Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Matthew 16.21-28 Translations and Notes - RCL Year A Lectionary 22/ 14th Sunday After Pentecost

Image generated by DALL-E 2 with prompt: "Depict someone standing behind Jesus in the style of Georgia O'Keefe"
Matthew 16.21-28 is the RCL Year A assigned reading for Lectionary 22/ 14th Sunday After Pentecost. It's a shame that the RCL splits up 16.13-28 over two Sundays, since vv13-20 are needed to appreciate what happens in vv21-28. (Cf. page 10 of my downloadable PDF below for a way to introduce the text and set the context.)

Matthew makes some interesting changes to his source in Mark 8.27-9.1, but where Peter's status had been elevated in Matthew 16.16-19, Matthew does preserve Jesus rebuke to him in 16.23: "Get behind me, you satan!" The Son of Man / Child of Humanity has more status (his angels, not the Father's angels) in 16.27, and Matthew also adds a typical Matthean concern about the judgment of peoples' actions.

Here is a PDF you can download with translations, notes, and introduction

A couple other resources I recommend checking:

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Walk in Paul's Steps from Corinth to Cenchreae

View looking west to Acrocorinth; Examilia quarry in foreground

I spent 3 week in Corinth in June participating in the Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Project directed by Paul Scotton. I had a wonderful time! On the weekends, I went around and tried to retrace Paul's paths in Greece. I had already done most of his path on the Via Engatia from Neapolis (Kavala) to Philippi in 2017. This summer I visited where Paul went from Pella to Edessa to Beroea (Veria) and from there on to Pydna via Aigai (Vergina). I also stopped at Nicopolis (Titus 3.12). Working at Lechaion, I went back and forth between the harbor and the Roman forum. I suspect Paul also did so, especially if on his third trip he went all the way west to Illyricum (Romans 15.19) and then sailed south and then east in the Gulf of Corinth to Lechaion. I will share reports on those when I get a chance, but for this post, I will report on my walk from Corinth to Cenchreae (Kenchreai) and back. We are told Paul sailed from the Cenchreae on his way back to Jerusalem and Antioch at the end of his second journey.

Acts 18.18: After staying there for a considerable time, Paul said farewell to the believers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut, for he was under a vow.

If you are interested in walking this path, I share suggested routes (with Google Maps guides), hiking shortcuts, and some tips for things along the way. It is about 7.3 miles (11.5km) one way and takes about 3 hours at a leisurely pace. The recommendation for a walking stick to fend off dogs came from Hannah Lents who will be presenting at SBL this year: "The Road to Kenchreai: A History of a Gospel Highway."

Looking east to Cenchreae and the Saronic Gulf

Here is the PDF with all the information. Let us know if you have walked this path and what your experience was!

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Gardens of the Roman Empire

Here's a new site I just came across (HT: DCCommentaries on Twitter/X): Gardens of the Roman Empire. From the site description:

The peoples of the Roman Empire conducted their lives outdoors in gardens, parks, groves, tomb gardens and other designed environments. Whether created by highly skilled topiarii such as the freedman Tiberius Claudius Turiscus in Rome, by an anonymous team of gardeners and trainees at a tomb in Andematunum, Germania, or by a shopkeeper in Pompeii, gardens have left material traces discoverable from archaeological digs, in literature, paintings, inscriptions, or coins.

We present this evidence for the garden culture of the Roman Empire in a searchable encyclopedic format. Scholars, students, and the interested public internationally can explore a wide array of topics to address contemporary questions about imperial power, daily life, the environment, garden art, and religion across the diverse cultures of the Roman world.

We are launching the GRE website in a beta format. As a legacy project, our goal is to share the original text prepared by Wilhelmina Jashemski and her editorial team, and develop this site in collaboration with our readers. 

There are many gardens located in Greece, as one would expect, but surprisingly, lots in England and few in Italy. The map is interactive and can go full screen and makes beautiful implementation of OpenStreetMap.Clicking on a site will bring up a separate page of information that is quite complete and very well done.

Of biblical interest, there were Herodian gardens at Machaerus, three gardens at Herodium, five at Herodian Jericho (Kypros), Masada, Ein Gedi, and two at Caesarea Maritima. (For now, Machaerus is mislocated near Jericho. I've reported it.) There are also sites in Greece where Paul travelled.

Check it out and click away!