Category Archives: de gruyter

Tracing the Jerusalem Code Today

Tracing the Jerusalem Code today

You can access all three volumes online here:

All three volumes are #openaccess.

There’s also a wonderful introduction to the topic, showing how this project came into being:

The Latest Issue of Perichoresis

Perichoresis 19.1 (2021) is about ‘Revivalism in Central European Protestantism, 1840-1940: Hungarian Calvinists, British Evangelicals, and German-Austrian Pietists during the Spiritual Renewal of Protestant Churches in the Austro-Hungarian Empire’.

Edited by Ábraham Kovács (professor of historical and systematic theology at the Reformed Theological University in Debrecen, Hungary, and at Selye János University in Komárno, Slovakia), this issue about Reformed Christianity at the peripheries of Europe includes contributions by

  • Levente Horváth (the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
  • Ottó Pecsuk and Gábor J. Lányi (Károli Gáspár University in Budapest, Hungary)
  • Teofil Kovács (Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary)
  • Árpád Kulcsár (Debrecen Reformed Theologial University, Hungary)
  • Karl Schwarz (University of Vienna, Austria).

All articles are available free of charge on De Gruyter’s Sciendo platform:

De Gruyter Has Some New Volumes of Interest

Geschichte Israels und Judas im Altertum

This new volume will be of interest to many-

The authors develop a new viewpoint on the ancient history of Israel and Judah by examining social and economic conditions, contemporary inscriptions, and archeological and iconographic sources as a basis for biblical exegesis and theology. In this way, the authors uncover the backdrop for the great biblical narrative, created as a collective memory since Persian period in Jerusalem, Babylonia, and the sanctuary on Mount Gerizim.

Ernst Axel Knauf, University of Bern, Switzerland and Hermann Michael Niemann, University of Rostock, Germany.

Most histories of Israel end up being nothing more than a paraphrase of the biblical text.  This is certainly the case of the histories written by the Albright/ Bright school of historical studies.  It was not until the history of Mario Liverani that a distinction was made between the history of Israel as paraphrase of scripture and the history of Israel as historical discipline that the two were clearly separated (although the so called minimalists had been trending in that direction for several decades).

Truth be told, what we know about the history of ancient Israel and Judah is slim to none.  Like the historical Jesus, there simply are not a lot of resources for reconstruction aside from the Bible, which naturally means that there’s very little, historically, that we can say.

The present book tries to integrate what can be known from extra-biblical history with biblical materials as supplemental.  To say that another way, for the present authors, the biblical text is a secondary source and the archaeological and textual evidence from outside the bible set the agenda.

The volume, accordingly, begins with a clear description of the authors’ methodology.  The pre-history of Israel is next up, and that pre-history begins not with Abraham or Moses or those folk but with the states of Israel and Judah.  The history of Israel, historically, begins not with the patriarchs, but with the States.

Next treated is the Egyptian province of Canaan and the end of the bronze age.  Chapter three examines the tribal system of ancient Israel and its appearance in the land.  Chapter four looks into the beginnings of the State under Saul and David with an Excursus on Solomon.   Chapter five looks more closely at the Omride State and the dynasties of the Northern Kingdom.  Chapter six naturally next considers the history of Judah.

In chapter seven, Judah’s existence under Babylonian control is investigated and in chapter eight we read further details about both Babylonia and Persia.

Chapter nine brings us to the return to Palestine of the ‘exiles’ and the rise of Torah as guiding light for Judean culture.  In chapter ten, the era called by many the intertestamental period is next taken up and in chapter eleven the Hellenistic era is the topic.  Finally, in chapter twelve, we come to the period of time in which Rome controlled Palestine and we end with the rebellion of Bar Kochba.

This very thorough look at the history of the people called Israelites, Judahites, Judeans, and Jews is the ideal blending of extra-biblical and scriptural details allowing for what can fairly be called a good and accurate depiction of that people’s story.

Six appendices on various historical details like the lists of kings and the dates of the exile and return among others round out the volume and it concludes with indices of scripture, names and persons, and places.  The text also includes sidebars and maps. There are also lots of bibliographic details included in each chapter.

This is a tremendous resource and does what so far most have failed to do: i.e., not privilege the biblical text in its historical reconstruction.  Until one of our Minimalist friends writes a thorough history of Israel, this will be the next best thing.  I enjoyed reading it, and you will too.

Einführung in das Neue Testament: Bibelkunde des Neuen Testaments- Geschichte und Religion des Urchristentums

A reprint edition of this classic has been published.  

Normally reprint’s aren’t considered grist for the review mill but sometimes a glance back at a real classic is beneficial for a new generation of biblical scholars.  Many may not be familiar at first hand with Lietzmann’s work and they would benefit, greatly, by being introduced to it.

