The “Mithras Liturgy”– Edited by Hans Dieter Betz

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  • with an interest in Greek religion or choral poetry will haveto consult this study. Its richness lies in its cumulative detailand its bringing together of literary, historical, anthropologi-cal, and archeological evidence to contextualize the dynam-ics of cultic performance throughout the Greek world.

    Jenny Strauss ClayUniversity of Virginia

    THE ROMAN SELF IN LATE ANTIQUITY: PRUDEN-TIUS AND THE POETICS OF THE SOUL. By MarcMastrangelo. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UniversityPress, 2008. Pp. xii + 259. $65.00.

    Prudentius, a Roman Christian writer and poet (308-ca.405), was certainly inuenced by Christian writers such asSt. Ambrose and Tertullian. Mastrangelo does not disagreewith this generally accepted view, but he argues that paganwriters inuenced Prudentius just as strongly. Nowhere isthis more evident than in Psychomachia. In that work,Prudentius systematically reworks Aeneid 6 in order totransform Vergils grand narrative of the Greco-Roman liter-ary tradition into a meta-narrative of Roman Christianidentity in all its cultural, ideological, and intellectualexpression (ch. 1). With this thesis, Mastrangelo lays thefoundation of his larger argument. In subsequent chapters,he shows that Prudentius used contemporary poets, as wellas biblical, Platonist, Epicurean, and patristic writings toweave an ingenious intertextual structure. Basically, Pru-dentius reader is encouraged to identify with a new literaryhero who is encouraged to convert to Christianity, and thusto the way of virtue, in order to help build the new identity ofa Christian Rome. Prudentius wrote at a crucial time in thehistory of the West, and he has not been given enough creditfor his synthesis that allowed radical Christian traditionsto blend with imperial Roman (and pagan) ones to produce anew identity for the Greco-Roman-Christian self. Not onlywas Prudentius himself more important than has beengenerally believed, but his work shows that poetry perhapsplayed a more important role than did patristic prose indeveloping a Christian Roman identity during the fourthcentury. A provocative and important work that every histo-rian and literary critic of Late Antiquity will need to engage.

    Fred W. BurnettAnderson University

    A COMPANION TO ROMAN RELIGION. Edited byJrg Rpke. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.Pp. vii + 542. $185.95.

    As C. R. Phillips points out in his essay, ApproachingRoman Religion: The Case for Wissenschaftsgeschichte, acomprehensive history of Roman religion does not exist. Thisambitious volume seeks to ll this void, drawing from a broadrange of traditions of research, includingNorthern andSouth-ern America, Italy, Greece, Britain, France, Germany, andSwitzerland. In the opening essay, Roman ReligionReligions of Rome, Rpke denes Roman religion as anabbreviation for religious signs, practices, and traditions in

    the city of Rome. As a whole, the volume emphasizes thislocal perspective and is structured accordingly in six parts:Changes, Media, Symbols and Practices, Actors andActions, Different Religious Identities, and Roman Reli-gion Outside and Seen from Outside. Each essay concludeswith a brief discussion of further reading for those interestedin pursuing a particular aspect of Roman religion. This dense,erudite tome will undoubtedly prove to be a signicant con-tribution to the study of Roman religion for years to come.

    Matthew R. HaugeClaremont Graduate University

    ROMAN RELIGION. By Valerie M. Warrior. CambridgeIntroduction to Roman Civilization. New York: CambridgeUniversity Press, 2006. Pp. vii + 165. $19.99.

    The Cambridge Introduction to Roman Civilization is aseries designed for students with no background in Romanantiquity, focusing on key topics and primary texts closelylinked to the Cambridge Latin Course. Warrior has written abrief treatment of traditional Roman religion with this inmind, arranging the survey around the following chapters:The Gods and their Worship, Divination, Prayer, andSacrice, Religion and the Family, Religion and theState, Religion and War, The Calendar, Festivals, andGames, Ofcial Attitudes toward Foreign Cults, Magicand the Occult, Becoming a God, and The Jews and Chris-tianity. At times, the discussion can be uneven and dis-jointed, but the generous use of primary texts, illustrations,and maps is commendable.

    Matthew R. HaugeClaremont Graduate University

    Christian OriginsTHE BIBLICAL CANON: ITS ORIGIN, TRANSMIS-SION, AND AUTHORITY. By Lee Martin McDonald.Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007; 3rd corrected printing,March 2008. Pp. xlii + 549. $29.95.

