Reviews of

Matthew’s New David at the End of Exile

In Brill, David (king of Israel), Intertextuality, Matthew, Max Botner, Messianism, Nicholas PIOTROWSKI, Scripture on May 31, 2017 at 2:00 pm

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2017.05.11 | Nicholas G. Piotrowski, Matthew’s New David at the End of Exile: A Socio-Rhetorical Study of Scriptural Quotations. NovTSup 170. Leiden: Brill, 2016. ISBN: 9789004326781

Reviewed by Max Botner, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main.

Matthew’s use of the Jewish scriptures—particularly his fulfillment citations—has long perplexed modern readers. Has the evangelist ransacked his scriptures in a contorted effort to justify his Christology? Or is there another principle guiding his selection of scriptural source material? In this revised version of his 2013 Wheaton College dissertation “Scripture and Community: The Socio-Rhetorical Effect of Matthew’s Prologue Quotations,” Nicholas Piotrowski mounts a fresh and compelling argument for the latter. His thesis is that “the prologue-quotations, individually and collectively, select a frame that evokes one pervasive OT subplot: «David/end-of-exile»” (p. 4).

The Concepts of the Divine in the Greek Magical Papyri

In Eleni PACHOUMI, Magic, Mohr Siebeck, Papyrology, Paul Linjamaa on May 30, 2017 at 3:09 pm

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2017.05.11 | Eleni Pachoumi, The Concepts of the Divine in the Greek Magical Papyri. Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity 102. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017. XVI, 258 pages. ISBN 978-3-16-154018-9.

Review by Paul Linjamaa, Lund University.

This monograph is devoted to the many and varying forms of ancient magical papyri – spells, hymns, amulets, rituals, remedies, and mythological and liturgical elements, from the Greco Roman Egypt of second century BC to the seventh century CE.  The focus is, as indicated in the title, to investigate the “concepts of the divine”. The study comprises revised parts of the authors’ doctoral dissertation (chapter 3?) and “some articles” (chapter 1 and 2?) (9). The central concern, as stated on the back, is to investigate how “philosophical, religious and mystical assimilations affect the concepts of the divine in the Greek magical papyri”. The study includes an introduction, three central chapters, followed by an epilogue and appendices (comprising of a mind map of how the magical papyri were used and an assortment of lists pertaining to the source material used in the study).

Copying Early Christian Texts

In Alan MUGRIDGE, Garrick V. Allen, Manuscript Studies, Manuscripts, Material Culture, Mohr Siebeck, Papyrology on May 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm

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2017.05.10 | Alan Mugridge. Copying Early Christian Texts: A Study of Scribal Practice. WUNT 362. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016. xx + 558 pages. ISBN: 9783161546884.

Review by Garrick V. Allen, Dublin City University.

In this valuable resource, Alan Mugridge examines the codicological features of 548 early papyri originating from before the fourth century CE in an effort to be understand the social setting of their production. He is particularly interested to ascertain whether the copyists of the early Greek papyri transmitting early Christian works were ‘Christians’ (not necessarily professional scribes), or if communities hired professional copyists outside their immediate social context. The entirety of this detailed volume is devoted to the argument that “the copyists of the majority of Christian texts were trained scribes, probably working in a variety of settings, and that there is no firm evidence that the copyists were generally Christian” (p. 2). This argument has drastic implications for how we understand the textual transmission and variation of early Christian documents.