Annali di Storia dell'esegesi 30/1 (2013)

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Early Christian Groups

William Tabbernee, Material Evidence

for Early Christian Groups

during the First Two Centuries C.E........................................ 287-301


The reception of the interpretation of the Talpiot “Jonah fish” image and the (related?) inscription

as presented by Tabor (and Jacobovici) has been negative. This is so not least because it

challenges the current scholarly consensus that Christianity did not produce clearly distinctive

and distinguishable art forms, including funerary art and inscriptions, until ca. 180 C.E. The

Talpiot “Jonah fish,” if it can be definitively proven to be such, will force us to reassess that

consensus. In the meantime we need to recognize that very few likely Christian artifacts able to

be dated prior to 180 C.E. have survived and that the Christian nature of anything earlier than the

beginning of the Antonine period (ca. 138 C.E.) remains highly controversial—including some

other ossuaries which, perhaps, survived until 135 C.E. when Jerusalem was destroyed to create

the Roman city of Aelia Capitolina and Jews (and Jewish-Christians) were banned from the area.


Early Judaism and Early Christianity

Michael A. Daise, Processual Modality in Qumran Ritual:

Induction into the Counsel of the Yachad in 1QS................... 303-315


A new era of Qumran research is ushering in a methodological interest drawn from ritual

studies. The contemporary theory attached to such an approach can be illuminating to the

Qumran corpus, but it risks obscuring it, as well, if done without tandem interest in two more

fundamental matters: the sectarians’ own views on their ritual and a more nuanced reconstruction

of how that ritual was put together. In such light this article builds on previous work and

explores one particular cluster of Qumran rituals—those associated with induction into the

“counsel of the Yachad,” as found in the Serekh Ha-Yachad. It draws three conclusions, based

on (a) a further reconstruction of the components in that process, (b) an exegesis of sectarian

views on those components and (c) the heuristic use of Ithamar Gruenwald’s observations on

the “internal segmentation” of ritual: namely, (1) that an unarticulated ritual of ablutions is

to be inferred into the midst of the induction process; (2) that the efficacy of those ablutions

was deemed by the sectarians to depend on the candidate’s prior participation in the covenant

entry rite; and (3) that, consequently, the sectarian concept of induction into the counsel of

the Yachad involved a “processual mode” occurring between four component ritual events in

that process—the covenant entry rite, the ablutions that precede access to tohorah, the access

to tohorah, itself, and access to mashqeh.


Trent A. Rogers, The Functions of στε

in the New Testament.............................................................. 317-331


Greek grammars adequately treat στε as a subordinating conjunction introducing a final or consecutive

clause. This study gives a fuller explanation of the use of στε as a subordinating conjunction

introducing a descriptive clause; moreover, it provides the first detailed analysis of the use

of στε as an inferential particle introducing an independent clause. An analysis of the semantic

relationships conveyed by the inferential στε demonstrates that this is a marked syntactical structure

that alerts the reader to the prominence of a clause. Lastly this study notices trends of usage in

the NT. The dependent uses of στε tend toward narrative texts with Matthew preferring its use

and Luke avoiding it. More remarkable is that the independent use of στε occurs in all the undisputed

Pauline epistles while the same construction is absent entirely from the disputed Paulines.


On Texts, Scriptures, and Canons:

Three Complementary Approaches


Edmondo Lupieri, To Bible or Not to Bible:

How on Earth Does a Text Become Scripture?

(In Jewish, Christian, and Derived Traditions)...................... 335-345


This contribution aims at showing some ways according to which a written text becomes, or

does not become, Scripture in a given group. Only examples from Jewish, Christian, and derived

traditions will be analyzed, since those are the traditions the author is familiar with, but the

supposition is accepted that analogous mechanisms can be active in similar processes in different

religious realities. This paper will examine examples of two major categories of cases. In the first

category are the cases in which there is already a set of writings which are considered Scripture

by different groups or sub-groups of people belonging to a certain religious complex (in such a

way that they all consider themselves to belong to a specific tradition, distinct from other ones).

Two examples will be briefly described, to see which authority, and in which ways, can decide

which texts are Scripture and which are not. In the second, larger category the author will try to

analyze what can happen when a new text becomes recognized as Scripture—or fails to do so.

Also in these cases the aim is to identify authorities and mechanisms that allow such recognition.

John McCarthy, Script to Scripture: Multivalent Textuality... 347-367

This paper argues that, within the Christian tradition, a fundamental distinction needs to be observed

between the Bible as a written text and the Bible as scripture. After discussing the kinds

of textuality associated with the Bible in most contemporary scholarly study as well as the more

robust theory of textuality characteristic of hermeneutical investigation and well-articulated by

the work of Paul Ricoeur, the paper presents an analysis of the phenomenology of textuality appropriate

to the Bible as scripture. This phenomenology draws on the work of Paul Ricoeur but

reorients it by taking seriously the observation of Wilfred Cantwell Smith that scripture is better

understood as an adverb than as a noun. This phenomenological reflection identifies scripture as

a particular kind of elective intentionality directed to a text, rather than as a characteristic of or

within a text. Combining the robust hermeneutical analysis of textuality with the phenomenology

of scripture, the paper explains three kinds of textuality that are simultaneously present in the Bible

by describing the characteristic spatiality of the various “worlds in front of text.” By grafting a

phenomenological analysis of scripture onto the more conventional textual analysis of the Bible,

the argument better locates the kinds of scholarly study appropriate to the Bible as scripture.


