Welcome to Biblical Studies Carnival #210, celebrating the best biblical and theological studies posts in September 2023. Jim West will probably host next month, but if you are a blogger who would like to host a carnival, contact me and we can talk about it
The big news for Biblical Studies in September was the new volume of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (LXXXVII). This long-running series has published papyri found at the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus since 1898. About 10% of this material is literary, and only a fraction of that contains Christian writings. Even so, there are many Christian fragments, including canonical (Septuagint and New Testament) and noncanonical books (for example, Gospel of Thomas, Shepherd of Hermes). If you are interested in just the Christian material, get a copy of Christian Oxyrhynchus: Texts, Documents, and Sources, edited by Lincoln H. Blumell and Thomas A. Wayment (Baylor 2017).
Included in this new volume is P.Oxy. 5575, a fragment likely dated to the second century containing sayings similar to Luke 12:22/Matt 6:25a (lines 1-5), the Gospel of Thomas 27 (lines 6-10), and Luke 12:24/Matt 6:25b–26 (lines 11-14). Mark Goodacre shared a PDF synopsis of the text of the fragment. Mark discussed this fragment on his resurrected NT Podcast with the ironic title, “Has Q been discovered?” This podcast is only 14 minutes long and is an excellent place to start. (Spoiler: Not surprises: Goodacre says this is not Q).
Naturally, this fragment created a media frenzy for a day or two. Rarely does New Testament papyrology make headlines in the Daily Beast. See this article by Candida Moss tracing the history of the fragment, including its brush with Dirk Obbink and Scott Carroll (associated with the Green family’s Museum of the Bible). Brent Nongri posted a photo of the fragment in December 2018. To be fair, he posted a photo of Indiana Wesleyan professor Jerry Pattengale pulling the fragment out of his pocket during a 2012 lecture by Scott Carroll. On the one hand, the association with Obbink, Carroll, and the Green family might raise red flags for many scholars, but the inclusion of the fragment in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series.
At the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, Dan Wallace (one of the editors of the fragment) discusses his work and states all scholars working on the fragment “independently dated the MS to late second or perhaps early third century, making it the oldest manuscript with text from Matt 6 (Sermon on the Mount).”
Michael Holmes also worked on the fragment posted at Text & Canon, What’s the Big Deal about a New Papyrus with Sayings of Jesus? Holmes says “What makes this a big deal? This is the first known occurrence of the weaving together of material similar to Luke and Matthew, on the one hand, and material similar to—and otherwise known only from—the Gospel of Thomas, on the other. In this significant respect, 5575 is unique among all known papyri.”
On September 9, Brent Nongbri posted The Date of the New Oxyrhynchus Sayings of Jesus P.Oxy. 87.5575. This is a detailed post comparing the handwriting of P.Oxy 5575 to other papyri to evaluate the date suggested by the editors. He concludes, “I tend to agree with the editors about the similarity of the scripts of 5575 and 4009, but in my first look at the proposals for dated parallels (for both the pieces), I cannot say that I find any of them especially compelling. This is not to criticize the work of the editors. It is very difficult to find good, securely dated comparanda for scripts like these. A more detailed evaluation will have to wait for another occasion.”
Gospel of Thomas scholar Martijn Linssen posted a paper to Academia.edu, “P.Oxy 5575 – an entirely fresh gospel.”
Peter Gurry at Evangelical Textual Criticism posted a summary of the fragment with some photographs.
Here is a short video from Bible Unboxed summarizing the fragment. TextKit Greek and Latin forums posted hires images of the pages from Oxyrhynchus Papyri LXXXVII.
North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL) added a page for the fragment.
Wesley Huff put together a nice Twitter, er, X thread on the fragment. For those weirded out by Twitter threads, here is the blog post version. He creates some cool infographics, so poke around his website and see what you can find.
Finally, Jim West points out the obvious in the Daily Beast click-bait headline: it is not a new papyrus at all. It is new to the people who write headlines at Daily Beast.
And one “not P.Oxy. 5575 related” post from Brent Nongbri, More Details on the Possible Codex at Graz.
Emanuel Tov, On What Day Did God Cease Working? – Genesis 2:2
Sara Ronis and Travis Proctor discuss Writing about Demons at Ancient Jew Review.
Was the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil an etrog? Rabbi Rachel Adelman sifts through the rabbinic tradition while American Christians try to figure out what an etrog is.
Ian Paul continued his video and blog series on Matthew. Here is The uncalculating generosity of God in Matthew 20.
Brave New History posted a YouTube episode with James McGrath, The Many Problems of Jesus Mythicism.
Allan R. Bevere, The Apostle Paul and His Female Co-workers
B. J. Oropeza, What Everyone Ought to Know about Archangels
The folks at Place for Truth worked through the Fruit of the Spirit in September. Start with Love.
Brian Small reports on several new publications on Hebrews.
