Happy to see Bob Dylan made my Top Ten Posts of 2015

Here are my top posts of 2015 – glad to see Dylan made it!

1.  Echoes and Empire Criticism: Christoph Heilig on Hays, Barclay, and Wright/Elliott

2.  Jumping over one’s own shadow with Ernst Käsemann and David Lincicum: the challenge of translating unusual idioms

3. Michael Wolter, Martin Hengel, and the Titles of the Gospels

4. Francis Watson, Jens Schröter, and the Sayings Collection Genre of the Gospel of Thomas

5. Jens Schröter on the character of every historical (re)presentation – with special guests Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne

6. Christine Jacobi on Social Memory and Jesus Tradition in Paul

7. Greek Grammar and Linguistics Beyond BDR/BDF: Heinrich Siebenthal zum 70. Geburtstag

8. Peter Arzt-Grabner on the Interpretation of ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ in Rom 16.7 (Paulus Handbuch Series)

9. Bob Dylan Career Path

10.  Christoph Markschies and the Publication of Christian Theology and Its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire (BMSEC 3)

For my top posts of 2014 see here.

For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! I hope to be able to write at least one Monday blog post each month. Best, Wayne

Zimmermann’s Parables, Congdon’s Bultmann, and Wolter’s Paul—With a note on the terms “eschatic” and “existentialogical”

At this year’s SBL I picked up three great books that are likely to be of particular interest to readers of this blog. Therefore, it seemed fitting to give them each a plug in the form of a brief comment and key quotation.

I am excited to work through Ruben Zimmermann‘s Puzzling the Parables of Jesus: Methods and Interpretations not only because it showcases his characteristic blend of sophisticated methodological reflection and close textual analysis, but also because—as shown by the following quotation—it explicitly seeks to bring together current German and American research.

Puzzling the Parables of Jesus (p. xiii): In spite of strong German roots with Jülicher and Joachim Jeremias, a certain gap has appeared between continental (esp. German) and American scholarship, and the two threaten to continue to drift apart. In this book it is my intention to bridge this gap and to demonstrate how current questions are still being influenced by decisions made by older German parable researchers. Furthermore, it is my hope to be able to bring together, at least to a certain extent, current German and American research on parables and in the process to gain insights from engagement with each other.

While I have thus far only read the first four chapters of David Congdon‘s short book Rudolf Bultmann: A Companion to His Theology, I can already tell that it is likely to shape—and correct—my understanding of Bultmann in many helpful ways (cf. also Congdon’s illuminating review of Beyond Bultmann). Here is a quotation to give you a feel for his book:

Rudolf Bultmann (pp. 59): We can therefore define Bultmann’s concept of theological self-understanding as follows: Self-understanding is the event in which a person encounters the word of God and so discovers herself to be a sinner who has received justification by God’s grace, and who has therefore been given a new future, a new life, a new world. Faith as self-understanding has nothing to do with a solipsistic turning inward upon oneself. It rather means being placed outside ourselves and into a new historical existence, and thus it is “the exact opposite of a dwelling-on-oneself.” For Bultmann, following Paul (cf. Gal 3:23), faith is the advent of new creation: “Could faith then be the Archimedean point from which the world is moved off its axis and is transformed from the world of sin into the world of God? Yes! That is the message of faith.”

Finally, having spent much of my existence over the last year co-translating Michael Wolter‘s impressive commentary on Luke, I am taking great pleasure in reading Robert L. Brawley‘s fine translation of Wolter’s Paul: An Outline of His Theology, not only because of I am interested in Wolter’s interpretation of Paul, but also because it is both fun and illuminating to see how Brawley has navigated some of the same sticking points that Christoph Heilig and I have attempted to get past in our own translation. With this in mind (and with a view to Bultmann’s distinction between existentiell and existential) I have chosen a quote from Wolter’s book that relates to his introduction of the term “eschatisch/eschatic”.

Paul (p. 181 n. 14): I use the adjective “eschatic” here and in what follows to signify end-time events and conditions (that is, the so-called “last things”) (see also Härle, Dogmatik, 605n8). By contrast, I limit the use of the adjective “eschatological” to matters that concern speaking or thinking about the last things. The distinction between “eschatic” and “eschatological” thus is parallel to the distinctions between “Egyptian” and “Egyptological,” “ontic” and “ontological,” “existential” and “‘existentialogical,'” etc.

Though I doubt that Wolter will be successful, I think this is a fascinating attempt to introduce a distinction between eschatisch/eschatic and eschatologisch/eschatological that runs parallel to the Bultmannian distinction between existentiell/existential and existential/existentialogical, which corresponds in turn to the more widely made distinction between ontisch/ontic and ontologisch/ontological and Egyptisch/Egyptian and Egyptologisch/Egyptological. Against this background, I also think it would be appropriate if Bultmann scholars would consider translating existentiell with “existential” and existential with “existentialogical”, though I also think this is unlikely to be taken up. At any rate, I will probably do so!

