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Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

Studies in Honour of Philip S. Alexander


Edited by George J. Brooke and Renate Smithuis

In Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages fifteen scholars offer specialist studies on Jewish education from the areas of their expertise. This tightly themed volume in honour of Philip S. Alexander has some essays that look at individual manuscripts, some that consider larger literary corpora, and some that are more thematically organised.

Jewish education has been addressed largely as a matter of the study house, the bet midrash. Here a richer range of texts and themes discloses a wide variety of activity in several spheres of Jewish life. In addition, some notable non-Jewish sources provide a wider context for the discourse than is often the case.

Carl P. Cosaert

This volume applies the latest methodological advances in patristic textual analysis to explore the nature of the Gospel text used by Clement, an early Alexandrian father who wrote extensively on the Christian faith and filled his writings with thousands of biblical citations. After examining Clement’s life and use of the New Testament writings, the book lists all of his quotations of the Four Gospels and compares them to those of other Alexandrian Christians and to the most significant ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts. The book demonstrates that the form of the Gospels in Alexandria was in transition at the end of the second century and argues that Clement’s Gospel text reveals an Alexandrian influence in John and Matthew and a stronger Western influence in Luke and his citations of Mark 10. Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

Marks of an Apostle

Deconstruction, Philippians, and Problematizing Pauline Theology

Lesley J. Smith

Recognizing the inadequacies of monocritical approaches to Paul and his theology, Smith brings together important disciplines to cast Paul and the construction of “Pauline theology” in a new light. Through the lens of the paradoxical statement in Phil 1:18 (“only that in every way, whether by pretext or by truth, Christ is preached and in this I rejoice”), the book understands Paul’s texts as ancient writings that adhere to and are confined by a specific set of social codes. The author locates these texts within the context of the writing practices of ancient moral philosophers, who on the one hand eschewed rhetorical convention and on the other were bound by it. Contemporary critical theory is used to investigate and critique previous approaches to Paul and to present viable alternatives. In particular, the book advocates that Paul is far more “earthy” than Pauline theology typically
allows him to be and that his rhetoric (typically mistaken for theology) is a lateral, “logocentric” expression of his beliefs, rather than a vertical, metaphysical construction. Multidisciplinary and innovative, this volume will interest readers on either side of the debate over the new perspective on Paul.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

John Paul Heil

The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians, an exegetical analysis of all the explicit quotations and references to the Old Testament in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, examines the various authoritative roles that not only scriptural quotations but also other explicit references and allusions to scripture play in Paul’s rhetorical strategy in the letter. Through this careful examination Heil shows how each scriptural quote or reference speaks with the divine authority of the scriptures in general and affects the audience with its authority and rhetorical power. The end result is an enlightening portrait of the powerful impact that the Jewish scriptures exerted on Paul’s implied audience at Corinth.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

Memory, Tradition, and Text

Uses of the Past in Early Christianity

Edited by Alan Kirk and Tom Thatcher

Social and cultural memory theory examines the ways communities and individuals reconstruct and commemorate their pasts in light of shared experiences and current social realities. Drawing on the methods of this emerging field, this volume both introduces memory theory to biblical scholars and restores the category "memory" to a preeminent position in research on Christian origins. In the process, the volume challenges current approaches to research problems in Christian origins, such as the history of the Gospel traditions, the birth of early Christian literature, ritual and ethics, and the historical Jesus. The essays, taken in aggregate, outline a comprehensive research agenda for examining the beginnings of Christianity and its literature and also propose a fundamentally revised model for the phenomenology of early Christian oral tradition, assess the impact of memory theory upon historical Jesus research, establish connections between memory dynamics and the appearance of written Gospels, and assess the relationship of early Christian commemorative activities with the cultural memory of ancient Judaism. Contributors include April D. DeConick, Arthur J. Dewey, Philip F. Esler, Holly Hearon, Richard Horsley, Georgia Masters Keightley, Werner Kelber, Alan Kirk, Barry Schwartz, Tom Thatcher, and Antoinette Clark Wire.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

Baptism on Account of the Dead (1 Cor 15:29)

An Act of Faith in the Resurrection

Michael Hull

Although 1 Cor 15:29 ("Otherwise what are they to do, who have themselves baptized on account of the dead? If the dead are not really raised, why are they baptized on account of them?") has received a vast amount of attention in the biblical academy, there is no scholarly consensus as to its meaning. In order to break the current impasse, this volume reviews and critiques the over forty different interpretations of 15:29, then examines the verse anew in terms of its literary, historical, and theological contexts within the writings of Paul. On the basis of this study, Hull concludes that 1 Cor 15:29 is a dual rhetorical question in which Paul holds up one group within the Corinthian community as a laudable example for the entire community. Specifically, those who have themselves baptized are undergoing the rite of baptism because of their steadfast faith in the resurrection of Christ and, concomitantly, of Christians. They undergo the rite of baptism "on account of the dead"—on account of the fact that the dead are destined for life—and thus shame the arrogance and ignorance of those among the Corinthians who deny the resurrection (1 Cor 15:12).

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

The Christ Is Jesus

Metamorphosis, Possession, and Johannine Christology

Pamela Kinlaw

This book examines the divine-human union of Jesus Christ in the Gospel and the Epistles of John in light of ancient Mediterranean models of how gods were believed to appear on earth. While the two primary models, metamorphosis and possession, are found by the author to be more complex than has been previously acknowledged, the book argues that the possession model provides the basis for the Johannine contribution to incarnation, which Kinlaw terms the "indwelling" model. This Johannine model adapts the concept of the temporary possession of a human being by a god to a model of permanent possession, thus making clear to that ancient audience how the divine and human can coexist in the person of Jesus.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition

Evidence of the Influence of Apologetic Interests on the Text of the Canonical Gospels

Wayne Kannaday

It is commonly acknowledged that the “original”manuscripts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not survive the exigencies of history. What modern readers refer to as the canonical Gospels are in fact compositions reconstructed from copies transmitted by usually anonymous scribes. Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition examines an important facet of the fascinating but seldom-reported story of the interests that shaped the formation of the text of the New Testament. With an informed awareness of the dynamic discourse between pagan critics and early defenders of early Christianity, and careful scrutiny of more than one hundred variant readings located in the literary tradition of the New Testament text, the author drafts a compelling case that some scribes occasionally modified the text of the Gospels under the influence of apologetic interests.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

Jean-François Racine

The Text of Matthew in the Writings of Basil of Caesarea explores from a text-critical point of view the text of the First Gospel used by Basil, a prolific and influential fourth-century Christian writer who abundantly quoted the Bible. The book lists all quotations and significant allusions made to the First Gospel and compares these to twenty-one ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts to determine and assess the textual affinities of Basil's text of Matthew. The book discusses the development of the Byzantine text type and argues that Basil's text of Matthew represents its earliest known witness.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

Contextualizing Acts

Lukan Narrative and Greco-Roman Discourse

Todd Penner

Edited by Caroline Vander Stichele

This collection of essays provides an array of complementary studies on Acts that illustrate the move away from traditional modes of interpretation toward more innovative historical, cultural, and literary analyses. It focuses particularly on the intersection of early Christian literature and its Greco-Roman cultural and discursive contexts. The essays include examinations and reevaluations of the use of ancient rhetoric, the relation of Acts to ancient historiography, influence by and imitation of epics and novels, the status of classic designations such as “apologetic,” the role of orality in narrative formation, and the profile and direction of contemporary Acts scholarship. The collection also explores the implications of these new approaches for understanding early Christian identity formation and their serviceability for reconstructing the social location of early Christian history and ideology.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (