"The object of all good literature is to purge the soul of its petty troubles." ~ P.G. Wodehouse

Monday, June 28, 2010

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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

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 nttranscripts.uni-muenster.de 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 characters onto the end of a line. I will have to take a closer look at the manuscript before making a final judgment. This is one of those textual cases where there is not much to go on.

See the reconstruction by Wieland Willker in his comment at Evangelical Textual Criticism. Unfortunately, the reconstruction that he lists does not show the full page. Some of the lines toward the bottom of the page are longer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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.

Friday, June 18, 2010

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. Saulos, a transliteration of the Semitic Shaul.... The name was likely his supernomen, a kind of nickname used chiefly with Jews' (p. 251).  

Robert Gundry in his Survey of the New Testament (4th ed.; Zondervan, 2003) does not speculate on where the name Saul comes from, but he is also of the opinion that Paul is the surname. Gundry states that Paul's praenomen and nomen 'have not survived' (pp. 312-13).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

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).

Friday, June 11, 2010

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.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

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 telling of heavenly revelation. The revelation is acted out in the life of Jesus, in the logos ensarkos (the Word enfleshed). Jesus acts and speaks what he has seen and heard from the Father. Because of the importance of action as well as word, the Evangelist has used the gospel form to proclaim this revelation. In this way, as Ashton states: 'the medium is the message' or the mode of the revelation is the revelation.

Two other points of interest that run throughout the book are Ashton's emphasis on the importance of diachronic study of the Gospel and what he sees as the two-level nature of the Gospel (á la Louis Martyn). These two points have obvious relationship with each other. Ashton contends strongly for the importance of the diachronic study of John along with synchronic study. He finds narrative approaches that only address the text of the Gospel (synchronic) to be unhelpful. For him, proper study of the Gospel of John means making judgments about the development of the text and of the author(s) or community that were involved in its development. Ashton makes this same argument in 'Second Thoughts on the Fourth Gospel', in Tom Thatcher (ed), What We Have Heard From the Beginning: The Past, Present, and Future of Johannine Studies (Baylor, 2007). The first 140 pages of Understanding are his argument for this approach, his explanation of this community, their struggles with 'the Jews', and their connection to the Gospel. He then uses this background throughout the rest of the book to interpret the Gospel and explore the theme of revelation within it. Ashton has shown some of the pitfalls of narrative approaches in that they are often unconnected from history, but if his description of the situation and reason for authorship of the Gospel are incorrect, this negatively influences the interpretation of the Gospel. A faulty lens can lead to misunderstandings of the text. Narrative approaches or world within the text approaches sometimes purposely avoid the historical questions either because what Ashton has done in Understanding takes too much effort or because the difficulty of coming to an accurate conclusion is recognized as the problematic exercise that it is. Ashton makes a important call not to forget the development or at least the situation of writing in our exegetical endeavors, but I think we must likewise be careful in the application of any historical models.

[Comments on John Ashton's The Gospel of John and Christian Origins (Fortress, 2014) may be found here.]

Friday, June 4, 2010

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). We shall see.