Addendum: David Congdon has informed me via a facebook exchange that he would “dispute the comparison to the existentiell/existential distinction” on the grounds that “the latter is not a first-order/second-order distinction but rather a theological/phenomenological or personal/general distinction” and has explained that against this backdrop he thinks it is preferable to retain the standard translation for the two terms, i.e. “existential” for existentiell and “existentialist” for existential. On the basis of his helpful explanation, I think I will also retain this standard translation rather than adopting “existentialogical” as I had suggested in my original post. But I still like “eschatic”!

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! I hope to be able to write at least one Monday blog post each month. Best, Wayne

Francis Watson, Christoph Markschies, and the ‘Canon’ of Clement of Alexandria

Like my post on Francis Watson, Jens Schröter, and the Sayings Collection Genre of the Gospel of Thomas, today’s post belongs to the “I’d like to see someone else write about this” genre. In other words, I am writing it with the hope that it will stimulate someone to explore the matter further in the form of a class paper, conference paper, or article. In short, I think it would make an interesting project to compare what Francis Watson and Christoph Markschies say about Clement of Alexandria’s ‘canon’ in Gospel Writing and Christian Theology and its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire with a view to the place assigned to Clement in their overall conceptions. As an invitation to explore this topic further, I have chosen one quotation relating to a specific point that they interpret differently and one quotation that sheds light on how Clement fits within their overall conception.

Quotation 1: Clement’s Knowledge of the Gospel of the Egyptians

Markschies (CTaiI, 240-41): “If one reviews the citations from this writing in Clement of Alexandria, then it is conspicuous that Clement hardly has a detailed knowledge of the content of this text and thus evidently has not even read it in its entirety: φέρεται δέ, οἶμαι, ἐν τῷ κατ’ Αἰγυπτίους εὐαγγελίῳ; “But (these words) stand, so I believe, in the Gospel of the Egyptians”.

Markschies (KcTuiI, 271): “Mustert man nun die Zitate aus dieser Schrift bei Clemens Alexandrinus, so fällt auf, daß Clemens kaum näher kennt und ihn daher offensichtlich gar nicht zur Gänze gelesen hat: φέρεται δέ, οἶμαι, ἐν τῷ κατ’ Αἰγυπτίους εὐαγγελίῳ; “(Diese Worte) stehen aber, wie ich glaube, im Ägypterevangelium”.

Watson (GW,  425-426): “Clement’s allegorical interpretation is occasioned by his opponents’ similarly allegorical interpretation of another saying derived from the same source … It is, however, Clement, not Cassianus, who identifies GEgy as the source both of the Salome passage cited earlier and of the independent but thematically related saying cited here… In spite of his modest disclaimer, “I believe,” Clement has independent access to GEgy and can therefore cite the remainder of the Salome dialogue on his own initiative and not in response to Cassianus”

Quotation II: Clement’s Place in the History of the Canon

Watson (GW, 435-436): Clement’s citational practice represents a moment of transition between the earlier nonspecific appeal to “the gospel” and the emergence of four “gospels” differentiated by the names of their purported authors. Yet there is no consciousness of innovation in his single Irenaeus-like reference to “the four gospels handed down to us,” nor is it explained how this “handing down” has taken place or how it differentiates one set of gospel texts from others. One factor may simply be relative familiarity… As  ever some books achieve a wide circulation whereas others are known only within limited circles or areas. If, hypothetically, two gospel texts are popular in Alexandria whereas only one of them is known in Rome, then the consensus about the one will seem to give it an ecclesial sanction that the other lacks. The fourfold gospel is an attempt to articulate, formalize, and enforce a convergence around a common usage. Clement himself articulates this perceived convergence, but shows no interest in formalizing or enforcing it. Indeed, he refers to it only in passing and in a single passage that does not reflect his citation practice as a whole. Nevertheless, an emerging trend may retrospectively be identified in this single passage, especially if we look back at Clement and his contemporaries from the perspective of Eusebius, the first great historian of the Christian canon.

Markschies (CTuiI, 245; cf. 246): We can now summarize our observations on Clement of Alexandria: it can scarcely be disputed that this highly educated free teacher used a ‘canon,’ a normed collection of authoritative biblical texts, as the corpus from which he derived his fundamental axioms. Therefore, it appears to be precisely not the case that Clement represents a vague concept of the biblical and New Testament ‘canon.’ Rather, he deals in a relatively great scope with divinely inspired writings but distinguishes once more from these a narrower ‘canon’ of especially inspired biblical texts. One should not designate such a concept of graded canonicity as “vague” but exactly the opposite, as particularly considered.

