Jun 28, 2014

Peter and Cephas?

Michael Barber has a nice post responding to Bart Ehrman (and others) and interacting with Dale Allison on the assertion that Peter and Cephas refer to different individuals. You can check the post out here.

Jun 27, 2014

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below. 

Wm. Randolph Bynum
The Fourth Gospel and the Scriptures: Illuminating the Form and Meaning of Scriptural Citation in John 19:37
Reviewed by Justin Langford

István Czachesz
The Grotesque Body in Early Christian Discourse: Hell, Scatology and Metamorphosis
Reviewed by Jesse Rainbow

Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, eds.
The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis. Second Edition
Reviewed by Larry W. Hurtado

Peter Enns
The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins
Reviewed by Paul Korchin

Zbyn?k Garský
Das Wirken Jesu in Galiläa bei Johannes: Eine strukturale Analyse der Intertextualität des vierten Evangeliums mit den Synoptikern
Reviewed by Jeffrey M. Tripp

Gonzalo Haya-Prats; Paul Elbert, ed.
Empowered Believers: The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts
Reviewed by Ron Clark

Kai Kaniuth et al., eds.
Tempel im Alten Orient
Reviewed by Jason M. Silverman

Christoph Körner and Hans-Winfried Jüngling, eds.
"…denn das ist der ganze Mensch": Jüdische Feste: Kohelet, Ester, Hoheslied, Rut, Klagelieder
Reviewed by Andreas Lehnardt

Michael Pietsch
Die Kultreform Josias: Studien zur Religionsgeschichte Israels in der späten Königszeit
Reviewed by Peter Porzig

Michael Wheeler
St John and the Victorians
Reviewed by Judith Lieu

Jun 26, 2014

The Jerusalem Council, Acts 15, and the Council of Florence

In William Kurz's new commentary on Acts, a sidebar discusses the Council of Florence's decision regarding the apostolic prohibitions of the Jerusalem Council.

"In 1442 the ecumenical Council of Florence addressed the question of whether the apostolic decree of Acts 15:22-29 remains valid. The council cited 1 Tim 4:4, 'Everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving.' After repeating the Jerusalem Council's decision that the ceremonial laws of Moses no longer oblige Christians, it went on to declare:

"The apostolic prohibition, to abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled (Acts 15:29), was suited to that time when a single church was rising from Jews and gentiles, who previously lived with different ceremonies and customs. This was so that gentiles should have some observances in common with Jews, and occasion would be offered of coming together in one worship and faith of God, and a cause of dissension might be removed, since by ancient custom blood and strangled things seemed abominable to Jews, and gentiles could be thought to be returning to idolatry if they ate sacrificial food.

"The Council then stated that where Jews are no longer a significant part of the church, 'since the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased, so its effect has ceased.'"

William S. Kurz, Acts of the Apostles, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), 243.

Jun 25, 2014

Paul, Neapolis, and St. Nicholas

A friend of mine recently let me look through a couple of books that he picked up while leading a trip to Turkey, Greece and Italy. One book was entitled, Journeys of Paul: From Tarsus to the Ends of the Earth by Fatih Cimok. The book contains some really nice pictures and some interesting texts. Unfortunately, the book is a bit on the expensive side for me, at least at Amazon.That being said, here is a short comment from the book related to Neapolis (Acts 16:11) that I found interesting.

"Neapolis (Kavala), the port of Philippi, lay at the end of a wide bay protected by a small peninsula at Paul's time crowned by a statue of Aphrodite. It was the favourite port for travellers from central and northern Europe and those coming from Anatolia. Paul's party probably spent the night at a local inn and next morning joining the cosmopolitan traffic which traveled to the north on the Via Egnatia. Today an altar outside the Church of St Nicholas, which once stood along the water, traditionally, commemorates the place where they landed. The church is said to have, originally, carried the apostle's name ans was turned into a mosque during the Turkish occupation. When the time that the building could again be turned into a church came, the fisherman who met the expense of the restoration cared more for their patron saint Nicolas than the apostle, and named it thus" (pp. 127-28).

Jun 24, 2014

Edward Robinson's Biblical Researches in Palestine, and in the Adjacent Regions

David Stark has provided links to free pdf's of Edward Robinson's three-volume Biblical Researches in Palestine, and in the Adjacent Regions here.

Jun 23, 2014

Weeping in the Psalms

David Bosworth had an interesting article in a recent issue of Vetus Testamentum related to weeping the Psalms. I have included his conclusions below.

"Within the Psalter, weeping is most often mentioned to accentuate the pain and misery of the speaker. Even in the psalms of praise, weeping underscores the speaker’s prior pain in contrast to present joy. Writers employ the motif of weeping to enlist the innate power of this non-verbal behavior within verbalized prayers. However, this motif is not commonly employed. Of forty-two psalms that may be categorized as individual petitions, weeping appears in only six of them (14%). Of sixteen communal petitions, weeping appears in only in three (19%). Taking all sixty-two petitions together, 14% include a reference to weeping. If weeping is a powerful attachment behavior that elicits empathy, why is it not verbalized in more psalms of petition? There are at least two possibilities, which are not mutually exclusive. First, poets may have preferred not to overuse the motif lest it lose its power by constant application. Second, because weeping is a powerful attachment behavior and tears can be faked, humans have ways of defending themselves from being easily manipulated or investing too deeply in caring for the weeper. If all the petitions included weeping, then they might provoke a negative reaction from their divine or human audiences.

"Although weeping may be used in a psalm to elicit sympathy, it may also be used to contrast past distress with present happiness in psalms of thanksgiving. Weeping appears in two of fifteen psalms of thanksgiving (13%). The motif also appears in Psalm 78 and 119, which are not categorized as petitions or thanksgivings. However the motif appears primarily in contexts of petition, and the immediate contexts of Pss 78:64; 119:28, 136 involve petition. Of the thirteen psalms that employ the motif of weeping, six (47%) occur in individual petitions, three (23%)in communal petitions, two in thanksgiving (15%) and two (15%) in psalms that are not characterized as petitions or thanksgivings (Psalm 78 and 119)."

David A. Bosworth, “Weeping in the Psalms,” Vetus Testamentum 62 (2013): 45–46

Jun 22, 2014

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below. 

Vita Daphna Arbel
Forming Femininity in Antiquity: Eve, Gender, and Ideologies in the Greek Life of Adam and Eve
Reviewed by F. Scott Spencer

Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough
Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey
Reviewed by Abson Joseph

Peter W. Flint
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Reviewed by George J. Brooke

William Goodman
Yearning for You: Psalms and the Song of Songs in Conversation with Rock and Worship Songs
Reviewed by T. Michael W. Halcomb

David Weiss Halivni
The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud
Reviewed by Joshua Ezra Burns

Robin M. Jensen
Baptismal Imagery in Early Christianity: Ritual, Visual, and Theological Dimensions
Reviewed by Denis Fortin

Isaac Kalimi, ed.
Jewish Bible Theology: Perspectives and Case Studies
Reviewed by Ginny Brewer-Boydston

William Loader
Making Sense of Sex: Attitudes Towards Sexuality in Early Jewish and Christian Literature
Reviewed by Michael Rosenberg

Víctor Morla
Los manuscritos hebreos de Ben Sira: Traducción y notas
Reviewed by Nuria Calduch-Benages

James Carleton Paget and Joachim Schaper, eds.
The New Cambridge History of the Bible: From the Beginnings to 600
Reviewed by J. Christopher Edwards