First published in 1933 by Knopf, and thoroughly revised and reworked by Lietzmann, the fifth edition appeared in 1949.  Thus, the work first appeared on the cusp of the Second World War and went through four editions until reaching its final incarnation in 1949, just a few years after the war ended.  Incredibly, given those historical facts, the presence of an absolutely astonishingly fair representation of Judaism in the NT era is noteworthy on its own.  Add to that the remarkable thoroughness and the abiding relevance of many of the details, and this book is seen to be what it truly is: a wonder.

The book begins with a relatively brief overview of the language of the New Testament.  Next follows a very thorough examination of the textual witnesses available for study of the New Testament, including a survey of text critical methods, a description of the most ancient texts, the earliest witnesses in translation, the citations available in the Church Fathers, and the history of the printed text.  Finally, there is discussion of the contemporary (at the time) textual theories of Westcott and Hort.

Immediately following the text critical orientation of the volume, the early Christian literature is described.  Paul’s letters, the deutero-paulines, the letters of the Apostolic Fathers (!), the gospels, the apocryphal gospels (!), Acts, the Apocalypse, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 2 Clement, and the Apologists all receive analysis.

The canon of the New Testament is next investigated.  Following this, the New Testament era is treated as a discreet topic, and this includes an examination of the Judaism of the New Testament period.  Hellenistic culture is next up to bat.

The sixth part of the volume is devoted to the beginnings of Christianity and guides readers into a clearer understanding of Jesus and his preaching, the apostolic age, Paul and his mission to the Gentiles, and developments from Jesus to Paul.

Next up is a look at the church from around 70 AD till 150 AD.

As easily seen, this is a very complete work in terms of its focus on introducing readers to the texts, literature, and world of the early Church.    All of it is based on one simple premise as brilliantly stated by the author:

Der Theolog steht in der Nachfolge der Apostel und ist Erbe ihres Amtes, Gottes Dolmetsch zu sein.

Never has a finer brief definition of the expositional task been written.

This book may be nearly 100 years old, but it is well worth reading right now.  It has much that is valuable in it.  It teaches much.  It is a genuinely important book.

Dreams, Visions, Imaginations: Jewish, Christian and Gnostic Views of the World to Come

The contributions in this volume are focused on the historical origins, religious provenance, and social function of ancient Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, including so-called ‘Gnostic’ writings. Although it is disputed whether there was a genre of ‘apocalyptic literature,’ it is obvious that numerous texts from ancient Judaism, early Christianity, and other religious milieus share a specific view of history and the world to come.

Many of these writings are presented in form of a heavenly (divine) revelation, mediated through an otherworldly figure (like an angel) to an elected human being who discloses this revelation to his recipients in written form. In different strands of early Judaism, ancient Christianity as well as in Gnosticism, Manichaeism, and Islam, apocalyptic writings played an important role from early on and were produced also in later centuries. One of the most characteristic features of these texts is their specific interpretation of history, based on the knowledge about the upper, divine realm and the world to come.

Against this background the volume deals with a wide range of apocalyptic texts from different periods and various religious backgrounds.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, with no requirements concerning the review’s outcome.
It contains the following essays:

  1. Where Should We Look for the Roots of Jewish Apocalypticism?, John J. Collins
  2. Apocalyptic Literature and Experiences of Contact with the Other-World in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity, Luca Arcari
  3. Time and History in Ancient Jewish and Christian Apocalyptic Writings, Lorenzo DiTommaso
  4. Apocalyptic Writings in Qumran and the Community’s Idea of History, Jörg Frey
  5. This Age and the Age to Come in 2 Baruch, Matthias Henze
  6. Jesus and Jewish Apocalyptic, Armand Puig i Tàrrech
  7. Time and History: The Use of the Past and the Present in the Book of Revelation, Adela Yarbro Collins
  8. Dreams, Visions and the World-to-Come according to the Shepherd of Hermas, Joseph Verheyden
  9. Ezra and his Visions: From Jewish Apocalypse to Medieval Tour of Hell, Jens Schröter
  10. Views of the World to Come in the Jewish-Christian Sibylline Oracles, Olivia Stewart Lester
  11. Defying the Divine: Jannes and Jambres in Apocalyptic Perspective, Marcos Aceituno Donoso
  12. Between Jewish and Egyptian Thinking: The Apocalypse of Sophonias as a Bridge between Two Worlds?, Michael Sommer
  13. From the ‘Gnostic Dialogues’ to the ‘Apostolic Memoirs’: Literary and Historical Settings of the Nag Hammadi Apocalypses, Dylan M. Burns
  14. What is ‘Gnostic’ within Gnostic Apocalypses?, Jean-Daniel Dubois
  15. Being in corpore/carne and extra corpus: some interrelations within the Apocalypsis Pauli/Visio Pauli, Thomas J. Kraus
  16. From Historical Apocalypses to Apocalyptic History: Late Antique Historians and Apocalyptic Writings, Tobias Nicklas
  17. Qur’anic Eschatology in its Biblical and Late Ancient Matrix, Stephen J. Shoemaker
  18. The Book of Revelation and Visual Culture, Lourdes García Ureña