Markschies (KcTuiI, 276; cf. 277): Nun können wir unsere Beobachtungen zu Clemens Alexandrinus zusammenfassen: Es läßt sich schwer bestreiten, daß dieser hoch gebildete freie Lehrer einen ‘Kanon’, eine normierte Sammlung autoritativer biblischer Texte als dasjenige Corpus nutzte, dem er seine fundamentalen Axiome entnahm. Es scheint daher gerade nicht so, daß Clemens ein vages Konzept des biblischen und neutestamentlichen ‘Kanons’ vertritt, sondern einerseits in relativ großem Umfang mit göttlich inspirierten Schriften rechnet, davon aber noch einmal einen engeren ‘Kanon’ besonders inspirierter biblischer Texte unterscheidet. Ein solches Konzept gestufter Kanonizität sollte man nicht als “vage”, sondern gerade im Gegenteil als besonders reflektiert bezeichnen.

For my other Watsonposts, see here.

For my other Markschiesposts, see here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! I hope to be able to write at least one Monday blog post each month. Best, Wayne

Oda Wischmeyer on Love as Agape

I have recently finished Oda Wischmeyer‘s excellent new book Liebe als Agape: Das frühchristliche Konzept und der moderne Diskurs (cf. Google Books), which does so much in less than 300 pages! Showing a remarkable breadth and depth of knowledge, Wischmeyer approaches the topic from multiple perspectives, including perceptive engagement with contemporary conceptions of love such as those of Julia Kristeva, Martha Nussbaum, and Benedict XVI in his encyclical Deus caritas est. In this way, she facilitates a dialogue between the treatment of love in the New Testament and the diverse discussions of love in our own time. For this post, I have chosen a short passage from her fourth chapter. As usual I will begin with the translation and then quote the original text.

Translation (wmc): Common to Paul and John is the interpretation of the death of Jesus as giving up the life for others, understood as the highest form of love. This form of giving up the own life as the highest expression of love undoubtedly forms the theological-christological center of the whole New Testament concept of love. Here in the inner-divine sphere the basic form of love is pre-formed and pre-suffered. When in John 1.1-3, 14, 18 and Philippians 2.6-7 the separation of the Son from the Father is addressed, which is formulated elsewhere as “delivering up (of the Son)”, and Jesus’s fate of death is interpreted as the love of God and of Jesus to human beings, we find ourselves at the center of the concept of love. Love and death mutually condition each other here, and yet in such a way that love and thus life gains the victory.

Liebe als Agape (p. 153): Paulus und Johannes gemeinsam ist die Interpretation des Todes Jesu als Hingabe des Lebens für andere, verstanden als höchste Form der Liebe. Diese Form der Hingabe des eigenen Lebens als des höchsten Ausdrucks der Liebe bildet zweifellos das theologisch-christologische Zentrum des gesamten neutestamentlichen Liebeskonzepts. Hier im innergöttlichen Bereich ist die Grundform der Liebe vor-geformt und vor-erlitten. Wenn in Joh 1,1-3.14.18 und in Phil 2,6f. die Trennung des Sohnes vom Vater angesprochen wird, die an anderer Stelle also “Dahingabe (des Sohnes)” formuliert ist, und Jesu Todesschicksal also Liebe Gottes und Jesu zu den Menschen interpretiert wird, befinden wir uns im Zentrum des Liebeskonzept: Liebe und Tod bedingen sich hier gegenseitig, aber so, dass die Liebe und damit das Leben den Sieg behält.

(Selective) Grammatical Analysis: Not sure if “giving up” is a good solution for “Hingabe”. I considered saying “his life” rather than “the life” (as often, each solution has its advantages and disadvantages). inner-divine doesn’t quite do justice to innergöttlichen but it still seems to be the best solution. Not sure if “vor-erlitten” is best translated with “pre-suffered” or if the sense is weaker, i.e. something like pre-experienced. I also considered translating “Dahingabe” as “handing over” or “giving over” rather than “delivering up”, which might not be a good word choice. I considered translating den Sieg behält with “prevailed” but it seemed important to retain the word “victory” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:55-56).

In other news, Oda Wischmeyer provides a fascinating analysis of N. T. Wright’s Biblical hermeneutics in her contribution to the forthcoming volume God and the Faithfulness of Paul (see here)!

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! I hope to be able to write at least one Monday blog post each month. Best, Wayne

Greek Grammar and Linguistics Beyond BDR/BDF: Heinrich von Siebenthal zum 70. Geburtstag

For many English-speaking (and even German-speaking) scholars BDR/BDF epitomizes German scholarship on Greek Grammar. This is, of course, understandable to some extent, for BDR/BDF is a landmark work that can still be consulted with great profit today. At the same time, just as Bultmann did not mark the end of German New Testament scholarship, so BDR did not mark the end of German scholarship on Greek Grammar and linguistic approaches to the New Testament.

