New Book: Crossing Borders

The English version of my Norwegian biography of prof. Peder Borgen has just recently been published by Wipf & Stock. It is a somewhat revised version of the Norwegian edition, somewhat more aimed at an international reader:

Torrey Seland, Crossing Borders. The Life and Work of Peder Borgen in Context. Foreword by Paul Anderson. Eugene, Or.: Wipf and Stock, Sept 2022. $42 paperback; $62 hardback. 330 pages.

The volume is now also available at Amazon.com and other Amazon sites.

Abstract (as written on the back leaf): “The intention of this biography is–on the one hand–to describe what happened as Peder Borgen (b. 1928) grew up and tried to establish himself as a theologian and a New Testament scholar in his Norwegian and Lutheran state-church context. On the other hand, it also describes how his development and life as a student of the New Testament and Philo of Alexandria were influenced by his minority background and the borders he had to cross to achieve his goals. Crossing Borders is thus a description of the life and work of a Norwegian Methodist, scholar, church politician, ecumenist, and an internationally acclaimed writer on the Gospel of John and Philo of Alexandria. Students of both the New Testament and Philo of Alexandria should feel enlightened by this volume of how context may influence both a person and his scholarly achievements.”

Die griechische Bibel in Alexandrien

Did Philo read/use Hebrew? And/or is the legend of the miraculous creation of the Septuagint a manifesto of cultural assimilation into the Hellenic culture? These seem to be some of the questions dealt with in this new book.

Maria Sokolskaya, Die griechische Bibel in Alexandrien. Ihre Legende und die exegetische Praxis im hellenistischen Judentum. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism. Brill: Leiden, 2022. (to be published 19. Oct. 2022: E-book and Hardback).

Abstract: “The translation of the Torah into Greek in Alexandria is an intriguing puzzle. Why was it undertaken at all? Was it a need of the Alexandrian Jews? Or did the Jewish wisdom intrigue the Egyptian ruler? Is the legend of the miraculous creation of the Septuagint a manifesto of cultural assimilation into the Hellenic culture? Does the Alexandrian Greek biblical exegesis, especially that of Philo, aim to break with the Hebrew tradition? According to this book, Philo, although not fluent in Hebrew himself, moves in the same shared Hebrew-Greek Torah universe that a closer look on the Septuagint legend reveals as well.”

Abstrakt: “Die Übersetzung der Tora ins Griechische in Alexandrien ist ein intrigierendes Rätsel. Warum wurde sie überhaupt unternommen? War sie ein Bedürfnis der alexandrinischen Juden? Oder machte die jüdische Weisheit den ägyptischen Herrscher neugierig? Ist die Legende über die wundersame Entstehung der Septuaginta ein Manifest der kulturellen Assimilation an die hellenische Kultur? Bezweckt die alexandrinische griechische Bibelexegese, vor allem diejenige Philons, den Bruch mit der hebräischen Tradition und die Anpassung an die hellenistische Philosophie? Nach Ansicht dieses Buches bewegt sich Philon, obwohl selbst des Hebräischen nicht mächtig, in demselben gemeinsamen hebräisch-griechischen Tora-Universum, welches die Septuaginta-Legende bei näherer Betrachtung beschreibt.”

Happiness in Second Temple literature

Daniel Maier, Das Glück im antiken Judentum und im Neuen Testament. Eine Untersuchung zu den Konzepten eines guten Lebens in der Literatur des Zweiten Tempels und deren Einfluss auf die frühchristliche Wahrnehmung des Glücks, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021)

A recent publication by Mohr Siebeck on ‘Happiness in Second Temple literature’ contains also an extensive chapter on Philo of Alexandria, and should thus be of special interest to Philo scholars.

The Book of Exodus in Philo

Sean A. Adams, ‘The Book of Exodus in Philo of Alexandria,’ in: Beate Kowalski and Susan Docherty, eds., Let my People go: The Reception of Exodus Motifs in Jewish and Christian Literature. Themes in Biblical Narrative, Vol 30. Leiden: Brill, 2021, pp. 177-192.

Intro: “The book of Exodus and its interpretation are prominent in Philo’s corpus. So frequently did Philo cite or allude to this book that few scholars have attempted to discuss this topic as a whole. A full discussion of Philo’s engagement with Exodus is not possible in the limits of this study. In this chapter, I begin with a general discussion of the reception of the Exodus narratives in Philo’s writings. From this broad overview, I divide my study into two parts. The first focuses on specific instances where Exodus material is employed by Philo across multiple treatises and the second examines how specific Exodus passages are interpreted by Philo in the Allegorical Commentary. The chapter concludes with a reflection on how Exodus was used by Philo as part of his wider practice of interpreting the works of Moses.”

The book is to be published in October 2021; Hardback and E-Book (pdf).

