Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Top Christian Origins Books

What is the best Christian Origins books? Which one is the best treatment of the topic and which one is the best for the classroom? Here's one's that come to my mind:

Christopher Rowland, Christian Origins (London: SPCK, 1985)

G.B. Caird, The Apostolic Age (London: Duckworth, 1955)

Adolf von Harnack, The Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries (2 vols.; trans. James Moffatt; London/New York: Williams & Norgate/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5)

Paul Barnett, The Birth of Christianity: The First Twenty Years (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005).

John Dominic Crossan, The Birth of Christianity (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1998)

Richard Horsley, ed. Christian Origins: A People's History of Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 2006)

Elisabeth Schüsser Fiorenza, In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins (London: SCM, 1983)

A.J.M. Wedderburn, A History of the First Christians (London: Continuum, 2004)

Walter Schmithals, The Theology of the First Christians (1998)

James D. G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament (London: SCM, 1990)

Joel Carmichael, The unriddling of Christian Origins: A Secular Account (1995)

Lewis Ayres, Christian Origins (New York: Routledge, 1998)

I understand that Jonathan Knight and James Crossley are both working on CO volumes.

Caird's volume, though old, is much underrated. I have Wedderburn but haven't read it yet. But I'd have to give my vote to Rowland until I read more widely in the area.

Caird on Luke and the Gentile Mission

I'm currently working on an paper/article for EABS and looking at the origins of the Gentile mission in the early church. My doctoral research focused on Jesus and the Gentiles so it's kinda of like doing "Episode II" from my point of view. Here's a good quote from George Caird that I like:

In all this Luke is undoubtedly preserving the authentic quality of primitive Christianity. If he had been disposed to read back into the age he was describing the characteristics of the age in which he wrote, we should presumably have had from him a story of a mission planned and directed from Jerusalem by the Twelve. But of such ecclesiastical theory there is not a trace in his narrative.

G.B. Caird, The Apostolic Age (London: Duckworth, 1955), 66; see also Marin Hengel, Between Jesus and Paul (London: SCM, 1983), 55.

Rowland on Unity and Diversity

While it would be wrong to minimize the diversity of primitive Christianity and the bitterness and division which this caused, we must not suppose that this necessarily means that there were irreconcilable and profound differences over all areas of doctrine; the Jewish heritage which primitive Christianity has in common ensured a substantial degree of common ground.

Christopher Rowland, Christian Origins (London: SPCK, 1985), 202-3.

Monday, May 29, 2006

What to Buy?

T&T Clark is having a sale and I'm tossing up on which of the following I should get. My criteria is whether or not I'm likely to use the book for both teaching and research? Here's options:

C.K. Barrett, Acts 1-14 £10.00

Risto Uro, Seeking the Historical context of the Gospel of Thomas £10.00

John Painter, Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition £10.00

Markus Bockmuehl, Jewish Law in Gentile Churches £10.00

If I had to pick one, on the forementioned criteria, what would it be?

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I love the Christian Parody band Apologetix. You must read the lyrics to their song Y.H.W.H sung to the tune of Y.M.C.A.

One man, with the sheep he was found
I said, one man saw a bush on the Mount
He said, "How come it's not burnt to the ground?
Guess I need to see what's happening!"
One man, in a place long ago,
I said, one man, who for short we'll call Mo
He went up there, and the Lord he did find
And he learned God's name for all time

He spelled his name with just YHWH
He spelled his name with just YHWH
They have Exodus 3, if you plan to read more
You can learn all about the Lord
He spelled his name with just YHWH
He spelled his name with just YHWH
Can you guess what it means?
Just "I am that I am"
He's the Lord God of Abraham

Some men spell it L-O-R-D
Some men use a J and a V
I said "Hey man, ain't no big deal to me
But you gotta know just one thing
No man should take God's name in vain
Cause he commands us to honour his name
He's our Father, Lord and YHWH
All those names work well when you pray


Back then, with the ancient Hebrews
They did not have A, E, I, Os or Us
And so Moses had no vowels he could buy
Wheel of Fortune shows were so dry
That's why sometimes there when you read
You'll find capitalized letters L-O-R-D
There's a place there for the YHWH
You can just pronounce it "Yahweh"

He spelled his name with just YHWH
He spelled his name with just YHWH
They have Exodus 3, if you plan to read more
You can learn all about the Lord

YHWH - The Tetragrammaton - YHWH
Yahweh, Yahweh, that's the name of renown
Yahweh, Yahweh, it's a most awesome sound
YHWH - the highest one is - YHWH
No man, no man, should take God's name in vain
Cause he commands us to honour his name
YHWH - so just go to him...

