About a week ago I received the sad news that Tom Tobin had passed away at 9:25 a.m. on Sunday, August 30th, due to heart complications. He was a respected Philo,- and Pauline scholar, and a Facebook friend. We also always met at the SBL Annual Meeting’s Philo seminars. Here is some words in memory of Tom, written by Greg Sterling:
“Tom was a first-rate scholar. I still remember reading his The Creation of Man when I was a doctoral student. What most impressed me was the care that he took with the text and the way that he attempted to work through the exegetical traditions systematically and chronologically. One does not need to agree with all of his conclusions to appreciate the quality of the mind that produced the work. When I invited a small group of scholars to Notre Dame to plan the commentary series, Tom was on the must list of invitees.
His work on Philo in this and in his other publications impressed me so much that when I stepped down as chair of the Philo Seminar/Group, I nominated Tom to succeed me. When David Hay died suddenly, David Runia and I discussed whom we should ask to succeed David Hay as the editor of the monograph series and both reached the same judgment, Tom Tobin. For many years he has also been the chair of the board of the Studia Philonica Annual.
Tom was a priest who gave his life in service as a Jesuit. He did not wear his priesthood on his sleeves, but he took his vows with utter seriousness and served many. Tom was a “Chicago” boy through and through. He loved the city and knew it exceptionally well. He could tell you stories about where gangsters used to eat etc. He has lived in his city, in a university run by the order of priests to which he belonged, and is now home. But we will miss him!
Requiescat in pace carus et dignus amicus.“
There are also many greetings and nice words about him on his Facebook page; see https://www.facebook.com/thomas.tobin.982
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
Professor emeritus, dr.theol, Ph.D., Peder J. Borgen, is celebrating his 90th birthday this weekend. The day is today; January the 26th., but it will surely be celebrated the whole weekend!
Congratulations to Peder Borgen from ‘Philonica et Neotestamentica’!
Wikipedia correctly states that “He is considered a pioneer “within the theological scientific community in Norway and was the first Methodist and the first member of a Norwegian Free Church who took the theological doctorate at a Norwegian university. He was also the first non-Lutheran who became a professor at a Norwegian University when he in 1973 became a professor of New Testament at the University of Trondheim. He retired in 1997, but is still active, informed engaged. His most recent article is about to be published this spring.
Today, March 9., it is 25 years since I had my public defense of my Norwegian PhD dissertation. Umbelievable how the years fly away..
The ‘disputatio’ was held at the University of Trondheim, now called Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). My mentor was prof. Peder Borgen, and the two other members of the evaluation committee were prof Niels Hyldahl, University of Copenhagen, and Prof. Ernst Baasland, Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo.
The dissertation was slightly reworked, and then published by Brill in 1995.The volume is still available. Looking back I am particularly pleased that it was well received by both Jews and Christians, as it dealt with a somewhat sensitive issue in the relations between Jews and Christians in the first century CA.
Below is a picture of me, and my mentor. We both were young at that time……….:)
At that time I was an associate professor at Volda Regional College, an institution I served until I moved to Stavanger and the School of Mission and Theology in 2005.I retired in 2014.
José Pablo Martín passed away in Buenos Aires on Sunday, January 10 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
José Martín had been associated with the Philo bibliography project for over 20 years. He was a very considerable scholar and will be greatly missed.
José Pablo Martin was a professor of Philosophy, CONICET researcher, Doctor of Theology and professor consultus at the Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, San Miguel, Argentina (UNGS). He specialized in the fields of epistemology and philosophical anthropology, and published on Philo and the genesis of Western culture (1986) and Theophilus of Antioch (2004). He was also Head of the international project Hispanicus Philo.
After 12 years in Canada, Anders Runesson has returned to Scandinavia. This summer, he started in his new position as professor in the New Testament at the Faculty of Theology.
Anders Runesson started his academic career at Lund University. Here he took a BA in Jewish Studies, M.Div. and M.A. in Religious Studies, and his Ph.D in 2001. After finishing his Ph.D. at Lund, he worked there at a research project on the Formation of Christian Identity.
Then, in 2003, he was offered the position as Assistant Professor in Early Christianity and Early Judaism at McMaster University in Canada.
“After twelve good years at McMaster I now look forward to working with colleagues and students at the Faculty of Theology in Oslo”, Runesson tells us.
Read more about this here.
Happy New Year to all readers.
