June 12th, 2012


John Goodrich
Paul as an Administrator of God in 1 Corinthians
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 262 pp., 1 table
(Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, 152)
Price: £60.00


This book looks in detail at Paul's description of apostles in 1 Corinthians 4 and 9 as divinely appointed administrators (oikonomoi) and considers what this tells us about the nature of his own apostolic authority. John Goodrich investigates the origin of this metaphor in light of ancient regal, municipal and private administration, initially examining the numerous domains in which oikonomoi were appointed in the Graeco-Roman world, before situating the image in the private commercial context of Roman Corinth. Examining the social and structural connotations attached to private commercial administration, Goodrich contemplates what Paul's metaphor indicates about apostleship in general terms as well as how he uses the image to defend his apostolic rights. He also analyses the purpose and limits of Paul's authority – how it is constructed, asserted and contested – by examining when and how Paul uses and refuses to exercise the rights inherent in his position.


• Assesses the complicated and multifaceted nature of authority in Paul
• Interprets an often overlooked metaphor in frequently ignored New Testament passages
• Differentiates between words and concepts that have been confused in past research, while demonstrating the importance of doing so

Table of Contents:

1. Apostolic authority in 1 Corinthians
Part I. Oikonomoi as Administrators in Graeco-Roman Antiquity: 2. Oikonomoi as regal administrators
3. Oikonomoi as civic administrators
4. Oikonomoi as private administrators
Part II. Paul's Administrator Metaphor in 1 Corinthians: 5. Identifying Paul's metaphor in 1 Corinthians
6. Interpreting Paul's metaphor in 1 Corinthians 4.1–5
7. Interpreting Paul's metaphor in 1 Corinthians 9.16–23
8. Conclusion
Index of passages
Index of authors


Architecture of the Sacred: Space, Ritual, and Experience from Classical Greece to Byzantium
Edited by: Bonna D. Wescoat and Robert G. Ousterhout
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 416 pp., 151 b/w illus.
Price: £60.00


In this book, a distinguished team of authors explores the way space, place, architecture and ritual interact to construct sacred experience in the historical cultures of the eastern Mediterranean. Essays address fundamental issues and features that enable buildings to perform as spiritually transformative spaces in ancient Greek, Roman, Jewish, early Christian and Byzantine civilizations. Collectively they demonstrate the multiple ways in which works of architecture and their settings were active agents in the ritual process. Architecture did not merely host events; rather, it magnified and elevated them, interacting with rituals facilitating the construction of ceremony. This book examines comparatively the ways in which ideas and situations generated by the interaction of place, built environment, ritual action and memory contributed to the cultural formulation of the sacred experience in different religious faiths.


• Not geographically or culturally limited, but instead addresses Greek, Roman, Early Christian, Jewish and Byzantine constructions of sacred space
• The authors, chiefly archaeologists, are fundamentally grounded in the complex material remains; exploring constructions of sanctity from 'the ground up'
• Several essays introduce previously unpublished material

Table of Contents

Preface Robert G. Ousterhout and Bonna D. Wescoat
1. Material culture and ritual: state of the question Jaś Elsner
2. Monumental steps and the shaping of ceremony Mary B. Hollinshead
3. Coming and going in the sanctuary of the great gods, Samothrace Bonna D. Wescoat
4. Gateways to the mysteries: the Roman propylon and in the City Eleusinion Margaret M. Miles
5. Architecture and ritual in Ilion, Athens, and Rome C. Brian Rose
6. The same, but different: the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus through time Ellen Perry
7. Mapping sacrifice on bodies and spaces in ancient Judaism and early Christianity Joan Branham
8. The 'foundation deposit' from the Dura Europos synagogue reconsidered Jodi Magness
9. Sight lines of sanctity at Late Antique Martyria Ann Marie Yasin
10. The sanctity of place and the sanctity of buildings: Jerusalem vs. Constantinople Robert G. Ousterhout
11. Divine light: constructing the immaterial in Byzantine art and architecture Slobodan Ćurčić
12. Architecture as a definer of sanctity in the monastery tou Libos in Constantinople Vasileios Marinis
Afterword Bonna D. Wescoat and Robert G. Ousterhout.


Kenneth Seeskin
Jewish Messianic Thoughts in an Age of Despair
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 232 pp.
Price: £55.00


Belief in the coming of a Messiah poses a genuine dilemma. From a Jewish perspective, the historical record is overwhelmingly against it. If, despite all the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, no legitimate Messiah has come forward, has the belief not been shown to be groundless? Yet for all the problems associated with messianism, the historical record also shows it is an idea with enormous staying power. The prayer book mentions it on page after page. The great Jewish philosophers all wrote about it. Secular thinkers in the twentieth century returned to it and reformulated it. And victims of the Holocaust invoked it in the last few minutes of their life. This book examines the staying power of messianism and formulates it in a way that retains its redemptive force without succumbing to mythology.


• Examines Messianism without succumbing to mythology
• Addresses big issues in a straightforward way
• Complete coverage of the history of the idea and the problems it raises

Table of contents:

1. Messianism and mythology
2. Maimonedes and the idea of a deflationary Messiah
3. Internalism: the Messiah within
4. Infinite deferral
5. History and rationality
6. History and irrationality
7. Redemption