Showing posts from 2010

Bonhoeffer on Table Fellowship

Some of Bonhoeffer's comments on table fellowship are an especially good challenge of what the mealtime can be.

"The fellowship of table has a festive quality. It is a constantly recurring reminder in the midst of our every day work of God's resting after His work, of the Sabbath as the meaning and goal of the week and its toil. Our life is not only travail and labor, it is also refreshment and joy in the goodness of God. We labor, but God nourishes and sustains us. And this is reason for celebrating...Through our daily meals He is calling us to rejoice, to keep holiday in the midst of our working day." Life Together, 68.

Caldecott on the Liberal Arts, again

I have recently finished reading Stratford Caldecott's, Beauty for Truth's Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education. The first chapter on the Liberal Arts continues to be the most interesting for me, but the rest of the book brings together the importance of beauty's place in education. So much of the world whether music, mathematics, science, or architecture has beauty and order to it, as Caldecott has shown. It is an excellent book and a good argument for the place of religion in education.

After I finished the book, I thumbed through it for the places I had highlighted. This passage on page 28 still strikes a chord with me:

"The sheer amount of information available in every discipline is far too great to be mastered by one person in an entire lifetime. The purpose of an education is not merely to communicate information, let alone current scientific opinion, nor to train future workers and managers. It is to teach the ability to think, discriminate, speak, and wri…

The Economist on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

I must say that this is the highlight of my day if not my week. I have been bothered for weeks by the late arrival of my weekly Economist, but as a subscriber, I can have access to each week's full edition of the Economist on my iPod Touch from 4pm Eastern Standard Time on Thursdays. That beats the typical Tuesday/Wednesday arrival of the magazine.

All that is needed is the Economist app which can be downloaded for free. Then every Thursday late afternoon the current week's edition downloaded to my iPod Touch. I can then take it with me everywhere without needing an internet connection. And that isn't everything: there is even an audio version of every article. The Economist in the gym, on the road, on a walk.

So, on to "How to Cut the Deficit"...

SBL Greek New Testament

The Society of Biblical Literature Greek New Testament has just been announced by SBL and is now available as a free download. It is currently available for Logos users. The pdf version is coming soon.

The Longer Ending of Mark

A friend of mine asked me about the longer ending of Mark today. Mark 16:9-20 poses an interesting question because they are missing from some important early witnesses. There are also a additional verses found in some manuscripts (See Metzger, Textual Commentary on the New Testament, pp. 102-6).

As I was looking back through Mark 16:9-16 today, I was reminded about how this passage is such a collage of resurrection appearance episodes found in Matthew, Luke, and John. Mary Magdalene appears to Jesus as in John. There is an echo of the Lukan Emmaus story in Mark 16:12-13. Jesus gives the disciples a Matthean-like Great Commission, along with some pieces about the handling of serpents (which may reflect knowledge of Acts 28:3-6). The ascension of Jesus in Mark 16:19 also appears to indicate knowledge of Luke 24 and Acts 1, especially the final verse about the disciples preaching.

Recently, I have also noticed a couple features that may add to further evidence of Johannine influence. Fi…

30th Annual Holocaust Education Week

Holocaust Education Week continues here in Toronto and on Monday, November 8th at 7:00pm Tyndale will be hosting one of the sessions. The session is entitled "My Personal Testimony." Holocaust survivor Sally Wasserman who was born in Katowice, Poland in 1935 will be telling of her experience. The evening should be an excellent opportunity to hear firsthand some of the horrible events that was the Holocaust.