    In this expanded (from 340 to 549 pages) third edition(formerly The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon),McDonald updates and develops his basic theses: e.g., whilefor some Jews the canon was largely settled at the end ofthe rst century CE, it was not settled for most until thethird-fourth c.; Christianity did not inherit a closed canonfrom Judaism; Jesus did not leave his followers either theidea of a closed canon or a listing of books belonging to it;for most of Christendom, the process of forming a secondtestament was not completed until the fourth-fth c. CE. Ingeneral, the new edition presents a stronger case for theseviews than the previous one. Regrettably, howeverapartfrom nonsense statements inicted upon the author by aneditor, some of which were silently corrected in the thirdprinting (cf. pp. 39-40, 80, 170)it also perpetuates misin-formation: e.g., the confusion of a Latin canon list found inCodex Claromontanus with the manuscript itself; the mis-

    Religious Studies Review VOLUME 34 NUMBER 4 DECEMBER 2008


  • construal of Melitos comments about the canon (claiming itreects the MT, e.g., when the order and titles of the booksare Septuagintal); the attribution of the colophon at the endof the Nag Hammadi copy of the Gospel of Thomas to theauthor (proposing that it could be the rst known documentcalled a gospel); confusing and/or misleading summaries ofthe work of earlier scholars. In short, the new edition hassubstantial strengths in general but too often is unreliablewith regard to detail.

    Michael W. HolmesBethel University

    DAS GESETZ IM FRHEN JUDENTUM UND IMNEUEN TESTAMENT: FESTSCHRIFT FR CHRIS-TOPH BURCHARD ZUM 75. GEBURTSTAG. Edited byDieter Snger and Matthias Konradt. Novum Testamentumet Orbis Antiquus/Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testa-ments, 57. Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006.Pp. 344. 99.00.

    J. Becker opens this disparate collection of seventeenessays with a study of the relationship of the temple of Godand the Torah by focusing upon the temple rhetoric in 1 Cor3:16-17. He concludes that the early Christian communityunderstood itself as Gods temple, thus implying a breakfrom the Jerusalem temple and its rituals of atonementbecause it experienced the spirit of God. Other essays alsodeal with some aspect of the Law. R. Bergmeier deals withRom 2:12-16, 25-29 and argues that the law written on theirhearts refers to Gentile Christians, not just to Gentiles gen-erally (cf. 2:14). P. von Gemnden studies the relation of theLaw to passion and desire in 4 Maccabees and comparesthose views with passages from Romans, particularlyRomans 7. The author of 4 Maccabees is more optimisticabout the laws power to control desire than is Paul. O.Hous deals with the Law and reconciliation in 2 Cor5:18-21; H. Kuhn deals with the understanding of the Law atQumran and in Paul; G. Nebe focuses upon the law ofnature and the Torah-Law in 1 Thess 1:9-10; D. Sngerdeals with the Law and paidagogos in Gal 3:24; G. Theienanalyzes the Law and the rhetorical I throughout Romans;M. Klinghardt focuses upon law in Mark and Luke; and M.Konradt analyzes the fulllment of the Law and the conictwith the Pharisees in the Gospel of Matthew.

    Two essays deal with methodological issues: J. H. Char-lesworth on how to clarify the literary dependence of a textupon one that predates it, and P. Lampe deals with the rhe-torical analysis of Pauline texts. Other essays include R.Kirchhoffs study of the servant language in Rom 12:1-2; G.W. E. Nickelsburgs Torah and the Deuteronomic Scheme inthe Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha; B. Schaller on thetheme of hope in Rom 15:7-13; H. Thyen on the mystery ofIsrael in Rom 11:25-32; and O. Wischmeyer on the genre ofthe letter of James. This is an important collection forresearch libraries.

    Fred W. BurnettAnderson University

    JEWISH BELIEVERS IN JESUS: THE EARLY CENTU-RIES. Edited by Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik.Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2006. Pp. xxx + 930. $49.95.

    The twenty-three chapters in this book explore all of thefundamental questions about Jewish followers of Jesus: Howdoes one dene a Jewish Christian? What were the inter-actions between Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Jesus inantiquity? How numerous were Jewish followers of Jesus?And many more. The emphasis of the book is upon analyzingtexts from the rst ve centuries of Christianity, texts thatwere believed to have been produced by persons and groupsthat were ethnically Jewish but who confessed Jesus as theMessiah. Of course, NT texts are presented, but also OTpseudepigraphal writings that were edited by Jewish Chris-tians, the Pseudo-Clementine writings, quotations of JewishChristian fragments and sources in the Greek, Latin, andSyriac Church Fathers, texts of church orders and liturgy(such as the Didache and The Apostolic Constitutions), andJewish Christians as presented in rabbinic literature. JewishChristian groups are also presented (such as the Ebionitesand the Nazoreans), as well as individuals such as Cerin-thus. The overwhelming emphasis of the volume is upontexts, but the discussion of Jewish Christian groups and achapter on the archeological evidence for Jewish Christiansopen the way to further sociological work on the issues.Along with the editors, the writers constitute an interna-tional team of scholars (J. C. Paget, R. Bauckham, D. A.Hagner, P. Hirschberg, C. A. Evans, T. Elgvin, G. Stanton, W.Kinzig, S. Hidal, G. af Hllstrm, L. Lahey, A. Ekenberg, P. S.Alexander, and J. F. Strange). With extensive bibliographies,indices, and an affordable price, this volume should becomethe new starting point for any study of Jewish followers ofJesus in antiquity. Highly recommended.

