Monday, October 17, 2011

Understanding What One Reads II

Book presentation: Understanding What One Reads II (14 October 2011, 6:00 pm-6:30 pm)

The book on the page of the publisher.

To celebrate Professor Jan Lambrecht’s 85th birthday the research group of Exegesis, Hermeneutics and Theology of the corpus Paulinum and corpus Johanneum organized a conference to honor him. In continuation of a tradition that started twenty years ago the celebration of his birthday was accompanied with a publication of a Festschrift in his honor. For the celebration of his 65th birthday in 1991 his former doctoral students offered a Festschrift to him and this resulted in the publication in 1992 of Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword: Essays in Honor of Professor Dr. Jan Lambrecht S.J. (Louvain Studies, 17/2-3). His 75th birthday in 2001 offered an occasion to honor him in a more extensive way and a number of international scholars contributed to a Festschrift in his honor, and this resulted in the publication in 2002 of Resurrection in The New Testament: Festschrift J. Lambrecht (BETL, 165) (can be consulted on google books). And this year for his 85th birthday Lambrecht wrote his own Festschrift, entitled Understanding What One Reads II: Essays on the Gospels and Paul (2003-2011) (Annua Nuntia Lovaniensia, 64) and during the conference this Festschrift was presented.

The book was presented by the editor Veronica Koperski (Barry University, Miami). She honored her Doktorvater and told a story about the cover of the book, which shows rubbings of the floor of the cathedral of Florence. As Veronica explains in the preface to the book: ‘The cracks in the stones’ - done by Melissa Behrle - at first brought to mind the brokenness caused by the scandals in the church, but further reflection caused her to understand that the wearing down of the stone was caused by the faithful who continued to come to pray there during the centuries, and that this could be seen as cause for hope." Afterwards she presented the book to Lambrecht who proudly and amidst loud and warm applause received the book that is hot off the press.

Reimund Bieringer gave an overview of the book in three parts, and the focus of each part was respectively on past, present and future. (1) Past: in this part he explained how this book fits within the oeuvre of Jan Lambrecht since 1994 only focusing on his collected essay volumes. In 2005-2006 Lambrecht has published extensively on the analysis of the Nieuwe Bijvelvertaling, a Dutch Bible translation from 2004. In 2003 Understanding What One Reads: New Testament Essays (Annua Nuntia Lovaniensia, 46) (can be consulted on google books) was published. This was an attempt to collect the shorter writings of Lambrecht of the period 1992-2002 into a volume that would be more accessible. The cover and the title of this first volume is a reference to Acts 8:30. It is about the encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian official who is reading the prophet Isaiah. Philip asks him whether he understands what he is reading, and in reply the official asks for guidance. This book contains 22 articles, 10 of which deal with the Synoptic Gospels and Acts (5/10 on the relation between Mk and Q), 11 on the Pauline homologoumena and 1 on Revelation. (2) Present: in this part the present book, Understanding What One Reads II, was presented. This book supplements the first volume and is a collection of Lambrecht’s essays which he has written in the period of 2003-2011, the majority of the articles have been published in journals or festschrifts. There are 35 articles of varying length, 12 articles focus on the gospels (3 on Mark 13), 22 on the Pauline homologoumena (8 on Romans and 7 on 2 Corinthians). The final article deals with Dei Verbum. The majority of the studies are strictly scientific, some studies were written for a non-specialized audience and some were presented at conferences. The shorter articles are replies to recent publications in leading international journals (e.g., Bib, CBQ, ETL, NTS). The emphasis in this book is. e.g.. on a careful analysis of grammar, line of thought, structure, reasoning, style, etc. The studies are a result of a close reading of the text and demonstrate a concern for sound method. Concerning content the book deals, e.g., with parables, πίστις Χριστοῦ, death of Jesus, eschatology, etc. Lambrecht also enters into discussion with specialized authors, among them are, e.g., Jean-Noël Aletti, Sandra Schneiders, Albert Vanhoye, Michael Wolter etc. (3) Future: as technology evolves Lambrecht also has discovered the internet as a publication platform and uses the advantages that this medium offers. On his personal website you can find his biography and a bibliography of his oeuvre in canonical order, which demonstrates that Lambrecht is a prolific writer from both an academic and a pastoral perspective. It is also good to know that on Lambrecht’s website some otherwise unpublished articles are accessible in digital form.

Soeng Yu Li
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