(Helen Bond) History Channel’s ‘epic TV mini-series’ is due to air in the UK in the run up to Christmas, starting this Saturday (30th Nov) on Channel 5, 9-11 pm. As some of you will know, it’s a dramatic adaptation of the Bible spread over five two-hourly episodes. It’s already been seen in the US, where it attracted huge viewing figures (almost 15 million on the first night), though some controversy too, especially in its presentation of the Hebrew Bible section as little more than the prelude to the New Testament/Jesus. I was one of the historical advisers for the NT section, along with a range of other people – Craig Evans, Mark Goodacre, Candida Moss and Paula Gooder. You can find further details here: www.thebibleuk.org
It will be interesting to see how it goes down in the UK – and whether anyone at all watches it! If readers have any comments, I’d be very interested to hear them.
On Friday 8th November we’re holding a reception in the Senate Room, New college from 4.15 – 5.45, to celebrate the publication of Dr Margaret Williams’ new book, Jews in a Graeco-Roman Environment (Mohr Siebeck, 2013). Margaret is a member of the CSCO committee and a regular participant in the Classical reading group. All welcome – as always. The event will also feature Ray’s famous G&Ts!
I announce publication of the thesis of yet another of our recent PhD students, Dr. Sean Adams, who is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow here in the School of Divinity:
The Genre of Acts and Collected Biography. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 155. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
The genre of Acts continues to be a debated topic in New Testament scholarship. Despite its literary relationship to the Gospel of Luke a majority of scholars assign these books to two different genres: Luke is traditionally viewed as a biography of Jesus, and Acts as a history of the early church. Comparing in detail the structure and content of Acts with the formal features of history, novel, epic, and biography, Adams challenges the dominant view that Acts is a history, arguing that the best genre parallel for the Acts of the Apostles is in fact collected biography; the first monograph-length work to argue for such a perspective.
By taking this view Adams addresses a number of interpretive issues. For example, it helps explain the structure of Acts, its focus on the disciples and the advancement of the Christian message, and its need to delineate in-group and out-group members, particularly through their interaction with either Peter or Paul. Additionally, it provides an interpretation for the ending of Acts that not only understands the existing ending as an intentional composition by the author, but also explains why Luke did not recount Paul´s trial and death. The shift away from Paul to the preaching of the kingdom of God reinforces the thrust found in a number of collected philosophical biographies that a disciple is only as important as his faithful adherence to and proclamation of his master´s teaching.
In this work Adams models a fluid and flexible perspective on genre. More than just a collection of formal features, Adams shows that genres are to be understood in light of their cultural context and relationships to other genres. Moreover, genres form a dynamic system whose boundaries are constantly in flux. This flexible and malleable understanding of genre provides a strong warning to biblical scholars and classicists who might be tempted to apply rigid generic definitions.
The publisher’s link on the book is here.
We are very excited to post the Professor Lieu’s Kennedy-Wright opening lecture. Professor Lieu gave a well-delivered and stimulating presentation entitled “Marcion and the Corruption of the Gospel.”
Another of our PhD graduates of recent years, Michael J. Kruger (PhD in New Testament & Christian Origins, 2004), is to be inaugurated as President of Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte Campus) on 20 October 2013. “Mike” as we know him, is also Professor of New Testament in the seminary.
He is also a commendably productive scholar, commencing with his landmark study of the extra-canonical text referred to as “P.Oxyrhynchus 840,” a portion of an otherwise unknown early Christian text of a gospel-like nature: Michael J. Kruger, The Gospel of the Savior : An Analysis of P.Oxy.840 and Its Place in the Gospel Traditions of Early Christianity (Leiden: Brill, 2005).
He has gone on to publish a number of other studies as well, and we congratulate him on his new appointment and wish him well in his new administrative duties.