Ancient Jewish Bibliomancy
University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
The increasing centrality of the Torah in Judaism in the post-exilic period led to a heightened sense of holiness of the Torah. In the Hebrew Bible, the Torah itself is not yet adorned with the epithet 'holy'. One sees this starting to happen only in the Hellenistic period. Not surprisingly, inspiration theories on the genesis of this Holy Scripture soon begin to make their appearance. And it is in exactly the same period that we also see the beginnings of the use of the Torah for bibliomantic purposes. Bibliomancy is the practice of using the Bible in order to get to know what God has in store for individuals or groups, not by reading the biblical text but by using it as a lot oracle.
A New Testimony to the Letter to the Hebrews
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
The papyrus fragment P.Vindob. G 42417 offers a new testimony to the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews. The fragment measures 3.3 x 5.2 cm.; its margins are no longer extant; there are parts of Heb. 2.9-11 on its recto and Heb. 3.3-6 on its verso. The script runs along the fibres on the recto, and across the fibres on the verso. With plates.
Dionysios Halikarnasseus, the Art of Composition and the Apostle Paul
Lund University, Sweden
Dionysios Halikarnasseus was one of the most important literary critics of a generation or two before Paul, and who may rightly be taken as a representative of Greek literary tastes in general. Paul not infrequently exhibits elements that were deemed by Dionysios necessary to good composition, but seldom made a conscious effort to adhere to literary rules for elegance in style. Thus, his more felicitous choices of words and compositions seem most of the time to be the result of instinctive feeling and natural taste. Content was more important to Paul than form. But being a great and original thinker, a versatile writer with a fair grasp of the Greek language, and believing himself to have been entrusted with a message and a mission of momentous importance, it was inevitable that he would give expression to such spontaneous dynamism, and by it lay a claim for a place in Greek literature.
False Prophets (4Q339), Netinim (4Q340), and Hellenism at Qumran
Brown University, Providence, RI
The creation of thematic lists based on data from a closed 'canon' of authoritative texts is an expression of Hellenistic textual scholarship. Ever since the nineteenth century, scholars have postulated the influence of Hellenistic scholarship on the textual scholarship of the Jews, especially the rabbis. The Qumran list of false prophets (4Q339) and perhaps also the list of netinim (4Q340) provide our earliest evidence for the penetration of this type of scholarship into Jewish circles, both those that wrote in Hebrew and those that wrote in Aramaic.
Mark's Incipit and the Priene Calendar Inscription: From Jewish Gospel to Greco-Roman Gospel
Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada
It was against the setting of Roman cynicism that the Markan evangelist dared to put forward the Christian gospel and declare that the true son of God was Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and 'king of the Jews'-not some would-be Roman emperor. Despite rejection at the hands of his own people (and the most important people, as importance would have been measured at that time), and a shameful death at the hands of the most powerful people, Jesus was indeed the son of God, humanity's true Savior and Lord. Mark's purpose is to narrate the story of Jesus in such a way that such a confession will appear compelling and plausible to Jews and Romans alike.
Why the Split? Christians and Jews by the Fourth Century
University of Surrey Roehampton, London, England
There has been much recent discussion of the split between Judaism and Christianity. Much of the discussion has been concerned with modern categories, and fails to place the separation within the larger context of the ancient world. This is especially true with regard to its bearing upon developments in the ancient world, including the growth of Christianity, up to the fourth century or Late Antique period. However, it seems that there are several pertinent questions about the development of this split between Judaism and early Christianity that have a direct bearing on several important elements within this period. Perhaps the most obvious question (and the one to which many have tried to provide an answer) relates to the defining characteristics of the split.
Particularistic Judaism and Universalistic Christianity? Some Critical Remarks on Terminology and Theology
University of Lund, Sweden
'Universalism' and 'particularism' are terms that mislead some into making historical statements that are untenable upon closer examination, and therefore are not useful terms for the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity. They simply cannot define the aspects of religion which they are supposed to define, and are unable to distinguish differences or show similarities between religions. Therefore, new terms are suggested that are adapted to the present state of research, with its emphasis on the diversity evident within these religions in ancient times. In this way, it is hoped that they will facilitate a search for new answers, as well as lead to a presentation of these results in more exact language. Finally, examples are offered of how the new terms can be applied to a selection of texts.
A Semantic Study of αὐθέντης and its Derivatives
Redeemer University College, Ontario, Canada
The word αὐθέντης and its derivatives have occasioned a great deal of scholarly discussion. The difficulty is that αὐθέντης appears to have three distinct senses in ancient Greek ('murderer', 'master', and 'doer'), and it is a matter of dispute both how these senses are related among themselves, and how they influence the meaning of the derivatives of αὐθέντης. For New Testament scholars, the issue is whether αὐθεντέω in 1 Tim. 2.12 is based on the meaning 'master', thus yielding the traditional rendering 'have authority over' (possibly with the pejorative connotation of 'domineering'), or whether it is semantically indebted to one or both of the other two senses of αὐθέντης. The present article, without focusing specifically on the one occurrence of αὐθεντέω in the New Testament, sketches the semantic contours of this word family from its earliest attestation in Attic drama to late antiquity.
'Wide is the Gate and Spacious the Road that Leads to Destruction': Matthew 7.13 in Light of Archaeological Evidence
McMaster Divinity College, Ontario, Canada
This study reviews Matthean redaction of 7.13-14, examines archaeological evidence concerning gates and roads in early Roman Palestine, and seeks to locate 7.13-14 thematically within the wider context of Matthew's Gospel, in order to demonstrate that the references to 'wide' gates and 'spacious' roads convey specifically Roman (or more properly, anti-Roman) overtones.