With this in mind, today’s post will look at the work of a more recent German-speaking scholar who has made a number of important contributions to the study of Greek Grammar and the relationship between linguistics and Biblical interpretation, namely Heinrich von Siebenthal, who celebrates his 70th birthday today.

I will first introduce four of his publications and then translate an excerpt from his Greek Grammar in which he gives two reasons for rejecting Porter and Campbell’s thesis that the Greek verb does not grammaticalize time, not even in the indicative (my phrasing; cf. Decker).

Select Publications

1) Griechische Grammatik zum Neuen Testament. Neubearbeitung und Erweiterung der Grammatik Hoffmann / von Siebenthal. Gießen: Brunnen, 2011 (cf. LogosVersion and ShortVersion). This 800 page Grammar represents a major contribution to the study of the Greek New Testament. And English-speaking readers will be delighted to learn that von Siebenthal is preparing an English translation! Readers may, for example, be particularly interested in his section on Textgrammatik (pp. 581ff).

2) Wilfrid Haubeck and Heinrich von Siebenthal. Neuer sprachlicher Schlüssel zum griechischen Neuen Testament. 3rd edition.  Gießen, Brunnen: 2011 (cf. here). I have used (an earlier edition of) this grammatical key to the Greek New Testament  for many years now, and I have found that it helpfully complements my more recent use of the Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament series.

3) “Linguistische Methodenschritte: Textanalyse und Übersetzung.” Pages 51-100 in Das Studium des Neuen Testaments: Einführung in die Methoden der Exegese. Revised Edition. Edited by Heinz-Werner Neudorfer and Eckhard J. Schnabel. Wuppertal: Brunnen, 2006, 51–100. In this chapter, von Siebenthal seeks to show how linguistic insights can inform (the steps of) exegesis. It will be of special interest to scholars of James and Romans since he uses Romans 8.10 (pp. 52ff) and James 1.2-4 (pp. 61ff) as focal texts. I found the emphasis that he placed on establishing the communicative function of a text to be valuable.

4) “Sprachwissenschaftliche Aspekte.” Pages 69-154 in Das Studium des Neuen Testaments.  Vol. 1: Eine Einführung in die Methoden der Exegese. Edited by Heinz-Werner Neudorfer and Eckhard J. Schnabel. Wuppertal: Brunnen, 2000. I found this chapter to be more advanced (and a bit more rewarding) than “Linguistische Methodenschritte”. It contains valuable discussions of a wide range of issues pertaining to linguistics and Biblical interpretation. And it will be of special interest to scholars of Philippians, since von Siebenthal makes Philippians 2.5-11 a focal text for his discussion. And it is also valuable for the way in which he relates Akmajian’s inferential model of communication to the interpretation of the New Testament.

II. H. von Siebenthal on Aspect and Time in the Indicative Mood

Since the Greek verb is a hot topic of late (cf. e.g. here), I thought it would be fitting to select an excerpt on this issue from von Siebenthal’s Griechische Grammatik (p. 310). To help those learning German, I will alternate between English translation and German Original so that they can be read in relation to one another.

In more recent discussion on verbal aspect in Ancient Greek – especially among English-speaking New Testament scholars – the thesis is sometimes advocated (among others by Porter and Campbell; see Campbell 2007/2008) that also the indicative forms have only aspectual meaning; the classification of the intended subject matter as present or past is said to result only secondarily in the individual context (hence, similar to what happens with regard to the relative temporal meaning mentioned under §193b).

In der jüngeren Diskussion um den altgriechischen Verbalaspekt wird – besonders unter englischsprachigen Neutestamentlern – verschiedentlich die These vertreten (u.a. von Porter und Campbell; s. Campbell 2007/2008), auch die Indikativformen hätten lediglich Aspektbedeutung; die Einordnung des gemeinten Sachverhalts als gegenwärtig oder vergangen, ergäbe sich erst sekundär im Einzelkontext (also etwa so, wie es bei der unter §193b genannten relativen Zeitbedeutung geschieht).

In this point we follow here the consensus within Greek philology (cf., among others, Adrados, Meier-Brügger and Duhoux), which assumes a combination of aspectual and temporal meaning in the indicative present, aorist, and perfect (§192f).

In diesem Punkt folgen wir hier dem Konsens innerhalb der Gräzistik (vgl. u.a. Adrados, Meier-Brügger und Duhoux), der beim Indikativ Präsens, Aorist und Perfekt von einer Kombination von Aspekt- und Zeitbedeutung ausgeht (§192f).

In the main, the treatment of aspect offered here corresponds also otherwise to this consensus (and to what the New Testament scholars active in research on aspect – despite all differences in details – advocate in common; see Campbell 2007/2008).

