Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Textual Criticism and the Historical Jesus
Author: Bird, Michael F.
Author: Byrskog, Samuel
Author: Catchpole, David
Author: Marshall, Howard I.
Author: Patterson, Stephen J.
Author: Bauckham, Richard
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
- Mark 10:18 Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
There endeth the lesson!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Andrew E. Steinmann
Alan J. Thompson
"Unity in Acts: Idealization or Reality?"
Thomas L. Wenger
David M. Ciocchi
Michael A. Farely
Thanks to Michael for the notice below about Voorwinde's article on Israel in the New Testament. While I have yet to read it, I agree that his three point summary is useful. Generally, however, I find scholarly discussions of the meaning of Israel do not adequately take into account the multivalent nature of the term.
Friday, October 24, 2008
It is Friday evening now!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
1. Building on the previous post about "Heresy Hunting" and the "Christian Apocrypha", EA demonstrates that Apocryphal writings were also written by Heresy Hunters. Part of the purpose of EA is to discredit "Simon and Cerinthus, that no one should follow them - for in them is deceit with which they kill men - that you may be established and not waver, not be shaken and turn not away from the word of the Gospel that you have heard" (EA 1).
2. I am impressed at the way that in EA the purpose of the apostolic mission is to go to the twelve tribes of Israel and the nations (EA 30, 36). No supersession of a Jewish mission for a gentile mission in this document.
3. There is also a glowing account of the yet-to-come Paul (EA 31, 33) and Jesus tries to prepare the disciples for him (in which case we'd have to say that more preparation was probably needed).
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Elain Pagels stresses that the Gnostic writers 'did not regard themselves as "heretics"'. Of course note. But the issue of heresy is hardly a matter of self-designation. Let us assume that these writers (including forgers) sincerely believed that they possessed the truth and that the conventional Christians had it all wrong, while the conventional Christians were equally sure that theirs was the true Christianity. Within the confines of faith, the charge of heresy can be resolved objectively only on the basis of which side more accurately transmitted the original teachings of Jesus. That decision must come down to sources (p. 152)."
"Had the Gnostics prevailed, they presumably would be viewed today rather more in the manner that Pagels and other 'Ivy League' Gnostics would wish, assuming that such a thing as Christianity still existed. But the Gnostics did not prevail, because they did not present nearly so plausible a faith, nor did they seem to understand how to create sturdy organizations. Instead, most of them did and taught their own 'thing'. To sum up, the Gnostics gospels were rejected for good reason: they constitute idiosyncratic, often lurid personal visions reported by scholarly mystics, ambitious pretenders, and various outsiders who found their life's calling in dissent. Whatever else might be said about them, surely they were heretics. As N.T. Wright put it, they 'represent ... a form of spirituality which, while still claiming the name of Jesus, has left behind them every things that made Jesus who he was, and that made the early Christians what they were' (p. 154)."
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
“First, Hengel has set a high standard of thoroughness of research that continues to instruct and inspire. Second, his frank acknowledgement of his Christian stance and theological concerns is commendable, both in its honesty and in his demonstration (contrary to the anxieties of some) such a commitment can actually inspire dedicated and critical historical analysis that wins the praise of scholars of various faith-stances. Third, over and against both anti-critical conservatism of a creedalistic or fundamentalistic nature, and over and against the now-fashionable disdain of the validity of critical historical investigation in some so-called ‘post-modernist’ circles, and also over and against the tendency by some other NT scholars to play off critical historical study and hermeneutical concerns, Hengel’s body of work stands as a monumental refutation and inspiration.” (p. 75).
The areas where I have found Hengel to be helpful and even inspirational are: 1. He is a first class exponent of primary sources. 2. He combines historical acumen with theological sensitivity. 3. The breadth of his research and learning is immense. 4. He has shown that views often touted as conservative (e.g. history in Acts, Jesus as a messianic claimant, critical of form criticism) are not based on theological prejudices but on sound historical evidence.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Somn. 1:141 - "Now philosophers in general are wont to call these demons, but the sacred scripture calls them angels, using a name more in accordance with nature".
1. Roland assumes that the left is correct in their views and values. Now I write this as a social conservative and a proponent of a free market economy with socialist sympathies. I cannot join the radical left and here's why. I believe passionately in civil rights and defending the most defenceless which is precisely why I'll part with my head rather than consent to abortion on demand and euthanasia. I think high levels of government intervention in a free market is better than a communist system against the ownership of private property. Legalized drugs profits only drug dealers and prostitution, legal or illegal, is the most common means of exploiting girls under the age of 17. To give another example, Christian sexual ethics of celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in marriage (despite the fact it's not uniquely Christian and is common in many non-western cultures) is not oppressive but is actually good for individuals and society in my view. Compare that to the sexualizing of children in recent art exhibitions in Australia and I'll chose Benny 16 over Bill Henson any day of the week! I'm not stupid enough to try legislate Christian sexual ethics for people who are not Christians, but I tire of being called a sexophobe because I belong to a tradition that values chastity, purity, and fidelity. (Note, none of these issues are raised by Roland and it's just my rant as to why I'm not a leftie).
2. What Roland calls the extreme religious right seems to refer to those who hold to teachings and beliefs that are centuries old (esp. in regards to sexuality, the uniqueness of Christ, belief in the authority of Scriptures, etc). The problem here is that you can become right wing just by standing still in 2000 years of Christian teaching! Roland also seems glabberghasted by the fact that the Pope is Catholic! If Roland wants to rescue the Bible from those who use it to support the Iraq War, oppress the Palestinians, oppose climate control measures, support American military and economic hegemony, and the right to carry arms and form militias - no objection from me and I'll give you an "amen" - but I think his idea of the religious right also seems to absorb those more moderate Christians who would adhere to what C.S. Lewis called "mere Christianity". Now maybe Roland has teased this out elsewhere, but there is alot of people in between the extremes represented by Liberation Theology on the one hand and those represented by the Rapture Index on the other hand. Most of us evangelical Christians are neither!
