Dale Allison on the History of Interpretation

Dale Allison observes how the patterns of most commentaries privilege recent works over older sources. Rather, he says the history of interpretation invites serious consideration for the following reasons. “Such history is intrinsically interesting in and of itself.” “It instills … Continue reading

QOTD: The Goal of Reception History (JSNT 33)

My academic interests have shifted drastically over the past number of years. One of these interests propelled forward into the spot-light is the Patristic studies. They have great value in shaping hermeneutics, theology, and piety. Over the next number of months, I am personally working through methodologies of History of Interpretation and Reception History (Wirkungsgeschichte); both of which, need defining (more to come on making sure these two methods are understood without conflating the two; they do two different things).

In this process of working through methodologies, I came across this quote. although Roberts and Rowland conflate the concepts of “History of Interpretation” and “Reception History,” this quote, nonetheless, is extremely remarkable.

The goal of reception history is to develop an open-ended dialogic form of hermeneutics that is not alienated from human experience, and which enables exegesis to regain its interpretative self-consciousness. Once this is understood, the social and existential relevance of reception history becomes more apparent.[1]

An “open-ended dialogic form of hermeneutics” is a clear description of the HoI and Reception History’s foundation.


[1]Jonathan Roberts and Christopher Rowland, “Introduction,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33, no. 2 (Dec 2010): 133.

Novum Testamentum Patristicum

For those involved in the History of Interpretation, it would be worthwhile to pay attention to Novum Testamentum Patristicum. This is an international enterprise whereby 45 volumes are expected to come out in German or English. The goal of this series is to provide critical analysis of the New Testament texts in the early church. Here is the list of contributors.

Here is a blurb from their home page:

The Novum Testamentum Patristicum Commentary Series (NTP) evaluates the reception of the entire New Testament in ancient Christian literature and examines each passage within its respective context.

45 volumes (39 commentaries and 6 supplementary volumes) are scheduled to come out either in German or in English. The project was initiated in 1993 by Kurt Niederwimmer, in cooperation with Gerhard May (d. 2007), Henning Paulsen (d. 1995) and Basil Studer (d. 2008). The present editors are Andreas Merkt (since 2004), Tobias Nicklas (since 2005) and Joseph Verheyden (since 2007). The first volume, M. Meiser, Galater, NTP 9, was published in 2007. On August 18, 2008 this volume (together with another work) received the ‘Pope Benedict XVI’ Research Award, worth €15,000, from the Governor of Bavaria.

The series is published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, under the supervision of Jörg Persch.

The NTP-Group comprises about 30 scholars from various countries, disciplines and denominations. Their contact details can be found in the list of participating authors.

They regularly organize international conferences (Oxford 2007, Leuven 2009, Regensburg 2010, Siegen 2011, Leuven 2012, Groningen 2013). The conference papers are published in a volume.

Pertinent to my PhD studies, I’m personally looking forward to the Hebrews volume, edited by Drs. Gabriella Aragione and Enrico Norelli.