Last week, I learned that I will be presenting at the Denver meetings, “The Dream for a ‘Field for the Twenty-First Century’ Endures: A Description and Defense of the New Critical Edition of Job 22–42.” Yes, yes, if I present it, you will come :-). For anyone interested, here is the abstract:
Publishing “a Field for the Twenty-First Century” remains the aim of the Hexapla Project, and after many years of waiting, the release of its first edition, A Critical Edition of the Hexaplaric Fragments of Job 22–42, is planned for winter of 2018. In light of this development, I want to (1) review the aims of the Hexapla Project, (2) describe the format of the new edition vis-à-vis prior editions, and (3) reply to some recent criticism of the project with specific examples from the new edition of Job 22–42. The new edition surpasses the previous editions of Frederick Field and Joseph Ziegler both in terms of evidence and method, and this advance will be demonstrated with examples from Job 22–42. Finally, Olivier Munnich has offered some recent criticisms of the Hexapla Project, which I will address in the final part of the presentation.
Last week, I gave a presentation at Southeastern Seminary on Origen’s Hexapla. Almost every point of the history of the Hexapla has been debated over the years. Was there a Hebrew column? Why was there a transliterated column (i.e. the Secunda)? Were there signs (asterisk, obelus) in the Fifth column (i.e. the corrected Septuagint)? Why did he compile it in the first place? What’s the Tetrapla? How did the Hexapla come to have such an impact on the textual history of the Septuagint? I won’t present it again here. Below are some pictures from Chip Hardy, Ian Mills, and SEBTS Library on social media. In addition to the SEBTS community, some from Duke, Shepherd’s Theological Seminary, and Erskine College attended the talk. I had a great time. The questions after the presentation were good. The coffee was excellent. I enjoyed the post-presentation conversations with the folks that attended.
I’m at Southern Seminary this week visiting family and friends and continuing to revise and finalize my critical edition of the hexaplaric fragments of Job 22–42 for publication.
We are in the third month since the release of The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis, and there are now two blog reviews and an amazing discount to report.
First, the discount. Amazon is currently giving the book away at a 39% discount or for $27. One will not find that ridiculous price, even at SBL.
Second, the reviews. (1) Dr. Jim West has reviewed the book here. He takes issue with the small font size of the Greek, Syriac, and Latin texts, which is a completely fair criticism, and we have noted it. He ends with this paragraph:
I think the volume is completely worth the reader’s time. Just not all at once. The reading of lists can be a tiresome task and of the making of book lists there is no end. Fortunately, here, readers find all the essential lists in one location and don’t have to waste a lot of time trying to track them down in various places and volumes. For that alone our authors are to be thanked.
(2) Dr. Larry Hurtado provides a short review here. He thinks our bibliography is up to date and our footnotes are copious:
The major benefit of this book is that, for each list included, the authors give a brief introduction, and the actual text in the original language and with an English translation, plus copious notes. In one handy volume, you have pretty much all the key evidence, which makes this volume a unique contribution.
In the comments to Hurtado’s post, Lee Martin McDonald, author of The Formation of the Biblical Canon, chimed in. I’ll give him the last word:
Thanks for the good review of this book Larry. It is a superb volume and both young scholars are planning on extending their focus well into the Medieval period and eventually well into the modern era. I have profited from their research in my recent volumes. I know both men well and Ed was kind enough to add clarity in some of the lists in my work. While we do not agree on some of the details, they are most kind to those with whom they disagree and I applaud their sensitivity toward fellow scholars and their gentle spirits. I think their work here will be the standard on canon lists for years to come. Thanks also for mentioning The Canon Debate volume! —Lee Martin McDonald
Yesterday, for any who missed it, over on the Oxford University Press Blog, Ed Gallagher and I posted The Origins of the Reformation Bible. As you may well guess, the origins and debates over the contents of the Bible during the Reformation period were long anticipated in the Patristic period. Of course, both sides of the divide appealed to canon lists from early Christianity. Follow the link to read a significant part of the story that is not often told.
Although I haven’t blogged here in a while, I have been busy. Phoenix Seminary has been trying to launch a blog, and I have contributed a couple of pieces to it over the last month:
- On The Biblical Canon Lists. My briefest attempt to define and describe them to date.
- On The Intellectual Life. A different kind of post from me in which I describe some of the more salient points on the life of the mind from the classic by A. G. Sertillanges.
I encourage readers to check out the blog as the seminary attempts to publish some good content in the new year. While on sabbatical this spring, my blogging here and elsewhere may be more sporadic, but I do hope to post even if infrequently. We will see how it goes.
In other news, The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis by Ed Gallagher and yours truly was released in the UK on November 2 and will be officially released in the USA on January 2, although my friends in the States tell me that they have received their pre-ordered copies already.
