Here’s an idea for an edited volume on the reception of Mark. I’m trying to get away from editing for a while, but that doesn’t stop me from doing a bit of dreaming. Someone could certainly take this up and do something with it!
The Early Reception of the Gospel of Mark
An authoritative collection of studies by leading scholars offering a comprehensive assessment of the reception of the Gospel of Mark from its origins to the earliest extant commentaries in the fifth century.
With the uproar occasioned by the recent claim to have discovered a potentially first century manuscript of Mark and the ongoing discussion of the so-called ‘Secret Gospel of Mark’, together with the booming interest in the history of interpretation, the time has come to reconsider the early reception of the earliest canonical gospel. While New Testament specialists are aware that the reception of Mark is slender in some ways in comparison to Matthew and John, that Mark was received into the four-gospel canon suggests that its impact was never negligible. Major studies of the reception of Mark certainly have not exhausted the question, and though there are some good studies of individual aspects of Mark’s history of impact, many of these are now dated and would bear revisiting in light of recent scholarship. This proposed group of specialized essays bridges the fields of New Testament and early Christian studies by examining the intra-canonical impact of Mark first of all (Part I), before then moving on to consider the way in which significant early Christian authors interpreted the gospel (Part II) and the influence it exerted in a variety of early Christian contexts, including the scribal, liturgical and artistic practices of early Christian communities (Part III).
1. Looking for Mark in the Early Centuries: Methodological Reflections.
Part I: Canonical Reception
2. Matthew as reader of Mark.
3. Luke as reader of Mark.
4. John as reader of Mark.
5. The Reception of Mark in the Longer Ending.
Part II: Early Christian Authors
6. Mark in Papias and the Apostolic Fathers.
7. Mark and the Apocryphal Gospels.
8. Justin Martyr.
9. Clement of Alexandria.
Part III: Early Christian Contexts
16. The Early Manuscripts.
17. The Early Versions.
18. Early Gospel Harmonies.
19. Commentaries and the Catena in Marcum.
20. Early Christian Liturgical traditions.
21. Early Christian art.
 Sean P. Kealy, Mark’s Gospel: A History of Interpretation (Ramsey, NJ: Paulist, 1982); C. Clifton Black, Mark: Images of an Apostolic Interpreter (Columbia/Edinburgh: University of South Carolina Press/T&T Clark, 1994); Brenda Deen Schildgen, Power and Prejudice: The Reception of the Gospel of Mark (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1999).
 E.g., F. Neirynck, “The Apocryphal Gospels and the Gospel of Mark,” in J.-M. Severin, ed., New Testament in Early Christianity: la réception des écrits néotestamentaires dans le christianisme primitif (Leuven: Leuven Univsity Press/Peeters, 1989), 123-75.
I’ve been fascinated by F. C. Baur for some time, and find his work simultaneously deeply problematic and hugely captivating. In that judgment I’m not alone. There are lots of inaccurate caricatures of Baur on offer, and these should be resisted even when one wants rightly to disagree with and criticise him. But as some inducement to reading the great man himself, here are two wonderful passages about the importance of the Tübinger:
“Despite these weaknesses, Baur’s greatness cannot be denied. The discipline of New Testament studies owes him more than any of those who came before him. On the wall in Käsemann’s living room study hangs a copy of the University of Tübingen’s portrait of Baur, a gift to the New Testament scholar upon his retirement. Once outside Baur’s direct influence, the one-time pupil of Bultmann finally came to write of Baur as the true ‘progenitor’ of a criticism at the root, a criticism conceived not merely as scientific method but as a presupposition for the life of the spirit. One summer day he pointed to that portrait on his study wall and said, ‘greater even than Bultmann’” ( Roy A. Harrisville and Walter Sundberg, The Bible in Modern Culture: Theology and Historical-Critical Method from Spinoza to Käsemann [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995], 130).
