June 22, 2008
Posted by Foolish Tar Heel under Hermeneutics
, Scripture  Comments
In this context, I shall argue that if it was necessary for evangelicals in response to liberal theology to emphasize the divine speaking, it is time to redress the balance by saying more about the human authors of Scripture. I shall further demonstrate that, far from weakening an evangelical doctrine of Scripture, this move actually strengthens it.
And the winner is… (more…)
June 21, 2008
Studying Paul in his ancient Mediterranean horizon and the reception and handling of Paul in early Christianity are two of my primary areas of historical research. In view of this—and the Conn-verations blog’s focus on issues of hermeneutics and context(s)—every now and then I will try to post on Paul in Christian Origins.
During a short reading break I decided to type out something that has been swirling around my head since I recently read through Jubilees (a 2nd century BCE Jewish writing) again. The following passage stuck out to me in connection with something Paul does in Galatians 3.1-4.7.
Just to be clear at the outset, I do not think that Paul is necessarily writing with Jubilees in mind or that what Paul is doing is predicated upon some unique development within Jubilees. Rather, I prefer to view the following passage from Jubilees as a possible window in on certain ways things might have been understood by some(many?) Early Jews—thus, something that might have been “in the air” in Paul’s context.
But after this they [Israel] will return to me in all uprightness and with all of their heart and soul. And I shall cut off the foreskin of their heart and the foreskin of the heart of their descendents. And I shall create for them a Holy Spirit, and I shall purify them so that they will not turn away from following me from that day and forever. And their souls will cleave to me and to all my commandments. And they will do my commandments. And I shall be a father to them, and they will be sons to me. And they will all be called “sons of the living God.” And every angel and spirit will know and acknowledge that they are my sons and I am their father in uprightness and righteousness. And I shall love them. (Jubilees 1.22b-25) (more…)
June 21, 2008
An article by N.T. Wright, entitled “Kingdom Come: The Public Meaning of the Gospels,” appeared in Christian Century on June 17, 2008.
Regarding common approaches to the gospel, Wright notes how approaches to the Gospels (in the West, in recent history) have tended to give exclusive attention toward either Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom (and, so, social gospel readings) or Jesus’ death and resurrection (and, so, individual salvation-of-souls readings). I appreciated his “third way,” so to speak, of looking at the Gospels. He avoids a private/public dichotomizing of these Scriptures. And he goes on to ask how the church should live out its kingdom calling–its “biblical commitment to ‘doing God in public’” (33).
I thought this was a worthwhile read for someone who does little reading these days. And I was glad to see it appear in Christian Century. I’ll be interested to hear what others have to say.
June 20, 2008
It’s time for a brief break in the polemics! Since its introduction in late 2007, I have eagerly followed the progress of the Amazon Kindle, an e-book reading device and so much more. Although e-readers have been around for a while, the great leap forward in the Kindle (and a few competitive devices of which the Sony E-reader is the most notable) is the employment of electronic ink, which creates a screen reading experience that mimics print on paper. This is not like reading a computer monitor or cell phone; it’s like reading a book.
Before choosing Kindle over Sony, I did my homework. No question about it, the Sony is nicer looking, and it was at the time $100 less expensive. (Amazon dropped the price on Kindles from $399 to $359 a few wees ago, reducing the gap.) But the benefits ended there, and were outweighed by 1) Kindle’s ability to download books over free built-in cell phone technology wherever a Sprint cell signal can be had. That’s right; no need to connect to the computer, and the ultimate in bibliophilic instant gratification. Sitting at the airport, and stuck? No problem. 2) The price of most books through Amazon is $9.99, even brand new releases. The Sony’s offerings through mobipocket and elsewhere are priced in relationship to the physical book, and considerably more expensive. 3) The Kindle allows the user to take electronic margin notes; the Sony does not. 4) Amazon permits the downloading of any Kindle book’s first chapter for free. 5) There is rudimentary web capability (emphasis on rudimentary) on the Kindle, including instant access to Wikipedia, and the ability to access web-based email – at least gmail. 6) There are thousands of free books available on other web sites, including many classics. 7) Amazon will Kindle-ize and send to one’s device a PDF file of any size for a dime. (Did you really want to print out the HTFC report?)
I took the plunge last month, and asked my husband for one for my birthday. I’m delighted with it. Yes, I agree with a few of the commonly-cited criticisms like the size of the page advance button and the overall uninspiring look of the device. The grey and black screen is limiting; charts and illustrations don’t reproduce well at this point in the device’s development. But, what I’ve gained is the ability to carry around a small library in my purse. Which brings me to the point for this post.