The description of her story can be found here and reads as follows:
"When the war started, her family was expelled from their town and went to live in her father’s hometown, Dombrova. He was soon taken away and they never saw him again. When the Dombrova Ghetto was established, Sally, her mother and her young brother were forced to move to the ghetto. When the ghetto was liquidated, Sally’s mother hid her with an elderly Polish Gentile couple until liberation. She was 11 years old when she left Poland for a DP camp in Germany. There, she and 92 other J…

NIV2011 Available on the Web

The NIV2011 which is to replace the 1984 NIV and the TNIV is now available at This change was announced in September 2009. It seems that Zondervan felt that there had been too much backlash against the TNIV, but they still wanted to have a gender inclusive version of the NIV. The NIV2011 is an attempt at a compromise. We shall see how it turns out. The initial discussion on the text at Evangelical Textual Criticism implies that the NIV2011 is closer to the TNIV that the NIV 1984. I will have to do my own checking, but I am aware that compared to the more recent translations, such as the NLT2004 and ESV, the NIV 1984 is the least gender inclusive. This should come as no surprise since it was translated before there was much of a gender inclusive discussion.

New Edition of the Greek NT: SBLGNT

Logos Bible Software and the Society of Biblical Literature have just announced a new edition of the Greek NT. Mike Holmes edited the new version, and you can read Mike's announcement here. He provides some of the details of the editorial aspect of the project. Further information can be found at Hardcopies will soon be available through SBL, but the SBLGNT will also be available as a free download! There are lots of things happening these days in the textual critical field.

The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers

Before my classes, I often read a prayer from the book Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. There is something about reading the words of Christians from an earlier time that removes us from our view of the world and faith. The same is true of prayers before the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries too, even though these are post-Reformation prayers!

Every once in a while, one of the prayers will particularly stand out to me. That was the case with the prayer from yesterday: "The Life Look" (p. 54). One of the lines goes as follows: "I want no other rock to build upon than that I have, desire no other hope than that of gospel truth, need no other look than that which gazes on the cross."

The prayer ends with these words: "O God, hear me, do for me more than I ask, think, or dream."

Israel Study Tour

Two professors from Tyndale Seminary, Rebecca Idestrom (OT) and Ian Scott (NT), are leading an Israel study tour May 15-June 5 2011. This is a for-credit course for Tyndale Seminary and UC students. All of the information can be found here

NLT Revision. Who knew?

Until just yesterday, I did not know that the New Living Translation (NLT) has been revised. I was under the impression that the NLT was a free translation that was closer to its roots in the Living Bible paraphrase than to a formal equivalence or even a dynamic equivalence. Well, it turns out that on closer inspection, the NLT has been revised, and the revised version can be placed in the dynamic/functional equivalence category.

The NLT was originally published in 1996 by Tyndale House Publishers. After the publication, an eight year review process of the translation was begun, which ended with the publication of the revision in 2004. The new version is still called the NLT and not the RNLT. Thus, you wouldn't know there was a revision unless you read the prefaces to NLT 2004 edition or for some odd reason ended up comparing the NLT 1996 with the NLT 2004 (as I did yesterday).

The move from a free translation to a dynamic or functional equivalence translation can be seen in 1 Joh…

Inauguration Weekend at Tyndale University College and Seminary

With the upcoming installation of our new president Dr. Gary Nelson here at Tyndale University College and Seminary (September 30), there are a number of activities that will be taking place.

Thursday, September 30th from 12pm-1pm, Dr. Jennifer Powell McNutt, Assistant Professor of Theology and Church History at Wheaton College, will be giving a presentation on her research on John Calvin and his successors in 18th century Geneva. Considering her work in some of the archives in Geneva, this presentation should be of interest to faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

Thursday evening at 7:30pm will be the installation of Dr. Gary Nelson. This will be held at the Bayview Campus Chapel.

Friday, October 1st, Tyndale is hosting a day long conference entitled "Tyndale Thinks & Writes" (Find details here). There are two morning addresses. The first entitled "The Role of the University in the 21st Century" will be given by Dr. David Barnard, President of the Universit…

The King James Bible, 400th Anniversary

Tommy Wasserman has posted some information at Evangelical Textual Criticism about events taking place next year around the 400th anniversary of the completion of the King James Bible (1611-2011). There is no doubt that the King James Bible has profoundly shaped the English language. What should also not be forgotten is the debt that the King James translators owe to the earlier translation work of William Tyndale.

