Jan Rüggemeier on Markan Christology in Cognitive-Narratological Perspective

Today’s offering falls under one of my favorite categories on this blog, namely “German scholars.” The purpose of this category is to introduce German scholars and their research to the English-speaking world. Each post will consist of (I) an excerpt (or series of excerpts) from a publication submitted by the German author him/herself and (II) some biographical-bibliographical information about the scholar in question.

Today’s German scholar is Dr. Jan Rüggemeier (Acad) of the University of Bern. In part 1 of this post I will provide an English translation and the German text of five key quotations from his 2017 book Poetik der markinischen Christologie. Eine kognitiv-narratologische Exegese. As usual I will alternate between English translation and German text for those who are using these excerpts to (re)learn German.

Quote 1 (pp. 3-4)

The goal of this work is therefore to transfer the historical and philological methods of exegesis, which are already always subject to the influence of other scholarly insights, and newer approaches, especially from the sphere of literary criticism and narrative studies, into a common system of viewing the text.

Das Ziel der vorliegenden Arbeit ist es deshalb, die historischen und philologischen Methoden der Exegese, die ihrerseits immer schon dem Einfluss anderer Wissenschaftserkenntnisse und -strömungen unterlagen, und neuere Ansätze, insbesondere aus dem Bereich der Literatur- und Erzählwissenschaften, in ein gemeinsames System der Textbetrachtung zu überführen.

At the same time, the possibilities of such a viewing of the text are to be demonstrated with reference to the example of the Markan picture of Jesus in order ultimately to answer the material question of the Christology of the earliest Gospel anew and with as much nuance as possible.

Zugleich sollen die Möglichkeiten einer solchen Textbetrachtung am Beispiel des markinischen Jesusbildes demonstriert werden, um letztlich die inhaltliche Frage nach der Christologie des ersten Evangeliums neu und möglichst differenziert zu beantworten.

Here it is precisely the recent developments within narrative studies today, which are usually summarized under the keyword of the cognitive turn (cf. chapter 2.1) that contain within themselves a high potential for integration and can lead to an overcoming of the differentiation—which has been unsatisfactory up to now and anything but precise or unified—between so-called synchronic and diachronic methodological steps.

Gerade die neueren Entwicklungen innerhalb der heutigen Erzählwissenschaften, die zumeist unter dem Stichwort der Kognitiven Wende bzw. des cognitive turn zusammengefasst werden (vgl. Kap. 2.1), bergen dabei ein hohes Integrationspotenzial in sich und können zu einer Überwindung der bisher unbefriedigenden und alles andere als präzisen bzw. einheitlichen Differenzierung zwischen sogenannten synchronen und diachronen Methodenschritten führen.

Because it is above all through the narrative-critical “re-discovery” of the recipient that the understanding of the text as an interactive process is grasped, in which there is always an alternating alignment between text-external pre-existing knowledge and text-internal guiding mechanisms, historical source work and narrative-critical interpretation are interdependent.

Weil v.a. durch die erzählwissenschaftliche „Wiederentdeckung“ des Rezipienten das Textverstehen als ein interaktiver Prozess begriffen wird, bei dem es immer zu einem wechselseitigen Abgleich zwischen textextern vorgegebenen Wissensbeständen und textintern angelegten Steuerungsmechanismen kommt, sind historische Quellenarbeit und erzählwissenschaftliche Interpretation aufeinander angewiesen.

Thus, in the case of ancient narratives the text-external knowledge of an intended recipient cannot be drawn out in any other way than with the methods and possibilities of historical source work.

So können bei antiken Erzählungen die textexternen Wissensbestände eines intendierten Rezipienten gar nicht anders als mit den Mitteln und Möglichkeiten einer historischen Quellenarbeit erhoben werden.

And, conversely, a purely historical study of the sources in the context of an explanation of the text would remain deficient, for only by taking into account the specific inferential processes as well as the cognitive-psychological propositions of the recipient can one adequately trace how, conditioned by a selection of individual possibilties of understanding, an actual or intended understanding of the text arises when it is read.

Und umgekehrt bliebe ein rein historisches Quellenstudium im Zusammenhang der Texterklärung defizitär, weil erst unter Berücksichtigung der spezifischen Inferenzprozesse sowie der kognitionspsychologischen Propositionen des Rezipienten hinreichend nachgezeichnet werden kann, wie es bedingt durch eine Auswahl einzelner Verstehensmöglichkeiten bei der Lektüre zu einem tatsächlichen bzw. intendierten Textverstehen kommt.

Quotation 2: Character Traits (pp. 529-30)

Through Jesus’s supernatural knowledge (4.3.1g), his non-limited perception (4.3.1b), and his behavior (4.3.1d), but also on the basis of his repeatedly articulated claim of authority (4.3.1a) or through the overcoming of evident spatial limits (4.3.1-2) and the sudden change of his appearance (4.3.1e), Jesus can be contrasted with other awaited figures of the endtime or paralleled with the Old Testament Kyrios (cf. 4.3.2b).

Durch Jesu übernatürliches Wissen (4.3.1g), seine entgrenzte Wahrnehmung (4.3.1b) und sein Verhalten (4.3.1d), aber auch aufgrund seines wie- derholt artikulierten Vollmachtsanspruchs (4.3.1a) oder durch die Über- windung offensichtlicher Raumgrenzen (4.3.1f) und den plötzlichen Wandel seines Äußeren (4.3.1e) kann Jesus mit anderen erwarteten Gestalten der Endzeit kontrastiert oder mit dem alttestamentlichen Kyrios parallelisiert werden (vgl. 4.3.2b).

A significant function of the character traits consists in setting Jesus into relation with text-external conceptions of characters and precisely in this way to portray his uniqueness and unity with God.

Eine wesentliche Funktion der Figurenmerkmale be- steht darin, Jesus mit textexternen Figurenvorstellungen in Beziehung zu setzen und gerade so seine Einzigkeit und Einheit mit Gott zu inszenieren.

This explains the occasional incoherence, which can be recognized in the characterization of Jesus.

Dies erklärt die gelegentliche Inkohärenz, die sich in der Charakterisierung Jesu erkennen lässt.

Thus, the narrator pursues not the goal of producing a unified conception of Jesus’s [outer] appearance but the appearance has primarily a functional relevance, because it serves the purpose of making a contrast in individual episodes (9.15 after 9.2-6) or gives the recipient a spatial orientation (6.56).