Thought for Today

As midnite approaches (and thus the Lord's Day) I'm very much moved by the words of the prophet in Mic. 4.5:

All the nations may walk
in the name of their gods;
we will walk in the name of the LORD
our God for ever and ever

Amen, Amen!

Black Hat or White Hat? And Blue on Blue!

After reading a post at David Shedden's site as well as gender news at CBMW I am dismayed and saddened by the constant accusations that egalitarians are opposed to inerrancy (or should we say biblical authority and biblical veracity), that they undermine ministry and marriage, and they are the enemies of all "true" evangelicals. I have egalitarian friends and that describes none of them.

For the post that started this kafuffle go read the blog of Susan Wise Bauer

Folks, regardless of what you think about women in ministry, regardless of how you exegete Rom. 16 and 1 Tim. 2.11-14, pick the battles that are worth fighting about. The introduction of pansexuality into mainline churches, our culture of pluralism that is becoming common law, the extent of poverty in the world - fight against those things.

The whole complementarian versus egalitarian thing on my books is like credobaptism vs. paedobaptism; pre-tribulation vs. post-tribulation; or coca-cola vs. pepsi. This is where godly and Christ-loving people disagree (and there are serious implications as to what one thinks of these issues and I'm not denying that) but this is not where we draw a line in the sand, this is not the issue where we say "who is wearing a black hat and who is wearing a white hat?"

When I was in purgatory, I mean the Australian Army, I remember a classic story of Blue on Blue, that is when friendly forces fire on their own people. During WWII a US Marine Division invaded an Island off Japan in the Pacific. There was a combined forces naval bombardment, air raids, a contingent of Marines stormed the Island and secured its airstrip. In the whole two day operation only 12 US marines were killed. Which is just as well - more marines may have been killed if there actually were any Japanese on the Island!

This debate is Blue on Blue! Let's remember that the things that bind us together (Christ, the Spirit, the Gospel, Scripture, Creeds, and Confessions) are stronger than anything which might separate us. Let us also meditate on the words of Rom. 14.19.

New Blogs X

A new blog I've discovered is a myriad of muddled thoughts... by Sabrina in Southern CA, USA. She is a wee lassy studying at the Master's College. Good to have more gals, esp. young gals, getting in biblioblogs/theoloblogs.

I can (finally) make mention of I to the Hills by Dave Shedden who is doing some studies in Glasgow. He has some very interesting thoughts about evangelicals in the Church of Scotland and the recent COS assembly.

An Anthem for the Emerging Church

I know there is a debate among the EC folk about whether there should be an EC creed or confession. On the one hand any creed would serve only to exclude some from the fold and the EC is definitely not about drawing boundaries. On the other hand the movement may become so broad as to be theologically schizophrenic and it will have to accomodate people who profess to be "Arminian-Calvinists" which is nonsensical. Then they shall have to figure out what to do when mainline liberals begin popping up more frequently in the EC community and bringing mainline theology on sexuality and biblical authority with them. I would love to hear some EC posts on the concept of heresy that is both irenic and gracious as well as committed to the theological integrity of the gospel.

In the absence of a creed then, will something else suffice that ECers can agree on? If not a creed, well how about a signature song? Does the EC, like all citizens of strange lands, need an anthem? Many theological movements had a theme song or a theological tune.

The Arrians in the fourth century had the hit song: "There was a time when he was not!"

