Some fellow NT postgrads here at Durham were discussing possible ideas for future articles (that we hope one day to publish) and we came upon the question of what journal(s) to aim for (with journals specifically interested in New Testament, but not limited to just NT [e.g., may include OT, 2nd Temple Judaism, early Christianity, etc...]). I have my own ideas of what is out there and which are ‘the best’, but I hope this can turn into a conversation where others can chime in. I will list my thoughts below, and also some notes at the end as to why I have left off some which others may wonder about.
BEST (this category is where anyone hopes to publish alongside scholars of the highest respect; it is quite difficult to get in, the competition is steep, the reviewers rigorously critical, etc…;NB: the order in which I list them is not relevant).
1. Journal of Biblical Literature
2. Journal for the Study of the New Testament
3. Novum Testamentum
4. New Testament Studies
5. Catholic Biblical Quarterly
6. Journal of Theological Studies
1. Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
2. Biblical Interpretation
3. Tyndale Bulletin
4. Biblical Theology Bulletin
6. Horizons in Biblical Theology
7. Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism
8. Journal of Theological Intepretation
1. Bulletin for Biblical Research
2. Australian Biblical Review
3. Andrews University Seminary Studies
4. Perspectives in Religious Studies
OTHER JOURNALS OF NOTE
1. Expository Times – pastoral/lay-level sorts of biblical observations could be accepted by ET
2. Journal of Early Christian Studies – I don’t know much about this one.
3. Harvard Theological Review – I would put this one above, but I am not sure whether they take unsolicited submissions.
4. Currents in Biblical Research – though I would put this above under VERY GOOD, from my understanding they are not exactly a blind-peer reviewed journal. I hold the periodical in high respect, though.
1. Why not Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society? I am an evangelical, but I feel that some evangelical periodicals seem to be a relatively closed discussion for ‘insiders’. But, I did include Tyndale Bulletin and Bulletin for Biblical Research because I feel like they are read and respected more widely. Just because a periodical does not appear on the above list does not mean that I disrespect the journal or would not ever publish with them myself. I simply do not find others on my radar of top NT journals. I will and have sent paper proposals to journals not on this list.
2. What about seminary journals (Trinity Journal, Westminster, etc…)? Once in a while a really good article finds its way into these, but I do not find them to be open conversations overall. I am happy to see good scholars publishing with them. I will try and publish with them. But, I don’t rank them on the list above, except Andrews USS, which I think is not the typical ‘seminary’ journal.
3. What about German (titled) and French (titled) periodicals. Some (like Revue biblique and ZNW) are quite good, but I have not read them enough to comment on them and rank them.
4. What about cross-over theology journals? I did include JTS, but otherwise I am primarily interested in ones that will accept articles that appeal to NT scholars and where you generally don’t have to transliterate Greek/Hebrew. However, I am very happy with Scottish Journal of Theology and Interpretation.
CONCLUSION: If I have overlooked major ones, do let me know through the comments. If you feel like I have severely miscategorized one, I will consider an argument for bumping up or down, but the list is admittingly very subjective – especially since I have no journal articles in print myself! I have been rejected several times, though, but I only like to be rejected by the best…
I just read about the summer (July 08 ) release of the edited volume Cosmology and New Testament Theology (eds. S. McDonough and J. Pennington; Edinburgh: T & T Clark). I studied under Sean McDonough at Gordon-Conwell and he is a brilliant and humble scholar and I am excited to see more of his work in print (Amazon has the full text already online HERE).
The cast of contributors include mostly younger scholars, but ones that have already developed weighty reputations for excellence. A sampling of chapter titles include:
‘Graeco-Roman and Ancient Jewish Cosmology’ (Edward Adams)
‘Heaven, Earth, and a New Genesis: Theological Cosmology in Matthew’ (Pennington)
‘Tearing the Heavens and Shaking the HEavenlies: Mark’s Cosmology in its Apocalyptic Context’ (Mike Bird)
‘Revelation: The Climax of Cosmology’ (McDonough)
These kinds of studies are always helpful, but sometimes they become disjointed and lack a unified contribution to the subject at hand. I hope the introduction and conclusion (written by the editors) will do a good job reflecting on common themes and also discussing some theoretical and methodological issues. All in all, this is a needed study – especially as it relates to NT ‘theology’ and not just social-science and literary-rhetorical perspectives.
Slated for November 2008 (just in time for SBL) is a festschrift in honor of Richard B. Hays on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Never before have a seen a longer or more prestigious list of contributors:
Click on the pic for a link to Eerdmans
Dale C. Allison Jr.