I have taken the liberty of marking in bold print the essays which are particularly helpful and provocative.  These essays, as a whole, advance knowledge related to their particular topics.  Readers will note that while the themes covered here are fairly broad, the one unifying concept is apocalyptic.  And not since D.S. Russell’s monograph on apocalyptic has the subject been addressed so thoroughly.

Canonical texts and non-canonical come into view and none are privileged.  The status of texts within their respective communities of faith are left aside and the texts themselves, without the usual baggage attached, are faithfully and carefully looked into.

The indices are a great help in locating materials of particular interest to particular readers.  The subject index is itself very thorough and extremely useful.  Each essay also provides a quite up to date bibliography.  The essays are all in English but the editors have provided a very nice abstract at the beginning of each, in German.  And naturally, this being an academic work, there are plenty of footnotes which will inform and delight those thirsting for more information.

This is a quite good resource and persons desirous of learning about the long tentacles of apocalyptic thought and their entanglements in Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic texts from antiquity will benefit from it.

Sacred Journeys in The Counter-Reformation

At this link you can access the front matter and look inside the volume.

Christoph Heilig’s Book is Available for Download


The question of whether “implicit” narratives are of importance for understanding the letters of Paul in the New Testament is fiercely debated among scholars working on that corpus. The claim is that there are stories behind the text (i.e. on the level of the world view, for example) – even in non-narrative parts, such as arguments – that we as exegetes must uncover in order to properly understand the apostle’s intentions.

Today, de Gruyter has released my new monograph (published in the BZNW series) that deals with this question at length – that is, in just over 1000 pages. The book has grown so big because in my attempt to evaluate the theses of Richard B. Hays, N.T. Wright, and others who have followed them I soon noticed that (a) the theoretical and methodological foundations themselves were in need of a critical re-examination and that (b) explicit narratives – ignored by both proponents and opponents of the approach – actually deserve to be analyzed for their own sake … and yield some quite significant insights for the larger question. The book presents the results of my research on this big nexus of questions from the last seven years at the University of Zurich.

Here’s a good part….

Amen.  It’s a super interesting, massive book.  Give it a look.

Paulus als Erzähler? Eine narratologische Perspektive auf die Paulusbriefe

Coming out tomorrow. I had the joy of reading it at dissertation stage. It really is a deeply thought provoking work.

Open Access: From Scrolls to Scrolling: Sacred Texts, Materiality, and Dynamic Media Cultures

Throughout history, the study of sacred texts has focused almost exclusively on the content and meaning of these writings. Such a focus obscures the fact that sacred texts are always embodied in particular material forms—from ancient scrolls to contemporary electronic devices. Using the digital turn as a starting point, this volume highlights material dimensions of the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The essays in this collection investigate how material aspects have shaped the production and use of these texts within and between the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from antiquity to the present day. Contributors also reflect on the implications of transitions between varied material forms and media cultures.

Taken together, the essays suggests that materiality is significant for the academic study of sacred texts, as well as for reflection on developments within and between these religious traditions. This volume offers insightful analysis on key issues related to the materiality of sacred texts in the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, while also highlighting the significance of transitions between various material forms, including the current shift to digital culture.

Jews and Protestants

This new book will be of interest to many people.

The book sheds light on various chapters in the long history of Protestant-Jewish relations, from the Reformation to the present. Going beyond questions of antisemitism and religious animosity, it aims to disentangle some of the intricate perceptions, interpretations, and emotions that have characterized contacts between Protestantism and Judaism, and between Jews and Protestants.

While some papers in the book address Luther’s antisemitism and the NS-Zeit, most papers broaden the scope of the investigation: Protestant-Jewish theological encounters shaped not only antisemitism but also the Jewish Reform movement and Protestant philosemitic post-Holocaust theology; interactions between Jews and Protestants took place not only in the German lands but also in the wider Protestant universe; theology was crucial for the articulation of attitudes toward Jews, but music and philosophy were additional spheres of creativity that enabled the process of thinking through the relations between Judaism and Protestantism.

By bringing together various contributions on these and other aspects, the book opens up directions for future research on this intricate topic, which bears both historical significance and evident relevance to our own time.