The emancipation movement had "Amazing Grace"

The early evangelical movement with Billy Graham had "Just as I am"

My tune of choice for ECers is DC Talk's song Jesus Freak. Here's the lyrics:

Separated, I cut myself clean
From a past that comes back in my darkest of dreams
Been apprehended by a spiritual force
And a grace that replaced all the me I've divorced

I saw a man with tat on his big fat belly
It wiggled around like marmalade jelly
It took me a while to catch what it said
Cause I had to match the rhythm
Of his belly with my head
'Jesus Saves' is what it raved in a typical tattoo green
He stood on a box in the middle of the city
And claimed he had a dream

What will people think
When they hear that I'm a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain't no disguising the truth

Kamikaze, my death is gain
I've been marked by my Maker
A peculiar display
The high and lofty, they see me as weak
Cause I won't live and die for the power they seek

There was a man from the desert with naps in his head
The sand that he walked was also his bed
The words that he spoke made the people assume
There wasn't too much left in the upper room
With skins on his back and hair on his face
They thought he was strange by the locusts he ate
The Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak
Until the king took the head of this Jesus freak

(repeat chorus 2x)

People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger
People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger

(repeat chorus 2x)

What will people think
What will people do
I don't really care
There ain't no disguising the truth

Christianity Today Book Awards

And the CTBooky goes to ...

Big Kev !!!

In Biblical Studies: Dictionary For Theological Interpretation Of The Bible, edited by Kevin Vanhoozer, Craig G. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Treier, and N.T. Wright.

In Theological Studies: The Drama Of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology, by Kevin Vanhoozer.

Looks like Big Kev cleaned up on the CTBookies like Tom Hanks at Oscars.

Evangelical Exegetes Hall of Fame III: G.E. Ladd

This article on George Eldon Ladd is available from Theopedia.

George Eldon Ladd (1911-1982) was professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Ladd, ordained a Baptist minister in 1933, was a pastor in New England from 1936 to 1945. He became an instructor at Gordon College of Theology and Missions (now Gordon-Conwell Divinity School), Wenham, Mass. from 1942-45, associate professor of New Testament and Greek, 1946-50, head of department of New Testament, 1946-49. In 1950-52 he was associate professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif, becoming professor of biblical theology in 1952.

Ladd's magisterial work, A Theology of the New Testament, has served thousands of seminary students since its publication in 1974. This work was enhanced and updated by Donald A Hagner in 1993.

Ladd was one of the more notable modern proponents of Historic Premillennialism. He argued for this position in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, R. G. Clouse, editor (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1977).

Selected publications
The Gospel of the Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959.
A Commentary on the Revelation of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972.
The Last Things (An Eschatology For Laymen). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978.
A Theology of the New Testament. 2d ed. Edited by Donald A. Hagner. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993.
The Presence of the Future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996.

My note: I think Ladd's enduring contribution was to two main things: (1) He introduced evangelicals to inaugurated eschatology and so saved them from both hyper-dispensational and liberal views of the kingdom. (2) He did his best to make mainline and liberal scholars take notice the contribution that evangelical were making to biblical studies.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Highland Theological College News

I have two pieces of great new about my own institution the Highland Theological College.

First, HTC has been approved by the Aberdeen University Senate to offer a M.Th in Reformed Theology. I'm excited about that as I hope soon to teach a course on "The Interpretation of Romans in the Reformed Tradition: Calvin to Cranfield". This topic reminds of me of a witty remark by Stephen Westerholm about C.E.B. Cranfield to the effect that Cranfield is the ideal interpreter of Romans since he "speaks Greek with a Genevan accent!"

Second, after deliberations late this afternoon the
Church of Scotland has formally accredited HTC as an institution for training ministers of the Word and Sacrament. That is a big win for both HTC and the COS in the Highlands and Islands. This is the first time the COS has accredited an institution to the role since 1929. HTC as part of UHI MI now stands with Glasgow University, New College Edinburugh, St. Andrews University and Aberdeen University of recognized providers of theological education for the COS.

Read the BBC Report to get more on the significance of the decision.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Proof Reader Wanted

In late July of this year Continuum publishers is sending me the proofs for my forthcoming book Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission. Is there anyone out there who would like to read the proofs and help me with the correction of typographical errors and grammatical infelicities?

Latest SBET

The latest issue of the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology is out and here are the contents:

Discipleship and Obedience
John Webster

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) and the 1843 Disruption: from Theological to Political Clash
Claire Puglisi Kaczmarek

Sufficiency of the Cross (I): The Crucifixion as Jesus' Act of Obedience
J.R. Daniel Kirk

Arguing with Annihilationism: An Assessment of the Doctrinal Arguments for Annihilationism.
Andy Saville

Monday, May 22, 2006

CT on the Didache

Over at Christianity Today there is an interesting article entitled: What the Teaching Can Teach Us by William Varner. It is about the Didache and what Christians can learn from it today!