Amazon’s Kindle offerings at this point are substantial, but they are geared to best-seller style reading. The real utility of this device for us would be the market for theological writing. I still recall standing in the WTS bookstore (back when that was not only expected but encouraged!) with a $40, c. 200 page paperback in my hand, and saying “absolutely no way.” The problem is that the Kindle’s current offerings in theology are quite shallow. Keller’s new book is available, but that’s because it’s a best-seller. But, imagine the possibilities if commentaries were Kindle-ized or if small-run but important works were Kindle-ized? The academic market, and more specifically, the theological market represents incredible potential for the Kindle. We all know what some of these books cost, how heavy they are to carry, how much space they take to shelve, and how much money they cost to move. The Kindle takes care of all that!
As the number of users grows, the book offerings will diversify! So, take a look, and let me know what you think. Is this device going to be part of our future?
June 14, 2008
I have modified this post slightly from its original version. Though I did not write this post in anger or as a rant, I realize how some of my repeated charges throughout it could come across that way. My goal was to be honest about my thoughts on Dr. Lillback’s work not only as scholarship, but as a Christian leader of a Christian institution. As I hold a strongly negative view of Dr. Lillback’s essay, the work of a respected leader, I struggled to express this in a respectful but at the same time honest manner. I would like to thank everyone for their advice thus far, both on and off the blog.
About a month back Art Boulet posted a critique of WTS President Peter Lillback’s essay (at the end of the documents released by WTS in April). Lillback’s essay was published in the recent festschrift for Richard Gaffin. For those who do not know, Art is the WTS student who was told on Monday to withdraw from the seminary or face disciplinary action that could lead to a twelve-month suspension. He was not given an opportunity to repent, to apologize, etc. See the post and discussion on his blog.
Getting back to Art’s critique of Lillback, a 73 comment (as of now) discussion ensued in which no one took up any of Art’s points. Furthermore, various people and bloggers, some of whom are aware of Art’s critique, continue to recommend Lillback’s essay as helpful in establishing Peter Enns as outside the Reformed Tradition. Some such comments can be seen here.
I thought I would write at least one post focusing on a specific place in Lillback’s essay, illustrating what I consider to be the deficient nature of his scholarship. At the same time, since Dr. Lillback is the head of an explicitly Christian institution and would see his writing as more than simply scholarship, I will try to engage it also on the level of Christian responsibility. (more…)
June 13, 2008
John Frame has posted a gentle-negative review of Pete Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation on his website. Perhaps sometime soon I or someone else on the Conn-Blog can do a more detailed post on it.
I commend this review to everyone. (more…)
June 9, 2008
Below I have quoted various writings from the ancient Mediterranean on women in relation to specific questions and issues. I have not included references to the sources/authors from which the quotes come—I will provide them later. For now I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the snapshots of the varied ancient Mediterranean discourse on women, specifically how components of the varied patriarchal consciousness connect with views of women as inherently deficient.
There are many many more passages from which I could draw. Below is simply a minor sampling…
[on womankind] “…is inclined to be secretive and crafty, because of its weakness…You see, leaving women to do what they like is not just to lose half the battle (as it may seem); a woman’s natural potential for virtue is inferior to a man’s, so she’s proportionately a greater danger, perhaps even twice as great…”
“How can one reach agreement with a woman?” “By recognizing,” he replied, “that the female sex is bold, positively active for something which it desires, easily liable to change its mind because of poor reasoning powers, and of naturally weak constitution. It is necessary to have dealings with them in a sound way, avoiding provocation which may lead to a quarrel. Life prospers when the helmsman knows the goal to which he must make the passage…”
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel… (more…)
June 6, 2008
I thought I would make a short post on this. Many of the contributors of this blog, and certainly some of its readers, know Daniel Kirk. Daniel is a MDiv graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (2000). He subsequently completed a PhD in New Testament from Duke University’s Department of Religion, studying under Richard Hays, E.P. Sanders, and Joel Marcus, among others. He wrote a fascinating dissertation on Resurrection in Romans, how Paul re-understood and re-told the significance of Israel in the light of Christ. His advisor was none other than Richard Hays, whose writings certainly molded my thought on Paul and the communal significance of Paul for the church more than anyone else’s writings. Daniel commences his job as a professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary this coming Fall.
During and since his time at Duke Daniel has written a fair amount concerning Paul and the significance of recent scholarship on Paul for the contemporary church. (more…)
June 6, 2008
I was struck the other night by the hilarious comments on the bottle of Arrogant Bastard I shared with some friends while watching the Red Wings finish their business in Pittsburgh,
“Arrogant Bastard Ale: This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory—maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this.”
I realize this post does not have anything to do with our usual topics and discussions on the Conn-blog. Perhaps we can file this under “cultural relevance.” Basically, I just think it’s funny…