Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I just wanted to express my sincere wish for all of you out there in the biblioblogosphere-namely, that you have blessed holiday season.

I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to read, comment, and visit my humble, little blog. I hope to have some interesting things in store for 2009, and am looking forward to see what's in store on the many blogs I visit and yet to have visited in the coming year.

So once again, Christmas blessings to you and yours.

In Christ,


Thursday, December 18, 2008

ZECNT (James): An Interview with Craig Blomberg

As many of you know who attended ETS/SBL, Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell co-wrote the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on James, the first appearing in this brand new series. Craig Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, was kind enough to answer a few questions about this new commentary.

1) Craig, you have reviewed, read, and written many commentaries. Talk a bit about what makes the ZECNT unique, and why this series should be on the desk of pastors and students alike.

The format is distinctive and creates a one-stop shopping resource for the busy pastor or teacher. Readers can find for each passage of preachable length the literary context, the main idea, the grammatical structure of the Greek text, an exegetical outline, verse-by-verse commentary, and a substantial section called "Theology in Application" which highlights other places in Scripture where the key themes of the passage appears and then suggests key applications of that theme more generally.

2) Many disagreements about the structure of James exist (lack of coherence, etc.). With the graphical layout feature of the ZECNT, do these questions about the structure of the epistle reach any resolutions?

We think we have come up with a plausible outline and we discuss briefly in our introduction why we favor it over the main alternatives. But whether readers think we have reached a resolution will be for them to determine!

3) What surprises might the reader encounter in their reading of James (for example James 2.17ff: 'faith v. works')? 2:18ff.?

Well, our resolution of the supposed tension between James and Paul on this topic proves little different from what a number of evangelical commentators have been saying over the last half-century, but our explanation of the puzzling question of who is saying what to whom in vv. 18-19 receives an answer that we have retrieved from a century or more ago, which has not been defended in quite a long time!

4) Could you talk a bit about your collaboration with Mariam Kamell on this commentary?

Mariam was one of my M.A.N.T. students. I was her thesis advisor and then she was my research assistant for two years. Now she is finishing her Ph.D. thesis in St. Andrews. She has worked on James this entire time so she was a natural partner to select for the project. Three or four friends at other institutions have done this kind of thing with their students and their model challenged me to consider doing it as well. It's a win-win situation all around. While I certainly did more than just 50% as much work as I would have done had I worked on my own, it was still considerably less than the amount that would have been required had we each not researched and written first drafts of different sections of the book before comparing, critiquing and revising each other's material. And it gives Mariam a nice publication feather in her cap as she begins the job hunting process.

5) One of the strong points of this commentary are the Theology in Application sections at the end of each unit. Could you talk a bit about the challenges of writing these pieces in finding the significance and relevance of how James' epistle speaks to Christians and the church in concrete and practical ways?

I think I'm wired more than many scholars in the direction of practical application and I know Mariam is. So, once you have lived with the material exegetically for some time and reviewed what writers before you have done when they have created applications, so many ideas suggest themselves that we really had to be selective in terms of which we included.

Thanks for your time, Craig!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Off the Grid with the Allman Brothers

"Statesboro Blues" is my favorite Allman Brothers song. I believe it cracked Rolling Stone magazines top ten for best guitar songs. Although this performance will never match the Fillmore East version (1971) with the late, great Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, and the late, Berry Oakley, this is a suitable version from 2003, with Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes trading licks, and Gregg Allman doing his thing.


Free Biblical Greek classes

In my perusal around the internet and biblioblogosphere, I wanted to point out a couple of different free Greek courses made available.

The first I discovered was via YouTube, and is taught by a Jeff A. Jenkins and is comprised of 39 classes and the first class can be accessed here:

The second resource I discovered was from Jim Hamilton, who has an excellent post on how to prepare for second semester Greek. The resource is Ted Hildebrandt, who posts 28 video lessons along with mp3 files for Greek vocab.

I applaud those who are offering these types of resources, as this is yet another move in the right direction, making seminary-level resources available to the wider public. Make sure you check these out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Scot McKnight met F.F. Bruce

I have recently read the outstanding and thought-provoking book Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight. I believe Scot has spoken somewhat prophetically in this book on what the Bible is, how it is to be read, and specifically, the role of women in ministry. Do go out and purchase this book if you have not. I believe you will be challenged, provoked, and inspired by what Scot has to say.

In the chapter (15) entitled "Silencing the Blue Parakeet (2): Women in Church Ministries 5" has an interesting story of when he and his family met with F.F. Bruce for some afternoon tea. It is worth quoting the story in full and pay close attention to what Bruce says in this conversation.

In the Spring of 1981, as a doctoral student in Nottingham, England, I piled Kris and our two kids, Laura and Lukas, into our small car and drove to Buxton. Professor F.F. Bruce, perhaps the most widely known evangelical scholar of the previous generation and a specialist on Paul, had invited our family to his home for some late-afternoon tea. When we arrived, we were welcomed into the home by Professor Bruce, and we sat in the living room for about two hours. During that time our son managed to spill a glass of orange squash on the Bruce's rug, which Professor Bruce dismissed with a 'whatever can be spilled has been spilled on that rug.'

During a break, as Kris was talking to Mrs. Bruce, I asked Professor Bruce a question that I had stored up for him (and I repeat our conversation from memory): 'Professor Bruce, what do you think of women's ordination?'

'I don't think the New Testament talks about ordination,' he replied.

'What about the silencing passages of Paul on women?' I asked.

'I think Paul would roll over in his grave if he knew we were turning his letters into torah.'

Wow! I thought. That's a good point to think about. Thereupon I asked a question that he answered in such a way that it reshaped my thinking:

'What do you think, then, about women in church ministries?'

Professor Bruce's answer was as Pauline as Paul was: 'I'm for whatever God's Spirit grants women gifts to do.' (italics original; 206-207)

All I can say is 'wow'! Oh yeah, and another thing...go pick up this book!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My RBL Review is Up!

