Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Study at CCUM: Misquoting Jesus

Last Wednesday I began an eight-week summer study of Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus at Christ Church United Methodist, 4614 Brownsboro Road, Louisville, Kentucky. We had a nice turnout and some excellent, engaging discussion on the preface and first chapter of the book. Any interested folks in the Louisville area are more than welcome to join us on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:30. My profound thanks to Jennie Weeks, CCUM's excellent Director of Christian Education, for supporting the study in so many ways. I'll be sure to blog about our subsequent sessions!

UVA Welcomes Robin Darling Young

Next year the Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity program is excited to welcome Prof. Robin Darling Young, who will be serving as a visiting professor while Prof. Judy Kovacs is on sabbatical. I've already received some information regarding one of her graduate courses, and it looks fascinating:

RELC 5559 Reading Practices in Early and Medieval Christianity

Robin Darling Young

This course traces the origins and development of Christian ways of reading sacred texts, from the second century through the twelfth. It considers the early tradition of rewritten scripture and prophetic inspiration, and moves next to the paidetic philosophy common in the schools of the Graeco-Roman empire and adopted by Christian writers of the third and fourth centuries. It traces, also, Christian interpreters’ cultivation of the "spiritual senses" and their preparation for reading by observing various ascetic and liturgical practices. In addition it will consider the preservation of midrashic interpretation among two fourth-century Syriac authors, to demonstrate an ongoing connection, in the late ancient near east, with rabbinic interpretation. Thus the course will examine the works of interpreters from Hermas in second-century Rome, through the Alexandrians and their monastic heirs, and then, in the Latin West, authors from Augustine through Bernard of Clairvaux and Hugh of St. Victor.

For those who have the languages, there will be an opportunity for biweekly meetings to read selected texts in their original languages.

Sign me up. ;-)

Recent Research

Regular readers of this blog (all five of you!) know that I usually post my research papers from various courses at the conclusion of the semester. For the last several weeks, I've been examining questions of canon in light of New Testament textual criticism, and also reviewing the principal thematic objections to the Letter to Theodore (the letter discovered by Morton Smith which supposedly contains quotations of an esoteric edition of the Gospel of Mark). I won't get into my conclusions here... take a look at the papers and find out for yourself! ;-) Suffice to say that I really enjoyed researching both of these topics, and will certainly continue to study them in the future. In the meantime, feel free to let me know what you think... I certainly welcome any feedback or further discussion (there's only so much you can cram into twenty double-spaced pages).

“Whatever makes for progress towards gnosis” Esoterism and spiritual advancement in the Stromateis and the Letter to Theodore

The end? A canonical exploration of the conclusion(s) of the Gospel of Mark

More New Titles From SBL

(Man... my inbox was really jammed!)

Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism
Hindy Najman

What is meant by attributing texts to Moses in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism? The answer depends not only on the history of texts but also on the history of concepts of textuality. This book critiques the terms “pseudepigraphy” and “rewritten Bible,” which presuppose conceptions of authentic attribution and textual fidelity foreign to ancient Judaism, and instead develops the concept of a discourse whose creativity and authority depend on repeated returns to the exemplary figure and experience of a founder. Attribution to Moses is a central example whose function is to re-present the experience of revelation at Sinai. Distinctive features of Mosaic discourse are studied in Deuteronomy, Jubilees, the Temple Scroll, and the works of Philo of Alexandria.

Paper $24.95 • 196 pages • ISBN 9781589834248 • Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 77 • Hardback edition www.brill.nl

Reading for History in the Damascus Document: A Methodological Study
Maxine L. Grossman

Scholars tend to view the Damascus Document as a historical source, but a reading of the text in light of contemporary (audience-oriented) literary criticism finds its emphasis in the ideological construction of history and communal identity, rather than in the preservation of a historical record. An introduction to contemporary literary criticism is followed by a series of thematic readings, focusing on historical narrative, priestly imagery, and gender in the covenant community. Each theme is examined in terms of its potential for multiple (sometimes contradictory) interpretations and for its place in the larger sectarian discourse. This study offers an alternative approach to the historiography of ancient Jewish sectarianism, acknowledging the presence of competing claims to shared traditions and the potential for changes in textual interpretation over time or among diverse communities.

Paper $32.95 • 276 pages • ISBN 9781589834279 • Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 45 • Hardback edition www.brill.nl

The Pauline Canon
Stanley E. Porter, editor

The Pauline letters continue to provoke scholarly discussion. This volume includes papers that raise a variety of questions regarding the canon of the Pauline writings. Some of the essays are more narrowly focused in their intent, sometimes concentrating upon a single dimension related to the Pauline canon, and sometimes upon even a single letter. Others of the essays are more broadly conceived and deal with how one assesses or accounts for the process that resulted in the letters as a collection, rather than analyzing individual letters. There are also mediating positions that attempt to overcome the disjunction between authenticity and inauthenticity by exploring the complex notion of interpolation.