“But we can, by contrast, see Baur’s work in a broader light. Such a presentation would involve emphasizing the fact that Baur’s is the first thorough-going historical account of early Christianity, whose presuppositions were to influence many of those who followed him, whether in agreement or disagreement; and that his views about the relationship between John and the Synoptics, the question of the authenticity of many New Testament books, the theological tendency of individual New Testament writings, and the role of conflict in the creation of early Christian ideas, while disputed, continue to be standard topics of discussion in any account of New Testament and later history. If we accept these points, then Baur will appear as the central and most influential figure in the history of the study of Christian origins. Indeed, seen against this broader canvas, it may only be a slight exaggeration, here adapting the words of A. N. Whitehead on Plato, to state that the study of Christian origins after Baur is no more than a series of corrective footnotes” (James Carleton Paget, in an extremely learned forthcoming essay on ‘The Reception of Baur in Britain’ in Ferdinand Christian Baur und die Geschichte des Urchristentums [WUNT; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014]).
It’s that time of year when potential students start thinking about applications to graduate programmes in New Testament. There are lots of excellent programmes around the world, but I am (unsurprisingly) partial to what we offer in Oxford. We have a range of opportunities, including the nine-month MSt in New Testament (but note that recent government regulations mean that the UKBA will not give dependent visas to spouses or children of students on courses less than a year – so overseas students beware), the two-year MPhil in New Testament, the DPhil in New Testament, and the two-year MPhil in Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World. All our programmes are distinctive and we do our best to offer students opportunities to draw on Oxford’s strengths in ancillary disciplines like classics, papyrology, Jewish studies, early Christian studies and reception history, as well as of course New Testament study more classically conceived. The MPhil in Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World is jointly administered by the Oriental Institute (under Prof. Martin Goodman) and is a challenging but rewarding consideration of the fruitful period from 200 BCE-200 CE.
Oxford consistently ranks in the top 10 universities in the world, and was recently ranked second (jointly with Harvard) in the Times Higher Education ranking. There is an unbelievable number of external speakers and opportunities to meet leading intellectuals in all disciplines. The Bodleian Library has always been one of the best libraries in the world, but with the recent purchase of a license to ebrary, we now additionally have an electronic holding of over 84,000 books (plus the millions of hard copy books), not to mention wonderful electronic journals. The world comes to Oxford for conferences, sabbaticals, and research visits, and postgraduate study offers the unique opportunity to soak in the intellectual culture here for an extended period of time.
One myth about UK study is that there is no funding available. It’s true that our graduate degrees are not as heavily subsidised as some programmes in the US, but we have an increasing number of funded places. And it’s also true that collegiate universities like Oxford and Cambridge offer multiple sources of funding through colleges as well as faculties and universities, so even if one does not secure full-funding up front, it’s often possible to piece together substantial funding as one proceeds.
I’m always happy to discuss possibilities for study with potential students. And my colleague, Markus Bockmuehl, and I will be in Baltimore at the SBL meeting, and would welcome the chance to sit down for brief, focused meetings with serious applicants to discuss their projects and prospects. If you’d be at all interested, please do drop me a line.
And potential applicants and friends of Oxford are always welcome to join us at the Oxford Reception, on Sunday night of SBL from 7pm-8.30pm (full details in the SBL program book).
This afternoon I found myself thinking about Hippolytus, and came across a couple of fragments of his on two verses in Matthew. I thought I’d translate them and post them here:
Fragmentum in Matthaeum 6.11
Διὰ τοῦτο ζητεῖν προσετάχθημεν τὸ πρὸς τήρησιν ἐξαρκοῦν τῆς σωματικῆς οὐσίας, οὐ τρυφήν, ἀλλὰ τροφήν, τὸ ἐλλεῖπον ἀναπληροῦσαν τοῦ σώματος, καὶ τὴν ἐκ τοῦ λιμοῦ κωλύουσαν θάνατον· οὐ τραπέζας φλεγμαινούσας καὶ εἰς ἡδονὰς ἐκμαινούσας, οὐδ’ ὅσα σκιρτᾶν τὸ σῶμα κατὰ τῆς ψυχῆς παρασκευάζει, ἀλλ’ „ἄρτον“, καὶ τοῦτον οὐκ εἰς πολὺν ἐτῶν ἀριθμόν, ἀλλὰ τὸν „σήμερον“ ἡμῖν ἀρκοῦντα.
Therefore, seek that we might be prescribed what is needed for the preservation of the bodily, not luxury but food, that which stops short of filling up the body, and which prevents death by starvation. Not tables swollen and driven mad for pleasure, nor things which prepare the body to leap against the soul, but ‘bread’, and this not for a great number of years, but sufficient for us ‘today’.