My review of Hans-Josef Klauck's Ancient Letters and the New Testament: A Guide to Context and Exegesis has now been published by the Review of Biblical Literature. Click here to view.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Positive Trend in Academic Book Publishing

I have experienced moments of frustration when checking on a scholarly monograph published by the likes of Mohr Siebeck, Brill Academic, Peter Lang, Cambridge University Press, etc. These monographs are simply not affordable when price ranges near the $100 mark and sometimes significantly above. This hurts not only the prospective buyer, usually a scholar or student, but it also affects the scholar having his/her work published. They simply will have a difficult time getting their contribution significant exposure. I know that these publishers are not ultimately concerned about individuals being able to purchase their books, but rather, look to make their money through university and seminary libraries.

A couple of years ago, I began to see this trend shift. I point to Brant Pitre's Jesus, the Tribulation, & the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology & the Origin of the Atonement, published initially by Mohr Siebeck (2005) and fetching $145.00. Baker Academic came along, buying the rights to publish it for a more accessible $60.00. Baker Academic seems to be at the forefront of this movement as several other titles have followed suit including: Ehud Netzer's The Architecture of Herod, the Great Builder (Mohr Siebeck, 2006, $239.50; Baker Academic, 2008; $69.99), C. Kavin Rowe's Early Narrative Christology: The Lord in the Gospel of Luke (de Gruyter, 2006, $113.40; Baker Academic, 2008(9), $39.99) Ian W. Scott's Implicit Epistemology in the Letters of Paul: Story, Experience and the Spirit, (Mohr Siebeck, 2006, $110.00; Baker Academic renamed Paul's Way of Knowing: Story, Experience, and the Spirit, 2008, $44.99), and Jonathan Pennington's Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew (Brill, Supplements to Novum Testamentum, 2007, $186.00; Baker Academic, 2009, $42.99). Eerdman's also comes to mind in this discussion as they bought the rights to publish James Dunn's The New Perspective on Paul: Collected Essays (Mohr Siebeck, 2005, $265.00; Eerdmans, 2007, $36.00).
So what does this all mean? Look, I am not saying that these book publishers are wrong for finding a niche in the marketplace. Many of them are not mainstream, and that is okay. In fact, it is good to have publishers that cater to recently graduated PhD students who need to have their work published. On the minus side however, I am aware of at least one of these academic publishers who offer no royalties to the author that they are publishing. I know publishing is more than making money, in fact, that is probably way down the list and usually does not amount to much even if the monograph is 'successful'. Mainstream publishers such as Baker Academic and Eerdmans do offer royalties, all but guarantee better exposure, and offer these books at a much more affordable price, especially when you figure in the 50% discount at SBL. To me this is a 'win-win' all the way around.

Many of you may cringe at the idea of having a 'mainstream' publisher further disseminating your work, but allowing the wider scholarly guild to read and interact with your work can never be a bad thing. So kudos to the folks at Baker Academic and Eerdmans! My only hope is that other, more mainstream publishing houses get in on the act.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

SBL Reflections II

One of the highlights of SBL 2008 for me was getting to know some of my fellow bibliobloggers. On Sunday night many of us met at a restaurant organized by Michael Halcomb of Pisteuomen fame. We had a great time and it was good to put some faces with the blogs that I read so often. I sat with Ben Blackwell (Dunelm Road), and we had a good chat and afterwards accompanied him to the Durham banquet where I spoke with John Barclay.

Speaking of that situation, one person who was immensely helpful was Nijay Gupta. Nijay really went out of his way with the introductions and was plugging me to Dr. Barclay the entire conversation. Nijay and I also ran into each other on countless occassions and it was a real pleasure getting to know him at this conference. We even had Indian food with the Ashland contingent my final night at SBL. I took Nijay's recommendations (due to my sensitive stomach), but sadly, I fell ill in my hotel room later that evening (Don't worry Nijay, I won't hold it against you, lol!). Nevertheless, and I sincerely mean this, Nijay has a brilliant mind and a bright future as a NT scholar, and he is definitely one that will be heard from in the years ahead.

There were many other memorable moments at this year's meeting such as meeting Sigurd Grindheim (solely by chance), Brant Pitre, Michael Barber, and Joel Willits just as they were leaving Monday afternoon, dining with Michael Gorman and David Capes, listning to a really interesting papers by David Lincicum and Joel Green (IBR meeting) just to name a few.

Disappointments included Eerdmans lack of stock (i.e. the new Festschrift for Richard Hays; Daniel Kirk's Unlocking Romans) including several that should have debuted at SBL including Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity; James Dunn's Beginning from Jerusalem: Christianity in the Making, Volume 2. The weather was extremely cold, preventing me from exploring much of the city, something I relished in San Diego last year. Gift shops were a hassle as I was attempting to find a souvenir for my wife without the Celtics, Red Sox, or Patriots logos emblazoned on it.

The group I felt worst for was IVP. Apparently five skids worth of books got lost in warehouse transfers, never making it in time for SBL. Fortunately for them they at least had their left over stock from ETS available for purchase. I was told they were giving away really cool messenger bags this year, but they too were lost on the way to SBL.

All in all I had a great time and look forward to next year's extravaganza in New Orleans.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SBL Reflections I

Well I arrived home today and was greeted by typical, Northeast Ohio snow. It was an interesting end to a very interesting SBL 2008. I actually hope to have a chance to come back to Boston during the non-winter months; it seemed like a great city.

Some of personal highlights was having a good conversation with John Barclay of Durham University about the possibility of PhD work there in the not so distant future. Moreover, his paper in the Pauline Soteriology section entitled "I Will Have Mercy on Whom I Will Have Mercy: Paul and Other Jews on Grace in the Desert," was fascinating and seemed to coincide with interests I have in a possible dissertation project.

Another highlight on meeting with a scholar was having a chance to chat with Ross Wagner of Princeton Theological Seminary. He, too, was very encouraging and seemed to take an interest in my idea for doctoral research. It was from him, that I heard about the above-mentioned Pauline Soteriology section, inviting me to come.

The last thing I will mention on this post is that I shared a room with two outstanding guys, Justin Dombrowski, a PhD student in classics from Columbia University, and Daniel Kirk of Sibboleth fame and the man who has finally 'unlocked Romans.' I had a great time with them both, and I know you will be hearing their names for many years to come in their respective fields.

