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“Varieties of Theism in Antiquity”: The Two-Day Colloquium

April 11, 2019

Tuesday and Wednesday this week there was a special colloquium held in New College here in Edinburgh focused on the variety of ways that gods are treated in the ancient Greco-Roman period.  It was not open to the public, and so I’ve waited till it was over to blog about it.

This was a rich feast of papers and discussions featuring a stellar assembly of accomplished scholars.  Each paper was distributed and read beforehand, and the presenter gave a short summary, followed by a prepared short response, followed then by a period of discussion (and sometimes debate!).  Here is the list of them and their titles, as well as assigned respondents (in the order of presentation):

L.W. Hurtado, “The new religionsgeschichtliche Schule at Thirty:  Observations by a Participant.”  (Response by Jan Bremmer)

Matthew Novenson, “The Universal Polytheism and the Case of the Jews.” (Response by Paula Fredriksen)

Charles Gieschen, “The Divine Name as a Characteristic of Divine Identity in Second Temple Judaism an Early Christianity.” (Response by April DeConick)

David Capes, “Jesus’ Unique Relationship with YHWH in Biblical Exegesis.” (Response by Richard Bauckham)

Paula Fredriksen, “The Gods of the Nations and the One God’s Messiah:  Apocalypse and Redemption in Paul’s Christology.” (Response by L. Hurtado)

Carey Newman, “God and Glory and Paul, Again.”  (Response by Paula Fredriksen)

Richard Bauckham, “Confessing the Cosmic Christ (1 Cor 8:6 and Col 1:15-20).” (Response by Jörg Frey)

Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr, “One God, and One Lord in the Epistle of James.” (Response by Carey Newman)

Jörg Frey, “Between Monotheism and Proto-Trinitarian Relations:  The Path of Johannine Christology.” (Response by Marianne Meye Thompson)

Jan Bremmer, “The God of the Early Christian Martyrs.” (Response by Sara Parvis)

Pheme Perkins, “Gnosis and the Tragedies of Wisdom:  Sophia’s Story.” (Response by Charles Gieschen)

April DeConick, “The One God is No Simple Matter.” (Response by Pheme Perkins)

It was also personally very meaningful and touching that this galaxy of fine scholars took their valuable time to prepare papers and come to the colloquium in my honour.  There is a photo of the participants on the blog site of our Centre for the Study of Christian Origins here.  I count them all, not only colleagues from whom I continue to learn, but also friends, and I’m truly honored by their contributions.

Thanks also to Matthew Novenson for making all the arrangements, including refreshments and meals, and to Carey Newman (Baylor University Press) for arranging funding for the colloquium.  Particular thanks to the Lanier Theological Library for a generous grant in support of the event.

There are plans for a multi-author volume of finished versions of the papers to be published in due course by Baylor University Press.


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  1. Edgar permalink

    Prof. Who are the 2 youngest looking men in the photo? Would love to follow them / their blogs.

    • I suppose that you refer to the guy in the beige/brown jacket, second row: Matthew Novenson (Senior Lecturer in NT in the Univ of Edinburgh), and the young guy on the left end of that row. He’s a PhD student of Jorg Frey, first name Reuven (I forget his last name).

  2. Chris Porter permalink

    Looks like a fascinating line up. Given the lag with publication, are the abstracts available in the interim?

    • The participants weren’t required to produce abstracts. The aim is to get the volume out by Autumn this year.

      • Chris Porter permalink

        Ah. I see that you are writing summaries as well, which will be great. Ill look forward to the volume at SBL.

  3. Dr. H.,
    I for one, am anxiously awaiting the release of the volume you spoke of at the end of your article.
    The authors are indeed stellar. Congratulations to you, as well, an honor well deserved!


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