Monday, August 31, 2009
Moo is worth quoting in full here:
The hymn thus far has focused in Christ's role at the beginning ("in him," "through him," "before all things") and at the end ("for him") of creation. Now the focus turns to the present role of Christ in creation: in him all things hold together (italics original). The verb here (synestēken, from synistēmi) means in this context, "hold together," "cohere," and the use of the perfect tense suggests a stative idea: the universe owes its continuing coherence to Christ. This concept has analogies in the wisdom/word tradition, which, in turn, is probably reflecting certain Platonic and Stoic emphases about the cohesion of the universe. Again, however, the idea that an aspect of God's character or immaterial concept holds the universe together is a far cry from the startling claim that a man who had recently lived and been crucified by the Romans was the one in whom all things are held together. What holds the universe together is not an idea or a virtue, but a person: the resurrected Christ. Without him electrons would not continue to circle nuclei, gravity would cease to work, the planets would not stay in their orbits. As is true of every line in this "hymn," there is particular application to the Colossian Christians, who were perhaps being tempted to find coherence by pursuing other religious options in their context. In response, Paul wants them to understand that things make sense only when Christ is kept at the center" (emphasis mine; pp.125-126).
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Here are the particulars:
Jesus and Paul: Global Perspectives in Honor of James D. G. Dunn for his 70th Birthday
edited by B. J. Oropeza edited by C. K. Robertsonedited by Douglas C. Mohrmann
A new generation on scholars examine many of the themes explored by the outstanding scholar James D. G. Dunn.
Imprint: T & T Clark International
Series: Library of New Testament Studies, The
Series Volume: 414
Pub. date: 08 Oct 2009
ISBN: 9780567629531 256 Pages, hardcover World rights £70.00
James D. G. Dunn has been one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His works have altered the very way biblical theologians view Jesus and Paul. This book is written in gratitude of his influence and mentorship. The focus of the work parallels the major research of Dunn’s career. It emphasizes the life and teachings of Jesus as remembered by his disciples, the new perspective on Paul, teachings in the Pauline letters, and relevant topics related to ancient Judaism, the Law, Soteriology and Christology in the New Testament. Eerdmans published a festschrift for James D. G. Dunn’s 65th birthday. The scholars who contributed to this volume, however, were primarily colleagues and friends of James D. G. Dunn. Very few of Dunn’s former students, and none of those working under his supervision during his last decade at Durham, were invited to participate in the first festschrift. A new generation of scholars, who are being widely recognized in their respective fields and who have published a number of books, journal articles, and academic essays, would also now like the opportunity to honour their former teacher and to demonstrate to the scholastic community the breadth of his influence.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents Editors’ Preface Foreword by Richard B. Hays Foreword by N. T. Wright Select Bibliography of Publications by James D. G. Dunn PART I: JESUS AND THE GOSPELS 1. Written Islands in an Oral Stream: Gospel and Oral Tradition, James F. McGrath 2. Debtors, Laborers and Virgins: The Voice of Jesus and the Voice of Matthew in Three Parables, Stephen I. Wright 3. Jesus’ Message of the Kingdom of God: Present and Future Tensions Revisited, Jey J. Kanagaraj 4. Sinner According to Words of the Law, Righteous by Works of Love: Boundary Challenges in Relation to the Woman Who Anoints Jesus (Luke 7:36–50), Ellen Juhl Christiansen 5. Jesus and Magic in Luke-Acts, Graham H. Twelftree 6. Barabbas Remembered, Helen K. Bond 7. Judas and the Jews: Anti-Semitic Interpretation of Judas Iscariot, Past and Present, Arie W. Zwiep 8. Jews or Christians? The Opponents of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel, J. Martin C. Scott 9. New Testament Christology in Recent British Scholarship: A Sketch of Distinctives and Debates, Simon J. Gathercole 10. The Worship of Jesus among Early Christians: The Evidence of Hebrews, Kenneth L. Schenck PART II: PAUL AND HIS LETTERS 11. Inheriting the Agitator’s Mantle: Paul and the Nature of Apostleship in Luke-Acts, C. K. Robertson 12. Running in Vain, but Not as an Athlete (Galatians 2:2): The Impact of Habakkuk 2:2–4 on Paul’s Apostolic Commission, B. J. Oropeza 13. Of “Doing” and “Living”: The Intertextual Semantics of Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians and Romans, Douglas C. Mohrmann 14. Israel’s Triumphant King: Romans 1:5 and the Scriptures of Israel, Don Garlington 15. Paul and Ethnicity: The Paradigm of Globalization, Lung-kwong Lo 16. The Cheirograph in Colossians 2:14 and the Ephesian Connection, Allan R. Bevere 17. The Epistle to Philemon: Paul’s Strategy for Forging the Ties of Kinship, John Byron
The sixteenth and seventeenth contributions come from my friends Allan Bevere, who performed his doctoral work under Dunn, and had his dissertation subsequently published in the prestigious JSNTS series entitled, Sharing the Inheritance: Identity and Moral Life in Colossians. Incidentally, in addition to pastoral and teaching responsibilities, Allan also has an excellent blog that can be located on my blogroll.