I reckon forget the conspiracy theories of the Da Vinci Code, put away the apocalyptic soap-opera of the Left Behind Series, get over your Veggie Tales addiction, the Didache is the kind of book that Christians should be reading and cherishing; that and the epistles of Ignatius of Antioch.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Paul and Rhetorical Criticism

I confess that I am now a believer in the rhetorical approach to Paul's letters. Previously, I had wondered whether the whole rhetoric thing was just a convoluted way of saying that the epistle has a beginning, a middle and an end (see the book by Phil Kerns in the SNTS series). Here's the pro and con thought process I went through:

Case Against

• As letters, Paul’s epistles should be understood in the context of epistolary conventions of writing in the ancient world. Rhetoric was not part of the genre of letter writing.
• Paul’s epistles do not conform quite so neatly as some think to the structure of speeches dictated in the rhetorical handbooks.
• Rhetoric often took place in certain setting: forensic in a courtroom, deliberative as assemblies, and epideictic at festivals and celebrations. These settings are lacking in Paul's letters.
• Patristic interpreters did not identify in Paul a rhetorical communicator.
• Paul also rejected the use of rhetoric in 1 Corinthians 1-3 as injuring the power of the gospel to stand on its own credentials.
• Rhetoric was used for speeches and not writing.

Case For

• While it is true that Paul’s epistles should be understood in the context of epistolary conventions of writing in the ancient world, nevertheless, Paul’s letters were meant to persuade, therefore, with qualification it is possible to examine Paul’s letters with reference to rhetorical motives.
• The rhetorical genre was itself flexible and Paul can change and shape the pattern of his speech to fix the situation. There were also different types of rhetoric, for instance the eastern Mediterranean had it’s own distinct style of rhetoric as compared to the Latin west.
• Settings such as trials before Roman governors and intra-church debates would have called for expertise in rhetoric.
• Although Paul refused to attribute the power of his gospel to rhetoric his letters were still considered ‘weighty and forceful’ (2 Cor. 10.10). This may signify that: (i) Paul did not use rhetoric in the gospel proclamation so that all attention would focus on the message and not the messenger; and (ii) he probably did use rhetorical devices in writing letters to his converts and co-workers.
• While it is true that rhetoric is meant primarily for speaking we should remember two things: (i) the only knowledge we have of rhetoric is from written sources such as handbooks on rhetoric, we have no recordings of ancient rhetorical speeches. All the speeches that we do know of come from written sources. We should not press the difference too far between rhetoric as speech and rhetoric as writing. (ii) Many of Paul's letters were probably dictated from oral speech (e.g. to Tertius in Romans) and were also meant to be read aloud to a congregation.
• Paul was born and raised in Tarsus of Cilicia, a Greek-speaking city, his first language was Greek, he probably received a Greek education that would have left him exposed to Greek philosophy, literature, and rhetoric. One must wonder for such Jews of the Diaspora if there was a perceived distinction between a sermon and a piece of rhetoric (I'm not sure on this one but it's worth investigating).
• The parrallels in language that Tobin draws between Epictetus and Paul has convinced me that Romans is a rhetorical work. Paul’s use of phrases such as: ‘what then?’ 3.9; 6.15; 11.7; ‘what then shall we say?’ Rom. 3.5; 4.1; 6.1; 7.7; 8:31; 9:14, 30; ‘certainly not!’ Rom. 3.4, 6, 31; 6.2, 15; 7.7, 13; 9.14, 30; and ‘O man!’ Rom. 2.1, 3; 9.20 all have striking parallels with Epictetus’ Discourses (Tobin 2004: 93).
• Romans invokes a number of rhetorical devices known to Greco-Roman authors including:

- Rhetorical Questions: Rom. 2.3, 4, 21-23, 26; 3.1, 3, 5, 6-9, 27, 29, 31; 4.1, 3, 9-10; 6.1-3, 15-16, 21; 7.1, 7, 13, 24; 8.31-34; 9.14, 19-21, 30, 32; 10.7-8, 14-16, 18-19; 11.1, 2, 4, 7, 11, 15, 34-35.
- Apostrophes (questions for an imaginary opponent): Rom. 2.1-11, 17-29; 9.20-29; 11.11-24.
- Dialogues: Rom. 3.1-10; 3.27-4.2.
- Refutations of objections: Rom. Rom. 3.1-9, 27-31; 4.1-2; 6.1-3, 15-16; 7.7, 13-14; 9.14-15, 19-20; 11.1, 19.
- Speeches in character: Rom. 7.7-25; 10.6-8.
- Comparisons: Rom. 2.6-10, 12-16; 6.4-11, 15-23; 7.1-6; 8.5-17; 9.30-33; 11.17-24.
- Example stories: Rom. 4.1-25; 9.6-9, 10-15, 16-18.

