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Author: Anders Runesson


Thiessen’s book is a systematic attempt at making obsolete an entire research paradigm, which has portrayed Jesus and the gospels as targeting for eradication the Jewish purity system itself, understood as an oppressive social mechanism with which the elite controlled the masses, rather than these texts describing a war against the impurity that this system defined and was meant to control. This essay engages this thesis.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Executive Editors

James G. Crossley, St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, UK

Anthony Le Donne, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH, USA

Book Review Editor

Michael A. Daise, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA

Editorial Board

Dale C. Allison, Jr, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, USA

Jonathan Bernier, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Parkville, VIC, Australia

Helen Bond, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Pieter F. Craffert, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Tucker S. Ferda,

Free access
In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Das vorliegende Buch bietet einen umfassenden Beitrag zum Bestreben neuro- und kognitionswissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse in die neutestamentliche Exegese zu integrieren. Für dieses Vorhaben eignen sich veränderte Bewusstseinszustände insbesondere, da sie auf allgemein menschlichen Strukturen des Gehirns beruhen und in sehr vielen Kulturen Teil der religiösen Praxis waren und sind. Anklänge daran finden sich auch in biblischen Visionserzählungen. Die Untersuchung bietet neben einer Einführung in die Philosophie des Geistes und notwendigen naturwissenschaftlichen Grundlagen sowie einer hermeneutischen Reflexion eine breit angelegte Darstellung der antiken Erfahrungen mit veränderten Bewusstseinszuständen anhand ihrer Induktionsrituale. Die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden dann auf die Verklärungserzählung angewendet.


This book is a comprehensive contribution to the ongoing effort to integrate findings in cognitive science into New Testament studies. Altered states of consciousness are particularly suitable for this attempt as they are a common human property and a widespread religious practice. This study contains an introduction to the basics of philosophy of mind and cognitive studies as well as a hermeneutical reflection. The wide portrayal of ASCs in ancient religious contexts according to the type of induction rituals provides the historic context for the cognitive analysis of the Transfiguration narrative.
Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity
Author: Peter-Ben Smit
In Felix culpa: Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity, Peter-Ben Smit argues that ritual developments were key to the development of early Christianity. Focusing on rituals that go wrong, he shows precisely how ritual infelicities are a catalyst for reflection upon ritual and their development in terms of their performance as well as the meaning attributed to them. Smit discusses texts from the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Mark, and provides a chapter on Philo of Alexandria by way of contextualization in the Greco-Roman world. By stressing the importance of ritual, the present book invites a reconsideration of all too doctrinally focused approaches to early Christian communities and identities. It also highlights the embodied and performative character of what being in Christ amounted to two millennia ago.
This volume provides a review of recent research in Philippi related to archaeology, demography, religion, the New Testament and early Christianity. Careful reading of texts, inscriptions, coins and other archaeological materials allow the reader to examine how religious practice in Philippi changed as the city moved from being a Hellenistic polis to a Roman colony to a center for Christian worship and pilgrimage. The essays raise questions about traditional understandings of material culture in Philippi, and come to conclusions that reflect more complicated and diverse views of the city and its inhabitants.


In the first half of the fourth century Bishop Porphyrius donated a mosaic floor for the “Basilica of Paul” at Philippi’s city center. What can we know about Christians in Philippi in the three and a half centuries between Paul’s correspondence with Philippi and the founding of Porphyrius’ Church? To answer this question, this article describes the earliest archaeological data, summarize the information derived from Paul’s correspondence, the mission-narratives in three Acts of Apostles as well as the Letter of Polycarp and some indications of the reception of the letter to the Philippians. While historical Christians remain almost invisible at Philippi, there is ample evidence that Philippians was read as a becoming martyrs farewell address to his beloved community and that Philippi became one (among other) important pilgrimage sides at which the Paul’s martyrdom was remembered.

In: Philippi, From Colonia Augusta to Communitas Christiana


This chapter examines excavations to the east of the Roman Forum and the Octagon complex, and focuses on the buildings in two insulae demarcated by the surrounding streets. Insula 4 was originally a grand Roman domus built during the 4th century CE. During the 5th century, Insula 4 was divided into two domestic units, but in the 6th century the installation of a wine press and the expansion of storage indicated that a good portion of the buildings was given over to wine production. Partial excavation of Insula 5 reveals three units that seem to be designed for autonomous activities in workshops and simple dwellings.

In: Philippi, From Colonia Augusta to Communitas Christiana


This paper uses Fredric Jameson’s work to locate the Philippian stories of Acts 16 within History that hurts; i.e., the catalogue of failed liberatory struggles that define “the inexorable limits of individual and corporate praxis.” The literary features in Acts 16 identify mainstream society’s hostility toward the apostles as the social contradiction that the narrative tries to resolve. The class conflicts manifest in the attempted resolution show that the implied author’s sympathies lie primarily with the upper middle bourgeoisie – the merchants, the jailers, the householders, in short, the relatively powerful class fraction that made a living off the labor of others but did not dominate city, region, or empire. While the text is a failed revolution in the sense that it also participates in multiple forms of alienation of Roman imperial life (e.g., slavery, household, patriarchy, commodity, and prison), the ephemeral reconciliation of the imprisoned apostles with their captor provides a fleeting glimpse of the text’s impossible vision for the shape of social life beyond alienation.

In: Philippi, From Colonia Augusta to Communitas Christiana


This paper traces the intertwining of economic and theological language in Paul’s mid-first century CE Letter to the Philippians. It seeks to reconstruct the possible reactions of the ekklēsia in Christ at Philippi to the first reception of Paul’s letter to them. The letter’s rhetoric of economics and theology – and cost and abundance – is interpreted in the context of contemporaneous epigraphic and archaeological data from the city and environs. We conclude that the early followers of Christ use of financial language in various ways to consider not only their business and patron-client relationships with one another, but also to think with and through their relationship the divine and indeed the very worth of Christ.

In: Philippi, From Colonia Augusta to Communitas Christiana


Weaving together textual, historical, archaeological, and epigraphic evidence this essay proposes that the apostle Paul’s term “praetorium” in Phil 1:13 referred to a provincial, administrative building in Roman Asia – not to the Praetorian Guard in Rome. The essay incorporates architectural and topographical plans showing several types of praetorium buildings; it describes their variations and flexibility in function; and it explains the implications for Paul’s civic and social context when writing to the Philippians.

In: Philippi, From Colonia Augusta to Communitas Christiana