So verfolgt der Erzähler nicht das Ziel eine einheitliche Vorstellung vom Figurenäußeren zu erzielen, sondern das Äußere hat primär eine funktionale Bedeutung, weil es in einzelnen Episoden der Kontrastierung dient (9,15 nach 9,2–6) oder dem Rezipienten eine räumliche Orientierung bietet (6,56).

Quote 3: The Narrator’s Point of View (523):

The actual standpoint of the narrator (cf. chapter 4.2.1) is characterized by a surprisingly small degree of explicitness.

Der eigentliche Erzählerstandpunkt (vgl. Kap. 4.2.1) zeichnet sich durch eine überraschend geringe Explizität aus.

This is probably a co-cause of the large differences in interpretation within the history of scholarship up to now.

Dies dürfte mitursächlich für die großen Interpretationsunterschiede innerhalb der bisherigen Forschungsge- schichte sein.

The Markan Christology shows itself in its core to be emergent, i.e. the standpoint of the narrator cannot be reduced to individual pieces of textual information or be completely aligned with the standpoints of individual characters but can only be deduced from the interplay of all individual perspectives.

Die markinische Christologie erweist sich im Kern als emergent, d.h. der Standpunkt des Erzählers lässt sich nicht auf einzelne Textinformationen reduzieren oder mit einzelnen Figurenstandpunkten voll- ständig in Deckung bringen, sondern kann erst aus dem Wechselspiel aller Einzelperspektiven abgeleitet werden.

Through explicit narrative asides, the perspectival means of the reduplication of information, the presented (un)reliability of individual bearers of perspectives or other means of hierarchization, the narrator positions himself in an indirect—but nevertheless unmistakable—way.

Durch explizite Erzählerkommentare, das perspektivische Mittel der Informationsverdoppelung, die vor Augen gestellte (Un)Zuverlässigkeit einzelner Perspektiventräger oder andere Mittel der Hierarchisierung positioniert sich der Erzähler auf eine indirekte – aber nichtsdestotrotz unmissverständliche – Weise.

Quote 4: Kyrios-Christology (p. 531):

Through the contrast character of John-Elijah and the opening prophet quotation in 1.2-3 it is suggested from the start (= primacy effect) that Jesus is to be identified with the Kyrios and his Sonship is to be understood in the sense of a unique relationship of belonging between God and Jesus (cf. 4.3.2b).

Durch die Kontrastfigur des Johannes-Elia und das einleitende Prophetenzitat 1,2f.) wird von Anfang an nahegelegt (= Primäreffekt), dass Jesus mit dem Kyrios zu identifizieren ist und seine Sohnschaft im Sinne eines einzigartigen Zugehörigkeitsverhältnisses zwischen Gott und Jesus zu verstehen ist (vgl. 4.3.2b).

This parallelization is taken up in the further course of the narrative so that one can by no means speak only of a ‘sporadic Kyrios-Christolgy’ in the Gospel of Mark.

An diese Parallelisierung wird im weiteren Erzählverlauf angeknüpft, so dass keineswegs nur von einer ‚sporadischen Kyrios-Christologie’ im Markusevangelium zu sprechen ist.

Rather, Mark materially takes up the early Christian confession of the one God of Israel and of the one Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor 8.6) and joins it narratively with the episodic narratives of the primitive community, with a far-reaching continuity between the pre- and post-Easter nature of Jesus being postulated.

Vielmehr greift Markus das frühchristliche Bekenntnis zu dem einen Gott Israels und dem einen Herrn Jesus Christus (vgl. 1Kor 8,6) inhaltlich auf und verknüpft es erzählerisch mit den episodenhaften Erzählungen der Urgemeinde, wobei eine weitgehende Kontinuität zwischen dem vor- und nachösterlichen Wesen Jesu postuliert wird.

The frequency of the explicit and implicit Kyrios-allusions, the high relevance for action that can be ascribed to Jesus self-claim and the opposing accusation of blasphemy by the authorities, and the explicit questions about Jesus’s identity as well as the disciples’ obvious lack of understanding (e.g. 1.27; 4.41; 6.52; 8.17-20), which increase the attention of the recipient along the lines of the suspense of a mystery, reveal the great significance of this character parallel.

Die Häufigkeit der expliziten und impliziten Kyrios-Anspielungen, die hohe Handlungsrelevanz, die sich dem Selbstanspruch Jesu und dem entgegengesetzten Blasphemievorwurf der Autoritäten zuschreiben lässt, und die expliziten Fragen nach Jesu Identität sowie das offensichtliche Unverständnis der Jünger (z.B. 1,27; 4,41; 6,52; 8,17–20), die im Sinne einer Rätselspannung die Aufmerksamkeit des Rezipienten erhöhen, lassen die große Bedeutung dieser Figurenparallele erkennen.

Quote 5: Main Function (p. 532)

The main function of the Markan narrative can be designated as the epistemological function.

Die Hauptfunktion der markinischen Erzählung kann als epistemologische Funktion bezeichnet werden.

In distinction from today’s narrative, this is not meant to suggest that the Gospel of Mark disputes every human possibility of knowing in principle or that the question of what identity to ascribe to Jesus can be answered in an exclusively subjective manner.

Im Unterschied zu heutigen Erzählung ist hiermit nicht gemeint, dass das Markusevangelium jede menschliche Er- kenntnismöglichkeit prinzipiell bestreitet oder dass sich die Frage, welche Identität Jesus zuzuschreiben ist, ausschließlich subjektiv beantworten lässt.

Rather, it is demonstrated through the narrative that humans have de facto not recognized Jesus in his actual identity—and this means, according to Markan understanding, as preexistent Son and Kyrios.

Es wird durch die Erzählung vielmehr aufgezeigt, dass die Menschen Jesus in seiner eigentlichen Identität – und d.h. nach markinischem Verständnis als präexistenten Sohn und Kyrios – faktisch nicht erkannt haben.