DeGruyter have sent a review copy.  Be sure to visit the publisher’s link above and scroll to the contents.  The essays contained in this work were delivered first at a conference in Jerusalem in 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.  The essayists hale from universities in Europe and Israel, and America and their papers cover a wide range of topics, from the impact of the Reformation on early modern German Jews to the legacy of anti-semitism in Bach’s cantatas, to Jewish and Gentile interpretations of Luther’s anti-Jewish writings.

The aim of the conference, and the volume, is to deepen Jewish-Christian understanding.  In particular, Jewish-Lutheran understanding.

The most important contribution to the collection is that of Kyle Jantzen, “Nazi Racism, American Anti-Semitism, and Christian Duty”.  Not because it is the most profound or the best written (though it is profound and it is well written), but because it is incredibly relevant to the situation in America right now.

The rise of the alt-right and the surge of neo-nazi groups in this country right now has stunning and depressing parallels to the situation in this country in 1938.  And though we should have learned the lessons of 1938, it is obvious that we have not.  Nor does it seem that we are likely too.

Those who refuse to learn the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.  This volume is a helpful reminder of the entire history of Jewish and Christian interaction since the Reformation.  A history that we are repeating.  And not in a better way.

Über 75.000 eBooks kostenfrei zugänglich

Der Wissenschaftsverlag De Gruyter und seine Partnerverlage stellen einen Onlinezugang zu vielen tausend Büchern zur Verfügung.

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“Wir von De Gruyter und unsere Verlagspartner bieten Institutionen einen kostenfreien Online-Zugang zu Tausenden von Büchern an, die sich in gedruckter Form in den Bibliotheken von Hochschulen und Universitäten befinden.

In herausfordernden Zeiten möchten wir damit einen Beitrag für die Aufrechterhaltung von Forschung, Lehre und Studien leisten.”

Kostenfreier Zugang gilt nur bis zum 30. Juni 2020.


Das Buch Ezechiel

Ed. by Gertz, Jan Christian / Körting, Corinna / Witte, Markus, Das Buch Ezechiel: Komposition, Redaktion und Rezeption.

The Front Matter, TOC, and other helpful indicators of the volume’s aims are available here.

The editors begin

Das Ezechielbuch erfreut sich seit einiger Zeit wieder einer zunehmenden Beachtung in der Forschungsdiskussion. Das hat unterschiedliche, gleichwohl miteinander zusammenhängende Gründe. Mit seiner charakteristischen Textgeschichte ist das Ezechielbuch nicht zuletzt für die Verhältnisbestimmung von protomasoretischer Tradition und der hebräischen Vorlage der LXX von Bedeutung.

Dabei zeigt sich immer deutlicher, wie sehr die Rekonstruktion der Textgeschichte sowohl redaktionsgeschichtliche als auch rezeptionsgeschichtliche Fragestellungen anregt, aufgreift und weiterführt. Für die Literaturgeschichte des Alten Testaments kommt dem Ezechielbuch schon wegen seiner wechselseitigen Beziehungen zur Priesterschrift und zu solchen Texten, die in jüngerer Zeit vornehmlich der Holiness School zugerechnet werden, sowie seiner theologischen Konzeption eine herausgehobene Stellung zu. Darüber hinaus haben jüngere Arbeiten zur Kosmologie des Alten Testaments die enge Verbindung des Ezechielbuches zu kosmologischen Entwürfen Mesopotamiens erneut ins Zentrum gestellt.

Daneben tritt die Verbindung in den griechischen Raum stärker ins Bewusstsein. Beide Einsichten sind wiederum für das Bild der israelitisch-jüdischen Religionsund Theologiegeschichte von Bedeutung.

And further.  They then briefly summarize the contents of each paper, and so since that’s done and freely available I will here offer my observations on the volume.

Part of the value of the present work is the range of topics discussed.  The subtitle is actualized and papers concerning such things as the text of Ezekiel discovered at Qumran, literary and exegetical examinations of the volume, and Ezekiel among the early Christians are just a few of the topics broached.  All of the papers are in German (with English abstracts)  save Casey Strine’s, the lone English contribution (though it has a German abstract for those who wish it).

The most outstanding of the contributions are those of Fabry (on Ezekiel in Qumran and Masada), Nihan (on Ezekiel 8), Bühner (on Ezekiel and ‘P’), Strine (on anthropology), and Karrer (on Ezekiel and the first Christians).  Each essay in the volume features footnotes and a thorough bibliography.  The Western font is pleasant whilst the Hebrew font is decent if a bit small for complete comfort, and the pages are neither thin nor thick, but like the last bowl of porridge that Goldilocks tried, they are just right.  Subject and Author indices are also included.

There are no pictures though, so some Seminary students will find it lacks the entertainment value that they’ve come to treasure in these troubled times of ours.

