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Pope John Paul II on Labor and Co-creation

A little over thirty years ago, Pope John Paul II made this comment as part of his blessing the fishing fleet at Flatrock, Newfoundland (Sept 12, 1984):

"Men and women are meant to contribute by their work tothe building up of the human community, and so to realize their full humanstature as co-creators with God and co-builders of his Kingdom." 

You can see his full comments here.

Interview on Reconsidering the Relationship between Biblical and Systematic Theology

Jason Maston asked me some questions recently about the recent book I co-edited on the relationship between biblical and systematic theology: https://dunelm.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/ben-reynolds-on-biblical-and-systematic-theology-author-interview/.

Thanks, Jason and the Dunelm crew.

The Importance of Big Ideas and Great Books

There is an excellent piece entitled "Philosopher Kings: Business Leaders would benefit from studying great writers" in the Schumpeter column of the October 4th 2014 Economist. The article is a lament with some poignant comments arguing that business leaders would be better off spending weekends reading great books and discussing big ideas with others rather than doing team building exercises or experiencing leadership skills on a kayak trip. The call is for business leaders to take some "inward-bound" courses instead of the typical outward-bound courses.

I think that the piece offers some great advice, and I think that the advice shouldn't just be taken by business leaders. Everyone in every walk of life could use a few big ideas and read a great book or two. Connecting with the broader ideas of what humanity is and what culture is can expand our horizons and challenge us to rethink our own narrow parts of the world. If a business leader can be encourage to r…

Thoughts on "Jesus Christ didn't exist"

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The Daily Mail Online has run a piece today entitled: "'Jesus NEVER existed': Writer finds no mention of Christ in 126 historical texts and says he was a 'mythical character.'" The writer is Michael Paulkovich who is described as a "historical researcher." (It is probably worth mentioning that the next story that the Daily Mail suggests its readers view is "Has 'Dracula's dungeon' been unearthed in Turkey?")
As the title, and every following paragraph, states, Paulkovich did not find reference to Jesus in 126 ancient historical writers (his list is provided), and so therefore, Paulkovich believes Jesus was mythical. The assumption built in here is that by the end of the first century Jesus was famous enough throughout the Roman Empire that any decent historian would have mentioned him: "all of whom should have heard of Jesus but did not." 
Yet, it should be obvious that this is clearly an argument from silence. For ex…

Apology to Saeed Hamid-Khani

It has been a while since posting, but I have been meaning to get to this one.

I wanted to formally apologize to Dr. Saeed Hamid-Khani for not making use of his published thesis in the writing of my own thesis on the Gospel of John. Hamid-Khani's thesis was published as: Revelation and Concealment ofChrist: Theological Inquiry into the Elusive Language of the Fourth Gospel (WUNT II/120; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000). It was examined by William Horbury and C.K. Barrett. John Philip M. Sweet was Hamid-Khani's supervisor. 

In the course of working on an essay related to the topic of "revelation" in the Gospel of John, I ran across the title of Hamid-Khani's book. I was able to get a copy through interlibrary loan and waded my way through the immense amount of work that the volume contains. The striking contribution of Hamid-Khani's thesis is his challenge to Rudolf Bultmann's claim that what is revealed in John's Gospel is an empty revelation formula, i…

Thomas Dekker in Dororthy Sayers

Great quote at the beginning of chapter 15 of Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey novel Gaudy Night.

Do but consider what an excellent thing sleep is: it is so inestimable a jewel that, if a tyrant would give his crown for an hour's slumber, it cannot be bought: of so beautiful a shape is it, that though a man lie with an Empress, his heart cannot beat quiet till he leaves her embracements to be at rest with the other: yea, so greatly indebted are we to this kinsman of death, that we owe the better tributary half our life to him: and there is good cause why we should do so: for sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Who complains of want? of wounds? of cares? of great men's oppressions? of captivity? whilst he sleepeth? Beggars in their beds take as much pleasure as kings: can we therefore surfeit on this delicate Ambrosia? Can we drink too much of that whereof to taste too little tumbles us into a churchyard, and to use it but indifferently th…

John Ashton's new book, The Gospel of John and Christian Origins (Fortress Press)

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John Ashton's bookThe Gospel of John and Christian Originswas published this spring by Fortress Press. I did have the opportunity to read earlier versions of about half the chapters, and it has been enjoyable to read through the finished book.

Ashton has continued themes from his previous book on John, Understanding the Fourth Gospel (1st ed. 1991; 2nd ed. 2007). Ashton made significant changes between the two editions of Understanding, but the third section on "Revelation" (pp. 303-528 in the 2nd ed.) was largely left unchanged.
(See my comments on that volume here.) Ashton acknowledges he is revising that section in Gospel of John and Christian Origins, but he is also making more explicit his arguments for the history behind the Gospel, its writing, and Johannine Christianity.

The primary interlocutors and support for Ashton throughout the book are Wayne Meeks, Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Käsemann, and J. Louis Martyn. Coupled with the title, it is clear that that he is c…