Im Wesentlichen entspricht die hier gebotene Behandlung der Aspekte auch sonst diesem Konsens (ebenso dem, was die in der Aspektforschung tätigen Neutestamentler – bei allen Unterschieden im Einzelnen – gemeinsam vertreten; s. Campbell 2007/ 2008).

In the fine division and terminology we especially depend on the approach of the Indo-European language scholars and Greek philologists Risch and Meier-Brügger.

In der Feineinteilung und der Terminologie lehnen wir uns vor allem an den Ansatz der Indogermanisten und Gräzisten Risch und Meier-Brügger an.

The thesis advocated by Porter and Campbell appears to display, inter alia, the following main weak points:

Die von Porter und Campbell vertretene These scheint u.a. folgende Hauptschwachpunkte aufzuweisen:

a) An understanding of “category” is apparently presupposed that must be designated as problematic. As, for example, the linguist T. Givón (2000: 29–34) shows, categories usually do not encompass clearly delimitable, homogenous segments of reality (which is apparently different from what is assumed in the aforementioned thesis).

a) Man setzt offenbar ein Verständnis von »Kategorie« voraus, das als problematisch zu bezeichnen ist. Wie etwa der Linguist T. Givón (2000: 29–34) nachweist, umfassen Kategorien in der Regel keine klar abgrenzbaren, homogenen Segmente der Wirklichkeit (offenbar anders als bei der obigen These angenommen).

This applies not least to the linguistic categories: The reality that is investigated here and has to be described consists in large part of a continuum. Time and again the (category) boundaries between different spheres are shown to be fluid.

Dies trifft nicht zuletzt auch auf die linguistischen Kategorien zu: Die hier untersuchte und zu beschreibende Wirklichkeit besteht zu einem großen Teil aus einem Kontinuum. Die (kategoriellen) Grenzen zwischen unterscheidbaren Bereichen erweisen sich immer wieder als fließend.

In the core sphere of a category we find the typical, i.e. those phenomena that display all the features of this category.

Im Kernbereich einer Kategorie findet sich das Typische, jene Phänomene nämlich, die sämtliche Kennzeichen dieser Kategorie aufweisen.

At the margins, however, one also encounters atypical manifestations in which part of the category markers are lacking.

An den Rändern trifft man jedoch auch auf atypische Erscheinungen, bei denen ein Teil der kategoriellen Kennzeichen fehlt.

The existence of some indicative forms with problematic temporal meaning function are therefore not yet a reason to deny such a function to the indicative as a whole; they can be reasonably assigned to the periphery which borders the neighboring category without typical temporal meaning function.

Einige Indikativformen mit problematischer Zeitbedeutungsfunktion sind von daher noch kein Grund, eine solche dem Indikativ überhaupt abzusprechen; sie lassen sich sinnvollerweise dem Randbereich zuordnen, der an die benachbarte Kategorie ohne typische Zeitbedeutungsfunktion grenzt.

b) The possibility of mutivalence seems to be too little taken into account. Linguistic signs can – as distinct from non-lingustic signs – be multivalent, i.e. polysemous or polyfunctional: to one element of expression there often corresponds more than one content or one function, a circumstance that ordinarily does not prevent texts from being understood, since what is meant in each case can usually be inferred from other linguistic signals or simply on the basis of the context.

b) Die Möglichkeit von Mehrdeutigkeit scheint zu wenig berücksichtigt. Sprachliche Zeichen können – im Unterschied zu nichtsprachlichen Zeichen – mehrdeutig, d.h. polysem bzw. polyfunktional, sein: Einem Ausdruckselement entspricht häufig mehr als ein Inhalt oder eine Funktion, ein Umstand, der die Verstehbarkeit von Texten gewöhnlich nicht beeinträchtigt, da sich das jeweils Gemeinte meist anhand von weiteren Sprachsignalen oder einfach aufgrund des Kontextes leicht erschließen lässt.

When, for example, imperfect forms sometimes refer not to something past but to the unreal for example, this need not call into question the temporal meaning function of this indicative category; the reference to the unreal is typically signaled via the conjunction εἰ, the particle ἄν or through the meaning of the verb (§198h/i; 284), a situation that is not dissimilar to that of the English past tense (cf., e.g., He went. – If he went.).

Wenn sich z.B. Imperfektformen manchmal nicht auf Vergangenes, sondern etwa auf Nichtwirkliches beziehen, braucht dies die Zeitbedeutungsfunktion dieser indikativischen Kategorie nicht in Frage zu stellen; der Bezug auf Nichtwirkliches wird ja typischerweise durch die Konjunktion εἰ, die Partikel ἄν oder dann durch die Verbbedeutung signalisiert (§198h/i; 284), eine Situation, die der der englischen past tense nicht unähnlich ist (vgl. z.B. He went. – If he went.).