Paper $32.95 • 272 pages • ISBN 9781589834286 • Pauline Studies 1 • Hardback edition www.brill.nl

Paul and His Opponents
Stanley E. Porter, editor

Who were Paul’s opponents? Were they a single group, or were they different groups found at various places that he wrote to and visited? Since the time of F. C. Baur and right up to the present, scholars have been intrigued by the figures who sometimes lurk in the shadows of Paul’s writings or who sometimes emerge in full force to confront him. This does not mean that finding scholarly consensus on the nature of Paul and his opponents has been easy or has been resolved. This volume includes essays that ask pertinent questions regarding Paul and his opponents and that address some of the major current theories.

Paper $32.95 • 272 pages • ISBN 9781589834309 • Pauline Studies 2 • Hardback edition www.brill.nl

Codex Sinaiticus: Text, Bible, Book

The Codex Sinaiticus Project, an extensive effort to publish all extant leaves of the manuscript in a revolutionary electronic interface, is scheduled to be completed next month. The British Library is celebrating this achievement with a two-day conference entitled "Codex Sinaiticus: Text, Bible, Book." Details of the event, including registration fees and procedures, are available here. The keynote speaker is renowned New Testament scholar and textual critic Eldon Epp; other speakers include my own professor and mentor Harry Gamble, who will be discussing the codex's construction as an icon of religious devotion. Sounds like a pretty good excuse for a trip to London!

New Series From SBL

Two new series, Ancient Israel and Its Literature and Early Christianity and Its Literature, have been created by the SBL:


The Ancient Israel and Its Literature series publishes monographs, revised dissertations, and collections of essays on the history, culture, and literature of ancient Israel and Judah, particularly as these are reflected in or inform our reading of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Works on the social world of the biblical writings, the ancient Near Eastern context in which ancient Israel and Judah originated and lived, biblical or theological themes, or other comparable areas of study will also be considered. For more information about publishing a book in this series, contact general editor Steven L. McKenzie. For a list of forthcoming titles for this series, click here.

The Early Christianity and Its Literature series publishes monographs, revised dissertations, and collections of essays on the history, culture, and literature of early Christianity, particularly as these are reflected in or inform our reading of the New Testament. Works on the social world of the biblical writings, the Greco-Roman context in which Christianity originated and lived, biblical or theological themes, or other comparable areas of study will also be considered. For more information about publishing a book in this series, contact general editor Gail R. O’Day. For a list of forthcoming titles for this series, click here.

These two new series replace Academia Biblica (formerly SBLDS); Studies in Biblical Literature (formerly SBLMS); and the Symposium Series, which SBL’s Research and Publications Committee has discontinued. Together with SBL’s Early Judaism and Its Literature series, the new series cover fully the broad range of manuscripts relating to the earliest writings of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Plus, check out these newly available paperback reprints:

Transformative Encounters: Jesus and Women Re-viewed

Ingrid Rosa Kitzberger

This composite, postcolonial, and multidimensional volume contains sixteen original essays by distinguished Jewish and Christian Scripture scholars on a wide range of perspectives on the relation between Jesus and women as portrayed in the New Testament Gospels, as historically reconstructed in the context of Second Temple Judaisms and of Mediterranean society, as well as in present actualizations. The contributions reflect the different social locations of interpreters from all continents and testify to the richness of methods employed in biblical interpretation at the end of the twentieth century, ranging from literary approaches (narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, intertextuality), historical-critical methods, archaeology, and social-scientific interpretation to cultural studies and film theory. By addressing new questions and searching for answers on untrodden paths, the vital scholarship on Jesus and women will be re-viewed, enriched, and challenged.

Paper $45.95 • 436 pages • ISBN 9781589832893 • Biblical Interpretation 43 • Hardback edition www.brill.nl

Scribal Practices and Approaches Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert
Emanuel Tov

This monograph is written in the form of a handbook on the scribal features of the texts found in the Judean Desert, the Dead Sea Scrolls. It details the material, shape, and preparation of the scrolls; scribes and scribal activity; scripts, writing conventions, errors and their correction, and scribal signs; scribal traditions; differences between different types of scrolls (e.g., biblical and nonbiblical scrolls); and the possible existence of scribal schools such as that at Qumran. In most categories, the analysis is meant to be exhaustive. Numerous tables as well as annotated illustrations and charts of scribal signs accompany the detailed analysis. The findings have major implications for the study of the scrolls and the understanding of their relationship to scribal traditions in Israel and elsewhere.

