I have always loved Festschriften (celebration-writings). When done well, they serve as a combination of scholarship and appreciation, and there is a great energy and warmth that is attractive.
Right now I am working through two relatively new works.
Chris Keith and Dieter Roth, ed. Mark, Manuscripts, and Monotheism: Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado (LNTS 528; T&T Clark, 2015).
No doubt Prof. Hurtado is deserving of this honour. I have admired his scholarship for many years, I have used his work as textbooks and I have worked closely with his work on early Christianity. The essays in the FS are rather evenly divided into the three categories in the title: Gospel of Mark, Textual Criticism, and Monotheism and Early Christianity. Contributors include Chris Keith, Sean Adams, Thomas Kraus, Michael Kruger, Tommy Wasserman, Mary Ann Beavis, and Paul Middleton (and others). Two essays that really caught my interest were by Holly Carey and Richard Bauckham. Carey has an essay called ” ‘Is It Bad as All That?’: The Misconception of Mark as a Film Noir.” She notes how common it is to refer to Mark as a dark gospel, all about suffering, emphasis on the cross, no resurrection and ascension. But she does an admirable job pointing out the often overlooked places where there is hope: “Mark has no interest in leaving his audience wallowing in the depths of despair as it hears about the death of Jesus. From the beginning he has defined his story as good news. As the narrative of Jesus’ life progresses, Mark underscores the restorative element of his work in some of his most memorable healings. At the central and transitional point in the story, he repetitively highlights the importance of Jesus’ resurrection alongside his suffering and death. In the midst of his account of Jesus’ death, he highlights his role as a righteous sufferer who will be vindicated by God” (20).
Again, the other essay that caught my attention is by Bauckham, “Devotion to Jesus Christ in Earliest Christianity: An Appraisal and Discussion of the Work of Larry Hurtado.” Bauckham referees the latest criticism of Hurtado, both defending him at times, but also adding his own criticisms. For example, I think Bauckham is right to question Hurtado’s famous terminology of “binitarian” and he presses Hurtado for more clarity.
This is a great volume – make sure to check it out!
J.G. McConville and L.K. Pietersen, ed. Conception, Reception, and the Spirit: Essays in Honor of Andrew T. Lincoln (Wipf & Stock, 2015).
This is another fantastic FS, well-deserved for Prof. Lincoln. And, as with the above FS, the list of contributors is impressive: McConville, Philip Esler, J.D.G. Dunn, Ann Jervis, Catrin Williams, NT Wright, Sylvia Keesmaat, Mike Gorman, Stephen Barton (my doktorvater!), David Catchpole, Stephen Fowl, Robert Morgan, John Rogerson, John Webster, Loveday Alexander, and Brian Walsh (and more!). What a feast of readings!
Here we have the same challenge as with Hurtado – Lincoln’s work is so (excellently) wide-ranging, how do you narrow a subject? You don’t! So, there are chapters that focus on “Exegesis” (chs 1-10), those on “Theological Interpretation” (chs. 11-16), and those on “Theology and Embodiment” (chs. 17-19). Jimmy Dunn has a nice chapter on “Let John be John (2)” which continues a string of essays (in various settings) on the distinctiveness of John. NT Wright has an extended discussion of political dimensions of the Fourth Gospel. While I find Wright’s work on John intriguing, I don’t think he gave enough credit to Thatcher’s contributions to the subject. Gorman makes another interesting contribution to the study of Phil 2:5-11. Loveday Alexander offers a richly rewarding hermeneutical discussion of sexuality in the Bible – her essay, whether one ends up agreeing or disagreeing with her conclusions – is a “must-read” for seminary students.
I am very pleased to see Hurtado and Lincoln appreciated with these remarkable volumes.