Jacob Prahlow discusses Submission in 1 Peter at Pursuing Veritas.
Καταπέτασμα at The Scribes of the Kingdom comment on Sons of God at war: Apollonian Christ and Pythian Caesar in Revelation 12.
Theology & Church History
Jim West really like Emil Brunner. #ManCrush
At The Bible Sojourner, Slavery—Why Does the Bible Allow It? Here is a related post by Daniel K. Williams, Why Did Jonathan Edwards Think That Slavery Was Morally Right? Posted at the Anxious Bench.
Marg Mowczko, A Christian Lady Teacher in Egypt – a few short notes about SB 14 11532, a papyrus letter possibly written in the early 300s AD. Marg also posted on Submission in 1 Corinthians 15:28 and in Marriage.
Adam Renberg, Mothers of the Church: Blandina.
Andrew Case at the Text & Canon Institute continues his series on the name of God with How Was the Divine Name Translated in the Reformation?
Philip Jenkins has been doing quite a bit of good Church History at The Anxious Bench, beginning with his How The Ancient Christian Heresies Lasted A Thousand Years Longer Than We Think. Philip also posted on A Storm of Images: Iconoclasm and Religious Reformation in the Byzantine World.
A Roman legion camp near Tell Megiddo, was built under Emperor Hadrian (117-123) and was abandoned in the late third century or perhaps the early fourth century.
Leen Ritmeyer on the Archaeological evidence for the Babylonian Exile. Ritmeyer also posted on The Middle Gate (Jeremiah 39.3), the place where the Babylonian princes came together to celebrate their conquest of Jerusalem.
Mysterious 3,800-Year-Old Canaanite Arch and Stairway Unearthed in Israel (link to Smithsonian Magazine article). This is at Tel Shimron.
Paul A. Himes, In praise of the more “literal” translation style.
Israeli youth finds Roman-era ring in national park. I never find cool stuff.
Mark DelCogliano, Christ: The Cambridge Edition of Early Christian Writings Vols. 3 and 4. Cambridge University Press, 2022. Reviewed by Shawn J. Wilhite.
James Riley Strange, Excavating the Land of Jesus: How Archaeologists Study the People of the Gospels. Eerdmans, 2023. Reviewed by Phillip J. Long.
Henze, Matthias and David Lincicum, eds. Israel’s Scriptures in Early Christian Writings: The Use of the Old Testament in the New. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2023. Reviewed by Jim West.
James D. Nogalski, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, and Jonah. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Eerdmans, 2023. Reviewed by Phillip J. Long.
The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. IVP Academic, 2023. Reviewed by Spencer Robinson.
Constantine Campbell, The Letter to the Ephesians, Pillar New Testament Commentary; Eerdmans 2023. Reviewed by Spencer Robinson.
Strauss, Mark L. 40 Questions about Bible Translations. 40 Questions and Answers Series. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2023. Reviewed by Phillip J. Long.
Mark Heerink, Esther Meijer, Flavian Responses to Nero’s Rome. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2022. Reviewed by Johanna Leithoff at Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
Mazzinghi, L. O Pentateuco sapiencial: Provérbios, Jó, Coélet, Sirácida, Sabedoria. Características literárias e temas teológicos. São Paulo: Loyola, 2023. Reviewed by Airton José da Silva (in Spanish).
N. T. Wright, Galatians. Commentaries for Christian Formation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2021. Reviewed by Thomas Creedy.
Clive Bowsher, Life in the Son. New Studies in Biblical Theology 61Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2023. Reviewed by Bob on Books.
James McGrath has a new book coming out: The A to Z of the New Testament. James made a few promotional videos with the help of George Lucas. It should be available by the time you read this. He also reported that his book What Jesus Learned from Women is being translated into Romanian.
David Swartz comments on a Mennonite novel.
James Davilla observes the passing of Professor Robert A. Kraft passed away on. See also William Ross’s 2017 interview with Kraft. James also noted the passing of archaeologist Amnon Ben-Tor. Here is a Times of Israel news story on Ben-Tor.
Janine Giordano Drake, Who are Woke Christians and Have We Seen them Before? This is an introduction to a new series in which she will “read through these books and analyze them as a historian of socialism, Christian Socialism, and liberal Christianity. Who are “Woke Christians” and how do they differ from the socialist, liberal, and Social Gospel Christians of the past?”
Benjamin Gladd is joining D. A. Carson as the new editor of NSBT, so IVP asked him eight questions.
Rick Brannan celebrates 30 years at Logos by moving on to a new project.
Michael Bird offers some suggestions on what makes a good teacher.
For those visiting Cairo, the Egyptian synagogue once home to the famed ‘Cairo Geniza’ completes extensive renovation. The last time I was there, it was closed.
Although this was posted on August 31, I will include it in this month’s carnival since I really enjoyed it: Jared Stacy reflects on Beyond Left Behind: The Lost Legacy of Tim LaHaye.