David Daniell states in the opening paragraph of his biography of William Tyndale (William Tyndale: A Biography (Yale Nota Bene): "William Tyndale gave us our English Bible. The sages assembled by King James to prepare the Authorised Version of 1611, so often praised for unlikely corporate inspiration, took over Tyndale's work. Nine-tenths of the Authorised Version's New Testament is Tyndale's. The same is true of the first half of the Old Testament, which is as far as he was able to get before he was executed in Brussels in 1536."

Gospel of John and Intimations of Apocalyptic Follow-up, Finally

Now, almost two months since the colloquium at the University of Bangor, I will offer some final comments on the well-run colloquium that was put on by Catrin Williams and facilitated by Hazel Thompson.

Attending a small, intimate conference on a single topic is of so much more value than any large conference with multiple sessions. With everyone in attendance for all the papers, it is possible to have ongoing discussion about certain topics and for links to be made and suggested between papers.

One thing that is abundantly clear to me is the continual need to address the definition of 'apocalyptic' and 'apocalypse'. These words, particularly the former, are often used in various ways that can cause confusion about what is being discussed. Numerous texts that are not generally considered apocalypses can be fit under the heading of 'apocalyptic' and there usually is no rationale as to why this is the case. Clearly, texts can have 'apocalyptic' material, …

Lugioyo on Bucer and Justification

My good friend Brian Lugioyo's book Martin Bucer's Doctrine of Justification: Reformation Theology and Early Modern Irenicsim has recently been published by Oxford University Press in the Oxford Studies in Historical Theology series.

Not only is this excellent scholarship on Bucer, but Bucer's views on justification are entirely relevant for the current justification debate. It is unfortunate that Bucer has been overshadowed by Luther and Calvin.

The description of the book is as follows:
Martin Bucer has usually been portrayed as a diplomat who attempted to reconcile divergent theological views, sometimes at any cost, or as a pragmatic pastor who was more concerned with ethics than theology. These representations have led to the view that Bucer was a theological light-weight, rightly placed in the shadow of Luther and Calvin. This book makes a different argument.

Bucer was an ecclesial diplomat and a pragmatic pastor, yet his ecclesial and practical approaches to r…

Dorothy Sayers on the Liberal Arts

"Is not the great defect of our education today--a defect traceable through all the disquieting symptoms of trouble that I have mentioned--that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils "subjects," we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning.-- Dorothy Sayers, "The Lost Tools of Learning"

I have placed a link to this excellent essay under the Liberal Arts heading in the right column.

Conference on Apocalypticism

There is a day long Conference in Uppsala entitled "Faces of Apocalyptics". There are three papers and two are by John Collins and Adela Yarbro Collins. If Sweden were only closer...

"Apocalyptics", by the way, is being used to refer to "Apocalypticism". Another example of the slippery use of the terminology related to apocalypses.

Group Prayer Pet Peeves

If you've ever prayed in a group in a North American context you have probably experienced some of this.

The Liberal Arts: Beauty for Truth's Sake

I will come back to the Gospel of John and Intimations of Apocalyptic colloquium. It was an excellent colloquium.

I just read this inspiring selection yesterday:

“At the heart of any culture worthy of the name ['culture'] is not work but leisure, schole in Greek, a word that lies at the root of the English word ‘school.’ At its highest, leisure is contemplation. It is an activity that is its own justification, the pure expression of what it is to be human. It is what we do. The ‘purpose’ of the quadrivium was to prepare us to contemplate God in an ordered fashion, to take delight in the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness, while the purpose of the trivium was to prepare us for the quadrivium. The ‘purpose’ of the Liberal Arts is therefore to purify the soul, to discipline the attention so that it becomes capable of devotion to God; that is, prayer.” – Stratford Caldecott, Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education, p. 90.

John's Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic, University of Bangor

Day 1. We had some excellent papers to start off the first day of the colloquium.

