Baker Academic

Friday, May 30, 2014

Was Bultmann's Impact Good for New Testament Studies?

If you have an opinion about Professor Bultmann's impact on New Testament studies please take moment to vote in the above poll. Feel free to explain or qualify your answer in the comments below. I would also greatly appreciate it if a few of you took the time to criticize the poll itself, calling it simplistic and/or poorly worded.

thank you,

UPDATE: The poll widget on blogger is malfunctioning this week. I will try to re-post this poll another day.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Poem I Love - Le Donne

I don't know poetry well enough to have an opinion that matters. But I was a founding member of the "Wood Shed Society" during my university days. This was an elite group of five college students who met for midnight poetry readings once a week for a couple years. So I have a bit of street cred in the Vancouver area, at least.

I was recently given a copy of Stephanie Barbé Hammer's wonderful collection of poems How Formal? I don't mind saying that some of these poems are breathtaking. I particularly like a poem called "Ars Judaica" which provides several windows into conversion experience - in this case, conversion to Judaism. This is something that I know nothing about. Really quite gripping. Here is a poem that I love:


Torah Bones

cradled for the first time in these arms
there is a clicking of sticks
a soft settling of joints

all ribs, spines, and shanks
this curious body's ungainly
cumbersomely easy to hold
ancient child
whose flesh is


You can hear more from Stephanie at


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Do Good Teachers have Good Student Evals?

This Daily Beast article addresses the complicated relationship between patient satisfaction scores and good medical care. It seems that the most well-liked doctors are not always the best doctors. But it has become monetarily advantageous to score high on patient satisfaction. One easy way to do this is to have very low standards with regard to pain medication.

I wonder if there is an analogy to be drawn between this assessment and student evaluations.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

...Sweet Jesus

Jesus in American cultural memory circa 1971. This has to be one of the more bizarre intersections between religion, media, and pop culture:

HT to Donelle Swain for this gem. Our runner up comes by way of Jamie Smith:

...if you're looking for the correct response for this and cannot find one, you're pretty close to the correct response.


“What Language Did Jesus Speak?” with the Pope, Benjamin Netanyahu, and guest appearances by Christopher Rollston, Stan Porter, and John C. Poirier—Chris Keith

On Facebook, Christopher Rollston posted this article about the Pope and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu getting into a disagreement about what language Jesus spoke.  When Netanyahu claimed that Jesus had spoken Hebrew, the Pope interrupted and said he spoke Aramaic.  According to the article, Netanyahu conceded that Jesus spoke Aramaic but that he knew Hebrew as well.

In terms of the state of the discussion, Pope Francis is right.  Most Jesus scholars now agree that Aramaic was Jesus' everyday language, though he may also have had some facility in Hebrew and possibly even Greek.  Stan Porter has argued for the Greek side of things.  All of these languages, as well as Latin and Nabatean, are attested from Jesus' time and locale.  The endlessly complex issue, however, is the degree to which any given instance of one of these languages is indicative of everyday realities, and further whose "everyday" we're talking about, since things would have been very different for, say, someone in rural Galilee, someone in the Jerusalem temple or at Qumran, and someone in Pilate's house when he's come to town from Caesarea Maritima.

What's perhaps most interesting about this question, however, is that it has a seriously long and detailed history of research.  Although not all of it is motivated for this reason, most of it is motivated by a search for the original words of Jesus in the Gospel texts.  For the most recent statement on languages in Jesus' milieu, see the excellent article by John C. Poirier, friend of the Jesus Blog:  "The Linguistic Situation in Jewish Palestine in Late Antiquity," Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Jduaism 4 (2007): 55-134.  To my knowledge, this is the most thorough treatment since Fitzmyer's famous article and confirms Fitzmyer on a number of issues.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Steve Walton Summarizes the Evil Conference--Chris Keith

Over at Acts and More, my colleague Steve Walton provides a good survey of this past weekend's "Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity" conference at St Mary's University, Twickenham.  I'll write some thoughts up myself here in due course.  We did record some of the lectures and they will be available . . . in due course!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Jesus' Self-Understanding

