Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gospel of Mark Paper Proposal Accepted

I recently received the good news (no pun intended) that my paper proposal for the Mark's Gospel in Mediterranean Context section of the Stone-Campbell Journal Conference has been accepted.

Here is the abstract with the particulars:

Sigh Language: Jesus’ Groans in Mark’s Gospel against their Greco-Roman Background

The goal of this paper will be to examine the two pericopae in which Jesus is said to ‘sigh’ in Mark’s narrative (7:31-37; 8:11-13).  Throughout, I will examine the differences between the terminology the Markan author employs (e.g. στενάζω; ἀναστενάζω) and show that nearly all English translations mask the significant differences between his nuanced vocabulary.  In addition, I will focus specifically on the latter term, ἀναστενάζω—a hapax legomenon in the NT—and its usage in ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman literature.  Having situated Jesus' sighs against these socio-literary contexts, fresh insights into his actions will emerge.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mark Commentaries

In preparation for a research project, I was wondering if any of you out there had some suggestions on commentaries for Mark's Gospel? I covet your suggestions and more importantly, the reasons for your suggestions. I am embarrassed to say, despite my ever-growing library, I only own one Mark commentary, that of Ben Witherington, in the Socio-Rhetorical series (Eerdmans).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Forthcoming Hebrews Volume NICNT

The NICNT (Eerdmans) has long been one of my favorite commentary series. With the recent appointing of one Joel Green as the series editor, replacing Gordon Fee, this series should continue its high marks for excellence. I am excited to see that one of the forthcoming volumes, Hebrews, by Gareth L. Cockerill, is slated to release on 4/30/12.

Here are the particulars: (ISBN: 978-0-8028-2492-9; pp. 768)

Gareth Lee Cockerill's commentary offers sound insight into Hebrews as a well-constructed sermon encouraging its hearers to persevere despite persecution and hardships in light of Christ's unique sufficiency as Savior.

Cockerill analyzes the book's rhetorical, chiastic shape and interprets each passage in light of this overarching structure. He also offers a new analysis of how Hebrews uses the Old Testament - continuity and fulfillment, rather than continuity and discontinuity - and shows how this consistent usage is relevant for contemporary biblical interpretation. Written in a clear, engaging, and accessible style, this commentary will benefit pastors, laypeople, students, and scholars alike.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seneca and Some Relevant Comments for Our Time

I was reading Seneca's De Beneficiis (On Benefits) when I came across this timeless, sobering quote which really reminded me of the times in which we are living:

Our ancestors made the complaint, we make the complaint, and our descendents will complain about it too: morals are corrupt, vice is dominant, human affairs are declining, and all sense of right and wrong is crumbling. But the situation is still the same and it will remain pretty much the same, give or take a little movement one way or the other, like the waves which the incoming tide brings further inland and the outgoing tide holds back to the low-water line. (10.2) At one point our moral failings will lean more in the direction of adultery than any other vice, and the restraints of sexual modesty will be shattered; at another point the dominant vice will be the mad excesses of feasting and gastronomic extravagance, which reduce inheritances to a shameful state of ruin; at some other time it will be excessive cultivation of the body and an obsession with beauty that advertises intellectual and moral ugliness; again, it will be badly managed freedom which breaks out into presumptuous impudence; then we will descend into public and private savagery and the madness of civil wars, in which everything sacred and holy is violated. Some day drunkenness will bring respect, and the capacity to drink a huge volume of strong wine will be a virtue. (10.3) Vices do not wait around in just one location; they are on the move and jostle competitively with each other— sometimes winning, sometimes losing. But we will always be obliged to make the same declaration about ourselves: that we are bad now, have been bad in the past, and (though I add this point reluctantly) will be bad in the future. (10.4) There will always be killers, tyrants, thieves, adulterers, rapists, violators of religion, and traitors. 

But lower than all of these is the ungrateful man—unless, of course, all those crimes actually stem from ingratitude, without which hardly any great crime achieves its full magnitude. Treat it  as the greatest crime—and so avoid committing it. But think of it as the  slightest—and so forgive it if someone commits it against you.
For the sum total of the injustice is that you have lost the benefit you gave; you have preserved what is best about it, the fact that you gave it (1.10.1-4, translation Miriam Griffin and Brad Inwood).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brief Review of Long and Halcomb's Luke-Acts Polyglot

Here is a brief review I posted for Amazon.com on Fred Long and Mike Halcomb's cool, new resource A Parallel and Interlinear New Testament Polyglot: Luke-Acts.

At $19.99, this is a must-buy! Go out and get your copy! To see a sample of this work check out the website: http://www.ntpolyglot.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Exciting New Title on Ephesus

Paul's letter to the Ephesians has seen a recent boon in commentary production of late. First, Frank Thielman's BECNT offering along with Clint Arnold's recent commentary in the ZECNT series, and Tim Gombis' stellar The Drama of Ephesians has provided the student with some quality material on this Pauline letter. I am also eagerly anticipating Fred Long's treatment in the Deo series.

Perhaps, the most significant volume on the background of the ancient city of Ephesus is being published by Harvard University Press at the start of the new year, with the title Ephesus: History, Archaeology, Architecture (ed. Athanasios Sideris).

Here is the description:

Ephesus: History, Archaeology, Architecture is the most complete presentation in English of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. It is the result of collaboration among numerous Greek and Austrian experts: archaeologists, historians, architects, and graphic designers. Its 472 lavishly-illustrated pages provide an extraordinary wealth of information, including the results of the most recent archaeological excavations, which have been conducted by the Austrian Archaeological Institute for more than a century.
The introductory chapters present in detail the history and archaeology of the city from its Mycenaean past to its fall under the Seljuks in the 11th century CE. The heart of the volume is an analytic discussion of more than 60 buildings and monuments of the ancient city, supported by more than 370 architectural drawings, digital models, and color photographs. Also included are an extended chronological table, a visual and textual glossary (rendering the work accessible even to a nonspecialist public), a list of ancient sources, and a list of more than 600 cited works. This comprehensive volume is an indispensable companion to anyone studying the history and the archaeology of Asia Minor, and Hellenistic and Roman architecture more generally.

The only trouble I see, of course, is cost. This volume will sell for $80- putting it out of price range for many of us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I'm Reading....

Any guesses?