II. Biographical-Bibliographical Information

Born in 1981, Dr. Jan Rüggemeier (Acad) studied Protestant Theology in Heidelberg, Oxford (Regent’s Park College) and Tübingen. Between 2011 and 2016 he has worked with Prof. Hans-Joachim Eckstein (Tübingen). In 2017 he joined the Institute of New Testament Studies at the University of Bern, where he is preparing a research project on urban christianity with Prof. Benjamin Schliesser. So far his research is focused on the gospels, on biblical narratology and on methodology of the New Testament in general. His handbook Methoden der neutestamentlichen Exegese. Ein Lehr- und Arbeitsbuch, published 2016 together with Sönke Finnern, gives an overview of important exegetical “tools” and introduces new trends in Biblical Studies

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Friederike Kunath and Preexistence in John

Like last week’s post, today’s offering falls under one of my favorite categories on this blog, namely “German scholars.” The purpose of this category is to introduce German scholars and their research to the English-speaking world. Each post will consist of (I) an excerpt (or series of excerpts) from a publication submitted by the German author her/himself and (II) some biographical-bibliographical information about the scholar in question.

Today’s German scholar is Dr. Friederike Kunath of the University of Zürich. In part 1 of this post I will provide an English translation and the German text of four key quotations from her 2016 book Die Präexistenz Jesu im Johannesevangelium. Readers whose interest is piqued by this post will also want to consult her own excellent summary of this book at the “Zürich New Testament blog” (see here).

I. The Preexistence of Jesus in the Gospel of John

WMC: “The sequence of the passages/places is not accidental but points to a chronological intensification, from John as a figure of the narrated time via Abraham through to the beginning of the world. Here one can see a course that runs backward through time, from the present of the narrated time to the beginning of the world. This chronologically opposite-flowing intensification runs parallel to the course of the narrated time of the Gospel of John and consequently forms an exactly contrary timeline.”

315: “Die Reihenfolge der Stellen ist nicht zufällig, sondern weist eine chronologische Steigerung auf, von Johannes als Figur der erzählten Zeit über Abraham bis zum Beginn der Welt. Hier zeigt sich ein rückläufiger Verlauf durch die Zeit, von der Gegenwart der erzählten Zeit aus bis an den Anbeginn der Welt. Diese chronologisch gegenläufige Steigerung verläuft parallel zum Verlauf der erzählten Zeit des Johannesevangeliums und bildet von daher eine genau konträre Zeitlinie.” (p. 315)

WMC: “The climax of the preexistence motif, the being-there of Jesus with God before the world, as the point that lies the farthest back in time, coincides with the culmination point of the narrative as a whole, the “hour.” Exactly complementary to this is the beginning of the motif. The Baptist is the chronologically closest point of reference, who even constitutes the beginning of the narrated time with his appearance and leads to the appearance of Jesus. While the narrated time between the Baptist and the death of Jesus lies about three years in the past, the preexistence motif goes back from the time of the Baptist to the beginning of the world.” [the intended sense is: to before the beginning of the world]

316: “Die Klimax des Präexistenzmotivs, das Dasein Jesu bei Gott vor der Welt, als am weitesten zurückliegender zeitlicher Punkt, fällt mit dem Kulminationspunkt der Erzählung insgesamt, der »Stunde«, zusammen. Genau komplementär dazu ist der Beginn des Motivs: Der Täufer ist der zeitlich am nächsten liegende Bezugspunkt, der den Beginn der erzählten Zeit mit seinem Auftreten sogar konstituiert und zum Auftreten Jesu hinführt. Während die erzählte Zeit zwischen Täufer und Tod Jesu etwa drei Jahre zurücklegt, geht das Präexistenzmotiv die Zeit vom Täufer zum Anfang der Welt zurück.”

WMC: “The supposedly central preexistence statement of John 1.1-2 proves here to be the passage/place that is most open for interpretation, which does not provide much that is concrete for the preexistence concept of the Gospel of John because of the absence of temporal and other references and also because of the joining with the Logos. … The topic of preexistence is developed successively in the course of the Gospel and it reaches its high point in Jesus’s farewell prayer, in connection with his departure and his glorification.”

366: “Die vermeintlich zentrale Präexistenzaussage Joh 1,1 f. erwies sich dabei als interpretationsoffenste Stelle, die wegen fehlender temporaler und anderer Referenzen und auch wegen der Verknüpfung mit dem Logos wenig Konkretes für das Präexistenzkonzept des Johannesevangeliums austrägt. … Das Thema der Präexistenz wird sukzessive, im Verlauf des Evangeliums entwickelt und es kommt im Abschiedsgebet Jesu, im Zusammenhang mit seinem Weggang und seiner Verherrlichung, zum Höhepunkt.”

WMC: “Preexistence is not simply placed in front of the way of Jesus as a temporal phase but it reveals itself with increasing intensity the more Jesus goes on his way. … However, the connection is not adequately specified by saying that Jesus was sent from his preexistence. The preexistence of Jesus becomes a way of knowledge, which goes hand and hand with the way of Jesus, won by the reader. The ideal reader (goes) along to the end of the motif and the end of the narrative and understands—guided by the Spirit—the depth of the way of Jesus that reaches back behind the creation.”

368: “Präexistenz ist nicht einfach dem Weg Jesu als zeitliche Phase vorangestellt, sondern offenbart sich immer stärker, je weiter Jesus seinen Weg geht. … Die Verbindung ist aber nicht damit hinreichend bestimmt, dass Jesus aus der Präexistenz heraus gesandt wurde. Die Präexistenz Jesu wird in einem Erkenntnisweg, der mit dem erzählten Weg Jesu einhergeht, vom Leser errungen. (D)er ideale Leser (geht) bis zum Ende des Motivs und dem Ende der Erzählung mit und versteht – angeleitet durch den Geist – die hinter die Schöpfung zurückreichende Tiefe des Weges Jesu.”

II. Biographical-Bibliographical Information

Born in 1982, Dr. Friederike Kunath studied German Language and Literature and Protestant Theology (and some History and Musicology) in Leipzig. She has been very much interested in the connection between linguistics and Bible Studies. She has worked with Prof. Ulla Fix in Leipzig (text linguistics), Prof. Jens Schröter in Leipzig and Berlin (New Testament) and Prof. Jörg Frey (Zurich). In 2016, she published her first book, an extended version of her PhD thesis, “Die Präexistenz Jesu im Johannesevangelium. Struktur und Theologie eines johanneischen Motivs” (BZNW 212, de Gruyter). Between 2010 and 2014 she has been the redactional assistant for the journal „Early Christianity“ (Mohr Siebeck).

She is currently working on her Habilitationsschrift about Ethics and Embodiment in Paul. Further fields or interest are writing development and mentoring and blogging (see http://schreibstimme.ch; see also here).

