Porter and Ong, "'Standard of Faith' or 'Measure of Trusteeship?'"

Stanley Porter and Hughson Ong have the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Judaism and Christianity: “‘Standard of Faith’ or ‘Measure of Trusteeship’?: A Study in Romans 12.3—A Response.” The article’s opening paragraph explains its responsive character and general argument as follows:

John Goodrich has recently published an article regarding the interpretation of μέτρον πίστεως in Rom. 12.3 in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. We have tried to respond to his article in that journal, but regrettably, the journal does not publish responses to articles, although we think that Goodrich’s article warrants a response. Goodrich argued ‘that μέτρον πίστεως in Rom 12:3 refers to the believer’s charism, addressed shortly and explicitly thereafter in 12:6’ (p. 753). Against the typical view that takes μέτρον πίστεως as ‘standard/measure of faith’, he proposes that this charism should be seen as ‘a trusteeship’ God grants to each believer. Specifically, the genitive construction in μέτρον πίστεως, regarded as appositive, is ‘a measure, namely a trusteeship’ (pp. 769, 772). This old alternative that Goodrich seeks to revive, however, poses some significant problems that can be neither resolved nor sustained by the arguments and evidence he marshals in this article. We assess critically each of these in what follows, followed by our own interpretation of μέτρον πίστεως in Rom. 12.3. (97)

For the full article, please see here.

Parker, "Works of the Law"

Barry F. Parker has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism“‘Works of the Law’ and the Jewish Settlement in Asia Minor.” According to the article’s conclusion:

The first recourse for the Anatolian Jews under [social, political, and religious] pressure was not an appeal to ‘legalism’, but to ‘selective works of the law’, as is implied by the phrase ἔργα νόμου. The only appearance of this phrase from that time outside of Paul is found in 4QMMT. The use of ‘works of the law’ there confirms both that Paul is in (indirect) dialogue with those familiar with Essene terminology and that selectivity is in view. Although he speaks to a different audience about a different problem regarding the law in Romans, when Paul uses the phrase ἔργα νόμου in Romans 3, the immediate context is quite similar to what he addresses in Galatians. It is, in both cases, a matter of the righteousness of God, as expressed in the faithfulness of Christ (πίστις Χριστοῦ). This faithfulness of Christ suffices for both Jew and Gentile (pagan), who are equally condemned—in Galatians they are condemned for trying to supplement that faithfulness with a perverted version of the law, and in Romans they are condemned for perverting the law by their very efforts to fulfill it through a selective participation in it (96).

Carrier, "Thallus and the Darkness at Christ's Death"

In the latest contribution to the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, Richard Carrier discusses “Thallus and the Darkness at Christ’s Death”:

It is commonly claimed that a chronologer named Thallus, writing shortly after 52 CE, mentioned the crucifixion of Jesus and the noontime darkness surrounding it (which reportedly eclipsed the whole world for three hours), and attempted to explain it as an ordinary solar eclipse. But this is not a credible interpretation of the evidence. A stronger case can be made that we actually have a direct quotation of what Thallus said, and it does not mention Jesus. (185)

On the Web (July 24, 2012)

On the web:

  • Tommy Wasserman notes a new iOS app for New Testament manuscripts.
  • E. K. McFall has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism: “Are Dionysos and Oedipus Name Variatnios for Satan and Antichrist?”
  • Dan Wallace recounts an experience of reading a manuscript that “doesn’t exist.”
  • Alin Suciu highlights Lorenzo Perrone’s lecture on recently-discovered texts of Origen’s homilies on the Psalms. For a selection of previous background posts, see here.

Brookins, “Dispute with Stoicism”

Tim Brookins has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “Dispute with Stoicism in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.” According to Brookins,

It is not my aim to continue discussion regarding the criterion for the rich man’s judgment. But I propose that there is more to be said about the meaning of the parable in light of a Greco-Roman milieu. . . . I shall take up [Ronald] Hock’s wider net and cast it once again in the direction of Hellenistic philosophy. It will be argued that, while the parable may share a Cynic viewpoint on the issue of wealth, it also conveys pronounced resistance to certain Stoic ideas on this issue. As a supporting argument it will further be suggested that the parable reflects elements of rhetorical ‘declamation’ (declamatio), which was in certain circles closely associated with Stoic philosophy. With these substantive and formal features taken together, we shall see that the parable means to interact with Stoicism, though in a way that is subversive to the Stoic ideas evoked (35–36; underlining for original italics).

For the full text of Brookins’ article, please see the current JGRChJ volume page.

Meerson, “One God Supreme”

Michael Meerson has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “One God Supreme: A Case Study of Religious Tolerance and Survival.” In this article, Meerson “attempt[s] to combine the consideration of both [θεὸς ὕψιστος and εἷς θεός]” as these titles are found in a sundial inscription from Mount Gerizim (32). For, although

[a] picture of a sundial with a Greek inscription was published in the 33rd (2000) issue of Qadmoniot, as an illustration to the essay of Y. Magen, ‘Mount Gerizim—A Temple City’ . . . the sundial’s inscription, neither transcribed nor translated, failed to provoke commentary. And yet the inscription is remarkable in many ways: one of only five Greek inscriptions from the Hellenistic era ever found on Mount Gerizim, it was discovered outside any architectural context. The inscription addresses θεὸς ὕψιστος, the God Most High, which would have provided the archaeologists of Gerizim with a doubly difficult quest: to identify the ‘nationality’ of the so-called god, and to find a temple in which this sundial would have stood—Samaritan, Seleucid or Roman. Inscriptions bearing the εἷς θεός invocation present a similar problem (32).

“Blessed Be the Ties that Bind”

Cynthia Westfall has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “Blessed Be the Ties that Bind: Semantic Domains and Cohesive Chains in Hebrews 1.1–2.4 and 12.5–8.” Based on her investigation, Westfall concludes,

[A]n analysis of semantic domains provides a vital lens through which we can view every text. At times, it seems that the [Louw-Nida] lexicon does not do enough, and it is easy to find what appear to be shortcomings in the failure to place some words in certain semantic domains. For instance, the truncated classification of προφήτης under ‘Religious Activities’ does not remotely begin to describe the features that ‘prophet’ shares with other lexical items. In this case, the authors did not follow one of their guiding principles that a derivative (e.g. προφήτης) should be placed as close as possible to its semantic basis (e.g. προφητεύω). However, when the theory is understood, the reader realizes that the entries and glosses are suggestive, and the referential (meaning) range of any lexical unit can only be determined by a careful and, above all, a coherent reading of the surrounding context (216).

“Understanding ΚΛΗΣΙΣ in the New Testament”

Lois Dow has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “Understanding κλῆσις in the New Testament.” In this article, Dow argues that:

First, the meaning position or condition in the sense of life situation or occupation for κλῆσις in the New Testament is unwarranted. Secondly, the meaning often includes the result of the call as well as the action of calling. It can mean a status of being a called person, with its concomitant responsibilities, privileges and expectations. In this use it is linked through passages about being called (named) by new appellations or designations to the idea of having a new identity or name (198; italics original).