For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! I hope to be able to write at least one Monday blog post each month. Best, Wayne

Christine Jacobi on Social Memory and Jesus Tradition in Paul

Like many readers of The Jesus Blog, I have enjoyed seeing its circle of contributors expand from Anthony Le Donne and Chris Keith to include James Crossley and now Christine Jacobi, Brant Pitre, and Rafael Rodríguez.

As a way of celebrating this recent expansion and especially the addition of a Neutestamentlerin from Germany, today’s post will look at Christine Jacobi‘s 2015 book Jesusüberlieferung bei Paulus? Analogien zwischen den echten Paulusbriefen und den synoptischen Evangelien. In order to give the reader a better sense of the book, I have chosen to translate four short excerpts rather than commenting on a single key quotation.

Like Benjamin White’s important monograph (cf. esp. pp. 49-54 and 70-107), Christine Jacobi‘s book is one of the first full-scale studies to apply social memory theories to Pauline Studies. Hence, I have taken the first excerpt from the section of her book (pp. 9-20) entitled “Eine neue Hermeneutik zum Vergangeneitsbezug der synoptischen Evangelien: Allgemeine Aspekte des Erinnerungszugangs“. This first excerpt is meant to give the reader a sense of where Jacobi stands in relation to various “memory approaches”. The next three excerpts, in turn, are taken from her conclusion. They are intended to give the reader a sense of the direction in which Jacobi takes her argument. As indicated by the the question mark in her title, part of her argument involves a questioning of the appropriateness of speaking of “Jesus tradition in Paul”. I will alternate between English translation and German original.

Translation 1 (wmc): Jens Schröter already drew attention to the complex and indissoluble connection between past and present in the Gospels in 1997 in his habilitation Errinerung an Jesu Worte, in which he specified anew the relation between Jesus traditions and the texts that process them. … A Jesus research following on from Schröter takes interest in the different post-Easter pictures of Jesus or the ways of his making-present and representation. It describes the texts as interpretations or “remembrances” of the pre-Easter activity of Jesus. Corresponding conceptions therefore do not necessarily speak of “Jesus tradition” but more openly of “Vergangenheit” and “past” or of “commemorative products” and “memory”. That the Gospels take up older traditions and the task of the exegete cannot exhaust itself in a description of the world of the text is taken into account. However, one does not search for the oldest tradition but the texts as wholes are understood as witnesses of memory, which process themes and motifs from the tradition in various ways and according to the needs of the respective present. The past activity of Jesus molds, together with other influences such as the Scripture, the first Christians’ coordinates of understanding and schemata of perception and contributes to early Christian self-understanding. And, conversely, Jesus’s person and activity are interpreted, in turn, by such patterns of understanding. “Erinnerung” or “(social) memory” are terms used for this nexus, with which a series of current studies in Jesus- and Synoptic scholarship is working.

Quotation 1 (Page 11-12): Auf die komplexe und unauflösbare Verbindung von Vergangenheit und Gegenwart in den Evangelien machte bereits 1997 Jens Schröter in seiner Habilitationsschrift Errinnerung an Jesu Worte aufmerksam, in welcher er das Verhältnis von Jesusüberlieferungen zu den sie verarbeitenden Texten neu bestimmte. … Eine an Schröter anschließende Jesusforschung interessiert sich für die verschiedenen nachösterlichen Bilder Jesu bzw. die Weisen seiner Vergegenwärtigung und Repräsentation. Sie beschreibt die Texte als Deutungen bzw. “Erinnerungen” an das vorörsterliche Wirken Jesu. In entsprechenden Entwürfen ist daher gar nicht mehr unbedingt von “Jesustradition” die Rede, sondern offener von “Vergangenheit” oder “past” bzw. von “commemorative products” and “memory”. Dass die Evangelien ältere Überlieferungen aufnehmen und die Aufgabe des Exegeten sich nicht in einer Beschreibung der Textwelt erschöpfen kann, wird dabei berücksichtigt. Es wird jedoch nicht nach den ältesten Überlieferung gefahndet, sondern die Texte als Ganze werden als Erinnerungszeugnisse verstanden, die Themen und Motive aus der Überlieferung auf vielfältige Weise und je nach den Bedürfnissen der eigenen Gegenwart bearbeiten. Das vergangene Wirken Jesus modelliert zusammen mit anderen Einflüssen wie beispielsweise die Schrift die Verstehungskoordinaten und Wahrnehmungsschemata der ersten Christen und trägt zum frühchristlichen Selbstverständnis bei. Und umgekehrt werden Person und Auftreten Jesu wiederum durch solche Interpretationsmuster gedeutet. “Erinnerung” oder “(social) memory” sind die für diesen Zusammenhang verwendeten Termini, mit denen eine Reihe aktueller Beiträge der Jesus- und Synoptikerforschung arbeitet.

