Great news – Issue 4 of the Journal of the Jesus Movement in its Jewish Setting (JJMJS 4-2017), from Eisenbrauns, is now out. This is an extremely valuable (if not essential) resource for anyone with an interest in the forming church and New Testament studies.
JJMJS’s editor in chief, Anders Runesson, introduces this edition with these words:
“To whom is Paul’s letter to the Romans addressed, how do we know, and what difference does it make for our understanding of Paul’s position on the salvation of ‘all Israel’ (Rom 11:26)? In the 4th issue of JJMJS, John W. Marshall approaches these and related issues starting not with ‘heavyweight’ themes like faith, works, law, and gospel, but rather with smaller words of great significance for language-making, such as ‘all,’ ‘we,’ ‘thus,’ and ‘you,’ as well as Paul’s characteristic expression μὴ γένοιτο! (‘Certainly not!’) These are words, he claims, that “determine the course of Paul’s eschatological, mystical flow of big concepts.”
With John van Maaren’s study we turn to the Gospel of Mark and the key question of whether Jesus, in this Gospel, abrogates the law or not, focussing on matters of purity and morality in Mark 7:1-23. The provenance of Mark’s Gospel has often been linked to questions about its Jewish or non-Jewish character. Through a detailed analysis of Latin transliteration in the text in light of comparative material, Christopher B. Zeichmann challenges the common but unproven assumption that the text was written in Rome, and argues that the evidence points rather to Syria or post-war Palestine.
In the second and third centuries, the increasingly non-Jewish church struggled to define its relationship to Jews and Judaism, at the same time as it grappled with identity issues within the movement, and attempts to outline the boundaries of orthodoxy and orthopraxis. Relationships between Christians and Jews, and those in-between, were important not only for the emerging mainstream church but also for those who were eventually marginalised. In his study, ‘When We Were Hebrews,’ Jordan J. Ryan offers a discussion of the nuances within and between the various attitudes to Judaism found in Valentinian literature, and shows that there was more than one way for adherents of this movement to relate to the Jewish people.
The importance of the social function of public reading of Torah for our understanding of early Jewish covenant praxis is addressed by Jacob Rodriguez, who argues that ‘covenant textuality’ has significant implications for the study of Jewish and Christian origins.
Following up from Issue 3, where Eric S. Gruen responded to two articles by Richard S. Ascough and Ralph J. Korner, respectively, on how one should understand the ancient synagogue in the context of Graeco-Roman associations, the final two articles clarify several key issues of methodological and terminological importance for historical reconstruction. Ascough concludes that, “[t]he issue is not really whether synagogues or Pauline Christ groups were or were not associations. The real issue is whether we learn anything useful by comparing data from a variety of different ancient groups.” Korner’s response, in turn, clarifies the implications for Pauline studies of the fact that the word ekklēsia was used as a Jewish synagogue term in the first century.”
Once again, many thanks to Eisenbrauns for this terrific resource and HAPPY READING!