# Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Many thanks to Hendrickson for sending David Scholer's Social Distinctives of Christians in the First Century: Pivotal Essays by E.A. Judge (amazon.com) along for review; apologies it took me so long to get to it. Why did it take so long? There are a number of reasons, but there are probably two primary reasons. The first is that I've had available time to read as of late (and this for a number of factors, the primary being doing research/background for my paper on αλλα); the second is that the book didn't suck me in.

Let me be a little more clear. I've really wanted to be sucked into this book; the title sounds like something I should really be interested in. But, apart from the first essay, it didn't. I'm grateful to have the book, and am sure the essays will prove helpful in the long run, but for now it isn't drawing me in.

Here is the blurb from Hendrickson:

This is a collection of pivotal essays by E. A. Judge, who initiated many important discussions in the establishment of social scientific criticism of the Bible.

What is it that made the work of Judge in 1960 and in subsequent years so important? Judge was the first in scholarship after the mid-twentieth century to clarify early Christian ideals about society by defining what the social institutions of the broader cultural context were and how they influenced the social institutions of the early Christian communities. Judge points out that earlier scholars had entered into this field of inquiry, but that, in general, they failed due to the lack of careful definitions of the Greco-Roman social institutions at the time based on a thorough use of the primary sources.

Thus, Judge was the “new founder” ( a turning point in scholarship) of what came to be called social-scientific criticism of the New Testament. Social-scientific criticism is the term in scholarship that refers to the use of social realities (e.g. institutions, class, factors of community organization) in the critical study of literary sources available (this is an advance over “merely” literary and traditional historical questions).

And here is the TOC:

Introduction by David M. Scholer

1. The Social Pattern of the Christian Groups in the First Century
2. Paul’s Boasting in Relation to Contemporary Professional Practice
3. St. Paul and Classical Society
4. St. Paul as a Radical Critic of Society
5. The Social Identity of the First Christians: A Question of Method in Religious History
6. Rank and Status in the World of the Caesars and St. Paul
7. Cultural Conformity and Innovation in Groups in the First Century Paul: Some Clues from Contemporary Documents
8. The Teacher as Moral Exemplar in Paul and the Inscriptions of Ephesus

• A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Society Publications of Edwin A. Judge
• First Index of Modern Authors
• Index of Subjects
• Index of Ancient Sources

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:45:12 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

#     |  Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]