I'll have more to say on subsequent posts in the days to come.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lincoln Letter Found!?!

Here is an interesting story about the possibility of a copy of a letter discovered by the Dallas Historical Society in their archives from Abraham Lincoln to a mother, Lydia Bixby, who was believed to have lost 5 sons in the Civil War. The letter, written in November of 1864, was featured in Saving Private Ryan.

To read more click here.

Bruce Longenecker to Baylor!

I know this has been all over the biblioblogosphere already, but as one who aspires to do a PhD and had Baylor has one of the few schools I planned on sending an application to, I am very excited to hear that Bruce Longenecker will be coming to Baylor to assume their chair in the Religion Department!

I planned on getting ready for my GRE's soon after the new year, now this gives me even more incentive. Of course that is probably the idea of hundreds of other applicants as well. Oh well, a guy can dream can't he?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Historical Jesus on YouTube

No, I have not found the actual historical Jesus on YouTube, but I have found a couple of videos worth checking out. One is by Craig Blomberg entitled "In Search of the Historical Jesus" and the other is by John Meier entitled "Jesus The Jew- But What Sort of Jew?"


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Off the Grid with SRV

I am a huge fan of blues music and one of my favorite artists of all time is the late, great, Stevie Ray Vaughn. I found an extended version of one of my favorite SRV tunes, Texas Flood. Check out how Stevie slashes, shreds, and sweats through a gripping version of this great song! Enjoy!

It's that time of the year again!

Well, here we are--one week away from the annual SBL conference. Honestly, this is probably the only time I have failed to make much preparation ahead of time. This year marks my fourth conference, and I almost feel like this is becoming old hat. Maybe it is my way of coping with overblown expectations, avoiding the big letdown. Maybe it is also due to the fact that it is in Boston this year. I don't have anything against the town per se, but I am no fan of their sports teams(i.e. the Patriots, Red Sox, and the Celtics). Maybe I am just bitter being a Cleveland fan. It is almost a rite of passage for us to fall short against the above-mentioned teams.

Oh well, enough of this bizarre rant. I have an SBL book wish list to make out, travel plans to hash out, and deciding what warm clothes I want to take with me. On the bright side, I'm looking forward to seeing some of my fellow bibliobloggers, running into Mike Bird as he once again receives free books for his birthday, see Scot McKnight grab ungodly amounts of books (I know, bad use of the adjective there!), decide which one of Ben Witherington's 75 latest releases to buy, and try to make a 6:00 am flight back Tuesday morning to cold, possibly snowy, Ohio.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Review of Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Many thanks are due to Emily Varner for sending me a review copy.

Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, Peter Enns
Eds. Kenneth Berding, Jonathan Lunde
Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old TestamentGrand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008. Pp.
Softcover. $16.99 ISBN:0310273331

There is no doubt that within the sphere of New Testament studies, that the New Testament's use of Old Testament scriptures is one of the most intriguing and debated topics in the guild today. With that recognition, Zondervan's Counterpoints series has offered their latest, Three Views on the New Testament use of the Old Testament. It must be stressed at the outset that the three views represented here are in no way comprehensive, but nevertheless for those who want to get acquainted with some of the key points in the debate this is a helpful entree.

The book begins with an excellent introduction by Jonathan Lunde, one of the co-editors of this volume. This may have been the most important chapter in the book as Lunde deftly lays out introductory and terminological issues that will be addressed by the three contributors. Lunde introduces the reader to the five orbiting questions that center around the relationship between the OT and NT authors' intended meanings: 1) Is sensus plenior an appropriate way of explaining the NT use of the OT? 2) How is typology best understood? 3) Do the NT writers take into account the context of the passages they cite? 4) Does the NT writers' use of Jewish exegetical methods explain the NT use of the OT? and 5) Are we able to replicate the exegetical and heremeneutical approaches to the OT that we find in the writings of the OT? (10-12) Next, Lunde looks at each of the questions in more detail (13-35). One of the best sections follows this section as Lunde explores "The Interpretive Assumptions of the NT authors" (35-39). The first assumption is that Jesus is the one in whom the Scriptures point to and find their fulfillment (36-37). The second naturally flows from the first in that the Messiah has arrived and has been vindicated, causing the NT writers to assume they are "living in the days where Scripture finds its fulfillment" (37). Thirdly, corporate solidarity or more explicitly the idea of "the one in the many" where a figure can represent a group allow the NT writers to speak this way of Jesus as seen in the titles of "Son of God", "Servant", "Son of Man", etc. (37-38) Fourth, there is a pattern, or "undergirding typology" that begins with the premise that since God is sovereign in history and true to his character, his actions in prior history will be consistent with those in subsequent history.(38-39) Finally, the Scriptures have been fulfilled only in an inaugurated sense. The consummated fulfillment is yet to come (39). Closing this chapter, Lunde describes briefly with what each viewpoint the contributors will argue (40-41). Walter Kaiser argues for what is deemed the "single meaning, unified referents view". This view argues that what the OT author intends by his words is consistent with what the NT author intends. This even extends to the referents in the text.

That is to say, in addition to any prior reference, the OT writer is to be understood as ultimately having the same people or events in mind when he writes his text as the NT author does when he refers that text to Jesus and the community defined by him. (40)

The second viewpoint, "single meaning, multiple contexts and referents" is the view defended by Darrell Bock. This view shares the premise of the first, namely, that there is a singular meaning shared by the OT and NT writers when the latter cites the former, but

...the words of the OT authors frequently take on new dimensions of significance and are found to apply appropriately to new referents and new situations as God's purposes unfold in the larger canonical context-referents that were often not in the minds of the OT authors when they penned their texts. (40)

The third and final viewpoint, defended by Peter Enns is "fuller meaning, single goal". This view suggests that the NT writers perceive new meanings in OT texts that are not necessarily closely related to the meanings intended by the OT authors (40-41).