Aesthetics and other such matters aside, in terms of usefulness the volume is simply superb.  Readers will discover how intricately the book of Ezekiel can be examined and the most useful methodological tools for undertaking that examination.

Most especially, though, will those students and scholars of the book of Ezekiel be benefited by reading the tome.

The editors of this work have done a great job both of assembling first rate scholars to deliver these papers in Eisenach at a colloquium on Ezekiel in 2018 (May of that year to be precise).  And they have done a wonderful job of editing them into a coherent, well organized, important, and eminently quotable volume.  Or, as they state it themselves, after laying the groundwork for the collection:

Diese vielfältigen Aspekte der Forschung zum Ezechielbuch zu bündeln und zugleich paradigmatisch voranzubringen war das Ziel der Tagung „Das Buch Ezechiel – Komposition, Redaktion und Rezeption“ der Fachgruppe Altes Testament in der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie e.V., die im Mai 2018 in Eisenach stattfand. Für die vorliegende Publikation wurden die Referate mit Blick auf die offene und intensive Diskussion während der Tagung überarbeitet.

You probably weren’t at Eisenach when the colloquy took place.  And you probably aren’t there now.  But you can make a ‘virtual’ stop at the gathering and ‘sit in on’ the papers that interest you by picking up a copy of this volume.

It will be an excellent use of your quarantine time.  And it’s a sight better than binge watching Tiger Joe on Netflix for 13 hours.

Hugo Greßmann und sein Programm der Religionsgeschichte

Hugo Greßmann (1877-1927) hat als einer der führenden Vertreter der Religionsgeschichtlichen Schule die religionsgeschichtliche Methode zur Geltung gebracht. Die biographisch-wissenschaftsgeschichtliche Studie stellt Greßmanns religionsgeschichtliches Programm dar, ordnet es in den wissenschaftshistorischen Kontext ein und zeigt seine Bedeutung für die weitere Wissenschaftsgeschichte auf.

Das Abendmahl im johanneischen Kreis: Eine exegetisch-hermeneutische Studie zur Mahltheologie des Johannesevangeliums

Bienert, David C., Das Abendmahl im johanneischen Kreis: Eine exegetisch-hermeneutische Studie zur Mahltheologie des Johannesevangeliums.

The full table of contents, and the foreword, are available at the link above.  A perusal of them both will fully inform potential readers about the volume here under review in terms of its aims and interests.

Die vorliegende Studie ist eine überarbeitete Fassung meiner im WS 2010/11 von der Evangelisch-Theologischen Fakultät Münster angenommenen Dissertation: „Das Abendmahl im johanneischen Kreis. Exegetisch-hermeneutische Überlegungen zu einer Mahltheologie des Johannesevangeliums“. Für die Drucklegung wurden einige Passagen deutlich gestrafft, dazu zahlreiche Versehen, Redundanzen sowie unpräzise Formulierungen getilgt oder verbessert. In den Jahren 2010 – 2016 erschienene Publikationen zur Fragestellung werden in einem Anhang besprochen. Fünfzehn Jahre hat es gedauert bis meine Ausgangsfrage nach einer johanneischen Abendmahlstheologie mit dieser Publikation ihren Abschluss findet.

Interestingly, this revised dissertation was a decade in the making.  Normally, dissertations have a fairly rapid turn-around rate but this exceptional volume breaks that mold as it breaks interpretive and exegetical molds from start to finish.

To begin with, our author investigates the Supper in the Johannine community.  101 pages later, he turns to the questions of composition and redaction.   178 pages after he begins that discussion he turns to a new question: the exegetical one.  He looks thoroughly into John 2:1-12, 6:1-59, 12:1-8, 13:1- 17:26, 19:23-37, and John 21.  This is, of course, the bulk of the book, extending from page 279 to page 508.  The work concludes with a theological investigation of the Supper in John, an ‘afterword’, and a full bibliography.  The last pages are occupied by indices.

So much for the contents.  Now to the substance.  Bienert skillfully explores the issue and comes to some important conclusions by means of hard exegetical work and not on the basis of speculations or suppositions.  Every argument is firmly grounded in the data and there is no stone left unturned in the quest for the historical Supper and its theological intentions in the Gospel of John.

I won’t spoil the ending and divulge the conclusions which B. reaches.  I will allow you the pleasure of that discovery for yourselves.  Nor will I summarize the development of the argument, since the incredibly thorough table of contents does that itself.  Fully.

I will tell you, though, that in spite of all the work put in and all the extraordinary effort expended, Bienert humbly concludes

Der Überblick lässt vermuten, dass das Rätsel um den Umgang des Johannesevangeliums mit dem Herrenmahl auch noch im 21 Jahrhundert die neutestamentliche Exegese und die frühe Kirchengeschichte beschäftigen wird.  Dieses Buch möchte seinen eigenen Beitrag dazu leisten.

It is more than merely a contribution to the status quaestionis, but is itself an immensely helpful and important benchmark and milestone in the investigation of the question.  I recommend it to those who are interested in the Johannine literature, those interested in the Supper, and those interested in excellent methodology.

In these pandemic times it’s a pleasure and a joy to escape back into that hard work of biblical scholarship.  I assure you, should you pick this book up, you will be glad to think other things too.

Luke / Acts and the End of History

Luke/Acts and the End of History investigates how understandings of history in diverse texts of the Graeco-Roman period illuminate Lukan eschatology. In addition to Luke/Acts, it considers ten comparison texts as detailed case studies throughout the monograph: Polybius’s Histories, Diodorus Siculus’s Library of History, Virgil’s Aeneid, Valerius Maximus’s Memorable Doings and Sayings, Tacitus’s Histories, 2 Maccabees, the Qumran War Scroll, Josephus’s Jewish War, 4 Ezra, and 2 Baruch.

The study makes a contribution both in its method and in the questions it asks. By placing Luke/Acts alongside a broad range of texts from Luke’s wider cultural setting, it overcomes two methodological shortfalls frequently evident in recent research: limiting comparisons of key themes to texts of similar genre, and separating non-Jewish from Jewish parallels. Further, by posing fresh questions designed to reveal writers’ underlying conceptions of history—such as beliefs about the shape and end of history or divine and human agency in history—this monograph challenges the enduring tendency to underestimate the centrality of eschatology for Luke’s account.

Influential post-war scholarship reflected powerful concerns about “salvation history” arising from its particular historical setting, and criticised Luke for focusing on history instead of eschatology due to the parousia’s delay. Though some elements of this thesis have been challenged, Luke continues to be associated with concerns about the delayed parousia, affecting contemporary interpretation. By contrast, this study suggests that viewing Luke/Acts within a broader range of texts from Luke’s literary context highlights his underlying teleological conception of history.

It demonstrates not only that Luke retains a sense of eschatological urgency seen in other New Testament texts, but a structuring of history more akin to the literature of late Second Temple Judaism than the non-Jewish Graeco-Roman historiographies with which Luke/Acts is more commonly compared. The results clarify not only Lukan eschatology, but related concerns or effects of his eschatology, such as Luke’s politics and approach to suffering. This monograph thereby offers an important corrective to readings of Luke/Acts based on established exegetical habits, and will help to inform interpretation for scholars and students of Luke/Acts as well as classicists and theologians interested in these key questions.

This volume is a much needed and much appreciated corrective to the long held but inadequate views of Conzelmann.

Those who have spent any time in the study of Luke/ Acts have come across Hans Conzelmann.  His work casts a massive shadow across the field and he is as impossible to avoid as Bultmann is for the Synoptics and the Theology of the New Testament and as von Rad is for Old Testament theology.  Indeed, persons ignoring Conzelmann simply cannot be taken seriously as scholars of Luke / Acts.

Accordingly, it is only proper for Crabbe to deal with him.  But she doesn’t just deal with him, she corrects him, and that is a massive achievement.

The contents of the book are available for viewing here, along with various snippets freely offered for downloading.

Many books have been written on the topic of history in the Lukan material.  This volume is unique in its presentation of extrabiblical contemporaneous material as necessary for a proper understanding of the Lukan purpose.

The first two chapters are the typical ‘status questionis’ of the doctoral dissertation (which this is, revised), and the methodology to be utilized is fully and carefully detailed.  Chapter three examines ‘history’ as that word needs to be understood in order to follow the development of the dissertation.  Chapter four focuses on the notion of historical determinism whilst chapter five advances theories concerning human freedom and responsibility within history.

Chapter six is the genuine heart of the study, discussing, as it does, the present and the end of history.  Virgil is brought in as example and so are Luke/ Acts.

Chapter seven draws some conclusions and readers may want to consider beginning here to get a sense of where the book is headed before they commence reading at the first chapter.  That, by the way, is always a fairly good procedure when one reads revised dissertations: begin at the conclusion to see where the author wants to end up and then read the work to see if he or she actually accomplishes what they set out to do.  Many times they do not.  In this case, however, Crabbe does exactly what she meant to do.

The book ends with a series of 5 appendices which are simply charts illustrating the occurrences of Greek words related to ‘time’ across the New Testament.  There’s then a full bibliography, an index of ancient sources, an index of modern authors, and finally an index of subjects.