Translation 2 (wmc): Finally, from the findings on the reception of so-called Jesus tradition in Paul one must draw conclusions for the picture of Jesus that is painted in the letters of Paul. Negatively one can say that Jesus as an originator of tradition and teacher is not relevant for Paul. But what is his significance with a view to the so-called Jesus tradition in Paul?

Quotation 2 (page 392): Aus den Ergebnissen zur Rezeption sogenannter Jesusüberlieferung bei Paulus sind schließlich Konsequenzen für das Bild von Jesus zu ziehen, das in den Paulusbriefen gezeichnet wird. In negativer Hinsicht kann festgestellt werden, dass Jesus als Traditionsurheber und als Lehrer für Paulus nicht relevant ist. Welche Bedeutung aber kommt ihm mit Blick auf die sogenannte Jesustradition bei Paulus zu?

Translation 3: When Paul describes a new view of reality with expressions such as “in the Kyrios” or “in Christ”, this shows that he does not distinguish between the Kyrios as the Risen and Exalted One, on the one hand, and Jesus as the originator of traditions, on the other hand. The reason for this is again that the event of salvation and the new reality of faith are thought of as connected with the Lord Jesus Christ in the closest way. The Kyrios forms the center of all expressions of faith. In this way the authority of the Kyrios can encompass both Pauline argumentation as well as already circulating traditions taken up by Paul and traditions that go back to the earthy Jesus himself. Therefore, all the admonition of the apostle ultimately takes place in the sphere of validity of faith in Christ, which forms the framework for his own remarks on the Christian self-understanding. The sphere of interpretation in which Paul places topoi, motifs, and contents of tradition, levels out their respectively specific backgrounds.

Quotation 3 (page 393): Wenn Paulus mit Wendungen wie “im Kyrios” oder “in Christus” eine neue Wirklichkeitssicht beschreibt, so zeigt sich darin, dass er nicht zwischen dem Kyrios als dem Auferweckten und Erhörten einerseits und Jesus als Urheber von Traditionen anderseits unterscheidet. Der Grund dafür liegt wiederum darin, dass das Heilsgeschehen und die neue Glaubenswirklichkeit insgesamt mit dem Herrn Jesus Christus auf engste Weise verbunden gedacht werden. Der Kyrios bildet das Zentrum aller Glaubensäußerungen. Auf diese Weise kann die Autorität des Kyrios sowohl paulinische Argumentationen als auch bereits zirkulierende, von Paulus aufgegriffene Überlieferungen und auf den irdischen Jesus selbst zurückgehende Traditionen umfassen. Deshalb erfolgt letzlich alles Ermahnen des Apostels im Geltungsbereich des Christusglaubens, der den Bezugsrahmen für seine eigenen Ausführungen über das christliche Selbstverständnis und den Stand der Adressaten bildet. Der mit “in Christus/im Kyrios” markierte Deutungsraum, in den Paulus Topoi, Motive und Überlieferungsinhalte stellt, nivelliert deren je spezifische Herkunft.

Translation 4 (wmc): From a reception-oriented perspective 1 Cor 7.10-11 and 9.14 in particular can rather be understood as special forms of the much more frequent reference to the Kyrios through the ἐν-κυρίῳ-/ἐν-χριστῷ-expressions. For although in 1 Cor 7.10-11 and 9.14-15 Paul designates the content of the statements as words/sayings of the Lord, he relativizes their content from a christological perspective. Paul sees himself legitimated by the Lord for this work of mediation between the words of the Lord and the world of faith opened up “in Christ” (cf. 1 Cor 7.25, 40; 9.15-18). For the Kyrios as foundation of faith possesses for Paul more weight than the Kyrios as originator of tradition. With this the Pauline perspective on the action of God toward and through Christ becomes apparent, which alongside various other spheres of tradition integrates also the words of the Lord traditions into a common paradigm.

Quotation 4 (page 394): Aus einer rezeptionsorientiertenten Perspektive lassen sich insbesondere 1 Kor 7,10f. und 9,14 eher als Sonderformen der wesentlich häufigeren Bezugnahme auf den Kyrios durch die ἐν-κυρίῳ-/ἐν-χριστῷ-Wendungen verstehen. Denn obwohl Paulus in 1 Kor 7,10f. und 9,14 Aussagegehalte als Herrenworte kennzeichnet, relativiert er ihre Inhalte von einer christologischen Perspektive her. Zu dieser Vermittlungsarbeit zwischen den Herrenworten und der “in Christus” eröffneten Glaubenswelt sieht Paulus sich selbst vom Kyrios legitimiert (vgl. 1 Kor 7,25.40; 9,15-18). Denn für Paulus besitzt der Kyrios als Glaubensfundament mehr Gewicht als der Kyrios als Traditionsurheber. Damit zeichnet sich die paulinische Perspektive auf das Handeln Gottes an und durch Jesus Christus als derjenige Horizont ab, der neben verschiedenen anderen Traditionsbereichen auch die Herrenwortüberlieferungen in ein gemeinsames Paradigma integriert.