These new meanings are legitimized by appealing to the NT authors' single-minded conviction that the Scriptures point to and are fulfilled in Christ. Advocates of this view are careful not to deny the importance of the grammatical-historical study of the OT authors on their own terms. But since the NT writers assume that Jesus is the goal to which the OT story is moving, they perceive this meaning in OT texts, even when their OT authors did not have that meaning in mind when they wrote. (emphasis original; 41)

In order to make this review manageable, I will not discuss in detail the exegetical case studies that each author uses to defend their viewpoint, but rather I will provide my overall impression of each contributor's argument. Kaiser begins the debate (45-89), by defending "the single meaning, unified referents view." Regarding sensus plenior, Kaiser rejects this notion because it relegates the human author to at best, a secondary level (49), while the OT's original audiences would have curiously been left out of what Kaiser deems "deeper meanings," and would in fact accuse, the NT writers of eisegesis if "there is no signal from the original writers that more was stored in the words than appeared on the surface meaning..."(51). After rejecting the notion of sensus plenior in a canonical reading (52-54), and the NT passages that appear to support it (54-60), Kaiser shifts to the question of whether the NT authors respect the OT context from which they are citing. Kaiser answers in the affirmative, refuting the idea of the OT is reread in light of the NT. He cites case examples such as John 13.18 in Psalm 41.9, Amos 9.9-15 in Acts 15.13-18. Respect for the context of the OT is seen in both the immediate literary context and the antecedent "promise plan" context (a clear indicator of Kaiser's view in his Biblical theology). More explicitly the Promise Plan of God is defined by Kaiser thusly:

The Promise-plan is God's word of declaration, beginning with Eve and continuing on through history, especially in the patriarchs and the Davidic line, that God would continually be (in his person) and do (in his deeds and works) in and through Israel, and later in and through the Church, his redemptive plan as his means of keeping that promised word alive for Israel, and thereby for all who subsequently believed. All in that promised seed were called to act as a light for all the nations so that all the families of the earth might come to faith and to new life in the Messiah. (63, n.30; italics original)

I do not find Kaiser convincing on his exegesis of the texts mentioned above. It seems to me that exegetical gymnastics are performed to demonstrate his defense of the single meaning unified referents view. Moreover, Kaiser believes that appealing to Second Temple interpretive methods is misguided, arguing that "one would be hard-pressed to find any convincing apologetic value for validating the messianic or doctrinal claims based on the use of such interpretive procedures as midrash, pesher, allegory, even psychological impositions on the OT text" (73). It is comments like these that show Kaiser's main objective is to protect the NT author's from what he perceives as the illegitimate use of OT texts, while coloring his interpretations of key texts that in the end, demonstrate that there are better interpretations to be found elsewhere (e.g. Psalm 16 in Acts 2.25-33 and Paul's use of Deut 25.4 in 1 Cor 9.7-10). Finally, Kaiser argues that we can follow the NT writers in their use of the OT, because they "argued most carefully when they cited the OT as an authority for apologetical and doctrinal reasons" (88). Kaiser revealingly bemoans that NT scholars have relegated the OT to back seat status in favor of extrabiblical literature, forcing "patterns on biblical studies that do not always represent the fairest way to set the problems up in the first place" (89). Needless to say, I believe this comment is an unfair assessment of the state of current NT scholarship. It also stands to reason that NT scholars must interact with studies closely tied to their historic and cultural mileu in order to better understand the interpretive activities of the NT authors.

Turning to Bock's viewpoint (105-158), "single meaning, multiple referents and referents" makes to this reviewer, better sense than the previous viewpoint. Bock states "The key premise of this essay is that God works both in his words and in revelatory events that also help to elaborate his message" (107; italics original). Bock rightly, considers the historical backgrounds of interpretive activities of the Second Temple era (107-111), and sketches six theological presuppostions that influenced the way NT authors utilized the OT: (1) The Bible is God's Word; (2) The one in the many (corporate solidarity); (3) Pattern in history (correspondence or typlogy); (4) These are the days of fulfillment; (5) Now and not yet (the inaugurated fulfillment of Scripture); (6) Jesus is the Christ. Bock is mostly correct when he points out that the first 3 assumptions were shared by both Jews and Christians, while the last 3 were held by Christians alone. Enns rightly points out that the fourth assumption was shared by the exegetes at Qumran, but I digress (162). For Bock, sensus plenior is defensible in the sense that the OT writers could not see the ultimate sense that their writings would take in the NT. Bock refers to this phenomenon as "the progress of revelation" (114). As God progressively discloses his plan throughout history, "the force of earlier passages in God's plan becomes clearer and more developed," and "this increase in clarity often involves the identificcation of new referents , to which the initial references typologically point forward" (114). Bock identifies the two ways of reading Scripture that spring from this notion, mainly, "the historical-exegetical" and the "theological canonical" where concerning the latter, "the progress of revelation may 'refract' on a earlier passage so that the force of the ealier passage is clarified or developed beyond what the original author could have grasped" (116). More specifically, Bock agrees with those who would view that the NT meaning can develop and compliment what the OT meant, without denying what the OT originally affirmed (116). Next, Bock helpfully discusses the ways in which the NT uses the OT (118-121). Fast forwarding a bit, Bock concludes his exegetical outworkings (125-146) of the "single meaning, multiple contexts and referents" with this conclusion:

There is a sense (a basic principle or subject matter) in which meaning is stable. There is a fundamental meaning to the text. Such meaning can be clearly stated. What can shift is that to which the meaning applies. Linguistically this shift of meaning is associated with what is called the referent, since a new context often means fresh referents. However, in that later application of meaning, the original meaning is still at work and it is still developing. What is more, once the additional meaning becomes clear, that later meaning can refract in a way on the earlier text to give it fresh understanding. All of this development is the function of multiple contexts being at work with the meaning, a factor that impacts the theological force and application of the textual meaning, giving that meaning additional depth (146; italics original).

As attractive as Bock's proposal is, it still comes off as a bit strained at times. Particularly his treatment of Hosea 11.1 in in Matt 2.15 (120). Bock's conclusion in is brief treatment states:

Jesus' reenactment of the nation's exodus experience invokes the pattern of God working for his people again. So, the TYPOLOGICAL-prophetic connection can be made when one recognizes that the exodus itself is a 'pattern' image for salvation and that Jesus as King (and as the 'one in the many') is able to represent (and thus recapitulate) the nation's history (120, italics original).

