Conference on Philemon

The letter of Philemon has been somewhat neglected in pauline research, but recent years have seen an increase in interesting studies dealing with this brief letter. In the last decade, e.g., no less than 3 commentaries of 300-500 pages have been published, in addition to several minor ones, and a lot of articles. Concerning major commentaries, I am here thinking of

Markus Barth & Helmut Blanke,
The Letter to Philemon. A New Translation with Notes and Commentary (The Eerdmans Critical Commentary; Grand Rapids, Mi., Eerdmans, 200) 561pp.

Peter Arzt-Grabner,
Philemon (Papyrologische Kommentare zum Neuen Testament Band 1; Gottingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003). 309pp.

John G. Nordling,
Philemon (Concordia Commentary; Saint Louis; Concordia Publishing House, 2004), 379pp.

It represents one of my own fields of research interests too, hence I would have liked to have attended a conference in South Africa these days:

Philemon in perspective
The third meeting of the
International Colloquium on the New Testament
will be held on 19-20 August 2008
Venue: University of the Free State Bloemfontein South Africa.

The colloquium will be devoted entirely to Paul’s Letter to Philemon. Papers on this brief letter of Paul – from various perspectives – will be read and discussed. The participants and papers to be discussed are listed thus (in alphabetical order):

  • Peter Arzt-Grabner: How to deal with Onesimus? Paul’s solution from the perspective of ancient legal and documentary sources
  • Bob Atkins: Contextual readings of Philemon in the United States
  • Pieter Botha: The production and reception of submission: the re-making of bodies in the Letter to Philemon
  • Pieter de Villiers: Love in the Letter to Philemon
  • Chris de Wet: Honour discourse in John Chrysostom’s exegesis of Philemon
  • Lambert Jacobs: Persuasive speech acts in Paul’s Letter to Philemon
  • Pierre Jordaan: Reading Philemon as therapeutic narrative
  • Peter Lampe: Affects and emotions in the rhetoric of Paul’s Letter to Philemon
  • Jeremy Punt: Paul, power and Philemon. A postcolonial reading
  • Francois Tolmie: Tendencies in the research on the Letter to Philemon since 1980
  • Rian Venter: Reading Philemon in Africa
  • Michael Wolter: The Epistle to Philemon as ethical counterpart of Paul’s doctrine of justification
  • # Ernst Wendland: “You will do even more than I say”. On the rhetorical function of stylistic form in Philemon
  • Francois Wessels: No longer a slave? Slavery as the assumed context of Philemon 16
  • Michael White: “Refresh my heart in Christ”: Context and rhetoric in the Letter to Philemon
  • Jeff Weima: Paul’s persuasive prose: An epistolary analysis of Philemon

This is indeed a great sample of scholars and topics related to Philemon; it mirrors both the increasing interests in Philemon, and also the great specter of focuses and methods in vogue in New Testament studies these days.

I wish I were there, and hope the papers will soon be published!

An Oslo Symphosium

On Monday 28 I am to enjoy the pleasure of attending an Oslo symphosium on New Testament studies. The Symposium will take place on Monday 28 of July in the Auditorium Athene 2 at the Conference Centre of Oslo University College, Pilestredet 46, Oslo.

This takes place under the auspices of the journal Novum Testamentum, published by Brill, Leiden, and the Department of Archaeology and Religious Studies, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and it will honour Professor Peder Borgen (who was 80 last January) on the occasion of his retirement as President of the Board of the Journal.

At the Symphosium the following lectures will be given:

1400-1405: Words of welcome by Rector, Dr. S. Østberg, Oslo University College, and President of the Board of Novum Testamentum, Professor J. K. Elliott (Leeds)

1405-1445: Professor Lars Hartman (Uppsala): “What does it mean to write a commentary?”

1445-1525: Professor Johan Thom (Stellenbosch): “Justice in the Sermon on the Mount: An Aristotelian Reading”

1525-1540: Coffee/Tea Break

1540-1620: Professor Cilliers Breytenbach (Berlin): “Jesaja 53 (LXX) und die urchristliche Hingabeformeln”

1620-1700: Professor Maarten Menken (Utrecht): “‘Born of God’ or ‘Begotten by God’? A translation problem in the Johannine writings.”

After the Symphosium there will be a Reception by the Ambassador Ronald van Roeden, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and then dinner, both for invited guests.


Then the rest of that week I will be in Lund, Sweeden, attending the SNTS General Meeting.


Have still a nice summer all of you….