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.