Also, I have been furiously and frantically compiling course notes for a class on the History of the Canon of Scripture that I’m scheduled to teach at Phoenix Seminary January 8–12. I am enjoying the preparation and hope the students will gain insight and new appreciation for the subject.
After teaching the course, I go on sabbatical to give my projects some much needed attention. I hope to have some big news about one of these projects later in the year.
Expectations for the New Year
As the New Year approaches, I look back on 2017 with a heart of thankfulness and gratitude. I completed five and half years of teaching at the seminary and have never been more content and satisfied in my vocation than I am currently. In 2017, nothing radical happened, and for the most part there weren’t any breakthroughs. I’d like to think that I and my work were ordinary, faithful. In 2018, I pray for more of the same: faithfulness to all God has called me as Christian, husband, father, and professor. May God establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17).
It’s hard to believe that we have been ministering and teaching at Phoenix Seminary for five and a half years already (since Fall 2012). Teaching fine students and working with wonderful colleagues has made these years some of the sweetest of our lives.
For the Spring 2018 semester, I will be on research sabbatical / writing leave from the seminary. My family and I will be moving to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to participate in their Visiting Scholar Program (read more about it here). We will be there from middle of January to early June so that we can participate in life at the seminary and, more specifically, so that I can work on some writing projects that need attention. Here are some specifics on the writing projects:
- Finalize some papers on OT Canon and NT Canon for publication.
- Finalize my dissertation on the Hexaplaric Fragments of Job 22-42 (finally!) for publication with Peeters.
- Continue research and writing a handbook on the sources of Origen’s Hexapla (a project I’m very excited about and will explain more fully later).
- Begin another project I’m not at liberty to speak about :-).
- Begin writing a lengthy chapter on OT Textual Criticism for an intermediate Hebrew language textbook.
We are super excited to be back on the East coast, even if for a little while. We homeschool our two oldest children and part of that includes Classical Conversations. We have already found a group in which to participate in NC so the kids’ schooling will continue on schedule in the Spring (we’re in the colonial America cycle so where better to be located than the East coast). Another exciting benefit is that Annie’s family lives near Charlotte, NC so for the first time in our married life we will be near them. Of course, we will miss our friends in Phoenix while we are away, but we look forward to the fun adventures we will have in NC. We hope to return well rested and rejuvenated to continue our ministry in Phoenix upon our return.
Here are some key dates for the upcoming months:
- Mid December: Meades of AZ drive from AZ to MA to spend Christmas with the Meades of MA.
- January 8-12: I return to Phoenix to teach a J-term intensive on the History of the Canon of Scripture at Phoenix Seminary.
- Immediately after teaching the course I begin writing leave at SEBTS.
- Beginning early June we plan to visit friends and family on the East Coast.
- We plan to return to Phoenix around beginning of August.
Oxford University Press is currently running its Celebrate Friends & Family Sale with 40% off and Free Shipping on most of its online bookstore. Now, you can preorder The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity at the amazing low price of $27.00 (retail $45.00), if you act fast. While you are at it, you may want to join OUP’s mailing list so you can hear about these kinds of offers throughout the year. Cheers.
There is still time to register for the Friday lecture at Phoenix Seminary or you can simply show up at the door at 10:00 AM this Friday. It is free and open to the public. You will also be able to tune in and watch the lecture on Friday morning at 10:00 AM Phoenix Time (= Pacific Standard Time) via Facebook Live at the Phoenix Seminary Facebook page. I hope to see you there!
We are about one week away from the UK release (Nov. 2) of The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis written by me and Ed Gallagher and published by Oxford. You can preview the book on Google Books. You can also pre-order the book on Amazon UK (£35.00) or Amazon USA ($45.00). It will also be available on Oxford’s tables at the SBL Annual Meeting next month. The book is scheduled to release in the USA on Jan. 2, 2018.
Ed has already provided a good overview of our book on his blog. I have a post scheduled to appear on the ETC blog next week that situates our book within canon studies generally and shows its significance to the field.
The reason we believe most will want to own the book is the four chapters devoted to all of the Jewish and Christian canon lists in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac with parallel English translations and notes up to around 400 CE. But there is more to this book than simply presenting canon lists and commenting on them.
These chapters are book ended by an Introduction, which defines what a canon list is and describes its significance to canon studies, and a major Appendix treating the important Antilegomena and Apocrypha. Chapter 1 is a substantial chapter on the Development of the Christian Biblical Canon. This chapter surveys the early periods of both the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the New Testament, and therefore, provides necessary context for interpreting the value and significance of the canon lists. The sixth and final chapter surveys select early manuscript contents in Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Hebrew up to around 1000 CE, again with the intention of providing more context for understanding the contents of canon lists. With these book ends, the reader should be in a good position to appreciate the canon lists in the middle of the book.
We think that scholars and students will want to refer to this book frequently when treating the biblical canon.