I have been quite busy this quarter teaching as part of the Humanities Core at UC Irvine. So far we have covered the Incan Empire and Shakespeare’s Tempest, and we are now beginning to explore British colonialism in India. All of these subjects are outside of my ordinary academic background, and so I have been having to do a lot of reading to expand my inter-disciplinary horizons. It’s an excellent learning experience, but it has also been keeping me very busy. I got up at 1am this morning to grade (ironically enough) a student blog assignment. I’m currently enjoying that good feeling a teacher gets after finishing the grind of grading a (virtual, in this case) stack of assignments.
Since I am a bit preoccupied at the moment with teaching and dissertation work, I thought I’d announce some recent peer-reviewed articles that I am publishing. First off, I have a 12,000 word article coming out this year with Francis Cairns Publications, as part of the Langford Latin Seminar. It’s their 17th volume, the topic of which is “Ancient Biography: Identity through Lives.” Since Greco-Roman biography is probably my greatest research emphasis, I was obviously quite glad to have an opportunity to publish with this volume. The title of my article is “Comparative Eschatology in Alexander’s Letter to Olympias and the Book of Revelation.” It expands and develops an idea that I had in this earlier blog essay. Here is the abstract for the article:
“This article makes a comparison of the Letter to Olympias, affixed to the end of book two of the Alexander Romance (2.23–41), with Greco-Roman and Christian apocalyptic literature, with aim toward interpreting many of the eschatological themes in the text, particularly with regard to Alexander’s quest to seek “the end of the world” (τὸ τέλος τῆς γῆς, 2.37). Alexander attempts to journey to the “Land of the Blessed” (μακάρων χώρα, 2.39), whence he is turned back by two birds with human faces (2.40), he fails to drink from the “Spring of Immortality” (ἀθανάτου … πηγή, 2.39), and a flying creature in the form of a man points him back to the earth when he “comes close to ascending to heaven” (πλησίον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὑπάρχειν, 2.41). These setbacks are interpreted as reflecting the limitations of a terrestrial eschatology, which is bound to an eschaton that can only reach the ends of a mortal sphere on earth. This terrestrial eschatology is contrasted with the celestial eschatology in the Book of Revelation, in which the present world is destroyed (21:1), and a New Jerusalem descends from heaven (21:2).”
The volume is scheduled to be published on May 15, 2018. I’ll discuss more details about it when it hits the press. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to post the article electronically, due to copyright, so you will have to purchase the volume or obtain it from a library to read it. I will check with the editor, however, to see if I can privately send electronic copies to people, by request, online.
The other two articles are on the Secular Web. Both are expanded and heavily footnoted versions of blog essays that I originally wrote here on Κέλσος. The first is my article “Ancient Historical Writing Compared to the Gospels of the New Testament,” which contrasts the compositional methods and genre of the NT Gospels with those of ancient historians–like Thucydides and Tacitus–and historical biographers–like Plutarch and Suetonius, and likewise addresses the question of how the Gospels’ genre affects their historical reliability. The article is over 13,500 words long and can be viewed online through the linked title above.
The other article is “Why Scholars Doubt the Traditional Authors of the Gospels,” which discusses the anonymity of the NT Gospels and the problems surrounding their traditional apostolic authorial attributions. The article not only summarizes why mainstream NT scholars doubt the patristic attributions of the Gospels to their traditional names, but also explains from a Classical perspective why the Gospels’ authorial attributions are not as reliable as those for other texts from antiquity, such as the authorial attributions for the works of Tacitus and Plutarch. This article is over 36,800 words long, and also can be viewed through the linked title above.
All together, these publications add up to over 60,000 words, which is about the length of a short book. I also just finished a draft for a short book chapter, as part of another publication that I am currently working on. Right now I have a lot of projects that I am developing as part of my long-term plans. I’m currently working on my dissertation, which (assuming all goes well) will eventually turn into a scholarly monograph, and I still plan to develop a counter-apologetics book out of the content on this blog at some point. All of this will take time, but for now, I am happy to announce that some fruit as been borne.