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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.”

 

Christians in Pompeii?

PompeiiFor all of those who are interested in early Christianity, and especially those who have walked in the streets of Pompeii, this book should be interesting reading:

Bruce Longenecker,
The Crosses of Pompeii: Jesus-Devotion in a Vesuvian Town.
Fortress Press, 2016 (Release date: May 1, 2016)

“Archaeologists have disputed the scarce evidence claimed for the presence of Christians in Pompeii before the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Now, Bruce W. Longenecker reviews that evidence in comparison with other possible data of first-century Christian presence elsewhere in the Mediterranean and reaches the conclusion that there were indeed Christians living in the doomed city. The Crosses of Pompeii presents an elegant case for their presence, with photographic illustration of the available archaeological evidence.” (Publishers text).

Exciting new book

DestroyerOne of the books I am looking forward to dig into this fall, is this:

Larry W. Hurtado,
Destroyer of the gods.
Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World,
Baylor University Press, sept 2016. Hardback, 279 pages, $29.95

From the publishers announcement:

“Silly,” “stupid,” “irrational,” “simple.” “Wicked,” “hateful,” “obstinate,” “anti-social.” “Extravagant,” ”perverse.” The Roman world rendered harsh judgments upon early Christianity—including branding Christianity “new.” Novelty was no Roman religious virtue.
Nevertheless, as Larry W. Hurtado shows in Destroyer of the gods, Christianity thrived despite its new and distinctive features and opposition to them. Unlike nearly all other religious groups, Christianity utterly rejected the traditional gods of the Roman world. Christianity also offered a new and different kind of religious identity, one not based on ethnicity. Christianity was distinctively a “bookish” religion, with the production, copying, distribution, and reading of texts as central to its faith, even preferring a distinctive book-form, the codex. Christianity insisted that its adherents behave differently: unlike the simple ritual observances characteristic of the pagan religious environment, embracing Christian faith meant a behavioral transformation, with particular and novel ethical demands for men. Unquestionably, to the Roman world, Christianity was both new and different, and, to a good many, it threatened social and religious conventions of the day.”

You can read more and order the book here.

New article on Philo in RAC

The latest issue of the well-known Lexicon, Reallexicon fur Antike und Christentum, has now been published, including a new article on Philo of Alexandria:

  1. D.T. Runia, Philon von Alexandria. RAC Bd 27 (Lfg. 210/217): 605-627 (columns)

The publisher of this famous Lexicon states its goals thus (German):

Das RAC dient als Hilfsmittel zur Erforschung der ausgehenden Antike und des beginnenden Frühmittelalters bzw. der frühbyzantinischen Zeit. Konkret soll die Frage beantwortet werden: Wie wurde aus der vielschichtigen, keineswegs einheitlichen antiken Kultur, die sich seit hellenistischer Zeit in der Mittelmeerwelt entwickelte, die spätantik-christliche der folgenden Jahrhunderte? Die Bedeutung dieser Fragestellung ergibt sich aus der Tatsache, dass diese spätantik-christliche Kultur eine Vorstufe der mittelalterlichen und damit zum Teil der heutigen bildet. Verkürzt wird diese Aufgabenstellung mit der von F. J. Dölger geprägten, im Untertitel des RAC programmatisch verwendeten Formel “Auseinandersetzung des Christentums mit der antiken Welt” umschrieben.

The lexicon article, written by David T. Runia, fulfills these goals in an excellent manner. The article has the following structure:

  1. Leben und Werk (Life and Work): Here is Philo’s works presented and their context of origin (Entstehungskontext).
  2. Nicht-Christlich (Non-Christian): Focus here is on Philo and his Jewish people and his knowledge of non-Jewish authors.
  3. Christlich (Christian): Here Runia deals with how Philo was received and used by the early Christian writers from the New Testament and up to and including Augustin. In many ways, it is a brief summary of his own book on Philo in Early Christian Literature. A Survey (CRINT III,Vol 3: Assen; van Gorcum, 1993).

 

Runia is also the author of another enzyclopedic article, written in French:

Runia. David T. 2011. “Philon d’Alexandrie.” In Dictionnaire des Philosophes Antiques V. de Paccius à Rutilius Rufus  VA. de paccius à Plotin, edited by Richard Goulet, 362–90. Paris: C.N.R.S. Éditions.

 

Two new books on Philo

 

The first of these two books is primarily about Paul, but there is also a chapter devoted to Philo as part of the background material for understanding Paul:

Wells, Kyle B. 2015. Grace and Agency in Paul and Second Temple Judaism. Interpreting the Transformation of the Heart. Novum Testamentum, Supplements 157. Leiden: Brill.

“Following recent intertextual studies, Kyle B. Wells examines how descriptions of ‘heart-transformation’ in Deut 30, Jer 31–32 and Ezek 36 informed Paul and his contemporaries’ articulations about grace and agency. Beyond advancing our understanding of how these restoration narratives were interpreted in the LXX, the Dead Sea Literature, Baruch, Jubilees, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, and Philo, Wells demonstrates that while most Jews in this period did not set divine and human agency in competition with one another, their constructions differed markedly and this would have contributed to vehement disagreements among them. While not sui generis in every respect, Paul’s own convictions about grace and agency appear radical due to the way he reconfigures these concepts in relation to Christ.” (publisher’s note)

 

McFarland, Orrey. 2016. God and Grace in Philo and Paul. Novum Testamentum, Supplements 164. Leiden: Brill.

“In God and Grace in Philo and Paul, Orrey McFarland examines how Philo of Alexandria and the Apostle Paul understood divine grace. While scholars have occasionally observed that Philo and Paul both speak about God’s generosity, such work has often placed the two theologians in either strong continuity or stark discontinuity without probing into the theological logic that animates the particularities of their thought. By contrast, McFarland sets Philo and Paul in conversation and argues that both could speak of divine gifts emphatically and in formally similar ways while making materially different theological judgments in the context of their concrete historical settings and larger theological frameworks. That is, McFarland demonstrates how their theologies of grace are neither identical nor antithetical.” (publisher’s note)

 

 

Celebrating Turid Karlsen Seim

2015-10-13_TKSeim

 

The Norwegian Professor  in New Testament Studies, dr. Turid Karlsen Seim, turned 70 on last Thursday,  and yesterday she was honored and celebrated by a reception at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, and a great Festschrift was presented.

Karlsen Seim has been a professor at the UiO since 1991; she was, in fact, the first woman who got her degree of dr. theol. in Norway, and the first female dean at the Faculty of Theology. In the last 8 years she has been the leader of the Norwegian Institute in Rome (see further info about her biography in the Festschrift.).

The Festschrift was edited by some of her former students, Anna Rebecca Solevåg, Anne Hege Grung, and Marianne Bjelland Kartzow, and is published by Pickwick Publications: Bodies-Borders-Believers. Ancient Texts and Present Conversations.

You can see the volume HERE, and and get an impression of the various articles (some pages are left out in the presentation)

 

PS: yes, there is even an article on Philo in the volume (glad you asked :):
Karen L. King, ‘Comparative study of gendered strategies to represent the
sacrality of the group: Philo of Alexandria and a Korean-American Presbyterian Church,’
pp. 3-21).