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Archive for the ‘Early Christianity’ Category

The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity

In De Gruyter, DSS, Early Christianity, Jörg FREY, Jesse D. Stone, John R. LEVISON, New Testament, Pneumatology, Qumran, review on January 19, 2018 at 9:02 pm


2018.01.02 | Jörg Frey and John R. Levison, eds. The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Ekstasis 5. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2017.

Reviewed by Jesse D. Stone, University of St Andrews.

This volume gathers together essays produced as part of an interdisciplinary project on the historical roots of early Christian pneumatology (ECP) led by the editors, Jörg Frey and John “Jack” Levison.

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Perceiving the Other

In Early Christianity, Early Judaism, Matthew Thiessen, Max Botner, Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Mohr Siebeck, review, Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation, Wolfgang Grünstäudl on December 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm


2017.12.29 | Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Wolfgang Grünstäudl, and Matthew Thiessen, eds. Perceiving the Other in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. WUNT 394. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.

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

Scholars of religion are becoming increasingly attuned to the ways in which groups represent and conceive of the “other.”

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The Text of Marcion’s Gospel

In Brill, Dieter T. ROTH, Early Christianity, Jordan Almanzar, Marcion, New Testament, review, Textual Criticism on September 3, 2017 at 10:40 am


2017.09.18 | Dieter T. Roth. The Text of Marcion’s Gospel. New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents 49. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2015. ISBN: 9789004245204.

Reviewed by Jordan Almanzar, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen.

Dieter T. Roth has taken up the ambitious task of reconstructing the Gospel portion of Marcion’s “bible”. His objective is not a new one, as the first attempts to reassemble Marcion’s text are generally traced to the 18th century (Roth, 8). [Roth credits J.S. Semler as the first scholar to attempt a resemblance of Marcion’s text, however, he also mentions Richard Simon’s work from nearly a century earlier.] Even so, scholars have long awaited a book such as the one Dieter T. Roth has produced.Its value lies chiefly in the intentionally convenient layout, which is the result of Roth’s patient classification and arrangement of material. Therefore, the book can be immediately used and appreciated by anyone interested in Marcion’s Gospel. Most of the work is an explanation of the difficulties of the task along with details on the methods employed to do so; however, readers can begin using it as a reference tool at the outset.

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From Stoicism to Platonism

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


2017.07.17 | 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).  Read the rest of this entry »

The Birth of the Trinity

In Christology, Early Christianity, Madison N. Pierce, Matthew W. BATES, New Testament, Oxford University Press, Pneumatology on October 17, 2015 at 3:19 pm


2015.10.20 | Matthew W. Bates. The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament and Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Pp. 256. Hardcover. ISBN 9780198729563.

Review by Madison N. Pierce, Durham University.

Many thanks to OUP for providing a review copy.

While in previous decades it has been imprudent to speak of the “Trinity” prior to the fourth century, a number of recent works have set aside the stigma to re-examine the extent to which the NT is Trinitarian. Implicit in those studies is the question: What did the fourth century glean from the first? For Matthew W. Bates in The Birth of the Trinity, one of the most significant contributions is an explanation of the exegetical method termed “prosopological exegesis” (PE). This method re-interprets Jewish Scripture by identifying an otherwise ambiguous or unspecified participant in the text, a prosopon or character. This monograph draws upon Bates’ previously published thesis, The Hermeneutics of Apostolic Proclamation (Baylor University Press, 2013). Read the rest of this entry »

I papiri letterari Cristiani

In Angelo CASANOVA, Dan Batovici, Early Christianity, Guido BASTIANINI, Instituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli”, Manuscripts, Papyrology on April 12, 2014 at 10:00 am


2014.4.8 | Guido Bastianini and Angelo Casanova, eds. I papiri letterari Cristiani: atti del Convegno internazionale di studi in memoria di Mario Naldini. Firenze, 10-11 giugno 2010. Studi e Testi di Papirologia N.S. 13. Firenze: Instituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli,” 2011. Pp. vi + 205 + 27 illustrations. ISBN 978-88-87829-45-7. Papeback.

Review by Dan Batovici, KU Leuven.

Many thanks to Instituto Papirologico “Vitelli” for providing a review copy.