***

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Michael Wolter and the Publication of The Gospel According to Luke – Volume I

As a way of celebrating the publication of this year’s BMSEC volume, The Gospel According to Luke – Volume I (1-9:50), which I have co-translated with Christoph Heilig, today’s “German scholars post” is devoted to Michael Wolter (Eng), Professor of New Testament at the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn in Germany and Honorary Professor at the Theological Faculty at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

As usual, the post will consist of 1) key excerpts from the book selected by Michael Wolter and 2) some biographical-bibliographical information about Michael Wolter.

Excerpts (alternating between the English and the German)

29: Luke writes his work with the knowledge that Christianity had been a supralocal entity spread throughout the entire Roman empire for many decades already. According to the witness of Acts, there are Christian communities not only in the eastern provinces of the imperium Romanum—i.e., not only in Syria and in Cilicia, in Galatia and in Asia, in Macedonia and in Achaia—but also in Italy and in Rome itself.

25: Lukas schreibt sein Werk im Wissen darum, dass das Christentum bereits seit vielen Jahrzehnten eine über das gesamte römische Reich verteilte überlokale Größe ist. Nach dem Zeugnis der Apostelgeschichte gibt es christliche Gemeinden nicht nur in den östlichen Provinzen des Imperium Romanum – d.h. nicht nur in Syrien und in Kilikien, in Galatien und in der Asia, in Mazedonien und in Achaia –, sondern auch in Italien und in Rom selbst.

29: It would certainly be completely inappropriate if one wanted to keep this knowledge away from the Lukan story of Jesus and restrict the horizon of its author to the boundaries of a single local Christian community. Beyond this, however, this circumstance makes it also very probable that the Gospel of Luke was written not only in the knowledge that there were Christian communities everywhere in the Roman provinces, but also that in the view of its author its content was also relevant to every single (Bauckham 1998, 1: “any and every”) one of these communities.

25: Es wäre mit Sicherheit ganz unsachgemäß, wenn man dieses Wissen von der lk Jesusgeschichte fernhalten und den Horizont ihres Verfassers auf die Grenzen einer einzigen christlichen Ortsgemeinde beschränken wollte. Dieser Sachverhalt macht es darüber hinaus aber auch sehr wahrscheinlich, dass das LkEv nicht nur im Wissen darum geschrieben wurde, dass es christliche Gemeinden überall in den römischen Provinzen gibt, sondern dass sein Inhalt nach der Meinung seines Verfassers auch für jede einzelne (Bauckham* 1: „any and every”) dieser Gemeinden theologisch relevant ist.

30: Finally, one can possibly even reckon with the fact that Luke imagined this readership not only as a synchronic entity but also as a diachronic entity. His narrative would then be intended not only for the Christians of his own time but also for Christians of future generations.

25: Und schließlich ist es möglicherweise sogar damit zu rechnen, dass Lukas sich diese Leserschaft nicht nur als eine synchrone, sondern auch als eine diachrone Größe vorgestellt hat. Seine Erzählung wäre demnach nicht nur für die Christen seiner eigenen Zeit, sondern auch für die Christen zukünftiger Generationen bestimmt.

30: That history writing could be guided by such a perspective is already recognizable in Thucydides, who composed his history of the Peloponnesian War “more as an enduring possession than as a masterpiece for current hearers” (… 1.22.4). …

25-26: Dass Geschichtsschreibung von einer solchen Perspektive geleitet sein kann, wird bereits bei Thucydides erkennbar, der seine Geschichte des Pelo-ponnesischen Krieges „eher zum bleibenden Besitz, denn als Meisterstück zum aktuellen Hören“ verfasst hat (…1,22,4). …

30: This does not mean, however, that with this expansion the picture of the intended readers becomes more diffuse, for with the Christian community of the Lukan present, Christian posterity enduringly shares the same characteristic feature that constitutes the identity of all intended readers, namely the foundation story of Christianity that Luke narrates in his “report.” For this story is also their story. …

26: Mit dieser Ausweitung wird das Bild der intendierten Leser durchaus nicht diffuser, denn mit den christlichen Gemeinden der lk Gegenwart teilt die christli-che Nachwelt bleibend ein und dasselbe Merkmal, das die Identität aller intendier-ten Leser konstituiert: die Basisgeschichte des Christentums, die Lukas in seinem Doppelwerk erzählt. Denn diese Geschichte ist auch ihre Geschichte. …

30-31: The Gospel of Luke is the first part of a two-part historical work that narrates an epoch of the history of Israel and thus belongs to the historical genre of “epoch histories” …

26: Das Lukasevangelium ist der erste Teil eines zweiteiligen Geschichtswerks, das eine Epoche aus der Geschichte Israels erzählt und damit zur historiographischen Gattung der „Epochengeschichten“ gehört …

32: Luke sees the special profile of this epoch, which makes the narrated time period into an epoch in the first place, as consisting in the fact that the sending of God’s eschatic salvation (σωτήριον; Luke 2.30; 3.6; Acts 28.28)—a sending that first took place through Jesus himself and then through his witnesses—was rejected by most of the Jews.

28: Das besondere Profil dieser Epoche, das den erzählten Zeitraum allererst zu einer Epoche macht, sieht Lukas darin bestehen, dass die Sendung von Gottes eschatischem Heil (σωτήριον; Lk 2,30; 3,6; Apg 28,28), die erst durch Jesus selbst und dann durch dessen Zeugen erfolgte, von den meisten Juden abgewiesen wurde.