Substantive Analysis: In a previous post, I suggested that a comparison between the treatment of the sayings tradition in the work of Francis Watson and Jens Schröter would make a great research project, especially if it also drew upon the multiple exchanges between James Dunn and Jens Schröter on this topic. Having dipped into Jacobi’s fine monograph, I now think that her voice should definitely be added to this discussion, especially since she has already developed it at much greater depth in relation to a wider range of voices.

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Christoph Markschies and the Publication of Christian Theology and Its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire (BMSEC 3)

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As a way of celebrating the publication of this year’s BMSEC volume, Christian Theology and Its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire: Prolegomena to a History of Early Christian Theology (cf. here!), today’s “German scholars” post is devoted to Christoph Markschies (cf. here), Professor of Ancient Christianity (Patristics) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

For my other posts on this book, see here.

For my other “German scholars” posts, see here.

I. Excerpt Selected by Christoph Markschies

English Translation (page xvii-xix): By paying attention to the institutional contexts, I aim to avoid having only isolated segments of ancient Christianity come into view in this book, for example, by considering only a type of theology (e.g., the type that refers to the frames of reference of Platonic philosophy and shapes western Christian theology to some extent up to the present) or only a single region (Rome or precisely not Rome, depending on the confessional form) or only a certain social milieu (e.g., the social standing of those supported by communities and Christian teachers working in their educational institutions). For this reason, in the first main section of this book, I have especially directed my attention to the different institutional contexts in which Christian theologies were developed in the second and third centuries CE. I have investigated the development and change of such institutions and given consideration to public situations of communication—namely, pagan and Christian school contexts—but also, for example, the conditions at the great imperial and private estates. The differences and commonalities between Christian and pagan institutions are also dealt with, at least in the form of an overview.

German Version (pages 2-3): Durch die Beachtung der institutionellen Kontexte sollte vermieden werden, daß in diesem Buch nur Segmente des antiken Christentums isoliert in den Blick geraten, indem z.B. nur ein Typus von Theologie berücksichtigt wird (etwa der, der sich auf den Referenzrahmen platonischer Philosophie bezieht und in gewisser Weise bis heute abendländische christliche Theologie prägt) oder nur eine Region (je nach konfessioneller Ausprägung: Rom bzw. gerade nicht Rom) oder nur ein bestimmtes soziales Milieu (etwa der Stand von Gemeinden besoldeten und in deren Ausbildungseinrichtungen tätigen christlichen Lehrer). Deswegen habe ich in einem ersten Hauptteil dieses Buches mein Augenmerk besonders auf die unterschiedlichen institutionellen Kontexte zu richten versucht, in denen im zweiten und dritten nachchristlichen Jahrhundert christliche Theologien entwickelt wurden, habe die Entwicklung und Veränderung solcher Institutionen untersucht und öffentliche Kommunikationssituationen, pagane wie christliche Schulzusammenhänge, aber z.B. auch die Verhältnisse auf den großen kaiserlichen und privaten Landgütern in den Blick genommen. Auch die Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen christlichen und paganen Institutionen werden wenigstens im Überblick behandelt“.

II. Biographical-bibliographical information

For Christoph Markschies’s publications, see here (English), here (complete), and here (academia.edu).

For audio-video material of Markschies, see here.

The following two paragraphs have been taken from Prof. Markschies’s webpage:

Research: “Ancient Christianity” with a particular focus on the intellectual history and history of ideas (history of Trinitarian theology), the marginalised movements of the majority church (so-called Gnosticism and Montanism), the transformation of the (Platonic) philosophy in Christian theology and the history of the body in Ancient Christianity within the context of other religions and movements. – The academic history of the discipline with a special focus on the Berlin faculty and the Academy of Sciences.

Academic Biography: Born in 1962 in Berlin, Christoph Markschies studied Protestant Theology, Classical Philology and Philosophy in Marburg, Jerusalem, Munich and Tübingen. He qualified in 1991 as Dr. theol., attained his habilitation in 1994 and, following professorships in Jena (1994-2000) and Heidelberg (2000-2004), has been Professor for Ancient Christianity at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 2004. He was President of this university from 2006 to 2010 and has been Vice-President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of the Sciences and Humanities since 2012. He was awarded the Leibniz Prize in 2001.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! I hope to be able to write at least one Monday blog post each month. Best, Wayne