Michael Kruger qualifies the notion that the Apostolic Fathers depended primarily on oral tradition and highlights some indicators of the importance of written texts to them. He summarizes,
There’s little doubt that oral tradition still played a role in the second century and beyond. But, the evidence above suggests that there’s little reason to prefer oral tradition as the default, catch-all explanation for the Gospel tradition in the Apostolic Fathers.
On the contrary, the “bookish” nature of early Christianity, and its deep textual identity, suggests that we should be open to the idea that these authors—at least sometimes—knew and used written Gospel texts.
For the balance of Kruger’s discussion, see his original post.
A number of scholars are more skeptical of the Gospels’ portraits of Jesus than the evidence warrants. If someone wrote a biography today about a figure who lived fifty years ago, we wouldn’t start with the assumption that events fifty years ago are shrouded in legend and therefore reject any claim that we could not prove.
Now available from Brill is Antti Laato’s Understanding the Spiritual Meaning of Jerusalem in Three Abrahamic Religions. According to the publisher, the volume
analyzes the historical, social and theological factors which have resulted in Jerusalem being considered a holy place in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It also surveys the transmission of the religious traditions related to Jerusalem. This volume centralizes both the biblical background of Jerusalem’s pivotal role as holy place and its later development in religious writings; the biblical imagery has been adapted, rewritten and modified in Second Temple Jewish writings, the New Testament, patristic and Jewish literature, and Islamic traditions. Thus, all three monotheistic religions have influenced the multifaceted, interpretive traditions which help to understand the current religious and political position of Jerusalem in the three main Abrahamic faiths.
HT: Jim Davila
Richard Middleton provides the English version of his forward to Cosmovisão Cristã: Reflexões éticas contemporâneas a partir da Teologia Arminio-Wesleyana (a.k.a., Christian Worldview: Contemporary Ethical Reflections from Arminian-Wesleyan Theology).
With the papyrologist, Peter Parsons, therefore, I refer now to “copyists” rather than “scribes,” to designate those individuals who copied texts. And I distinguish the process of copying texts from the activities of readers and students of those texts. The activities are distinguishable, even if in some cases they are combined in a given person.
Newly available from SBL Press is Gideon R. Kotzé, Wolfgang Kraus, and Michaël N. van der Meer’s edited collection, XVI Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies: Stellenbosch, 2016. According to the Press,
This book includes papers given at the XVI Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS), held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2016. Essays by scholars from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America identify and discuss new topics and lines of inquiry and develop fresh insights and arguments in existing areas of research into the Septuagint and cognate literature. This is an important new resource for scholars and students who are interested in different methods of studying the literature included in the Septuagint corpora, the theology and reception of these texts, as well as the works of Josephus.
Matthew Crawford’s new book, The Eusebian Canon Tables: Ordering Textual Knowledge in Late Antiquity (OUP, 2019), has now released. It may, however, still be en route to some retailers (e.g., Amazon as of this writing). Per the publisher’s description,
One of the books most central to late-antique religious life was the four-gospel codex, containing the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A common feature in such manuscripts was a marginal cross-referencing system known as the Canon Tables. This reading aid was invented in the early fourth century by Eusebius of Caesarea and represented a milestone achievement both in the history of the book and in the scholarly study of the fourfold gospel. In this work, Matthew R. Crawford provides the first book-length treatment of the origins and use of the Canon Tables apparatus in any language.
HT: Larry Hurtado
“There’s a huge wonderland between failure and perfection—and that’s reality.” – Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journal
Of course, we should strive for excellence in whatever we do. But we also shouldn’t let the quixotic quest for perfection prevent us from finishing. Yes, that paper, that book, that article will have flaws. But has the opportunity to be much more useful to many more people once it’s in print than it ever will if it only ever lives on your computer while you endlessly try to remove its flaws.
The Journal of Greco-Roman Judaism and Christianity has posted four new essays to the 2018 volume:
- Tamiko Isaka, “Jerome’s Interpretation of the Bread in the Lord’s Prayer: ἐπιούσιος and Supersubstantialis”
- Stanley E. Porter, “Two Translated Articles on Josephus”
- Raimondo Bacchisio Motzo (Translated by Tommaso Leoni), “The Two Editions of Josephus’s Life”
- Raimondo Bacchisio Motzo (Translated by Tommaso Leoni), “The Authenticity of the Roman Documents Contained in Josephus’s Antiquities”