New book: Paul and Philo on Abraham

The Norwegian scholar, Per Jarle Bekken has written another study on Paul, and one in which he draws heavily on Philo as a significant part of his Jewish context:

Bekken, Per Jarle. Paul’s Negotiation of Abraham in Galatians 3 in the Jewish Context: The Galatian Converts — Lineal Descendants of Abraham and Heirs of the Promise (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 248; Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2021).

 https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110722109

de Gruyter: “This work offers a fresh reading of Paul’s appropriation of Abraham in Gal 3:6–29 against the background of Jewish data, especially drawn from the writings of Philo of Alexandria. Philo’s negotiation on Abraham as the model proselyte and the founder of the Jewish nation based on his trust in God’s promise relative to the Law of Moses provides a Jewish context for a corresponding debate reflected in Galatians, and suggests that there were Jewish antecedents that came close to Paul’s reasoning in his own time. This volume incorporates a number of new arguments in the context of scholarly discussion of both Galatian 3 and some of the Philonic texts, and demonstrates how the works of Philo can be applied responsibly in New Testament scholarship.”

Illuminations by Philo

A new collection of articles on Philo and the New Testament was published recently by Brill:

Peder Borgen, Iluminations by Philo of Alexandria. Selected Studies on Interpretation in Philo, Paul, and the Revelation of John. Edited by Torrey Seland (Studies in Philo of Alexandria 12: Leiden; Brill, 2021).

The volume contains 17 articles, all previously published in various Journals and Festschriften, and not always easy to track or find. Hence this new volume brings some of the most recent studies by prof. P. Borgen. David E. Aune introduces the volume by summarizing and characterizing each article in the collection. A very brief review of Borgen’s life and work is accessible here, as part of the introduction to the volume.

For further info about what particular studies are included in this volume, go here.

Torah, Temple, Land

The general topic of this book as such should be interesting to students of ancient Judaism and Philo. In addition the volume also contains one article dealing specifically with Philo:

Marcus Witte, Jens Schröter and Verena Lepper, eds, Torah, Temple, Land. Constructions of Judaism in Antiquity. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism184. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 2021. Pp. 316. ca. 135 €.

Contents:

Markus Witte, Jens Schröter, Verena Lepper
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Peter Schäfer
Judaism or Judaisms: The Construction of Ancient Judaism . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Benedikt Hensel
Debating Temple and Torah in the Second Temple Period:
Theological and Political Aspects of the Final Redaction(s)

of the Pentateuch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Sebastian Grätz
The Golah, the Temple, and the Torah in the Book of Ezra: Biblical
and Religious-Historical Perspectives on Judah and Jerusalem
in Postexilic Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Stefan Schorch
“Mount Gerizim is the house of God and the dwelling place for
his glory”: The Origins and Early History of Samaritan Theology
. . . . . . 61
Karel van der Toorn
The Religion of the Elephantine Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Charlotte Hempel
The Dead Sea Scrolls: Challenging the Particularist Paradigm . . . . . . . . . 91
John J. Collins
Jewish Communities in the Dead Sea Scrolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Robert Kugler
Finding “Judaism” in Documentary Papyri: The Case of the
Petitions from the Herakleopolis Archive
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Lutz Doering
Torah and Temple in Judean Pseudepigrapha: From Jubilees to
Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Gabriele Boccaccini
What Does the Forgiving Jesus Have to Do with the Unforgiving
Enoch? Forgiveness of Sins in the Enochic Traditions
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Maren R. Niehoff
Constructing Temple and Torah in Philo of Alexandria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

Martin Goodman
Paul as Persecutor and the History of Judaism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Adela Yarbro Collins
What Sort of Jew Is the Jesus of Mark? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
René Bloch
Jew or Judean: The Latin Evidence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Werner Eck
Die – fast – unsichtbare jüdische Diaspora im Westen des
Imperium Romanum vor der Spätantike . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Shaye J. D. Cohen
Jews and Judaism in Antioch as Portrayed by John Chrysostom
and the Rabbinic Sages . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Catherine Hezser
The Contested Image of King David in Rabbinic and Patristic
Literature and Art of Late Antiquity . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277

For further info, see this link.

New book on Alexandria

Alexandria. Hub of the Hellenistic World

Edited by Benjamin Schliesser, Jan Rüggemeier, Thomas J. Kraus, and Jörg Frey, with the assistance of Daniel Herrmann Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 460. Mohr Siebeck. April 2021. 621 pages.

A new book on Alexandria is about to be published. And as expected, it contains several articles related to Philo, and to biblical studies. Below I list the articles most interesting (in my mind) to Philo-scholars. See also here.

Balbina Bäbler
Whose “Glory of Alexandria”? Monuments, Identities, and the Eye of the
Beholder ……………………………………………………………………………… 29-48

Barbara Schmitz
Alexandria: What Does the So-Called Letter of Aristeas Tell Us about
Alexandria?…………………………………………………………………………… 49-62.

