Roads to Rome (and Elsewhere) for Digital Classicists

Alison Babeu has a new ebook freely available in PDF format: “Rome Wasn’t Digitized in a Day”: Building a Cyberinfrastructure for Digital Classicists (Washington, D. C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2011). According to the publisher,

The author provides a summative and recent overview of the use of digital technologies in classical studies, focusing on classical Greece, Rome, and the ancient Middle and Near East, and generally on the period up to about 600 AD [sic]. The report explores what projects exist and how they are used, examines the infrastructure that currently exists to support digital classics as a discipline, and investigates larger humanities cyberinfrastructure projects and existing tools or services that might be repurposed for the digital classics.

For more information and the text itself, see here (HT: Charles Jones).

Library Addition (August 13, 2010)

Introduction to the New Testament
D. A. Carson and Douglas Moo

Thanks to the kind folks at Zondervan, I just received the second edition of D. A. Carson and Douglas Moo’s Introduction to the New Testament for use this fall. I had used the first edition (co-authored also with Leon Morris) when I took my initial New Testament Introduction course, so I will be interested (finally—this second edition has been available since 2005) to see firsthand what revisions have been made.

Marcos and Watson, “Septuagint in Context”

Septuagint in Context
Natalio Marcos and Wilfred Watson

The second edition of Natalio Marcos and Wilfred Watson’s Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible is now available in a somewhat more cost effective paperback from the Society of Biblical Literature. According to Brill, who has previously published the hardback edition,

This translation of the second—revised and expanded—Spanish edition deals fully with the origins of the Septuagint. It discusses its linguistic and cultural frame, its relation to the Hebrew text and to the Qumran documents, the transmission of the Septuagint and its reception by Jews and Christians. It includes the early revisions, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, the Christian recensions and particularly Origen’s Hexapla, Biblical commentaries and catenae, as well as other issues such as the relation of the Septuagint to Hellenism, to the New Testament and to Early Christian Literature. It is a comprehensive introduction to the Septuagint, the first translation and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, and to other Greek versions of the Bible.

Ferguson Symposium at Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University is set to host a symposium in honor of Everett Ferguson:

Everett Ferguson’s Baptism in the Early Church offers an exhaustive survey of the literary and material evidence for baptismal practice in the first five centuries of Christian history. This symposium, hosted by the Christian Scholars’ Conference, brings together leading scholars to engage this magisterial work and to honor its author’s contribution to ecumenical theological scholarship (Lipscomb).

I have yet to read Ferguson’s Baptism, though it does look like a fascinating work, but I have particularly appreciated and enjoyed his Backgrounds of Early Christianity and his topical compilations of various early Christian sources in Early Christians Speak (vol. 1, vol. 2). Those interested in the symposium who can or will be around Nashville on June 4 may want to peruse further the symposium schedule and registration information.


In this post:

Everett Ferguson
Everett Ferguson
Baptism in the Early Church
Everett Ferguson
Everett Ferguson
Everett Ferguson
Everett Ferguson
Everett Ferguson

מורה הצדק and Qumran Hermeneutics

In working through some bibliography recently for a conference paper proposal about מורה הצדק (the teacher of righteousness), I came across the following:

Der Lehrer [der Gerechtigkeit] ist von Gott autorisiert, die Geheimnisse der Prophetenworte zu enträtseln, denn die Worte der Propheten sind Geheimnisse (רזים [pHab] 7,5), die man ohne Auslegung des Lehrers nicht verstehen kann. Der Lehrer tritt also mit seiner Verkündigung nicht neben die Schrift, sondern er basiert auf der Schrift. Er allein hat von Gott das rechte Verständnis offenbart bekommen. Darum kann er und mit ihm seine Gemeinde nach dem Willen Gottes leben (Jeremias 141).

The teacher unlocked prophetic meaning in the community’s scriptures, and the community depended precisely on this insight to learn the proper practice(s) to which they were called through the prophets.


In this post:

Gert Jeremias
Gert Jeremias

Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, Volume 32

Oxford University PressDiscoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD), volume 32, has two codices. According to Oxford University Press:

Description
DJD XXXII presents the first full critical edition of the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) and the Hebrew University Isaiah Scroll (1QIsab) in the style of the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series. That is, whereas the photographs and transcriptions have been available since the 1950s, this volume provides a fresh transcription of all the known fragments, notes clarifying readings that are problematic either physically or palaeographically, and the first comprehensive catalogue of the textual variants.