3. An alliance between the religious left and secular left? I see no reason why the secular left will ever want to make use of the Bible any more than the Vatican would want to make use of the Humanist Manifesto. Some secular groups (I think of the Greens in Australia) are determined to exterminate the non-religious left from the public landscape. The Australian Greens oppose the existence of Christian private schools and public schools having chaplains. The left wing intelligentsia preaches pluralism and tolerance but does not tolerate anyone who does not accept their view of religious and social pluralism. As for the religious left losing the Bible, well, the problem is not that they lost it, but they abandoned it. In the left-leaning American Episcopal Church their mission is based more on the UN Millennium Goals and Al Gore's home movies than on Scripture. Call the Bible a fractious and multivalent document if ya like, but in ecclesial communities it is a symphonic arrangement of voices that sing about the story of God, God's Word, and God's new world revealed in his Son. Perhaps this is what the religious left needs to learn again rather than taking a course on Marxism 101.
4. The pro-religion secular left (i.e. those who see religion as having a legitimate and helpful place in a secular society) would do better to partner up with moderate conservatives rather than gravitate to the vocal but impotent ultra-religious left and spend their time fighting the ultra-right. Despise the evangelicals if ya like for their opposition to gay marriage and abortion, their claim that Jesus is the only saviour, but take into account their philanthropic exploits. I know of more Christians Doctors who leave their practices and go to Africa and Asia than areligious or atheist Doctors who do the same (now there can be atheist Philanthropists, Bill Hayden comes to mind), but you're more likely to see the Salvation Army on the Streets of Sydney after dark helping the homeless than members of the Australian Humanist Society. As James Crossley and I concluded in our book How Did Christianity Begin? secularists and evangelicals can work together to enhance the human condition. Though we might disagree with what is enhancing (e.g. gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research) there can be agreement on fighting world poverty, HIV-AIDS programs, and promoting religious freedom. If you know of organisations like the International Justice Mission, Tear Fund, or Compassion Australia, then you'll see that the evangelicals have already gone ahead of you.
"[T]he Sermon on the Mount is a description of character and not a code of ethics or of morals. It is not to be regarded as a law- a kind of new ‘Ten Commandments’ or set of rules and regulations which are to be carried out by us-but rather as a description of what we Christians are meant to be" (D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Vol.1, [IVP, 1966], 23).
This is not how you should interpret the SOTM! This makes the strenuous commands of the SOTM more like ideals one can gaze at with awe, rather than seeing it as the manifesto for the new kingdom community that Jesus called his disciples to be. Disciples of Jesus are to be followers, not fans of his teachings. They are called to radical obedience not meditation on how good we might conceivably be one day.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I found the discussion to be a bit hit and miss. All the same, Michael Horton is a sharp guy and a good speaker who successfully raises many of the contested issues.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Paul, the Pastoral Epistles, and the Early Church
Library of Pauline Studies (ed. S.E. Porter)
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2008
Available at Alban Books in the UK
Available at Amazon.com in the USA
Friday, October 10, 2008
Available at Amazon.com
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Paul and the Testimonia: Quo Vademus?
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Webb, Robert L.
Did the Historical Jesus Prohibit All Oaths? Part 2
Meier, John P.
A Response to John P. Meier's 'Did the Historical Jesus Prohibit All Oaths?'
Hagner, Donald A.
The Prohibition of Oaths and Contra-scriptural Halakhot: A Response to John P. Meier
Historical Jesus and Oaths: A Response to Donald A. Hagner and Jonathan Klawans
Meier, John P.
A Prophet Is Rejected in His Home Town (Mark 6.4 and Parallels): A Study in the Methodological (In)Consistency of the Jesus Seminar
Lyons, William John
Eyewitnesses and the Oral Jesus Tradition
Dunn, James D.G.
Morton Smith as M. Madiotes: Stephen Carlson's Attribution of Secret Mark to a Bald Swindler Pantuck, Allan J.; Brown, Scott G.
Monday, October 06, 2008
"According to Paul’s best-known letters, every person, whether Jew or Gentile, needs forgiveness of sins, salvation by Christ’s blood rather than self-salvation by the misunderstood and misused law of God, and redemption from eternal death. For everyone the spiritual freedom has immediate consequences in the social setting of his or her own life. But Philem 16 makes it explicit that salvation and redemption, freedom and equality are divine gifts far too precious to be left to the handling of even so good a Christian and so legal a slave owner as Philemon. When this man receives and treats Onesimus as a brother he receives, according to verse 17, a person ‘sent back’ (v. 12) by Paul who is to be received the same way as the apostle hopes to be received. Not only brother Paul but also brother Onesimus will have to show and tell brother Philemon a few things relevant to faith and life, and the latter will have to listen to and follow good advice and proposals. if this be applied to twentieth-century conditions, it means that professional philosophers and social scientists, pastors and theology professors, politicians and industrial managers, trade unionists and revolutionaries have no monopoly on representing and proclaiming a social order that would deserve to be called free and just and peaceful."
Thursday, October 02, 2008
- The Lamb is worthy to open the scroll by virtue of its sacrificial death;
- The Lamb inaugurates the events that lead to victory and salvation for the people of God;
- The Lamb makes war on the enemies of God's people and defeats them;
- The Lamb holds the book of life with the names of the 'saved';
- The Lamb protects the community from harm; and
- The Lamb shares divine honours with God.