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Civilized Piety

The Rhetoric of Pietas in the Pastoral Epistles and the Roman Empire

by T. Christopher Hoklotubbe

Early Christians in Asia Minor had to navigate the troubled waters of Roman social, political, and economic life while also preserving their faith. The church faced a double threat: Greeks and Romans viewed Christianity as a barbaric and potentially seditious superstition and, at the same moment, wealthy Christian benefactors, and their client teachers, were both perceived to threaten the integrity of the Christian community.

Christopher Hoklotubbe investigates how the author of the Pastoral Epistles (1, 2 Timothy and Titus) strategically appealed to the Greek and Roman virtues of piety (eusebia, pietas) to ease these external and internal sociocultural threats. The Pastoral Epistles’ rhetoric of piety—a term not found in the genuine Pauline epistles—becomes pointed when read alongside ancient discourses on piety from Roman imperial propaganda, civic benefaction/patronage, and moral philosophy. As Hoklotubbe demonstrates, piety was rhetorically potent in the efforts of the Pastoral Epistles to present the fledgling Christian communities in a compelling cultural light, as well as efforts to unite communities around a socially conservative vision of the household of God.
 
Civilized Piety reveals the value of pietas within an ideological marketplace of emperors, benefactors, and philosophers, all of whom contend with one another to monopolize cultural prestige. The Pastoral Epistles, by employing a virtue so highly esteemed by forces hostile to Christianity, manifest a deep desire to establish good order within the church as well as to foster goodwill with the church’s non-Christian neighbors.

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Cleansed Lepers, Cleansed Hearts

Purity and Healing in Luke-Acts

by Pamela Shellberg

Illnesses are perceived and understood differently across cultures and over time. Traditional interpretations of New Testament texts frame the affliction lepra (“leprosy”) as addressed either by ritual cleansing or miraculous healing. But as Pamela Shellberg shows, these interpretations are limited because they shift modern ideas of “leprosy” to a first-century context without regard for how the ancients themselves thought about lepra. Reading ancient medical texts, Shellberg describes how Luke might have perceived lepra,/I> and used the language of “clean” and “unclean” and demonstrates how Luke’s first-century understandings shaped his report of Peter’s dream in Acts 10 as a warrant for Gentile inclusion.

Shellberg illuminates Luke’s understanding of “cleansing” as one of his primary expressions of the means of God’s salvation and favor, breaking down and breaking through the distinctions between Jew and Gentile. Shellberg’s conclusions take up the value of Luke’s emphasis on the divine prerogative to declare things “clean” for discussions of inclusion and social distinction today.

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Collations on the Ten Commandments

The Collations on the Ten Commandments addresses three important aspects of St. Bonaventure's work. The work shows a reflection of Bonaventure as a Bible expositor, a theologian/philospher, and a s preacher.

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Colossians and Philemon

A Commentary on the Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon

by Eduard Lohse; edited by Helmut Koester; and translated by William R. Poehlmann and Robert J. Karris

Lohse gives the reader solid interpretation and access to other scholars' efforts.

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Commentary of the Gospel of Luke, Part I

Edited by Robert J. Karris, OFM

This highly readable translation with its invaluable footnotes and union of medieval commentary with contemporary exegesis will appeal to Franciscans, Lucan scholars, preachers, and will also allow for quiet moments of Lectio

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Commentary on Ecclesiastes

Edited by Robert J. Karris, OFM and Campion Murray, OFM

Bonaventure's Commentary on Ecclesiastes may be over 750 years old, but it will still be somewhat new under the sun to most modern commentators. Since Bonaventure is commenting on the Vulgate, the editors helpfully provide an English translation of this in the Introduction....Bonaventure's commentary was both original and very influential in the Middle Ages; it deserves to be more familiar to us today. --Michael D. Guinan, OFM, Franciscan School of Theology

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Commentary on Galatians

Jerome

Jerome's Commentary on Galatians is presented here in English translation in its entirety.

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Commentary on the Apocalypse

Andrew of Caesarea

Striking a balance between the symbolic language of the book and its literal, prophetic fulfillment, Andrew?s interpretation is a remarkably intelligent, spiritual, and thoughtful commentary that encourages the pursuit of virtue and confidence in the love of God for humanity

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