John Ashton commenced the precedings with a well-written look at some of the historical traditions behind the connections between the Gospel of John and the apocalyptic genre. I find it fascinating that this sort of discussion always brings us to 1 Enoch. There are different views regarding what we do with any sort of connection between 1 Enoch and John, but the two texts have surprising similarities. One of the other questions that arises is whether the Fourth Evangelist is consciously replicating an apocalyptic structure or if such a structure was just part of his worldview.

Judith Lieu gave the next paper and discussed the issues of text and authority. She raised some excellent questions about writings in apocalypses (such as heavenly tablets) and the relationship these writings have with the written apocalypse. In relation to John, this comes to a head specifically in 20:30-31 and 21:24-25. The Gospe…

John's Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic, University of Bangor

John's Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic Colloquium sponsored by the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bangor and the Bible Society begins tomorrow afternoon with a paper by John Ashton entitled 'John and Intimations of Apocalyptic: Looking Back and Looking Forward'. The colloquium as a whole will be exploring the ways in which the Gospel of John reveals connections with apocalyptic literature and apocalypticism. This relationship has been argued by Ashton in Understanding the Fourth Gospel (2nd ed.; OUP, 2007), but not many scholars have undertaken a serious examination of the connection.

Highlights of the programme for me include the papers by John Ashton, Judith Lieu, April DeConick, Jorg Frey, Christopher Rowland, and Loren Stuckenbruck. It looks to be an interesting few days.

Translation of 1 John 3:19-20

1 John 3:19–20 reveals some translations differences between the NIV, NASB, and ESV.

Greek: ‘And by this we know that we are from the truth, and we reassure our heart before him hoti if our heart condemns us for [hoti] God is greater than our heart and he knows all things.’NIV: ‘This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.’ESV: ‘By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is great than our heart, and he knows everything.’NASB: ‘We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before him, in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.’The word hoti (‘for’, ‘because’) is used twice here. I have left the first one untranslated in the Greek translation. The NIV, ESV, and NASB translated the word…

Apocalyptic Son of Man

Rafael Rodriguez has written two posts reviewing my book The Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of John (WUNT II/249) on his blog Verily Verily. He is writing a review for BBR.

World Cup Final

Hats off to Spain. They play the beautiful game beautifully, even if the Dutch roughed them up a bit.

World Cup Final

Scoreless at half. Netherlands and Spain was the final I wanted to see from the beginning of the World Cup. Not an exciting match so far, but the Dutch are disrupting Spain's passing style. Who will score? Golden Boot to Villa or Sneijder?

Everybody Sins (1 John 1:8)

In my online course on the Johannine Epistles, we were looking at the apparent contradiction between 1 John 1:8 and 3:6 this last week. The first texts states: 'If we say that we do not have sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.' 1 John 3:6 says, 'Everyone who remains in him does not sin. Everyone sinning has not seen him or known him.' Ultimately the context of these two passages is important for understanding what is being said. Both are in a context that mentions the importance of living or walking as Jesus did, imitating him.

The other piece from both passages, especially 1:8, is that everyone sins. The New Testament makes clear that sin is part of the human condition (Rom 3:23). I just ran across an interesting passage from the Testament of Abraham which makes this same point. In chapter 10, Michael the archangel takes Abraham on a tour of the world. As they travel along, Abraham sees various sins taking place or about to take place--men sharpenin…

World Cup Update

After Sunday's games, I do not see how FIFA can continue to avoid video technology or at least two more officials (one at each goal line). Lampard's disallowed goal and Tevez's offsides for a goal (which he has admitted to) were game changers. Both were unfortunate and unnecessary. Hopefully something will change. It would be horrible to see any other matches decided this way.

The South American teams have done extremely well at the World Cup. All five made it through to the round of 16. Only one is currently out--Chile after being defeated by another South American team Brasil. It looks like we could be headed toward a Brasil vs. Argentina final. I would rather see the Nederlands there. We shall see. It will be an exciting week.

