This Festschrift is presented to the scholarly community on the occasion of the 65th birthday of Cilliers Breytenbach, for many years Professor of New Testament Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin and Professor extraordinary at the Stellenbosch University. Since the publication of Nachfolge und Zukunftserwartung in 1984, Cilliers Breytenbach has published on a wide range of topics (cf. the list of publications in this volume), particularly on the Gospel of Mark, on aspects of Pauline theology, as well as—during the last decade—on the epigraphic evidence for early Christianity and its environment in Asia Minor. But a glance through his publications suffices to confirm that—beginning with the publication of Versöhnung: Eine Studie zur paulinischen Soteriologie in 1989—soteriology runs like a golden thread through his research. In addition he supervised several doctoral dissertations on various aspects of soteriology in the New Testament, so that the theme constitutes a kind of Leitmotiv in his scholarly work during the past thirty-five years. We therefore considered it an adequate tribute to present in his honour a volume on early Christian soteriological concepts with contributions by some of his students, colleagues, and friends, hailing from all over the world and honouring an inspiring teacher and distinguished scholar.
Thirty-two contributions are collected in this volume. The bulk of the essays treat aspects of salvation in the New Testament writings. In particular, a substantial number of contributions focus on questions of Paul’s concept of salvation (Yarbro Collins, Wolter, Eschner, Tuckett) as well as its reception and variation in the deutero-Pauline letters (Sterling, Gerber, Müller, Zimmermann); another set of contributions depicts the soteriological profiles of most of the remaining New Testament writings, that is, of the Gospels (Schröter, du Toit, Jantsch, van der Watt, Hoegen-Rohls), Hebrews (Attridge, Steyn), the Catholic Epistles (Kaiser, Doering, Trebilco), and the Book of Revelation (Karrer); whereas some contributions consider particular details relevant to soteriology in the Gospel of Mark (Verheyden, Bosenius). In addition several contributions are concerned with the soteriological profile of non-canonical early Christian texts such as the writings of the Apostolic Fathers (Draper, Rothschild), Marcion (Lieu), and Theodore of Mopsuestia (Bergjan) and as reflected by early Christian epigraphical evidence (Ogereau). Other contributors consider aspects and/or concepts of salvation in ancient Judaism (Köckert, Witte, Lichtenberger) and in the Graeco-Roman world (Bremmer, Thom, Hirsch-Luipold). Picking up on some of Cilliers Breytenbach’s central research interests, many contributors demonstrate how knowledge of the cultural background of the writings sheds light on the understanding of the soteriological concepts in the respective texts (e.g. Bremmer, Schröter, du Toit, Yarbro Collins, Eschner, Zimmermann, Kaiser, Trebilco, Karrer), whereas others demonstrate how the biblical and/or Jewish traditions inform the respective concepts of salvation (e.g. Yarbro Collins, Sterling, Steyn, Draper). Many authors explicitly engage in a critical discussion with or pursue and develop views of Cilliers Breytenbach and his students. All in all we trust that this volume constitutes a useful (albeit not complete) compendium on early Christian concepts of salvation and a worthy tribute to our teacher and colleague. We present it to the scholarly community in the hope that the contributions will provoke a critical discussion in their respective fields.
We express our sincere gratitude to all who have contributed to this project, especially to the authors who notwithstanding tight academic schedules were willing to—and did indeed!—deliver their essays on time. We thank Anja Sakowski (Berlin) for supplying us with an up-to-date list of Cilliers Breytenbach’s publications and Nara Kim, Jacob Cerone, Matthias Fröhlich, Amelie Geyer (Erlangen), May-Britt Melzer, Lukas Matthes, Lea Dohrmann (Hamburg) and Hi-Cheong Lee, Kristin Schlegel, Anselm Müller-Busse (Kiel) for their ample and diligent support in many different phases and facets of this project. We express our sincere thanks to Matthias Müller (Berlin), who meticulously corrected and prepared the manuscript for publishing. A very special word of gratitude goes to the staff of Brill Academic Publishers, especially Tessa Schild, Louise Schouten and Ester Lels, for their generous and competent advice and technical support. We also extend our gratitude to Margaret Mitchell and David Moessner, executive editors of Supplements to Novum Testamentum, for publishing this Festschrift for Cilliers Breytenbach in the series, also in recognition of many years of service as executive editor of Novum Testamentum.
Finally we heartily congratulate Cilliers on the occasion of his 65th birthday and thank him for many years of scholarly insights, exegetical acumen and methodological precision, critical discourse, manifold support on many occasions, and longstanding friendship!
David du Toit, Christine Gerber, and Christiane Zimmermann