Thursday 27 February 2014

Currents in Biblical Research 12, 2 (February 2014)

My copy of the latest Currents in Biblical Research recently arrived; abstracts of the main articles are as below.

Tova Forti
The Concept of ‘Reward’ in Proverbs: A Diachronic or Synchronic Approach?
The book of Proverbs appears to employ two alternative conceptual paradigms with respect to the evaluation of human actions: the pragmatic-utilitarian model of the ‘deed-consequence nexus’, and the theological notion of divine retribution. These conceptual frameworks have frequently been adduced as evidence of diachronic stratification in the book – an older layer promoting pragmatic-mundane wisdom and a later level of theological elaboration. This article examines the various arguments made for viewing Proverbs as either synchronic or diachronic. It also explores the possibility that the dual presence of the human and divine systems is a function of the seam between the author’s didactic-utilitarian purpose and the conventional sapiential religious-moralistic view.

Hughson T. Ong
Paul’s Personal Relation with Earliest Christianity: A Critical Survey
This essay surveys some of the key figures and their contributions to the historical development of three areas in Paul’s personal relation with earliest Christianity: Stephen and the Hellenists, his opponents, and James. The objectives are to emphasize their importance in working with Pauline theology amid the proliferation of works that follow the New (and Newer) Perspectives and Continental Philosophy trends, to highlight new methodological approaches in these surveyed areas, and to suggest how future research should go.

Wally V. Cirafesi
The Johannine Community Hypothesis (1968–Present): Past and Present Approaches and a New Way Forward
This article surveys and evaluates the most influential approaches to the Johannine community debate, beginning with Martyn’s 1968 study to the more recent work of Bauckham and Klink. The survey divides these approaches into three main categories: (1) studies in the historical-critical stream (mostly from the late 1960s–1970s), (2) sociological studies and (3) studies that have departed from the community hypothesis altogether. The observation is made that, to date, the majority of approaches have been more prescriptive and model-driven rather than descriptive and data-driven. In light of this overarching trend, this article suggests that a potential direction of exploration within the debate could be the development of methods that place primary emphasis on textual data and, at the same time, have a deep concern for a text’s social setting.

Matthew D. Jensen
The Structure and Argument of 1 John: A Survey of Proposals
This article outlines and reviews many of the proposals for the structure and argument of 1 John. The article has two elements: first, it groups together scholars who use similar techniques to divide 1 John into its parts and so discern a structure; second, it outlines the methods used to analyse the relationships between the constituent parts of the structure and in so doing evaluates many of the proposed understandings of the argument of 1 John.

David M. Miller
Ethnicity, Religion and the Meaning of Ioudaios in Ancient ‘Judaism’
This article, the third in a three-part series, examines the use of the modern categories of ethnicity and religion in scholarship on the meaning of Ioudaios, and evaluates the debate about its translation into English as ‘Jew’ or ‘Judaean’. Recent contributions by S. Cohen, P. Esler, D. Buell, S. Mason and S. Schwartz are described in detail, with particular attention devoted to their definitions of ‘ethnicity’ and ‘religion’, their methodology and their use of primary evidence. The article defends a polythetic concept of ethnicity as the basic category within which Ioudaios should be understood, but argues that a religious meaning was emerging in ancient ‘Judaism’; it also contends that contemporary concerns favour the translation ‘Jew’ over ‘Judaean’. Parts one and two in the series, which appeared in CBR 9.1 and 10.2, examined the relationship between Ioudaios and related group labels, and explored changing terminology in twentieth-century scholarship on Ioudaios.

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