Reviews of

From Stoicism to Platonism

In Cambridge University Press, Early Christianity, Early Judaism, Eric Covington, Platonism, Troels ENGBERG-PEDERSEN on July 31, 2017 at 11:25 am

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2017.07.16 | Troels Engberg-Pedersen (ed.). From Stoicism to Platonism: The Development of Philosophy, 100BCE100 CE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. ISBN: 9781107166196.

Reviewed by Eric Covington, Howard Payne University. 

From Stoicism to Platonism: The Development of Philosophy, 100BCE100CE, edited by Troels Engberg-Pedersen, contains papers that emerged from a conference held in August 2014 at the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences in Copenhagen.  The tome brings together a veritable “Who’s Who” of researchers in the area of ancient philosophy in the first-century BCE and CE world in order to examine, as the title suggests, the interaction between Stoicism and Platonism during the period of 100BCE–100 CE.  The combined effect of the collected essays is to challenge the oft-repeated characterization of this philosophical period as a time of “eclecticism.”  This work nuances this designation and provides further clarity concerning the different types of philosophical interaction during the period and the broad philosophical development during the time that eventually led to the dominance of imperial Platonism by the second century (p. 10). 

Exegeting the Jews

In Brill, Gospel of John, Michael G. AZAR, Patristic exegesis, Simeon Burke on July 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

2017.07.15 | Michael G. Azar, Exegeting the Jews: The Early Reception of the Johannine “Jews”. The Bible in Ancient Christianity 10. Leiden: Brill, 2016. ISBN: 9789004308893

Reviewed by Simeon Burke, University of Edinburgh.

Following the Second World War, and particularly since the 1960s, scholars have simplistically described two millennia of Christian use of the “Johannine Jews” as “anti-Jewish”. This is the central claim of Michael Azar’s published Fordham doctoral thesis, Exegeting the Jews. Against this scholarly consensus, Azar enlists a trio of patristic authors – Origen, John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria – each of whom applied John’s narrative of Jesus and the Johannine Jews in ways that do not easily conform to the categories and conclusions of the last fifty years of scholarship. The apparent hostility exhibited by the Fourth Gospel toward “the Jews” “did not function for Origen, Chrysostom and Cyril primarily as grounds for anti-Judaic sentiment, but rather as a scriptural resource for the spiritual formation and delineation of their Christian communities” (51). In other words, it was not “anti-Judaism” that fuelled their exegesis of the “Johannine Jews” but internal Christian concerns related to reading practices, ethics and orthodoxy. 

Letters from the Pillar Apostles

In 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Canon, Catholic Epistles, Darian LOCKETT, James, Johannine Epistles, Jude, Kelsie Rodenbiker, Pickwick on July 18, 2017 at 5:32 pm

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2017.07.14 | Darian R. Lockett. Letters from the Pillar Apostles: The Formation of the Catholic Epistles as a Canonical Collection. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2017. ISBN: 9781620327562.

Reviewed by Kelsie Rodenbiker, Durham University, UK.

In Letters from the Pillar Apostles, Lockett is concerned to establish the early legitimacy of the Catholic Epistles (CE) as a historically and hermeneutically plausible canonical collection and thus an equal New Testament (NT) sub-corpus alongside the fourfold Gospel and Pauline epistles (pp. xvii, xviii). Noting an oft-assumed discontinuity, Lockett states, “[r]ather than emphasizing composition (usually associated with the historical-critical approach) or canonization (associated with subsequent, ecclesial, and theological judgments) at the expense of the other, this project considers both in dialectical relationship” in order to demonstrate “that the process of editing, collecting, and arranging of these seven texts is neither anachronistic to their meaning nor antagonistic to their very composition” (p. xvi).