My good friend, John Byron, another Durhamite, makes the final contribution to this volume in an area where he is to my mind, the leading scholar on slavery as it relates to the New Testament. He has published among other things, his revised dissertation entitled Slavery Metaphors in Early Judaism and Pauline Christianity (Mohr Siebeck) and Recent Research on Paul and Slavery (Sheffield Phoenix). These two volumes are must haves for anyone doing work in these areas.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Here is the best short answer I have come across thus far from one Miles Van Pelt, co-author of Basics of Biblical Hebrew.
Check it out:
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Timothy Wiarda’s book is primarily how-to, discussing questions of exegetical method that will help interpreters and expositors work with Gospel texts. He also discusses methodological questions relating specifically to the narrative material in the Gospels and focuses in on other fine details—the portrayal of individual characters, descriptive elements, the relation between theology and story, and more.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The video is well done, and who better than these two New Testament luminaries to speak on this subject.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Hubbard begins each major section with a brief narrative featuring a fictional character in one of the great cities of that era. Then he elaborates on various aspects of the cultural setting related to each particular vignette, discussing the implications of those venues for understanding Paul’s letters and applying their message to our lives today. Addressing a wide array of cultural and traditional issues, Hubbard discusses:• Religion and superstition:• Education, philosophy, and oratory:• Urban society:• Households and family life in the Greco-Roman world:
This work is based on the premise that the better one understands the historical and social context in which the New Testament (and Paul’s letters) was written, the better one will understand the writings of the New Testament themselves. Passages become clearer, metaphors deciphered, and images sharpened. Teachers, students, and laypeople alike will appreciate Hubbard’s unique, illuminating, and well-researched approach to the world of the early church.
2. Mike Bird (no introduction necessary!)2 volumes coming out. First, as sole author, Crossing Over Sea and Land: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period.
Description + Blurbs:
What was the extent and nature of Jewish proselytizing activity amongst non-Jews in Palestine and the Greco-Roman diaspora leading up to and during the beginnings of the Christian era? Was there a clear missional direction? How did Second-Temple Judaism recruit converts and gain sympathizers? This book strives to address these questions, representing an update of the discussion while also breaking new ground. A “source book” of key texts is provided at the end.
“One of the more fascinating discussions in New Testament scholarship today involves the question as to what pre-Christian Judaism thought about mission, if it did so at all. In this book, Michael Bird not only brings much-needed definitional clarity but also offers a sensible and clear path through the multifaceted thicket of historical evidence. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of either first-century Judaism or Christian origins can ill afford to neglect taking a study like this along for the journey.”—Nicholas Perrin, Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College, Illinois
“To what extent were Jews in the late Second Temple Period engaged in a conversion mission to non-Jews? Put differently, to what extent was the Christian mission to Gentiles simply the continuation of a missionary impulse already present in the Jewish matrix of the Christian movement? In Crossing Over Sea and Land, Michael Bird provides us with an up-to-date, balanced and thoroughly readable introduction to this complex and hotly debated issue. Highly recommended, both for those already engaged with the issue and for those seeking a reliable introduction to it.” —Terence L. Donaldson, Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament Studies, Wycliffe College, Toronto
Bird and Preston Sprinkle as co-editors/contributors will also have The Faith of Jesus Christ: Exegetical, Biblical, and Theological Studies make its American debut.
What does “saved by faith” mean?
One of the most perplexing problems in Pauline studies is the meaning of the phrase pistis christou. Is Paul speaking of our faith in Christ or of Christ’s own faithfulness toward God? Here noted contemporary New Testament scholars join forces—and lock horns—to shed light on the answer by presenting rigorous exegetical studies from both sides of the debate. They also bring fresh creative proposals to bear on the problem, and place the discussion in the wider spectrum of historical, biblical, and systematic theology.
The most penetrating and comprehensive attempt to date to grapple with the significance of Jesus’ faithfulness and obedience for Christian salvation, and the extent to which it is represented in key biblical texts.