Finally, Peter Enns defends the "fuller meaning, single goal" viewpoint. This is a viewpoint that I most resonated with, as Enns begins his essay by cautioning the reader to not attempt to resolve the 'hermeneutical tensions' that use of the OT by NT authors may entail. Enns also satisfactorily nods in the direction of sensus plenior in not denying that Scripture has dual authorship, both God and the human writer, while questioning

...what the relationship is between what God intends to communicate through a given OT author at that particular moment in redemptive history, and how that comports with how NT authors, likewise inspired by God, reflect on those OT passages in light of Christ's coming (168).

Next, Enns turns his attention to Second Temple Literature. Of all the authors, Enns makes his argument that Second Temple interpretive techniques such as pesher, midrash, etc., should hold a place of importance due to the historical settings of the NT authors. Enns is also keen to note that there is a main difference in how the NT authors saw their interpretive task vis-à-vis Second Temple interpreters not so much in their style but more in their focus, i.e. "the relentless focus on bearing witness to the crucified and risen Christ. ...what provides the grand coherence of the NT is the conviction that Jesus is the climax of God's covenant with Israel" (178).

Enns labels this method of interpretation as Christotelic. Enns explains:

To read the OT "Christotelicly" is to read it already knowing that Christ is somehow
the end (telos) to which the OT story is heading; in other words, to read the OT in light of the exclamation point of the history of revelation, the death and the resurrection of Christ
(214; italics original).

Enns also, correctly in my view, sees that we as interpreters can replicate, not in the methods used by the NT authors, but rather "more in terms of their hermeneutical goal"(i.e. their Christotelic reading; 216). Enns' interpretations of key passages (e.g. Gen 13.14-16 in
Gal 3.15-29; Hosea 11.1 in Matt 2.15 ) seemed to make the best sense exegetically and historically when recognizing that NT authors adapted the hermeneutical mechanics of their Second Temple neighbors. After all, these cultural influences do not occur in a vacuum.

In summation, I would like to commend the authors and editors on this fine edition to the Counterpoints series. I believe that Three Views of the New use of the Old Testament would be a great supplement to any introduction to a Biblical hermeneutics course. This is not of course, the most comprehensive treatment of the use of the NT by the OT, but neither does it claim to be. I would recommend that any reader approaching this text should primarily engage the last two contributors, Bock and Enns, as I believe they advance the discussion the most, both in the defense of their methodologies and their critique of one another.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bird Watching: Mike's Paul Intro coming to the U.S.!

My good friend, Mike Bird, will have his Introducing Paul The Man, His Mission and His Message, hit the bookstores in March 2009.

Many of you will recall the UK InterVarsity Press version entitled: A Bird's eye view of Paul
The man, his mission and his message
. I admit, I much prefer the U.S. title, as this latter is a bit corny (despite the corny title to this blog post!). Also the U.S. cover(on the left) is superior to the U.K.'s (on the right):

In any case, way to go mate! Looks like a must have.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book Review of Joseph's Dilemma Part II

Marohl, Matthew J.
Joseph's Dilemma: "Honor Killing" in the Birth Narrative of Matthew
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009. Pp. 104
Paperback. $13.00 ISBN 1556358253.

Part I of my review can be viewed here.

In Chapter 3, Marohl explores ancient evidences of honor killing. The secrecy of the act makes both modern and ancient honor killings hard to document, but nevertheless, Marohl presses forward with some surprising results. Before the author explores the evidence, he makes three observations about "honor killings" in the ancient world: 1) The term "honor killing" will not be evidenced in the ancient world. That does not mean that "honor killing" did not occur, but simply put, the ancient Greek and Latin sources fail to use this terminology. 2) The practice of honor killings was a family matter, not a judicial one. 3) Honor killings were both public and private. Public in the sense that the offended family had to be seen defending their family honor by killing the offending female member (38).

Next, the author briefly discusses some modern biblical interpreters who "have identified the importance of female virginity and chastity in the first-century Mediterranean world" (39-41; e.g. Carolyn Osiek and Margaret Y. MacDonald, A Woman’s Place; et al. ). Finally, Marohl begins his canvassing of the ancient sources. This is one of the finest sections in the book as Marohl surveys the Apocrypha (Book of Susanna; e.g. 19-22;36-41; pp.42-43), the Pseudepigrapha (Jubilees; e.g. 20:4; 30:7-8; 43-44), the OT (Judges 19:22, 27-30; 44-46), the NT (John 8:1-11; 46-47), Greco-Roman Literature (e.g. Livy 1.58.1–5, 9–10, 10–12; 3.44.1; Suetonius, Augustus 65.1–3, 4; pp.47-51) and finally, ancient Jewish Literature (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 7.131.; Jewish War 1.486.; Philo On the Decalogue 121–31, 126;
On the Special Laws, 3.11, 31, 52–53, 58, 72–73; Hypothetica 7.1; On Joseph, 43–44; and the Mishnah: Sanhedrin 7.9; 9.1; pp.51-52). Marohl concludes the chapter by investigating how the OT prophets utilized the metaphors of adultery and honor killing to speak of Israel's waywardness (e.g. Hos 2:2-3; Ezekiel 16:35-43; pp.52-53), and how early Christian interpretations support the author's reading of Matt 1.19 (e.g. Protevangelium of James 13:1-14:8; Patrologiae Cursus Completus, 56:633; Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew 4.7; pp.53-60).