Paper $49.95 • 444 pages • ISBN 9781589834293 • Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 54 •Hardback edition www.brill.nl

Revision of UMC Hymnal Postponed

The latest victims of the current economic climate include the planned revision of the United Methodist Hymnal, which was temporarily shelved by the United Methodist Publishing House in the midst of its most significant decrease in sales in more than two decades. Hopefully this important project will be revived in the near future. A story regarding the decision is available here.

New From OUP

Recent releases in Hebrew Bible and New Testament studies, on sale through Dove Booksellers:

Curtis, Adrian H W
Oxford Bible Atlas, 4th ed
(Oxford University Press, 2007)
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MacDonald, Nathan
Not Bread Alone: The Uses of Food in the Old Testament
(Oxford University Press, 2008)
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Niditch, Susan
My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man: Hair and Identity in Ancient Israel
(Oxford University Press, 2008)
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Rajak, Tessa
Translation and Survival: The Greek Bible and the Jewish Diaspora
(Oxford University Press, 2009)
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Rogerson, John W Judith M Lieu (eds)
Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies
(Oxford University Press, 2006)
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Sivan, Hagith
Palestine in Late Antiquity
(Oxford University Press, 2008)
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Berkowitz, Beth A
Execution and Invention: Death Penalty Discourse in Early Rabbinic and Christian Cultures
(Oxford University Press, 2006)
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Bryan, Christopher
Render to Caesar: Jesus, the Early Church, and the Roman Superpower
(Oxford University Press, 2005)
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Elliott, J K (ed)
Apocryphal Jesus: Legends of the Early Church
(Oxford University Press, 2008)
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Elsner, Jas Ian Rutherford (eds)
Pilgrimage in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the Gods
(Oxford University Press, 2006)
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Gregory, Andrew Christopher Tuckett (eds)
New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers, 2 Volume Set
(Oxford University Press, 2006)
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Harvey, Susan Ashbrook David G Hunter (eds)
Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies
(Oxford University Press, 2008)
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Hodge, Caroline Johnson
If Sons, Then Heirs: A Study of Kinship and Ethnicity in the Letters of Paul
(Oxford University Press, 2007)
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Hvidt, Niels Christian
Christian Prophecy: The Post-Biblical Tradition
(Oxford University Press, 2007)
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Lieu, Judith
Christian Identity in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman World
(Oxford University Press, 2006)
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Rowe, C Kavin
World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age
(Oxford University Press, 2009)
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RBL Highlights: 6/16/09 (Part II)

More highlights from the last several installments of the Review of Biblical Literature:

Ismo O. Dunderberg
Beyond Gnosticism: Myth, Lifestyle, and Society in the School of Valentinus
Reviewed by Marvin Meyer

Israel Finkelstein and Amihai Mazar; edited by Brian B. Schmidt
The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Richard A. Horsley, ed.
In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance
Reviewed by Roland Boer

Walter C. Kaiser, Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns; edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde
Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
Reviewed by Stephen Moyise

David Marcus, ed.
Biblia Hebraica Quinta: Ezra and Nehemiah
Reviewed by Andrew Steinmann

Russell Pregeant
Knowing Truth, Doing Good: Engaging New Testament Ethics
Reviewed by M. Eugene Boring

Leo G. Perdue, ed.
Scribes, Sages, and Seers: The Sage in the Eastern Mediterranean World
Reviewed by James L. Crenshaw

Tammi J. Schneider
Mothers of Promise: Women in the Book of Genesis
Reviewed by Ellen White

H. G. M. Williamson, ed.
Understanding the History of Ancient Israel
Reviewed by Walter Dietrich

Robert W. Yarbrough
1, 2, and 3 John
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Noam Adler
A Comprehensive Collection of Oil Lamps of the Holy Land from the Adler Collection
Reviewed by Jodi Magness

Janice Capel Anderson and Stephen D. Moore, eds.
Mark and Method: New Approaches in Biblical Studies
Reviewed by Renate Viveen Hood

Roger S. Bagnall, ed.
Egypt in the Byzantine World 300-700
Reviewed by David Frankfurter

David B. Burrell
Deconstructing Theodicy: Why Job Has Nothing to Say to the Puzzle of Suffering
Reviewed by F. Rachel Magdalene

Warren Carter
John and Empire: Initial Explorations
Reviewed by Stephan Witetschek

Raymond F. Collins
The Power of Images in Paul
Reviewed by Nils Neumann

Craig A. Evans, ed.
Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus
Reviewed by Christoph Stenschke

Susan Haber; edited by Adele Reinhartz
"They Shall Purify Themselves": Essays on Purity in Early Judaism
Reviewed by Jonathan D. Lawrence

