Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hebrews Carnival June 2010

Jason reflects on Hebrews 6:4-8 and the tensions he finds with his own Calvinistic theology.

William Varner reposts his piece on Jude the Author of Hebrews.

Charles Savelle has a description and table of contents on David L. Allen's book, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews.

Derek Ouellete also reflects on Who Wrote Hebrews?

Peter Head discusses the nomen sacrum at Hebrews 4:8 in P46.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In Memoriam: Robert McLachlan Wilson

I received this email today:

It is with deep regret we report the passing of Prof. emeritus Robert McLachlan Wilson who suffered a major stroke last week and died on Sunday at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. He was 94 years old and hadbeen active virtually up to the end of his life. Prof Wilson had been on the staff at the University of St Andrews between 1954 and 1983, when he retired from the chair of Biblical Criticism. A Fellow of the British Academy, he was also awarded its Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies. In 1981-2 Robin was elected President of SNTS. His scholarship focussed on Nag Hammadi studies, New Testament Apocrypha and the New Testament itself (with his commentary on Colossians & Philemon appearing in 2005!). But equally significant was his work in translation and editing. He was associate editor and then editor of the SNTS Monograph Series and its journal (New Testament Studies) for many years. There were many other significant roles he performed (member of the International Committee for the publication of the Nag Hammadi codices, member of the editorial board of the Nag Hammadi Studies monograph series, and English translator of Hennecke-Schneemelcher's NT Apocrypha).

Wilson also wrote the Hebrews commentary for the New Century Bible Commentary

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Books by Mohr Siebeck

I received the newest catalog from Mohr Siebeck today and noted the following new books relevant to the study of Hebrews:

Marius Heemstra. The Fiscus Judaicus and the Parting of the Ways.

Marius Heemstra argues that the "harsh" administration of the Fiscus Judaicus under the Roman emperor Domitian (81-96) and the reform of the Fiscus under the emperor Nerva (96-98), accelerated the parting of the ways between Judaism and Christianity, resulting in two separate religions. From 96 CE onwards, Roman authorities used a more pointed definition of "Jew", which made it easier for them to distinguish between Judaism (an accepted religion within the empire) and Christianity (an illegal religious movement). This parting should primarily be interpreted as a break between Jewish Christians and mainstream Judaism. Both parties claimed to be the true representatives of the continuing history of Israel. In this study, the author pays special attention to the Roman and Jewish context of the Book of Revelation, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the Gospel of John, including the debate about the birkhat ha-minim.

The book is based on his 2009 Ph.D. dissertation from the University of Groningen.

Christopher A. Richardson. Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith: Jesus' Faith as the Climax of Israel's History in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

By providing a detailed exegetical examination of the references to Jesus' faith in Hebrews, Christopher A. Richardson demonstrates that this epistle makes a profound contribution to our understanding of the early church's christology. Rather than engaging with the pistis Christou debates in Paul, the author reveals that Jesus' own faith in God in terms of theology is most clearly articulated in Hebrews. He argues that the author of Hebrews has integrated Jesus' example of faith throughout the epistle, with Heb. 12.2 being the climactic illustration of his faith; consequently, the reader is compelled to compare Jesus' perfect example of steadfast confidence with the ancestors of faith in Hebrews 11. It is evident that these have been recapitulated in order to amplify the person and work of Christ, and thus to present the former exemplars as true yet imperfect anticipations of the one who perfectly embodied and expressed the virtue of faith.

This book is based on Richardson's 2009 Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Aberdeen.

Expected August 2010.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting Copies of PRS

Anyone interested in obtaining the latest issue of Perspectives in Religious Studies can contact the senior editor Scott Nash. As noted in my previous post this most recent issue is a special thematic issue on the book of Hebrews. Copies should be around $10 a piece including shipping.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My First Publication!

I wanted to wait until actually seeing it in print before announcing my first publication:

Brian C. Small, "The Use of Rhetorical Topoi in the Characterization of Jesus in the Book of Hebrews." Perspectives in Religious Studies 37.1 (Spring 2010): 53-69.

Here is an abstract of the article:

"This essay examines how the author of Hebrews employs rhetorical topoi to develop the characterization of Jesus. Aelius Theon’s Progymnasmata and Cicero’s De Inventione provide lists of the properties or attributes of persons which can be used in the argumentation of epideictic speeches. By utilizing the rhetorical topoi derived from these lists, a taxonomy is created which helps us organize the author’s conception of the character of Jesus. The author employs these rhetorical topoi to demonstrate Jesus’ excellency and to exalt him above all other human beings. The author urges his audience to adopt his characterization of Jesus so that they could have the confidence and boldness to persevere in their Christian faith."

The article reflects a portion of my dissertation which is examining the characterization of Jesus in Hebrews from a rhetorical and literary perspective. The dissertation of course greatly expands upon what is contained in the article.

I want to publicly thank my advisor, and editor of PRSt, Mikeal Parsons, in whose class I first conceived the topic for this essay; Eric Mason, the editor of this special thematic issue on Hebrews, who accepted my article for publication and made helpful suggestions in editing the article for publication; and Alicia Myers, associate editor of PRSt, who did much of the formatting work to prepare the article for publication.

As noted, this issue of PRSt is a thematic issue on Hebrews. Eric Mason has an introductory essay entitled "Emerging Voices on the Epistle to the Hebrews." Other articles in the issue are:

Eric F. Mason, "The Epistle (Not Necessarily) to the 'Hebrews': A Call to Renunciation of Judaism or Encouragement to Christian Commitment."

Bryan J. Whitfield, "The Three Joshuas of Hebrews 3 and 4."

Amy L. B. Peeler, "The Ethos of God in Hebrews."

David M. Moffitt, "Unveiling Jesus' Flesh: A Fresh Assessment of the Relationship Between the Veil and Jesus' Flesh in Hebrews 10:20."

Mark A. Jennings, "The Veil and the High Priestly Robes of the Incarnation: Understanding the Context of Heb 10:20."

I personally know some of these other people and am proud to have my article appear in the same issue with them.

NT Pod 37 - The Purpose of Hebrews

Mark Goodacre has posted his next installment of the NT Pod:

NT Pod 37: What Is the Purpose of the Epistle to the Hebrews?

What I found most intriguing in his discussion is that he views Hebrews as a kind of circular letter developed out of a sermon. He thinks the exhortations in the book are much too general to be targeted for just one audience. I am not fully persuaded by this as there are places where he appears to know the situation of his audience (e.g., 5:11-12; 10:32-34; 12:4). Also the author expresses a desire to be restored to his readers (13:19) and they have a common acquaintance in Timothy (13:23) and he sends greetings from those from Italy. All this suggests to me that the audience is more specific.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dunnill Review of The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology

RBC has a new review by John Dunnill on The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology, edited by Richard Bauckham, Daniel R. Driver, Trevor A. Hart, and Nathan MacDonald.