Chapter 4 describes Marohl's "macro-thesis," namely, the Matthean theme that "from expected death comes unexpected life." The author begins by rehearsing Herod's planned killing of Jesus (2:1-23), hot on the heels of the story of Jesus' birth. Marohl concludes:
Immediately after telling the story of the birth of Jesus, a story in which
Mary and her unborn child face expected death, the author of Matthew tells
another story of violence and murder. The story is dramatic and continues
to capture the imaginations of all who hear the account. It is easy to imagine
Herod’s men searching for and killing all male infants. The story makes
clear that this is a moment of expected death. However, just as an angel of
the Lord visited Joseph in the midst of his dilemma, again an angel of the
Lord visits Joseph in the midst of Herod’s violent plan. Just as Mary and her
unborn child were granted unexpected new life, Jesus is again spared and
new life prevails (66).
Marohl explores this theme further by Jesus' calming of the storm on the sea (8:23-27), explaining that the disciples believe they are about to die, but in this case, unlike the aforementioned two, Jesus is the one who offers unexpected life out of certain death. Next, the healing stories of Matthew 9 are explored with first the healing of the hemorrhaging woman and the man's recently deceased daughter (9:18-26). Marohl explains that his thesis can also be seen it what he terms instances of "social death" in Matthew's gospel (67). These include: Jesus' encounter and subsequent healing of a leprous man (8:1-4), along with Jesus' teaching in 10:34-39 that "when followers commit to him, rather than experiencing the expected (social/familial)
death, they will experience a surprising, unexpected new life in him
"(68). Also, Jesus' teaching via use of the parabolic method is also explored as the author points to the example of the "Parable of the Lost Sheep" (18:12-20), noting that "in this parable, there is great rejoicing when the expected loss, the expected death, of one sheep turns into the unexpected discovery, the unexpected new life, of the animal"(69). Marohl also sees this theme in Jesus' commissioning of the disciples in 10:5-15. They too, are expected to bring "unexpected new life to those expecting and experiencing death"(69). Finally, a discussion about Jesus' death and resurrection (Matt 26-28; 69-71) rounds the discussion out as the author astutely concludes:

The birth of Jesus and his death and resurrection make perfect “bookends”
for the theme of new life. It is expected that Jesus will be killed while
still in the womb. As Joseph agonizes over his dilemma, he is visited by an
angel of the Lord. From this situation of expected death comes unexpected
new life. The theme weaves throughout the ministry of Jesus. Both literally
and metaphorically, new life emerges from death in the deeds and words

of Jesus. Again at the end of the story, unexpected new life triumphs over
death, even death on a cross
Matthew J. Marohl is to be congratulated for contributing an insightful and provocative thesis. The author has shed considerable light on the horrofic, yet somewhat common practice of "honor killings" in the Mediterranean world. At the same time, Marohl has successful exposed this cultural phenomenon without coming off as a neocolonialist. North Atlantic NT scholars in general, and Matthean scholars specifically, will be forced to reckon with Marohl's work for the foreseeable future.
As much as I found myself in agreement with Marohl's overall thesis, one point still nags at me, one that I believe could have made this volume even stronger. Marohl adapts the reading of the NRSV at Matt 1:19 (Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.) It is this latter verb "dismiss" (ἀπολύω) that could have included an excurcus, since much of Marohl's thesis hinges on this word. As many a commentator notes, ἀπολύω probably means "divorce" in its Matthean context due to its subsequent use elswhere (5:31-32; 19:3-9). Moreover, Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 15.259; 16.265) seems to translate ἀπολύω in this way (although, it must be noted, he uses other words for "divorce"). Diodorus Siculus (12.18), and 1 Esdras 9.36 provide two other similar examples. It can be admitted that other glosses of ἀπολύω can include to set free, to let go, dismiss, release, and of course, divorce. Marohl, may have chosen to avoid this exegetical minefield due to possible space constraints, but nevertheless, this particular word study would prove vital for his thesis on Matt 1:19.
This is not take away from Marohl's outstanding achievement. In a very short space (roughly 90 pages or so), he has renewed discussion in a case once settled, namely, Joseph intended to divorce Mary quietly; or did he?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Review of Joseph's Dilemma Part I

Many thanks to James Stock from Wipf and Stock Publishers for an advanced copy!

Marohl, Matthew J.
Joseph's Dilemma: "Honor Killing" in the Birth Narrative of Matthew
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009. Pp. 104
Paperback. $13.00 ISBN 1556358253.

Matthew J. Marohl, Assistant Professor of Religion, Augustana College (PhD University of St. Andrews), has offered up a striking proposal concerning the Matthean birth narrative (1.18-25). It is with particular focus that Marohl zeroes in on what he deems "Joseph's Dilemma" (xii; i.e. 1.19) and hence, provides the title for this monograph. As stated above 1.19 provides the interpretive crux to Marohl's proposal and reads:
Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly (NRSV).
The questions for Marohl are twofold: 1) Does Joseph suspect Mary of adultery?; and 2) What are Joseph's options, if Mary is found guilty? (xii) As Marohl notes, the majority of interpreters agree that Joseph has one option, that of divorce, so Joseph's dilemma then becomes whether the divorce will be public or private. This for Marohl, does not do Joseph's dilemma justice. Instead the author argues that "In this book, I will argue that early Christ-followers understood Joseph’s dilemma to involve an assumption of adultery and the subsequent possibility of killing Mary. Worded differently, Joseph’s dilemma involves the possibility of an honor killing. If Joseph reveals that Mary is pregnant she might be killed. If Joseph conceals Mary’s pregnancy, he will be opposing the law of the Lord. What is a “righteous” man to do?" (xii). Marohl anticipates that some will reject this thesis outright, deeming it heretical. Undaunted, the author varnishes the next part of his thesis, namely, "that this reading actually introduces an important Matthean theme—from expected death comes unexpected new life"(italics original; xii-xiii).

Joseph's Dilemma is structured around four chapters. In the first chapter (1-20), Marohl discusses the reality of modern honor killings. This well-organized chapter begins by noting that honor killings is a "difficult" topic to discuss due to the inherit nature of the act, the danger and tendency to develop an attitude of cultural superiority (neocolonialism), and the kinds of evidences that are presented (namely, ethnographies, magazines, and newspapers) instead of scholarly resources (namely, government statistics, legal rulings, and scholarly journal articles; 1-2). Next, Marohl gives a helpful, succinct summary of the honor/shame culture of the ancient world (2-4), noting that two factors in honor/shame discussions shed light on "honor killings": 1) The challenge/riposte exchange for acquired honor, and 2) The emphasis Mediterranean families place upon collective or family honor. Following this section, Marohl defines what "honor killings" are: "Honor killing is the practice of killing girls and women who are thought to have endangered a family’s honor by allegedly engaging in sexual activity before (or outside of) marriage" (5). This definition merely scratches the surface however, as "Honor killings are also executed in instances of rape, child sexual abuse, and even perceived flirting. Moreover, mere allegations of improper behavior on the part of a girl or woman are often enough to defile a family’s honor and 'warrant' an honor killing" (5). Marohl spends some time discussing where these killings are reported (e.g. Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel [among Arab Israelis], Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, and the UK [among Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants]; 6) and the difficulty of estimating the amount of honor killings that take place due to the fact that honor killings are often considered a "private family affair" (6; The United Nations estimates 5,000 women are killed each year in the name of family honor; n26). Skipping ahead a bit, one of Marohl's most insightful observations in this chapter is that honor killings cannot be blamed on religion or ethnic background as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jews, and Muslims all practice this heinous act. Rather honor killings are practiced due to "the centuries old patriarchal concern for power over women and their reproductive rights"(17).

