- Introduction to Book Reviews
Several books not specifically or not only on Early Christianity but still of interest to JECS readers have recently been published.
Sheila McGinn offers an extensive (5428 items) and valuable bibliography of secondary literature on the Book of Revelation in The Book of Revelation. [Bibliographies for Biblical Research, New Testament Series 2, Lewiston, N.Y.: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1997; ISBN 0-7734-2438-5; pp. xi + 520; $119.95.] Most entries deal with contemporary exegesis, but there are sections on the history of interpretation and on individual writers such as Hippolytus, Papias, and Irenaeus.
Robert Hock’s The Life of Mary and the Birth of Jesus: The Ancient Infancy Gospel of James [Berkeley: Ulysses Press, 1997; ISBN 1-56975-079-3; pp. 100, 16 color reproductions; $16.00.] provides an introduction and a readable translation of the gospel with fine reproductions from Giotto’s frescoes on the life of Mary in the Scrovegni Chapel.
In 1985 Jaroslav Pelikan published Jesus through the Centuries, an account of how the Christian understanding of Jesus developed from the apostolic era until today. He has now published The Illustrated Jesus through the Centuries[New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997; ISBN 0-300-07268-6; pp. ix + 254; $35.00], which offers a somewhat briefer text than the earlier version but with almost 200 reproductions, many in stunning color. The text still devotes considerable space to Early Christianity, but few of the illustrations are from the first centuries. The price is reasonable for a book with so many illlustrations.
Herwig Wolfram’s The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997; ISBN 0-520-08511-6; pp. xx + 361; $39.95) gives an account of the barbarian tribes as interacted with the Romans; emphasis is upon political history.
Of more relevance to Early Christian scholars is Robert Turcan’s The Cults of the Roman Empire (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996; ISBN 0-631-20046-0; pp. xi + 399; $55.00). It surveys the pagan religions of the pre-Constantinian empire; topics include the Great Mother, Mithras, and Isis as well as necromancy and astrology.
Michael Prokurat’s Historical Dictionary of the Orthodox Church (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1996; ISBN 0-8108-3081-7; pp. xvii + 437; $89.00) has entries on individuals, doctrines, movements, and sites relating to the history of Orthodoxy. Those interested in the history of exegesis will welcome C. F. J. Martin’s translation of Robert Grosseteste: On the Six Days of Creation [New [End Page 313] York: Oxford University Press, 1996; ISBN 0-19-726150-7; pp. ix + 373; $55.00], which demonstrates the immense influence of the Latin Fathers on scholastic, thirteenth-century exegesis.
A group of writers and photographers (eight in all) led by Morsi Saad El-Din have produced Sinai: The Site and the History [New York: New York University Press, 1998; ISBN 0-8147-2203-2; pp. 142; $39.93), a brief history and description of the Sinai peninsula with absolutely glorious photographs. JECS readers will be particularly interested in those of the monastery of Saint Catherine; the sections on the geography and culture of the area will supplement the sections on the monastery.
Several books recently published in hardcover are now available in paperback. Harvard UP: Hypatia of Alexandria by Maria Dzielska for $12.95 (ISBN 0-674-43776-4). Princeton UP: Dreams in Late Antiquity by Patricia Cox Miller for $16.95 (ISBN 0-691-05835-0). Yale UP: Theodosius: The Empire at Bay by Stephen Williams and Gerard Friell for $17.00 (ISBN 0-300-07447-6). Oxford UP: The Invisible God by Paul Corby Finney for $19.95 (ISBN 0-19-511381-0) (JECS 4 , 263–5); the English translation of De Doctrina Christiana edited by R. P. H. Green for $9.95 (ISBN 0-19-283232-8) - the harcover edition included a Latin text as well (JECS 5 , 460–62). Oxford UP has also reprinted in paperback Henry Chadwick’s 1986 Augustine in the Past Masters series but in something of a bargain edition since the volume, entitled Founders of Thought (ISBN 0-19-287684-8), also includes R. M...