The Roman Army and the Expansion of the Gospel

From time to time a reader of the Gospels will meet representatives of the Roman army in the texts; but I for my part had never thought that anyone would produce a study of The Roman Army and the Expansion of the Gospel. But that is just what deGruyter is publishing these days:

Alexander Kyrychenko, The Roman Army and the Expansion of the Gospel. The Role of the Centurion in Luke-Acts. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 203.

From the Publisher’s announcement: “Although Roman centurions appear at crucial stages in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the significance of the centurion’s office for the development of Luke’s story has not been adequately researched. To fill in that void, this study engages the relevant Greco-Roman and Jewish sources that reflect on the image of the Roman military and applies the findings to the analysis of the role of the Roman centurion in the narrative of Luke-Acts. It argues that contemporary evidence reveals a common perception of the Roman centurion as a principal representative of the Roman imperial power, and that Luke-Acts employs centurions in the role of prototypical Gentile believers in anticipation of the Christian mission to the Empire.
Chapter 1 outlines the current state of the question. Chapter 2 surveys the background data, including the place of the centurion in the Roman military organization, the role of the Roman army as the basis of the ruling power, the army’s function in the life of the civilian community, Luke’s military terminology, and the Roman military regiments in Luke-Acts. Chapter 3 reviews Greco-Roman writings, including Polybius, Julius Caesar, Sallust, Livy, Velleius Paterculus, Tacitus, Appian, Cornelius Nepos, Plutarch, Suetonius, Plautus, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Petronius, Quintilian, Epictetus, Juvenal, Fronto, Apuleius, as well as non-literary evidence. Chapter 4 engages the Jewish witnesses, including 1 Maccabees, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmudic sources, and non-literary sources. Chapter 5 examines the relevant accounts of Luke-Acts, focusing on Luke 7:1–10 and Acts 10:1–11:18. The Conclusion reviews the findings of the study and summarizes the results.”

Great conference on Philo

At Yale University this Spring there will be a great Conference on Philo. he conference is entitled:  “Philo’s Readers: Affinities, Reception, Transmission and Influence”, at   Maurice R. Greenberg Conference Center   March 30-April 1, 2014.

The further announcement of this event runs thus: “Our conference will center around the Jewish philosophical exegete,
Philo. A member of the Jewish elite in early Roman Alexandria, Philo  explored the meaning of Torah by uniting Second Temple interpretations  and traditions with a Greek philosophical orientation. Philo’s  interpretations, interpretive strategies, and philosophical explanations   provide us with a glimpse into ancient Judaism, particularly the world  of Alexandria in the first century CE. This conference will situate Philo in his geographical, philosophical, and ideological context,  looking for affinities and precursors in other ancient texts. But Philo  does not just offer a glimpse into the past. He also provided a  framework and a collection of hermeneutical tools that would prove  invaluable to future readers. This conference will thus examine Philo’s  reception and influence, particularly among Jewish and Christian  readers.”

The Conference has its own website here: and the program can be seen here:



Another update

I have updated my Resource Pages for Biblical Studies with some interesting links:

Hieroi Logoi:
Digital Resources for Religion in Late Antiquity

Coptic Digital Resources:

Pretres civique:
Les pretres du culte imperial Romain dans les cites de la province d’Asie

Visualizing Statues:
During the fourth and fifth centuries CE, statues populating the open areas of the Roman Forum preserved memories of the individuals represented in portraits. This visualization project contextualizes the now-dispersed statues and their inscribed bases in the public space of the late antique Forum.

I hope you will find these links interesting too.
Then again: If you find some links on my Resource Pages that are wrong in some ways or outdated,- please notify me via the mail link at the bottom of the Resource Pages.
And second; if you have a link to these pages of mine on Your own blog or webpages, be sure to present the correct link; I occasionally still see some who provide the old link to hivolda, and not this corrected one:


Persecution in 1 Peter

persecution1petThis work, which is a slightly revised version of a doctoral thesis carried out under the supervision of David G. Horrell and submitted to the University of Exeter in 2010, is an impressive piece of work:

Travis B. Williams, Persecution in 1 Peter. Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christians Suffering.
Supplements to Novum Testamentum 145. Brill; Leiden, 2012.

This book is probably the most comprehensive study available concerning the topic of persecution in 1 Peter. While there have been many previous studies in forms of articles, and a few larger sections in some commentaries (cf. the older volume of Selwyn), this volume will probably remain a standard presentation and a must reading for students of 1 Peter for years to come both because of its comprehensive discussion and its tightly knit argumentation.
The study consists of eight chapters (pp. 3-335), 4 appendices (pp. 339-386), and an impressive bibliography, comprising 59 pages. If we consider each of these pages to contain 25 references (I counted some), that amounts to a bibliography of 1475 books and articles! Hence the book is also a gold mine of persecution-related bibliography.
There will be a review of the book later on SBL Bible Review.
The contents of the book can be seen here.

Williams has also written several smaller studies on 1 Peter that is worth mentioning. I am here thinking of these works:
‘Reconsidering the imperatival participle in 1 Peter,’ Westminster Theological Journal 73 (2011):59-78.
________. “Suffering from a Critical Oversight: The Persecutions of 1 Peter within
Modern Scholarship.” Currents in Biblical Research 10. (2012): 275-292.
‘Benefiting the Community through Good Works? The Economic Feasibility of Civic Benefaction in 1 Peter,’ Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 9 (2013) forthcoming.
‘Visuality Vivid Description and the Message of 1 Peter The Significance of the Roaring Lion 1 Pet. 5.8,’ Journal of Biblical Literature 132 (2013): 697-716.