Dale Allison on Jesus scholars' preoccupation with Jesus' self-understanding:
Nobody’s identity can be reduced to words or to deeds or to self-consciousness, or to combination thereof. Let me explain. In serious moments, people sometimes ask themselves, “Who am I?” It’s a perplexing question. It encompasses the past, the present, and the future. It must account for feelings as well as thoughts. And the point I wish to underline: it sets before the mind’s eye the faces of the many people with whom one has had significant interactions. So the question quickly becomes: who am I in relation to others, and who are they in relation to me? 
I’m reminded of the Russian sociologist, Alexander Luria, who reported that when in the 1930s he asked an illiterate peasant in Uzbekistan about his character. The answer was this: “How can I talk about my character? Ask others. They can tell you about me; I can’t say anything.” 
Makes sense to me. 
Before returning to Jesus, it might be helpful to ask what critical methods you might employ to investigate the identity of some other human being, say, yours truly. Who am I, really? I suppose you could ask me. But if you stop there, the picture would be woefully incomplete and distorted, wouldn’t it? I might, of course, be full of helpful facts about myself. Although, I fear that I might—like Davy Crockett—enjoy throwing in a few entertaining whoppers, not wholly tethered to the truth. But I think that you would also want to talk to some other people, say, my wife and children. In fact, you can be confident that they know all sorts of things about me that I don’t know! Or would not think, or forgot to tell you. You might want to interview my brother or other relatives, lifelong friends, and current students…. All of these informants—it goes without saying—will enrich your understanding of me, of who I’ve been and who I am today. To suppose instead that one could find the real, or the authentic, or the original, or the “historical Allison” by disregarding the testimonies of family, friends, and acquaintances, in order to focus solely on what I have said or done would be silly. Maybe, however, we’ve been somewhat silly with regard to the historical Jesus. Maybe we have unthinkingly reduced biography to autobiography. Certainly we have set aside Matthean redaction, and Markan theology so that we can get back to Jesus as he was before people wrote him up. But shouldn’t we be more circumspect here?
Listen to the full lecture here:

My thanks to Ken Berry for the link.


Friday, May 23, 2014

The Stuckenbruck

Jesus' as Teacher of Happiness

The ever-impressive Luke Timothy Johnson explores Matthew's portrait of Jesus as teacher in this lecture. LTJ sets Jesus' view of happiness in conversation with other ancient philosophers.

I'd love to hear what students of ancient philosophy think about his assessment of Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus. Does LTJ get their view of happiness right? And would elements of Jesus' sermon on the mount seem vulgar to them, as LTJ claims?

I would have liked to hear him bring Theodorus the Atheist into this discussion.


p.s. My thanks to Jeff Peterson for pointing me to this lecture.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Durham Continues Excellence

Durham University continues to excel in rank among UK universities.

"All of Durham University’s courses are ranked in the UK’s top ten, according to the 2015 Complete University Guide. This secures Durham’s position as one of the finest all-round universities in the country, delivering excellence in education and research across all its disciplines.

The Complete University Guide 2015, published today, places Durham as the leading University in the UK in terms of proportion of its courses (100%) ranked in the top ten in the country. It is the only University to achieve this result."

So glad to see my alma mater do well!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leonard Greenspoon on Religious Literacy

With religion departments all over being pressured to downsize, dilute, and desist, we need more nuanced and well-informed discussions about religious literacy.

To this end, Leonard Greenspoon's voice is to be admired. Indeed, I have admired it and him for a long time. Great reading here.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Jesus' Dance Card at the Evil Conference—Chris Keith

The "Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity" Conference here at St Mary's is this Friday and Saturday.  For readers of the blog, I wanted to highlight those papers that will deal with the historical Jesus or the Gospels.  There are four papers in particular, and I'm looking forward to all four.

The first paper that addresses Jesus will be the keynote address from Loren Stuckenbruck on Friday night:  "How Much Does the Christ Event Solve?: Evil in New Testament Theology and Its Relation to Jewish Theology."  As those familiar with his work can attest, Loren Stuckenbruck has forgotten more about Second Temple Judaism than the rest of us ever learned.  In conversations, he's indicated to me that he would be excited to address the topic of evil from a theological perspective, so we're looking forward to giving him precisely that opportunity.  Honestly, I can't wait.

