Philonica et Neotestamentica

Home » Book

Category Archives: Book

Social Memory and Social Identity

Samuel Byrskog, Raimo Hakola, Jutta Maria Jokiranta (Hg.)
Social Memory and Social Identity in the Study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity.
Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus / Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments (NTOA/StUNT). – Band 116 Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 1. Auflage 2016.312 Seiten gebunden. 110,00 €

The publisher presents this volume thus:
“The concepts of social memory and social identity have been increasingly used in the study of ancient Jewish and Christian sources. In this collection of articles, international specialists apply interdisciplinary methodology related to these concepts to early Jewish and Christian sources. The volume offers an up-to-date presentation of how social memory studies and socio-psychological identity approach have been used in the study of Biblical and related literature. The articles examine how Jewish and Christian sources participate in the processes of collective recollection and in this way contribute to the construction of distinctive social identities. The writers demonstrate the benefits of the use of interdisciplinary methodologies in the study of early Judaism and Christianity but also discuss potential problems that have emerged when modern theories have been applied to ancient material.In the first part of the book, scholars apply social, collective and cultural memory approaches to early Christian sources. The articles discuss philosophical aspects of memory, the formation of gospel traditions in the light of memory studies, the role of eyewitness testimony in canonical and non-canonical Christian sources and the oral delivery of New Testament writings in relation to ancient delivery practices. Part two applies the social identity approach to various Dead Sea Scrolls and New Testament writings. The writers analyse the role marriage, deviant behaviour, and wisdom traditions in the construction of identity in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other topics include forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew, the imagined community in the Gospel John, the use of the past in Paul’s Epistles and the relationship between the covenant and collective identity in the Epistle to the Hebrews and the First Epistle of Clement.”
I was not aware of this volume as it was published, and have not seen it yet, hence I just draw your attention to it by providing the info given above.

Eine kleine Bibliotek…

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (V&R Academic) are publishing a series called Kleine Bibliothek der antiken jüdischen und christlichen Literatur, which provides us with translations into German of central Jewish and early Christian texts. Several volumes are already out, among them also some of Philo’s works; that is two texts of Philo are published so far (May  24, 2017):

Reinhard von Bendemann (Hg.)
Philo von Alexandria – Über die Freiheit des Rechtschaffenen (2016)
Bernhard Lang (Hg.)
Philo von Alexandria: Das Leben des Politikers oder Über Josef (2017).

For the other volumes already published in this series, see here.

The volumes contain an Introduction, and a German translation of each text concerned; no Greek texts are provided. What is further to be applauded, is the fact that the volumes are provided as both bound volumes (10,00 €), and as PDF eBook (7,99 €). Finally, a publisher who realize that an e-pub version should be cheaper than a paper version!

The Introductions are good, sometimes somewhat pointed, but to the point. On the presentation page for each of the two Philo texts on the V&R website, you can download the front page, list of contents and about 10-20 pages of the text as ‘Leseprobe.’ Very good!


Runesson on

By way of a post on Facebook, I became aware of the page of prof. Anders Runesson (University of Oslo). Anders has uploaded a lot of his articles. Some of the pdf copies are somewhat blurry, a little hard to read and difficult to index (at least for my NotaBene Orbis indexer), but most of them are good, both in visibility and content.

To my surprise, I find that his Ph.D. dissertation (from Lund, Sweeden) is also available on this site, in pdf format. Only that volume alone makes this site worthy of a visit. It is one of the really great dissertations published in Sweeden in the last decades (and by great, I do not just mean the number of pages…).

Have a look. Enjoy.

The World of the New Testament

world of NTBakerAcademic is announcing that their textbook The World of the New Testament. Cultural, Social and Historical Contexts. Edited by Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald (BakerAcademic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2013), is being re-published these days in paperback format.

This is good news, and that for at least two reasons: First, it means that the book has been selling well even as a hardback issue; Second, now it will be possible to buy the volume in an even handier format, hopefully also to a cheaper price.

And third- if I may- as the author of the chapter on Philo, I am glad that now even more readers might get a taste of Philo of Alexandria and his relevance for an informed study of the New Testament writings!

For more info about the volume, click here.

New Book: Hebrews and the Temple

HebrewsandthetempleA new book – published by Brill – also includes some discussion of material from Philo:

Philip Church,
Hebrews and the Temple.
Attitudes to the Temple in Second Temple Judaism and in Hebrews.
Novum Testamentum, Supplements 171. Leiden, Brill, March, 2017. €156,00/$180.00. ISBN-10: 9004339507.

The Publisher presents it thus:

In Hebrews and the Temple Philip Church argues that the silence of Hebrews concerning the temple does not mean that the author is not interested in the temple. He writes to encourage his readers to abandon their preoccupation with it and to follow Jesus to their eschatological goal. Following extensive discussions of attitudes to the temple in the literature of Second Temple Judaism, Church turns to Hebrews and argues that the temple is presented there as a symbolic foreshadowing of the eschatological dwelling of God with his people. Now that the eschatological moment has arrived with the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God, preoccupation with the temple and its rituals must cease.

I have, alas, not been able to see the book yet, but as I have to be better informed about the recent discussion concerning Philo’s possible relationship to Hebrews (or, rather; vice versa!), I think this has to be added to my list!
From Google Books, I gather that it deals with Philo on pp. 64-71 under the heading: ‘Temple Affirmed: Temple Symbolism in Texts reflecting a Positive Attitude to the Temple.’
It seems to be a large book: 614 pages?

Religio Licita?

The relation of the Roman state to Jewish settlements (and probably also vice versa), is a problem still debatable, and the first mentioned topic is still being discussed in scholarly studies. A collection of studies was published by DeGruyter this winter:

“Religio licita?”
Rom und die Juden
[Rome and the Jews]
Ed. Hasselhoff, Görge K. / Strothmann, Meret
Series: Studia Judaica 84. Berlin/New York; DeGruyter, 2016/2017. viii, 230 pages.89,95 € / $126.00 / £67.99

“This volume examines the pertinence of the designation religio licita to Judaism and its relevance for describing the relationship between the Roman state and Judaism. This question applies not only to Judaism but also to the process of differentiation between Judaism and Christianity, for from the beginning of the 3rd century, the term was used exclusively by Christian writers.” (publisher’s note)

Looking into the book at Google Books you can see the list the contents of this volume, and read some of its stuff.



Paul and the Gentiles in Acts

The Book of Acts has always been of a special interest to me, not only since the days of my dissertation work but even before. In fact, the very first article I wrote within the field of New Testament studies (and the second from my hand – the first was in Church History…), was on The Speeches in Acts, published when I was a student, trying to find my way.

DeGruyter is now announcing a new volume on Paul in Acts:

Tischler, Johannes Nikolai,
Diener des höchsten Gottes. Paulus und die Heiden in der Apostelgeschichte.
Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 225. Berlin/New York, January 2017. 323 pages. ISBN978-3-11-045803-9. 99,95 € / $114.99 / £81.99.

I have not seen the volume yet, hence I have to rely on the publisher’s presentation of the volume, which in this case is rather brief: “The Acts of the Apostles include multiple episodes that narrate contentious encounters between Paul and the Gentiles. Its author uses these narratives as an opportunity to clarify the theological position of Luke’s Acts of the Apostles. What exactly is his position? The book addresses this specific question in the context of the thesis that Luke views Christianity as an integral part of Israel, linked to Old Testament tradition.”