Showing posts from 2012

Thyen on an apocalyptic Son of Man in John's Gospel

"Die danielische Vision eines 'wie ein Mensch' aussehenden Himmelwesens und der sogenannte 'apokalyptische Menschensohn' spielen bei Joh keine Rolle" (Hartwig Thyen, Johannesevangelium, 205).

I should say that I couldn't disagree more.

Google Launches Dead Sea Scrolls Online Library

Just saw the news that the Dead Sea Scrolls are going digital on Google. This will be great for scholars worldwide as access to the text of the scrolls will be available to everyone. For texts that have a history of being shrouded in secrecy, this is great news! See the site here.

The Seventh Enoch Seminar in Camaldoli, Italy, 2013

The schedule has been set for the Seventh Enoch Seminar to be held in Camaldoli, Italy, July 21-26, 2013. Camadoli was the site of the Third Enoch Seminary in 2007. The theme of the Seventh Enoch Seminar is "Enoch and Synoptic Traditions." The line up looks great. More information can be found on the 4 Enoch site. Here is the planned schedule:

SUNDAY 21 JULY 2013 Arrivals - Bus from the Arezzo Railway Station (around 3:30pm--4pm).
Accomodation at Camaldoli
Welcome 6pm-6:30pm Opening session 6pm-7:45 -- Introduction (Loren Stuckenbruck)
MONDAY 22 JULY 2013 8pm Breakfast
8:45am-10:30am -- Papers One and Two
11:00am-12:45am -- Papers Three and Four
1pm -- Lunch
4:00pm - 5:30pm -- Discussion groups (one group for each of the morning papers)
6:00pm-7:30pm -- Reading Session
8pm -- Dinner
TUESDAY 23 JULY 2013 8pm Breakfast
8:45am-10:30am -- Papers Five and Six
11:00am-12:45am -- Papers Seven and Eight
1pm -- Lunch
4:00pm - 5:30pm -- Discussion groups (one group for e…

Mark William Roche Quotes on the Liberal Arts

These quotes are from the Introduction to his excellent book Why Choose the Liberal Arts?

"The liberal arts build on one of the oldest ideals of learning which Socrates put into practice in ancient Greece. For Socrates it was clear that we learn more effectively when we pursue questions ourselves and seek the answers ourselves, when we embody what educators call 'active learning.' The student is actively engaged in the learning process, asking questions, being asked questions, pursuing often elusive answers in dialogue with others. Knowledge cannot simply be poured, like water, from one larger container into an emptier one (Symposium 175d). Socrates also made it clear that learning is most important and most successful when students are engaged in meaningful discussions, asking questions that will determine who they are and what they think about life's most significant issues. For example, what is human excellence? What is friendship? love? courage? How do we learn? …

Fifth Edition of Gundry's Survey of the New Testament

Robert Gundry's fifth edition of his Survey of the New Testament came out in June 2012 (just six months ago). The new edition has some added photos and a different pagination, but one of the biggest benefits is available online through Zondervan's "Textbook Plus." Students are able to create an account and have access to online quizzes and flash cards that match the "People to Remember," "Places to Remember," "Terms to Remember," and "How much did you learn?" sections at the end of each chapter. The focus of all these materials is clearly on student learning, and now there are multiple ways for students to engage in active learning.

Gundry's survey textbook is still one of the best NT surveys, in my opinion, because of the way in which students are encouraged to actually read the text of the NT rather than merely reading about background content. The historical, cultural, social, and biblical context information is not over…

Tyndale's Israel Study Tour 2012

The Israel study tour co-hosted by the University College and Tyndale Seminary will take place this May. It may be taken for course credit and is a three week trip in Israel. This is an excellent way to study and understand more about the Bible. For more information, see

Wycliffe Centre for Scripture and Theology: Fall 2012 Colloquium

The Wycliffe Centre for Scripture and Theology: Fall 2012 Colloquium takes places tomorrow October 19, 2012 at Leonard Hall, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.

The topic of the day is "Scripture and the 'Rule of Faith': The Relationship of Fundamental Scriptural and Theological Norms in the Early Church and Beyond." The line of speakers includes:
The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr
Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham
Dr. Mark Elliott
Rev. Dr. Christopher Seitz

For more information see the Wycliffe College website.

Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity Conference

The Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity Conference organized by Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne and hosted by United Theological Seminary and the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, took place on October 4 and 5. It was a great conference. I am always a fan of smaller conferences where there is more interaction and discussion on a single topic and the related issues.

The core of the conference were presentations by the contributors to the volume edited by Keith and Le Donne and bearing the same title as the conference. Each paper was an argument against the basic premise of each of the criteria of authenticity as they have been used in historical Jesus studies. You can read the book to get the details and you can read Mark Goodacre's blog for the play by play (Oct 4 and 5).

There is a question as to what the demise of the criteria of authenticity means for historical Jesus study and whether their demise is eminent. While many of the presenters highlighted the gigan…

Mark Noll on Learning and Jesus

"...the greatest hope for Christian learning in our age, or in any age, lies not primarily in heightened activity, in better funding, or in strategizing for the tasks at hand--though all these matters play an important part. Rather, the great hope for Christian learning is to delve deeper into the Christian faith itself. And going deeper into the Christian faith means, in the end, learning more of Jesus Christ." 

Mark A. Noll, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, 22.

"The Gospel of Jesus' Wife"

News just broke Tuesday in the New York Times on the appearance of an ancient papyrus that speaks about Jesus as possibly having a wife. The papyrus has been dated to the fourth century. Karen King who has presented the only known information about the fragment has pointed out that it may have been composed in the second century.

According to Christian Askeland, the majority of Coptologists (the fragment is written in Coptic) seem to think at this time that the document is a forgery (see also the comments to Christian's post).

See further information here, including comments from Simon Gathercole who is a specialist on apocryphal gospels.

A high resolution image and a translation of the document may be found in the NY Times article.

Seneca, from his Moral Epistles

"It is at the cost of a vast outlay of time and of vast discomfort to the ears of others that we win such praise as this: 'What a learned man you are!' Let us be content with this recommendation, less citified (rusticore): 'What a good man you are!'" (372-73 [v. 2, 88.38-39]).

The difference between "college" and "university"

"...we use the terms 'college' and 'university' inchangeably. 'She went to Michigan,' we say, or 'he goes to Oberlin'--not bothering with the noun that follows the name, as if a college and a university were the same thing. They are not. They are, to be sure, interconnected (most college teachers nowadays hold an advanced university degree), and a college may exist as a division or 'school' within in university. But a college and a university have--or should have--different purposes. The former is about transmitting knowledge of and from the past to undergraduate students so that they may draw upon it as a living resource in the future. The latter is mainly an array of research activities conducted by faculty and graduate students with the aim of creating new knowledge in order to supercede the past."    --   Andrew Delbanco, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), p. 2.

The terminology in…

Susan VanZanten, Joining the Mission

I recently finished reading Susan VanZanten's, Joining the Mission: A Guide for (Mainly) New Faculty (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), and I can guarantee that it will not be the last time I read it.  Joining the Mission is primarily directed toward faculty who are about to or have recently begun teaching at "one of the nine hundred religiously affiliated colleges or universities in the United States, which collectively enroll abour 1.5 million students annually" (vi). While providing the most advice for new faculty, there is plenty of career advice for those who have been teaching at one of these institutions for most of their careers.

VanZanten's title derives from one of her arguments: that faculty need to join the mission of the institution at which they teach. The chapter titles are as follows:

1. What is a Mission-Driven Institution?
2. A Very Brief History of Western Higher Education
3. Teaching: Call and Response
4. Teaching: Brick by Brick
5. The Faithful Prof…

Von Balthasar on Prayer (3)

A third quote from this deeply powerful book on God's word to us:

"Mary is the 'image of the Church' for two reasons: she is the location of the Word's indwelling, both bodily and in terms of being, in the most intimate union of mother and child sharing one flesh; but this indwelling arises from the spiritual servanthood of her whole person, body and soul, which knows no autonomy but only the law of conformity with the word of God. It is because she is a virgin, that is, pure, exclusively a hearer of the word, that she becomes a mother, the place of the Word's embodiment. Her 'breasts' are blessed only because she has heard the word of God and kept it (Lk 11:27 f), because she 'kept all these things, pondering them in her heart' (Lk 2:19, 51). All contemplation must take its directions from Mary if it is to keep the twofold danger at bay: on the one hand that of seeing the word as something merely external, rather than the deepest mystery withi…