Stemming from the 2010 annual colloquium of Instituto Papirologico “Vitelli” held ten years after Mario Naldini’s passing away, this volume is a Gedenkschrift in his memory. The first paper, “Mario Naldini e la Papirologia,” is signed by Carlo Nardi and offers both a laudatio and a presentation of his life and works, especially related to early Christianity and papyrology.

Eleven contributions then follow, signed by R.S. Bagnall, G. Bastianini & G. Cavallo, P. Parsons, J. Chapa, A. Carlini & M. Bandini, E. Ginnarelli, O. Zwierlein, P. Marrassini, J. Gascou, M. Stroppa, D. Minutoli & R. Pintaudi, written in English, Italian, German and French. Read the rest of this entry »

The Transmission of Sin

In Augustine, Early Christianity, Encratite heresy, Hereditary sin, Infant baptism, Isabella Image, Origen, Original Sin, Oxford University Press, Patristics, Pier Franco BEATRICE on December 10, 2013 at 9:00 am


2013.12.22 | Pier Franco Beatrice. The Transmission of Sin: Augustine and the pre-Augustinian sources. Translation by Adam Kamesar. AAR Religions in Translation.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. xii + 299 pages. ISBN: 9780199751419

Review by Isabella Image, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

Many thanks to OUP for providing a review copy.

This recent translation provides English readers with Beatrice’s work on Augustine’s theory of original sin, and in particular the issues of hereditary sin and the implication that babies are condemned if not baptised. His key argument is that hereditary sin — and the associated need for infant baptism — are doctrines arising from heterodox Encratite groups, who are condemned in the East but survive in North Africa and thus come to influence orthodox Christian thought.

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The Early Text of the New Testament

In Charles E. HILL, Early Christianity, Manuscripts, Michael J. KRUGER, New Testament, Oxford University Press, Papyrology, Peter Malik, Reception history, Textual Criticism, Transmission history on October 10, 2013 at 10:44 am


2013.10.20 | Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger (eds.). The Early Text of the New Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. xiv + 483 pages (HB) ISBN 9780199566365.

Review by Peter Malik, University of Cambridge.

Many thanks to OUP for providing a review copy.

The present volume is comprised of twenty-two essays (including the extended introduction) written by a wide array of distinguished scholars under editorship of Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger. In the introductory essay entitled “In Search of the Earliest Text of the New Testament”, the editors set out “to provide an inventory and some analysis of the evidence available for understanding the pre-fourth century period of transmission of the NT materials” (p. 2). Read the rest of this entry »

Stoicism in Early Christianity

In Baker Academic, Early Christianity, Ismo DUNDERBERG, New Testament, Samuli Siikavirta, Stoicism, Troels ENGBERG-PEDERSEN, Tuomas RASIMUS on August 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm


2013.08.17 | Tuomas Rasimus, Troels Engberg-Pedersen and Ismo Dunderberg (eds.). Stoicism in Early Christianity. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. 320 pages. (PB) ISBN 9780801039515.

Review by Samuli Siikavirta, University of Cambridge.

Many thanks to Baker Academic for kindly providing us with a review copy.

Stoicism in Early Christianity is a collection of essays on a variety of topics suggesting that Stoicism rather than Middle Platonism was the predominant philosophical influence on early Christian texts. The emphasis on Stoic influence is seen as a neglected area in New Testament scholarship, which the book wants to change. Nearly half of the book’s thirteen essays are written by Nordic scholars (as one may expect of a book edited by two Finns and a Dane), but other authors range from universities in the USA, the Netherlands, Japan and South Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

Image, Word and God in the Early Christian Centuries

In Ashgate, Early Christianity, Jacob Phillips, Mark EDWARDS on May 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm


2013.05.07 | Mark Edwards, Image, Word and God in the Early Christian Centuries. Ashgate Studies in Philosophy and Theology in Late Antiquity. Ashgate: Farnham, Surrey 2013. 220 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4094-0671-6.

Review by Jacob Phillips, King’s College London.

Many thanks to Ashgate for kindly providing us with a review copy.

Tertullian’s adage: quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis (what has Athens to do with Jerusalem?), tends to be a little overused in theological discourse. As well as being a cliché, it also fosters the view that the philosophical and theological concerns of Graeco-Roman and Hebrew thinking were somehow poles apart. Read the rest of this entry »