Philonica et Neotestamentica

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Philo dinner…

It has become a recurring tradition that some evening during the SBL Annual Meeting, Philo scholars are invited to participate in an evening dinner session in some nearby restaurant. Thus, in this way following the traditions of Philo about the sociality in dining together, ‘old’ and ‘new’ Philo scholars can meet and socialize over a good meal. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them).

Here are some pictures from this year’s dinner session:

Ready for the symposium: The menue has arrived..

Discussing the menues……

Albert Geljon, Annewies van den Hoek and David T. Runia.


Ronald Cox, the symposiarchos, and David T. Runia. 🙂

Some updates to RPBS

I have added some links to my Resource Pages for Biblical Studies; the following have been added:

  • Link to Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint
  • Link to the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library
  • Link to David Lincicum’s blog.

Links to some more scholars writing on Philo:

  • Courtney Friesen
  • David Lincicum
  • Horacio Vela
  • Sami Yli-Karjanmaa
  • Justin Rogers
  • Angela Standhartinger
  • Pura Nieto Hernandez


John H. Elliott 80!


One of those scholars whose writings I have enjoyed reading the most is John H. Elliott. He is a pleasant person, and his writings rank high on my list; his commentary to 1 Peter is truly magnificent! But his writings in the fields of social science have also proved themselves influential and rewarding to read.

Today, Oct 23., he can celebrate his 80th birthday.

Happy Birthday wishes from from Norway.


A selected bibliography is given below:

Elliott, J. H. 1979 1 Peter: Estrangement and Community, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press.

Elliott, J. H. 1981 A Home for the Homeless: A Sociological Exegesis of 1 Peter, Its Situation and Strategy, Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Elliott, J. H. 1982 ‘Salutation and Exhortation to Christian Behavior on the Basis of God’s Blessings (1 [Peter] 1:1-2:10’), RevExp 79/3: 415-25.

Elliott, J. H. 1983 ‘The Roman Provinance of 1 Peter and the Gospel of Mark: A Response to David Dungan’, in Bruce Corely (ed.) Colloquy on New Testament Studies: A Time for Reappraisal and Fresh Approaches, Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 182-94.

Elliott, J.H., 1990, A home for the homeless: A social-scientific criticism of I Peter, its situation and strategy, with a new introduction, Fortress, Minneapolis.

Elliott, J. H. 1985 ‘Backward and Foreward “In His Steps”: Following Jesus from Rome to Raymond and Beyond. The Tradition, Redaction, and Reception of 1 Peter 2:18-24’, in Fernando F. Segovia (ed.) Discipleship in the New Testament, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 184-209.

Elliott, J.H., 1986, ‘Social-scientific criticism of the New Testament and its social world: More on method and models’, in J.H. Elliott (ed.), Social-scientific criticism of the New Testament and its social world, Semeia 35, pp. 1–33, Scholars Press, Decatur.

Elliott, J. H. 1986 ‘1 Peter, Its Situation and Strategy: A Discussion with David Balch’, in Charles H. Talbert (ed.) Perspectives on First Peter, National Association of Baptist Progessors of Religion Special Studies Series, 9, Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 61-78.

Elliott, J. H. 1987 ‘Patronage and Clientism in Early Christian Society: A Short Reading Guide’,Forum 3/4: 39-48.

Elliott, J.H., 1988, ‘The fear of the leer. The evil eye from the Bible to Li’l Abner’, Forum 4(4), 42–71.

Elliott, J.H., 1990, ‘Paul, Galatians, and the evil eye’, Currents in Theology and Mission 17, 262–73.

Elliott, J.H. 1991 ‘Household and Meals vs. Temple Purity: Replication Patterns in Luke-Acts’,BTB 21: 102-8 = Hervormde Teologiese Studies 47/2: 386-99.

Elliott, J.H., 1991, ‘The evil eye in the first testament: The ecology and culture of a pervasive belief’, in D. Jobling et al. (eds.),The Bible and the politics of exegesis. Essays in honor of Norman K. Gottwald on his sixty-fifth birthday, pp. 147–159, Pilgrim Press, Cleveland.

