1. First of all, we wish to thank you for taking your time for this interview. What encouraged you to author the revealing publications „Critical Research on the Gospel of John in Ge'ez" and "The Gospel of John in Greek"?
The Gospel of John is a very important religious document. It played a major role in the Early Church, which its discussions about God and Christ not only, but also about God's grace and its implications. That discussion is still relevant in our days, because the impact of belief on society is under discussion. Preparing my Sunday-preachings, I am used to look closely at the text in all its early text-forms and the I discover that almost each variant has its own merits.. I have a wide range of languages at my disposal, so that I can see how the text of this Gospel functioned in the different regions of the Early Church. The international Greek New Testament Project (Münster) has the tendency to downplay the relevance of the early versions, because its aim still is to look for the "original" Gospel. In my opinion, this has never existed: it was a supposition of the research, but the textual differentiation existed from the very beginning of the tradition of the Gospel. The oral tradition that functioned in liturgy was a broad and vivid one. Only later on, from 200 onwards came a certain form of standardisation, as we see in the greater manuscripts, dating from the 4-5c. onwards.
2. Tell us more about you. Where are you from and why you decided to publish a book?
I am a minister of the Protestant Church, and therefore I am using the Gospel almost every Sunday in my preaching. Every detail of the text has its own ,merits: the copyist were skillful persons, who treated the text with much reverence and thus every detail can have its relevance. I decided to publish these books, because I think the Gospel text is worth to be known in all its details, as being as relevant for research, as for liturgical use. For more than 20 years, I am teaching introduction in the New Testament in a preparation-course for lay-men in our regional Church.
3. What is the feedback on your publications so far?
Most colleagues admire my "monks-work"; as they call it. But I see it as a fruitful pass-time: to get new insights for my pastoral work.
4. It is part of our business concept to actively look for new authors. What was your first reaction when you received our proposal to publish your academic work with us?
Natalia Cazacu contacted me years ago, and I thought to have more time to publish after my retirement. So recently I took up contact with her and I find the efficient way you work with me outstanding. Therefore, I decided to work with you and your team. The more it is in these terrible days good to support you and your team with these publications.
5. What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I read mostly theological books: concerning Old and New Testament, Patristics and Theology (the school of Karl Barth). Rochus Zuurmond, who published about the Gospel of Mark and that of Matthew in Ge'ez, has encouraged me, also in his more theological writings.
6. What was your experience with our team like?
I guess that most readers of my publications will be researchers in the field of New Testament and its textual criticism: libraries in Münster, Hamburg, München, Paris, Leiden, Leuven,Louvasin-la-Neuve, Oxford, Cambridge, Lausanne, Geneva, Vatican, Tbilisi, Erevan, Jerusalem, Washington, Texas and Portland will be interested..
7. Are you planning another book publication? And if so, on which topic and can you imagine cooperating with us in the future again?
I am preparing two more books(on Mark in French and on Matthew), that I plan to publish with your help in the time to come..
8. Any last thoughts for our readers?
The books are more a kind of reference-works: for consultation and not for an easy close-reading..