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Women in New Testament Studies

A quarter of the way through the 21st century, equality of opportunity and representation are still work in progress in biblical studies and in journals: work to which NTS seeks actively to contribute. This page links to some contributions by leading women scholars to this journal, which reframe our understanding of New Testament texts and the world in which they were created, and re-examine the ways early Christian writings are used today.

Barbara Aland, Welche Rolle spielen Textkritik und Textgeschichte für das Verständnis des Neuen Testaments? Frühe Leserperspektiven, 52(3), 2006
Barbara Aland’s 2005 SNTS Presidential Address redefines the relationship between historical criticism, reception history, and textual criticism, demonstrating how ancient copyists sometimes alter texts for theological reasons. Aland problematizes the concept of a ‘good text’, showing how different early Christian views of a ‘good’ text can be from ours, and arguing that our concept of a good text is an unintended and underscrutinized consequence of the development of the canon.

Loveday Alexander, Fact, Fiction and the Genre of Acts, 44(3), 1998
Discussions of Acts as history tend to focus on whether Acts belongs to the genre of historiography as it was understood in its day, assuming that what is cast as historical aims to be understood as factual. Loveday Alexander redirects the debate, drawing a distinction between history as a genre and the ‘historical’ as the factual which illuminates Christian, Greek, and Roman historiography alike. She demonstrates the complex relationship between history, fact, and fiction in historiography of Luke’s day, and argues that Christian communities drew on multiple sources, not least their shared religious experience, in assessing the truth of what they heard.

Eve-Marie BeckerDas introspektive Ich des Paulus nach Phil 1–3: Ein Entwurf'65(3), 2019
Eve-Marie Becker brings recent scholarship about the ‘introspective self’ in antiquity into dialogue with the Pauline epistles, arguing that Philippians 1 shows Paul, in his final imprisonment, in revealingly introspective mood. She proposes that Paul’s self-exploration makes a significant early contribution to the individualization and subjectivization of thought in western tradition, not least because it is, in some ways, very different from the introspection of near-contemporary philosophers.

Helen Bond, Dating the Death of Jesus: Memory and the Religious Imagination, 59(4), 2013
Much recent research into the historical Jesus has focused on the social and religious contexts in which Jesus lived and died, but one issue of precise chronology which continues to generate discussion is the date of his death. Helen Bond re-examines the historical, literary, and scientific evidence to offer a new approach to the problem, and, drawing on social memory theory, offers a new explanation of the differing chronologies of Mark and John.

Adela Yarbro CollinsFrom Noble Death to Crucified Messiah, 40(4), 1994
The genre and intentions of Mark’s gospel, and within it his passion narrative, have generated intensive debate. As part of her multi-dimensional historical, literary, linguistic, and theological study of Mark, past SNTS President Adela Yarbro Collins examines ‘noble death’ traditions in Greek, Roman, and Jewish literature and demonstrates that Mark’s passion narrative does not correspond closely with any of them. She offers a new interpretation of what the distinctive features of Mark’s passion narrative reveal about both the genre of the gospel and Markan theology.

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Rhetorical Situation and Historical Reconstruction in 1 Corinthians, 33(3), 1987
In this journal Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza brings the questioning and revisioning of texts that mark her groundbreaking feminist biblical interpretation to investigations of the ‘Johannine school’ and Paul’s relationship with his communities. Here she combines close reading with rhetorical criticism to problematize the nature of Paul’s authority when writing to the Corinthians.

Paula Fredriksen, Judaizing the Nations: The Ritual Demands of Paul's Gospel, 56(2), 2010
A leading voice in the study of ‘Paul within Judaism’ in response to the ‘New Perspective’, Paula Fredriksen argues here that Paul did not seek to dissolve distinctions between Jewish and gentile members of his communities. Rather, ‘redeemed Israel’ and gentile Christ-confessors share the same heavenly father according to the spirit, while according to the flesh they remain distinct.