The end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 has been somewhat tough to cope with as I cought a severe cold, and have been barking like a dog for a couple of weeks now. I am slowly recovering, but I am glad that I am not to lecture in the coming days as my throat still needs some more rest.
See you in my next posting!
Why study Philo of Alexandria? The question might be taken as rhetorical.But it might be good to reflect on it from time to time and make up one’s mind concerning why Philo is important. In fact, the upcoming book to be mentioned below might be read from beginning to end as an endeavor to demonstrate to the reader that Philo is indeed important. Others have been even more emphatic than me in their arguments for the relevance of Philo: Gregory E. Sterling published an article in Perspectives in Religious Studies (2003) with the provocative title “Philo Has Not Been Used Half Enough.” In this article he states frankly, concerning the importance of Philo in studying early Christianity: “I think that the Philonic corpus is the single most important body of material from Second Temple Judaism for our understanding of the development of Christianity in the first and second centuries. . . . I am convinced, that the Philonic corpus helps us to understand the dynamics of early Christianity more adequately than any other corpus” (p.252).
Philo of Alexandria is indeed a fascinating person, but at the same time also somewhat of an enigma, even to scholars who have long tried to understand him, his works, and his position in the social world of Alexandria at the beginning of our era.
My personal life this summer has been marked by retirement, selling and buying houses, packing – moving – unpacking and getting settled in a new place and region of Norway. The scholarly part of me….., especially in the last two or three weeks, has been occupied with proofreading and doing the indexes for The Philo book (!) to be published in upcoming November.
What a boring, tedious and wearisome work! Why can’t anyone come up with a computer program that can do such indexing work? Yes, I know there are some programs that promise to do exactly that, but how to do it with a pdf file? As far as I know, no program offers that ability!
The book as been given the very pertinent title: Reading Philo. A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria, and will be published by Eerdmans. A total of 9 authors from Australia, Canada, Finland, USA and Norway have been engaged in writing the volume, and as the editor I am very grateful for the willingness of these scholars to participate, and for the contributions they have submitted. I intend to give a brief presentation of the various chapters in some postings to come. Just to wet your appetite, you know! The book should be out in time for you to get it at the SBL Annual Meeting this November.
Hence, stay tuned!
Today, on Aug. 1., 2014, I am retiring from my position as Dean of Studies / Professor in NT at The School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger.
It is not my intention, however, to retire from reading and writing (also called research), and I am not retiring this blog or my Resource Pages for Biblical Studies yet.
Quite on the contrary, I hope to get more time for research, and also for updating these webpages.
See you here!
Joan Taylor held her inauguration lecture last week (May 1st) as a Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at Kings College, School of Arts and Humanities, Theology and Religious Studies.
Her topic chosen for the lecture was: Mary Magdalene and the case of missing Magdala, and it is summarized thus on the Department’s webpage:
Traditionally, Mary Magdalene is assumed to have come from a place called Magdala, meaning ‘the Tower’. However, there is no such place mentioned in the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament, though there was a small village attested in rabbinic literature as Migdal Nuniya (‘Tower of Fish’), lying just one mile north of Tiberias, and many other villages called ‘Tower of [Something]’ in Galilee and wider Judaea. The place called ‘Magdala’ or ‘Migdal’ in Israel today, 3.5 miles north of Tiberias, continues a Byzantine identification, from the fifth or sixth centuries CE when pilgrim sites were plotted in Palestine, and it is often assumed that the earlier sizeable town now coming to light there was called Tarichaea-Magdala. However, Josephus clearly indicates that Tarichaea lay south of Tiberias, and that this town north of Tiberias was called Homonoia. This lecture will explore Mary’s name ‘the Magdalene’, the actual location of her home village, and the possibility that her epithet may be understood as a double-entendre, meaning ‘the Tower-ess’: a nickname like others Jesus gave to his closest apostles.
Prof. Taylor will be well-known to Philo-scholars and others interested in Philo of Alexandria. She has written, i.a., a book on Jewish Women Philosophers of First Century Alexandria. Philoæs Therapeutae’ Reconsidered (Oxford 2003), and is now (probably inter alia,) engaged in writing a commentary on Philo’s De vita contemplativa (The Contemplative Life), for the Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series (PACS).
Congratulations to Joan Taylor for her new position!
PS: Sorry, Joan, for stealing the picture from your Facebook page, but I had no other! 🙂