(Larry Hurtado): One of our very recent PhD graduates, Sean Adams, has been awarded one of the very competitive (three-year) British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships in the latest round, and will taking it up based here in New College. Sean’s PhD thesis was an attempt to assess (more fully than previous efforts) the likely level of educational/rhetorical training reflected in Acts of the Apostles. Building on his previous work (including also his undergraduate studies in Classics), he summarizes his rather ambitious project as follows:
“My project begins with an overview of the Greek education system to determine (as far as possible) which authors and genres were taught at which level of education. Particular emphasis will be given to understanding the role of rhetorical training within the educational system, specifically the use of progymnasmata (“rhetorical handbooks”). Having looked at Greek education generally, I will focus on the known/suspected differences between Jewish and non-Jewish Greek education to determine what author/text preferences may have existed.
This study will provide a holistic evaluation of education in the first century CE, delineating the boundaries of literary, genre, or rhetorical claims that may be made on that basis. The findings will be applied to New Testament authors in general, with a particular focus on Luke and Paul. Overall, I argue that a thorough understanding of the Hellenistic Greek educational system and the texts and authors studied in (Jewish-)Hellenistic schools is necessary for establishing claims of literary influence on the New Testament.”
As well, Sean will be offered teaching opportunities and professional mentoring, as a part of the responsibilities we take on in accepting BA Fellows. We all join in congratulating him, and we look forward to the progress of his project.