This week I received the news that Larry Hurtado’s fight against his leukemia was over. By his death a good friend, and a brilliant scholar has passed away. He will be greatly missed.
I first met him in the US, at a SBL Annual Meeting, in 1996 0r 1997. I had been following him and his discussions on the then popular Ioudaios listserver; several years later, he started blogging; in fact, he posted his last blogpost on Nov 17th this fall. In 1998 he invited me to Edinburgh as a Visiting Nordic scholar, and I occasionally met him up through the years at various conferences.
His books have been of great interest to me; I especially cherish his One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism (1988,1998,2015); Lord Jesus Christ(2003, 2005); How on Earth did Jesus become a god? (2005); Destroyer of the gods. Early Christian distinctiveness in the Roman World (2016), and his small volume with the long title: How on Earth did anyone become a Christian in the First Threee Centuries ?(2016). He even published a piece on Philo; you can read that paper here. A lot of other studies by LH can be accessed at his blog.
Larry had a somewhat conservative background. He had served as a pastor, and he had a pentecostal background. When I read his great work (both in size and value) from 2003 on Lord Jesus Christ, and in particular his emphasis on revelatory experiences in the New Testament, I found it very interesting in light of his pentecostal background. However, he never flagged that himself, as far as I know.
It is nice to see the many posts on blogs and Facebook these days, witnessing the impact of Larry Hurtado. He will be remembered and missed.
Seminar to be held in honor of Professor dr. theol. Karl Olav Sandnes on his 65th birthday at Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Oslo
Tuesday, Jan 22. 2019:
The topic for the day: The Gospel in the Graeco-Roman World
10.30–11.00 Professor Reidar Hvalvik (MF):
Karl Olav Sandnes – A Presentation
11.00–11.45 Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University John M. G. Barclay:
Early Christianity, Mission and the Survival of the Poor in the Graeco-Roman World
11.45–12.45 Lunch in the cantina to be bought
12.45–13.30 Rev. Christine Henriksen Aarflot, Ph.D. (Oslo):
Greek Myth as Gospel: Reading C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces
13.30–14.00 Coffee/tea served
14.00–14.45 Associate Professor Glenn Ø. Wehus (MF):
The Gospel according to Epictetus
14.45–15.00 Final thanks
Many of us have probably, while reading the Bible, made some notes or signs in the margins. But did you know that ancient users of old manuscripts also did that; wrote comments in the margins, using the manuscripts as ‘notepads’?
I would like to draw your attention to a book dealing with just these notations in the margins;
Liv Ingeborg Lied & Marilena Maniaci (eds.),
Bible as Notepad. Tracing Annotations and Annotation Practices in Late Antique and Medieval Biblical Manuscripts.
Manuscripta Biblica 3. Berlin; De Gruyter, Sept 2018, 156p.
The present volume provides a comparative look at the contents and layout features of secondary annotations in biblical manuscripts across linguistic
traditions. Due to the privileged focus on the text in the columns, these
annotations and the practices that produced them have not received the scholarly
attention they deserve. The vast richness of extant verbal and figurative notes
accompanying the biblical texts in the intercolumns and margins of the
manuscript pages have thus been largely overlooked.
The case studies gathered in this volume explore Jewish and Christian biblical
manuscripts through the lens of their annotations, addressing the various
relationships between the primary layer of text and the secondary notes, and
exploring the roles and functions of annotated manuscripts as cultural artifacts.
By approaching biblical manuscripts as potential “notepads”, the volume offers
theoretical reflection and empirical analyses of the ways in which secondary
notes may shed new light on the development and transmission of text
traditions, the shifting engagement with biblical manuscripts over time, as well
as the change of use and interpretation that may result from the addition of the
List of contents:
List of contributors XI
Liv Ingeborg Lied, Bible as notepad: Exploring annotations and annotation practices in biblical manuscripts 1
Daniel K. Falk, In the margins of the Dead Sea Scrolls 10
Kipp Davis, Margins as media: The long insertion in 4QJera (4Q70) 39
Paola Buzi, Additional notes in Christian Egyptian biblical manuscripts (fourth–eleventh centuries): Brief remarks 54
Jeff W. Childers, Divining gospel: Classifying manuscripts of John used in sortilege 66
Marilena Maniaci, Written evidence in the Italian Giant Bibles: Around and beyond the sacred text 85
Nurit Pasternak, Giannozzo Manetti’s handwritten notes in his Hebrew Bibles 101
Adam Carter Bremer-McCollum, Notes and colophons of scribes and readers in Georgian biblical manuscripts from Saint Catherine’s Monastery (Sinai) 111
Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Ted M. Erho, EMML 8400 and notes on the reading of Hēnok in Ethiopia 125
Patrick Andrist, Toward a definition of paratexts and paratextuality: The case of ancient Greek manuscripts 130
List of quoted manuscripts 151
A New Norwegian PhD Dissertation (written by a Danish scholar) is about to be defended in a public disputatio in Oslo, at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Monday Sept 3.
Its title is:
“The Spirit of Faith: A Comparative Study of Philo’s and Paul’s Reading of the Abraham Story.”
