Congratulations to Peder Borgen

PederB talerProfessor emeritus, PhD & Dr.theol. Peder J. Borgen, was able to celebrate his 85th birthday on January 26. The day was be celebrated in his hometown, Lillestrøm, Norway, where there was be a public exhibition of his works and a lecture, and a formal dinner in the evening with a hundred guests.
I was honored to be invited, and enjoyed a great celebration.
But for now: a great Happy Birthday to a great scholar and friend!

Nota Bene News

As I am a fan of the tremendous word processor program Nota Bene, I would like to promote this offer and information, sent out by the producers of the program:

Winter Sale: 25% off for new purchases until January 31. Check prices.
New trial version: You can now download a trial version based on NB 9 or NB10 beta.
Archiva: Fabulous sale prices for new purchases or for upgrades. More about Archiva.
Upgrades to NB 10: See the NB 10 upgrade FAQ.

Manuscript submitted

A little more than a week ago I submitted to the publisher a manuscript for a book: How and why study Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria.
I am the editor, and the author of three contributions. In addition there are 8 other contributions by just as many authors, all of them well known experts in Philo studies.
The book is designed to be a handbook for MA and especially PhD students who want to include Philo in their projects.
The contributions look very promising, and I look forward to the published product.
Hopefully the book will be out at SBL Annual Meeting coming November.

Additions to Resource Pages for Biblical Studies

A couple of new links have been added to my Resource Pages for Biblical Studies on

How an article got published….

Once upon a time, … when I was a younger scholar, that is, in my late 30ies, I wrote an article on Philo and the Greaco-Roman Clubs and Associations. It was discussed in a seminar session, with prof. Peder Borgen as the mentor and convenor, but then it was put away for some time. Then a few years later, in the early 1990ies, I decided to have it revised in order to try to find a publisher.

At that time, I was working at a College with a very limited library. I had, however, very early discovered that Internet could be a useful medium for both getting in contact with other scholars, and for being informed about recent publications. Hence I was a member of the internet discussion list Ioudaios Discussion List, a service now probably forgotten by many (and I think the list itself is dead). I had a posting on Ioudaios, asking for some advises concerning new literature on the associations. I got a 6-7 responses, but one in particular turned out to be tremendous interesting. It was sent by John Kloppenborg who responded by sending me a 20 pages bibliography on the Greco-Roman Associations. I almost fell off my chair. What a gift! Later I also had the preliminary version of the article publised on the Ioudaios list server.

In our first contact, Kloppenborg also asked if he could read my article, and he gave me a tremendous feedback. He even asked if I would be interested in having it published in a larger volume he and S.G. Wilson were editing, focusing on the Greco-Roman clubs and Associations. The offer was irresistible…..!!

Thus it happened that the article later (1995) was published in what have turned out to be something of a standard volume on the Greco-Roman Associations:

John S. Kloppenborg, Stephen G. Wilson eds.,Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World (Routledge, 1996).

The main reason I tell this little story of mine, is the fact that after that volume was published, there have been, – well, not like a Norwegian avalance – but nevertheless a flow of volumes published on the Greco-Roman clubs and associations. And now we finally have some fine volumes out with inscriptions related to these associations. The picture above depicts the latest issue:

Richard Ascough, Philip A. Harland & John S. Kloppenborg eds., Associations in the Greco-Roman World. A Sourcebook (Baylor University Press/De Gruyter2012).

Reviewing the book, one might easily agree with the publisher’s advertisement: “Associations in the Greco-Roman World provides students and scholars with a clear and readable resource for greater understanding of the social, cultural, and religious life across the ancient Mediterranean. The authors provide new translations of inscriptions and papyri from hundreds of associations, alongside descriptions of more than two dozen archaeological remains of building sites. Complemented by a substantial annotated bibliography and accompanying images, this sourcebook fills many gaps and allows for future exploration in studies of the Greco-Roman religious world, particularly the nature of Judean and Christian groups at that time.”

