Publications by ITSEE postgraduate students

Five ITSEE research students have had book reviews or articles published in recent months.

Congratulations to Anna Persig, Jacopo Marcon, Peter Montoro, Timothy Mitchell and Clark Bates, all of whom are supervised by Professor Hugh Houghton and other members of ITSEE, on making their mark in this way while their postgraduate studies are still ongoing.

Anna Persig, a Midlands3Cities scholarship holder, recently had a review published in The Classical Review on Latin and Greek in Christian Writings - (T.A.) Bergren A Latin–Greek Index of the Vulgate New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers. (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 403.) Pp. xii + 262. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018. Cased. ISBN: 978-3-16-156024-8

(T)he presentation of the Index is accurate overall, (but) some concerns should be raised about the methodology and the organisation of the material. First, it seems to be inconsistent that, on the one hand, B. stresses the value of the Index as a collection of Greek words attested in ancient sources, and, on the other, encourages the use of the Index ‘intelligently to reconstruct plausible Greek Vorlagen’ (p. viii) of texts now lost, which may lead to the creation of an artificial text. Second, B. affirms that the Index contains a limited number of words, but does not explicitly explain the criteria followed by his sources, Schmoller and Kraft, when making this selection: we learn from Schmoller's preface that the choice of words was made for ‘their merit and their history and for the light they throw on the Greek text’, but this seems to be a rather arbitrary criterion.

Jacopo Marcon, one of the doctoral students on the ERC CATENA project, reviewed a collection of thirteen papers presented at the annual symposium of the Byzantine Center at Dumbarton Oaks for the Rosetta Journal. The book, The New Testament in Byzantium, is edited by Derek Krueger and Robert S. Nelson, 2016. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks. Pp. 334. Illustrated. (Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Symposia and Colloquia.) ISBN978 0 88402 414 9.

Jacopo summarises - "Generally speaking, this volume offers a comprehensive panorama regarding the use and interpretation of the Greek New Testament in Byzantium throughout the centuries. It includes contributions from different fields, and is helpful for anyone who wants to approach biblical studies (not) for very the first time, especially the New Testament. Whilst including all aspects of Eastern Byzantine biblical culture is an inspiring idea, the interdisciplinary approach is not always fully fleshed out and the contributions, as detailed as they are, could be better related to one other. Moreover, the topics of Catenae and the Uspenskij Gospel are repeated twice in the volume. Nonetheless, this book is an optimal resource for scholars on the New Testament, Greek Palaeography, Byzantine Philology, and Art History."

A further review by Jacopo, on Agnès Lorrain, Le Commentaire de Théodoret de Cyr sur l'Épître aux Romains. Études philologiques et historiques. TU 179. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018, has appeared this month in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Peter Montoro, writing for the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR), reviews Jesús Peláez del Rosal, Juan Mateos, David S. du Toit (ed.), New Testament Lexicography: Introduction - Theory - Method. Translated, Annotated, and Supplemented by Andrew Bowden. Fontes et Subsidia ad Bibliam pertinentes, Band 6.   Berlin; Boston:  De Gruyter, 2018.  Pp. xli, 331.  ISBN 9783110408133. 

"..... this volume is a rare treat. Consisting of translations of Método de análisis semántico aplicado al griego del Nuevo Testamento by Mateos (1989), and Metodología del Diccionario Griego-Español del Nuevo Testamento by Peláez (1996), it explains and defends in detail the methodology used in the Diccionario Griego-Español del Nuevo Testamento (DGENT). Initiated by Mateos, this project is now under the oversight of Peláez and the members of GASCO (Grupo de Análisis Semántico de Córdoba), a permanent seminar established by Mateos. The individual chapters of these two original works have been woven together into a single continuous treatise and further enriched by an introduction by du Toit; a supplement and extensive and valuable annotations by Bowden; a helpful glossary; and a full set of indices."

Timothy Mitchell, also writing for the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, reviews Jennifer Knust, Tommy Wasserman, To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story.   Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 2019.  Pp. xix, 440.  ISBN 9780691169880.  $45.00.  

The story of the woman caught in adultery (pericope adulterae, hereafter PA) has sparked devotion, art, and scholarship throughout the Christian ages. Even though it has traditionally been located in the Gospel of John, the account has an abnormal transmission history. Because of this, the story has been at the center of many debates involving the text and canon of the Gospels. He evaluates that readers who are looking for a decision on the historical authenticity of the passage will be disappointed. Knust and Wasserman explain that, in the same spirit as Chris Keith’s treatment of the pericope, their book does not address the account’s canonicity or historicity. Yet there are hints that the passage may have emerged as an apocryphal account. This is because “the story of Jesus and the adulteress would have had a wide currency that could have served ancient Christians quite well, as the extensive second- and third-century Christian appreciation of the story of Susanna also demonstrates”.

On another celebratory note, Tim has also been invited to be a guest speaker at the Sacred Words History of the Bible Conference to be held in Arizona in 2020.

Clark Bates, who has been accepted to start at ITSEE next year, has an article published in The Expository Times entitled - The Paradox of the Easy Yoke: A Survey of χρηστός in Greek Literature and the Interpretational Implications for Matthew 11:30. Clark explains in his abstract as follows:

"Matthew 11:30 could easily be considered one of the most recognizable passages of the New Testament. Many find comfort and fortitude in the words of Jesus, and warm to the idea that his ‘yoke’; is ‘easy’ and ‘burden’, ‘light’. However recognized and familiar this passage may be, it has not gone unnoticed throughout scholarship as a persistent word study in need of incessant explanation. While copious amounts of ink have been spilt discussing the nature of the ‘yoke’ in Matthew 11:30, it is the position of this article that the author of Matthew, had no intention of creating such a mystery. Rather, that the emphasis is to be found in the nature of the yoke itself and the attributive use of χρηστός in Greco-Roman literature, including that of the Greek Old Testament, and the writings of the first-century Christians. This article seeks to demonstrate that the use of χρηστός in the Matthean Gospel does not mean ‘easy’ by English standards, nor was this what the audience of this Gospel would have taken it to mean, given the common use of the term. This is accomplished through an engagement of the text and message of Matthew, followed by an examination of the word’s use in Classical Greek compositions and the Apostolic Fathers, as well as its use in the LXX and the New Testament."