Some passages in Romans sound like theological explanations, e.g. Rom. 1.18-32; 3:21-26; 5.1-21 and 8.1-30. However, other elements are polemical, argumentative and fashioned in a rhetorical sense, e.g. Rom. 2.1-3.20; 3.27-4.25; 6.1-7.25; 8.31-11.36. Romans is both theology and rhetoric interspersed throughout the epistle.

For further reading:

Black, C.C. ‘Keeping up with Recent Studies: 16. Rhetorical Criticism and Biblical Interpretation,’ ExpT 100 (1989): 252-58.

Byrskog, S. ‘Epistolography, Rhetoric and Letter Prescript: Romans 1.1-7 as a Test Case,’ JSNT 65 (1997): 27-46.

Campbell, D.A. The Rhetoric of Righteousness in Romans 3.21-26 (JSNTSup 65; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992).

Crafton, J.A. ‘Paul’s Rhetorical Vision and the Purpose of Romans: Towards a New Understanding.’ NovT 32 (1990): 317-39.

Hansen, G.W. ‘Rhetorical Criticism,’ in DPL, eds. Ralph P. Martin and Daniel Reid (Downers, Grove, IL: IVP, 1993) 822-26.

Jewett, Robert. ‘ Following the Argument of Romans,’ in The Romans Debate, ed. Karl P. Donfried (2d ed.; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991), 265-77.

Kern, Philip. Rhetoric and Galatians: Assessing an Approach to Paul’s Epistles (SNTS 101: Cambridge: CUP, 1998). ***

Tobin, Thomas H. Paul’s Rhetoric in its Contexts: The Argument of Romans (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004).

Witherington, Ben. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004).

New Blogs IX

Thanks again to Sean du Toit for bringing to our attention the blog James the Just by James Darlack who is reference librarian at Gordon-Conwell seminary. There are some good posts and resources about James listed here. About time someone focused on the portions of the later NT in relation to blogging! Good to know that you're around James!


1) Am I correct in saying that blogs are beginning more specialized in their content, e.g. early Christianity, book of Revelation, James?

2) Is it possible to make a distinction between biblioblogs (those blogs that focus on biblical studies) and theoloblogs (those blogs that focus on systematic theology)?

Note, the question of a distinction is not made here for the purpose of trying to alienate anyone in the "virtual" world of religious, theological, biblical, or Christian blogging. I'm merely curious as to whether or not it is possible to make such a distinction.

Ecce Homo (II)

My good friend Ben Myers has a biblioblog (or let's call it a theoloblog in order to keep systematics and biblical studies a safe distance apart), called Faith and Theology. Ben's recent publishing exploits include the introductory essay to Alister McGrath's new book on Scientific Theology which you can read about here. There is his recent article on "Predestination and freedom in Milton's Paradise Lost" in a recent issue of SJT 59 (2006): 64-86 which is available on-line here.

I met Ben by accident when when I was reading through JETS book reviews and found a review by a chap called Ben Myers from James Cook University in Townsville. Since I spent several years in Townsville with the Army (it is a purgatgorial posting rather like Guantanamo Bay but with friendlier inhabitants) I was suprised that I never met him. I had been to JCU and had a harrowing experience of being attacked by either two Magpies or two black and white terradactals while cycling there. An email correspondence followed when I complimented him on his review and we have been friends ever since. Even better was when Ben moved to Brisbane where he got a job at the University of Queensland and we were able to meet and discuss religion, theology, and Bible over some gourmet pizza.