Fragmentum de distributione talentorum (Matth. 25.24)
Τούτους δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἑτεροδόξους φήσειεν ἄν τις γειτνιᾶν, σφαλλομένους παραπλησίως. καὶ γὰρ κἀκεῖνοι ἤτοι ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον ὁμολογοῦσι πεφηνέναι τὸν Χριστὸν εἰς τὸν βίον, τῆς θεότητος αὐτοῦ τὸ τάλαντον ἀρνούμενοι· ἤτοι τὸν θεὸν ὁμολογοῦντες, ἀναίνονται πάλιν τὸν ἄνθρωπον, πεφαντασιωκέναι διδάσκοντες τὰς ὄψεις αὐτῶν τῶν θεωμένων, ὡς ἄνθρωπον οὐ φορέσαντα ἄνθρωπον, ἀλλὰ δόκησίν τινα φασματώδη μᾶλλον γεγονέναι, οἷον ὥσπερ Μαρκίων καὶ Οὐαλεντῖνος καὶ οἱ γνωστικοί, τῆς σαρκὸς ἀποδιασπῶντες τὸν λόγον, τὸ ἓν τάλαντον ἀποβάλλονται, τὴν ἐνανθρώπησιν.
Now these heterodox, someone might say, are similar, having erred in like measure. For either they confess a mere person has appeared as the Messiah in this life, but denied the talent of his divinity. Or confessing God, they refuse again the man, teaching that the visions of those who have seen are caused by hallucinations, as though a person was not actually carrying a person, but rather the appearance seemed merely so to them, as a vision. So also do Marcion and Valentinus and the gnostics – who tear away the flesh from the word – reject the one talent, which is the incarnation.
Over the past year or two, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some extremely talented people – chief among them my good friend Michael Law – in crafting a proposal for a series of volumes devoted the reception history of the apocrypha. I’m glad to report that the series has been taken on by Oxford University Press, and we have a stellar line up of contributors. The very notion of ‘apocrypha’ is itself a category of reception, so we are excited to see what light is shed on the nature of these books by the actual uses to which they have been put over the past two thousand years. We hope to have a companion website up soon, but in the meantime here is the series prospectus. As ever, feedback warmly welcomed.
The Apocrypha in the History of Interpretation
General Editors: Timothy Michael Law (Göttingen) and David Lincicum (Oxford)
Editorial Advisory Board:
Mark W. Elliott (St. Andrews)
Heidi J. Hornik (Baylor)
John C. Reeves (UNC Charlotte)
Christopher Rowland (Oxford)
Alison Salvesen (Oxford)
Oxford University Press
The Apocrypha in the History of Interpretation (AHI) is a series of scholarly monographs devoted to the history of the use and interpretation of the books of the so-called Apocrypha from their origins to the present day.
Interest in the reception history of Scripture has burgeoned in recent years. The publishing world has witnessed a flood of publications on the theme, ranging from de Gruyter’s sprawling Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception to more compact works like The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible, from the several commentary series devoted to the history of interpretation to numerous monographs, scholarly articles and essays. But in the midst of this fertile interest, attention to the so-called Apocrypha has been strangely lacking. The Oxford Handbook only mentions it a handful of times in passing, while the Blackwell Bible Commentary series omits the Apocrypha from its current scope. The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series devotes a single volume to the whole collection.
The canonicity of the various books that make up the collections of the Apocrypha has been contested since antiquity, and this conflicting evaluation is reflected in the varying canons of Christianity to this day: Protestant, Roman Catholic, and the varieties of Orthodox churches in the east. But it is precisely this conflict of evaluation that makes the reception history of these books so interesting, and such a vital field of investigation. The present series of scholarly monographs aims to move beyond the bare question of canonical status to ask about the use, influence and interpretation of the constituent books of the Apocrypha, generously conceived, from the time of their inception to the present day. In this series, the highly contested term ‘Apocrypha’ will refer to those books included in the NRSV, which has struck a balance between Roman Catholic and Orthodox lists, and to the additional books of Enoch and Jubilees, which are regarded as canonical in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and were important in early Judaism. Individual monographs have of course been devoted to elements of the reception of these books, but there has as yet been no comprehensive attempt to grapple with this long and varied effective history.