The second session on Saturday morning will then host the other three papers dealing with Jesus and the Gospels.  James Crossley will present a paper on "Release from Satan in the Healings of Jesus."  James has recently been publishing work on modern receptions of the Bible, but he has also written some incisive work in Jesus studies as well, from his early work on Mark's Gospel to his recent work on the quests for the historical Jesus and the "very Jewish Jesus" phenomenon.  See Anthony's description of one of his works here.  James also has an unheralded quality, that of being a very good and interesting writer.  Remarkably, I've only ever heard one paper from James, so this will be the second time.  The word on the street is that he's just finished a new book on Jesus, so hopefully this will be an early presentation of that work.

Christopher Skinner, whom you may recognize from your local marathon finish line, his famous business cards, his blog Crux Sola, or one of his many books and edited books, will present on "Overcoming Satan, Overcoming the World: Exploring the Cosmologies of Mark and John."  Skinner is one of the leaders among younger narrative critics in Gospels research, and I've also never heard him give a paper, so I'm looking forward to this paper as well.

Finally Jonathan Draper will present on "Darkness as Non-Being and the Origin of Evil in John's Gospel."  Not only does Jonathan clearly have the best goatee in New Testament studies, he is a king among media critics of the New Testament.  He has recently been working deeply in Philo, and I suspect this paper will reflect some of that work.  I have heard Jonathan present before, but not on this topic.  So . . . you guessed it, I'm looking forward to this one, too.  Basically, I'm looking forward to everything, which is appropriate since I organized the conference.

One thing I've been particularly excited about with this conference is its international representation.  Just with these papers we have presenters who teach in Germany (Stuckenbruck), the UK (Crossley), the USA (Skinner), and South Africa (Draper).  We also have scholars coming to the conference from Ireland, Sweden, and Israel, so it will truly be an international dialogue.

You can still register here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Congrats to LCU grads!

Several of my former Lincoln Christian University students graduated today.

Well done, my friends! Celebrating with you here in California!


UPDATE: This goes for me, too.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

James Crossley Tribute to Maurice Casey--Chris Keith

James Crossley has posted parts one and two of his tribute to his Doktorvater, Maurice Casey, on the Sheffield Biblical Studies Blog.  Many thanks, James.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Did Early Christians Polemicize "Jews" or "Judeans"?

Larry Behrendt asks an interesting question over at Jewish Christian Intersections:

Who is a Judean?

Larry plays with the notion that references to "the Jews" in the New Testament might be better translated as "the Judeans." While he acknowledges the problems associated, he wonders if this designation might better represent the historical context of the NT. Larry asks what is lost and gained for modern Jews in conversation with Christians.

I offer a bit of reservation in the comments. Feel free to chime in on this discussion.


Monday, May 12, 2014

RIP Maurice Casey—Chris Keith

Last weekend James Crossley shared the sad news that Maurice Casey has passed away.  Dominic Mattos at T&T Clark/Bloomsbury has now shared some thoughts on the T&T Clark blog as well.  I never met Maurice, and the first I ever heard of him was in graduate school.  It was the first time I heard the story of the dinner at the St Andrews early Christian monotheism conference, where Larry Hurtado toasted to "an early high Christology," James Dunn toasted to "a high Christology," and Maurice, not to be outdone, toasted to "a Christology."  From the stories I hear, I am clearly the poorer for not knowing Maurice personally.  As a scholar, Maurice moved the needle on issues and often set the agenda.  I'm thinking here especially of his work on the Son of Man problem and his massive Jesus of Nazareth.  This is a sad loss and I'm grateful for his contributions.  If any readers of the Jesus Blog have good Maurice Casey stories to tell, please do so in the comments and let us honor his life and work.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Abingdon Introduction to the Bible

Joel S. Kaminsky, Joel N. Lohr, Mark Reasoner. The Abingdon Introduction to the Bible: Understanding Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2014.

I am very excited about this book. I had a chance to look at an early draft a few months ago and was impressed on a number of levels. The authors are sensitive to multiple theological perspectives and navigate historical-critical discussions well. Kaminsky, Lohr, and Reasoner are among the most erudite voices in biblical studies. They also write elegantly for beginners. (A rare combination of talents.)

This text is an excellent choice for classrooms in universities, colleges, and seminaries. There are other fine choices available for Bible students. But what makes this particular text unique is that this is the first Bible introduction that is co-authored by a Jew, a Catholic, and a Protestant.

