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The Oldest Gospel and the Formation of the Canonical Gospels

In Canon, Jordan Almanzar, Marcion, Matthias Klinghardt, New Testament, Peeters, Synoptic Gospels, Synoptic theories on December 23, 2022 at 12:21 pm

2022.12.13 | Matthias Klinghardt. The Oldest Gospel and the Formation of the Canonical Gospels. Biblical Tools and Studies 41; Leuven: Peeters, 2021.

Review by Jordan Almanzar, Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts.

Matthias Klinghardt’s study, The Oldest Gospel and the Formation of the Canonical Gospels, is a two-volume work in which he proposes Marcion’s Evangelion as the key to explaining origins of the canonical Gospels. The work was inspired by a certain disharmony Klinghardt sees in 19th-century scholarship existing between two discourses that largely took place in Germany: 1) the so-called synoptic problem and 2) the relationship of Marcion’s Evangelion to canonical Luke. These discourses developed simultaneously yet independently of one another, and Klinghardt seeks to not only bring them together, but to display the results of doing so.

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Mark, A Pauline Theologian

In Biblical Criticism, Gospel of Mark, Gregg S. Morrison, Historical Criticism, Mar Pérez i Díaz, Mohr Siebeck, Paul on December 19, 2022 at 3:00 pm

2022.12.12 | Mar Pérez i Díaz, Mark, a Pauline Theologian: A Re-reading of the Traditions of Jesus in the Light of Paul’s Theology. WUNT II 521. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020.

Review by Gregg S. Morrison, Birmingham, Alabama.

Petrine influence on the Gospel of Mark has been a well-attested assertion in Gospel studies for centuries, based primarily on the affirmation attributed to Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Historia ecclesiastica (Hist. Eccl.3.39.15). There it is said that Mark served as Peter’s interpreter (ἑρμηνευτής). This perspective went unchallenged until the early 1900s when scholars began to argue that the evangelist was influenced by the Apostle Paul and his teachings/theology. Some scholars considered the matter resolved with Martin Werner’s 1923 publication, Der Einfluss paulinischer Theologie im Markusevangelium, which held that perceived Pauline elements in the Second Gospel reflected primitive Christianity in general and not a conscious effort on the behalf of the evangelist to put Paul’s imprint on the Gospel. But not all scholars accepted the findings of Werner and the debate over Pauline influence on the Gospel of Mark continued and has picked up steam in the last 30–40 years—especially with the two-volume collection of essays published in 2014 for the Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft (BZNW) series, entitled Paul and Mark and Mark and Paul, respectively. Enter Mar Pérez i Díaz and her fine work, Mark, a Pauline Theologian

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Ethnicity and Inclusion

In Eerdmans, ethnicity, history of interpretation, inclusion, Jonathan Rowlands, NT reception history, Reception history on December 5, 2022 at 3:00 pm
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2022.12.11 | David G. Horrell. Ethnicity and Inclusion: Religion, Race, and Whiteness in Constructions of Jewish and Christian Identities. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020. 

Review by Jonathan Rowlands, St. Mellitus College

In Ethnicity and Inclusion, Horrell examines the ways in which the contested categories of ethnicity, race, and religion coalesce in and arise from conceptions of the relationship between Judaism and early Christianity. Seeking to focus “on the log in my own eye rather than the specks in others’ eyes” (pp. 2–3), Horrell brings these issues into conversation with the implicit whiteness (another contested term) of contemporary biblical scholarship. In so doing, he not only upturns claims about Judaism and early Christianity, but also offers sobering critique of NT studies itself. Horrell articulates the need to re-examine conceptions of race, ethnicity, religion, and identity in antiquity, as well as the ways in which these categories are apprehended in contemporary scholarship. 

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Pauline Theology and the Problem of Death

In Death, Isaac T. Soon, Joseph Longarino, Mohr Siebeck, NT Theology, Paul, Sin on November 21, 2022 at 3:00 pm
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2022.11.10 | Joseph Longarino, Pauline Theology and the Problem of Death. WUNT II/558 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021).

Review by Isaac T. Soon, Crandall University.

This book is a revised version of the author’s dissertation, completed at Duke University under the supervision of Douglas Campbell in 2019. Longarino’s study focuses on a truly disregarded problem in Pauline theology: given the death-defying work of Jesus of Nazareth, how is it that his followers are still subject to death? Put another way—from the eschatological vantage point of resurrection—to what extent (if at all) is resurrection somehow a part of the present existence of Christ-followers?

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Jesus the Jew in Christian Memory

In Barbara Meyer, Cambridge University Press, Historical Jesus, Jewish Backgrounds, Jonathan Rowlands, Memory, Philosophy on November 10, 2022 at 3:00 pm

2022.11.09 | Barbara U. Meyer. Jesus the Jew in Christian Memory: Theological and Philosophical Explorations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 

Review by Jonathan Rowlands, St. Mellitus College.

Barbara Meyer’s monograph is concerned with “the theological implications of Jesus’ Jewish identity as well philosophical questions raised by the ongoing presence of Jewishness within Christian ethical and dogmatic discourse” (p. 1). Jesus’ Jewishness, and its pursuant theological and philosophical implications, are apprehended by Meyer through the lens of memory. Memory, she writes, speaks of Jesus’ Jewishness “not [as] a new discovery,” but helps to capture what has been “present but dormant throughout Church history … often suppressed, neglected, and overlooked” (p. 2).