Gary A. Anderson
John M. G. Barclay
Douglas A. Campbell
Stephen B. Chapman
Brian E. Daley
Ellen F. Davis
James D. G. Dunn
Susan G. Eastman
Bruce N. Fisk
Beverly Roberts Gaventa
Joel B. Green
A. Katherine Grieb
Christoper B. Hays
Judith C. Hays
Luke Timothy Johnson
Leander E. Keck
R. W. L. Moberly
David P. Moessner
C. Kavin Rowe
E. P. Sanders
D. Moody Smith
David C. Steinmetz
Marianne Meye Thompson
J. Ross Wagner
N. T. Wright
I am happy to see 5 Durhamites on this list (Dunn, Barclay, Wright, Moberly, Watson). On a personal note, let me say that I got a brief chance to chat with Richard at our Duke-Durham symposium and he is a nice person with a sharp mind. His work on Paul and intertextuality has been massively influential for my own thinking and I heard that he is now moving into the study of intertextuality in the Gospels. Happy Birthday Richard.
They have a recent festschrift in honor of them – in the same book! The title of the book is Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children: Christology and COmmunity in Early Judaism and Christianity. They co-founded a scholarly club that relates to christology (which made it into SBL/AAR). What is amazing is the number of scholars of high caliber who wanted to participate in this FS.
Here is a sampling of some of the essay titles I found interesting (I am reviewing this book; more on the actual content will be blogged later):
‘How we Talk about Christology Matters’ – A.D. DeConick
‘Mandatory Retirement: Ideas in the Study of Christian Origins Whose Time Has Come to God’ – P. Fredriksen
‘The “Most High” God and the Nature of Early Jewish Monotheism’ – Bauckham
‘”How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God?”: A Reply’ – A.Y. Collins
‘Resurrection and Christology: Are They Related?’ – Pheme Perkins
‘Pauline Exegesis and the Incarnate Christ’ – D.B. Capes
‘When Did the Understanding of Jesus’ Death as an Atoning Sacrifice First Emerge?’ – J.D.G. Dunn
‘Discarding the Seamless Robe: The High Priesthood of Jesus in John’s Gospel’ – H.K. Bond
‘Remembering and Revelation: The Historic and Glorified Jesus in the Gospel of John’ – Hurtado
‘Jesus: “The One Who Sees God”‘ – M.M. Thompson
‘Paul’s Religious Experience in the Eyes of Jewish Scholars’ – A.F. Segal
Wow! What a collection!
I have met Larry personally and he is a nice guy. He told me that he was on a committee that approved John Barclay’s move to Durham as Lightfoot Prof of Divinity – thanks Larry for bringing one of my supervisors to Durham!
For those of you like me who are working on a doctorate, you probably dreamed in seminary/undergrad what it would be like to be at a top-notch institution and eavesdrop on great conversations and soak in every bit of wisdom and knowledge that drips from the glory of today’s best scholars (OK, now it is quite obvious I had no life in seminary…). Well, my dream was colored by New Testament studies and especially the Apostle Paul. Yesterday I got a chance to see one of those dreams played out in real life (Ben Blackwell can also share on his blog the surrealism of this experience).
If you wanted to concoct an academic recipe for a really riveting discussion on the state of the ‘New Perspective on Paul’, what ingredients might you want? You certainly must have Jimmy Dunn. But, it can’t all be pro-NPP, so how about an ex-NPP – Francis Watson, perhaps. What about a historian’s view – John Barclay? That is too lop-sided. Dunn needs an advocate. N T Wright? What about Richard Hays (who must bring up ‘pistis christou’). Well, we had all these and more at our first Durham (UK)-Duke symposium (on the theme of identity). Francis Watson gave a paper claiming that we can only carry forward a few small insights from the NPP and we must now go ‘beyond the New Perspective’. He criticized every area of the NPP.
He found the rather exclusive focus on ethnocentric imperialism in Dunn’s evaluation of Paul’s critique of Judaism to be too narrowly focused on sociology and not enough on Christology (this coming from a Watson who’s published monograph on this topic was originally subtitled ‘a sociological approach!). Watson also contests the NPP idea that Paul would have understood Judaism to be a religion with grace as the primary element and nomism as secondary and/or subsequent (is this something that Watson and Gathercole have in common…strange…). Watson draws attention to the idea that an essential difference between the pre-Christ Jewish pattern of religion and Paul’s expression of CHristianity has much to do the engagement between divine and human agency.
There is much more to say, but you can read it in Watson’s revision of his monograph on this topic (Eerdmans) and I recommend you do. Watson is provocative, but very engaging. Frankly, neither Dunn nor Wright had much to say in rebuttal. It truly seems that we are at the dawn of a new age of interpreting Paul and we seem to be progressing ‘beyond’ the NPP, but not forgetting some of the key contributions Dunn et al have made.
Biblical scholars love to read commentaries. That is just true. We love to buy the one’s by our favorite authors. We like to have them lining our shelves. We pride ourselves in getting them cheap when we can.
