Showing posts from January, 2013

Oliver on Peter at the home of Simon the Tanner

Isaac Oliver has a great piece in the recent New Testament Studies on the ritual purity question concerning Peter staying in the home of Simon the Tanner in Acts 9:43. "Simon Peter Meets Simon the Tanner: The Ritual Insignificance of Tanning in Ancient Jerusalem," NTS 59 (2013): 50-60. Oliver shows the overwhelming way in which New Testament scholars have explained Peter's staying with Simon the Tanner as a nascent disregard for ritual purity even before Peter's vision in Acts 10 of the sheet with unclean animals. This is a comment I admit to having made in my courses on a number of occasions, but as Oliver points out, this is what the guild has taught us.

The strength of the article is the way in which Oliver delves into the rabbinic sources on tanning and how the rabbis dislike of the occupation has been interpreted as a dislike based on ritual impurity. Oliver shows that their dislike is often due to the messiness and smelliness of the business and not due to rit…

Gundry on Christ and Scripture

Just a couple quotes from Robert H. Gundry's essay "Hermeneutic Liberty, Theological Diversity, and Historical Occasionalism in the Biblical Canon" in his book The Old is Better: New Testament Essays in Support of Traditional Interpretations (pp. 1-17).

"...the Christ of the NT insists on questioning us before answering us. Here as elsewhere in the Bible the text interprets us before we interpret it" (15).

" is not enough to know what the Scriptures teach; we also need to discern what is appropriate and inappropriate to be said from them in any given situation" (16).

NT Wright on Mind, Body, Spirit and the Intermediate State

The following quote is N.T. Wright's paper ‘Mind, Spirit, Soul and Body: All for One and One for All Reflectionson Paul’s Anthropology in his Complex Contexts’ given at the Society of Christian Philosophers: Regional Meeting, Fordham University in March 2011. 
In his paper, Wright discusses the body/soul dualism as it is often addressed within philosophical circles. Coming from his understanding of Paul and other NT writings, he argues that as human beings we are made up of a unified mind, body, soul, and spirit. These aspects cannot be separated, but we are fully and wholly one. The resurrection is thus the remaking of the whole person and not just the body. This quote is part of the heart of his argument of which there is much to ponder.
"...we do not need what has been called ‘dualism’ to help us over the awkward gap between bodily death and bodily resurrection. Yes, of course, we have to postulate that God looks after those who have died in the Messiah. They are ‘with the M…

Importance of Learning the Biblical Languages

Here's a brief video on the importance of learning the biblical languages with interviews by Peter Williams and others connected with Tyndale House Library in Cambridge.

"Whereness" in George MacDonald's Lilith

George MacDonald's, Lilith is a great piece of fantasy literature, and after reading the book, it is easy to see how MacDonald inspire Tolkien and especially Lewis. Toward the beginning of the book there is a great exchange between the Raven and the protagonist. The Raven who is also a man (the Man) leads the protagonist into another world. They pass through a mirror in the attic garret of an large, old house out into "the open heath" (in classic MacDonald style).

The protagonist then asks:
"Oblige me by telling me where I am."
And the response of the raven:
"That is impossible. You know nothing about whereness. The only way to come to know where you are is to begin to make yourself at home." (George MacDonald, Lilith. Merchant Books, 1895. Reprint 2009. Page 12.)

Nothing about whereness...a striking comment and a challenge to learn about home.

Review of Driver on Brevard Childs

My colleague Daniel Driver's book Brevard Childs, Biblical Theologian: For the Church's One Bible was reviewed in RBL last week. The reviewer made some great comments.

Here is the conclusion: "This is a thick book, probably not one would read for sheer enjoyment. Driver has succeeded, however, in presenting a complex process of conceptual development and growth in the mind of an outstanding scholar and thinker to the reader in the form of a story. This must be the most definitive and authoritative source on Brevard Springs Childs. As time progresses, the academic world will be better equipped  to value the contribution of Childs. It is fortunate that we have this book, which was written almost entirely when Childs was still alive."