement of costly stones, by which men decorate not merely the walls, but even the lower parts of their houses, and all other such things as these do not contribute to strength, but only give pleasure to those who live in the house; 105 so the knowledge of the encyclical accomplishments decorates the whole habitation of the soul, while grammar investigates the principles of poetry and follows up the history of ancient events, and geometry labors at equalities according to analogy, and endeavors to remedy whatever in us is deficient in rhythm or in moderation, or in harmony, by giving us rhythm, and moderation, and harmony, by means of a polished system of music; and rhetoric aims at giving us acuteness in everything, and at properly adapting all proper interpretations to everything, claiming for itself the control of all intenseness and all the vehement affections, and again of all relaxations and pleasures, with great freedom of speech, and a successful application of the organs of language and voice.
106 XXXI. Such a house then being prepared in the race of mankind, all things on earth will be filled with good hopes, expecting the return of the powers of God; and they will come, bringing laws from heaven, and bonds, for the purpose of sanctifying the hallowing it, according to the command of their Father; then becoming the associates and constant companions of these souls which love virtue, they sow in them the genus of happiness: as they gave to the wise Abraham his son Isaac as the most perfect proof of their gratitude for the hospitality which they experienced from him.
(On the Cherubim 98-106

HTLS=?

HTLS stands for Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint! You can find its site here, and get some impression for yourself, but it surely looks interesting!

Here is their own presentation: “This large-scale collective and interdisciplinary project will aim to produce a new research tool: a multi-volume dictionary giving an article of between 2 and 10 pages (around 500 articles in all) for each important word or word group of the Septuagint. Filling an important gap in the fields of ancient philology and religious studies, the dictionary will be based on original research of the highest scientific level.”

There is a solid group of scholars behind the project as presented on this site, there is a further description, and a page with lots of LXX related links. There is also a page for Contact, in which  you can apply for access.

 

 

Strack-Billerbeck in English?

Strack-BillerbeckLOGOS (Bible Software)  has now put up a call for preorders on an English translation of the famous Strack-Billerbeck Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch. Every NT scholar will know this work, and while there are different opinions out there about its use(fulness), it surely should be considered a valuable tool,- if used carefully.

So far, it has only been available in German, and as many students – and even some scholars,-rumors say… – don’t read German, an English translation should be warrantable. It is now possible to pre-order this set, consisting of the three first volumes (dealing with the NT books, the Excurses are skipped), and in fact, I think the realization of the set is dependent upon a certain numbers of pre-orders. Here is their own description:

Lexham Press is pleased to announce the first-ever English translation of Hermann Strack and Paul Billerbeck’s Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch. Using the Pre-Pub process for this project allows us to invest resources in translating Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch only if there is sufficient demand. These books, previously available only to specialists, will soon be accessible to everyone. As the scope of the project becomes clearer, the price might increase, such as when we announce the translator and begin the work of translation. That means users who pre-order the earliest—with the fewest details available—will get the best price.”

From their relevant webpage, it looks like they are halfway to an acceptable amount of pre-orders.

But there is more to come; Logos has made available for pre-order also the Germaan 3 volome set (Vol 1-3) of Strack -Billerbeck, for those who prefer the German language, the ur-text so to say.. GO HERE for further information.

And, they are also offering the possibility of preordering the combined English and German volumes.

For those who know the Logos system (and those who don’t), it is interesting to know that these Logos versions will include the useful tagging system they use. Or to cite their own presentation again:

The Logos edition of Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Midrash is completely indexed, giving near-instant access to any word or reference. The Scripture references are linked to your preferred Bible translation and appear on mouseover. Greek, Latin, and Hebrew words link to the language tools in your library, allowing you to access basic lexical information with a simple right-click.

So, if you want Strack-Billerbeck included in your Logos set-up, you know what to do. :)

 

Do you know The Schøyen Collection?

The Schøyen Collection is a resource for students, academics, research institutions, publishers and all others with an interest in advancing the study of human culture and civilization, regardless of nationality, race or religion.

The Collection is also a means to preserve and protect for posterity a wide range of written expressions of belief, knowledge and understanding from many different cultures throughout the ages.

The whole collection, MSS 1-5527, comprises about 20,450  manuscript items, including 2,380 volumes and scrolls. Altogether 6,870 of the manuscript items are from the ancient period, 3,500 BC -500 AD. Some 3,860 items are from the medieval period 500-1500. The remaining manuscripts are from the late Renaissance up to the present. There are manuscripts from 135 different countries and territories in 120 languages and 185 scripts. See further information about its scope here.

There is also a section directly related to New Testament studies, se more info here.

 

John Barclay on ‘Paul and the Gift’

John M. G. Barclay is about to publis his views on the apostle Paul; the volume is scheduled to be published coming fall, possibly in October. The publisher says: “In this book esteemed scholar John Barclay explores Pauline theology anew from the perspective of grace. Arguing that Paul’s theology of grace is best approached in light of ancient notions of “gift,” Barclay describes Paul’s relationship to Judaism in a fresh way.
Barclay focuses on divine gift-giving, which for Paul, he says, is focused and fulfilled in the gift of Christ. He both offers a new appraisal of Paul’s theology of the Christ-event as gift as it comes to expression in Galatians and Romans and presents a nuanced and detailed consideration of the history of reception of Paul, including Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Barth.”

John M. G. Barclay, Paul and the Gift.
Hardcover; Coming Soon: 10/16/2015
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6889-3. Price $70
Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.

Here is a recording of a lecture,”Paul and the Gift” as he delivered the first lecture for the St. Mary’s Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible (2013; St. Mary’s University College Twickenham).

Codex Vaticanus Online

CodVatThe famous Codex Vaticanus is now available – readable online: go to Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana for more info.
Codex Vaticanus is a codex from the4th century A.D., and is “originally contained a virtually complete copy of the Septuagint (“LXX”), lacking only 1-4 Maccabees and the Prayer of Manasseh. The original 20 leaves containing Genesis 1:1–46:28a (31 leaves) and Psalm 105:27–137:6b have been lost and were replaced by pages transcribed by a later hand in the 15th century.[9] 2 Kings 2:5–7, 10-13 are also lost because of a tear to one of the pages.[10] The order of the Old Testament books in the Codex is as follows: Genesis to 2 Chronicles as normal; 1 Esdras; 2 Esdras (Ezra-Nehemiah); the Psalms; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Song of Songs; Job; Wisdom; Ecclesiasticus; Esther; Judith; Tobit; the minor prophets from Hosea to Malachi; Isaiah; Jeremiah; Baruch; Lamentations and the Epistle of Jeremiah; Ezekiel and Daniel. This order differs from that followed in Codex Alexandrinus. (Wikipedia).

Initiation into the Mysteries

Bremmer, Jan N., Initiation into the Mysteries of the Ancient World (De Gruyter, 2013), has been published now as an ‘Open Access’ book, thus downloadable to read (thanks to Larry  Hurtado for the info).

The publisher states: “It gives a ‘thick description’ of the major Mysteries, not only of the famous Eleusinian Mysteries, but also those located at the interface of Greece and Anatolia: the Mysteries of Samothrace, Imbros and Lemnos as well as those of the Corybants. It then proceeds to look at the Orphic-Bacchic Mysteries, which have become increasingly better understood due to the many discoveries of new texts in the recent times. Having looked at classical Greece we move on to the Roman Empire, where we study not only the lesser Mysteries, which we know especially from Pausanias, but also the new ones of Isis and Mithras. We conclude our book with a discussion of the possible influence of the Mysteries on emerging Christianity.”

The book kan be  downloaded in chapters (as pdf files), or as a whole.

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