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Theology and Ecclesiology in the Miletus Speech: Reflections on Content and Context, 50(1), 2004
Beverly Roberts Gaventa recontextualizes Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 not as the ‘farewell’ speech of the book’s hero, but as reflecting Luke’s larger themes of God’s plan, the work of the spirit, and ‘the instruction of Jesus himself’. This shift of focus redefines Luke’s vision for the future of the church as being less concerned with imitation of Paul and more about its relationship with God.

Christine GerberDie alte Braut und Christi Leib. Zum ekklesiologischen Entwurf des Epheserbriefs, 59(2), 2013
In a historical study which also interrogates the Church today, Christine Gerber offers a new interpretation of ekklēsia in Ephesians, arguing that the term refers not to local congregations, nor to a specifically Pauline form of Christianity, nor to the universal Church, but is used to affirm the unity of Jews and gentiles as Christ-confessors and the unity of the faithful in everyday life. The author, she argues, offers a vision of what unites all (those whom he regards as) Christians, while leaving a way open for Christians of different communities to identify as belonging together.

Morna Hooker, Beyond the Things that are Written? St Paul's Use of Scripture, 27(3), 1981
The first woman President of SNTS addresses an issue of perennial concern to Christians: the theological dialogue which takes place between scripture and its readers when they interpret the Bible from a standpoint which is itself a response to the Bible. Hooker shows how Paul’s exposition of scripture exemplifies this dialectic, and argues that modern Christians, and scholars, have too often ‘fossilised’ the results rather than using them as a model.

Mylène KempterLa signification eschatologique de Jean 3.29, 54(1), (2008)
Scholarship continues to reveal new aspects of New Testament texts, and here Mylène Kempter shows how the joy of the ‘bridegroom’s friend’ in Jn 3.29 draws on the joy which for the prophets will follow the salvation of God. John the Baptist’s joy indicates his understanding of the significance of Jesus’ life and death, and shows how the fourth gospel’s realized eschatology overcomes the constraints of the temporal, and reveals something of the nature of eternal life.

Judith M. LieuWhat Was from the Beginning: Scripture and Tradition in the Johannine Epistles, 39(3), 1993
In an early contribution to what has become a major field, past SNTS President Judith Lieu refutes the longstanding view that the Johannine epistles make little use of the Jewish scriptures by expanding our understanding of ‘use’. She demonstrates how, in 1 John (and the gospel of John), certain inherited interpretations of passages of scripture are put in dialogue with communities’ present experience: scripture interpreting experience and vice versa in a process which continues to this day.

Margaret MitchellPatristic Counter-Evidence to the Claim that ‘The Gospels Were Written for All Christians’, 51(1), 2005
The burgeoning of New Testament and patristic scholarship in the past century has had two significant unintended consequences: more compartmentalization and less close engagement with the work of other scholars. Here, as elsewhere in her work, past SNTS President Margaret Mitchell counters both trends, using patristic evidence to argue against Richard Bauckham’s view that all four canonical gospels were written to be read by ‘all Christians’, and offering a new model for understanding the gospels’ intended readership.

Adele Reinhartz,‘Rewritten Gospel’: The Case of Caiaphas the High Priest, 55(2), 2009
Reception history has become a large field within New Testament studies, but it is rarely taken to challenge modern scholarly readings of the New Testament itself. Adele Reinhartz extends the concept of ‘rewritten Bible’ to two modern retellings of the passion narrative, arguing that such postcanonical retellings should be as interesting to New Testament scholars as rewritten Bible is to scholars of the Hebrew Bible. In the process, she models how to discuss the complexities of Jewish-Christian relationships in the first century and today.

Angela Standhartinger, ‘Join in imitating me’ (Philippians 3.17)Towards an Interpretation of Philippians 3, 54(3), 2008
Through a classic close reading of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, 2024-25 SNTS President Angela Standhartinger offers a solution to the longstanding debate about the integrity of the letter which sheds new light on its structure, when and why it was put together in its current form, and the interpretation of Philippians 3. In this process she demonstrates how the Philippians, as a community shaped by Paul’s work among them, edited Paul’s letters for their own evolving ethical and ecclesiological purposes.

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