Philonica et Neotestamentica

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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Studia Philonica 2011 is out.

The Studia Philonica Annual XXIII 2011.
Studies in Hellenistic Judaism
Eds David T. Runia, and Gregory E. Sterling.
Society of Biblical Literature,Atlanta 2011

The Studia Philonica Annual is a scholarly journal devoted to furthering the study of Hellenistic Judaism, in particular the writings and thought of the Hellenistic-Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria (ca. 15 B.C.E.–ca. 50 C.E.). In addition to bibliography and book review sections, this issue includes the following articles:
Maren R. Niehoff, “Philo’s Exposition in a Roman Context”
John T. Conroy Jr., “Philo’s ‘Death of the Soul’: Is This Only a Metaphor?”
Paul Robertson, “Toward an Understanding of Philo’s and Cicero’s Treatment of Sacrifice”
Ilaria L. E. Ramelli, “The Birth of the Rome–Alexandria Connection: The Early Sources on Mark and Philo, and the Petrine Tradition”

Philo philes out for dinner


SBL/AAR Annual Meetings are not only lectures, lectures, lectures and seminars, but also socializing events like going out for dinner. Here is a glimpse of some of those from the Philo of Alexandria sessions having dinner at the Italian restaurante Buca di Pepo on Monday night. You should be able to see from left M. Niehoff, T. Seland (me), AM Seland (my wife), R. Bloch, a finnish NT scholar (don’t remember name), A. Terian, R. Cox, I. Ramelli, D.T. Runia, S. Pearce, mrs Dillon, E. Birnbaum and J. Dillon.

Crossan on Abba -PaterNoster

What was your favorite lecture at SBL this year?

It might be difficulty to decide, and probably not fair to all the good lectures and papers I/you did not attend. But nevertheless, being a little subjectivistic for the moment, I might flag my favorite: It was John D. Crossans lecture at the Historical Jesus session Saturday 19.11, on “From Abba-cry to Father-prayer.”
As we all might know, there has been a lot of discussion on the meaning and historicity of the Abba term in the prayers and teachings of Jesus. J. Jeremias argued that it was an ipsissima verba Christi, signifying the little child’s intimate word for father. Others, e.g., Barr,  have disagreed.
Crossan did not deal so much with the historicity issue as its meaning and significance. He argued that Abba is an “Intra familiar teem.” You cannot use the term if you are not in a family.
Hence it denoted the rights of sons being within the family,that is, being an heir.
Most children would have lost their father before the age of 15, thus father would be some nostalgic term, more than real patriarchy.
Crossan further used Romans 8 as a commentary on Paster Noster, cf. Gal 5.

Children of God is not a term of childishness, dependency,
Children is a term for being inside the family. Intra familiar.
What Jesus taught was an intra familiar concept and attitude. Supported both by Paul, Mark, Matthew, and Q.

I did not take extensive notes, so this is my brief impressions. I hope the lecture will be published somewhere.

SBL and Technology II: Powerpoint banned at SBL?

I arrived well back in Norway a couple of hours ago today; it was a long travel, and the time difference is great; 9 hours. But I will probably be OK tomorrow. That is, I have to, because I am supposed to lecture on text criticism. and that is such a boring topic to many, that I at least have to be quite awake myself. 🙂

At the SBL/AAR Annual Meeting this year in San Fransisco I attended several sessions: first and foremost the three sessions on Philo of Alexandria, then also several others more related to the New Testament.

I am a big fan of using some sort of visualization in my lectures, often Powerpoint, but also simple handouts. I have never hear my students complain over them. But has Powerpoint been banned at SBL? Most of those I attended, and I looked into several others sessions, were almost completely free from any Powerpoint slides, or – what might have worked even better to many – any handouts, providing me with the main arguments of the papers.

We had some discussion about this lack of pedagogy several years both on my blog and on some others, but things seem not to have changed.

See Mark Goodacre here,  and see Stephen Carlson’s updated entry on Hypotyposeis, Torrey Seland’s update in Philo of Alexandria blog, David Meadows’s comments in RogueClassicism and Edward Cook in Ralph the Sacred River.

But when some lecturers are speaking so fast, in their various  dialects, as if they were reading a 45 minutes lecture in 30 minutes, I still get frustrated. And I am here not thinking particularly of the Philo sessions; that would be unfair, but it relates to some general impressions.

Remember: I, and many others, have been traveling for 15-20 hours, we may have a severe jet lag, I for my part, is  an European that have some problems with some of the American dialects. I want to get the main arguments, but the lecturer is speaking too fast, I want to keep note on the most important references, but they pass by too rapidly. I am not spending 2000 dollars plus, traveling half around the world, to hear somebody READ a paper in a way that tells me s/he (it is mostly he) has forgotten that he is supposed to communicate. I want some sense for pedagogy too; not necessarily power-point, but some handouts with the main arguments is  not too much to expect.

