I’ve known Dr. Jeremy Barrier in the Fall of 2005, when we met at the SBL meeting in Philadelphia. At the time he was preparing a PhD dissertation under the direction of Dr. Carolyn Osiek. Since then we have become friends based on our mutual interest in the Acts of Paul. Jeremy defended his PhD thesis at Brite Divivinty School in May 2008. Last week, on January 9, 2009, Dr. Barrier gave a presentation regading his PhD dissertation at Bex, Swizterland, for a regional meeting of the AELAC. During the meeting I asked him if he would like to start this blog, and he agreed. So hopefully this blog will be seeing numerous contributions from him.
The PhD dissertation has much to commend it, while it is still in pretty raw form and needs a bit of work before publication. Barrier defends the thesis that the Acts of Paul and Thecla are a novel, being written in the hey day of the Greek novel. After a solid introduction, he offers in the commentary a new text based upon Lipsius and the Heidelberg papyrus, giving pride of place to the later, as it is the oldest form of the text. He provides retroversions from Coptic into his Greek text–while the manner in which he does this is not always valid, it provides the reader with a fresh Greek text significantly different from Lipsius. He also provides numerous references to the Greek novels and other ancient literature. These references are not always explained and we hope that he will flesh them out in the published version of his text and provide more extended argumentation for his view that the Acts of Paul and Thecla is an ancient romance. Congratulations, Dr. Barrier, in your successful defense of your PhD dissertation!
Dr. Barrier is now Assistant Professor of Biblical Literature and Director of Missions at Heritage Christian University, Florence, Alabama.