Paul’s Bible, His Education and His Access to the Scriptures of Israel
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON Canada
In this article the authors seek to address some of the technical issues that accompany the study of Paul’s use of Scripture. The questions they raise are related to how Paul had access to the texts that he drew upon. These include: (1) the educational level that Paul could reasonably have achieved; (2) the nature of the book culture in the ancient world; (3) the question of ancient reading; and (4) the process by which Old Testament texts became Pauline citations, and what we can determine from that process.
Three Notes on Figurative Language: Inverted Guilt in Acts 7.55-60, Paul’s Figurative Vote in Acts 26.10, Figurative Eyes in Galatians 4.15
Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, PA
These three brief articles address New Testament passages where knowledge of ancient background challenges some traditional readings. Paul ‘casting his vote’ in Acts 26.10 does not mean that he belonged to the Sanhedrin or other judicial body; this language was frequently used figuratively for consent and participation. Others also used wordplays similar to Luke’s play here between Saul ‘casting his pebble’ and those who ‘stoned’ Stephen. Acts 7.55-60 ironically inverts the charge of guilt: by standing, the true judge supports Stephen; Stephen’s accusers strip their own cloaks, actions normally applied to one being executed; and whereas Jewish custom invited those being executed to confess their own sins, Stephen confesses those of his accusers. When Paul in Gal. 4.15 claims that the Galatians would have dug out their eyes and given them to Paul, interpretations suggesting a problem with Paul’s eyesight are misplaced. Rather, Paul uses a familiar ancient idiom of sacrificial devotion.
Against Richard B. Hays’s ‘Faith of Jesus Christ’
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario
Richard B. Hays’s understanding of ‘faith of Jesus Christ’ in Galatians consists of two factors. One is the divine-human antithesis around the concept of πίστις Χριστοῡ in his reconstructed narrative substructure. The other is the theological role of πίστις in Paul’s thought. However, this article demonstrates the instability of Hays’s arguments by pointing out his inconsistent use of textual information in establishing a narrative substructure, and by revealing Paul’s real emphasis in relation to the issue of πίστις in Galatians. Against Hays’s ‘faith of Jesus Christ’ this paper argues the reading of πίστις Ίησοῡ Χριστοῡ in Galatians as ‘faith in Jesus Christ’.
Targum Isaiah 53 and the New Testament Concept of Atonement
Alliance Theological Seminary, Nyack NY
In this paper, the author attempts to shed light on the issue of the origin of the concept of atonement in the New Testament by examining the Servant passages in Targum Isaiah that are relevant to the origin of the concept of atonement in the New Testament. The examination of the passages shows that the typological interpretation of Christ’s death as an atoning sacrifice in the New Testament has a close parallel in the typological interpretation of the Servant’s role according to the Levitical atoning sacrifices in Targum Isaiah. Targum Isaiah preserves a tradition that typologically interpreted the Servant-Messiah according to the pattern of both the regular atoning sacrifices (Tg. Isa. 53.4, 12; cf. Lev. 4.20 etc.) and the sin offering on the Day of Atonement (Tg. Isa. 53.10; cf. Lev. 16.30).
Aesopic Tradition in the New Testament
University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland
Aesopic fables are an element of the New Testament background. Their general analogies include the similarity between parable and fable and a possibility of comparing transmission of fables and of Gospel material: first oral, next written. However, parables do not have many points of contact with the fable motifs (Mt. 25.14-30 and fable 225 [Perry edition]; Mt. 13.47-48 and Perry 282). Some other teachings of Jesus seem to reflect fables (Mt. 11.16 par. is explained by Perry 11; Mk 9.43-47 and Mt. 19.12 allude to Perry 118; Mt. 7.15 has a parallel in Perry 451—cf. Acts 20.29 and Perry 365). Minor parallels occur between Mt. 7.9 and Perry 298, Mt. 19.30 par. and Perry 226, Mt. 7.13 and Perry 383, Lk. 4.23 and Perry 289. Lk. 5.1-11; Jn 21.1-11 is structured as Perry 21. In Paul 1 Cor. 12.12-30 appeals to a popular comparison, known also from a fable (Perry 130). These analogies are not accidental, but without a primary importance, remaining dispersed and partial.
The Celebration of the Baptism of Christ by the Basilideans and the Origin of Epiphany: Is the Seemingly Obvious Correct?
Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria
A celebration of the baptism of Christ by a Gnostic group in the second century (the Basilideans) is attested once in the writings of Clement of Alexandria. This is the earliest attestation of such a celebration. However, it is quite common to interpret this celebration as a forerunner of the Christian feast of Epiphany. This article calls into question the validity of the theological arguments used to defend this opinion, since it is quite probable that the Gnostic groups were virtually extinct by the fourth century. Thus, they probably had no influence on the Church at the time when this celebration was introduced in the Church.
John Versus Jesus? Reviews of The Fourth Gospel And The Quest For Jesus by Paul N. Anderson and the Author’s Response
Introducing this major engagement with Anderson’s provocative new book The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for Jesus, Staley provides a clear introduction to the work and its new paradigms impacting Johannine and Jesus studies alike. Lowe engages Part II featuring Anderson’s critique of twelve planks undergirding the dehistoricization of John and the de-Johannification of Jesus; Pahl reviews Part III involving Anderson’s new theory of John’s autonomy and distinctive relations to other traditions; and Moore addresses Part IV involving Anderson’s presentation of Jesus in bi-optic perspective. Anderson then responds to these essays arguing the need for a dialectical approach to gospel historiography including the Fourth Gospel within the mix.
The Greek Motif of the Cyclic Journey in the Gospel of Luke
Pontifical Faculty of Theology, Wroclaw, Poland
Rosik shows that the motif of a cyclic journey used by Luke was known among the Greek readers of his Gospel, since it was present in their literature. Thus Luke’s use of the motif of a cyclic journey probably facilitated the reception of the Good News about salvation in the Hellenistic world.
Hellenistic Influence on the Idea of Resurrection in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature
It is common to encounter the assertion regarding ancient concepts of the afterlife that a bodily resurrection is a Jewish view and a bodiless spirit existence is a Greek view. However, an examination of resurrection texts within Jewish apocalyptic literature reveals much in common with Greek ideas of an afterlife. Jewish resurrection texts that describe an angelic transformation are remarkably similar to the Greek concept of apotheosis where a hero is transformed into a god at death. It is possible that apotheosis traditions played a significant role in the articulation of the Jewish belief in a bodily resurrection.
Did Greco-Roman Apparitional Models Influence Luke’s Resurrection Narrative? A Response to Deborah Thompson Prince
Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
In a recent issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Deborah Thompson Prince argues that Luke consciously utilizes Greco-Roman conceptions of apparitions in constructing his picture of the resurrected Jesus. This argument is largely predicated on the fact that Luke’s description of the resurrected Jesus does not fit precisely into any one Greco-Roman apparitional type; rather it is in some respects similar to, and in other respects different from, any given type of apparition. The shortcomings of Prince’s argument become clear when three factors are considered: 1) the picture of Jesus in the other three Gospels and Paul; 2) Jewish conceptions of apparitions; 3) the lack of anything distinctively Greco-Roman in Luke’s portrayal of the resurrected Jesus.
Jewish Associations in Roman Palestine: Evidence from the Mishnah
Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK and York University, Toronto, ON
Associations were a widespread social structure in the first century Roman world, of individuals who shared a common interest and bonded together by means of communal meals, often in temples that had dining facilities. Judaism used a comparable term (haburah) to describe similar gatherings especially at festival times. The Jewish associations included groups who met in public halls for a meal, reclining on triclinia and waited on by servants. Separate associations met privately, even though they occupied the same public hall as others. Unlike Gentile associations, Jewish associations appear to have rejected the custom of following the meal by a drinking party.