Part 1 contains the photographic plates (1QIsaa in colour) with the transcriptions on facing pages for easy comparison. Part 2 contains the introduction, notes, and the catalogue of variants; the introduction narrates the discovery, purchase, and early publication of these two manuscripts, which are part of the earliest discoveries and among the most significant biblical scrolls.

Features

  • The final volume to publish in the prestigious Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series, bringing the collection of forty volumes to completion.
  • The Isaiah scrolls of Qumran Cave 1 are crucial to a range of disciplines; Jewish Studies, Biblical Studies, Early Christian Studies, and Ancient History.
  • Arranged in a two part set to allow the reader to simultaneously consult the photographic plates, transcriptions and corresponding notes and textual variants.
  • Presents the 1QIsaa scroll in full colour plates and the 1QIsab in full page black and white plates with facing page transcriptions.
  • The general introduction includes information on the history and discovery of the scrolls and the photographic methods used in capturing the plates.
  • The scroll introductions include detailed discussion of the physical description, palaeography and dating, scribes, grammatical profiling, othography and textual character of the manuscripts.

Free Resources from BAS

The Biblical Archaeology Society catalog arrived yesterday with a list of free resources in the back, most of which are relevant for New Testament and related studies. Among these works are:

  • Island Jewels: Understanding Ancient Cyprus and Crete. 2008. 66 pages. Contributors include Steven Feldman, David Soren, Hershel Shanks, Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, Nancy Serwint, Jeremy McInerney, and Joan G. Scheuer.
  • The Olympic Games: How They All Began. 2008. 61 pages. Contributors include Sarah Yeomans, Jenifer Neils, Michael B. Poliakoff, David Gilman Romano, Tony Perrottet, and Stephen G. Miller.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls—What They Really Say. 2007. 24 pages. By Hershel Shanks.
  • The Burial of Jesus. 2007. 63 pages. Contributors include Jodi Magness, Amos Kloner, Dan Bahat, Gabriel Barkay, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, Gabriel Barkay and Amos Kloner, and Richard J. Bauckham.
  • Real or Fake? A Special Report. 2007. 29 pages. By Hershel Shanks. Also available at this URL as a separate file is the abstracts appendix. 2007. 83 pages. Contributors include Shmuel Ahituv, Gabriel Barkay, Chaim Cohen, Aaron Demsky, David Noel Freedman, Edward Greenstein, Avi Hurwitz, Wolfgang Krumbein, André Lemaire, Alan Millard, Ronny Reich, Amnon Rosenfeld and Howard R. Feldman, Hershel Shanks, Andrew Vaughn, Ada Yardeni, Gerald B. Richards, and Gabriel Barkay.

All of these works are helpfully illustrated. To access these resources, you will need to submit your name and email address, and you will receive an email with download information.

N.B.: The current webpage for these and other, free BAS resources is http://www.bib-arch.org/free-ebooks.asp; the URL listed in the catalog http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/ebooks has yet to be redirected to this location.

Update: The link to http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/ebooks listed in the BAS catalog now redirects automatically to http://www.bib-arch.org/free-ebooks.asp.

“The Origin of ‘Alpha and Omega'”

David Lincicum has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “The Origin of “Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1.8; 21.6; 22.13): A Suggestion.” Lincicum takes his point of departure from the fact that

[Some] scholars have suggested that the title ‘Alpha and Omega’ in Revelation arose through reflection on the Greek form of the divine name, ΙΑΩ. This note takes up and extends that evidence to put forth the possibility that John ‘exegeted’ the divine name, in light of Isaiah 40–48 and emerging scribal practices of abbreviating the nomina sacra, as a reference to Jesus as the Alpha and Omega (Lincicum 128).

