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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.
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.

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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.
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.
This book investigates the various paraphrastic techniques employed by Nonnus of Panopolis (5th century AD) 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.
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.
Volume Editors: René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati
This volume, edited by René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati, deals with the debate about fate, providence and free will in the early Imperial age. This debate is rekindled in the 1st century CE during emperor Augustus’ rule and ends in the 3rd century CE with Plotinus and Origen, when the different positions in the debate were more or less fully developed. The book aims to show how in this period the notions of fate, providence and freedom were developed and debated, not only within and between the main philosophical schools, that is Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism, but also in the interaction with other, “religious” movements, here understood in the general sense of groups of people sharing beliefs in and worship of (a) superhuman controlling power(s), such as Gnosticism, Hermetism as well as Judaism and Christianity.
Author: Thomas E. Hunt
In Jerome of Stridon and the Ethics of Literary Production in Late Antiquity Thomas E. Hunt argues that Jerome developed a consistent theology of language and the human body that inflected all of his writing projects. In doing so, the book challenges and recasts the way that this important figure in Late Antiquity has been understood. This study maps the first seven years of Jerome’s time in Bethlehem (386–393). Treating his commentaries on Paul, his hagiography, his controversy with Jovinian, his correspondence with Augustine, and his translation of Hebrew, the book shows Jerome to be immersed in the exciting and dangerous currents moving through late antique Christianity.
Archaeology of Spaces, Structures, and Objects
Religion in Ephesos Reconsidered provides a detailed overview of the current state of research on the most important Ephesian projects offering evidence for religious activity during the Roman period. Ranging from huge temple complexes to hand-held figurines, this book surveys a broad scope of materials. Careful reading of texts and inscriptions is combined with cutting-edge archaeological and architectural analysis to illustrate how the ancient people of Ephesos worshipped both the traditional deities and the new gods that came into their purview. Overall, the volume questions traditional understandings of material culture in Ephesos, and demonstrates that the views of the city and its inhabitants on religion were more complex and diverse than has been previously assumed.
Festschrift in Honour of Cilliers Breytenbach on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday
In Sōtēria: Salvation in Early Christianity and Antiquity, an international team of scholars assembles to honour the distinguished academic career of New Testament scholar Cilliers Breytenbach. Colleagues and friends consider in which manner concepts of salvation were constructed in early Christianity and its Jewish and Graeco-Roman contexts. Studies on aspects of soteriology in the New Testament writings, such as in the narratives on Jesus’ life and work, and theological interpretations of his life and death in the epistolary literature, are supplemented by studies on salvation in the Apostolic Fathers, Marcion, early Christian inscriptions and Antiochian theology. The volume starts with some exemplary studies on salvation in the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea scrolls, the Septuagint, and popular Graeco-Roman literature and philosophy. Furthermore, some contributions shed light on the ancient cultural background of early Christian soteriological concepts.
In The Shepherd of Hermas and the Pauline Legacy, Jonathan E. Soyars traces the influence of Pauline literary traditions upon one of the most widely attested and influential apocalyptic texts from early Christianity. Scholarship largely considers Hermas to have known very little about Pauline letters, but by looking beyond verbatim quotations Soyars discovers extensive evidence of his adoption, adaptation, and synthesis of identifiable Pauline material in the Visions, Mandates, and Similitudes sections. Hermas emerges as a Pauline interpreter who creatively engages topics and themes developed within and across the Pauline letters through time. These results reconnect the Shepherd with early Paulinism and extend reconstructions of the sphere of Pauline influence in the second century C.E.