Saturday 4 June 2011

Currents in Biblical Research 9, 3 (June 2011)

Abstracts of the main essays in the latest Currents in Biblical Research:

Geoffrey D. Miller

Intertextuality in Old Testament Research

All biblical scholars are familiar with the term ‘intertextuality’, but few can agree on the nature of the concept or how readers should identify intertextual relationships among texts. Some scholars employ a purely synchronic approach when reading texts together, emphasizing the autonomy of the reader in attributing meaning to textual connections. Other scholars pursue a more diachronic approach, seeking to uncover the specific links to precursor texts that the author wants readers to perceive. Within and between these two groups, disagreements also persist over how to differentiate legitimate intertextual connections from coincidental similarities, as well as how to exegete interrelated texts in light of their connections. This article surveys literature from the past twenty years that aims to answer these questions. None of these answers have brought about consensus, and perhaps the best solution is to label some of these studies by a name other than ‘intertextuality’.

Paul Foster

The Gospel of Peter: Directions and Issues in Contemporary Research

Following a period of virtual neglect, interest in the Gospel of Peter has blossomed over the last three to four decades. In part this reflects the wider phenomenon of increased study of non-canonical texts, but more specifically this is also related to various theories that have suggested that traditions in this text may pre-date the forms of parallel traditions found in the canonical gospels. This article surveys three major issues that have surrounded the Gospel of Peter. These are: (i) its relationship to the canonical gospels; (ii) the identification of other fragmentary texts as manuscript witnesses to the text; (iii) the Christology and wider theological profile of the text.

Mark Batluck

Religious Experience in New Testament Research

Initiated by Gunkel in 1888, and again by Dunn in 1970, research on religious experience in the New Testament has developed into four distinct streams, all of which address the matter from a different vantage point. Mystical/revelatory experience examines early Christian texts that are ecstatic or disclose new information to the recipient. A second group equates religious experience with encounters of the Holy Spirit.Thirdly, historical Jesus studies investigates historical dimensions of the religious experience described in the Gospels. Fourthly, others address religious experience categorically, trying to account for the grand scope and effect of religious experience recorded in the writings of the New Testament. Each approach offers a great deal to scholars and will be a fruitful line of inquiry in studies to come.

Daniel Johansson

The Identity of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark: Past and Present Proposals

Focusing on the question whether the Markan Jesus is viewed as a divine figure or a merely human being, this article surveys the various interpretations of the Christology of the Gospel of Mark from the late nineteenth century to the present date. Three broad periods are detected. The first is characterized by a combination of a low Christology with a high estimation of Mark as history. After the publication of Wrede’s Messiasgeheimnis this changes, and for various reasons the majority of scholars view Mark’s Jesus as a superhuman being. A new shift takes place around 1970 when the Markan Jesus again is seen as a merely human being. While this still remains the majority position there is far from a consensus in this regard, and present Markan scholarship seems to be more divided than ever before.

C.D. Elledge

Future Resurrection of the Dead in Early Judaism: Social Dynamics, Contested Evidence

In its significance to both Jewish and Christian studies, resurrection of the dead remains a vital subject of biblical research; and it is now widely recognized that the religious culture of early Judaism (ca. 200 BCE—CE 200) played a crucial role in both its origination and early reception. In the present landscape of study, perhaps the most recent methodological advances arise from sociological studies, which attempt to contextualize resurrection within the social dynamics of the religious movements that advanced this hope. Moreover, at the exegetical level, many vexing pieces of evidence have produced conflicting readings of precisely what individual traditions may say about resurrection. The present article treats these topics, including (1) the application of social-scientific methods to the study of resurrection, and (2) readings of contested literary and epigraphic evidence that remains crucial to the scholarly study of the resurrection hope in early Jewish culture.

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