32: Because, in contrast to this, the salvation of God was received by far more non-Jews, Luke can have Paul say with his last words in Acts 28.28: “And they will listen!” (αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται…). …

29: Weil das Heil Gottes demgegenüber von sehr viel mehr Nichtjuden angenommen wurde, kann Lukas seinen Paulus darum mit dessen letztem Wort in Apg 28,28 sagen lassen: „Sie sind es, die auch hören werden!“ (αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται …) …

33-34: The fulfillment of the promises for Israel therefore led to a separation process, which had as a consequence the fact that “Israel” received a quite peculiar form in the Lukan time. On the one hand, Luke views the Christian church as standing in the unbroken continuity of the history of the people of God Israel, for it now includes also the Jewish and non-Jewish Χριστιανοί, who were called this for the first time in Antioch according to Acts 11.26. The Χριστιανοί are all those believe that the promises of salvation given to the people of God are fulfilled in the sending and in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (e.g. Acts 13.32-39; 23.6; 26.6-8). According to the Lukan understanding, the history of Israel finds its continuation in the history of the church. On the other hand, those Jews who deny the Christ proclamation also continue, of course, to belong to Israel…

Die Erfüllung der Verheißungen für Israel mündete darum in einen Trennungsprozess, der zur Folge hatte, dass „Israel“ in lukanischer Zeit eine recht merkwürdige Gestalt bekommen hat: Zum einen sieht Lukas die christliche Kirche in der ungebrochenen Kontinuität der Geschichte des Gottesvolks Israel stehen, denn ihm gehören nun auch die nach Apg 11,26 erstmals in Antiochien so genannten jüdi-schen und nichtjüdischen Χριστιανοί an. Hierbei handelt es sich um all diejenigen, die glauben, dass die dem Gottesvolk geltenden Heilsverheißungen in der Sen-dung und in der Auferstehung Jesu von den Toten erfüllt sind (z.B. Apg 13,32–39; 23,6; 26,6–8). Nach lk Verständnis setzt sich die Geschichte Israels in der Geschichte der Kirche fort. Zum anderen gehören für Lukas natürlich auch weiter-hin diejenigen Juden zu Israel, die sich der Christusverkündigung versagen.

* For the Front Matter of Wolter’s commentary and existing reviews, see here. For Christoph Heilig’s post on this book at the Zürich New Testament blog, see here. For my other blog posts on this book, see here.

II. Biographical-bibliographical information

In this section I will provide two types of biographical-bibliographical information about Michael Wolter. First, I will translate a section (which I have selected) from Wolter’s chapter in Eve-Marie Becker‘s wonderful edited volume Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft. Autobiographical Essays aus der Evangelischen Theologie. Secondly, I will include some further information about Wolter’s biography and research (which he sent to me).

Excerpt from Neutestamentliche WissenschaftIn the years of the building and form-finding of a scholarly existence of my own I did not, to be sure, succeed in finding what characterizes many theological biographies: the lasting connection to a specific teacher or an embedding in the context of a certain school. This is especially recognizable in the fact that I— apart from the three years in which I was away with Klaus Berger in Heidelberg—gained two academic “fathers” with scholarly approaches to the theology that were separated by a rather great theological and methodological distance. My Heidelberg Doktorvater Erich Dinkler came out of the Marburg of Rudolf Bultmann, and, accordingly, he primarily made me familiar with the kerygma-theological program of demythologizing and existential interpretation. Very different my Habilitationsvater Otto Böcher. With him I learned that the mythical form of religious orientation of existence is not simply something that one has to interpret existentially in order to be able to begin something with it theologically but that it can and must be taken seriously theologically precisely also in its material objectification. Without any reservation both refrained from orienting their student to their own theological coordination system and to this day I remain deeply thankful to them for this.

Further Biographical-Bibliographical Information: Born 1950 in Hannover, Michael Wolter studied Protestant Theology in Berlin, Heidelberg, and Göttingen. He qualified in 1977 as Dr. theol. and worked from 1977 through 1983 as the editor of the “Theologische Realenzyklopädie” (TRE) at de Gruyter in Berlin. From 1983 through 1988 he was research assistant at the University of Mainz and attained there his habilitation in 1986. He taught Biblical Theology at the Universities of Aachen (1988) and Bayreuth (1988–1993) and New Testament at the University of Bonn (1993–2016). Since March 2016 he has been retired.

Michael Wolter is Honorary Professor at the University of Pretoria and Extraodinary Professor at the North-West University in Potchefstroom (South Africa). He is a member of the North-Rhine-Westfalia Academy of Sciences and Humanities. 2002–2004 he served as president of the Colloquium Oecumenicum Paulinum, and presently he is president elect of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS).

He was awarded the Hanns-Lilje-Prize by the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 1988, and in 2016 he received a honorary doctorate from the University of Athens.

Michael Wolter loves writing commentaries on New Testament writings. He has published commentaries on

Colossians and Philemon:

Der Brief an die Kolosser. Der Brief an Philemon (ÖTK 12), Gütersloh/Würzburg 1993

the Gospel of Luke:

Das Lukasevangelium (HNT 5), Tübingen 2008 (engl. trans. by Wayne Coppins and Christoph Heilig, Waco 2106/2017)

and Romans:

Der Brief an die Römer. Teilband I: Röm 1–8 (EKK 6/1), Neukirchen-Vluyn 2014

The second volume will be published in 2018.

Books on other topics include:

Rechtfertigung und zukünftiges Heil. Untersuchungen zu Röm 5,1-11 (BZNW 43), Berlin/New York 1978

Aus dem Archiv des Verlages Walter de Gruyter. Briefe – Urkunden – Dokumente, Berlin/New York 1980 [together with Doris Fouquet-Plümacher]

Theologie und Kirche im Wirken Hans von Sodens. Briefe und Dokumente aus der Zeit des Kirchenkampfes 1933–1945 (AKZ 2/2), Göttingen 1984 21986

Die Pastoralbriefe als Paulustradition (FRLANT 146), Göttingen 1988

5. Esra-Buch / 6. Esra-Buch (JSHRZ III/7), Gütersloh 2001 (translation and commentary)

Paulus. Ein Grundriss seiner Theologie, Neukirchen-Vluyn 2011 22015 (engl. trans. by R.M. Brawley, Waco 2015)

***

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

MarkschiesCoverSmall

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

This post falls under one of my favorite categories on this blog, namely “German scholars”. The purpose of this category is to introduce German scholars and their research to the English-speaking world. Each post will consist of (I) an excerpt (or several excerpts) from a publication submitted by the German author her/himself and (II) some biographical-bibliographical information about the scholar in question.

Today’s German scholar is Christoph Heilig (cf. here) of the University of Zürich, with whom I have worked closely this year (cf. here) on our co-translations of Michael Wolter’s commentary on Luke for the BMSEC series and Oda Wischmeyer‘s wonderful essay in God and the Faithfulness of Paul: A Critical Examination of the Pauline Theology of N.T. Wright (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, Forthcoming 2015).

I have asked Heilig to send me three excerpts from his 2015 book Hidden Criticism? The Methodology and Plausibility of the Search for a Counter-Imperial Subtext in Paul, which I read with great profit with regard to its content and with great appreciation for the skill with which he translated his original German manuscript.

