LETTER WRITING IN ANTIQUITY AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY
Throughout the Roman imperial period, letters were an important and popular means of communication and literary practice among Greeks and Romans. Early Christians also participated in this literary development: the movement of the Christian believers itself actually developed through letter-writing. The use of letters in early Christianity included religious and moral instruction, theological propaganda, pastoral care and counseling, and the exercise of (official) authority. In the 2nd century letters continuously became an important instrument of communication between Christian communities.
Thomas Johann Bauer has presented several studies on ancient and early Christian letter writing, especially on Paul as letter-writer. His research also includes early Christian pseudepigraphic letters, among them the pseudo-Pauline writings and the highly disputed letters of Ignatius of Antiochia.
Currently, Thomas Johann Bauer is working on a Commentary on the Letter of Polycarp of Smyrna for the Series “Kommentar zu den Apostolischen Vätern”.
APOCALYPTICISM, THE REVELATION TO JOHN AND THE MILLENIAL KINGDOM
Apocalypticism and apocalyptic thoughts were important for the origins and development of Christianity. Jesus himself shared apocalyptic expectations, and apocalyptic ideas and motives can be found throughout the New Testament and early Christian writings. Nevertheless, the Revelation to John is the only writing in the New Testament that entirely adopts the literary form “Apocalypse”. It pretends to be some kind of special revelation to a seer, and to give special insights in God’s plan for humankind, world and history.
Thomas Johann Bauer presented several studies on Revelation. A focus of his research is chapter 20 and the hope for a millennial kingdom where the ones who were faithful to God and Christ are rewarded, before the present world perishes and the new creation and the eternal Kingdom of God are established.
ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF THE LATIN BIBLE
There are two distinct forms of the Latin text of the Bible, the Vetus Latina and the Vulgate. The term Vetus Latina or Old Latin version does not refer to a single and specific translation or form of the text, but it is a collective name that includes all forms of the Latin text of the Bible which differ significantly from the Vulgate Version and originated prior to Jerome. In Old Testament books many of these differences are due to the fact that the Old Latin version was translated from the Greek Bible (Septuagint), not from the Hebrew text. The Old Latin version in its different forms stayed in use and remained the predominant Latin translation of the Bible almost until the end of the first millennium. After the Vulgate Version, completed by Jerome and others, had gradually become the common text of the Latin Bible since the 8th century, there was no longer any interest in the Old Latin version.
Thomas Johann Bauer has published papers on the older Latin text and on the history of the Latin Bible. He is repsonsible for the Beuron Vetus Latina, the most complete editions of all the witnesses of the older Latin text oft he Bible.