Chapter 2 is entitled "Joseph's Dilemma" (21-37). Marohl begins by discussing the three most common interpretations regarding Joseph's reaction to Mary's pregnancy: 1) Joseph suspects Mary of adultery; 2) Joseph suspends all judgment; 3) Joseph is aware of Mary's conception via the Holy Spirit and his filled with awe and afraid to take Mary as his wife (23). There are obvious flaws regarding the second two proposals, specifically the third option as Joseph is not made aware of Mary's miraculous conception until vv. 20-21. For Marohl's thesis to be correct, the first proposal is the only viable option. Most scholars suggest that Joseph's only option was divorce and appeals to Deut 22.13-21 are anachronistic. Regarding the last point, scholars usually make the point (e.g. R.T. France) that this punishment is anachronistic without offering any documentation, although Luz and Gundry attempt to do so with the studies of Hermann Leberecht Strack and Paul Billerbeck (Strack and Billerbeck, Das Evangelium Nach Matthäus Erläutert aus Talmud und Midrasch. Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und
Midrasch. Munich: Oskar Beck, 1922; 1.50–53). Marohl notes:

Unfortunately, Strack and Billerbeck do not claim that stoning was no longer
practiced in the first century. In fact, the opposite claim is made. In their
commentary on Matt 1:19 in light of the Mishnah and Talmud, Strack and Billerbeck explain that it was not permitted to kill a minor if she committed adultery. However, they further note, that a girl who has committed adultery and is at least 12 years, 6 months, and 1 day old, may be killed by either stoning or strangulation. In other words, the evidence that Luz does provide in no way claims that stoning was no longer practiced in the first century (28).
Joseph’s dilemma is often portrayed by scholars as involving the choice between divorcing Mary and bringing her before a court of law to be tried and sentenced. While the proscribed stoning of Deut 22:23–24 is inferred by the latter option, it is usually not made explicit by interpreters, who instead insist that Joseph will divorce Mary. These interpretations often reinforce the idea that the honor of Mary is at stake (emphasis mine). Yet others (e.g. Warren Carter and Daniel Harrington) do not dismiss the possibility of stoning (Deut 22:23-27), but in the end come out in favor of Mary's honor being defended by Joseph's action of divorce. The remainder of the chapter looks at the work's on the "infancy narratives"(30-34) including those of Raymond Brown (Birth of the Messiah), Jean Daniélou (The Infancy Narratives), R. T. France, (“Scripture, Tradition, and History in the Infancy Narratives of Matthew"), and René Laurentin, (The Truth of Christmas ), while social scientific interpreters Bruce J. Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh (34-37; Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels) work is critiqued in that they helpfully sketch the honor/shame dynamics of Matt 1:19, while never considering the possibilty of "honor killing" as a real option, again coming out on the side of Mary's honor. This talk of Mary's honor being at stake misreads the dynamics of Meditteranean families as Marohl concludes the chapter with this note:

In the situation of adultery, it is the honor of the threatened family that is in jeopardy, not that of the offending girl. In cases both ancient and modern, it is the family honor that must be defended, even to the point of death (37).

Over the next couple of days, I hope to post on part II of this review. Chapter 3 will discuss the ancient evidence of honor killings, while chapter 4 will focus on the second part of Marohl's thesis, namely, how Joseph's option of performing an "honor killing" fits the Matthean motif of "from expected death comes unexpected life."

Stay tuned and feel free to share your thoughts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

ESV Study Bible: First Impressions

Many thanks go to Michele Bennett of Crossway Publishing for sending me a copy of the ESV Study Bible.

As I have mentioned in a previous post concerning the NLT Study Bible, I have made quite the habit of collecting study Bible's. Much like the NLT, and to perhaps an even greater degree, the ESV Study Bible has received much hype and fanfare.
I won't enumerate the various features, except for some observations I have made along the way --if one wants to see all that the ESV Study Bible has to offer, this is the place to click.
The first thing I do when I crack open any study Bible is check for the list of contributors. The ESV much like the NLT, has a very fine list indeed. Old Testament scholars include T. Desmond Alexander, Gordon J. Wenham, J. Gordon McConville, John Oswalt, David Baker, and Duane Garrett among others; while on the NT side scholars such as Andreas Kӧstenberger, Clint Arnold, Simon Gathercole, Frank Thielman, Tom Schreiner, and Scott Hafemann are among the many notables.
The second thing I noticed is the plethora of articles accompanying this study Bible. For the OT, eight articles are included, ranging from an article on OT theology, to how the Hebrew calendar compares with the Gregorian calendar. Six articles are dedicated to background issues for the NT, canvassing the Second Temple period, while five articles cover the NT itself, including an article on NT theology, and an article on the date of Jesus' crucifixion. Moreover, there are 160+pages of articles in the back including articles on Biblical doctrine, ethics, intepreting the Bible, original languages of the Bible, the LXX, and so on. I would say on this score as well as the full-color illustrations that the ESV Study Bible contains, place this ahead of the NLT Study Bible.
Before I toot the horn of the ESV Study Bible too loudly however, I do prefer the NLT as a translation a bit more. I am not advocating one translation philosophy over another per se, but am just stating a personal preference. I do think the NLT is a very underrated translation. The second feature I enjoy about the NLT Study Bible is the Hebrew/Greek word concordance located in the back. This again is not to disparage the ESV, because they do discuss Hebrew and Greek terms in the study notes, but this is merely a stylistic preference on my part. Both the NLT and ESV have included elecronic editions that the user can add their own notes to, so this is a big boost for those who really want to dive in to these respective study Bible's.
In sum, the ESV Study Bible as well as the NLT Study Bible should not present the prospective purchaser with an either/or. This is definitely a "both!" The contributors are to be commended for producing the best two study Bibles on the market. Depending on what mood I'm in, #1 and #2 will continually flip flop---Yes, they are both that good!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

David deSilva to give ATS Fall Lecture

Every fall at my alma mater, Ashland Theological Seminary, the Fall Lecture Series takes place. The New Testament department gets its turn every third year or so, and this year marks their turn.