World Cup Update

I have to say that the early exits of France and Italy, the finalists from 2006, makes for a much more interesting tournament. Well done to Paraguay, Slovakia, Uruguay, and Mexico. The Kiwis did not lose a game and finished ahead of the defending champion Azzurri. A great tournament for the New Zealand All Whites!

Codex Alexandrinus 1 John 1:7 Reconstruction Attempt

Here is my attempt at a reconstruction of Codex Alexandrinus' 1 John 1:7 with allelwn. Any such reconstruction like this is arbitrary in choosing of letter size. I have kept open the possibility of a longer line as in 1:5 which trickles into the margin. A comparable example can be seen at 2:7 in the same colum with 1:7. The scribe also has a tendency to make the characters smaller if need be as the line nears the margin. My reconstruction does face difficulties with the third line down (1:8) where there is indication of smaller letters being used sooner. This suggests that the margin did not extend as far as my reconstruction would necessitate. However, I still think allelwn should not be ruled out as a possibility (e.g., note the eleventh line from the bottom in the same column). Further study of the scribal habits in Alexandrinus would help in answering this question.

The original image can be found at

Ciampa on 1 John 1:7 in Novum Testamentum

In Novum Testamentum 52 (2010) 267-271, Roy Ciampa (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) has a brief article on the reading of Codex Alexandrinus where the NA27 text has met' allelwn ('with one another'). The textual apparatus in NA27 indicates that Alexandrinus has evidence of the reading met' autou ('with him'). Ciampa points out that in actuality Alexandrinus has no evidence of anything following me. (See the manuscript here at the site.) Most textual critics have assumed that allelwn will not fit on the line and thus autou be a better option. Ciampa contends that meta ths ('with God') should be another option listed among the possible readings of A at 1 John 1:7. These are clearly all options; however, I am not completely convinced that it is impossible for characters of allelwn to fit. The margins are clearly fluid as Ciampa notes, and in the preceding column, it is clear that the scribe is willing to squeeze the chara…

Updated Journal List

The Journal section has been under construction for some time. I have finally updated the list. I will probably add to it in the future. If anyone notices any key journals I have left off, please let me know.

Saul-Paul of Tarsus

There are certain circles in which it is commonly thought and taught that Saul was Paul's Jewish or Aramaic name and Paul was his Greek name. Thus, when Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles, Acts uses the Greek Gentile version of the name (Paul) and the Jewish version (Saul) then disappears. The situation is actually a bit more complicated, as a brief perusal through NT surveys quickly shows.

In their recent publication The New Testament in Antiquity (Zondervan, 2009), Wheaton College faculty Gary Burge, Lynn Cohick, and Gene Green explain the Saul-Paul name question as follows: 'Paul was a Jew and also a Roman citizen..., born in the free city of Tarsus, the capital of the province of Cilicia. As a Roman Paul would have had three names: praenomen, nomen, and cognomen. A Roman's cognomen acted as a surname and, in the apostle's case, this was the Latin Paullus (Gk. Paulos), which identified him as a member of the Paulli family. He was known also as Saul (Gk. Sa…

World Cup Update

The Swiss have just upset Spain 1-0 in the second group H match. In my mind, Spain have what it takes to win the cup, but not if they keep this up. They need to win group H (Honduras, Chile, Switzerland, and Spain) in order to avoid Brasil in the second round, but that assumes Brasil wins group G. Brasil's defeat of North Korea yesterday 2-1 was not as convincing as most expected. See more details of the Spain-Swiss match at BBC Sport.

More from Life Together, Bonhoeffer

For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day's work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him to whom our whole life belongs. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14).

Some Thoughts from Bonhoeffers' Life Together (Gemeinsames Leben)

If we were to learn again something of the praise and adoration that is due the triune God at break of day, God the Father and Creator, who has preserved our life through the dark night and wakened us to a new day, God the Son and Saviour, who conquered death and hell for us and dwells in our midst as Victor, God the Holy Spirit, who pours the bright gleam of God's Word into our hears at the dawn of day, driving away all darkness and sin and teaching us to pray aright--then we would also begin to sense something of the joy that comes when night is past and brethren who dwell together in unity come together early in the morning for common praise of their God, common hearing of the Word, and common prayer.

