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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who is this Son of Man? Hurtado and Owen (eds.)

Who is this son of man?': The Latest Scholarship on a Puzzling Expression of the Historical Jesus (Library Of New Testament Studies)My copy of 'Who Is This Son of Man?' The Latest Scholarship on a Puzzling Expression of the Historical Jesus (LNTS 390) edited by Larry W. Hurtado and Paul L. Owen just arrived the other day. I am looking forward to making my way through the essays. Hopefully, I will have time to add some comments on them from time to time. Larry Hurtado's summary essay is of most interest to me, especially since a number of the essays come from different perspectives on the Son of Man debate and do not represent a consensus as much as the varying positions on the questions surrounding ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου in the Gospels.

The description on the back reads:
'This volume is the first ever collection of scholarly essays in English devoted specifically to the theme of the expression "son of man". It describes the major competing theories which have addressed, among others, the following questions. What is the original Aramaic expression that lies behind the Greek phrase, and what was its original connotation? How do the gospel writers use the expression "son of man"? Is it a Christological title, pregnant with meaning, much like the titles "son of God", "Christ/Messiah", and "son of David"? Is it used as a way of designating Jesus as a human being of unique redemptive significance? Or does it rather originate in a nuanced use of an Aramaic expression used in place of the first person pronoun, as an indefinite pronoun, or for generic statements about human beings?'

Paul Owen closes his the introduction with these comments: 'The "son of man" debate serves as a conduit for discussions about method in Aramaic studies, the process whereby the oral teaching of Jesus took written form in the Greek gospels, the development of messianic hope(s) in the Second Temple period, the influence of Daniel 7 in Jewish apocalyptic texts, the self-understanding of the historical Jesus, and the relationship of Jesus' modes of speech to the content of early Christian faith and devotion. It is our hope as editors that this collaboration will make a fresh and fruitful contribution to the ongoing discussion of these matters in New Testament scholarship.'

The table of contents are as follows:
*The Son of Man Debate: What's the Problem?, Paul Owen
*Issues Concerning the Aramaic Behind ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου: A Critical Review of Scholarship, Albert L. Lukaszewski 
*Problems with Casey's 'Solution' , Paul L. Owen
*Re-solving the Son of Man 'Problem' in Aramaic, David Shepherd
*Expressing Definiteness in Aramaic: A Response to Casey's Theory concerning the Son of Man Sayings, P. J. Williams
*The Use of Daniel 7 in Jesus' Trial, with Implications for His Self-Understanding, Darrell L. Bock
*The Use of the Son of Man Idiom in the Gospel of John, Benjamin E. Reynolds
*The Elect son of man of the Parables of Enoch, Darrell D. Hannah
*Summing Up and Concluding Observations, Larry W. Hurtado

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Praise the Source of Faith and Learning

A week ago today we had our graduation chapel, and the processional hymn was "Praise the Source of Faith and Learning" -- words by Thomas H. Troeger, music by Richard H. Pritchard. The words and music can be found here. According to the Harvard University Hymn Book (p. 494), the hymn was commissioned by Duke University and "reflects the school's motto, 'Faith and Learning.'"

For some reason, we did not sing the fourth and final verse, which brings it all to conclusion. We ended with the third verse which has the intriguing lines about "our learning" curbing "the error which unthinking faith can breed, lest we justify some terror with an antiquated creed."

The hymn is an excellent hymn for academic settings, especially for those institutions that attempt to bring together faith and learning. The hymn is a reminder that human knowledge can "only partial truth impart", and it is a prayer:

Blend, O God, our faith and learning
‘Til they carve a single course
While they join as one returning
Praise and thanks to you their source.

Friday, April 8, 2011

David Eastman, Paul the Martyr

My friend David Eastman has just had his thesis published with SBL/Brill. It is entitled Paul the Martyr: The Cult of the Apostle Paul in the Latin West. Hopefully, I can get a hold of a copy soon. Knowing David, it will be good and thorough. His book highlights the growing interest (or renewed interest) in early Christianity, namely what Christians were up to and believed in the first few centuries.
Paul the Martyr: The Cult of the Apostle in the Latin West
Here is the blurb from the back of the book, including the recommendations from Adela Yarbro Collins and Lawrence Welborn:

Ancient iconography of Paul is dominated by one image: Paul as martyr. Whether he is carrying a sword--the traditional instrument of his execution--or receiving a martyr's crown from Christ, the apostle was remembered and honored for his faithfulness to the point of death. As a result, Christians created a cult of Paul, centered on particular holy sites and characterized by practices such as the telling of stories, pilgrimage, and the veneration of relics. This study integrates literary, archaeological, artistic, and liturgical evidence to describe the development of the Pauline cult within the cultural context of the late antique West.

 “This fascinating book is an excellent introduction to the cults of the saints and martyrs as well as a valuable study of the cult of the apostle Paul in the Latin West of the Roman empire. It is both accessible to advanced undergraduates and to masters-level students and important reading for doctoral students and scholars. The drawings and photographs assist the reader in visualizing the material remains discussed.”
--Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

 “David Eastman's Paul the Martyr represents nothing less than the first coherent narrative of the cult of the apostle Paul in the Latin West. Drawing upon archaeological, literary and liturgical materials, Eastman traces the history of Pauline veneration from the Ostian Road in Rome to Gaul, Spain, and North Africa. Eastman skillfully integrates a vast array of evidence derived from critical analysis of places, stories, objects, and rituals. Eastman's study is so masterful in its grasp of complex data, so judicious in its methodology, and so lucid in its presentation that it is bound to serve as a model for future work on the cult of the saints.”
--Laurence L. Welborn, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Fordham University

 David L. Eastman is Lecturer in New Testament Greek and Christian History at Yale Divinity School. He is a contributing author to Cities of Paul: Images and Interpretations from the Harvard New Testament and Archaeology Project (Fortress) and has worked with the Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia, Greece.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Aberdeen fills Kirby Laing Chair

The University of Aberdeen School of Divinity, History & Philosophy has finally filled the Kirby Laing Chair in New Testament Exegesis. Steve Mason will begin his post in July 2011. The post was vacated by Francis Watson at the end of the 2006-2007 academic year. The official notice that Professor Mason is filling of the chair can be found on the Divinity website.

Professor Mason has held the Canada Research Chair in Greco-Roman Interaction at York University (not far from here) in Toronto, Ontario. His background in the Greco-Roman world and Josephus will significantly strengthen what the Divinity Faculty at Aberdeen can offer postgraduate students, especially the emphasis on historical backgrounds for the NT and Christian origins.