I. Echoes and Empire Criticism

On Hays

So what can we conclude on this basis? First, the set of criteria invites the uncritical interpreter to overemphasise certain factors since, in part, Hays’s criteria are only sub-factors of other criteria, and they should not be used as separate touchstones since this would yield an unrealistic result. For example, one could get the impression that it is correct to treat “Satisfaction” and “Volume” as two different arguments – although “Satisfaction” cannot be determined without analysing its subordinate aspects. Second, there is the danger of underemphasising the aspect of “Satisfaction.” Most exegetes probably are not aware of the fact that this factor makes up half (!) of the overall plausibility of an echo because it is only one of seven tests in Hays’s list. Third, another danger in using Hays’s criteria is that parts of the relevant data could be overlooked since the criteria are spread out rather chaotically across the two large factors in Bayes’s theorem and defined rather vaguely. To give just one example: How do we know that we have really covered all the relevant ground to determine the crucial factor of the background plausibility? How do we know the criteria Hays suggested do not leave important gaps in the evaluation of the data? Related to this, fourth, is the problem that the consequences of failing and fulfilling a test are unclear. The criteria function cumulatively, and what is missing in one area in terms of plausibility can be counterbalanced by another. Without a control mechanism, this becomes quite an arbitrary way of weighing evidence.

In light of all of this, it does not seem advisable to use Hays’s criteria as a methodologically sound way to identify echoes. To be sure, it is possible to come to well-founded conclusions on their basis (conclusions that agree with an inference in terms of Bayes), but in these cases it is not the set of criteria itself which guarantees the success, but their wise use, which attributes the correct significance to each of them. The danger of such a methodological procedure is that intuitive decisions, which are made in advance, are sanctioned afterwards by “tests” which have the appearance of scientific method.

On Barclay

When Barclay emphasises that for Paul the real frontier is a cosmic battle, this is probably correct. It would be wrong to negate this and to try to attribute this role to the Roman Empire. Instead, the really important question is whether Paul’s perception of everyday reality was multi-layered or not. Just because he would have agreed with Barclay that the most important conflict is the one between sin and the Spirit, does not mean that it does not affect ordinary decisions and behaviour on a lower level. The foundational conflict in Gal 5:17, for example, is followed in 5:19–26 by very concrete expressions of this battle. Similarly, the book of Acts gives us a good impression of the various local complications of Paul’s mission through his contemporaries, and nevertheless, without further explanation, he is able to say in 1 Thess 2:18 that it was Satan who hindered him from visiting the church. Hence, it would be wrong to say that these “ordinary” things were only peripheral to Paul. The concrete, contemporaneous circumstances do not just float around in space without evaluation just because Paul has a cosmic perspective. Rather, he interprets the events and conditions confronting him within such a wider framework.

We thus have to argue, against Barclay, that Paul’s concrete judgements of specific contemporaneous phenomena as expressions of cosmic forces result from his theological interpretation of the world and do not contradict it at all. On the contrary, if we assume the latter, we should also expect the former, wherever contemporary figures claim roles (saviour of the world etc.) that are attributed to other persons in the divine drama.

On Wright/Elliott

The implicit presupposition of Wright and Elliott seems to be: “If Paul had had free hand, he would have formulated his criticism more openly.” This assumes that the subtext is not an effective tool for persuasion. But is the use of subtext really only explicable in terms of restricting the “actual” opinion? My approach challenges the idea that using the subtext is a kind of second class level of communication necessitated by oppressive circumstances.

This claim is demonstrated – of all things – by the method which the proponents of a subtext-hypothesis adduce: Hays’s scriptural “echoes.” It is astonishing that Wright and Elliott refer to Hays’s criteria but do not spend enough time on the question of what this implies for the character of the literary phenomenon itself. An echo – be it scriptural or imperial – evokes a scenery in the imagination of the reader by means of only a very short phrase. … The effect of an “echo” thus can be much bigger than the one of bare juxtaposition. The reason for this effectiveness is that narrative structures are formative for worldviews, and echoes are able to evoke alternative scenarios in the imagination, which can have persuasive power. Stories are able to challenge other stories and the worldviews they represent much more effectively than purely factual criticism.

This can also be applied to our subject. It is by no means clear that Paul’s best option for expressing the Messiah’s superiority over against imperatorial claims would have been the blunt assertion “We trust in Jesus not in Caesar!” The claims of Roman imperial ideology were not indifferent statements which could be judged in a detached manner. Nor would this judgement have been something which could have been simply appropriated by decision. These claims, rather, included assertions concerning the structure and nature of reality as it pertained directly to the individual. To question them meant to question a worldview and thus to imply alternative stories. Conversely, alternative narratives implicitly contested the existing paradigm. Contrary to the simple stating of antitheses, stories also offer a reason for accepting these dichotomies by offering a superior meta-structure whose acceptance is facilitated by appealing to the imagination. If Rom 1:1–17 really is a “parody of the imperial cult,” this poses the question whether Paul’s echo-like, resonance-evoking formulation could not have been the most appropriate means to express this powerful contrast (instead of simply being the “safer” way of communication). Similarly, when Paul tells the story of the exaltation of the Messiah in Phil 2:6–11, which climaxes in the worship of the κύριος Jesus – a “stilisierte Kurzerzählung darüber, wie ein Hochwohlgeborener sich dafür qualifiziert, die universale Herrschaft zu erhalten” – I am under the impression that it would (a) not have done justice to Paul’s primary aim of discourse if he had denied the Lordship of Caesar directly (Section 2.2.1) nor would it (b) have been more effective to choose such a procedure.

II. Biographical-Biographical Information

After studying theology at the Freie Theologische Hochschule Gießen, Christoph Heilig went to the University of St Andrews where he received a Master of Letters in “Biblical Languages and Literature” in 2013. Having done additional studies in Göttingen, he is now working with Prof. Jörg Frey on a research project funded by the SNF at the University of Zurich. It deals with the question of the role of narrative substructures for understanding Paul’s letters (see further here). He has also worked on various philosophical issues, which is reflected in part in the methodological approach of his book Hidden Criticism. Being influenced in particular by the linguistic emphasis of Prof. Heinrich von Siebenthal, he is currently completing an in-depth analysis of the function of the metaphor of the Roman triumph in 2 Cor 2:14. His strong interest in the enhancement of the dialogue between German and English biblical scholarship is reflected in, among other things, a volume on N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, which he is editing together with Jay Thomas Hewitt and Michael Bird for WUNT II (see here). Further information about Christoph Heilig can be found here.

