Forthcoming Publications of the American School of Classical Studies

I received a little pamphlet in the mail on Saturday about forthcoming publications of the ASCSA in 2016. Since some of these have been in production for years, I’ll save more detailed comments until the works actually appear in print. Forthcoming books include studies from Corinth, Isthmia, and the Nemea Valley, as well as the revised site guide to Corinth. I have provided links to the press pages for each book.

 

 

Keeping the Feast: Metaphors of Sacrifice in 1 Corinthians (Patterson)

This one seems appropriate for the eve of Passover and the Easter Triduum.

Patterson, Jane Lancaster. Keeping the Feast: Metaphors of Sacrifice in 1 Corinthians and Philippians. Early Christianity and Its Literature 16. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015.

As SBL describes the work in its October 7 newsletter, “Patterson uses cognitive metaphor theory to trace the apostle Paul’s use of metaphors from the Jewish sacrificial system in his moral counsels to the Philippians and the Corinthians. In these letters, Paul moves from the known (the practice of sacrifice) to the unknown (how to live in accord with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ). Patterson illustrates that the significant sacrificial metaphors in 1 Corinthians and Philippians are not derived from Jewish sacrifices of atonement, but rather from the Passover and sacrifices of thanksgiving. Attention to these metaphors demonstrates that imagery drawn from these sacrifices shapes the overall moral counsel of the letters, reveals more varied and nuanced interpretations of sacrificial references in Paul’s letters, and sheds light on Paul’s continuity with Jewish cultic practice.”

Selective previews of the book are available here in Google Books.

 

Crowdsourcing Paul’s Letters to Corinth

Last week I noted a few of the many new tools and online sites available for reading and interpreting Paul’s Corinthian correspondence. I was a little surprised to find so few digitally annotated commentaries on 1 and 2 Corinthians given the relative ease of coding a text through TEI markup language, the availability of online platforms that have simplified the process, and the currency of crowdsourcing in the digital humanities. One can find commentaries through subscriptions in biblegateway, of course, but there are now platforms available for producing collaborative crowdsourced commentaries.

Consider Genius, a site freely available for annotating musical lyrics. Their website claims to have made available annotations of literally millions of songs that include “all of Kanye and Kendrick, but also Hamlet, TV and movie scripts, Kurt Cobain’s suicide note, and even the Chipotle menu…”. The platform allows users to highlight difficult or obscure lyrics, annotate, comment, and add context and images to help individuals make sense of text. The site also provides a Genius Web Annotator which, through a Chrome extension, gives users the ability to mark up any internet page, make one’s own website annotatable, and easily share annotations with anyone. The website already has many Corinthian-related texts uploaded by their user community including Pausanias’ Book 2, Lord Byron’s “Siege of Corinth,” and chapters from modern scholarship such as Dale Martin’s The Corinthian Body.Genius

For one successful model in using Genius to mark up the Corinthian correspondence, check out Professor Laura Nasrallah‘s commentaries on the Pauline epistles and the Corinthian correspondence crowdsourced by Harvard University undergraduates. Nasrallah’s guide for students includes both practical suggestions such as formatting and multimedia, as well as contextual questions for students to consider as they annotate:

  • What is the significance of the historical context of the political power of the Roman Empire?
  • What is the significance of the socio-economic context of the first century CE?
  • What do the various arguments within the Pauline correspondence reveal about the debates in which the earliest Christians were engaged?
  • How does your experience help you to bring new interpretive contexts and to ask better questions?

CrowdsourcedCorinthiansNasrallah’s student commentaries build on earlier semesters with the result that students may interact with earlier classes. You can see the full list of Nasrallah’s annotated chapters and books here.

Crowdsourced platforms such as Genius have a wide range of potential uses that include but go well beyond academic contexts for reading Corinthian texts. Virtually any group or community could use such a platform for a collaborative study of 1 and 2 Corinthians. And it would be great to see someone put together a digital patristic commentary on these letters–an online version of Gerald Bray’s ancient Christian commentaries on 1-2 Corinthians. If you have worked to digitally annotate these letters, send me a link and I’ll add it a static webpage when I convert some of these posts into more static pages.

This is the sixth post in a series on resources for the study of ancient religion and Christianity in Corinth. Earlier posts include:

 

 

Helicopter Rides along the Corinthian Coasts

A website called tripinview claims to be the world’s first visual travel website, whcih makes available 800,000 photos of 300 hours of video of Mediterranean coastline. You can map and search, build a trip, or take the website’s highlight tours from the air. The site offers extensive coverage of Mediterranean coastal territory including fantastic footage of the Corinthia. Searching via the keyword “Corinthia” turns up 40 different coastal locations that include New Corinth, Kiato, Lechaion, Sikyon, Korphos, Kenchreai, and Loutra Elenis.

