Festschrift for Andreas Lindemann

LindemannMohr Siebeck is Publishing another great Festskrift, this time in honor of Andreas Lindemann, at his 70th birthday:

Paulus – Werk und Wirkung. Festschrift für Andreas Lindemann zum 70. Geburtstag. Hrsg. v. Paul-Gerhard Klumbies u. David S. du Toit, unter Mitwirk. v. Torsten Jantsch u. Nils Neumann
2013. XII, 823 pages.  — forthcoming in October 2013

The volume, published in German, contains 32 articles written by internationally renowned scholars on the work and the impact of Paul. The list  of contents can be viewed here.

One article is dealing also with Philo, and as articles published in festschriften are often not that easy to find, I give the  full info here:

Judith M. Gundry: 1 Cor 7:5b in the Light of a Hellenistic-Jewish Tradition on Abstinence to “Devote Leisure”. Sufficiency in Paul and Philo

I have not seen the volume yet, but I would be surprised if not also the following study would in some way also touch upon the Works of Philo: Friedrich Wilhelm Horn: Paulus und die Kardinaltugenden
The volume comprises 840 pages, and the price is just as massive: € 164 //ca 225 USD.

A new volume from prof. K.-G. Sandelin

Among the Philo volumes I bought at SBL last November, was also the quite new volume by Karl-Gustav Sandelin, Finland.
In 2008 he was able to published a collection of his articles originally published in Sweedish. You can read more about this volume here.
Now there is another volume out.

Karl-Gustav Sandelin,
Attraction and Danger of Alien Religion. Studies in Early Judaism and Christianity
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 290
Mohr-Siebeck; Tubingen, 2012.

This volume contains 11 articles, originally published in the years from 1991 to 2006. Two of the articles are not previously published.
The complete list of studies published in this volume can be given thus:

Jews and alien Religious Practices during the Hellenistic Age (2006)
The Danger of Idolatry According to Philo of Alexandria (1991)
Philo’s Ambivalence towards Statues (2001)
Does Paul Argue against Sacramentalism and Over-Confidence in 1 Cor 10:1-14? (1995)
“Do not be Idolators!” (1 Cor 10:17) (1995)
Drawing the Line: Paul on Idol Food and Idolatry in 1 Cor 8:1-11:1 (2003).
Does Paul warn the Corinthians Not to eat Demons?
Philo and Paul on Alien Religion: A Comparison (2005)
The Jesus-Tradition and Idolatry (1996)
Attraction and Danger of Alien Religion in the Revelation of John
Conclusions

As the publisher says on the frontleaf page:
“Early Judaism and early Christianity emerged during the Hellenistic and early Roman imperial era. They were, naturally, confronted with the Hellenistic and the Roman religion. The question therefore arose as to whether Jews or Christians were free to participate in religious activities alien to the religious heritage of their own. In his articles, Karl-Gustav Sandelin presents documentary material showing that this problem was a burning issue within Judaism from the beginning of the Hellenistic period until the end of the first century C.E. Several Jewish individuals converted to the Hellenistic or the Roman religion. Such behavior was also discussed and generally condemned, for example by the Books of Maccabees and authors such as Philo of Alexandria and Flavius Josephus. A similar problem is to be found in the New Testament, notably in the letters of Paul, especially in the first letter to the Corinthians and in the Revelation of John.” This description of the issues dealt with in the nice volume is so accurate that it can hardly be bettered.
Congratulations to prof. Sandelin on this new collection of articles!

The One God and the Many


My PhD student from Cameroon, Rev Ruben Ngozo – lecturer in New Testament studies, Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon – defended his PhD thesis in a public disputation on August 24, here at The School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger -Norway.

The title of Rev Ngozo’s thesis is The One God and the Many Gods: Monotheism and Idolatry in 1 Cor 8:1-11:1 in Light of Philo’s Writings, and the thesis has been supervised by Professor Torrey Seland. External members of the doctoral committee – who also served as opponents in the public defence – were Professor Jean-Claude Loba-Mkole, United Bible Societies (Nairobi) & University of Pretoria (South Africa), and Professor Karl Olav Sandnes, Norwegian School of Theology (Oslo). The internal member of the committee has been Postdoc. Anna Rebecca Solevåg. The disputation was headed by Prorector for research Knut Holter. A summary of the thesis is available here.

The next book to buy!

Studies of the New Testament christology have always interested me; it started out while reading Oscar Cullmann’s Christology of the New Testament while being a young student. Now there is soon to be published another book that might prove to be just as interesting: I am thinking about the announced book by Matthew V. Novenson, Christ among the Messiahs: Christ Language in Paul and Messiah Language in Ancient Judaism (New York: Oxford University Press (UK) or Oxford University Press (USA), 2012).