The great thing about this book is its heavy dependence on primary sources.  In an era when most scholars seem to be satisfied with collecting secondary sources and banging on endlessly only about how original sources have fared in ‘reception history’, this work delves into the works that matter instead of the works that matter to those disinterested in reading ancient texts.

Crabbe has done excellent work.  She deserves our appreciation.  And, I think, were Hans Conzelmann still with us, he would appreciate Crabbe’s work very much indeed.

If you are a Lukan scholar, this book is must reading.  If you aren’t, you will still enjoy this volume for its clarity, cogency, and helpfulness.

Paulus als Erzähler? Eine narratologische Perspektive auf die Paulusbriefe

Pre-order your copy and request that your institutional library do the same.  It’s a fantastic book.  Learned, well researched, and eminently readable.  The best book on Paul that I’ve read since Chris Tilling’s.

Paulus ist vor allem als theologischer Denker bekannt. Nun behaupten gewichtige Stimmen aus dem englischsprachigen Raum, die Exegese seiner Briefe habe sich bisher viel zu sehr auf abstrakte Konzepte und Argumentationsfiguren konzentriert. Vielmehr sei die Erkenntnis von fundamentaler Bedeutung, dass die Texte durch und durch von Geschichten geprägt seien. Gemeint sind nicht explizite Erzählungen, sondern narrative Strukturen, die im Subtext oder in der Weltanschauung des Autors verortet werden. Heiligs Studie unterzieht diesen „narrative approach“ einer kritischen Prüfung: Kann im Fall von Briefen sinnvoll von Narrativen gesprochen werden? Ist die Priorisierung impliziter Erzählungen sinnvoll? Mit welchem methodischen Werkzeug könnte man die bisher angeblich übersehenen Erzählungen identifizieren? Heilig beantwortet diese und weitere grundsätzliche Fragen unter Bezugnahme auf die erzähltheoretische und textlinguistische Forschung und zeigt in der Analyse konkreter Texte auf, wie Paulus tatsächlich als „Erzähler“ auftritt. Dabei demonstriert er, wie eine initiale Konzentration auf explizite Erzählungen tatsächlich auf einen Weg zu einer neuen, narratologisch fundierten Betrachtungsweise der Schriften des Apostels führen kann.

Encyclopedia of Jewish-Christian Relations

Jewish-Christian relations have a long history and did not start at the end of World War II. The Encyclopedia of Jewish-Christian Relations (EJCR) documents, critically analyses, and reflects on decisive aspects, themes, and periods in this regard. The encounters and relations were not always and exclusively hostile, although Christian disrespect and contempt of Jews overshadowed them to a vast and dominating extent. It is also the case that anti-Christian teachings have appeared through Jewish history, whether in response to persecution, in formal disputation, or in philosophical responses.

However, the view of Jews and Christians as implacable opponents battling for their version of truth, of Jews living as insular pariahs within a hostile world, the tale of persecution by the mighty of the weak, or what Salo Baron critiqued as the “lachrymose conception of Jewish history”, has given way in recent years to a much more nuanced understanding of areas of congruence, of cultural, economic, and social interchange. For a long time these interchanges between Jews and Christians were those of highly unequal participants, where an imbalance in terms of political and academic power had a decisive impact on the exchange in that the Jewish participants were denied recognition on equal par at theological as well as at institutional level. Nevertheless, encounters and critical interactions did occur and a legacy of Jewish-Christian relations has been built.

The EJCR is thus a project which continues the tradition of interreligious relations within Judaism and Christianity by developing a comprehensive and fundamental scholarly/academic work which documents the current state of research and serves as the standard reference work for further research projects in the area of Jewish-Christian relations. It aims at setting the firm basis for any work in Jewish-Christian relations in the future built on the irrevocable presupposition of mutual respect at eye level. As such the EJCR serves also as a contribution to establish Jewish-Christian relations as an area of research and studies in its own right.

We are happy that you have found your way to this database and hope the EJCR articles will provide you with sustained scientifically based support for your research and discourses, for dialogue initiatives and the ecclesial and theological permeation of these relationships.

Visit the webpage of the project and scroll to the bottom for sample articles and more info.  A-J Levine is the Editor in Chief so it will surely be spectacular.

Were We Ever Protestants? Essays in Honour of Tarald Rasmussen

This anthology discusses different aspects of Protestantism, past and present.

Professor Tarald Rasmussen has written both on medieval and modern theologians, but his primary interest has remained the reformation and 16th century church history. In stead of a traditional «Festschrift» honouring the different fields of research he has contributed to, this will be a focused anthology treating a specific theme related to Rasmussen’s research profile.

