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This volume celebrates the scholarship of Professor Johan C. Thom by tackling various important topics relevant for the study of the New Testament, such as the intellectual environment of early Christianity, especially Greek, Latin, and early Jewish texts, New Testament apocrypha and other early Christian writings, as well as Greek grammar. The authors offer fresh insights on philosophical texts and traditions, the cultural repertoire of early Christian literature, critical editions, linguistics and interpretation, and comparative analyses of ancient writings.

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of the Latin version of the Christian apocryphal text known as the Acts of Timothy (AT). It includes a history-of-research focusing on critical editions and the present state of the manuscripts, tentatively postulating groups of Latin texts and highlighting differences in the Latin and Greek versions that shed light on recent examinations of this text. A short sample text based on approximately half of the known Latin witnesses demonstrates preliminary manuscript affiliations. All known Latin manuscripts are listed in an appendix with a new English translation of the entire (Latin) work.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity
In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity
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Abstract

In his chapter, “Crucifying Desires—Desires Crucified”, David du Toit explores the meaning of the crucifixion metaphors in Gal 5:24 and Seneca’s De vita beata 19.3. Du Toit demonstrates that the interpretation of the two metaphors depends on the argumentative and metaphorical context provided by the literary context. He also shows that knowledge of the semantic encyclopedia and a specific set of semantic associations is a prerequisite for an adequate understanding of the metaphors. The discussion of the texts makes clear that De vita 19.3 can help to make better sense of Paul’s crucifixion metaphor in the Galatians passage.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity

Abstract

Two texts feature prominently in references to the “anonymous Cynics” of the first two centuries CE: Dio Chrysostom’s Oration 32 (To the Alexandrians) and Lucian’s The Fugitives. Both texts use an established range of criticisms against the Cynics, which boils down to portraying them as uneducated imposters who do not understand or measure up to the movement’s founders. There is, however, little difference between the early Cynics and this particular group. We may accept that the anonymous Cynics constituted a significant group which mainly hailed from society’s lower ranks. Dio and Lucian wished to divorce Cynicism from its uneducated adherents for their own purposes, but they say very little about what these Cynics actually taught that differed from the critique of false morals and customs by Diogenes and Crates.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity
Author:

Abstract

In his chapter, Jeremy Punt discusses the politics of New Testament travels. The biblical texts, he notes, are characterized by travels of various kinds and the New Testament’s discourses of people movements are situated within the ancient context, and Jewish antiquity, in particular. Within the Roman imperial context, the New Testament’s travel discourses often unfold as displacement discourses, for which the relations between travels, maps, and borders or boundaries are crucial. Altogether, New Testament travels and travel discourses had important political implications in the past, as much as in their present invocation in analogical discourses such as migration.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity

Abstract

The relationship between Philo of Alexandria and Hellenistic philosophy has almost always explored Philo’s indebtedness to Hellenistic philosophy. This chapter reverses the perspective and asks whether Philo influenced the Platonic tradition, and more particularly, Plotinus. It first explores the similarities and differences in their understandings of the Logos and the intelligible cosmos, and then the stability and the ineffability of God. The chapter develops five criteria to adjudicate the issue of awareness. Based on these criteria, the chapter argues that Plotinus probably knew Philo’s thought through Numenius and possibly knew his works directly.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity

Abstract

Carl R. Holladay illustrates some of the problems and possibilities of using Greek and Roman classical texts to illuminate passages in the New Testament. His chapter focuses on the account of the trial of Gaius Marcius Coriolanus in Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s Roman Antiquities and how it can inform a reading of Luke’s account of the trials of Paul in Acts 21–26. Holladay identifies linguistic and thematic connections between the two accounts of the trials, mentions methodological issues involved in using Dionysius’s Roman Antiquities as a comparative text for interpreting Luke-Acts, and concludes with brief observations about moving the discussion forward.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity

Abstract

Cilliers Breytenbach focuses on the use of the imperative in the Gospel of Mark. After a survey of different views on the aspect of the Greek imperative, Breytenbach discusses the present and aorist imperatives, as well as the alternation between present and aorist imperatives in Mark’s gospel. He then looks at the varied use of the imperative mood in two longer portions of text, Jesus’s warnings for the last days (Mark 13:5–37) and his directives in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32–42). The chapter closes with a note on the perfect imperative and some conclusions on Mark’s use of the imperative.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity

Abstract

In his chapter, Gideon R. Kotzé draws on insights from Johan Thom’s comparative work on early Jewish and Greek popular philosophical texts to discuss how ideas about human beings’ impact on the divinely created world order are incorporated in the subject matter of LXX Eccl 1:15 and Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus vv. 18–21. The discussion takes a first step towards a better understanding of the thought-world that underlies the content of the passage from LXX Ecclesiastes and, at the same time, it pays homage to the contribution Thom has made to the study of Hellenistic philosophy and early Judaism.

In: Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity