Paul’s statement that seeds die after sowing in the soil before they germinate is often assessed as a commonly held view of antiquity. Some scholars even claim that it conforms to the scientific standards of ancient philosophy. This paper examines the sources cited as evidence for this claim and shows that it is untenable. Paul’s formulation is very unusual. His idea that seeds die does not make sense on the background of ancient botany. Similar, albeit not identical ideas can be found only in the context of some ancient mystery cults. It is difficult to assess how wide-spread they were.
The article examines the terms σωτήρ (Phil 3:20–21) and φιλία (Joh 15:12–17) which are characteristic of a special kind of early Christian speaking and communicating. Early Christianity learns within the linguistic guidelines of its environment to understand and express its own faith. The analysed ambiguous concepts (representative for many other terms) represent communicative contrasts: words which function as a communicative base and at the same time as a vehicle to modify and transform the perception of the addressed readers. As communicative contrasts, these terms promote the language skills of early Christianity and consolidate the identity of early Christian communities within Greek-Roman society.
Sexual violence against men is a neglected topic in the field of biblical studies. This article argues for a perspective informed by critical masculinity studies to understand sexual violence against men in an adequate way. It is used as a tool within masculine hierarchies to demean other men and their masculine performance. However, sexual violence against men is often hidden, in the texts as well as in their exegetical commentaries because sexual violence against men is almost unimaginable in common notions of successful masculinities. The article shows that sexual violence against men was used as a rhetorical tool in historical sources. Furthermore, it criticizes exegetical terminology about sexual violence against men (reversed rape, feminization) which conceal the impact of sexual violence on masculinities. The article closes with some considerations for further research.
While biblical texts generally tend to conciliatory endings, this does not seem to hold true regarding the traumatic destruction of Jerusalem in 587 v.Chr. (cf. 2 Kgs 25//Jer 52). The article presents how some texts manage to transport comforting messages along with the reference to the catastrophic event, e.g. Lev 26; Dtn 4 and 28–32 as well as 2 Kgs 25 in the context of Jos 1 – 2 Kgs 17 and more specifically 2 Kgs 17–24. Jer 52 is interpreted in connection with Jer 39–40 and 29–33. Thr 1; 3 and 5 at the end open up some comfort in the hope of being heard by God. 2 Chr 36 presents the catastrophe as a way to new beginnings. Bar 4–5 and the Letter of Jeremiah can be read as continuations of the Book of Jeremiah with a stronger accent on hope.