New Testament

Now I realize I am years late to this “new” tool, but after my recent interaction with Google books I decided to mention its usefullness.  So here is my brief tale and plug for Google books.  I had heard many times about the greatness of google books from fellow bloggers such at Pat McCullough and Brandon Wason; however, I never used it because I figured how useful can a limited preview really be?  Over the last three weeks or so I’ve found out the answer is: extermely useful.  I’ve been putting together my syallbus for next quarter, examining the historical context of the earliest Christian documents, and obviously much of the course strays far from Pauline studies.  Thus, I needed to pore through many books, which neither I nor the UCLA library possess.  Rather than request 100+ books, I started browsing Google books.  Much to my surprise most of the books I needed were on the site and even more astonishing I could access nearly every page I needed.  Thus, this tool saved me hours of driving to libraries and the pain of waiting on piles of books.  At first I couldn’t believe that this tool was legal.  I could’t understand why publishers would allow a website to freely post massive amounts of their books.  However, since I bought 10 books from my time on Google books, I quickly realized the benefit for publishers.  So to conclude my long winded tale, Google books is a useful tool indeed!


This week I am recommending an excellent source for budding Pauline scholars, The Writings of St. Paul edited by Wayne Meeks and John Fitzgerald.  This volume of the Norton Critical Edition series is the best work I’ve found for anyone seeking one book on Paul.  The book begins with an outline of the life of Paul which, in addition to outlining the important aspects of Paul’s life, examines how scholars interact with Acts and Paul’s letters in order to create such an outline.  The work also contains translations of the thirteen letters attributed to Paul and many Pseudo-Pauline works such as the correspondance of Paul and Seneca and 3 Corinthians.  Furthermore, this volume contains a massive amount of material concerning Paul from the early Church including both stories such as Paul and Thecla and passages from the Church Fathers.  Essentially if someone wrote about Paul in antiquity it is present in this work.  However, despite all of these invaluable primary sources, the most useful section of this work may be the last 300 pages which contain numerous articles from modern scholars examining a wide range of topics.  The editors have chosen articles form the heavyweights in the field with such names as Bauer, Von Harnack, Stendahl, Kaseman, Bultmann, Theissen, Mitchell, and countless others.

Fee_philToday I am posting an update to my annotated ranking of the academic Philippian commentaries.  While I had already moved Gordon Fee’s work up to the #3 position, today I am adding a mini review for the work.  Here is one line from my review that summarizes my thoughts on Fee’s commentary, “I consider Gordon Fee’s work to be the top Philippians commentary for the non-specialist.  Fee’s specialty seems to be combining top notch scholarship with clear and interesting prose.”

If you have any quibbles with my review or ranking of Fee’s commentary please let me know as I am interested in what my readers think, especially since so many rank Fee’s commentary as the top Philippians commentary.

Klauck_LettersMy latest book recommendation is Ancient Letters and the New Testament by Hans-Josef Klauck.  Klauck’s work is the new standard for scholarly yet approachable works to ancient letter writing.  Klauck explores many important topics such as the postal system, epistolary theory, rhetoric, and classifying letters.  Additionally, Klauck includes an annotated list of all the ancient letters writers, divided between Latin and Greek.  Moreover, Klauck’s excellent bibliographies alone make this work a worthy purchase.  Yet another useful feature is the example(s) included at the close of each section.  Essentially Klauck’s work could be used as either a textbook or a reference work.  I highly recommend this work and consider it the new gold standard of its genre.

Prior Recommendations

E. Randolph Richards: Paul and First-Century Writing (review)

Margaret M. Mitchell: Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation  (review)

Richard Hays: Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (review)

Many new blogs have been added to the NT Academic Posts section.  Hopefully I will soon have a somewhat complete list of all of the NT related blogs that specialize in academic material.  If yours is missing please do let me know.

There is a new feature here at Paul of Tarsus: the Academic Posts blogroll.  Until now, I have manually shared posts from around the blogosphere concerning Paul of Tarsus.  This process has become rather time consuming and I was never thorough enough.  Thus, I have decided to change the focus of the posts I share.  Borrowing a page from blogger extraordinaire Mark Goodacre, I have decided to automatically share all the posts from a number of academic blogs.  The blogs selected are ones that generally post about NT related matters and whose posts are generally of an academic nature. 