    Fred W. BurnettAnderson University

    CONFLICTED BOUNDARIES IN WISDOM ANDAPOCALYPTICISM. Edited by Benjamin G. Wright andLawrence M. Wills. Symposium Series, 35. Atlanta/Leiden:Society of Biblical Literature/E. J. Brill, 2005. Pp. viii + 240.$32.95.

    In modern scholarship, at least since G. von Rad arguedthat apocalyptic thought derived from wisdom circles(1972), the relationship of the categories of wisdom andapocalyptic have been greatly debated. The twelve essayscollected here give an important taste of the debate from theWisdom and Apocalyptic Group of the SBL. These essayswere judiciously chosen from those presented in the groupfrom 1994 to 2004 (a complete listing of all papers that werepresented is included). The volume is arranged in threeparts: Issues and Outlook (a major essay by G. W. E.Nickelsburg, a response by S. J. Tanzer, and a response byNickelsburg); Wisdom and Apocalypticism in EarlyJudaism (ve essays by M. J. Goff, R. A. Werline, B. G.Wright III, P. A. Tiller, and R. A. Horsley); and, Wisdom andApocalypticism in Early Christianity (four essays by P. J.

    Religious Studies Review VOLUME 34 NUMBER 4 DECEMBER 2008


  • Hartin, Tiller, B. R. Rossing, and E. B. Aitken). Essays dealwith texts (form, genre, and so forth) but also with sociallocations and politics. The papers are too diverse to summa-rize, but there are important and provocative conclusionsthroughout the collection (e.g., Rossings thesis that theso-called two ways tradition should include, if not berenamed, the two-women tradition, which she nds iscommonly used in sapiential and apocalyptic traditions, aswell as in secular Greek writings). This is an importantcollection that is recommended for every research library.

    Fred W. BurnettAnderson University

    THE MESSIAH IN EARLY JUDAISM AND CHRIS-TIANITY. Edited by Magnus Zetterholm. Minneapolis:Fortress, 2007. Pp. 163. $18.00.

    This volume provides a diachronic introduction to mes-sianism within Judaism and Christianity from the fall ofJerusalem in the sixth century BCE through the destructionof the Second Temple and the rise of rabbinic Judaism. Thevolume emphasizes that messianism was and is a highlydiverse phenomenon that must be investigated in its diver-sity. J. J. Collins writes the rst chapter on the pre-Christianorigins of messianism, particularly as found in the LXX andDead Sea Scrolls. A. Y. Collins and M. Zetterholm discussmessianism among early Jewish Christians, particularly asfound in the Synoptic Gospels and Pauls letters. K. Hedner-Zetterholm explores messianism within rabbinic Judaismand J. Steppa discusses how messianic ideas were adaptedby Christians as Christianity became a non-Jewish religion.The volume provides a splendid introduction to the history ofmessianism and will be required reading for all futureresearchers on the topic; it is recommended for libraries atall levels. The volume is accessible to undergraduates butstill useful for graduate students.

    Thomas E. PhillipsPoint Loma Nazarene University

    MORE THAN A PASSOVER: INCULTURATION INTHE SUPPER NARRATIVES OF THE NEW TESTA-MENT. By Fergus J. King. NT Studies in Contextual Exege-sis, 3. New York: Peter Lang, 2007. Pp. 395. $103.95.

    This slightly condensed version of Kings Ph.D. disser-tation under P. Grabbe and E. Botha at the University ofSouth Africa works at the interface of missiology and NTstudies. King proceeds from the initial observation that thethemes of Eucharist and mission tend to be sharply sepa-rated within NT studies, with nearly all investigations pre-suming that the Lords Supper was the ultimate insiderevent and entirely separate from mission concerns. Thisobservation has motivated King to consider the historicalorigins of the Supper traditions in the NT; in the course ofthis investigation, he nds that various Jewish, Greco-Roman, and distinctively Christian traditions are merged inthe NT Supper traditions. King labels this merger of tradi-tions enculturation and argues that the NT writers prac-

    ticed this enculturation for the sake of evangelism. Hefurther suggests that this ancient enculturation of theSupper traditions can serve as a model for contemporaryChristian mission. This study reects more signicantengagement with NT scholarship than most missiologicalbooks but will still leave many NT scholars underwhelmed.Nonetheless, no serious student of either the Supper tradi-tions or the mission theme in the NT can afford to overlookthis volume.

    Thomas E. PhillipsPoint Loma Nazarene University

    THE STUDIA PHILONICA ANNUAL. Edited by David T.Runia and Gregory E. Sterling. Studies in HellenisticJudaism, XVIII. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006.Pp. viii + 245. $39.95.

    The lead articles in this annual publication are: MosesPhysiologia and the Meaning and Use of Physiks in Philo ofA...


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