Christoph Riedweg
Alexandria in the New Outline of Philosophy in the Roman Imperial Period
and in Late Antiquity………………………………………………………………… 99-106.

Beatrice Wyss
Cultural Rivalry in Alexandria: The Egyptians Apion and Chaeremon ………………….145-164

Benjamin Wright
The Letter of Aristeas and the Place of the Septuagint in Alexandrian
Judaism………………………………………………………………………………..229-244

Jan. N. Bremmer
The First Pogrom? Religious Violence in Alexandria in 38 CE?………………………..245-260.

René Bloch
How Much Hebrew in Jewish Alexandria?…………………………………………..261-278

Justin P. Jeffcoat Schedtler
From Alexandria to Caesarea and Beyond: The Transmission of the
Fragments of the Hellenistic Jewish Authors…………………………….…………..279-302

John Granger Cook
Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesin and Paul’s σῶμα πνευματικόν……………….. ……..303-324.

Samuel Vollenweider
Apollos of Alexandria: Portrait of an Unknown ………………………………….…325-344.

Jörg Frey
Locating New Testament Writings in Alexandria:
On Method and the Aporias of Scholarship ………………………………………….345-366

I’ll stop here. As you see, there are enough interesting articles to legitimate to spend some money on this volume (which contains a total of 26 articles). The prices is set to 154 Euro (both pdf version and hardback.)

A Peder Borgen Biography

Torrey Seland,

Peder Borgen. Metodist – Økumen – Professor i en brytningstid.

Cappelen Damm Akademisk, Oslo, Des. 2020.  ca. 350 s.

I denne boken presenteres en repre­sentant for en av frikirkene i Norge, Peder Johan Borgen (1928-). Borgen var metodist, forkynner, kirke­politiker, økumen, og universitets­professor i kristendoms­kunn­skap, og er en inter­nasjonalt anerkjent bibel­forsker.

Som metodist i Norge ble Borgen en ivrig for­kjemper for frikirkenes plass i det norske kirkelandskap, og for religions­­­frihet i vid forstand. Beskrivelsen av hans liv kan dermed også leses som uttrykk for erfaringer som mange innen frikirkene i Norge kunne oppleve. Boken forsøker slik å bringe ny innsikt i og forståelse for frikirkenes plass i norsk kirkeliv som på denne tiden var så preget både av Den norske kirkes hegemoniske rolle og manglende økumeniske interesse og arbeid. Samtidig gir den en omfattende oversikt over Peder Borgens liv og innsats i norsk universitets- og samfunnsliv og internasjonale bibelforskning.

2 new Commentaries on Philo!

Two new commentaries on Philo are coming out this Fall. This is a great event, as the commentaries deal with two very important treatises of Philo. Every serious Philo scholar should rush to buy these!

However, check your bank account first, for these volumes are not only valuable, but also really expensive when it comes to money. They are available in pdf versions too, but the price is the same. Books at these prices are likely to end up in libraries only, not on the shelf of individual scholars. And that is regrettable.

Anyway, here are the commentaries, and the publisher’s presentation of them:

Ellen Birnbaum & John M. Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham. Introduction, Translation, and Commentary.  Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series, Volume: 6 Leiden: Brill, oct 2020 (€189.00 $227.00)

Publisher:On the Life of Abraham displays Philo’s philosophical, exegetical, and literary genius at its best. Philo begins by introducing the biblical figures Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as unwritten laws. Then, interweaving literal, ethical, and allegorical interpretations, Philo presents the life and achievements of Abraham, founder of the Jewish nation, in the form of a Greco-Roman bios, or biography. Ellen Birnbaum and John Dillon explain why and how this work is important within the context of Philo’s own oeuvre, early Jewish and Christian exegesis, and ancient philosophy. They also offer a new English translation and detailed analyses, in which they elucidate the meaning of Philo’s thought, including his perplexing notion that Israel’s ancestors were laws in themselves.”

Joan E. Taylor & David M. Hays, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life. Introduction, Translation and Commentary. Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series, Volume: 7. Leiden: Brill, Nov. 2020 (€155.00 $187.00).

Publisher:On the Contemplative Life is known for its depiction of a philosophical group of Jewish men and women known as the ‘Therapeutae’. Yet the reasons for their depiction have been little understood. In the first commentary on the treatise in English for over 100 years, the social, cultural and political background of the times in which Philo lived are shown to be crucial in understanding Philo’s purposes. As Alexandrian Jews were vilified and attacked, Philo went to Rome to present the case for his community, faced with intense opposition. Side-stepping direct confrontation, Philo here cleverly presents the Therapeutae as the pinnacle of excellence, most especially in their communal meal, while ridiculing his accusers in a stinging parody of a festive banquet.”