Von Balthasar on Prayer (2)

Another quote from Hans Urs von Balthasar's Prayer:

"This looking to God is contemplation. It is looking inward into the depths of the soul, and hence beyond the soul toward God. The more contemplation finds God, the more it forgets itself and yet discovers itself in him. This unwavering "beholding", moreover, is also and always a "hearing", because what is beheld is the free and infinite Person who, from the depths of his freedom, can give himself in a way that is ever new, 
unsuspected and unpredictable. Therefore the word of God is never something finished, to be surveyed like a particular landscape, but it is something new every moment, like water from a spring or rays of light. "And so it is not enough to have received 'insight' and to 'know the testimonies of God', if we do not continually receive and become inebriated by the fountain of eternal light" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps.118, XXVI, 6). The lover already knows this; the…

New Journal Link: Early Christianity

I have just added a link to Early Christianity under "Journals" at the right. The journal Early Christianity which was started in 2010 is now in its third volume and tenth issue, June 2012, Vol. 3, number 2. The editors are Jörg Frey, Clare K. Rothschild, Jens Schröter and Francis Watson.

Here is the website comment:

The journal is concerned with early Christianity as a historical phenomenon. Thereby, “Early Christianity” aims to overcome certain limitations which have hindered the development of the discipline, including the concept of the “New Testament” itself. The journal, then, is taken to cover not only the first Christian century but also the second.

This journal will not, however, give any special prominence to reception-history or to the second century. The total phenomenon called "early Christianity" comprises a kaleidoscopic range of individual phenomena, including communal structures, social norms, discursive practices, points of conflict, ma…

Vielhauer on "Apocalyptic"

In his 1964 introduction to "Apocalyptic," P. Vielhauer defines apocalyptic as primarily focused on eschatology or the imminent expectation of the end ("Introduction," in E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha (W. Schneemelcher, ed.; R. McL. Wilson, ed. ET; vol. 2; London: Lutterworth Press, 1965) 581-607). The majority of scholars of apocalyptic literature today would not define "apocalyptic" as essentially eschatology. The following quote highlights some of the difficulties of defining "apocalyptic" and the contents of apocalypses.

"'For the youth of the world is past; the strength of the creation has long ago come to its end, and the approach of the times is (already) at hand and (indeed already) passed by. For the pitcher is near to the well, the ship to harbour, the caravan to the city, and life to its conclusion' (syr. Bar. 85:10).
"This cosmological statement makes it clear that the conviction concerning the nearness of …

James L. Kugel, "The Beginning of Biblical Interpretation"

James L. Kugel has an essay entitled "The Beginning of Biblical Interpretation" in Matthias Henze (ed.), A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism (Eerdmans, 2012), pp. 3-23. The essay is an excellent introduction to interpretation of the Hebrew Bible during the Second Temple period (i.e., "early Judaism"). He notes that such interpretation may be found in later Old Testament books such as Chronicles, the Greek translation(s) of the OT, apocryphal and pseudepigraphal texts (Ben Sira, Jubilees, Wisdom of Solomon, Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs), the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, and Pseudo-Philo.

The central piece of the essay are the four assumptions that he argues form "a common attitude and approach to the biblical text" even with the differences of time, location, and content in the texts and authors mentioned above (p. 13, emphasis original). These assumptions are 1) The Bible is a fundamentally cryptic document, which means t…

Von Balthasar on Prayer

The following selection is from Hans Urs von Balthasar's preface in his book Prayer. The book, so far, is excellent.

"Anyone entering the sphere of radiance of the divine word is held fast by it; he knows from experience that this word not only communicates knowledge about God, but--hidden within the garb of the letter--actually has divine qualities: in itself it is an overpowering manifestation of God's infinity and truth, his majesty and love. God's epiphany compels the hearer to kneel in humble submission. The latter had imagined that he was dealing with a word he could grasp and evaluate, like other great and profound utterances of mankind; yet once he enters its field of force, he himself is the one who is grasped and evaluated. He had wanted to approach Jesus in order to see him ("Come and see!"), and now, under the gaze of Jesus, he finds that it is he who has long been observed, seen through, judged and accepted in grace by Jesus. All he can do now,…

Latest Scottish Journal of Theology

A great table of contents (and contributor list ) in the latest issue of the Scottish Journal of Theology. I hope to read through these soon.