International SBL London 2011: Paper Proposal 1

I am still waiting to confirm the status of one other proposal, but I do know for definite that I will be giving a paper in the Bible and Its Influence: History and Reception unit at the International SBL Meetings in London in July (for which, byt the way, registration and housing details are now available; I'm planning to slum it in the dormitory accommodation at Kings).  The paper is entitled 'The Reception History of the Pauline Epistles: Beyond the Commentary Tradition' and the abstract is as follows:

The study of the reception history of Paul’s letters is a difficult task. For understandable reasons (notably the paucity of obviously relevant works of art, literature, music and film that bear explicit hallmarks of Pauline influence) those who approach the letters through the interpretative lens of reception history are drawn to the significant and fascinating explicit history represented by commentaries, homilies and exegetical discussions from the patristic, medieval and Reformation and early modern periods. In this paper, I argue that, while valuable, this narrower focus on what Luz describes as the text’s ‘history of interpretation’ (Auslegungsgeschichte) is insufficiently broad and that reception history work on the Pauline letters should pay greater attention to two further sources that provide insights into their history of influence (Wirkungsgeschichte). First, greater attention should be paid to the homiletical reception of the Pauline texts in sermons from all eras of Christian history (and not just those of the patristic and Reformation eras). Second, the effective history of the epistles in relation ‘the church’s activity and suffering’ (Luz) should be accorded a greater degree of interpretative significance. Examples from the reception history of 2 Corinthians relating to both of these concerns will be given as a part of the paper.

New Book: Source Critical Edition of Matthew and Luke in Greek and English

I cannot make the book launch tonight, but I wanted to post details of a new book by my MCD colleague Chris Monaghan CP, A Source Critical Edition of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in Greek and English (2 vols; Subsidia Biblica 40; Gregorian & Biblical, 2010). The book description is as follows:

This edition of Matthew and Luke in Greek and English endeavours to fill a lacuna in tools available for the study of the Synoptic Gospels. There is no shortage of good synopses or critical editions and parallels for Q. What has been lacking is a companion volume to synopses that go beyond placing texts side by side and identify with some precision when Matthew and Luke have verbal agreeement with Mark, when they agree against Mark, when they share material, and when they have material that is unique. The aim of this resource is to help students and scholars alike to enter into the debate about the relationships between the Synoptic Gospels. D.L. Dungan   called for new synopses that could be used in studying the literary composition of the Gospels – works that would “emphasize rather than conceal, the different habits and strategies of composition adopted by each Evangelist.” It is hoped that this edition will go some way towards answering that call.

2 Corinthians: An Emerging Thesis

This week I sent off an essay on 2 Corinthians 3 which will hopefully appear in due course. Next week I have to put the finishing touches to another essay on 2 Corinthians 5, again for an edited volume. My work on 2 Corinthians thus far is pushing me towards the development of an initial thesis about the letter that future work will, I hope, explore at greater depth.

The consensus view of 2 Corinthians (whether 1-9 or the whole letter ) is that, in the words of Frances Young: 'its genre is apology … the work is a 'defence' speech in letter form … The Epistle is to be treated as Paul's account of what apostleship means to him.' (Frances M. Young, 'Understanding Romans in the Lightof 2 Corinthians', SJT 43, p.433). This view tends now to overshadow the view that 2 Corinthians 1-9 (10-13 is a different story) are fundamentally polemical in intent (cf. Georgi).

What I find myself wanting to argue time and time again is that I don't think that Paul ever uses a letter to churches purely as a means of self-defence. At the heart of the Pauline epistolary strategy is the formation of those congregations to greater degrees of Christlikeness, and Paul's account of his own ministry (and that of his co-workers) always serves these wider theological and parenetic aims. To put it another way, I think there are strong arguments to suggest that 2 Corinthians is to be treated as Paul's account of what his apostleship means for them (i.e. the Corinthians). This thesis affects, for example, one's interpretation of the key exhortations in the letter, as well as requiring a re-examination of the use of the 1st person plural (a thorny thicket of an exegetical problem if ever there were).

More details later.

Baptists’ Bible: Inaugural Volume

Thanks to Mikeal Parsons for sending me news of the first volume in what promises to be a fascinating series.  The Baptists' Bible series is an attempt to describe aspects of the history of Baptist engagement with and interpretation of Scripture: a denominationally focussed reception history if you will.  The first volume was released last week at the 400th anniversary celebrations of the beginnings of the Baptist movement in Amsterdam and is entitled The Acts of the Apostles: Four Centuries of Baptist Interpretation.  It is edited by Mikeal and published by Baylor University Press.  My own view is that Baptists ought to have a mildly sceptical view of Acts, not least its 'early-catholic' tendencies (and yes I know that the concept is outdated, but I still think that those Germans had a point).  The more recent Baptist reading in the UK is perhaps better characterized as a myth of origins, as if Acts tells us what the New Testament church was really like, and therefore what the church today should be really like.  I am equally suspicious of that strategy.