But…sometimes we get bored of commentaries. Nothing new under the sun kinda thing. Same old issues rehashed. Same format and style. Same conclusions.
Well, be prepared for a breath of fresh air with Joel Green’s work on 1 Peter. It is a whole different kind of commentary. In the first place, it is not aiming at in-depth exegesis. I will send you to Elliott and Achtemeier for that. No, this is about theological reflection, and Green is the perfect man for the job (though I am looking forward to Scott Hafemann’s contribution).
The ‘commentary’ section of the book is quite short – only about 186 pages – which leaves another 100 pages for theological engagement.
On the basic preliminary issues, Green does not wish to dwell. On audience, he observes (correctly I think) that we simply cannot say with any real amount of confidence exactly what the makeup of the audiences was. But, as you progress through the book, it appears he pushes for a mostly-Gentile audience presuming that the few Jews among them would help them with Scriptural allusions and the deliverers of the letter would ‘perform’ it in such a way as to communicate it effectively (see R. Richards on letter-writing).
On authorship, he offers a stunning approach – why could not Peter have really been involved? This is a tide-turning sort of move, because he disarms the traditional arguments. DO we know enough about Peter’s ‘theological’ interests to create a profile stable enough to compare 1 Peter to? We can’t use 2 Peter because of its dubious authorship. We can’t use the Gospels (like Mark). What is really stopping us from treating 1 Peter as ‘authentic’? He does not want to die on the hill of Petrine authorship, but he does not feel like he is forsaking all historical reasonability by presuming it. I think this is a worthwhile approach.
But, Green is not as interested in these issues. He wants to plumb the depths of 1 Peter, not in order to discover the ‘theology of 1 Peter’, but to catch a glimpse of how 1 Peter ‘does theology’. He wants to look at the mechanics of the letter – its literary-theological strategy. This is a dynamic approach to theology, not a static one.
In particular, he is interested in how Peter perceives the problems among his readers and attempts to shape their identity through a re-narration of their past, a re-situating of their present and a theo-centric vision of their future in Christ. Many scholars talk about identity, but Green does us the service of actually research what identity is and how it is shaped and influenced. This methodology and theoretical discourse takes place especially in the last 100 pages where he notes the significance of stories/narratives for how we perceive ourselves and how we form and remember memories.
He deals with a host of important themes in 1 Peter that are also found in Paul and throughout the NT epistles – honor and shame, suffering and glory, judgment, holiness, hope, faithfulness, elect/chosen. He makes a point of noting the significance of metaphors in 1 Peter. Whereas scholars in the past have spent much time discussing what metaphors say and what they mean, there is a new interest in what metaphors do in discourse – how they shape and support an argument, they are contribution to the transformation of identity.
This is a worthwhile book the read (cover-to-cover) even if you have no specific interest in 1 Peter, because Green discusses a new agenda among scholars called ‘theological hermeneutics’. As Green is at the forefront of this clan of biblical scholars (such as Fowl, Gaventa, Hays, Moberly), it is helpful to get an idea of this approach is and why it is helpful for NT studies.
I highly recommend this commentary, especially as a seminary-level textbook to gain a grasp of 1 Peter and its theological import.
Through the ‘wordpress’ analysis functions I can see what people search on google (or whatever) in order to eventually make it to my blog. I noticed that today someone found their way to my blog simply by typing in the words ‘wise scholar’ into a search engine. Whoever you are…thank you…
Inspired by a recent post by Chris Tilling on ’20 enjoyable books to read’, I thought another approach would be naming the scholars who have been most influential to me (and which books are especially good). This is not an exhaustive list nor is it in any special order.
Let’s start with the Durham posse
1. James D.G. Dunn – why? The New Perspective, of course! But, also his work on the Holy Spirit. In terms of commentaries, his Romans (WBC) is fantastic, but I am also very pleased with his Galatians (BNTC) and Colossians (NIGTC). Where to start? His new The New Perspective on Paul (Eerdmans 2008). Also, I will never be the same after reading his ‘Paul’s Understanding of the Death of Jesus’ in the FS for Leon Morris entitled Reconcilation and Hope (1974).
2. John M.G. Barclay – why? Amazing work on ethics in Galatians with insight into the flesh/spirit dichotomy. Also, his Jews in the Med. Diaspora is quite good. Where to begin? Probably with his Obeying the Truth (published thesis on Galatians). Some of his articles/essays are really excellent – check out the interesting interaction and critique of the New Perspective in ‘Neither Jew nor Greek: Multiculturalism and the New Perspective on Paul’ in Ethnicity in the Bible (1996).
3. Stephen Barton – why? He has done some influential work on the use of social-sciences and NT theology. Check out especially his Life Together: Family, Sexuality and Community in the New Testament and Today. He has also written on ethics and NT- good stuff (he is also my primary supervisor). For Gospels, he edited the Cambridge Companion to the Gospels and has written a nice little book The Spirituality of the Gospels.
