"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cambridge History of the Bible

It is a happy development, as more and more major academic and commercial publishers bring out big "companions to" or "histories of" Christian topics, that they include more than a token chapter on Eastern Christian realities. This recent hefty collection from one of the oldest and most prestigious academic publishers in the world is a good example: James Carlton Paget and Joachim Schaper, eds.,  The New Cambridge History of the Bible: From the Beginnings to 600 (Cambridge UP, 2013), 1006pp. 

About this book we are told:
Recent years have witnessed significant discoveries of texts and artefacts relevant to the study of the Old and New Testaments and remarkable shifts in scholarly methods of study. The present volume mirrors the increasing specialization of Old Testament studies, including the Hebrew and Greek Bibles, and reflects rich research activity that has unfolded over the last four decades in Pentateuch theory, Septuagint scholarship, Qumran studies and early Jewish exegesis of biblical texts. The second half of the volume discusses the period running from the New Testament to 600, including chapters on the Coptic, Syriac and Latin bibles, the 'Gnostic' use of the scriptures, pagan engagement with the Bible, the use of the Bible in Christian councils and in popular and non-literary culture. A fascinating in-depth account of the reception of the Bible in the earliest period of its history.
The table of contents reveals several chapters devoted to the Septuagint, to Syriac versions, to Syriac exegesis, to Coptic translations, and to patristic treatment of Scripture in the hands of such towering figures as Origen. 

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