I went to a session on Disputed Paulines; one guy used powerpoint, and he had handouts with copies of all the powerpoint slides. They contained all his arguments, and the supporting Bible references. I could go home, having attended the lecture, and still being able to think over his arguments by help of those slides.

Well, that was my out blow for the day; as you might understand I have traveled long today! 🙂
But I am quite serious too; I think the organizers of sessions should demand from the lecturers that they present proper handouts. Some use handouts, presenting some particular texts they are discussing. I prefer handouts with the main structure and arguments of their papers. I presume both the discussions in the sessions, and the outcome for each and one of the listeners would be much greater then.

SBL Annual Meeting and Technology 1

SBL/ AAR has launched an app this year for Iphone/Ipad and Androids that is very helpful. in this app you can file the whole program, list of all the participants, and you can make up your own timeschedule by selecting specific sessions in the program, and thus make an agenda for your own stay.

SBL says:”

View the Program on your Mobile Device! The Annual Meeting app is available now in the App Store and Android Market—simply search for AM11AAR&SBL. We have posted answers to numerous questions as well as an introductory guide to the app on the Annual Meeting page,. You can also download Program Book PDFs to reference from your device. It is broken into three sections to facilitate download: Sessions and IndicesExhibit Hall and Hotel maps; and Ads and Advertisers Index (large file).”

There are, however, a couple of features that I miss:

1) I miss the oppurtunity to add personal appointments in the calendar.

2) I cannot search for other sessions in the same timespan once one is selected and aded to the calendar.

3) I would have liked to be able to syncronize the calendar on the Iphone with the one on my Ipad.

But SBL/AAr are to be thanked for a helpful app. Please improve on it to the nxt Annual Meeting.

Update on Philo sessions at SBL

S20-135
Philo of Alexandria
Joint Session With: Philo of Alexandria, Hellenistic Judaism, Hellenistic Moral Philosophy and Early Christianity
11/20/2011
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: 3003 – Convention Center
Theme: Book Review: Maren R. Niehoff, Jewish Exegesis and Homeric Scholarship in Alexandria (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Ellen Birnbaum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Presiding (5 min)
Teresa Morgan, University of Oxford, Panelist (20 min)
John Collins, Yale University, Panelist (20 min)
Gregory Sterling, University of Notre Dame, Panelist (20 min)
Steven Fraade, Yale University, Panelist (20 min)
Break (10 min)
Maren Niehoff, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Respondent (20 min)
Discussion (35 min)

S21-139
Philo of Alexandria
11/21/2011
9:00 AM to 11:45 AM
Room: Cyril Magnin III – Renaissance Parc 55
Theme: Interpreting Philo’s De Confusione Linguarum (On the Confusion of Tongues)

Sarah Pearce, University of Southampton, Presiding
Ronald Cox, Pepperdine University
The Logos as Consolation Prize: Sample Commentary on Philo, De Confusione (20 min)
James R. Royse, Claremont, California, Respondent (20 min)
Thomas Tobin, Loyola University of Chicago, Respondent (20 min)
Break (15 min)
Peter Martens, Saint Louis University
Origen’s Allegory of the Tower of Babel (20 min)
Discussion (35 min)
Business Meeting (15 min)

S21-234
Philo of Alexandria
11/21/2011
1:00 PM to 3:45 PM
Room: Yerba Buena 12 – Marriott Marquis

David Runia, University of Melbourne, Presiding
Abraham Terian, National Academy of Sciences / Armenia
From Monologue To Trialogue: De Providentia I–Iii and the Culmination of Philo’s Apology for the Law (25 min)
Gabriele Cornelli, Universidade de Brasilia and Luiz Felipe Ribeiro, University of Toronto
Who Needs a Philosophical Way of Life? Ancient Koinonía in the Therapeutae “Pythagorean Life”: Notes From Iamblichus’ De Vita Pythagorica, Porphyry’s Vita Pythagorae, and Philo’s De Vita Contemplativa (25 min)
Rene Bloch, Universität Bern – Université de Berne
Alexandria in Pharaonic Egypt: Projections in Vita Mosis (25 min)
Break (15 min)
Trent Rogers, Loyola University Chicago
Philo’s Universalization of Sinai in De Decalogo (25 min)
Brian C. Dennert, Loyola University of Chicago
The Exegetical Basis of Philo’s Exposition of the Sabbath Command in De Decalogo and De Specialibus Legibus (25 min)
M. Jason Reddoch, University of Cincinnati
Enigmatic Dreams and Onirocritical Skill in De Somniis 2 (25 min)