If you click on a place, you have the option of scrolling through still shots of the coastline taken from a helicopter perspective, or watching 5-10 minute video sequences of the coast. You can also access information and weather information about each of these places.

tripinview (2)

This is a fantastic tool for seeing Greek coastlines from a whole new perspective. For example, on this six minute flight from Loutra Elenis to the Corinth Canal on the Saronic Gulf, you’ll have a completely unique visual perspective of the winding coastline, Mt. Oneion, topography, and a series of archaeological sites. There are excellent views of the submerged harbor of Kenchreai and the Koutsongila Ridge with its Roman-Late Roman cemetery.

tripinview_kenchreai

 

A visual from the cape known as Akra Sophia facing toward Kenchreai and Mt. Oneion. Akra Sophia was the location of Roman to Early Byzantine villa sites published by Timothy Gregory.

tripinview_akrasophia

 

And here’s the helicopter perspective from Akra Sophia facing toward the canal. This marks the beginning of the Isthmus, at least as Greek writers of the classical and Hellenistic age imagined the landscape.

tripinview_saronic_isthmus

On this ten minute flight from the Corinth Canal to Kiato, you’ll see New Corinth and a series of little Corinthian settlements on the Corinthian Gulf. Great images of the external harbor and internal basins at Lechaion, as well as the early Christian basilica there.TripInView_LechaionHarbor

 

Unfortunately no inland footage, so you won’t get a good view of Ancient Corinth except from a distance. Still, this is a great resource. I could imagine showing both of the videos noted above in history or archaeology classes that introduce Corinth’s situation near a connecting Isthmus.

Thanks to Dimitri Nakassis for the tip about this site.

More on the Lechaion Harbour Project

The news site Haaretz ran a story last week about the Lechaion Harbour Project that circulated through the news networks. I didn’t see too much in the story that was new or different than the press release that went global in late December (which we covered here). In reading the Haaretz piece, though, I discovered this little article published at the Carlsberg Foundation website: “Danish Archaeologists behind Sensational Discovery in Greece.” The piece discusses Bjørn Lovén’s discovery of the caissons, as well as the future of the project. Loven notes: “With the finding of such well-preserved wood, we have great expectations to make further discoveries. Both in the inner harbor and in the outer harbor, we hope to find underwater remnants of buildings, equipment, furniture, ship parts and other organic material from the Greek and Roman period.” The investigations will continue for two more years. Check out the article here.

 

Ancient City: Application of Novel Geo-Information Technologies in Ancient Greek Urban Studies

I received an email from Jamie Donati who kindly shared with me more information about the Ancient City project and website, which provides the:

Visit the Ancient City website to learn more. See Politeai for an affiliated project.

WebGIS_Corinth

Elastic Roads

Google Earth provides excellent satellite imagery and aerial photographs of the Corinthia, but the service seems not to have done so well in reconciling the built features  of the landscape with the topography in the area of the Corinth Canal. My six-year old and I were flying around the Isthmus and discovered the distortion in imagery that makes the national highway and railway look like a themepark roller coaster. Have no fear: the roads over the canal are perfectly flat, or at least they were the last I checked.
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Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions

 

This new Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, edited by Eric Orlin and a team of collaborators, claims to be the “first comprehensive single-volume reference work offering authoritative coverage of ancient religions in the Mediterranean world.” As the publisher page describes it:
The volume’s scope extends from pre-historical antiquity in the third millennium B.C.E. through the rise of Islam in the seventh century C.E. An interdisciplinary approach draws out the common issues and elements between and among religious traditions in the Mediterranean basin. Key features of the volume include:
  • Detailed maps of the Mediterranean World, ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, and the Hellenistic World
  • A comprehensive timeline of major events, innovations, and individuals, divided by region to provide both a diachronic and pan-Mediterranean, synchronic view
  • A broad geographical range including western Asia, northern Africa, and southern Europe

This encyclopedia will serve as a key point of reference for all students and scholars interested in ancient Mediterranean culture and society.

