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Grace, Reconciliation, Concord

The Death of Christ in Graeco-Roman Metaphors


Cilliers Breytenbach

How did the first Christians interpret the death of Christ? The answer lies within the earliest Christian documents, primarily within the Pauline letters. Before the users of a modern language could hope to come near an adequate description of what was expressed in these Greek texts of the first Christians, they have to deconstruct layers of later dogmatic interpretation. They need to keep to descriptive terminology reflecting the Greek of the sources and to trace the origin of the metaphoric language early Christians like Paul used. This volume sets out to construct some of the Jewish and Greco-Roman patterns of thought which were initially utilised to express the meaning of the death of Christ.


Stephen Finlan

This examination of Gentile and Jewish religious and literary descriptions of sacrificial and expulsion rituals provides a useful background to the study of Paul’s metaphorical use of sacrifice and scapegoat to characterize the significance of the death of Jesus. In addition to offering an overview of Paul’s use of cultic metaphors and an assessment of Paul’s synthesis of martyrology and cultic metaphor, this work shows how Paul uses still other metaphors (acquittal, reconciliation, adoption) to picture the beneficial after-effects of that death.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

The Politics of Peace

Ephesians, Dio Chrysostom, and the Confucian Four Books


Te-Li Lau

Although scholarship has noted the thematic importance of peace in Ephesians, few have examined its political character in a sustained manner throughout the entire letter. This book addresses this lacuna, comparing Ephesians with Colossians, Greek political texts, Dio Chrysostom’s Orations, and the Confucian Four Books in order to ascertain the rhetorical and political nature of its topos of peace. Through comparison with analogous documents both within and without its cultural milieu, this study shows that Ephesians can be read as a politico-religious letter “concerning peace” within the church. Its vision of peace contains common political elements (such as moral education, household management, communal stability, a universal humanity, and war) that are subsumed under the controlling rubric of the unity and cosmic summing up of all things in Christ.

The New Testament Interpreted

Essays in Honour of Bernard C. Lategan


Edited by Cilliers Breytenbach, Johan C. Thom and Jeremy Punt

This volume contains a collection of essays in honour of Bernard C. Lategan, a renowned specialist on the modern reception of the New Testament. Besides offering anayses of Lategan’s own contribution to New Testament scholarship, the essays present and discuss interpretations of the New Testament from antiquity through contemporary critical scholarship. Topics covered include hermeneutical issues of historical Jesus research, intertextuality in antiquity, the interpretation of the New Testament in Africa, and the New Testament as literature. The collection thus provides a representative perspective on the diversity of New Testament scholarship in South Africa and elsewhere.


Jacobus Kok

In New Perspectives on Healing, Restoration and Reconciliation in John, Jacobus (Kobus) Kok investigates the depth and applicability of Jesus’ healing narratives in John’s gospel. Against the background of an ancient group-oriented worldview, it goes beyond the impasse of most Western approaches to interpreting the Biblical healing narratives to date.

He argues that the concept of healing was understood in antiquity (as in some parts of Africa) in a much broader way than we tend to understand it today. He shows inter alia why the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman could be interpreted as a healing narrative, illustrating the ancient interrelationship between healing, restoration and reconciliation.


Edited by Stanley E. Porter

Does Paul have a theology? If so, what is it, or rather, what is it on various topics that he and the early Church confronted? This volume moves beyond the traditional discussion of whether Paul had a center to his theology to raise questions regarding his perspective on a number of important theological issues. These issues include his gentile mission, the concepts of faith, grace, and the law, reconciliation, the temple, eschatology, miracles, gender, and Paul's trinitarian tendencies. This collection of essays addresses topics of current interest in the study of Paul's theology—not to arrive at the center of his thought, but to understand what factors helped to center his thinking on a variety of important theological concerns.

The Day of Atonement

Its Interpretations in Early Jewish and Christian Traditions 


Edited by Thomas Hieke and Tobias Nicklas

Established at the center of the Torah, the instructions for the celebration of the “Day of Atonement” hold a prominent position (Leviticus 16). The language of atonement, purification and reconciliation represents the variety of concepts that both explore the complex relationships between God and man, between Yahweh and his chosen people Israel, and that set apart the place of encounter—the sanctuary. Leviticus 16 has served as the point of departure for numerous religious and cultural practices and thoughts that have had a formative influence on Judaism and Christianity up to the present day. The essays in this volume form a representative cross section of the history of the reception of Leviticus 16 and the tradition of the Yom ha-Kippurim.


Edited by Cilliers Breytenbach and Jörg Frey

Reflections on the Early Christian History of Religion documents the results of two recent workshops on Martin Hengel's and Maria Schwemer's first volume of first volume of Geschichte des frühen Christentums ( Jesus und das Judentum [title of vol. 1], Tübingen 2007) and Larry Hurtado's Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids 2003). The contributors, including Hengel himself, focus on problems and possibilities of studying and presenting Christian religion in Roman Antiquity. They discuss distinctive features of these two remarkable publications and some material aspects that illustrate the relationship between the historical study of early Christian religion, religious studies in general and New Testament studies in particular.

Mit den Erwägungen zur frühchristlichen Religionsgeschichte liegen die Ergebnisse zweier Fachtagungen vor, die sich mit dem ersten Band der Geschichte des frühen Christentums von Martin Hengel und Maria Schwemer ( Jesus und das Judentum, Tübingen 2007) und Larry Hurtados Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids 2003) beschäftigt haben. Die Beiträge, u.a. von Hengel selbst, diskutieren Probleme und Möglichkeiten der Erforschung und Darstellung christlicher Religion in der römischen Antike. Sie setzen sich mit den Zugangsweisen dieser beiden Bücher auseinander und zeigen an verschiedenen Sachfragen die Bezüge, die sich bei der historischen Erforschung der frühchristlichen Religion zwischen Geschichtswissenschaft, Religionswissenschaft und Neutestamentlicher Wissenschaft ergeben.

Scripture and Traditions

Essays on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Carl R. Holladay


Edited by Patrick Gray and Gail R. O'Day

This volume contains twenty-two essays in honor of Carl R. Holladay, whose work on the interaction between early Christianity and Hellenistic Judaism has had a considerable impact on the study of the New Testament. The essays are grouped into three sections: Hellenistic Judaism; the New Testament in Context; and the History of Interpretation. Among the contributions are essays dealing with conversion in Greek-speaking Judaism and Christianity; 3 Maccabees as a narrative satire; retribution theology in Luke-Acts; church discipline in Matthew; the Exodus and comparative chronology in Jewish and patristic writings; corporal punishment in ancient Israel and early Christianity; and Die Judenfrage and the construction of ancient Judaism.