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Essays on the Deuteronomistic History, Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah
Shortly before his untimely death Gary Knoppers prepared a number of articles on the historical books in the Hebrew Bible for this volume. Many had not previously been published and the others were heavily revised. They combine a fine attention to historical method with sensitivity for literary-critical analysis, constructive use of classical as well as other sources for comparative evidence, and wide-ranging attention to economic, social, religious, and political circumstances relating in particular to the Persian and early Hellenistic periods. Knoppers advances many new suggestions about significant themes in these texts, about how they relate one to another, and about the light they shed on the various communities’ self-consciousness at a time when new religious identities were being forged.
This book investigates the various paraphrastic techniques employed by Nonnus of Panopolis (5th century CE) for his poetic version of the Gospel of John. The authors look at Nonnus’ Paraphrase, the only extant poetic Greek paraphrase of the New Testament, in the light of ancient rhetorical theory while also exploring its multi-faceted relationship with poetic tradition and the theological debates of its era. The study shows how interpretation, cardinal both in ancient literary criticism and in theology, is exploited in a poem that is exegetical both from a philological and a Christian point of view and adheres, at the same time, to the literary principles of Hellenistic times and late antiquity.
Volume Editors: Jérôme Moreau and Olivier Munnich
Religion et rationalité. Philon d’Alexandrie et sa postérité propose un nouveau regard sur les travaux de Philon d’Alexandrie : prenant appui sur les mots de Moïse aussi bien que sur des concepts philosophiques, il les associe dans son commentaire de l’Écriture pour créer une nouvelle manière de penser. Les dix études rassemblées dans ce volume apportent un nouvel éclairage sur cette méthode et son originalité. Elles mettent également en évidence la pérennité de cette démarche aussi bien dans le néo-platonisme que chez les Pères de l’Église et ou dans l’exégèse médiévale.

Religion et rationalité. Philon d’Alexandrie et sa postérité offers a new insight into the works of Philo of Alexandria. Relying on the words of Moses as well as on philosophical concepts, Philo combines these in his commentary of Scripture to create a new way of thinking. The ten studies collected in this volume shed new light on the originality of this method. They also highlight the way it was echoed by Neo-Platonists, the Church Fathers and even medieval exegetes.
New Perspectives on Tradition and Transformation
Volume Editors: Albert Geljon and Nienke Vos
Based on the paradigmatic shift in both liturgical and ritual studies, this multidisciplinary volume presents a collection of case studies on rituals in the early Christian world. After a methodological discussion of the new paradigm, it shows how emblematic Christian rituals were influenced by their Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts, undergoing multiple transformations, while themselves affecting developments both within and outside Christianity. Notably, parallel traditions in Judaism and Islam are included in the discussion, highlighting the importance of ongoing reception history. Focusing on the dynamic character of rituals, the new perspectives on ritual traditions pursued here relate to the expanding source material, both textual and material, as well as the development of recent interdisciplinary approaches, including the cognitive science of religion.

Abstract

In early Coptic stories of saints and martyrs, demons are usually prototypical adversaries and side with the devil in his battle against Christ. However, it has been noted that in magical texts of a definitely Christian social origin, demons are sometimes invoked for assistance. Such sources might perhaps be dismissed as unrepresentative of the official theological position of the Alexandrian church, but, as is shown in the present paper, demons are occasionally portrayed as champions of Christ also in more ‘respectable’ texts such as hagiographies of the later 1st millennium AD. This is argued to show that the more nuanced analysis of demons does not represent an early folk undercurrent of Egyptian Christianity, but rather reflects an alternative theological view derived from the idea that God created good and evil for a reason.

In: Vigiliae Christianae

Abstract

How Evagrius Ponticus (d. 399) composed his highly influential treatises of short and succinct chapters (kepahalaia) is bewildering and has been discussed by many scholars. In this essay the literary composition of Evagrius’ To monks in monasteries and communities, or Ad monachos, a typical text of short chapters, is examined from a literary perspective by relating the text to literary conventions, common in late antique literature and in rhetorical handbooks and exercises (progymnasmata). It is demonstrated how the teaching develops gradually in accordance with a pattern for a so-called amplified argument (epicheireme) codified in Pseudo-Hermogenes Progymnasmata. By this arrangement of the teaching, the reader is offered, not just a random taste of various aspects of the monastic life, but a set of specific conclusions to implement or to be aware of practically in the life as monk; conclusions that are perceptible not at just a cursory glance, but at a careful and repeated reading.

In: Vigiliae Christianae

Abstract

This article analyses how Rufinus alters and then extends Eusebius’ church history to draw a narrative continuum of pagan idolatry, tyranny and blood sacrifice across the fourth century. It begins with a taxonomy that illustrates the various ways that Rufinus’ text differs from Eusebius’ and then analyses how Rufinus enhances the levels of cruelty and bloody carnage in his Eusebian source, especially with regards to the tyrannical behaviour of the pagan emperors Maximinus, Maxentius, and Licinius. Lastly, it turns to Rufinus’ account of Eugenius’ uprising and the destruction of the temple of Serapis and shows how Rufinus’ repeated criticism of pagan imperial persecution acts to justify Theodosius’ actions.

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Author: Julia Winnebeck

Abstract

The paper examines the evidence for slavery in the late antique and early medieval penitentials. This body of sources has only recently been rediscovered for the study of slavery. Most of the earliest extant penitentials contain canons that deal in one way or another with slaves (servus or ancilla) or slavery (servitium). These canons can roughly be grouped into three categories according to the aspect under which slavery is considered in them: In the first category of canons, slaves are merely mentioned in the description of a sin in which they are either involved in or the victim of. The second category of canons considers slavery as a penitential punishment. The third category, finally, offers more general rules or laws on slavery. Samples for these three categories and their analysis form the main part of the paper. The presented evidence is then evaluated with regard to the questions what kind of insights the penitentials offer for the study of slavery in general, and the involvement of the Church in slavery in particular.

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Author: Alastair Logan

Abstract

Old St Peter’s in Rome, according to the sixth-century Liber Pontificalis, was founded by Constantine (306-337), a claim accepted by most scholars who appeal to a variety of evidence. This paper will challenge this, focusing on the inscriptional and mosaic evidence and developing the arguments of Glen Bowersock and Alastair Logan that it was not constructed by Constantine at all but by one of his sons, in all likelihood Constans (337-350). It will argue that he began it in the late 340s as a five-aisled cemeterial basilica which Constantius II (337-361) completed in the late 350s, adding the apse mosaic. The paper will argue for the fundamental significance of two anonymous inscriptions and claim that the key evidence cited has not properly included one of them and in fact reflects the growing influence of legends about Constantine and Silvester.

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Author: Allison L. Gray

Abstract

In a seldom discussed episode from Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus, the wonderworking bishop converts a pagan temple custodian using the written word and a miracle. Physical proofs seem essential for teaching this outsider about divine power. Yet in the very next episode the narrator praises Thaumaturgus for disregarding physical appearances and for keeping silent. A close reading of the Life 34-47 demonstrates that Gregory of Nyssa models, within the narrative, a progression from basic catechesis through signs to the more complex work of interpreting signs, making inferences from what is seen to that which remains unseen. Contextualizing this paradoxical sequence of Thaumaturgus vignettes in Cappadocian discussions of divine condescension and principles of fourth-century Christian paideia, I show that Gregory of Nyssa uses the juxtaposition between Thaumaturgus’ teaching and conduct to model the flexible approach required for bishops to communicate the nature of divine power to varied audiences.

In: Vigiliae Christianae