New Online-Access Journal
There is a recently-launched online and open-access journal that looks very promising, to judge from the most recent issue: Journal of the Jesus Movement in its Jewish Setting, From the First to the Seventh Century. The online link is here.
This issue (issue 2, 2015) includes an informative article by Brent Nongbri, “The Concept of Religion and the Study of the Apostle Paul,” which draws upon Nongbri’s book: Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), in which he shows that the modern notion of “religion” is of relatively recent vintage. In his recent article, Nongbri applies this to the study of Paul, offering criticism of what appear to be insufficiently considered applications of this concept to Paul.
Richard Ascough’s article, “Paul, Synagogues and Associations: Reframing the Question of Models for Pauline Christ Groups,” draws upon his own extensive work on “voluntary associations” in the ancient Roman period. Ascough proposes that “associations” should serve as the umbrella cateagory, under which various sub-types can be placed, one of those sub-types being Pauline congregations.
Ralph J. Korner (“Ekklesia as a Jewish Synagogue Term: Some Implications for Paul’s Socio-Religious Location”) shows that “ekklesia” was sometimes used to designate a “synagogue” of Jews, and proposes that this affects how we understand Paul’s use of the term. It wasn’t simply a term used for the assembly of a city, but also had the possibility of this more specifically Jewish connotation.
William S. Campbell (“‘A Remnant of Them Will be Saved’ (Rom 9:27): Understanding Paul’s Conception of the Faithfulness of God to Israel”) lays out an extended case for the view that Paul retained a strong belief in the ultimate salvation of his ancestral people.
Thomas Wayment & Matthew J. Grey (“Jesus Followers in Pompeii: The Christianos Graffito and the ‘Hotel of the Christians’ Reconsidered”) offer a fresh analysis of a graffito reportedly found in the mid-19th century in Pompeii, and critically assess scholarship on it and the building in which it was found. The graffito has been widely doubted as evidence of Christians in Pompeii (which means earlier than the destruction of the town in 79 AD). Wayment and Grey contend that the graffito is a valid reference to Christians, however, and note that it is entirely plausible that Christians were in Pompeii, given references in Acts to Christians in Rome and Puteoli by the 60s.
Among the other contributions to this issue is Miriam DeCock’s review-essay on Daniel Boyarin’s book, The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ. DeCock lodges what I judge to be telling criticisms of the book.
The editor, Anders Runesson, and his editorial board are to be congratulated for launching and managing this new journal. I have long contended that online journals were the wave of the future, and I hope that this venture succeeds.