To my knowledge, this is also the first introduction written by a scholar from America, a scholar from Canada, and a scholar from Japan.

To my knowledge, this is also the first introduction written by an East Coast resident, a Midwest resident, and a West Coast resident.

To my knowledge, this is also the first introduction written by a redhead, a deadhead, a metalhead.

To my knowledge, this is also the first introduction written by a tall person, a small person, and a Paul person.

To my knowledge, this is also the first introduction written by a joker, a smoker, and a midnight toker.

[This last factoid may be less than factual. I will have to do more research.]

I offer my highest recommendation for this text. It really is the perfect classroom resource and is among the more inexpensive options available.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Library of New Testament Studies—Chris Keith

As Mark Goodacre has announced on the NT Blog, I have officially succeeded him as the editor of the Library of New Testament Studies monograph series.  As someone who has published in this series, I am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue the fantastic work that Mark has done for the past ten years.  I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate him on a job well done and say thank you on behalf of all the authors who have had the pleasure of working with him.  I will work hard to continue the high standard he has set, and along those lines welcome potential authors to contact me.  Congratulations, Mark, and thanks for a decade of excellence!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Evil Conference Schedule and Presenters—Chris Keith

The "Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity" conference here at St Mary's, sponsored by the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible, is all set for later this month.  It will be a two-day conference on May 23 and 24, and we now have a tentative schedule, which I include below.  To register (there is a student discount), please go here.

“Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity”

May 23–24, 2014

Centre for the Social Scientific Study of the Bible

St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Friday, May 23rd

12.30              Registration opens
1.00–1.10       Welcome (Arthur Naylor, St Mary’s
                       University Vice Chancellor)
1.20–1.30       Welcome (Chris Keith)

1.30–2.10       “Evil at Qumran” (Jutta Leonhardt-
                       Balzer, University of Aberdeen)
2.10–2.40       “Evil in 4QInstruction” (Benjamin Wold,
                       Trinity College, Dublin)
2.40–3.20       “The Rise of the Satan in Early Second Temple Judaism” (Christopher Rollston, 
                       Tel Aviv University/George Washington University)

3.20–3.40       coffee and tea break

3.40–4.10       “Evil's Aetiology and False Dichotomies in Jewish Apocalyptic and Paul” (Jamie
                        Davies, University of St Andrews)
4.10–4.40       “Evil in the Ascension of Isaiah” (Jonathan Knight, Katie Wheeler Research Trust)
4.40–5.10       “Apocalyptic Experience in the Theodicy of 4 Ezra” (Robbie Griggs, University of

5.10–5.30       coffee and tea break

5.30–6.30       Keynote Address:  “How Much Does the Christ Event Solve? Evil in New Testament
                       Theology and Its Relation to Jewish Theology” (Loren Stuckenbruck, LMU–München)
7.00                supper at La Dolce Vita for those who have reserved a place, otherwise the St Mary’s
                       dining room will be open

 Saturday, May 24th

7.00–9.00        breakfast (your own arrangements)
9.00–9.10        Welcome (Steve Walton)
9.10–9.40        “Evil and the Apostle Paul” (Chris Tilling, St Mellitus College)
9.40–10.10      “Evil and the Kosmos in Paul” (Edward Adams, King’s College, London)
10.10–10.40    “Artemis, Demons, Mammon and Satan: The Construal of Evil in 1 Timothy” (Lloyd
                         Pietersen, formerly University of Gloucestershire)

10.40–11.00    coffee and tea break

11.00–11.30    “Release from Satan in the Healings of Jesus” (James Crossley, University of
11.30–12.00    “Overcoming Satan, Overcoming the World: Exploring the Cosmologies of Mark and 
                         John” (Christopher Skinner, University of Mount Olive)
12.00–12.30    Darkness as Non-Being and the Origin of Evil in John’s Gospel” (Jonathan
                         Draper, University of Kwazulu-Natal)

12.30–2.00      lunch (your own arrangements: the St Mary’s dining room will be open)

2.00–2.30        “A Theology of Evil in the Epistle of James” (Nicholas Ellis, Duke University)
2.30–3.00        “The Evil of the Tongue: Evil and the Ethics of Speech in the New
                        Testament” (Susanne Luther, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)