Elliott, J. H. 1991 ‘Temple versus Household in Luke-Acts: A Contrast in Social Institutions’, in J. H. Neyrey, The Social World of Luke-Acts, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers: 211-40 = Hervormde Teologiese Studies 247/1: 88-120.

Elliott, J. H. 1992 ‘Matthew 20:1-15: A Parable of Invidious Comparison and Evil Eye Accusation’, BTB 22: 52-65.

Elliott, J.H., 1992, ‘Matthew 20:1-15: A parable of invidious comparison and evil eye accusation’, Biblical Theology Bulletin 22(2), 52–65.

Elliott, J. H. 1993 What Is Social-Scientific Criticism? Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Elliott, J.H., 1994, ‘The evil eye and the sermon on the mount. Contours of a pervasive belief in social scientific perspective’,Biblical Interpretation 2(1), 51–84.

Elliott, J.H., 1993, What is social-scientific criticism?, Guides to biblical scholarship, New Testament series, Fortress, Minneapolis.

—— 1998 ‘Phases in the Social Formation of Early Christianity: From Faction to Sect. A Social-Scientific Perspective’, in Peder Borgem, Vernon K. Robbins, and David B. Gowler (eds.) Recruitment, Conquest, and Conflict: Strategies in Judaism, Early Christianity, and the Greco-Roman World, Emory Studies in Early Christianity 6. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Elliott, J.H., 2000, 1 Peter: A new translation with introduction and commentary, Anchor Bible 37B, Doubleday, Random House, New York.

Elliott, J.H., 2002, ‘Jesus was not an egalitarian. A critique of an anachronistic and idealist theory’, Biblical Theology Bulletin32(2), 75–91.

Elliott, J.H., 2003, ‘The Jesus movement was not egalitarian but family-oriented’, Biblical Interpretation 11(2), 173–210.

Elliott, J.H., 2005, ‘Lecture socioscientifique. Illustration par l’accusation du Mauvais Oeil en Galatie’, in A. Lacocque (ed.), Guide des nouvelles lectures de la Bible, pp. 141–167, Traduction de Jean-Pierre PrĂ©vost, Bayard Éditions, Paris.

Elliott, J.H., 2008a, ‘La crĂ­tica socio-cientifica: La configuraciĂłn colectiva y cooperativa de un mĂ©todo’, in C. BernabĂ© & C. Gil (eds.), Reimaginando los orĂ­genes del cristianismo. Relevancia social y ecclesial de los estudios sobre orĂ­genes del cristianismo. Libro homenaje a Rafael Aguirre en su 65 compleaños, Agora 23, pp. 101–115, Editorial Verbo Divino, Estrella, Navarra.

Elliott, J.H., 2008b, ‘From social description to social-scientific criticism. The history of a society of biblical literature section 1973–2005’, Biblical Theology Bulletin 38(1), 26–36.

Celebrating Turid Karlsen Seim



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 SolevÄg, 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).


Scholars writing on Philo

Inncluded in the setup of my Resosurce Pages for Biblical Studies I have tried to make a list of current scholars who are working on Philo and have some publications out dealing with Philo, his works and ideas.

Go here to see the present list of scholars.

I am, however, aware of the fact that I have not been able to include all of those that deserve to be included, and I thus ask for your help: have a look at my present list, and see if there are someone you know that are missing (whether that be yourself or someone else….).

Please send me a note (torreys ((at)), informing me about the name, and preferable, the webpage of the person(s) you find missing.

Thanks for your help.

Jan 6: List of scholars updated, but still have room for more names.

Dieter Zeller 1939-2014

Zeller_DieterProf David T. Runia has kindly informed me that Prof Dr. Dieter Zeller passed away February 16. 2014.