In particular, Lincicum concludes that

Steeped in the already considerable Christian tradition of identifying Yahweh’s predicates and actions with those of Jesus, often by means of the Greek translation of Yahweh as ‘Lord’ (κύριος), John wondered what it might mean to identify Jesus by means of that alternative rendering of the tetragrammaton into Greek, ΙΑΩ. He held ΙΑΩ in his mind while reading or hearing Isaiah 40–48 and the temporal merisms there applied to Yahweh, ‘the first and the last’ and ‘the beginning and the end’. Knowing by Christian conviction that ΙΑΩ ultimately was to be referred to Jesus, he was struck by the alphabetical merism, that is, the alpha and omega, included in the divine title, and with how well this might express and stand in continuity with the other two merisms derived from Isaiah. This left the initial iota unaccounted for; might this have been a divinely ordained reference to the initial letter of Jesus’ name? Thus: Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Lincicum 132–33).


In this post:

Alexander’s Effects

Through his vast conquests, Alexander’s comparatively short life left several important marks on history:

  1. Alexander’s conquests effected a substantial influx of Greeks into various areas around the known world, and these Greeks brought their distinctive culture with them (Ferguson 13). To be sure, the Greeks had already established several colonies outside the Balkan Peninsula by this time, but after Alexander’s conquests, the numbers of Greeks living in other lands and degree of their influence with these lands’ native peoples significantly increased (Ferguson 13; Schürer 1:11).
  2. Alexander’s life allowed the culture that the Greek conquerors and settlers had carried with them to take hold more quickly and firmly in foreign soil than it might otherwise have done (Ferguson 14). This increased exposure to Greek culture was especially significant for the peoples of the Near East, including the Jews (Ferguson 14).
  3. Alexander’s campaigns spread Attic-standard currency throughout the known world, and this distribution enhanced economic consistency also increased people’s economic interconnectedness (Ferguson 14; Wright 153).
  4. Although the Greek language was relatively widespread in the fifth century BC, it became vastly more disseminated through Alexander’s conquests (Blass & Debrunner §2; Caragounis 566; Deissmann 58; Ferguson 14; Moule 1; Voelz 912, 931; Wallace 15, 17–18; Wright 153). In turn, this wide dissemination among non-native speakers caused a certain simplification of the classical tongue (Ferguson 14; Wallace 15, 19).
  5. The non-Greek world became vastly more acquainted with Greek philosophy and the use of it to describe a way of life (Ferguson 14; Wright 153).
  6. The increased acquaintance with Greek philosophy entailed a general increase in the overall level of education (Ferguson 14). While this increase in education was certainly not evenly distributed throughout the empire (Schürer 1:11), more people were better educated and more literate than they had previously been, and this fact, combined with the use of Koine as a lingua franca for the Greek empire as a whole, increased communication among people from different cultures (Ferguson 14).
  7. As Greek language and philosophy spread, so did Greek religion, though it too had begun to spread before Alexander’s time (Ferguson 14; cf. Schürer 1:11). In particular, Alexander’s conquests abroad significantly increased the adoption of Greek deities and the practice of identifying local deities with the members of the Greek pantheon (Ferguson 14; see Schürer 1:11–29).
  8. The Alexandrian conquests effected greater urbanization in the lands they affected, tending to present the polis, rather than the countryside, village, or temple-state, as the fundamental backbone of societal structure (cf. Plato 414d–415e; see Ferguson 14).
  9. Finally, despite the spread of things like similar language, philosophy, culture, and economics more broadly (Blass & Debrunner §2; Deissmann 59; Voelz 912, 931; Wallace 15, 17; Wright 153), Grecian conquest introduced greater opportunities for individualism as Greek conventions provided alternatives to traditional ones (Ferguson 14). In such an environment, perhaps contrary to what had gone before it, choices of individuals in the conquered lands could receive greater priority than the things that these individuals would have otherwise inherited from their communities of origin (Ferguson 14–15).

In large measure, therefore, Alexander’s conquests accelerated the development or increased the strength of Hellenic influences that were already beginning to creep toward many of the areas that he subjugated.


In this post:

Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase
Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase
Frederich Blass, Albert Debrunner, and Robert Funk
Frederich Blass, Albert Debrunner, and Robert Funk
Chrys Caragounis
Chrys Caragounis
Adolf Deissmann
Adolf Deissmann
Everett Ferguson
Everett Ferguson
C. F. D. Moule
C. F. D. Moule
Plato
Plato
Emil Schürer
Emil Schürer
Daniel Wallace
Daniel Wallace
N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright