Volume 7 (2010)
This volume is now available in print from Sheffield Phoenix Press
The Development of Style (Fifth Century BCE to Second Century CE) and the Consequences for Understanding the Style of the New Testament
Craig A. Smith
Sterling College, Sterling KS, USA
There has been very little consideration given to the impact and consequences of writing style on the New Testament writings. This article is a push against this reality. There are three aims in this article. First, it will show how literary style developed over the period of time from the fifth century BCE to the second century CE, thereby providing a context for understanding literary style. Secondly, the reader will see how this development of style impacts the examination of style in the New Testament. Thirdly, 2 Tim. 4.1-8 is used as an example of how an understanding of style affects the interpretation of a New Testament text.
One God Supreme: A Case Study of Religious Tolerance and Survival
Michael Meerson
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
The paper discusses an important Hellenistic inscription that was found on Mount Gerizim in Samaria, Israel. First, the paper analyzes the corpus of inscriptions with invocations to qeo\j u9yi/stoj and ei[j qeo/j (both posing a similar problem), trying to find out a social and cultural message in one’s choice to address the god with a name fitting both the Jewish and the pagan worship. After that, the paper attempts to date the inscription and to put it in a cultural and architectural context of Mount Gerizim, the focus of spiritual values for Samaritans.
The Pillars and the Right Hand of Fellowship in Galatians 2.9
Craig S. Keener
Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, PA, USA
In Gal. 2.9, the Jerusalem pillars entered an agreement with Paul by giving him ‘the right hand of fellowship’. This brief article surveys evidence involving agreements with the right hand, and also the figurative use of ‘pillars’ as images of strength, to explore more fully the sorts of connotations that Paul’s Galatian audience may have heard in both images.
The Nativity Cave and Gentile Myths
Craig S. Keener
Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, PA, USA
How would Gentiles have heard the early Christian tradition of Jesus’ nativity in a cave, and Hadrian’s subsequent ‘defilement’ of that site with a sacred grove? This article briefly surveys some relevant or potentially relevant pagan analogies.
Ancient Patterns of Reading: The Subdivision of the Acts of the Apostles in Codex Sinaiticus
Greg Goswell
Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne, Australia
The 42 numbered chapters and 27 kephalaia present in Codex Sinaiticus (fourth century) for the Acts of the Apostles give the contemporary reader access to ancient patterns of reading the book of Acts. The kephalaia take the form of running titles at the top of columns (titloi). The presupposition behind this study is that the breaking up of a long narrative text into smaller units is a significant factor that shapes readerly perceptions. The kephalaia of Sinaiticus give special prominence to certain persons, events and themes in Acts. The uncovered modes of reading sometimes challenge contemporary notions about Acts and even provide (what are to us) new exegetical insights.
The Concept of Atonement in the Qumran Literature and the New Covenant
Jintae Kim
Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, VA
In the New Testament, we find the fusion of the concept of atonement with the concept of eschatological forgiveness as promised in Jeremiah’s new covenant prophecy in connection with the atoning death of Christ (Lk. 22.20; 1 Cor. 11.25; Heb. 8.6-13; 9.15-28; 1 Jn 2.2, 12-14). Focusing on the peculiar use of the phrase h#dxh tyrbh in the Qumran literature, this paper will demonstrate that this way of interpreting Jeremiah’s new covenant is built upon a Jewish eschatologizing of forgiveness as evidenced at Qumran, where the community identified itself both as the new covenant and the true temple with spiritual sacrifices.
The Politics of Ephesians and the Empire: Accommodation or Resistance?
Nijay K. Gupta and Fredrick J. Long
Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY
Despite the trend to interpret New Testament texts as containing some form of imperial critique, the letter to the Ephesians is dismissed as advocating accommodation to empire. The charge is that the letter is escapist, emphasizing spiritual foes, and maintains the Roman status quo in its household code. However, particular language in Ephesians reveals a resistance to earthly ‘demonized’ powers and challenges imperial prerogatives through trumping and subverting them. God’s example of rule and living in Christ critiques imperialism. Furthermore, the household code promotes mutual submission and equal regard of respective members. When Ephesians is read within its own socio-political and religious context, clear signs of resistance to the empire are detected, possibly even involving confrontation of ‘the deeds of darkness’.  
Key Words: Ephesians, Pauline Theology, Imperial Criticism, Household Codes, Roman Empire
Note on Athens: Do 1 Corinthians 16.15 and Acts 17.34 Conflict?
Craig S. Keener
Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, PA, USA
In contrast to those who argue that 1 Cor. 16.15 rules out the possibility of earlier converts in Athens, Athens was a ‘free city’, hence not officially part of the province of Achaia during this period.
Key words: Acts 17.34; 1 Cor. 16.15; historiography; Athens; Achaia; free cities
The Plausibility of Luke's Growth Figures in Acts 2.41; 4.4; 21.20
Craig S. Keener
Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, PA, USA
Analogous periods of intensive growth attested for new religious movements render Luke’s reports of the church’s growth (Acts 2.41; 4.4; 21:.20) more plausible than is often assumed. Indeed, far from being absurd, Luke’s figures appear modest in comparison with significant growth rates in much of global Christianity and other mass movements today. This is not to deny that Luke may have preferred higher estimates where available, or to presume that careful statistics were kept. But concrete arguments against high figures for the Jerusalem church (addressed in this article) are not compelling, so if we have other reasons to respect Luke’s historiography, these reports remain plausible.
Keywords: Acts 2.41; Acts 4.4; Acts 21.20; church growth; Jerusalem church; Luke’s historiography
Acts 10: Were Troops Stationed in Caesarea during Agrippa's Rule?
Craig S. Keener
Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, PA, USA
Haenchen questions Luke’s report about the conversion of the Gentile Cornelius, contending that the narrative occurs during Agrippa’s reign (41–44 CE) and that no Roman soldiers were stationed in Caesarea during this time. Haenchen’s argument is, however, difficult to defend. First, we cannot be certain as to the time frame of the events described. Secondly, Josephus explicitly refers to auxiliaries of the Roman army in Caesarea during this period. Thirdly, some argue that Cornelius was retired anyway. Of these arguments, the most important is the second from Josephus.
Key words: Acts 10; Cornelius; centurion; Agrippa