Prof. Zeller was active as a professor at the University of Mainz 1982-2004, when he retired.
He published several works on Philo; see the reference at the bottom of this page. He was also for some years a contributor to the Philo bibliography, published yearly in Studia Philonica.  Some more bibliography is also found in this Wikipedia article.

The Catholic-Theological Faculty has published this obituary:
Dieter Zeller, geboren in Freiburg i. Br., studierte Philosophie, Theologie und  Bibelwissenschaften  in Freiburg und Rom. 1967 erwarb er das Lizentiat in Bibelwissenschaften am  PĂ€pstlichen Bibelinstitut in Rom, 1972 wurde er in Freiburg zum Dr. theol. promoviert. Mit  einer Arbeit zu den weisheitlichen MahnsprĂŒchen bei den Synoptikern habilitierte er sich  1976 in Freiburg fĂŒr das Fach Neutestamentliche Exegese und Bibeltheologie. Es folgten  LehrauftrĂ€ge in Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Heidelberg und Jerusalem, bevor Dieter Zeller 1980 die  Professur fĂŒr Neues Testament in Luzern antrat. 1982 erhielt er den Ruf an die Johannes  Gutenberg-UniversitĂ€t Mainz und lehrte bis 1984 als Professor fĂŒr Neues Testament an der  Katholisch-Theologischen FakultĂ€t. Im Anschluss erhielt er eine Professur fĂŒr Religionswissenschaft  des Hellenismus im Fachbereich Philologie III der UniversitĂ€t Mainz, die er bis  zu seiner Emeritierung im Jahre 2004 innehatte. 1989 ernannte ihn die Evangelisch-Theologische
FakultÀt der UniversitÀt Heidelberg zum Honorarprofessor.
Durch seine rege ForschungstĂ€tigkeit und durch zahlreiche bedeutsame Veröffentlichungen  im Bereich der Exegese des Neuen Testaments sowie zu Fragen des frĂŒhen Christentums und  dessen antiker Umwelt erwarb sich Dieter Zeller international höchste Anerkennung in der  Fachwelt. Die thematischen Schwerpunkte seines Arbeitens lagen zum einen in der  Rekonstruktion und Erforschung der Logienquelle Q, wo er mit einer ganzen Reihe von einschlĂ€gigen  AufsĂ€tzen und einem Kommentar zur Logienquelle Grundlegendes geleistet hat.
FĂŒr den Bereich der Religionsgeschichte des Hellenismus sind zudem insbesondere seine
Studien zu Philo von Alexandrien zu nennen. Großes Augenmerk und breite BeschĂ€ftigung
widmete Zeller vor allem auch den Schriften des Apostels Paulus. Ein Kommentar zum
Römerbrief erschien 1985 in der Reihe „Regensburger Neues Testament“, ein umfĂ€nglicher  Kommentar zum Ersten Korintherbrief entstand noch nach seiner Emeritierung fĂŒr die renommierte  Reihe „Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar ĂŒber das Neue Testament“ und erschien im  Jahr 2010. Trotz krankheitsbedingter EinschrĂ€nkungen war Dieter Zeller unermĂŒdlich und bis  kurz vor seinem Tod in der Forschung tĂ€tig, hielt VortrĂ€ge in Fachkreisen und publizierte in  diversen AufsatzbĂ€nden und Fachzeitschriften.
Sein wissenschaftliches Engagement und sein stets an der Sache interessiertes, kritisches
Fachurteil waren ebenso geschÀtzt wie sein freundliches Wesen in der persönlichen
Begegnung. Neben großer Gelehrsamkeit zeichnete Dieter Zeller auch eine der Öffentlichkeit  vielleicht weniger bekannte, gleichwohl bemerkenswerte kĂŒnstlerische Veranlagung aus.
Die Johannes Gutenberg-UniversitÀt und die Katholisch-Theologische FakultÀt werden Dieter  Zeller ein ehrendes Andenken bewahren.
Mainz, 19. Februar 2014
UniversitÀtsprofessor Dr. Gerhard Kruip
Dekan der Katholisch-Theologischen FakultÀt
UniversitĂ€tsprofessor Dr. Konrad Huber, Professor fĂŒr Neues Testament

Those interested in his works on both Philo and the New Testament should consult his collection of articles, published in 2011:
Dieter Zeller, Studien zu Philo und Paulus
Bonner Biblische Beitrage 165
V&R Unipress/ Bonn University Press, 2011 (300pp).