This volume will be both useful and affordable to most interested students. There is also another collection of texts/inscriptions out, and serious scholars should not miss this version either. In fact, it is the first volume in a series:

Kloppenborg, John S. / Ascough, Richard S.
Greco-Roman Associations. Volume I: Attica, Central Greece, Macedonia, Thrace.
Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 181. De Gruyter, 2011.

But the price of this volume might scare away not a few ($168). But this volume, and the ones to come, will make it much more easy for scholars to study these ancient organizations. Kloppenborg and his co-workers have done us all a great service in collecting, translating and editing these inscriptions.

Recent bought NT books

nt books
This post has been severely delayed, mostly because of the Christmas and New Years holidays. It only reflects the NT books I found so interesting at the last SBL Annual Meeting booths, that I simply had to buy them… 🙂 Click on the picture to have a better view.

Konrad Hammann, Rudolf Bultmann. A Biography (Polebridge Press November 2012). ISBN 978-1-59815-118-3. 624 pages, hardcover, $60.

“Rudolf Bultmann was the giant of twentieth-century New Testament scholarship. His pioneering studies in biblical criticism shaped research on the composition of the gospels, and his call for “demythologizing” biblical language sparked debate among Christian theologians worldwide.
This definitive biography—now in English for the first time—traces his career in Germany through the tumult of two world wars. Through richly drawn connections between events in his life and his theology, Hammann illuminates Bultmann’s contributions to biblical historical criticism and the changing role of religion in public life in Europe.”

George H. van Kooten, Paul’s Anthropology in Context. The Image of God, Assimilation to God, and Tripartite Man in Ancient Judaism, Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity (Mohr-Siebeck, XXIV, 444 pages. WUNT I 232).

“George H. van Kooten offers a radical contextualization of Paul’s view of man within the Graeco-Roman discourse of his day. On the one hand, important anthropological terminology such as “image of God” and “spirit” derives from the Jewish creation accounts of Genesis 1-2. On the other hand, this terminology appears to be compatible with reflections of Graeco-Roman philosophers on man as the image of God and on man’s mind, and is supplemented with Platonic concepts such as “the inner man.” For this reason, the author traces the development of Paul’s anthropology against the background of both ancient Judaism and ancient philosophy. Although he takes his starting point from Jewish texts, and is not out of tune with particular Jewish thoughts about the close relation between man and God, Paul, like Philo of Alexandria, seems to owe a lot to contemporary philosophical anthropology.” More info here.

Joseph Marchal, Studying Paul’s Letters. Contemporary Perspectives and Methods (Fortress Press, 2012)

“More than a series of “how-to” essays in interpretation, each chapter in this volume shows how differences in starting point and interpretive decisions shape different ways of understanding Paul. Each teacher-scholar focuses on what a particular method brings to interpretation and applies that method to a text in Paul’s letters, aiming not just at the beginning student but at the “tough choices” every teacher must make in balancing information with critical reflection. Studying Paul’s Letters is organized for use in a single semester course on Paul” (Fortress Press)

Matthew V. Johnson, James A. Noel, Demetrius K. Williams, Onesimus our brother. Reading Religion, Race, and Culture in Philemon (from Fortress Press, 2012, 175pp)

In Onesimus Our Brother, scholars including leading African American biblical interpreters tease out the often unconscious assumptions about religion, race, and culture that permeate contemporary discussions of this letter and of the apostle Paul’s legacy. ‘The editors argue that interpreting Philemon is as weighty a matter from the perspective of African American experience as Romans or Galatians have proven to be in Eurocentric scholarship. The essays gathered here continue to trouble scholarly waters, interacting with the legacies of Hegel, Freud, Habermas, Ricoeur, and James C. Scott as well as the historical experience of African American communities(from Fortress Press).

E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes. Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (IVP Books, 2012).

“Biblical scholars Brandon O’Brien and Randy Richards shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. They identify nine key areas where modern Westerners have significantly different assumptions about what might be going on in a text. Drawing on their own crosscultural experience in global mission, O’Brien and Richards show how better self-awareness and understanding of cultural differences in language, time and social mores allow us to see the Bible in fresh and unexpected ways.”

All quotes from the publishers webpages.