3.00–3.10        break

3.10–3.40        “Evil and Acts 19” (Steve Walton, St Mary’s University, Twickenham)
3.40–4.10        “Variants of Evil in the New Testament” (Tommy Wasserman, Örebro School of

4.10–4.30        coffee and tea

4.30–5.00        “Evil and the Book in Early Christianity” (Chris Keith, St Mary’s University,
5.00–5.30        “Evil in Marcion’s Conception of the Old Testament God” (Dieter T. Roth, Johannes
                        Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
5.30–6.00        “The Role of the Devil in the Acts of the Martyrs” (Paul Middleton, University of


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Best Sex Slang Ever

It is well-known that many rabbis encouraged sex as a way to celebrate Sabbath. It is also well-known that these rabbis preferred to use euphemisms for sex. What is new to me is that the phrase "eating garlic on Sabbath eve" was a popular euphemism to refer to Friday night coitus (m. Ned. 8:6; y. Meg. 4:1 [75a]; b. B.Q. 82a). It seems that some of these joyous Sabbath keepers came to be known as “garlic eaters” (m. Ned. 3:10; t. Ned. 2:4).

Ah the good ole days, when sex and garlic joined forces to keep the Sabbath holy!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Colloquium: Coming Back to Life: Performance, Memory, and Cognition in the Ancient Mediterranean

If you're (a) in the Montreal area this week, (b) interested in things that interest me, and (c) feeling Eastery, you might want to check this out:

Colloquium Paper Titles: 
Anagkē and Material Transformation at Corinth 
Magic, Necromancy, and Corpse Revivification: Exploring the Boundaries of Acceptable Knowledge in Ancient Texts 
Bringing Back to Life: Laments and the Origin of the So-Called Words of Institution 
Many (Un)Happy Returns: Ancient Greek Revenants and their Modern Counterpart 
‘Death is swallowed up in victory’: Baptism, Resurrection, and Paul’s Prophetic Cento in 1 Corinthians 15:54–55 
“Monogamy Claims You for Itself” : Tertullian on Sexual Chastity and the Resurrection of the Flesh 
Death, Resurrection, and Legitimacy in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles 
On Refusing to Speak about Coming Back to Life in Philostratus's Heroikos 
‘Does Rebirth Require Death’? : Syrian Ritual Texts, The Gospel of Philip, and The Incarnation 
Overcoming Death through the Living Voice of the Teacher 
Embodied Memory and Ancient Athletics: Theatricalizing the Dead in First Corinthians 
Resurrection And Rebirth: The Antonine Toga 
Equal to God: Jesus’ Crucifixion and Sacrificial Scheintod 
Revivification of the Dead in Pagan Religion: Narratives as Hubris, Miracles, and Fictions 
Eve and Norea: The (Re)Generation of the Female Spiritual Principle in the Hypostasis of the Archons 
Talitha Qum!: An Exploration of Early Jewish and Early Christian Appropriation of Imagery from the Asklepios Cult 
Greek Revival or Roman Rebirth? The Reused Sanctuaries of Roman Corinth 
‘Tell me what shall arise’: Conflicting Notions of the Resurrection Body in Coptic Egypt 
If so, how? : Representing ‘Coming back to Life’ in the Mysteries of Mithras Living with the Dead: Display and Denial in Roman Grief 
Thinking of Paul Thinking of Resurrection: Early Christian Creativity in Cognitive Perspective 
Life and Death, Birth and Abortion: Confession and Denial in The Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne 
Weddings and the Return to Life in the Book of Revelation 
Living with the Dead: Display and Denial in Roman Grief

Monday, May 5, 2014

Jewish-Christian Intersections Review of Jesus against the Scribal Elite—Chris Keith

Friend of the Jesus Blog Larry Behrendt has finished his series of reviews of Jesus against the Scribal Elite.  He has posted his agreements and disagreements on his blog, Jewish-Christian Intersections, in parts one, two, three, and four.  I've been able to give some brief responses as well.  I'd like to thank Larry for his careful and considered reading of the book.  Larry is by far the most insightful "lay" reader whom I have encountered (to the extent that I have trouble using this term for him, though he insists on it) and I'm honored that he took the time to work through the book on his blog, which is a hub for Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Quarterly Quote of the Month about Jesus for this Week

"Jesus is the apotheosis of totemism: the human-animal immortal ancestor whose animal form - the sacrificed lamb's body & blood which is also the bread & wine - sustains the life of his worshippers."

