Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review of Männkein-Robert (ed.), Die Christen als Bedrohung?

BYRN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Irmgard Männkein-Robert (ed.), Die Christen als Bedrohung? Text, Kontext und Wirkung von Porphyrios’ 'Contra Christianos'. Roma Aeterna 5. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2017. Pp. 348. ISBN 9783515115377. €56.00 (hb). Reviewed by Pieter W. van der Horst (
This volume contains 14 papers that were presented in 2014 at a conference in Tübingen on a variety of problems concerning Porphyry’s Kata Christianôn and its cultural context. The conference took place in the larger framework of the Sonderforschungsbereich 923, called ‘Bedrohte Ordnungen’ (hence the title of the book). In a short Introduction, the editor presents a concise overview of the recent spate of scholarly work on Porphyry’s polemical treatise 1 and outlines the contributions in the volume. In the compass of this short review it is impossible to discuss all contributions in detail and do justice to them. Hence I will briefly indicate their contents and conclude with some general remarks.

Porphyry is of interest for PaleoJudaica because he was reportedly the first to dispute (correctly) the sixth-century authorship of the Book of Daniel. But the chapter by Aaron P. Johnson in the book under review may raise doubt that the passage actually comes from Porphyry. Porphyry also interacted with Christian Gnostics and refers to some Gnostic Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.

For past PaleoJudaica posts on Porphyry, see this notice of a review of Matthias Becker's recent edition of Contra Christianos and the links there. Becker is one of the contributors to the book under review.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.