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Matthias Konradt and the Publication of Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew (BMSEC 2)

As a way of celebrating the publication of this year’s BMSEC volume,  Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew, today’s “German scholars” post is devoted to Matthias Konradt, Professor of New Testament Theology at the University of Heidelberg and Editor of the Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft.

The category “German scholars” seeks to introduce German scholars and their research to the English-speaking world. Each post consists of (I) a translation of a short passage from a publication submitted by the German author her/himself and (II) some biographical-bibliographical information about the scholar in question. For further information on this category, see here. For my other “German scholars” posts, see here.

Rather than including a grammatical analysis for this post, let me simply express my great admiration for Kathleen Ess’s elegant translation of this quotation and of the volume as a whole!

I. Translation

Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew (p. 324; translated by Kathleen Ess): [T]he central aspect of the Matthean narrative program is to be seen in that the evangelist interlaced the missions to Israel and the nations with the development of Jesus’ messianic identity as the Son of David and the Son of God. The presentation of the Davidic Messiah’s ministry to his people is followed by the inclusion of the nations in salvation on the basis of the death of the Son of God for the “many” and the installation of the Son of God as the universal Lord, equipped with universal authority. Just as the universal dimension of salvation is indicated prior to Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ ministry in Israel, so too is Jesus’ identity as the Son of God presented before his portrayal as the Davidic Messiah. Jesus’ salvific death and resurrection, or exaltation, are for Matthew the kairos in which his divine sonship becomes a “public” topic, as does the universal significance of the salvation Jesus has brought about. The two soteriological horizons of the two commissions in 10.5– 6 and 28.19 are thus to be seen in connection with the narrative Christology of the Matthean Jesus story.

Israel, Kirche und die Völker im Matthäusevangelium (p. 347-348): Das zentrale Moment der matthäischen Erzählkonzeption ist … darin zu sehen, dass der Evangelist den Zusammenhang von Zuwen­dung zu Israel und Völkermission mit der Entfaltung der messianischen Identität Jesu als Sohn Davids und Sohn Gottes verschränkt hat. Nach der Darlegung der Zuwendung des davidischen Messias zu seinem Volk er­folgt die Einbeziehung der Völker in das Heil auf der Basis des Todes des Gottessohnes für die „Vielen“ und der Einsetzung des Gottessohnes zum mit universaler Vollmacht ausgestatteten Weltenherrn. Wie die universale Dimension des Heils als Vorzeichen vor Matthäus’ Darstellung des Wir­kens Jesu in Israel gesetzt ist, so steht die Gottessohnwürde Jesu als Vor­zeichen vor seiner Präsentation als davidischer Messias. Heilstod und Auf­erweckung bzw. Erhöhung Jesu sind für Matthäus der Kairos, an dem seine Gottessohnwürde ‚öffentliches‘ Thema wird und damit verbunden die uni­versale Bedeutung des von Jesus gewirkten Heils hervortritt. Die unter­schiedlichen soteriologischen Horizonte der beiden Aussendungen in 10,5f und 28,19 sind also mit der narrativen Christologie der matthäischen Je­susgeschichte in Verbindung zu bringen.

II Biographical-Bibliographical Information

The Gospel of Matthew developed as one of my main fields of interest quite early. At the end of my theological education at the University of Heidelberg, I had to write a thesis paper on the topic “Israel and Salvation History According to the Gospel of Matthew”. From that point on, the exegesis of Matthew’s Gospel has been my steady companion, although it took a backseat during my dissertation work on the Letter of James (University of Heidelberg, published in 1998 with Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), my pastoral internship, and my postdoctoral thesis (Habilitationsschrift) on the concept of judgment in Paul (published in 2003 with de Gruyter). From 2003 on, I intensified my work on the Gospel of Matthew. One of the results was my monograph on “Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew”, published in German in 2007 with Mohr Siebeck. The monograph focuses on what I consider to be one of the most central problems for understanding the theology of the Gospel of Matthew—namely, identifying the cause for the transition from the Israel-centered, pre-Easter ministry of Jesus and his disciples to the universal mission post-Easter, and the relationship between the formation of the Church and Israel’s role as God’s chosen nation in Matthew’s concept. Contrary to the traditional interpretation, which suggests that Matthew advocates the replacement of Israel by the Church and—in keeping with this—of the mission to Israel by the universal mission, my thesis is that the Israel-centered and the universal dimensions of salvation are positively interconnected in the narrative conception, in which Matthew develops Jesus’ messianic identity as the Son of David and the Son of God.

After the publication of this monograph, I started to write a commentary on Matthew’s Gospel which will be published with Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht at Göttingen in April 2015, and as part of my participation in the project Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti I am preparing the volume on the Gospel of Matthew. My other projects include a book on New Testament ethics, a monograph on Paul’s life, letters and theology as well as commentaries on the Epistles to the Thessalonians and a commentary on Ephesians.

For a list of Prof. Konradt’s English Publications, see here. For a full bibliography of his publications, see here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! Unfortunately, I have found it increasingly difficult to write a new post each Monday, but I hope to be able to write at least two or three Monday blog posts each month. We’ll see. Best, Wayne.

 

 

Torsten Jantsch and God as Creator in Paul (German Scholars Post)

Before starting this blog post, let me begin by congratulating my wife Ingie Hovland for her now position as an editor in the new anthropology section at the Marginalia Review of Books (see here)!

This post falls under one of my favorite categories on this blog, namely “German scholars”. The purpose of this category is to introduce German scholars and their research to the English-speaking world. Each post will consist of (I) my translation of a short passage from a publication submitted by the German author her/himself and (II) some biographical-bibliographical information about the scholar in question. For further information on this category, see here. For my other “German scholars” posts, see here.

Today’s “German scholar” is Dr. Torsten Jantsch of the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. As his passage of choice, he has selected an excerpt from his book “Gott alles in allem” (1Kor 15,28). Studien zum Gottesverständnis des Paulus im 1. Thessalonicherbrief und in der korinthischen Korrespondenz. Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament 129. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2011.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the selective grammatical commentary can directly follow the German version.