Are you 'Contemporvant'?

This is making the rounds. Poignant, but what do we do with it?

John Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel -- Second Edition

I have recently finished reading through John Ashton's second edition of his work Understanding the Fourth Gospel (OUP, 2007), and it is not merely the Technicolor version of the original publication (1991), although it may look that way. His introduction has had a significant overhaul in the second edition that streamlines the discussion, but the first edition's introduction may offer further background for readers on the state of play prior to Ashton, especially regarding Bultmann's contribution. The second edition has some rearrangement of chapters and four new excursuses.

John Ashton's overall study remains the same: he argues for the importance of the theme of revelation in John's Gospel and disagrees with Bultmann's conclusion that all Jesus reveals is that he is the Revealer. Ashton concludes that the mode of the revelation, the gospel, has a part to play in the revelation. For the Fourth Gospel, revelation is not just about Jesus' words or the tell…

World Cup Injuries!

This is supposed to be a blog about biblical studies, theology and the liberal arts, but considering that the World Cup merely 6 days, 12 hours and >12 minutes away (EDT) and the blog's name, I cannot help but comment. Today's news was full of two big injury reports and a third smaller one. Rio Ferdinand, current captain of England, had a knee injury in England's first South African training session and has been ruled out of the World Cup. Didier Drogba the captain of Ivory Coast and one of Africa's biggest hopes in the first World Cup played on African soil broke his arm near the elbow in a friendly against Japan. He has not been ruled out, but he may not play. And Jozy Altidore of the USA has had an ankle injury. He will most likely make the World Cup. The first two of these injuries to the captains of contending nations may have important consequences. An Ivory Coast without Drogba is unlikely to make it out of the Group of Death (Portugal, Brazil, North Korea). …

Latest Issue of New Testament Studies

The latest issue from New Testament Studiesis now available. There are two articles that pique my interest: the article on Mary and Joseph's accommodation in Bethlehem and especially the article by Neilsen on glory in John's Gospel.

Jubilees and the Definition of 'Apocalypse'

The Book of Jubilees is included in the list of Jewish apocalypses by John Collins in his Apocalyptic Imagination (also in his 1979 article in Semeia). I am not sure that any would dispute its inclusion; however, the inclusion of Jubilees does seem to stretch the genre. The book does not include visionary or ascent experiences that most would expect of an apocalypse. The content of Jubilees is primarily the retelling of Israel's history from creation to Moses. This retelling (or rewritten scripture as it is often called) contains a heavy emphasis on keeping the law. We then must ask: What makes Jubilees an apocalypse? Jubilees can be considered an apocalypse because of the the framework in which the retelling occurs. The text begins with Moses' ascent up Mount Sinai where God tells him to write what he is told. The rest of Jubilees reports God's revelation to Moses. As far as the definition of 'apocalypse' is concerned, we find in Jubilees revelation mediated by a …

Definition of Apocalypse

Reading through the Jewish apocalypses again, I have found the definition of apocalypse given by the SBL Genre Group back in 1979 to be entirely appropriate. John Collins has been one of the main proponents of this definition, which states that an apocalypse is "a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial insofar as it involves another, supernatural world" (Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Literature, 2nd ed. 1998, p. 5).
       There have been a number of suggested additions to the definition, but this is the essential starting point for any discussion of "apocalypse" and therefore also of the adjective "apocalyptic".

New Testament Journals

There was a great post at Evangelical Textual Criticism yesterday 13 May 2010 on ranking New Testament journals. I generally agree with the rankings, although Peter Head is correct to point out that Fitzmyer's list is twenty years old. See the comments about the difficulty of ranking purely NT journals with journals with broader subject matter. JSNT should definitely be included to the list. They do have a great editor.