Orlin, Eric, ed. Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Routledge, 2015.
Not possible to outline an A-Z encyclopedia running over a thousand words, but the associated keywords suggest enough connections to Corinthiaka:
Abraham. Acolyte. Aeon. Aggadah. Apis. Assumption. Baptism. Byzantine Rite. Catharsis. Church of Rome. Codex Vaticanus. Constantinople. Cult Statue. Dead Sea scrolls. Demeter. Dionysius Exiguus. Eldad and Modad. Exorcism. Falcon. Fascinus. Flavia Domitilla. Glossolalia. Hagiography. Harpokrates. Healing Cults. Heaven. Heliopolis. Herodotus. Incubation. jackal, sacred. Jannes and Jambres. Jonah. Jude, Epistle of. Kerdir. Kirta Epic. Kronos. Lady Elat. Leviathan. Liturgy of John Chrysostom. Maccabees, First Book of. Magic bowls, Aramaic. Marduk. Midrash Rabbah. Monk. Nazirite. Netinim. Obadiah. Oracle. Pantheon. Peplos. polis religion. priestess. Ptolemaic kingdom. Renenutet. rites of passage. Sacrament. Samaritan Pentateuch. Saturnalia. Selkhet. Sinai, Mt. Sophokles. Taurobolium. Theodoric. Tobiad. Urartu. Vestal Virgins. Witchcraft. Yeshiva. Yohanan ben Zakkai. Zealots. Ziggurat.
Google Books has digitized and made available a significant chunk of the encyclopedia including the forward, which outlines the reason for the work and approach to subject (new theoretical currents, interdisciplinary approaches to religion, and the growing importance of material culture, among others). Digitized text also includes maps and numerous entries, which range from a hundred words to a page or more. A keyword search by the word “Corinth” turns up a couple of dozen hits from the currently digitized material.

Reading 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Digital Age

A few years ago, a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that Americans on average were broadly illiterate about the core beliefs, writings, and teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Only about half of Americans, for example, know the Koran is the sacred text of Islam, Martin Luther was somehow associated with the Protestant Reformation, or that the four gospels of the New Testament are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (see the executive summary here). The findings echoed those of Stephen Prothero’s New York Times bestselling studyReligious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – And Doesn’t  (HarperCollins 2007), which documented the public’s general lack of knowledge about religions that many claim as near and dear to their hearts. Prothero argued that religious illiteracy was not simply an internal problem for particular religious groups and denominations but a fundamentally civic one that Americans need to remedy: presidents and politicians regularly invoke religious texts in civic discourse, after all, and knowledge of world religions would contribute to more informed foreign policy.

Whether or not you agree with Prothero, it is striking that the high rates of religious illiteracy — at least in respect to knowledge of the Hebrew and Christian bibles — can so easily coexist with the widespread availability and accessibility of ancient texts. Never before has it been easier to read, hear, and understand 1 and 2 Corinthians. Anyone with an internet connection has a thousand new digital resources at their fingertips. You can visit the Bible Gateway to read the Corinthian correspondence in dozens of languages (ancient and modern) and translations along with devotional readings and commentaries, or go to the Blue Letter Bible to find commentary, study tools, Greek text, images, sermons, music, and cross-references. Have a question about a certain part of 1 Corinthians? Ask it at biblical hermeneutics stack exchange, a crowdsourced resource designed for theologians, bible students, and anyone interested in exegetical analysis of texts. There are audio sermons galore freely available at sites such as SermonAudio and Preach It Teach It. And YouTube, of course, has a growing body of video sermons: a search on “Corinth” and “sermons” turns up nearly a thosand hits.  Then there are sermons, homilies, and studies that are constant on the internet.

I’m not sure if such resources contribute to any deep literacy about the Corinthian situation, or simply create a glut of information, but they have widely disseminated to an unprecedented extent the content and interpretations of Pauline literature and the Corinthian churches of Corinth. Over the next few weeks, I’ll continue to look at different ways that scholars are using both digital media and alternate forms of publication to explore the religious world of Corinth in the first century CE and educate a public that has the decreasing ability to read and study a long text.

This marks the fifth post in a Lenten series on resources for the study of religion and Christianity in Corinth. Earlier posts include

AncientCity – Urbanization through Geoinformatics

Updated March 21, 2016 with italicized additions and strikethrough. See also this update.

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At the 8th Congress of the Balkan Geophysical Society, held in early October in Chania, Crete, a group of authors presented a paper on a new project called AncientCity – A new Frontier in Ancient Greek Urbanization through Geoinformatics. I don’t see that the project has its own web presence yet, and I’m not sure what will become of it, but the scope and aims sound interesting if not a little ambitious. Corinth, of course, is one of the case studies. The project website lives here. Here’s the abstract:

AncientCity is a project consisting in the use of new perspectives in studying the ancient Greek urbanism through modern and advanced technological tools. The understanding, reconstruction and development of ancient Greek cities is approached through an integrated protocol composed of satellite / aerial remote sensing, multicomponent geophysical prospection and spatial analysis within a Geographical Information System platform. This approach involves the use of digital applications to detect patterns in the buried ancient built environment, the identification of surface and subsurface features through non-destructive archaeological fieldwork and the creation of digitized thematic plans of ancient Greek settlements. Five archaeological sites from two different greek geographical regions (central Greece and Peloponnese) were chosen to incorporate new urban models and recalibrate the traditional narratives about the development of the Greek city. The encouraging results of this integrated approach can be used as a prototype model for the employment of Geoinformatics in the historical and archaeological sciences within the subfield of Mediterranean archaeology and Greek Urbanization.