Anyway, congratulations to Mikeal and Baylor for launching what promises to be a fascinating series of volumes.

Unicode Greek Fonts

Like many people, I am always trying to find the right fonts for use in my academic writing.  The future is Unicode, as everyone except publishers (you know who you are) who still insist on SPIonic, recognizes. Up until now I have made use of Cardo, not least because it has full Hebrew and Greek functionality.  However the problems have always been that:
1.  I use Word 2004 for most of my writing, and the right to left Hebrew support is absent (and yes I know the answer is to use Mellel, but Mellel doesn't work with EndNote).
2.  I have never been happy with the aesthetics of Cardo.  It looks OK on its own but doesn't seem to work well with TimesNewRoman.

So, what a joy to have two new possibilities for a Greek Unicode font arriving in the last couple of weeks.  Here is a comparative view of Philippians 1.3-5

Arial Unicode
Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ ὑμῶν  4 πάντοτε ἐν πάσῃ δεήσει μου ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν, μετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν δέησιν ποιούμενος,  5 ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἡμέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν

Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ ὑμῶν  4 πάντοτε ἐν πάσῃ δεήσει μου ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν, μετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν δέησιν ποιούμενος,  5 ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἡμέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν 

Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ ὑμῶν  4 πάντοτε ἐν πάσῃ δεήσει μου ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν, μετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν δέησιν ποιούμενος,  5 ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἡμέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν

SBL Greek
Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ ὑμῶν  4 πάντοτε ἐν πάσῃ δεήσει μου ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν, μετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν δέησιν ποιούμενος,  5 ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἡμέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν, 

I'm sorry, but from a very simplistic point of view the new SBL font looks like something from the 19th century.  I am going to go for the IFAO Grec from now in when using Unicode Greek.

Book Announcement: Torah in the New Testament

The proceedings of last summer's Manchester-Lausanne Biblical Studies Seminar have gone to press, edited by Peter Oakes and Michael Tait.  Details can be found on the Continuum website:

Contents are

Preface, Peter Oakes

I. Methodological Issues

1. “Nomos as Social Engineering in the Thought World of the New Testament” Gerald Downing (University of Manchester)

2. “Educating Gentiles: Explanations of Torah in the New Testament, Philo and Josephus” Roger Tomes (University of Manchester)

3. “Torah, Rewritten Torah and Jude” George J. Brooke (University of Manchester)

4. “The End of the Law: the Messianic Torah in the Pseudepigrapha as background to the New Testament” Michael Tait (University of Manchester)

II. Torah, Jesus and the Synoptic Gospels

5. Jésus, fils de Joseph et fils de David” Thomas Römer et Jan Rückl (University of Lausanne) 

6. “La source Q et la Torah” Andreas Dettwiler (University of Geneva)


7. “Works and Faith in Matthew’s Parable of the Sower” Gillian Heald (University of Sheffield)

8. “Old Testament Roots of the Six Antitheses in Matthew” Mayer Gruber (University Beer sheva)

9. “Mark 7:1-23: Revisiting the Question of ‘All Foods Clean’” James Crossley (University of Sheffield)

10. “The Salvific Significance of the Torah in Mark 10:17-22 & 12:28-34” Arseny Ermakov (University of Manchester)

III. Paul and the Law

11. “Helping Paul’s Argument Work? The Curse of Galatians 3.10-14” Barry Matlock (University of Sheffield)

12. “Law and Theology in Galatians” Peter Oakes (University of Manchester) 

13. “Paul et la Torah selon les Actes des apôtres” Daniel Marguerat (University of Lausanne)
IV. The Torah in Acts

14. “Les décisions de l'Assemblée de Jérusalem (Ac
15): abandon ou maintien de la Loi, et particulièrement des règles de
la kashrout?”
Emmanuelle Steffek (University of Lausanne) 

15. “Ac 15, retour du refoulé? L'Eglise et la Loi chez Luc” Simon Butticaz (University of Lausanne)

V. The Torah and the Tabernacle

16. “The Rhetorical Function of John’s Portrayal of the Jewish Law” Sean Winter (University of Manchester)

17. “Filled with the glory of God: the appropriation of tabernacle imagery in the New Testament and Gregory of Nyssa” Ann Conway-Jones (University of Manchester)

A Good Deal on NT Commentaries

For those in the UK, Eden Bookshop is currently offering a 3 for the price of 2 deal on New Testament Commentaries.  This includes major works (New Interpreters; Hermeneia; NICNT; NIGNT; ICC – paperback; some SNTS monographs etc)  Order more than £50 and I think that postage might be free.  Go here to look at the list.