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Luke in His Own Words

In Bloomsbury, Jenny Read-Heimerdinger, Kendall A. Davis, Luke-Acts, Manuscript Studies, Manuscripts, Textual Criticism on October 31, 2022 at 12:00 pm
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2022.10.08 | Jenny Read-Heimerdinger. Luke in His Own Words: A Study of the Language of Luke-Acts in Greek. LNTS 672. London: T&T Clark, 2022.

Review by Kendall A. Davis, University of Edinburgh.

As anyone who looks at a critical apparatus for the New Testament knows, a significant number of textual variants involve subtle differences like the presence of an article, the order of words, and so on. Many readers will gloss over such variants as being merely “stylistic,” by which they mean to say, “relatively unimportant and meaningless.” Jenny Read-Heimerdinger’s new collection of previous published essays, Luke in His Own Words, challenges this assumption through a thorough analysis of Luke’s Greek as it is preserved in the Alexandrian text (as represented by Codex Sinaiticus [א01] and Codex Vaticanus [B03]) and Codex Bezae (D05). Read-Heimerdinger combines text-criticism, discourse analysis, and New Testament interpretation to argue that many variants between D05 and the Alexandrian text that are often perceived to be merely stylistic are in fact intentional and meaningful. Read-Heimerdinger further argues that the Bezan text of Acts is not necessarily a later expansion of Acts, as frequently assumed, but may preserve a form of Acts that is earlier than the version preserved in the Alexandrian tradition.

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Tätige Nächstenliebe in Werk und Wirken Gregors des Grossen

In Arnold Smeets, Gregory the Great, Mohr Siebeck, Patristics, Susanne Barth on June 9, 2022 at 9:47 pm

2022.06.07 | Susanne Barth. Tätige Nächstenliebe in Werk und Wirken Gregors des Grossen. Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 122. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021. ISBN 978-3-16-156303-4. pp. xiii, 449.

Review by Arnold Smeets, Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, Utrecht.

The English title of this book, as mentioned on the publisher’s website: Acts of Charity in the Works and Endeavours of Gregory the Great, is clear enough, but, I think, misses an important point. Susanne Barth’s book is not just on the acts of charity but more on active charity. Gregory the Great was focused on doing charity, making the difference, both in words and in deeds. His diaconal-caritative theology of active neighbourly love (‘eine diakonisch-karitative Theologie der tätigen Nächstenliebe’, 392), is not so much an effect of a vision after studying and contemplating Scripture, but more the foundation, inspiration and blueprint of how he saw his mission as a Christian Roman and (later) bishop of Rome.

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Vom Bernstein zum Luchsstein

In Bryan Beeckman, Felix Albrecht, HB/OT, Septuagint, Universitätsverlag Winter on May 30, 2022 at 12:33 pm

2022.05.06 | Felix Albrecht. Vom Bernstein zum Luchsstein. Der im Hebraïschen mit lšm bezeichnete Stein und seine Äquivalente in Septuaginta und Vetus Latina. Indogermanische Bibliothek. 3. Reihe, Untersuchungen; Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2021. ISBN 978-3-8253-4799-4.

Review by Bryan Beeckman, KU Leuven/UCLouvain.

In Vom Bernstein zum Luchsstein, Felix Albrecht examines the meaning of לֶשֶׁם (lšm; Ex 28:19 // 39:12), one of the twelve stones which were placed on the breastplate made for Aaron, the high priest. In order to reconstruct the origin and transmission history of lšm, Albrecht examines this specific lexeme in the different textual witnesses of the Hebrew Bible, i.e. the Masoretic Text (MT), the Septuagint (LXX) and the Vetus Latina (VL).

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Studies on the Intersection of Text, Paratext, and Reception

In Brill, Charles E. HILL, Gregory R. Lanier, J. Nicholas Reid, Manuscript Studies, Manuscripts, Matthew Burks, Textual Criticism on April 8, 2022 at 7:35 pm

2022.04.05 | Gregory R. Lanier and J. Nicholas Reid. Studies on the Intersection of Text, Paratext, and Reception: A Festschrift in Honor of Charles E. Hill. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study 15. Leiden: Brill, 2021. pp. xxvii + 414.

Review by Matthew Burks, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

This book is a festschrift dedicated to Charles Hill on his 65th birthday. Dr. Hill currently holds the title of Professor Emeritus at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. The broad range and purpose of the book is to update each of the fields of Hill’s interest and earlier research to “bring together the latest research on each of these subfields and explore how they can and should inform each other” (p. xi).

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Scripture, Texts, and Tracings

In A. Andrew DAS, Anthony Royle, Fortress Press, Intertextuality, Lexington Books, Linda L. BELLEVILLE, Romans, Scripture, Septuagint on March 26, 2022 at 2:00 pm
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2022.03.04 | Linda L. Belleville and A. Andrew Das (eds.). Scripture, Texts, and Tracings in Romans. London: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2021. pp. xiii + 267. ISBN: 978-1-9787-0471-8.

Review by Anthony P. Royle, University of Glasgow.

Scripture, Texts, and Tracing in Romans is a collection of twelve essays presented at the Society of Biblical Literature seminar on Scripture and Paul from 2017 and 2018. This is the second edited volume in a planned four volume series. (The previous volume on 1 Corinthians was edited by Linda Belleville and B. J. Oropeza.) In this volume Andrew Das is co-editor with Belleville, who also contribute two chapters alongside notable senior Pauline scholars invited to deliver papers to the seminar.

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