I. Translation

English Translation (wmc). A pass through the texts in which Paul thematizes God as creator or the world as God’s creation has shown how much his thinking is rooted in Old Testament and Early Jewish conceptions. Paul is especially stamped by Hellenistic-Jewish conceptions and patterns of interpretation, as is shown by the receding of the “hand-crafted” elements of the biblical creation story in favor of an act of creation through the word and by the theme of creatio ex nihilo. It has become evident that creation faith is in fact a fundamental theme of Pauline theology; to this extent “the apprehension of reality as God’s creation”, as Jürgen Becker has formulated, “determines Paul’s thinking in a constitutive manner” [Jürgen Becker, Paulus. Der Apostel der Völker [Uni Taschenbücher 2014], Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1998, p. 402]. One can differentiate three aspects that stand in the foreground in Paul depending on the pragmatic of the textual context.

a) The conception of God as creator grounds especially the sovereignty of God, inter alia, to act in history and with humans and his right to veneration.

b) God’s action of creation corresponds to the power of God and continues in God’s redemptive action in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the effective power of the gospel and in the eschatological consummation of creation (resurrection of the dead).

c) The conception of the world as creation emphasizes its inferiority vis-à-vis God, its deficiency and need for redemption, but also grounds the perspective of hope, because God takes the side of his creation and does not abandon it to forsakenness.

“Gott alles in allem” (p. 197). Ein Gang durch die Texte, in denen Paulus Gott als Schöpfer oder die Welt als Gottes Schöpfung thematisiert, hat gezeigt, wie sehr sein Denken in alttestamentlichen und frühjüdischen Vorstellungen verwurzelt ist. Dabei ist Paulus besonders durch hellenistisch-jüdische Vorstellungen und Interpretationsmuster geprägt, wie das Zurücktreten des “handwerklichen” Elements der biblischen Schöpfungsgeschichten zugunsten eines Schöpfungshandelns durch das Wort sowie die Thematik der creatio ex nihilo zeigt. Es hat sich gezeigt, dass der Schöpfungsglaube in der Tat ein Grundthema der paulinischen Theologie ist; insofern “bedingt die Auffassung der Wirklichkeit als Schöpfung Gottes”, wie es Jürgen Becker formuliert hat, “in konstitutiver Weise das paulinische Denken” [Jürgen Becker, Paulus. Der Apostel der Völker [Uni Taschenbücher 2014], Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1998, p. 402]. Dabei kann man drei Aspekte differenzieren, die bei Paulus je nach Pragmatik des Textzusammenhangs im Vordergrund stehen:

a) Die Vorstellung von Gott als Schöpfer begründet besonders die Souveränität Gottes, u.a. zu seinem Handeln in Geschichte und an Menschen, und sein Recht auf Verehrung.

b) Gottes Schöpfungshandeln entspringt der Macht Gottes und setzt sich in Gottes erlösendem Handeln in der Auferweckung Jesu Christi, in der Wirkmacht des Evangeliums und in der endzeitlichen Vollendung der Schöpfung (Auferweckung der Toten) fort.

c) Die Vorstellung von der Welt als Schöpfung betont ihre Inferiorität gegenüber Gott, ihre Unzulänglichkeit und Erlösungsbedürftigkeit, begründet aber auch die Hoffnungsperspektive, weil Gott sich zu seiner Schöpfung stellt und sie nicht der Verlorenheit preisgibt.

Selective grammatical analysis: It is often best to leave dabei untranslated as I have done twice in this passage. Depending on the context, I usually translate geprägt as “shaped” or “characterized”, but I here I chose “stamped”, which is a solution that other translators often adopt. I am not sure how to best capture “handwerklichen”, but it seemed desirable to choose a solution that used “hand”, so I went with hand-crafted; I also considered workmanlike but it didn’t seem quite right. Es hat gezeigt could perhaps also be translated as “it has become clear” or “it turned out”; I think “it has been shown” might shift the emphasis a bit too much. je nach has the force of “depending on” or “according to”. Under a): I found the grammatical connection of zu difficult, but went with to act in history and with humans, after consulting Torsten Jantsch. Under b): Wirkmacht is a great word: hopefully “effective power” captures its sense. Under c: I found the translation of stellt sich zu very difficult, and went with takes the side of his creation after consultation with Torsten Jantsch. I was not able to find an elegant solution for Verlorenheit, but went with forsakenness instead of lostness or forlornness.

II. Biographical-Bibliographical Information

I was born 1976 in Zwickau, Germany.  I studied Protestant Theology in Leipzig (1996–2000) and Berlin (Humboldt University, 2000–2002). I wrote my PhD dissertation on Paul’s concept of God in 1 Thessalonians and his Corinthian Correspondence at Humboldt University, Berlin, under the supervision of Cilliers Breytenbach. It was published in 2011. I am Assistent and Akademischer Rat (corresponding Senior Lecturer) at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, since 2009 and 2011, respectively.

I learned from my academic teachers, Cilliers Breytenbach (Berlin) and David S. du Toit (Munich), that linguistic approaches like semantics, argumentative and narrative analysis are keys to an  understanding of Early Christian texts as elements of a historical communication. My research interests are the Theology of Paul and of Luke-Acts, concepts of God in the New Testament in the context of Early Jewish and Ancient philosophic discourses about God, socio-historic backgrounds of the New Testament, particularly man and woman, Early Christian prophecy in the context of Ancient concepts of prophecy and inspired speech. My current research (my habilitation) is on the concept of salvation of Luke-Acts in the context of Ancient religion and culture.

Selected Publications

ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΣΩΤΗΡ: Studien zum Verhältnis von Christologie und Soteriologie im lukanischen Doppelwerk, in progress (habilitation). Now Published as Jesus, der Retter: Die Soteriologie des lukanischen Doppelwerks. Tübingen: Mohr, 2017.

Frauen, Männer, Engel: Perspektiven zu 1Kor 11,2–16. Mit Beiträgen von David S. du Toit, Torsten Jantsch und Loren T. Stuckenbruck und einer Bibliographie von Jacob Brouwer, ed. by Torsten Jantsch (Biblisch-Theologische Studien 152), Neukirchen-Vluyn, Neukirchener Verlag, 2015.

“Gott alles in allem” (1Kor 15,28). Studien zum Gottesverständnis des Paulus im 1. Thessalonicherbrief und in der korinthischen Korrespondenz (Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament 129), Neukirchen-Vluyn, Neukirchener Verlag, 2011.

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