Of course these criteria leave out many fine blogs that I read regularly which mix entertainment and academics.  To these writers I say keep up the good work and don’t worry Goodacre’s exhaustive blogroll has you covered!  My blogroll is purposely designed to be a more selective alternative to Goodacre’s (which I check manytimes a day).  So if you are wondering what the newest academic posts, are feel free to come by and check out my blogroll. 

If you would like your blog added to the roll please let me know.  I’m sure I am currently missing many fine academic blogs.

Here is the final summary of the meme I began nearly a month ago: 5 Most Influential Primary Sources.  As I stated before in previous posts the responses have been diverse and thought provoking.  Thanks to all who responded all the lists were excellent.  For the many lists I am certain I missed please post a link in the comments and I will add yours. 

Some observations

Most popular sources: Didache, Josephus, 1 Enoch, Ignatius, 1 Clement

Person with most popular choices: Rick Brannan

Person with most unusual choices: C. Jay Chrisostomo


Master List

Kevin Scull – Josephus – The Jewish War, Quintilian – Institutio Oratoria, Didache, Ignatius of Antioch (any letter), The Dead Sea Scrolls – The War Scroll

Jim West  – ANET, The Dead Sea Scrolls (Sectarian materials), Ethiopic Enoch, Jubilees, and 1-2 Maccabees.

Pat McCullough – Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch), The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas, Two Spirits Treatise + War Scroll combo, Ben Sira, and Tobit.

Brandon Wason – Didache, Mishnah, Josephus’s Antiquities, The Progymnasmata, and Gospel of Thomas.

Ken Brown – Book of Jubilees, Enuma Elish, The Gospel of Thomas, 4QMMT, and Philo.

Nijay Gupta – 1. Philo 2. Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs 3. Anabasis 4. The Community Rule aka 1QS (the Dead Sea Scrolls).  5. Plutarch: Parallel Lives

ClayboyThe Didache. Josephus, Jewish War, Jubilees, 1 Enoch, Community Rule.

Rick Brannan – Didache. 1 Clement, Letters of Ignatius, 1 Enoch, Josephus.

C. Jay Chrisostomo CLAM (Canonical Lamentations of Ancient Mesopotamia. . . a collection of balaĝ laments), The collection of Inana-Dumuzi songs in Love Songs in Sumerian Literature, Schooldays, The Tetrad, legal texts from Hellenistic Uruk (found on HBTIN)

Jim Spinti – 1. The Toothache incantation in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. 2. The Kumarbi Cycle in Hittite. 3. The plague prayers of Mursili. 4. The Aeneid, 5. Didache.

Nick Norelli 1 Clement, The Didache, Adversus Haereses*, Antiquitates Judaicae*, Q.

Anumma– Ugaritic Baʿlu cycle, Zakkur and Mesha, Hammurapi, Jubilees and 1 Enoch 1–36, Kuntillet Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom

Adam Couturier– Wisdom of Ben Sirach, Wisdom of Amen-em-opet, The Instructions of Shuruppak, The Instruction of Ani, In Praise of Learned Scribes

Mike Whitenton – The “Son of God” texts in Antiquity, 1-2 Maccabees, The Parables of Enoch (1 En 37-71), 4Q Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521), P. Haun. II, 2 II, 1-42.

Rob Kashow – 1. The Isaiah Scroll, Enûma Eliš, Apostolic Fathers, ANF & NPNF, The Book of Enoch

Scotteriology – Dead Sea Scrolls/Rabbinic Material, ANE Creation Myths, Ba’al Cycle, Jubilees, Enoch

Primal Subversion – 1 Clement, Didache, Josephus, Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Isaiah 40-55

Rodney Thomas – The Letters of Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria’s Miscellanies, Augustine’s Confessions, Tertullian, The Didache

Richard Sherrat – Enûma Eliš, The Ba’al Cycle, 4QMMT, The Qumran Psalm scrolls, The Epic of Gilgamesh

Loren Rossen – Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Josephus’ Jewish War. I & II Maccabees. IV Ezra. The Greek Magical Papyri.

Mike Koke – Wisdom of Solomon, 2 & 4 Maccabees, The Aeneid, The Epistle of Barnabas, Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho

James McGrathPhilo, Who is Heir of Divine Things? chapter 42 (§ 206), Justin Martyr’s First Apology ch.6, Apocalypse of Abraham, The Similitudes of Enoch, The Book of Revelation

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