Mika Hietanen
Paul's Argumentation in Galatians: A Pragma-Dialectical Analysis
Reviewed by Johan S. Vos

Jerome Murphy-O'Connor
St. Paul's Ephesus: Texts and Archaeology
Reviewed by Jan Van Der Watt

Marvin Sweeney
Reading the Hebrew Bible after the Shoah: Engaging Holocaust Theology
Reviewed by Jon D. Levenson

Benedict T. Viviano
Matthew and His World: The Gospel of the Open Jewish Christians Studies in Biblical Theology
Reviewed by Boris Repschinski

John Ashton
Understanding the Fourth Gospel
Reviewed by Craig R. Koester

Reimund Bieringer, Emmanuel Nathan, and Dominika Kurek-Chomycz
2 Corinthians: A Bibliography
Reviewed by Victor Paul Furnish

Michael F. Bird
Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission
Reviewed by Andreas J. Kostenberger

Dirk J. Human, ed.
Psalms and Mythology
Reviewed by Jeffery M. Leonard

Patricia A. Kirkpatrick and Timothy Goltz, eds.
The Function of Ancient Historiography in Biblical and Cognate Studies
Reviewed by Ernst Axel Knauf

Ilana Pardes
Melville's Bibles
Reviewed by Michael Kaler

Stanley E. Porter, ed.
Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation
Reviewed by Christoph Stenschke

RBL Highlights: 6/16/09 (Part I)

Highlights from the last several installments of the Review of Biblical Literature:

Roger David Aus
The Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus and the Death, Burial, and Translation of Moses in Judaic Tradition
Reviewed by James Crossley

Mark G. Brett
Decolonizing God: The Bible in the Tides of Empire
Reviewed by Roland Boer

Gene L. Green
Jude and 2 Peter
Reviewed by Peter H. Davids

Michael P. Knowles
We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Jerome H. Neyrey and Eric C. Stewart, eds.
The Social World of the New Testament: Insights and Models
Reviewed by Heather McKay

Leo G. Perdue
The Sword and the Stylus: An Introduction to Wisdom in the Age of Empires
Reviewed by Benjamin G. Wright III

Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Stanley, eds.
As It Is Written: Studying Paul's Use of Scripture
Reviewed by Rodrigo J. Morales

Tom Thatcher and Stephen D. Moore, eds.
Anatomies of Narrative Criticism: The Past, Present, and Futures of the Fourth Gospel as Literature
Reviewed by Steven Hunt

Joshua A. Berman
Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought
Reviewed by Mark Leuchter

Constantine R. Campbell
Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek
Reviewed by C. Michael Robbins

Sang Youl Cho
Lesser Deities in the Ugaritic Texts and the Hebrew Bible: A Comparative Study of Their Nature and Roles
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

A.-F. Christidis, ed.
A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity
Reviewed by Douglas Estes

Lowell K. Handy
Jonah's World: Social Science and the Reading of Prophetic Story
Reviewed by Karl Moller

Richard A. Horsley
Jesus in Context: Power, People, and Performance
Reviewed by Stephan Witetschek

Peter Jeffery
The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery
Reviewed by J. Harold Ellens

Edward W. Klink III
The Sheep of the Fold: The Audience and Origin of the Gospel of John
Reviewed by Cornelis Bennema

Katherine M. Stott
Why Did They Write This Way? Reflections on References to Written Documents in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Literature
Reviewed by Werner H. Kelber

David Shepherd, ed.
Images of the Word: Hollywood's Bible and Beyond
Reviewed by Christopher Fuller

A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith, eds.
A Reader's Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Hallvard Hagelia

Jason König and Tim Whitmarsh, eds.
Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire
Reviewed by Stephan Witetschek

Diana Lipton
Longing for Egypt and Other Unexpected Biblical Tales
Reviewed by Amelia Devin Freedman

Antti Laato and Jacques van Ruiten, eds.
Rewritten Bible Reconsidered: Proceedings of the Conference in Karkku, Finland
Reviewed by Sidnie White Crawford

Bryan M. Litfin
Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, eds.
Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am? An Investigation of the Accusations against Jesus
Reviewed by V. George Shillington

Chaim Navon
Genesis and Jewish Thought
Reviewed by David M. Maas

V. Henry T. Nguyen
Christian Identity in Corinth: A Comparative Study of 2 Corinthians, Epictetus and Valerius Maximus
Reviewed by Thomas Schmeller

I'm Baaack!

After an extended hiatus to wrap up my first semester of doctoral work, I'm excited to be back among the ranks of active bibliobloggers. So put me back on the blogroll, Nick Norelli... I've got a lot of catching up to do. ;-)