Areas of Research an Expertise

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.

Current Research Projects

PhD Thesis

Hannah Kronegger is currently working on the topic

Women in the Lucanian writings

How does the evangelist Luke, who is also called the "evangelist of women", tell about female characters? What roles and functions does he ascribe to them? Which traditions does he follow and which own accents does he set in the course of his double work? These questions will be investigated in the context of the dissertation project - with historical-critical and narratological research instruments, gender-sensitive.

More about Hannah Kronegger can be found here

Paula Greiner-Bär is currently working on the topic

Knowledge - Power - Space. An analysis of the convergence of narratological and spatial theoretical structures in the Gospel of Matthew.

The dissertation project will investigate how spatial theory and a critical analysis of space based on it can complement and enrich the traditional historical critical method. This question combines a spatio-critical analysis as a supplement to the instruments of a historical-critical exegesis with the narratological analysis.

Based on current spatial concepts and theories, the study focuses on how narrative texts, certain motifs and representations, and overall narratological structures create space.

Spatial and narratological analysis focus on the aspects of "knowledge" and "power," especially on the question of how "knowledge" and "power" in the Gospel of Matthew are connected to the construction of space or different spatial constellations. As narratives, in fact, narrative texts aim to specifically generate a certain "knowledge" in the service of establishing and enforcing "power." It is under this sign that the narrative design of the figures in the Gospel of Matthew is taken into consideration.

Licentiate

Gustavo Vega Toro is currently working on the topic

CHURCH AND WORLD - The early Christian apologists and current discourses

We Christians often point out that we are in a secularized world in order to emphasize that the circumstances in which we have to live our faith today are fundamentally different from those that prevailed a few decades ago, and that this extraordinary transformation forces us to ask ourselves how we should really live the faith. Our failure to respond adequately to this radical socio-cultural change has recently led to an unprecedented crisis of credibility for Christianity. In the context of this work, I have the opportunity to elaborate on what is meant by credibility crisis. The primary purpose of shedding light on this crisis is to present processes of understanding and learning how to face positively and negatively certain aspects of contemporary socio-cultural reality, which I will summarize later.

The purpose of this licentiate thesis is to examine early Christian apologia and present it as a response to current discourses.

Master thesis

Juliane Neitzke is currently writing her master thesis on the topic of

Pregnancy and birth metaphors in the Corpus Paulinum against the background of contemporary tocology

The authentic Pauline letters make use of linguistic imagery related to procreation, pregnancy, and birth in several statements (e.g. 1 Cor 4:15; 1 Cor 15:8; Gal 4:19; Rom 8:22). The purpose of the study is to evaluate these statements on the basis of 1st century gynecology and obstetrics, drawing on the physician Soranos of Ephesus by name, and to determine the contexts in which Paul makes use of this metaphor.

Annika Heberling has written her master thesis on the topic of

High Priest of the Goods to Come and Mediator of the New Covenant. Cultic conceptions and traditions in Heb 9:11-28

In Heb 9, redemption is described in cultic terms starting from Old Testament cultic traditions, especially starting from the Day of Atonement ritual (Lev 16) and the covenant ritual interpreted as a purification ritual (Ex 24). This thesis will examine how the author in Heb 9 proceeds in his reception of the cultic traditions and what function this has for his description of redemption.

The master thesis was awarded with the Award of the Catholic Theological Faculty Erfurt

Paula Greiner-Bär has written her master thesis on the topic of

"Where is the newborn King of the Jews?" (Mt 2,2) - On the disposition of places and spaces in the Matthean childhood narrative

This research of the childhood narrative in the first two chapters of Matthew's Gospel focuses primarily on the places and spaces that are mentioned in the narrative and in which the events and actions described take place. The places and spaces, however, are not understood merely as physical and geographical defaults that merely provide the passive, historically random, and contingent framework of a referenced and imagined sequence of events and actions. Rather, the question is whether and to what extent places and spaces are integrative components of the narrative, through which they are defined and constructed by the narrator's intention. Furthermore, the question is explored to what extent these places and spaces, for their part, structure the narrative and contribute to the constitution of the text's meaning in a variety of ways. The purpose is to answer the question "where" of the newborn King of the Jews (cf. Mt 2,2) with the help of the critical space theory (according to Sybille Bauriedl) in order to open up a new horizon of interpretation and understanding.

The master thesis was awarded with the Award of the Catholic Theological Faculty Erfurt