Colby Dickinson, Canons and Canonicity:

Late Modern Reflections

on Cultural and Religious Canonical Texts............................ 369-392


The focus of this essay is to elucidate some of the major characteristics of canons and

canonical norms throughout history. As such, its aims are manifold: to distinguish between

inclusive and exclusive tendencies within canonical forms, to emphasize the significance

of the particularity of language in relation to canons, to explore the mystical foundations of

a canon, to highlight the problematic historical origins of any given canon, and ultimately

to bring to the fore of our analysis the permanent tension between a historical canon and

canonicity, or the desire to establish a canon which persists beyond the birth of a particular

canonical form. By examining each of these topics in succession, this essay intends to bring

some of the core constituent features of canonical forms to the front of our (theological)

understanding of how both canons and the desire to form canons (canonicity) play a major—

though often undisclosed—role in the ‘theological’ grounds that constitute (canonical,

religious) culture tout court.


Religion and Modernity


Cristiana Facchini, Voci ebraiche sulla tolleranza religiosa.

Pratiche e teorie nella Venezia barocca................................. 393-419


This article offers a new insight into the works of famous Venitian rabbis at the outset of

the 17th century. Historia de’ riti hebraici and Discorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei were

published in 1637 and 1638 in Venice. The authors, Leone Modena and Simone Luzzatto,

were outstanding scholars and rabbis of the lagoon city, where the most ancient ghetto was

established. Both these works received international acclaim and were widely circulated within

European culture from the 17th to the 20th century. The objective of this article is to interpret

these texts within the debate over religious tolerance in early modern Europe, showing that

both Modena and Luzzatto presented a number of interesting theories about religious tolerance

and the place of Jewry in Christian society.


Guglielmo Forni Rosa, Antimoderne:

le saint Jean-Jacques du premier Maritain............................ 421-437


Le premier Maritain a refusé Rousseau en l’associant au romantisme et à la Révolution

française, à tous les maux typiquement modernes de l’individualisme, de l’immanentisme,

du pragmatisme. En fait, Maritain s’alignait alors totalement sur les positions antimodernes et

antimodernistes de la hiérarchie catholique (Sillabo de 1864, décret Lamentabili et encyclique

Pascendi de 1907): il obéissait aux indications de Léon XIII concernant la valorisation du

thomisme (encyclique Aeterni Patris, 1879) et risquait donc d’actualiser Rousseau dans

l’optique de la lutte antimoderniste: il le considérait comme le père du modernisme, voyait

dans son Vicaire savoyard le premier prêtre moderniste, et pouvait donc accuser le genevois

d’immanentisme (Blondel), d’anti-intellectualisme (Bergson), de pragmatisme (James, Le

Roy), etc. Par ailleurs, dans cette période, la position de Maritain ne doit pas se rattacher

uniquement à l’étude du thomisme, mais à sa collaboration (plus intellectuelle que politique)

à un mouvement d’extrême droite, l’Action française, qui fut condamné bien plus tard (en

1926) par l’Église catholique romaine.


Matthew Alan Gaumer, Augustine’s Feud

with the Donatists & Pelagians:

A Problem of Interpreting Paul?............................................. 439-448


he article attempts to ascertain how Augustine was able to arrive on the scene as a nervous

presbyter and rather quickly assimilate himself into a theological reading of Paul that was

digestible to his audiences in North Africa. Though he was faced with a Pauline exegesis

anchored in Cyprian and upheld by the Donatist Church, he succeeded in crafting a method

whereby he could maintain continuity with tradition while at the same time innovating upon

it according to pastoral needs and the theological problems he encountered.


Historical Jesus: History of Research

Viviana Silvia Piciulo, La sommossa silenziosa

di Manuel Lacunza.................................................................. 449-473

The Chilean Manuel Lacunza was one of the Gesuits expulsed from the Spanish domains

in 1767. During his exile in Italy he wrote, between 1784 and 1790, a work in which he

presented a millenaristic interpretation of the message of Jesus: La Venida del Mesías en gloria

y majestad. The book was widely disseminated in Europe and in Latin America in the original

Spanish edition, in clandestine manuscripts, in summaries and also through its translation in

different languages. In presence of the corruption of the Roman Church, Lacunza imagines

the imminent second coming of the messiah Jesus, the restauration of Israel and the beginning

of a millenarian messianic kingdom. The article presents a first historical interpretation of this

work and also a brief history of its reception in the 19th century.

Book Reviews......................................................................... 475-477

Books Received...................................................................... 479-480