RBL Newsletter (December 24, 2009)

The latest, Christmas Eve, reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include the following:

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Hermeneutics and Cognate Fields

Jewish Scripture and Cognate Fields

2010 SECSOR Presentation

A few weeks ago, I received confirmation that my paper, “‫ מורה הצדק‬ as a Hermeneutical Functionary in the Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts,” has been accepted for presentation at the 2010 meeting of the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion. Here is a brief abstract:

Although a good deal of work has been done on the hermeneutical method(s) found at Qumran, to date, insufficient attention has been given to the presuppositional matrix that allowed these methods to function at Qumran as they did. For, after all, considered in themselves, theses and interpretations appear valid not primarily because of the method by which they were derived but because of the perceived fit between a given thesis and an accepted worldview paradigm. Therefore, this paper will seek to show: (1) that ‫מורה הצדק‬ (the teacher of righteousness) himself definitively determined the Qumran community’s hermeneutical matrix in certain, specific respects and (2) that these specific determinations helped the Qumran community understand their scriptures in conjunction with what they knew to be their own, special position in ‫’יהוה‬s plan for Israel.

I am very much looking forward to this presentation and the interaction that follows. If you are interested in attending and honoring me with your ears, I believe this presentation, unless something changes, will be in the American Academy of Religion’s first History of Judaism section.

“Early Readers of the Gospels”

Greg Goswell has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “Early Readers of the Gospels: The Kephalaia and Titloi of Codex Alexandrinus.” Goswell observes that “there is substantial variation among the codices [Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, and Sinaiticus] with regard to where [chapter] divisions are placed” (135) and argues that

A survey of the kephalaia in the four Gospels [of Alexandrinus] indicates that their placement is not haphazard but reflects an evaluation of the flow of the narratives and shows insight into the meaning of the story. Some breaks are close together, but others are widely separated. There are considerable differences in the length of the sections, reflecting a perception of the nature of the text by those responsible for the sectioning. Even a glance at the headings assigned to the kephalaia reveal the large element of commonality between the four Gospels (e.g. the headings of Mt. A6, Mk A4 and Lk. A12 that all read ‘Concerning the leper’), but they also bring to light, at times, what is distinctive about particular Gospels (e.g. the differing themes of the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke). . . . The function of a textual break in separating or joining material has at times provided . . . exegetical insights. One clear trend within all four Gospels is the highlighting of the element of the miraculous in the ministry of Jesus and (the reverse side of this) the downplaying of his teaching. The headings usually focus on the fact of controversy between Jesus and the religious leaders rather than what issues were controverted. The lack of attention given to dominical passion predictions and the paucity of divisions within the passion narrative itself suggest that there is little focus upon the suffering and atoning death of Jesus. Instead the divisions in the passion narratives reflect a homiletical tradition (or liturgical usage) in which there is a moralistic focus on positive and negative ethical examples (172–74).

RBL Newsletter (November 30, 2009)

The latest reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include the following:

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Jewish Scripture and Cognate Studies

Other Fields

This Year’s IBR Giveaway

At the Friday night meeting of the Institute for Biblical Research, there is traditionally a book giveaway of some kind. At my first IBR last year, attendees received M. Daniel Carroll R.’s Christians at the Border and either Theological Interpretation of the New Testament (ed. Kevin Vanhoozer, Daniel Treier, and N. T. Wright) or Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament (ed. Kevin Vanhoozer, Craig Bartholomew, and Daniel Treier).

The Theology of John's Gospel and Letters: The Word, the Christ, the Son of God At this year’s meeting, Zondervan kindly provided copies of Andreas Köstenberger’s recently released Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters: The Word, the Christ, the Son of God. According to the publisher’s description,

A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters introduces the first volume in the BTNT series. Building on many years of research and study in Johannine literature, Andreas Köstenberger not only furnishes an exhaustive theology of John’s Gospel and letters, but also provides a detailed study of major themes and relates them to the Synoptic Gospels and other New Testament books. Readers will gain an in-depth and holistic grasp of Johannine theology in the larger context of the Bible.

As a whole, the forthcoming volumes of the Biblical Theology of the New Testament series will also

provide[] upper college and seminary-level textbooks for students of New Testament theology, interpretation, and exegesis. Pastors and discerning theology readers alike will also benefit from this series. Written at the highest level of academic excellence by recognized experts in the field, the BTNT series not only offers a comprehensive exploration of the theology of every book of the New Testament, including introductory issues and major themes, but also shows how each book relates to the broad picture of New Testament theology.

The authors for the forthcoming volumes on the other New Testament documents and corpora besides the Johannine Gospel and letters are as follows:

  • Michael Wilkins (Matthew)
  • David Garland (Mark)
  • Darrell Bock (Luke-Acts)
  • Douglas Moo (Paul)
  • George Guthrie (Hebrews)
  • Thomas Schreiner (Peter, James, and Jude)
  • Andreas Köstenberger and Alan Bandy (Revelation)

So, the series appears poised to provide several, helpful resources for students and teachers of the New Testament from a biblical-theological angle, and it will be interesting to see precisely how the future volumes come together.