                       ~Northrop Frye

Friday, May 2, 2014

Jesus' Wife: Is It a "Hoax" When Money Is Involved? — Le Donne

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published this headline:

How the 'Jesus' Wife' Hoax Fell Apart

First let me point out that the author does not use the word "hoax" in the body of the article. My guess is that he had very little to do with the title of this piece. Judging from a few dictionary definitions, the terms "hoax" and "deception" can be used synonymously. Still, I wonder about the connotative value of the word. Hoax seems to me to have the connotative value of a prank, whereas "forgery" suggests a scam for personal (most often monetary) gain.

So I ask the question: is the term "Hoax" appropriate here? 

The fragment in question—if believed to be authentic—is of great monetary value. Ron Howard’s 2006 film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code grossed over $758 million worldwide. Dan Brown's book is still selling copies in the millions. Within the climate of this media appetite, the Smithsonian had plans to create a documentary on the Jesus' Wife fragment more than two years before the HTR issue was published. Is it unwarranted to guess that the motive behind the authorship of this fragment was monetary? Even if the author of this fragment only made thousands rather than millions, I wouldn't call him/her a "prankster." Aren't we dealing, rather, with a con-artist?


Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Pericope Adulterae Conference—Chris Keith

I have just returned to London from having spent a week in the States, the first several days of which were in North Carolina for the pericope adulterae conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  The speakers were yours truly, Tommy Wasserman, Jenny Knust, John David Punch, and Maurice Robinson.  I feel confident in saying that a good time was had by all.  SEBTS treated us very well.  Tommy Wasserman and I were in the same house and opened each day with breakfast, coffee, and any variety of discussion topics while sitting on the front porch.  I had BBQ at least three times on the trip and they even brought in Krispy Kreme donuts and Chic-Fil-A chicken biscuits.  I was honored to introduce Tommy to these staples of American cuisine.  He tells me he loved the Chic-Fil-A but found the Krispy Kreme too sweet for a breakfast food.

As to the actual academic issues, Tommy, Jenny, and I argued against the Johannine authenticity of the story of the adulteress while John David and Maurice argued for it.  Tommy argued that the state of the manuscript tradition in the second century makes it unlikely for PA to have been interpolated then and suggested ca. 250 for its interpolation, agreeing (I'm happy to say) with the broad suggestion that I made in my 2009 book on PA, although I argued that point on other grounds.  Jenny ran down a long list of how the Fathers treated passages involving sexual sin and also how Alexandrian textual scholarship, and the variant of it practiced by Origen, makes it highly unlikely that early Christians would have taken the story out of John's Gospel.  In short, she showed that Christians did not shy away from stories about sexual sin and that scribes typically marked spurious passages found in their exemplar but nonetheless copied them; that is, even when bothered, they did not typically take texts out.  I argued that linguistic style cannot be a decisive criterion for authorial origin and reiterated my argument about PA's insertion by an attentive interpolator.  John David Punch argued that PA's linguistic style supports Johannine authenticity or, in the least, does not speak against it, and advocated a theory of ecclesiastical suppression.  Punch went first, so my argument about style came after his argument, as did Knust's argument about how Christians' treated sexually explicit passages.  Maurice Robinson went last and he argued that PA was most likely authentic based on linguistic style.  In a nice mixture of a variety of the theories on offer, Maurice argued against the theory of ecclesiastical suppression but for a (very) early removal of the text by the lectionary system.  He also argued against an argument in my book that the reading of katagrapho/grapho at John 8.6, 8 is the preferred reading.  He says it was most likely grapho/grapho (so also Holmes's SBL edition), and that a scribe then later changed it to katagrapho/grapho, and bases this argument on my earlier argument about katagrapho/grapho in 8.6, 8 being an intentional allusion to Exod 32.15.