The series is comprised of monographs devoted to books or clusters of books that make up the Apocrypha, intentionally inclusive of influential works whose status as Scripture has only been affirmed by select groups (e.g., 4 Maccabees, 1 Enoch and Jubilees). As we could not envisage a sprawling and unmanageable series which includes all of the apocryphal and pseudepigraphal books in antiquity, we have chosen a restricted corpus of books which have functioned as Scripture in some significant ways in history. The precise shape of each monograph will naturally be determined by the reception history of the individual books: some will range widely in full consideration of works that have inspired homilies, liturgical forms, poems, plays, operatic librettos and works of art (e.g., Judith or 1-2 Maccabees), while our knowledge of the reception of other works is more lacunose (e.g., 1 Enoch or Jubilees). In all instances an attempt at a full but not exhaustive account of the reception history of these books will be made, taking into consideration the manuscript tradition as witness to the reception of these works; their interpretation in commentaries, liturgy, and theological treatises; multiple afterlives in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition; and where possible the artistic inspiration they supply in music, sculpture, painting, drama, fiction and everyday life. Given the large amount of material, as a means of retaining focus the volumes will concentrate especially on the active reception of these books expressed in hermeneutical stances toward the texts as authoritative literature, even when that authority is in dispute. That is, the volumes will be concerned with intentional reception rather than effects, with Auslegungsgeschichte (broadly conceived to include artistic and liturgical forms) rather than Wirkungsgeschichte. Since our primary focus is on the history of interpretation, which seems to us an important foundation for an unprecedented series, the Nachleben of these books in the artistic, musical, and literary domains will be tributaries of the main stream. The resulting volumes should add considerably to our knowledge of the influence of these books, and provide a standard resource especially for scholars and advanced students of biblical interpretation and the histories of Judaism and Christianity, and secondarily to art historians, musicologists, medievalists, cultural historians, and all others interested in the preservation of religious history.
The initially planned volumes with confirmed contributors are as follows (volumes in bold have not been assigned):
The Apocrypha through Jewish and Christian History, 1: From Origins to Late Antiquity (T.M. Law, Göttingen)
The Apocrypha through Jewish and Christian History, 2: From the Middle Ages to the Present Day (Frans van Liere, Calvin)
Tobit (Alison Salvesen, Oxford)
Judith (Dan Machiela, McMaster)
Sirach/Ecclesiasticus (Brennan Breed, Columbia Theological Seminary, Atlanta)
Wisdom of Solomon (David Lincicum, Oxford)
1 Esdras = 2 Esdras in Slavonic = 3 Esdras in the Appendix to the Vulgate
2 Esdras = 3 Esdras in Slavonic = 4 Esdras in Vulgate Appendix (Lorenzo DiTommaso, Concordia)
1 Maccabees (T.M. Law, Göttingen)
2-4 Maccabees (David A. deSilva, Ashland Theological Seminary)
Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, and Psalm 151 (Michael Graves, Wheaton)
Esther, with Additions
Additions to Daniel (Jennifer Barbour, Duke)
1 Enoch (Loren Stuckenbruck, Munich)
Jubilees (William Adler, North Carolina State University)
*Note: Additional volumes may be commissioned to gather some of the smaller works whose stories, themes, or entire forms that have been treated as Scripture at various points in various communities (Ascension of Isaiah, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Psalms of Solomon, etc.).
 Sever J. Voicu, ed., Apocrypha (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2010).
 By way of example: J. Gamberoni, Die Auslegung des Buches Tobias in der griechisch-lateinischen Kirche der Antike und der Christenheit des Westens bis um 1600 (SANT 21; Munich: Kösel, 1969); Bruce Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), esp. 175-238; Margarita Stocker, Judith – Sexual Warrior: Women and Power in Western Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); D. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Christian Memories of the Maccabean Martyrs (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
 Apart, then, from the addition of 1 Enoch and Jubilees, this corresponds to the contents of the Apocrypha in the Oxford Bible Commentary.
As we prepare again for the term in Oxford, here is the programme for the Senior Seminar, this Michaelmas. Those who can make it to Oxford are, as always, more than welcome to join us and to stay for tea.