CONTRIBUTORS University of Durham luminary James D.G. Dunn authors an erudite foreword; and editor Michael Bird introduces the problems and prospects for a New Testament conversation on the topic. Debbie Hunn, Stanley E. Porter, and Andrew W. Pitts contribute essays about the background of the pistis christou discussion. Douglas A. Campbell, R. Barry Matlock, Paul Foster, and Richard Bell clarify Pauline texts in contention. Mark A. Seifrid, Francis Watson, Preston M. Sprinkle, and Ardel B. Caneday explore Pauline exegesis, hermeneutics, and theology. The witness of the wider New Testament is covered by Peter G. Bolt, Willis H. Salier, Bruce A. Lowe, and David deSilva. Finally, Mark W. Elliott and Benjamin Myers offer historical and theological reflections from the church fathers, Karl Barth, and others
Description + Blurbs:
Nearly everyone knows something about Jesus, but how much of what we “know” really comes from the Bible? In this thoroughly insightful book we can find the full portrait of Jesus as described in the New Testament, one that is complex yet rich, one that is diverse yet unified, one that explains who Jesus was and how he continues to speak to our world.
“Many want a piece of Jesus, but few want all of him. What else explains the stampede for books, videos, and seminars offering a truncated version of the biblical Christ? How starkly this book stands in contrast! Professor Warrington unveils a full portrait of Jesus, cast in the light of the entire New Testament and wholly faithful to the original. Has your Jesus been downsized? Pick up this book and find out!”—J. Ed Komoszewski, Coauthor, Reinventing Jesus and Putting Jesus in His Place
“The shelves are full of books, written at all levels, on Jesus. Nevertheless, Dr. Keith Warrington has discerned an unresolved need of mid-range readers and addressed it commendably. Discovering Jesus in the New Testament charts the course of reflection on Jesus—his life, works, identity and theological significance—through the whole of the New Testament writings and does so in a way that is eminently readable and accessible. What emerges is a carefully conceived description of Jesus that embraces both the rich diversity of first-century articulation and the profound common threads of Christology that assure us of a single (though marvelously complex) conversation.”—Philip H. Towner, Dean of The Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship, American Bible Society
“With clarity and insight, Warrington takes the reader on a whirlwind journey through the multifaceted—yet complementary—presentations of Jesus found in the New Testament writings. Very few introductions to Christology can claim the balance of comprehensiveness, simplicity, and lucidity found in this volume”—Mark L. Strauss, Professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego
Description + Blurbs:
This book offers advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and interested laypeople an introduction to a wide range of approaches to Paul that are relevant to, yet go beyond, traditional theological and historical concerns.
Beginning with Warren Carter’s observations on Paul’s primary interactions being with Rome, rather than with the followers of Jesus or first-century Jews, and moving through Steven Friesen’s argument for a different picture of Paul as activist and Mark Nanos’s challenge to prevailing interpretations of 1 Corinthians 9 and Paul’s observance of “the law,” leading New Testament scholars provide helpful surveys of the field and offer new insights and possibilities for further research.
An excellent supplement to standard textbooks, each chapter of this compilation offers suggestions for further reading. The book also includes indices of modern authors, subjects, and ancient sources.
CONTRIBUTORS Warren Carter, “Paul and the Roman Empire: Recent Perspectives” Steven J. Friesen, “Paul and Economics: The Jerusalem Collection as an Alternative to Patronage” Jerry L. Sumney, “Paul and His Opponents: The Search” Charles H. Cosgrove, “Paul and Ethnicity: A Selective History of Interpretation” A. Andrew Das, “Paul and the Law: Pressure Points in the Debate” Mark D. Nanos, “Paul and Judaism: Why not Paul’s Judaism?” Deborah Krause, “Paul and Women: Telling Women to Shut Up Is More Complicated than You Might Think” Mark D. Given, “Paul and Rhetoric: A Sophos in the Kingdom of God”
“These outstanding scholars, always stimulating and occasionally provocative, explore the interface between the Pauline letters and certain contemporary interests of the academy, such as empire, economics, ethnicity, patronage, gender issues, rhetoric, and power, in addition to more traditional Pauline subjects. These cutting-edge essays reveal the liveliness of recent, new approaches to Paul, and present an invaluable resource for staying abreast of current discussions.”—Donald A. Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Paul Unbound is an important collection of essays on Paul and his letters, which seeks to go behind and beyond many of the traditional interpretations of the great Christian apostle. Its eight chapters deal with political, economic, cultural, rhetorical, and religious issues that can be found inherent in Paul's writings, as well as matters of Paul's own self-identity, which its authors believe have not often been treated—or, at least, not often enough or sufficiently considered—in more exegetical and theological treatments. Its topics, of course, cannot be fully explored in such relatively short chapters. Nor are they definitively stated or conclusively explicated. Nonetheless, this small volume of studies constitutes a significant introduction to a wide range of sociological matters reflected in Paul's writings, which call for serious consideration, informed interaction, and judicious response on the part of all NT scholars.”—Richard N. Longenecker, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
“Paul Unbound provides not only history of scholarship but also a reliable snapshot of the current state of Pauline studies, especially on topics of keen interest in the past several years.—Dale B. Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University
Aside from Jesus, the Apostle Paul had the greatest formative influence on the early Christian movement. Yet who was this passionate missionary who carried the message of Christ throughout the Mediterranean world? The New Testament writings give us not one but two portraits of Paul. We read numerous details of Paul’s life and relationships in the Book of Acts, and we also find an additional set of details about Paul’s activities in his letters. Yet how consistent are these two portraits? And which one gives us the most accurate picture of the historical Paul? In this volume Thomas E. Phillips examines the portrayals of Paul in recent biblical scholarship in the light of these two major NT portraits. Believing the apostolic conference at Jerusalem to be a watershed event, Phillips draws conclusions that help contemporary readers get a more accurate picture of Paul.