What makes this year unique is that Ashland has asked one of its own, David deSilva, Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at ATS. David will be lecturing three sessions, with the overall title "The Heart of the New Testament Message: Towards a Biblical Theology." These sessions will take place Monday, Oct. 20th and Tuesday, Oct 21st, culminating with a luncheon.

Sadly, I will not be able to attend. David is a mentor and a friend, helping me at so many different levels during my time at Ashland. He is just as good of a man as he is a scholar, and that is saying quite a bit since I consider him one of the premier NT scholars going today, and the biggest reason I attended Ashland in the first place.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

In many ways, what makes 1 Peter difficult to read as Christian Scripture is this initial attempt on the part of Peter to identify his audience. First Peter is addressed to folks who do not belong, who eke out their lives on the periphery of acceptable society, whose deepest loyalties and inclinations do not line up very well with what matters most in the world in which they live. This is not the sort of life that most people find attractive. In terms of our ability to genuinely understand 1 Peter, all of the linguistic skills we might develop, all of the material on historical background we might accumulate-none of this will make up for the basic reality that, as a whole, we resist the possibility that this letter is addressed to us, that we might be cast as "nobodies in the world." The problem is theological. What separates us from 1 Peter is not "the strange world of the Bible" as much as its unhandy, inconvenient claims on our lives...1 Peter invites a reading among those who are ready to embrace the identity and status of exiles in dispersion. (Joel B. Green, 1 Peter, The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary, [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007] 18.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Baker Academic has now posted a 47 page excerpt of Robert H. Stein's Mark commentary and a 59 page excerpt of Gene L. Green's Jude and 2 Peter commentary. BECNT continues to put out excellent commentaries and are probably my favorite series overall.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Review of The UBS Greek New Testament

Many thanks are in order to Bobby Koduvalil at Hendrickson Publishers for this review copy!

Newman, Barclay M., ed.
The UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader’s Edition
Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2007. Pp. x + 704.
Cloth. $69.95 ISBN 1598562851.

Many harsh realities exist in biblical language acquisition. As one encounters the biblical languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, & Greek) it is tough not to feel as though one is sojourner in a strange land. Alphabets are at best vaguely familiar, while vocabulary and the different parts of speech can be even larger obstacles for the learner. Once the beginning student begins to read for the first time, syntax and context sensitive vocabulary can be tremendous stumbling blocks. As the student begins to feel more at home with their BHS or NA27/UBS4, the often sad conclusion is that he/she finishes their respective coursework in Hebrew/Greek, never to keep up with the good work that has begun. Many such tools exist to help the student rekindle their biblical language acquisition, some of which I have highlighted on this very blog.

Among the best out there is the recent contribution by Barclay M. Newman as he has provided those students who desire to develop reading facility of their Greek New Testament's. As Philip Towner states in the preface:

"The bottom line is this: to master the skill of reading the Greek New Testament there is simply no substitute for linear and sustained reading. This tool will aid the student and scholar in achieving this goal" (8).

Given the above quotation, one may wonder what makes the Reader's Edition so useful. Well, here are some of the volume's unique features:

  • All words occurring 30 times or less are given their lexical form and defined with a running dictionary at the bottom of the page.

  • All words occurring more than 30 times in the GNT are given an appendix in the back of the book.

  • Definitions are given according to context, preventing the reader from the struggle of deciding on which gloss may be best.

  • Where a word has a meaning different from its usual definition elsewhere in the NT, the broader meaning is provided.

  • Where scholars show significant disagreement over the meaning of a word, the alternate suggestions are included.

  • Each word is assigned a number which corresponds to the number in the running dictionary at the bottom of the page. Moreover, the numbering system begins anew with each turn of the page.

  • Occasionally, idiomatic word combinations are defined. (e.g. John 2.7̔̔ έ́́́́́́́́́́̓́́́̓̓́̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̓̓̓̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔ως ανω is defined as "to the brim" [253 n.33]).

  • Unusual verb forms are given their root form as well as their parsed form.

  • The dictionary identifies these specific parts of speech:

Verbs: Present indicative active first person singular, except where only passive and/or middle forms occur in the NT.

Nouns: Lexical form, genitive ending, article.

Adjectives: Lexical form, alternate nominative endings.

Adverbs, prepositions, and particles: Fixed form.

On a personal note, while I was teaching my 12 week class on Romans, I found my reading greatly enhanced using the UBS Reader's Edition. Many words I normally would have fumbled over, inhibiting and frustrating my reading, were given a major boost, knowing that I could get through a major discourse without spending an hour getting to the end of the unit, encouraged me greatly. This tool is not a "crutch" if used properly. I agree with Towner's assessment that "This tool will help the reader 'graduate' to independent reading of the UBS Greek New Testament/Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece sooner rather than later" (8).

I would be remiss if I did not mention one item of concern in closing. I was perusing through 1 Thessalonians 5.26 when I came across the phrase εν φιληματι ̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔αγιω ("with a holy kiss"). I was surprised to find that the noun φιλημα was unnumbered and undefined at the bottom of the page. Since φιλημα only occurs rather infrequently elsewhere (LXX: ʹ̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔̔Prov 27:6; Song 1:2; Luke 7:45; 22:48; Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26; 1 Pet 5:14), I was left wondering where else errors may have occured in this work. What is more remarkable however, is that in a task as monumental as the one Newman undertakes, that these kinds of errors do not occur more frequently.

Newman is to be commended for a fine piece of work, one that every student with at least a year of Greek under his/her belt should keep readily available and read daily.

(Disclaimer: I apologize for my lack of Greek accents and breathing marks. I could not get them to work properly!)