The author offers a grateful reply to his three respondents before clarifying a few matters and responding to queries. Nothing emerges that would require modifications to the main arguments of the book.
This article reviews Tucker Ferda’s recent book on the Galilean Crisis Theory, a scholarly theory that holds that Jesus encountered hostility and rejection in Galilee, which spurred significant changes in his mission, including his rather abrupt transition to Jerusalem. This lucid and deftly executed study charts the development of this scholarly theory, before offering its own assessment of Jesus’ mission and its success. With his perceptive assessment of early scholarship, Ferda makes an important contribution to the on-going meta-critical work in historical Jesus studies.
This article explores the historiographical consequences of depending on Markan chronology to reconstruct Jesus’s mission. Mark highlights a “Galilean crisis” as well as the scene in the temple courts (Mk 11:18) as twinned moments of dramatic reversal (peripeteia) that serve to drive his story home to its conclusion, connecting Jesus’s Jewish mission with his Roman death. Analyzing Jesus, the Gospels, and the Galilean Crisis with Mark’s literary deployment of peripeteia in mind, the essay then raises several questions about Ferda’s reconstruction of the reception of Jesus’s message among his Galilean hearers. Jerusalem, not the Galilee, emerges as the true site of “crisis.” Jesus’s popularity among Jews, not a rejection by them, explains most directly Pilate’s decision to neutralize Jesus. Were it not for the narrative shaping of Mark’s story, would we have any reason to presuppose a “Galilean crisis” at all?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.