The description provided by the publisher should wet the appetite for anyone with similar interests:
“Recent scholarship on ancient Judaism, finding only scattered references to messiahs in Hellenistic- and Roman-period texts, has generally concluded that the word ”messiah” did not mean anything determinate in antiquity. Meanwhile, interpreters of Paul, faced with his several hundred uses of the Greek word for ”messiah,” have concluded that christos in Paul does not bear its conventional sense. Against this curious consensus, Matthew V. Novenson argues in Christ among the Messiahs that all contemporary uses of such language, Paul’s included, must be taken as evidence for its range of meaning. In other words, early Jewish messiah language is the kind of thing of which Paul’s Christ language is an example.

Looking at the modern problem of Christ and Paul, Novenson shows how the scholarly discussion of christos in Paul has often been a cipher for other, more urgent interpretive disputes. He then traces the rise and fall of ”the messianic idea” in Jewish studies and gives an alternative account of early Jewish messiah language: the convention worked because there existed both an accessible pool of linguistic resources and a community of competent language users. Whereas it is commonly objected that the normal rules for understanding christos do not apply in the case of Paul since he uses the word as a name rather than a title, Novenson shows that christos in Paul is neither a name nor a title but rather a Greek honorific, like Epiphanes or Augustus.

Focusing on several set phrases that have been taken as evidence that Paul either did or did not use christos in its conventional sense, Novenson concludes that the question cannot be settled at the level of formal grammar. Examining nine passages in which Paul comments on how he means the word christos, Novenson shows that they do all that we normally expect any text to do to count as a messiah text. Contrary to much recent research, he argues that Christ language in Paul is itself primary evidence for messiah language in ancient Judaism.” (Thanks to Larry Hurtado on FB for the reference..)

Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews

For those of you have read and enjoyed  John M. G. Barclay’s study Jews in the Mediteranean Diaspora: from Alexander to Trajan (T&T Clark, 1996), it might be interesting to note that he has a collection of articles coming out this year:

Barclay, John M.G.,  Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews. Studies in the Social Formation of Christian Identity.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament I. Mohr-Siebeck, 2011. 400 pages (est.). — forthcoming in August 2011. ISBN 978-3-16-150619-2. cloth € 110.00 (est.)

“In these seminal essays – some previously published, some newly written – John M.G. Barclay examines aspects of the construction of early Christian identity, especially within the Pauline tradition (during and after Paul’s lifetime). Treating topics as diverse as food, family, money, circumcision, constitutional theory,and ethnic stereotypes, these essays place Christian communities in close comparison with Diaspora Judaism” (quoted from the publisher’s presentation).

New Philo studies

Summer vacation is over for at least some of us, and it is time to focus on work; on reading  and writing. Here is a couple of Philo studies that are about to be published. They might prove interesting to some of you and should be included in the library of your institution:

Worthington, Jonathan Creation in Paul and Philo. The Beginning and Before. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe. Mohr – Siebeck, ca. 300 Seiten— erscheint im September 2011.
ISBN 978-3-16-150839-4. fadengeheftete Broschur ca. € 65.00

The publishers announcement runs: “Jonathan Worthington untersucht die Protologie des Paulus, indem er dessen Interpretation der Schöpfungsgeschichten – vor allem den Beginn von Genesis – analysiert. Die Exegesen in den Korintherbriefen und im Römerbrief und der Vergleich derselben mit den zwar zeitgenössischen, doch viel detailierteren Untersuchungen des Philo von Alexandria in dessen Kommentar zu Genesis 1-2, De Opificio Mundi , zeigen einen Interpretationsansatz, den beide Autoren anwenden. Die Deutung der Schöpfung bei Paulus enthält, wie auch Philos Kommentar, drei miteinander verwobene Aspekte: den Anfang der Welt, den Anfang der Menschheit und Gottes Absichten vor diesem Beginn. Die Erkenntnis dieses hermeneutischen Bedeutungsspiels zwischen „dem Anfang“ und dem „Davor“ ermöglicht einen angemessenen Vergleich der Texte des Paulus und des Philo. Gleichzeitig wirft sie ein neues Licht auf schwierige und viel diskutierte Passagen in den Werken beider Autoren.”

Anderson, Charles A. Philo of Alexandria’s Views of the Physical World.
 Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2.Reihe 309. Mohr – Siebeck. 299 Seiten— erscheint im August 2011
ISBN 978-3-16-150640-6. fadengeheftete Broschur € 74.00

The publisher’s announcement on this runs thus: “Philo von Alexandrien verbindet die biblische Interpretation und die griechisch-römische Kosmologie in einer scheinbar gegensätzlichen Art und Weise: einerseits verkörpert die äußere Welt Gottes’ Feind, andererseits auch seinen Sohn und sein größtes Werk. Charles A. Anderson untersucht sechs Schlüsselbegriffe für Philo, einschließlich Kosmos , Physis (und Naturgesetz), und erörtert, daß seine Gegensätzlichkeit am besten perspektivisch verstanden werden kann. Die Perspektive aus einem niedrigen Blickwinkel sieht die Welt positiv und als ein Mittel, Gott zu begreifen und wie er zu werden; während die Perspktive aus einem höheren Blickwinkel die Welt negativ und als ein Hindernis auf dem Weg zum wahren Bund mit Gott sieht. Philo ist im Grunde ein kosmologischer Pessimist und unterscheidet sich deshalb überraschend von den Hauptströmungen der Heiligen Schrift und des Platonismus.”

Pauline Theology?

I have just finished a series of lectures on Pauline theology. My first problem when preparing the lectures was, in fact, where to begin. I mean, where to start, after the more introductory questions like ‘a center in Pauline theology’?; ‘theology of Paul or his letters’?; or ‘the question of what sources to use’ had been dealt with?
Some textbooks on Paul’s theology are still very dogmatic/systematic in outline, obviously mirroring the denominational background of the writer, often starting with ‘God’ or ‘Sin’ or ‘man’, ending up with ‘eschatology.’
I don’t claim to have found ‘the’ right way of approaching the theology of Paul. But I had great fun in trying out a procedure that started where Paul was located when he wrote his letters, that is in the midst of ‘church’.
Hence I started with how Paul described himself, especially focusing on his favorite label ‘in Christ,’ proceeding outwards by how he described the church as such, then on his theologizing on who this ‘Christ’ was, titles, names, and work performed. Then, trying to stick to a more outside look, I tried to describe ‘how to get in’, focusing especially on the rite of baptism and its role according to Paul, ending up in description of life in this ‘church’, theologically described as ‘life in the spirit.’

As I had a limited amount of lecture hours available, this was how far I was able to proceed. But I am still wondering how to describe the theology of Paul in a way most congenial to his thinking as presented in his letters.

Any suggestions?

Book on Titus

New volumes in the series about “Paul’s Social Network: Brothers & Sisters in Faith” seem to be constantly added. The last volume is on Titus:

Ken Stenstrup,
Titus: Honoring the Gospel of God
Liturgical Press (15 April 2010).128 pages.

This should be the seventh volume in this series. Volumes are already published about Apollos, Epaphras, Lydia, Phoebe, Stephen and Timothy.

The authors seem all to be associated with the Context Group, and the volumes are thus written according to a common norm, emphsozing the persons roles and attituedes in light of scripts like honor and shame, network roles etc etc.

I find the series interesting, though sometimes somewhat predictable.

Divine and Human Agency

SBL’s Bookreviews.org has published a review on a book that also contains a chapter on Philo; I have not seen the book yet, but the topics as such and the books looks interesting:

Barclay, John M. G., and Simon Gathercole, eds.
Divine and Human Agency in Paul and His Cultural Environment
New York: T&T Clark, 2008. Pp. x + 208. Paper. $44.95.
ISBN 0567084434.

The relevant chapter on Philo is this:
John Barclay, “”By the Grace of God I am what I am,” Grace and Agency in Philo and Paul.” (pp. 140-157).

The reviewer presents this chapter thus:
“John Barclay compares constructions of agency in Philo and Paul. In Philo’s view, God as creator is the gracious cause of all that exists. A key passage occurs in Legum allegoriae, book 4, in which Philo states that Moses “ascribes the powers and causes of all things to God, leaving no work for a created being but showing it to be inactive and passive” (145–46). What, then, is one to make of Moses’ legal/ethical injunctions? Such injunctions
serve merely as a “useful rhetorical pretense” designed for those who have not been, in Philo’s words, “initiated into the great mysteries” about the sole sovereignty of God and the “exceeding nothingness” of that which God has created, in that the latter lacks independent agency (146). Paul’s view of agency is exemplified in passages such as Gal 2:19–21. There Paul describes himself as crucified with Christ, with the result that the human “self” “is reconstituted in such a fashion that one has to speak thereafter of dual agency, and not simply of one operating in partnership with the other, but of Christ operating ‘in’ the human agent. But this new power is clearly non-coercive: Paul entertains the real possibility … that one can reject the grace of God” (152). In a finely nuanced reversal of the usual grace/works dichotomy, Barclay concludes, “If the ideal for Philo is the resting sage, who approaches the vision of God in pure passivity [i.e., by accepting the vision as gracious gift], Paul’s is the obedient Adam, Christ” (157). Paul’s view requires that human agency be located within the noncoercive agency of the Spirit by which it is transformed. Both “grace” (divine agency) and “works” (human agency) are simultaneously operative.”

You can read the rest of the review here.