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The Fables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke introduces the world of the ancient fable to biblical scholarship and argues that Jesus’s parables in Luke’s gospel belong to the ancient fable tradition.
Jesus is regarded as the first figure in history to use the parable genre with any regularity—a remarkable historical curiosity that serves as the foundation for many assumptions in New Testament scholarship. The Fables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke challenges this consensus, situating the parables within a literary context unknown to biblical scholarship: the ancient fable. After introducing the ancient fable, the “parables” of Jesus in Luke’s gospel are used as a testing ground to demon - strate that they are identical to first-century fables. This challenges many conven - tional assumptions about parables, Luke’s gospel, and the relationship of Jesus to the storytelling traditions of the Mediterranean world. This study offers multitudes of new parallels to the otherwise enigmatic parable tradition, opens an exciting new venue for comparative exploration, and lays a new foundation upon which to study the fables of Jesus.
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 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: Sheila Delany
In this first translation of Sylvain Maréchal’s Bible commentary, Sheila Delany offers an important document in the history of modern European secularization and rationalist Bible criticism. Editor of one of France’s best-known radical journals, Révolutions de Paris, and author in many genres—drama, poetry, journalism, treatise—Maréchal (1750-1803) embraced the revolutionary egalitarian ideas of François-Noël “Gracchus” Babeuf. As an atheist, he witnessed with dismay the advent of Napoleon and the post-revolutionary return of Catholic fervor. For and Against the Bible was his protest, his reminder of what the nation had endured and of what, at the opening of the nineteenth century, it might still accomplish. Delany’s introduction and annotated English translation will be of importance to all interested in Jewish or Christian Bible studies, history of Bible criticism, eighteenth century European rationalism, French atheism, modern European secularism.
Author: Patrick Hart
A Prolegomenon to the Study of Paul examines foundational assumptions that ground all interpretations of the apostle Paul. This examination touches on several topics, invoking issues pertaining to truth, hermeneutics, canonicity, historiography, pseudonymity, literary genres, and authority. Underlying all of this is a guiding thesis, namely, that every encounter with Paul involves “Pauline Archimedean points,” or fixed points of reference that establish the measure for constructing any interpretation of Paul whatsoever. Building on this, the author interrogates various issues that inform the formation of these Pauline Archimedean points, in pursuit of an important but modest goal: to urge Pauline readers to engage in a modicum of self-reflection over the various considerations that precondition all of our efforts to comprehend Paul.
Author: Serge Ruzer
In Early Jewish Messianism in the New Testament Serge Ruzer takes a new tack on the investigation of early Christian polemical strategies against the backdrop of Second Temple Judaism. Complementing traditional inquiry on the subject, Ruzer focuses on those elements of Messiah- and Christ-centered ideas that bear witness to patterns of broader circulation – namely, the Jewish messianic ideas that provided the underpinning for the identity-making moves of Jesus’ early followers. The volume suggests that such attempts can be expected to reflect eschatological ideas of the Jewish ʻOtherʼ. Exploring cases where the New Testament shows itself an early witness for belief patterns found in contemporaneous or only later rabbinic sources, this volume reveals a fuller picture of Second Temple Jewish messianism.
Author: Laura Delbrugge
A Scholarly Edition of the Gamaliel (Valencia: Juan Jofre, 1525) is a modernized edition of a late medieval devotional that formed part of the narrative tradition of La Vengeance de Nostre-Seigneur, which gained popularity from the twelfth century. The 1525 compendium Gamaliel is comprised of seven loosely related texts, including the Passion of Christ, the Destruction of Jerusalem, the biographies of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, and the Slaughter of the Innocents. The Gamaliel was reproduced in over a dozen Spanish and Catalan printed editions in the first half of the sixteenth century until it was banned by the Spanish Inquisition beginning in 1558, likely due to its anonymous authorship and apocryphal content.
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.