Philonica et Neotestamentica

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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Update in progress

I have just posted a slightly updated version of my Resource Pages for Biblical Studies, but I am also working on a major update.

However, it is very timeconsuming, and worse: I have some problems figuring out how I should arrange the new pages.

After Mark Goodacre and his NTGateway became affiliated with Logos, and have more persons getting involved in updating the pages, I probably should narrow the focus of my own pages.

If anyone out there have any suggestions, they are sure welcome. Use the comments field below.

Some thoughts from Philo…

” How long shall we, who are aged men, still be like children, being indeed as to our bodies gray-headed through the length of time that we have lived, but as to our souls utterly infantine through our want of sense and sensibility, looking upon that which is the most unstable of all things, namely, fortune, as most invariable, and that which is of all things in the world the most steadfast, namely, nature, as utterly untrustworthy? For, like people playing at draughts, we make changes, altering the position of actions, and considering the things which are the result of fortune as more durable than those which result from nature, and the things which proceed in accordance with nature as less stable than those which are the result of chance. And the reason of all this is, that we form our judgment of present events without paying any prudential attention to the future, being influenced by the erroneous guidance of our outward senses instead of the secret operations of the intellect; for the things which are openly conspicuous and before our hands so as to be taken up by them, are comprehended by our eyes, but our reasoning power outstrips them, hastening onwards to what is invisible and future; but nevertheless, we obscure the vision of our reason, though it is far more acute than those bodily powers of sight which are exercised by the eyes, some of us confusing it by indulgence in wine and satiety, and others by that greatest of all evils, namely, ignorance.”

Kamesar, Cambridge Companion to Philo

Gregory Sterling has a review of A. Kamesar (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Philo (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009 pp. xv + 301. $29.99), over at Review of Biblical Literature. You can access the review here.

Update Jan 22:
Another Review has been added; see

New Testament Studies in the 20th Century

At the Edinburg Research Center, there is an article available that I might point to here, foususing on the interesting topic: New Testament Studies in the 20th century. It is written by Larry W. Hurtado, and   is the pre-publication text of the article, now published in the journal, Religion 39 (2009): 43-57, and available online:

Hurtado starts thus: “Twentieth-century New Testament scholarship is a story of a great proliferation in approaches, emphases and methods, a growing diversity of scholars in gender, ethnicity, geography, and religious stances, and also a greater diversity in the types of academic settings in which their scholarship was conducted than had characterized preceding centuries.  One of the most observable changes apparent in the latter decades of the century was the considerably greater salience and influence of North American scholars and issues arising from their work, whereas previously the field was heavily dominated by the work of European (especially German) figures.  Another major development was the much greater participation of Roman Catholic scholars, particularly after World War II, this flowering of Catholic biblical scholarship flowing from the Papal Encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943).  Also, perhaps especially in the North American setting, but also in other locales as well, an increasing number of women obtained doctorates and became significant contributors to the field.  In the final decades, there were also indications of a far greater trans-cultural diversity in scholars and approaches, involving figures and developments in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.  One way to survey these and other important developments is to take a diachronic approach, and this will be followed here.

If you want to read on, the article is available in this pre-publication form here.

Does Philo Help Explain Early Christianity?

At Edinburgh Research Archive I recently discovered there is available an article by Larry W. Hurtado on “Does Philo Help Explain Early Christianity?”
This is a pre-publication version of the essay, which is published in Philo and the New Testament–the New Testament and Philo, eds. Roland Deines, Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 172; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), pp. 73-92. But for those who don’t have that volume available, it might be interesting to read Hurtado’s study in this format. If, however, you should want to refer to it in any publication, the printed version is to be used.

To wet your interest even more, let me cite his conclusion:
“For New Testament scholars, Philo is a resource of unsurpassed value, especially for developing a sense of what Diaspora Judaism represented. In Philo’s voluminous body of extant works, we have a major reservoir of material that is probably not yet studied adequately. Those of us whose primary concern is to understand early Christianity receive gratefully all that Philo specialists can furnish.
Yet, with all sincere appreciation for the importance of Philo and for the labours of those who devote themselves to study of him, neither Philo nor other second-temple Jewish texts “explains” key features of earliest Christianity witnessed in the New Testament, in the sense of accounting for their appearance. In my experience, Philo specialists have only rarely ever suggested otherwise. So, if my discussion of matters in this essay serves any good purpose, it will likely be as exhortation to fellow New Testament scholars to avoid simplistic use of “parallels,” and, instead, with the aid of experts in Philo, to acquire as deep an acquaintance as we can with this remarkable Jewish leader of Alexandria so that we may grasp better what first-century Christianity represented in the context of Roman-era Judaism.”


The recent SBL letter states that:
The Society of Biblical Literature is partnering with the Biblical Archaeology Society to provide the Biblical Archaeology Review to SBL members with a very good discount.

The Biblical Archaeology Review is the most widely read magazine concerning the archaeology of the Greco-Roman and Ancient Near Eastern world. Moreover, it is written in a language that is accessible to a wide range of people. This subscription covers one year or six issues of this magazine. Shipping charges vary depending on the location of the subscriber.

For non-members, have a look at

Mission in First Peter

Yesterday the last issue of Bulletin for Biblical Research (19:4; published by Eisenbrauns, for The Institute for Biblical Research), arrrived in my mailbox. The BBR now have 4 issues each year from 2009 of.

The journal contains my latest article on 1 Peter, “Resident Aliens in Mission: Missional practices in the Emerging Church of 1 Peter,” BBR 19.4 (2009): 565-611:

In this study I discusses the issue of mission in 1 Peter in light of the missiological model of  ‘missional’ church. The early Christian communities of 1 Peter are considered here as young emerging congregations living in a kind of liminal state. Being discriminated against in their local communities, they struggled for their own new Christian identity. In these circumstances, the phnomenon of intramural ethics is important, but so also are their missional good works. These are considered to be observed by “the others”,  who are won over and ultimately give glory to God. Contrary to some recent interpreters, the present study argues that the readers are also admonished to be ready to preach and defend their faith, thus becoming a missional church of both works and words in their neighborhoods.

If you go to the Eisenbraiuns homepage, they also have some good book offers at the beginning of this new year….