One of Professor Rasmussen’s most recent publications, a little popularized book in Norwegian titled «What is Protestantism?», reveals a central aspect research interest, namely the Weberian interest for Protestantism’s cultural significance. Despite difficulties, he finds the concept useful as a Weberian «Idealtypus» enabling research on a phenomenon combining theological, historical and sociological dimensions. Thus he employs the Protestantism as an integrative concept to trace the makeup of today’s secular societies.

This profiled approach is a point of departure for this anthology discussing important aspects of historiography in reformation history: Continuity and breaks surrounding the reformation, contemporary significance of reformation history research, traces of the reformation in today’s society.

The book relates to current discussions on Protestantism and is relevant to everyone who want to keep up to date with the latest research in the field.

Visitors to this link will find access to the table of contents and other front matter which will help them in deciding whether or not this is a volume they wish to read.  I think those interested in the Reformation will be drawn to the work.

As the table of contents is available above I won’t be repeating it here.  Instead, I will make a few observations about the book, which I found very interesting and informative, and I will point out a few problems with the book.

First, the observations:  the essays in this collection are a fitting celebration of the scholar herein honored.  Rasmussen is certainly the most accomplished of Reformation scholars from Scandinavia, and the work at hand centers its attention primarily on the outworking of the Reformation in those lands.  Particularly engaging, for me, were the essays by Leppin (who is a wonderful scholar), Jürgensen, and Kaufmann.

Jürgensen’s intriguing contribution featured a number of excellent photographs which properly illustrated his chief thesis, which is that art is the one place Protestants felt comfortable in retaining their Roman Catholic affinity for images and idols.  The cult of the Saints is alive and well in Protestantism, in other words, in artistic depictions – even if the cult was denounced in sermons and tractates.

And Kaufmann’s essay is simply superb.  His assertion that

The German ‘Protestant community’ itself has a chequered history of division and hatred.  The Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) parties required considerable time and effort to overcome doctrinal differences and reach a frosty unity based on perception of the common Catholic enemy.

is right on the mark.  And his demonstration of that truth in his contribution is thorough and intelligent.  He is, accordingly, also right to point out that

The Peace of Augsburg may therefore have established political and legal peace, but it did nothing to prevent – indeed promoted – the establishment of a bitter confessional split in the German nation which provided the framework for the development of an unparalleled level of inter-confessional rancor and uninhibited polemic.

And now, second, a few problems with the book.  The primary issue readers will have with the book is that there are a number of places where it is obvious that it has not been carefully examined by a native English speaker.   For instance,

on page 1 – ‘bin’ stands where the word should be ‘been’.

on page 4 – ‘Luther’s Catholic Intention and the Raise of Protest’ should be ‘Luther’s Catholic Intention and the Rise of Protest’.

on page 7 – ‘Making Luther Protesting’ should be ‘Making Luther Protestant’.

on page 11 – “Wider Hans Worst” should be ‘Wieder Hans Wurst’.

And finally (because I don’t want to list every grammatical error but simply illustrate their fairly common appearance), on page 11 the closing paragraph as a whole is oddly constructed (from an English point of view):

Was Luther ever a Prostestant?  Again: No, never.  How could he?  Luther wanted to be a Catholic, and he felt being a Catholic.  Sure, not a Roman Catholic, but he was neither a Lutheran nor a Protestant.  He was just: a Christian.

The wonderfully informative and engaging essays of this collection deserved a second go through linguistically.  The reading experience of this book is less pleasurable than it could be, and should be, simply because the various grammatical errors are jarring.   Reading the work is like driving down a lovely highway where the scenery out the windows of the car is simply enthralling and being jarred from the experience by a giant pothole that nearly shakes one from one’s seat.

I sincerely hope that should a second edition appear, it will be combed through by an English editor before it is printed.

Free in Open Access from De Gruyter: “Sceptical Paths: Enquiry and Doubt from Antiquity to the Present”

Download it here.

Sceptical Paths offers a fresh look at key junctions in the history of scepticism. Throughout this collection, key figures are reinterpreted, key arguments are reassessed, lesser-known figures are reintroduced, accepted distinctions are challenged, and new ideas are explored.

The historiography of scepticism is usually based on a distinction between ancient and modern. The former is understood as a way of life which focuses on enquiry, whereas the latter is taken to be an epistemological approach which focuses on doubt. The studies in Sceptical Paths not only deepen the understanding of these approaches, but also show how ancient sceptical ideas find their way into modern thought, and modern sceptical ideas are anticipated in ancient thought. Within this state of affairs, the presence of sceptical arguments within Medieval philosophy is reflected in full force, not only enriching the historical narrative, but also introducing another layer to the sceptical discourse, namely its employment within theological settings.

The various studies in this book exhibit the rich variety of expression in which scepticism manifests itself within various context and set against various philosophical and religious doctrines, schools, and approaches.