4. Francis Watson – why? He has done some interesting work on theological hermeneutics, sociological aspects in Paul, ethics, and more. The recent revision of his thesis is fantastic, though he goes down some very unusual roads sometimes with his interpretation. Overall, though, his argument is cogent. Check out Eerdman’s Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective. In person and in this book he convinced me that pistis christou should be read as an objective genitive rather than a subject (whereas I previously leaned towards Hays).
[NOTE: I had originally forgotton Tom Wright - my apologies to the bishop. Add him in here, and I would recommend (1) his Colossians commentary (Tyndale) and his Romans commentary (New Interpreters) and (2) his little book called What Saint Paul Really Said. Also, the New Testament and the People of God is really good for background-y kinds of research in early Judaism; that makes more than 20 scholars, so I guess my list is a bit bloated now!]
Now on to the other Durham
5. Richard Hays – why? Do I really need to answer this? His work on intertextuality, ethics, and community, of course! Where to begin? Tough one. I would say Conversion of the Imagination and/or Moral Vision of the NT.
The next few have influenced me just through good old-fashioned solid exegesis and clear and reasonable commentary writing
6. Ben Witherington III – check out his Conflict and COmmunity in Corinth. Also, in terms of introductory materials, he is almost unmatched in terms of accessible history of scholarship in both The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest. Also, his NEw Testament History is a fun read and great to use as a textbook for NT intro.
7. Gordon D. Fee – why? Certainly his research on the Spirit, but also see his excellent commentaries on Philippians (NICNT), 1 Corinthians (NICNT), as well as newer work on Galatians. Where to begin? Try his Paul, the Spirit and the People of God. If you are up to the challenge, try his new Pauline Christology – it will probably earn the title ‘magisterial’.
8. I.H. Marshall – why? Good solid scholarship from an evangelical perspective. Where to begin? Try his New Testament Theology. Check out, also, his Beyond the Bible. Did you know he is working on a Romans commentary for the Two Horizons? As a fellow Arminian/Methodist, I am interested in his perspective on Romans. Also see his new Aspects of the Atonement (Paternoster).
Other scholars who have influenced me in smaller ways
9. Markus Bockmuehl – good, critical, but reasonable scholarship. His Philippians commentary (BNTC) is one of the best. Though I read it just recently, his Seeing the Word (about the past and future of NT scholarship) was really impacting. Check out also his work as editor and contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Jesus (he writes on Resurrection).
10. Richard Bauckham – Though his work has been largely in Revelation and the Gospels (especially John), I was very impressed with his work on Christology in God Crucified – a must-read! Also his Theology of the Book of Revelation is the best short intro to that mysterious and fascinating NT text.
11. Beverly Gaventa – her commentary work (on 1-2 Thessalonians, and also on Galatians) is commendable. I would read her Our Mother Saint Paul. She is good on Paul and Apocalyptic.
12. Joel B. Green – excellent work on narrative theology; also his new commentary on 1 Peter is very engaging, eloquent, and takes the discussion beyond stagnant controversies of the past.
13. David Horrell – His work on social aspects in Corinth is commendable. But, his work on ethics in really impressive – check out his Solidarity and Difference. He is now working in 1 Peter. I am going to review a new introductory guide to 1 Peter – more to come.
14. Jerome Neyrey – A member of the context group that I admire greatly. His work in honor and shame (especially in Matthew) was very formative for me. ALso, a really nice chap.
15. David deSilva – also has done work on social-sciences. Check out his Hope of Glory and Honor, Kinship & Purity. Also a good exegete with invaluable work on Hebrews. His NT Intro textbook is absolutely the best out there. I would use it in a heartbeat.
16. Stanley Hauerwas – You must read the Hauerwas Reader.
17. Craig Keener – why? Especially good on how and why to use ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman sources. Also very enlightening on the issue of women in ministry.
18. Richard Longenecker – need I justify? His Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period is a classic; his commentary on Galatians (WBC) is always worthy of consideration in exegesis. He is currently working on a multi-volume commentary on Romans. I have interacted with him a bit. Nice chap.
19. Michael Gorman – He is not a prolific author, but his works thus far have been weighty. Where to start? Cruciformity, though his textbook on Paul is the best thing out there for an intro to Paul’s theology.
20. Oh, where to end? I guess I will cheat and call it a tie among Stanley Porter (I suspect his new commentary on Romans [Sheffield Phoenix] will be excellent), Craig Evans (his research guide to Ancient Texts of the New Testament is invaluable), Greg Beale (with his work on the book of Revelation and intertextuality; his short commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians is quite good), and Stephen Fowl (try his commentary on Philippians).
It would be fun to hear from other bloggers (on their own websites and/or in the comments below) regarding their favs.