"Here is a helpful, detailed compilation of all the historical data that can be gleaned from Paul’s letters and from Acts in the attempt to determine whether the emerging pictures of Paul and his mission are compatible or otherwise. The author concludes that the pictures are somewhat divergent with Acts presenting a later, more attractive Paul, but he presents the evidence with such care and impartiality that readers are free to make their own decision on this complex issue."—I. Howard Marshall, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Exegesis, University of Aberdeen
"In this carefully written and accessible book, Thomas E. Phillips shows that portraits of Paul vary widely according to how they see the relationship between Paul's own letters and claims about Paul made in the Book of Acts. Some scholars discount what Acts says, while others use Acts to correct Paul's statements. Phillips argues that, while Acts develops its own perspective on Paul, it also provides crucial information."—Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion, Bard College, Annandale, NY
"In this lively book Phillips revisits an old bone of contention in Pauline studies—relating the Paul of the letters to the Paul of Acts. Eschewing oversimplified and preordained responses, he carefully tabulates data sets from both sources, working through comparisons of Paul’s travels, broad cultural background, and relationships with other early church leaders and members, to reach a final balanced and judicious weighting of the two sets of sources. The result is the crafting of a careful methodological and biographical trajectory that proponents of both sides of this frequently polarized debate will be able to trace through to arrive at a more reasoned and reasonable position. The main text is clear, with numerous jaunty analogies and metaphors; students in particular will benefit from its narratives, while scholars will profit further from the extensive annotations that Phillips supplies. Overall, Phillips is to be commended for bringing this critical set of questions within Pauline studies back into the foreground, and for engaging it with such sustained, disciplined, and frequently insightful enthusiasm."—Douglas A. Campbell, Associate Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
"The quest for the 'real' Paul, pursued with renewed vigor in recent scholarship, has been beset too often by skewed sifting of evidence and wishful thinking. Not surprisingly, then, we find the Paul we want to find. Tom Phillips admirably resists this tendency with his meticulous and comprehensive discussion of the relevant 'data sets' of information regarding Paul in both the undisputed letters and the book of Acts. His disciplined, comparative approach carefully lays out the material for readers to make their own informed judgments. Along the way, Phillips sprinkles in his own judicious conclusions with a light but sure touch. Thoroughly abreast of contemporary scholarship and rigorously rooted in the biblical text, this is a most welcome and worthy reassessment of Pauline biography.—F. Scott Spencer, Professor of New Testament and Preaching, Baptist Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA
Friday, August 21, 2009
Piper can marshal out all the proof-texts he wants to justify his position, but when I read his post, I recalled Jesus' position on disaster and judgment regarding 'sinners':
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’
(Luke 13:1-5; NRSV)
Piper, and quite frankly all of us, would do better if we stopped labeling tragedies an act of God's judgment especially when it feeds into our own perceptions of who the 'sinner' is and who is not.
Furthermore, how do we label other tragedies of the past both distant and future? Do we say that those who went to work in the Twin Towers on November 11, 2001--some of them Christian, some of them not--was God's wrath being poured out on sinners? Or more germane to this example, what do we make of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005? Surely, there were some Christians included in the 1,500 plus casualities. Were they merely collateral damage for the sinners who needed to be taught a lesson by God?
We need to be careful and heed Jesus' warning: "unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I would like to say that I took a self-imposed sabbatical, but that would be a lie. I will admit to feeling a tad on the uninspired side as of late.
Much has happened since my last post. My friend, Daniel Kirk has ended Sibboleth and another friend, Michael Pahl ,has resumed after a lengthy self-imposed exile from the biblioblogosphere.
My own contributions on the horizon will include a spate of book reviews and hopefully anything else that strikes my fancy. By the way, thanks to all of you who still check this blog to see what if anything is happening!