Senior New Testament Seminar
Michaelmas Term 2013
The Stafford Crane Room, Keble College
Fridays 2.30-4.00 pm
(please note new day and time)
25 October (2nd week)
Prof. Markus Bockmuehl (Keble)
The Gospels on the Presence of Jesus
8 November (4th week)
Prof. James D. G. Dunn (Emeritus, Durham)
The Earliest Interpreters of the Jesus Tradition:
A Study in Early Hermeneutics
29 November (7th week)
Dr. Ward Blanton (Kent)
‘Gay Jokes’ in Romans 1? Reflections on Philosophical Invective
6 December (8th week, 2.30-6.00pm, the Pusey Room, Keble)
Marking the Retirement of Prof. Christopher Tuckett
Prof. Tobias Nicklas (Regensburg)
What Christian Apocrypha Tell Us About the History of the Canon
Dr. Mary Marshall (Oxford)
‘The Leaven of the Pharisees’: A Case Study in Recognising the Evangelists
Please direct any questions to David Lincicum (david [dot] lincicum [at] theology [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk) or Mary Marshall (mary [dot] marshall [at] theology [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk).
So you want to learn more about the history of New Testament exegesis, but don’t want to buy an entire library or devote the rest of your life to reading German? Here are 20-ish places to start, including some key works by influential scholars and theologians from the 17th through the 19th centuries, all in English translation and freely available online. I present them here in rough chronological order. Needless to say, there are many important works that have not been translated (apparently no one has ever translated J. S. Semler, for example – his 4 volume Abhandlung von freier Untersuchung des Canon would still be worth an English translation), or whose translations are not freely available online. There are also various gems of translation that don’t quite make this list, but are still interesting (e.g., this volume which includes some extracts from Gesenius, Michaelis, J. G. Eichhorn and others). One should also note that in some cases more recent translations exist that are improvements on those listed here, but are, again, not freely available online.
For the broader narrative context in which these works fit, see, for example, H. G. Reventlow, The Authority of the Bible and the Rise of the Modern World; idem, History of Biblical Interpretation (4 vols.); W. Kümmel, The New Testament: The History of the Investigation of Its Problems; Roy A. Harrisville and Walter Sundberg, The Bible in Modern Culture: Theology and Historical-Critical Method from Spinoza to Käsemann; S. Neill and N. T. Wright, The Interpretation of the New Testament, 1861-1986; W. Baird, History of New Testament Research (3 vols).
Without further ado, the list:
1. R. Simon, A Critical History of the Text of the New Testament; (note also his A Critical history of the Old Testament; and Critical Enquiries into the Various Editions of the Bible)
2. J. Locke, A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of Paul
3. Some English Deist authors (by way of example)
- Matthew Tindal, Christianity as Old as the Creation
- John Toland, Christianity Not Mysterious and Nazarenus
- Thomas Morgan, The Moral Philosopher (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3)
4. Benedict de Spinoza, Theological Political Treatise
6. H. Reimarus, Fragments
9. August Hermann Francke, A Guide to the Reading and Study of the Holy Scriptures
15. August Tholuck, A Commentary on the Gospel of St John; Exposition of St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans; A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews; Exposition, Doctrinal and Philological of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount (vol.1; vol. 2) (see also select discourses here)
16. The Cambridge Three
- J. B. Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers (1.1; 1.2; 2.1; 2.2; 2.3); Dissertations on the Apostolic Age; Essays on the Work Entitled Supernatural Religion; Biblical Essays; Historical Essays; and commentaries on Galatians; Philippians; Colossians and Philemon; and other Pauline passages
- B. F. Westcott, An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels; A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament; The Gospel According to St John; The Epistles of St John; The Revelation of the Father; Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians
- F. J. A. Hort, The Apocalypse of St John I-III; Prolegomena to St. Paul’s Epistles to the Romans and the Ephesians; Judaistic Christianity; The Christian Ecclesia; The First Epistle of St Peter I.1-II.17
- And of course, Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in the Original Greek (vol. 1; vol. 2)
17. Johannes Weiss, Paul and Jesus
18. A. von Harnack, History of Dogma (vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7); The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries (vol. 1; 2); What is Christianity?; Luke the Physician; The Acts of the Apostles; The Date of Acts and the Synoptic Gospels
20. Adolf Schlatter, “The Significance of Method for Theological Work“