Jacob Jervell 1925-2014

Jacob Jervell, professor emeritus, Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, born May 21, 1925 passed away March 2. He was professor in New Testament studies from 1960 to 1988, when he retired and settled down north of Oslo, on a farm belonging to his wife’s family. Here he continued to work as a scholarly writer, preacher and opinion maker for many years, but relieved from the academic burdens of administration and teaching.

Prof. Jervell is most probably to be remembered today for his works on early Christianity. His dissertation (University of Oslo, 1959), was his magnus opus, a great tome only rarely seen today and not at all as a dissertation work, a study of early exegesis of Genesis 1:26f. His last work was also a great volume in many respects, his commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, published in the famous German series Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar uber das Neue Testament (1998).

In his research on the early church, and especially in his works on the Acts of the Apostles, he often went against prevalent opinions, and worked out a coherent view of the early Christians. This he published in several studies (see Luke and the people of God. A new look at Luke-Acts, Minneapolis (USA) 1972; The Unknown Paul. Essays on Luke-Acts and Early Christian History, Minneapolis 1984; The Theology of the Acts of the Apostles, Cambridge  1996), but above all in his great commentary on the Acts of the Apostles.

In the introductory chapters to that commentary he summarizes his own views in seven points, emphasizing the Jewish nature of both the Acts, and early Christianity thus (pp.51-52):

1. No christology in the New Testament is as Jewish as the one of Luke.
2. The ecclesiology of Luke does not find its way of expression in the word ‘church’, but in the term ‘people’ (laos), and this denotes Israel in opposition to all other people, the only People of God.
3. The soteriology of Luke demonstrates that all promises of salvation are given to Israel, and is never abolished.
4. Posing the question about the Torah, the Law of God, Luke emphasizes that it remain still for all Jewish Christians, even the ritual and ceremonial laws. The Law is still the mark of identity of the People of God.
5. The works of Luke are full of Jewish words, terms and usages from Luke 1 to Acts 28.
6. The Acts of the Apostles, does not present to us Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles, but as the Apostle to the Jews and the world, that is, the Diaspora.He is the Pharisee, not the ex-Pharisee.
7. Even the Language is important. Most of the times the language is ‘biblizistisch’, obviously influenced by the Septuagint, because he more than any other author in the New Testament proves his sayings from the Scriptures that have their legitimate place in the Synagogue.

This highly condenced presentation of his argumentation does not give full credit to his views, but might serve to point out that to Jervell, it is obvious that the Jewish Christians were a more significant and greater part of early Christianity even after 70 CE,. than often presupposed and presented in New Testament studies and that this aspect has to be even more studied than has been done so far.

Prof. Jervell was also very active as a church politician, or rather, opinion maker, especially in the 1960ies and into the early 1990ies. Some people found his ways of presenting and arguing somewhat hard to cope with; he might be heard or read sometimes as an arrogant ‘besserwisser’ and was not always on good terms with the Norwegian Christian lay movements. This might be said to be partly due to his ways of arguing, but also to some of his viewpoints that many persons found hard to accept, while on the other hand, some found them relieving and refreshing. As a scholar deeply influenced by his years of studies in Germany in the 1950ies, he was in some ways a student of Ernst Kasemann, and as an popularizing writer and lecturer he could find great pleasure in presenting his arguments in a sharp and critical, almost criticizing way.

His influenc was  felt not only through his books, but also through his many sermons and public lectures, and through his participations in radio and TV programs.

In 2000 he was given the honour of being knight of  1. class of  St. Olavs Orden. He was given a Festschrift both in 1985 and in 1995.