In the morning (at 10:15), the candidate will deliver his test lecture, given by the evaluation commitee: “Paul and the methods and goals of Greek paideia”.
Then, from 12:15, he will defend his thesis in a discussion, open for the public, with his two opponents, professor dr. John M.G. Barclay, Durham, og professor dr. Gitte Buch-Hansen, Copenhagen.
The abstract of this dissertation is available here, and, in fact, the whole manuscript is available here (both in pdf format.)
The yearly SNTS meeting was this year arranged in Athens, Greece. What a wonderful place to have a meeting focusing on New Testament studies. While some might suggest Jerusalem as the place most filled with symbolism for biblical studies, Athens might come as a good # 2.
In addion to that, the conference found place at the Titania hotel, that with its great restaurant at the top floor provided a magnificent view to the Acropolis and Athens. Three Philo scholars from Norway were attending the meeting, and among them, the doyen of Norwegian Philo studies, prof Peder Borgen. Here you see him seated in the restaurant withtwo of his former doctoral students, prof Per Jarle Bekken to the right (Borgen’s left side), and me on the other side. It was great to have Borgen with us, and to see him – in his age of 90 1/2 years- enjoying and participating in the sessions.
On Saturday 11th, there was an very interesting excursion to Corinth and Epidaurus, a trip also enjoyed by prof Borgen, his wife and two daughters.
The great theatre at Epidaurus
At the last annual meeting of the SNTS in Athens, in Aug. 7-10, a seminar on Philo of Alexandria was run by profs Greg E. Sterling and Per Jarle Bekken. The dayly attendance were 10-12 persons, and there were three sessions/papers, submitted by Per Jarle Bekken, Ilaria L.E. Ramelli and Volker Rabens. The main focus of the seminar was Philo and Early Christianity.
Bekken’s paper dealt with “Paul in Negotiations on Abraham: Fresh Light on the Appropriation of Scripture in Gal 3:6–9 in Jewish Context.” A central part of his thesis was that ” Philo and Paul share an exegetical tradition based on Gen 15:6 interpreted in conjunction with other passages in terms of a continuum of the Abraham narrative in Genesis. Thus, both authors depend on a constellation of exegetical motifs associated with Abraham’s trust (Gen 15:6), manifested in the responsiveness of a corresponding faithfulness and oath of promise on God’s part to bless Abraham and his descendants (cf. Gen 22:18; 26:3–4). Such motifs appear in a context of Jewish discussions in which the authoritative figure of a Law-observant Abraham was conceived to serve as authoritative legal norm (cf. Gen 26:5).”(P. 47 ).
The next paper, by Ilaria L.E. Ramelli, was on “Paul and Philo on Soteriology and Eschatology.” The paper offered was she called “a sygkrisis between two semi-contemporary Hellenistic Jewish theologians, Paul of Tarsus and Philo of Alexandria, both major inspirers of subsequent Christian philosophical theology. While other areas would be relevant to explore, for instance the knowledge of God, this essay will concentrate on soteriology and eschatology in Paul and Philo. The latter is more elusive than Paul in this matter, but both were familiar with the doctrine of apokatastasis or restoration, although they treated it in different ways, just as they had different views of the Law.”
The third paper, that by Volker Rabens, had as its title “Physical and Mystical Dimensions of Human Transformation in Philo and Paul.” I was not able to atttend this last session.
All papers were thoroughly researched and well footnoted. To some the papers were a little bit too long; 50 pages x 3 is demanding, especially if they are sent out just some few days before the meeting. But all in all, it is good to have Philo back at the SNTS meeting.
I just received an offprint of my most recent article, this time on 1 Peter. It is published in a volume published in memory of a Norwegian New Testament scholar, Hans Kvalbein:
The Church and Its Mission in the New Testament and Early Christianity. Essays in Memory of Hans Kvalbein, edited by David E. Aune and Reidar Hvalvik. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Siebeck.2018.
My own contribution is : “‘Like Newborn Infants..’ The Readers of 1 Peter as Newly Converted Christians?” (pp 227-242):
In a study published in 2005 on acculturation and assimilation in 1 Peter, I argued, in opposition to the views on acculturation of both John H. Elliott and David Balch,that the burning issue in 1 Peter was not how to cope with current Greco-Roman society (social acculturation and assimilation issues), but that “the Christians of 1 Peter are first generation Christians, that is, they are still in a process of being socialized into the Christian worldview.” I also argued that they were perceived of as in a kind of liminal situation as newly converted Christians, and that their attitudes to Greco-Roman institutions were a secondary aspect of the author’s strategy in this letter, and thus more a consequence of the intended primary acculturation into the Christian faith and ways of living than as a program of acculturation or assimilation to Greco-Roman society.
An important premise in this view is the issue of whether or not the readers can really be understood as relatively new as Christians. In the present study, I would like to elaborate on this question, trying to substantiate my view that they were considered fairly recently converted Christians. I might admit that there is no single statement in the letter providing a clear-cut answer, but, as I argue, the cumulative effect of some passages supports the conclusion that the addressees were considered first generation Christians, probably as having been Christians for just a few years.