Religiöse Philosophie und philosophische Religion der frühen Kaiserzeit

filosofiIn interesting book is about to be published by Mohr – Siebeck on ancient religious philosophy; and this volume should be particular interesting for students of Philo of Alexandria, not at least as it also includes a chapter on ancient Alexandrian philosophy:
Religiöse Philosophie und philosophische Religion der frühen Kaiserzeit
Literaturgeschichtliche Perspektiven. Ratio Religionis Studien I
Hrsg. v. Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, Herwig Görgemanns, Michael von Albrecht u. Mitarb. v. Tobias Thum

Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum / Studies and Texts in Antiquity and 51.
Mohr- Siebeck, 2009. 2009. X, 418 Seiten.ISBN 978-3-16-149593-9. fadengeheftete Broschur € 79.00

The volume is published in German, but there are two articles in English: Here is an outline of its contents:
Albrecht Dihle: Die griechische Philosophie zur Zeit ihrer Rezeption durch Juden und Christen – Michael von Albrecht: Philosophie und Religion in der lateinischen Literatur der Kaiserzeit –
Herwig Görgemanns: Religiöse Philosophie und philosophische Religion in der griechischen Literatur der Kaiserzeit –
Gregory Sterling: Alexandrian Jewish Exegetical Tradition: Philosophy as the Handmaid of Wisdom
Reinhard Feldmeier: “Göttliche Philosophie”. Die Interaktion von Weisheit und Religion in der späteren Antike –
Devorah Dimant: Time, Torah and Prophecy at Qumran –
Zlatko Plese: Gnostic and Hermetic Literature: Oriental Wisdom –
Rainer Hirsch-Luipold: Die religiös-philosophische Literatur der frühen Kaiserzeit und das Neue Testament –
Adolf Martin Ritter: Christentum und Philosophie als Thema frühkaiserzeitlicher Kirchenväterliteratur –
Tobias Thum: ‘Welche Fülle von Reden!’: Plutarchs Schrift De E apud Delphos –
Peter Kirchschläger: Der Wahrheitsbegriff im Johannesevangelium –
Jane Heath: 2 Cor 4, 7-12: Viewing Paul as an Icon of Christ –
Ilinca Tanaseanu: Gräber und Symbole: Tempel im Werk Clemens’ von Alexandrien –
Fritz Heinrich: Der religiöse Intellektuelle: Apuleius und Ali Schariati

Beginning from Jerusalem

This weekend I had the pleasure of looking into the magnus opus of JDG Dunn, his volume two of
Christianity in the Making Vol 2:
Beginning from Jerusalem.
Grand Rapids, Mi; Eerdmans, 2009.

It is a great work in many ways; comprising 1347 pages, it will have to reside on my desk for a long time. And it is equally impressive considering the breadth of reading it represents, and the many interesting – some expected, other unexpected- viewpoints it presents and represents.

Its outline might give a fairly conservative impresssion; He starts with some methodological considerations concerning writing a history of Christianity’s beginnings, then turning to the first phase; beginnings in Jerusalem and up to the council in Jerusalem. The third part (pp. 497-1057) deals with Paul, and the last three chapters discusses ‘The Voiceless Peter’, ‘Catastrophe in Judea,’ and ‘The Legacy of the First Generation Leadership.’

I think everyone will profit from reading this great book, whether one agrees or disagrees.
Tolle lege!

The Shema and The First Commandment in First Corinthians

waalerThe Norwegian scholar Erik Waaler now has his dissertation published at Mohr-Siebeck. I was one of the opponents at his final exam – what we here in Norway call disputation – in 2005, and it will be interesting to see how our praises and criticisms have been dealt with in this revision of his thesis.
Erik Waaler,
The Shema and The First Commandment in First Corinthians
An Intertextual Approach to Paul’s Re-reading of Deuteronomy.
WUNT II 253. 2008. XIII, 563 pages.

The publisher presents his work in this way:
“Erik Waaler takes a somewhat modified intertextual approach to the relationship between Jewish monotheism and Pauline Christology. His focus is on Paul’s Christological reuse of Shema in 1Cor 8:1-6. He argues that the statement “there is no God but one” (8:4a) is a combined echo of Shema and the First Commandment, and that v. 4a might be associated with the Second Commandment. This fits with Paul’s constant use of Deuteronomy in 1Cor 5-10. Admittedly first century non-Christian Jews did not use the term one about other beings together with the one God, thus combined phrases such as ‘one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ’ are without Jewish parallels. Apart from this Christological twist, Paul’s reuse of such phrases is in line with Jewish custom. He uses phrases like one God and one Lord as arguments for unity, although he speaks of unity in the Church. In the Old Testament, themes like God’s fatherhood and His oneness are associated with creation and salvation. Paul echoes this, but when Shema let the phrase ‘one Lord’ signify Yahweh, Paul let it signify Jesus, who like Yahweh is contrasted to the idols. Additionally, both Shema and 1Cor 8:1-3 speak of love directed at God. The Christological twist is supported by Paul’s Christological re-interpretation of the divine epithet the Rock (Deut 32). In the context, Paul makes membership in the Christian in-group dependent on the confession: “Jesus is Lord.” Erik Waaler concludes that Paul in 1Cor 8:1-6 sustains a relatively high Christology. Paul achieves this effect by a contextual and binitarian re-reading of Shema.”

Philemon readings

I have now posted to my review of

Larry J. Kreitzer

(Readings: A New Biblical Commentary
Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2008
It will probably appear there in 2-3 months.

I personally found this book very helpful, and I think it will be useful too as an introduction to the letter to Philemon both for students of the New Testament and for lay people in general. I especially appreciate his integration of scholarly New Testament studies with a presentation of the letter’s ‘wirkungsgeschichte’ in literature and film. The present volume is the seventh in a series called “Readings: A New Biblical Commentary.” The publisher does not state who are the intended readers of the series. If the other volumes are tailored in the same way as this one, they might very well serve a wide range of readers, and spark an interest in a further reading of the biblical text itself. And that, in my view, is no small purpose and reward at all.

Reading Philo for understanding Paul

A recent study dealing with the soteriology of Paul, argues its way by help of Philo:

Frick, Peter,
‘The Means and Mode of Salvation: A Hermeneutical Proposal for Clarifying Pauline Soteriology,’
Horizons in Biblical Theology, Volume 29, Number 2, 2007 , pp. 203-222.
Abstract:“The objective of this study is to answer the question “What is the cause of salvation?” according to Paul. The argument is that just as Philo understood cause in an Aristotelian sense of the multiplicity of causes (formal, material, efficient and final) as constituting one overarching cause—what is here called the “means” of salvation—so, too, Paul implicitly assumes that the one cause or “means” of salvation consists in various causes. A second step shows how the “means” of salvation corresponds to faith as the “mode” of salvation. In nuce, the “means” of salvation is the initiative of God and the “mode” of salvation is the human response to that divine initiative.”