Sunday, July 17, 2005

New Christian Origins Blog

James Crossley of the University of Sheffield has just started a blog Earliest Christian History. The subtitle reads: James Crossley’s blog. Mostly covers Christian Origins but but will stray into general history, politics, music and possibly football.

I remember reading the foreword to James’ monograph in the JSNTSup series about the date of Mark’s Gospel which was probably the funniest foreword I’ve ever read in a NT monograph – esp. his hatred and contempt for his former employer.

As for dating Mark in the 40s (if I remember correctly) well, that is a “courageous” line of argumentation (to use the language of “Yes Minister”). But I haven’t read the thesis completely so the proof of the pudding should be in the eating.

James’ article in JSHJ is an interesting piece about the semitic background to repentance. This essay appears, coincidentally, in the same issue of JSHJ as my article “The Case of the Proselytizing Pharisees? – Mt. 23.15”. So it appears that blogging with a black background (since good NT guys blog in black) and publishing in JSHJ is something that James and I have in common.

Not sure about his connection with Maurice Casey. Casey is an excellent scholar but happens to lapse into ad hominem arguments against those of a conservative ilk. For example, Stanley Porter has attempted to argue that Jesus spoke Greek at times, and that we may actually have in the Gospels some of the the Greek words of Jesus. Casey wrote in ExpT 108 (1997) that such a view is “an evangelical fantasy”. Now I don’t know what Casey thinks evangelicals fantasize about, but discovering the Greek words of Jesus is not one of them. In my case, I fantasize about a world run by a race of red-head superman, where Nicole Kidman, myself and Horatio from CSI Miami reign in a presidium. Or else I fantasize about my gorgeous wife in a honeymoon sweet wearing nothing but . . . well, let’s not go there. I’ve just finished writing a critique of Porter’s criterion of Greek language and context (to appear in JSHJ); alas I hope to be more gracious and irenic in my critique than Prof. Casey.

Oh yeah, and another thing, Casey criticizes Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God in JSNT 69 (1998): 100, n. 19 on the grounds that Wright’s book might do something horribly wicked like “mislead many people into maintaining a traditional form of Christian belief”. Tom – you bastard – how do you sleep at night! Though I suspect this tells us more about Casey’s disdain for orthodoxy than anything else.

Keep in mind, Casey remains a capable scholar, a leading Semitic expert, and always worth listening to in his areas of expertise.

Welcome James, I’ve already appreciated your humour and scholarship (forgive my critique of your esteemed mentor). Maybe I’ll catch you at BNTC – if I get there in time!


EMC said...

As an Aramaist, I can tell you that Casey's work in this area is very poor.

James Crossley said...

Wow - thanks for all that Michael. And don't worry about the criticisms of Casey: there is nothing wrong with open critical debate: I'm not the type to get annoyed at things like that. It would be good to meet at the BNTC - presumably things all depend on the new post in Scotland?