Wednesday, October 30, 2013

N.T. Wright Webcast

I just got word that @ 11:00 am Eastern time, N.T. Wright will be delivering a webcast on his highly anticipated magnum opus, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The webcast is hosted by Wycliffe Hall, and can be accessed here.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Second Edition): Preliminary Observations Part I

Well, Christmas came early for me as I received the highly-anticipated second edition of the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels in the mail yesterday. Thanks to Adrianna Wright and the good folks at IVP Academic for sending a review copy along!

I plan on doing a series of posts on this fine resource, but for now, I have only been able to take a cursory look. What I can tell you may sound like "Mr. Master of the Obvious," but I'll say it anyway, this volume is impressive. Quite simply if you are a NT student/scholar, you need to find room in your budget and bookshelves and get this volume. With SBL coming up, there will be a healthy discount, but even at full price, $60.00, this volume is a steal.

Just some quick stats that I had a chance to compile, comparing the first and second editions:

Page Count (1st edition): 896 (without indices), 933 pp. total
                    (2nd edition): 1,023 (without indices), 1088 pp. total

Number of Articles (1st edition): 176
                                 (2nd edition): 173

Number of Contributors: (1st edition): 95
                                          (2nd edition): 128

From the above stats, it becomes quickly apparent that the second edition is substantially bigger and more contributors participated in writing dictionary entries. I was a bit surprised that the number of entries was slightly less in the second volume. However, a caveat is in order, as I believe (this point still needs confirming), that many entry topics were combined in the second edition. Moreover, it appears the second edition has expanded its coverage as I saw entries for Post-Colonial, African-American, Latin, and Feminist Criticism(s) of the Gospels to name a few.

For all intents and purposes, the second edition is a near stand-alone from the first edition. For that reason, I recommend keeping the first if you do own it. It can be said, and this is saying a lot, that the second edition more than lives up to the standard of the IVP "Black Series" of Dictionaries. I cannot wait to dig in!

More to come...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Greek for the Rest of Us (Second Edition)

Last fall, at the conclusion of the Gospel of John class I taught for the Trinity Institute at my church, I
remarked that I had often thought I would like to offer a class on Biblical Greek for any interested lay folk. To my surprise, those that were in a class of fifteen were all excited about the idea. I explained to them that the class would cover the essentials of Greek grammar and would be geared towards making them knowledgeable in doing word studies and also interacting with commentaries.

So, thanks to my friend, Emily Varner, I have recently had chance to revisit those very thoughts I expressed nearly a year ago. She has sent along a copy of William Mounce's Greek for the Rest of Us: The Essentials of Biblical Greek (Second Edition). Mounce's goals are spelled out in the Introduction entitled, "What Would it Look Like if You Knew a Little Greek?" (xi-xvii). Mounce's stated goals for those who work through Greek for the Rest of Us mirror most of what I envisioned teaching a potential class. First, would be learning how to use Bible software; second would to be to learn the meaning of the Greek words that underlie the English; third would be to learn the basics of exegesis; fourth would be to learn why English translations differ, and the last goal is to enable the student to learn how to read and interact with good commentaries.

I will post on this resource again as I get time to look it over. I am curious to see how Mounce, one of the most recognized authors and teachers of Biblical Greek, carries this agenda forward.

More anon...

Book Notices: Two Jesus and the Gospels Volumes from Eerdmans Publishing

Recently, Eerdmans publishing was kind enough to send me two volumes, one by James D.G. Dunn, The Oral Gospel Tradition, a collection of Dunn's essays on this topic that have spanned the last 35 years. I am looking forward to carving out some time and diving in. Dunn is one of the top NT scholars alive, and this collection of fifteen of his essays will surely prove to be thought-provoking, not to mention, good reading, since Dunn is an excellent writer and scholar.
The other volume, authored by Vernon K. Robbins, Who Do People Say I Am? : Rewriting Gospel in Emerging Christianity, arose out of a class Robins taught nearly thirty years ago at Emory University, entitled "Jesus and the Gospels." This book looks to be a sure guide as Robbins analyzes both canonical and non-canonical gospels and their portraits of Jesus. I look forward to dipping into this volume a bit in the near future. My feeling is after a cursory glance, that this book might provide a valuable introduction to the topic for undergraduate/graduate students.

Thanks again to the kind folks at Eerdmans for sending these along.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Abraham Lincoln and the Quote of the Day

I have often remarked to family and friends that outside of New Testament scholarship, my one other great passion is on all things Abraham Lincoln.

So it is with this caveat that on a NT blog, I have excused myself from the typical postings on all things NT-related and offer this gem of a quote on writing delivered by Lincoln in his "Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions" read to the Phi Alpha Society of Illinois College at Jacksonville, Illinois, on February 11, 1859:

Writing--the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye--is the great invention of the world. Great in the astonishing range of analysis and combination which necessarily underlies the most crude and general conception of it--great, very great in enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and of space; and great, not only in its direct benefits, but greatest help, to all other inventions.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

N.T. Wright: The Nomad Podcast

N.T. Wright's Paul and the Faithfulness of God, is perhaps the most anticipated volume to arrive in NT studies in years. Scot McKnight opines that it is the most eloquently written theological book since Schweitzer's Quest for the Historical Jesus.  High praise indeed.

Recently, Wright appears on the Nomad Podcast where he discusses his forthcoming magnum opus. The interview goes much longer than the allotted 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Select Works of C.K. Barrett- Logos Bible Software

The good folks at Logos Bible Software, namely, good friend, Cliff Kvidahl, was nice enough to send a review copy of the "Select Works of C.K. Barrett" (7 vols.). Barrett, along with Dodd, were the two most significant British New Testament scholars of the 20th century. Being a huge fan of Barrett, this is veritable goldmine for this Logos user.

The collection consists of:

  1. New Testament Background; Publisher: SPCK; Publication Date: 1956; Pages: 392 
  2. Gospel According to John; Publisher: SPCK; Publication Date: 1978 (Second Edition); Pages: 656
  3. Holy Spirit and Gospel Tradition; Publisher: SPCK; Publication Date: 1958 (Second Edition); Pages: 176
  4. New Testament Essays; Publisher: SPCK; Publication Date: 1972; Pages: 159
  5. Gospel of John and Judaism; Publisher: SPCK; Publication Date: 1975; Pages: 101
  6. Essays on John; Publisher: SPCK; Publication Date: 1982; Pages: 167
  7. Essays on Paul; Publisher: SPCK; Publication Date: 1982; Pages: 170
Here is a screenshot of Barrett's famous John commentary and also his influential essay "The Dialectical Theology of St. John":

I will have more on this bundle in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel

I am delighted to announce that a volume in which I was fortunate to contribute is now available for order, Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel (Mohr Siebeck).

My essay on the neighbors of the man born blind (9.8-13), maybe the first sustained narrative study of these characters in the Fourth Gospel. I was fortunate to be shepherded through this essay by the three best editors a writer could ask for in Steven Hunt, Francois Tolmie, and Ruben Zimmermann. To say that they were helpful is a huge understatement.

I am also delighted to appear in such a prestigious volume with some of the greatest Johannine scholars in the world. All of the contributors and ordering info appears here.