Maurice's argument deserves a little more attention, if nothing else because he made it a point to come after me, silver-haired assassin that he is.  (I should add that Maurice spoke very highly of my work in general, for which I was grateful.)  At John 8.6, 8, the manuscript tradition includes katagrapho/grapho, grapho/katagrapho, katagrapho/katagrapho, and grapho/grapho.  In my monograph, I argued for katagrapho/grapho, agreeing with the critical editions of Nestle Aland (at least the last two; I haven't checked every one) and, e.g., von Soden.  I think it's far more likely, especially in light of the synonymous actions of the verbs in the narrative of PA, that scribes harmonized the verbs so that they match (thus producing the readings of katagrapho/katagrapho and grapho/grapho) than that a scribe purposefully changed one but not the other and, under Maurice's argument (that grapho/grapho was original) in the midst of this, introduced a hapax legomenon (katagrapho).  I think it more likely that an original hapax legomenon was either harmonized with (katagrapho/katagrapho) or removed (grapho/grapho) than that one was introduced.  (For what it's worth, no theory on offer, to my knowledge, explains adequately the wildcard reading of grapho/katagrapho in MS 28.)

Why am I telling you all this?  Well, in my original argument in my 2009 book, I described the katagrapho/grapho reading as the "majority" reading several times.  I was wrong on this point (I was soon to find out), and for my life I cannot remember what made me think this was the case.  For some reason along the way, I assumed that it was correct, despite my father having told me very early on what happens when you ass-u-me things.  I can't account for this lapse on my part, but I can describe the consequence.  During his paper, and with no small amount of goodnatured smugness, Maurice presented me personally with a full collation of all 1427 MSS including PA, showing that, contrary to what I'd said, katagrapho/grapho was not the majority reading.  A full 1220 manuscripts out of 1427 read grapho at 8.6.  Maurice was even kind enough to do the math for us--82.7%.  So here, folks, below is photographic evidence of precisely what it looks like the moment one is handed a document in front of a full conference showing his claim to be irrefutably wrong (collation in hand under the folder).  I'm so very happy that Tommy Wasserman was willing to take this picture so that I can preserve the moment.

During the question and answer, I kindly thanked Maurice for showing me the error of my ways.  I also defended myself a bit.  I think the collation is, strictly speaking, irrelevant for answering which reading is to be preferred.  I still think katagrapho/grapho is to be preferred for the reasons I just mentioned.  I'll add also that I can't go with Maurice's argument for the lectionary system.  He dates John's Gospel to before 70 CE and argues that the lectionary system was in place already before P66 (ca. 200 CE) and P75 (ca. third century), the earliest copies of John's Gospel that contain the relevant section of text, and both of which omit PA in that section.  So, in essence, his argument requires a lectionary system that had developed and widely removed PA by the end of the first century or in the second century.  There's just no evidence for a lectionary system this early.  Maurice is aware of this, however, and would respond (I suppose) by stating that there's no clear evidence against it either.  He appealed to Justin Martyr's descriptions of the public reading of the Gospels as his supporting evidence for a lectionary system (of course, as I suppose he would acknowledge, Justin says nothing about a lectionary system or removing texts or PA, etc.).  Most scholars date the existence of a full lectionary system closer to the eighth century and, to my knowledge, the earliest evidence for the liturgical reading of PA in John's Gospel is Apol. Dav. Alt. 1.1 and 2.5, dateable to the late fourth century if written by Ambrose, though this is debated.  Maurice's argument for Johannine authenticity also depends heavily on linguistic style, and in my paper I argued that this cannot be a conclusive factor because later authors were fully capable of copying the style of earlier authors (I provided examples, including the Longer Ending of Mark and Septuagintalisms in the NT).  So, I still think I'm right about which reading is to be preferred and the fact that PA is not original to John's Gospel, but . . . on whether katagrapho is the majority reading in John 8.6, there can be no doubt:  I was wrong and Maurice was right.  I have the photo, and a personalized collation, to prove it.  I couldn't have been proven wrong by a better man.

I hope readers of the blog will understand that I write all of this with a smile on my face.  That was the general tenor of the entire conference and it was absolutely wonderful.  We all had agreements and disagreements with each other, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience as far as I could tell.  I thank Maurice wholeheartedly for his hospitality, along with David Alan Black and the rest of the SEBTS crew.  I also thank John David Punch, Tommy Wasserman, and Jenny Knust for allowing me to squeeze in with them and be a part of the conference.  It was an honor to be involved.  Publication of the proceedings is forthcoming, but I'm not sure where yet.  I will put it on the blog when I know.  For other write-ups of the conference, see here, here, herehere, and here.