Despite all of our differences (I hate coffee, Ben loves it; I don't share his affection for Rudolf Bultmann; I'm sporty, Ben is not; then there's the whole physical resurrection thing!) we get along swimmingly. The most redeemable traits of Ben are his expertise on English literature, he's the greatest proof reader a friend can have, he's able to show how it is possible to appreciate and assimilate aspects of Barth's theology for those of us from the Evangelical constitutency, he can analyse the comparative strengths and weaknesses of some of the great modern theologians in ways that even leave them appreciative (e.g. McGrath), and all in all Ben is a very charitable fellow to have a drink with

Cheers to Ben Myers our Barthian-Evangelische comrade, syndoulos en kurio, an up and coming young theologian (not even 30 yet), whom we can expect great things from. We can wait anxiously for his book on Milton, his projects on post-enlightenment theology, his collected essays on modern theologians, the day when he writes the definitive work on Karl Barth, and when he finally publishes his own eighteen volumes on Christian Theology.

Let me also say for the record that I'm the one who first encouraged Ben to start a blog so you all owe me a coke!

My New Perspective Article On-line

My thanks to Denny Burke and Criswell Theological Journal for posting on-line my article "When the Dust Finally Settles: Coming to a Post-New Perspective Perspective". (If you go to the page and follow the links to the New Perspective issue my articles come up). I give an asessment of the NPP both pro and con, but the most interesting thing in the article is the footnote where I narrate what happened to me when I once tried to enter a cab by the passenger side front door in L.A.! Don't worry, the cab driver lived!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mark Seifrid on Wright's Fresh Perspectives

Earlier this year Mark Seifrid gave a presentation at Concordia Theological Seminary's symposium on exegeticalt theology entitled The Narrative of Scripture and Justification: A Still Fresher Reading of Paul. There Seifrid takes aim at Wright's recent book Paul in Fresh Perspective and critiques Wright on his use of narrative, covenant and view of justification.

HT to Sean du Toit

Recent Studies on the Epistle of Jude

One of the most neglected NT books is of course Jude, but there have been a few decent studies on the book in the last ten years or so. These studies include the following:

Charles, J.D. 1993. Literary Strategy in the Epistle of Jude. Toronto: University of Scranton Press.

Traditionally, New Testament scholarship has subsumed examination of Jude under the study of 2 Peter, concentrating primarily on the question of literary dependence. The present work, however, with its focus on the unique features of the epistle, endeavors to penetrate the distinct literary and theological world of Jude and thus illuminate what for many has been an obscure part of the New Testament canon.

Winter, S.C."Jude 22-23: A Note on the Text and Translation," HTR 87.2 (1994): 215-222.

Knight, Jonathan. 1995. 2 Peter and Jude. NTG. London: T&T Clark.

These two small texts have often been outshone by other New Testament writings and have sometimes been regarded as of scant importance. Neither of them is easy to understand. Their language is sometimes difficult and the symbolism and biblical allusions are obscure to readers who do not know Jewish apocalyptic literature. Knight demonstrates that they do, however, repay careful study. They reveal a thought-world that is dominated by meditation on biblical literature, and they show how such material was interpreted to deal with problems in the life of certain unknown churches in the first century CE.

Landon, Charles. 1996. Text-Critical Study of the Epistle of Jude. LNTS 36; T&T Clark: Continuum.

The author writes in the tradition of C.H. Turner, G.D. Kilpatrick and J.K. Elliott, and attempts a reconstruction of the Greek text of Jude according to the rationale of thoroughgoing eclecticism. The aims of his study are to apply an eclectic approach to the resolution of textual problems in Jude, and to determine the extent to which the text of Jude published in the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (GNT4) is a product of the eclectic ideal. In this work, eclecticism is defined in detail, distinctions being made between eclectic generalism, rational criticism, and thoroughgoing eclecticism. Each of 95 variation units is analysed individually and the apparatus provided for each unit shows as much variation as possible in a compact form.

Lyle, K.R. 1998. Ethical Admonition in the Epistle of Jude. SBL 4; NY: Peter Lang.

Ethical Admonition in the Epistle of Jude examines the twofold ethical admonition found in this short and often neglected New Testament letter. Using a model suggested from the discipline of Christian Ethics, this study demonstrates how the author of Jude argues for the exercise of judgment and mercy in the early Christian community.

Allen, Joel S. ‘A New Possibility for the Three-Clause Format of Jude 22-3.’ NTS 44 (1998): 133-43.

Horrell, David. 1998. The Epistles of Peter and Jude. EpCom; Epworth: Petersborough.

The epistles of Peter and Jude offer an interesting insight into the character of early Christianity, but also raise questions about how contemporary Christians are to regard the Bible. Dr Horrell explains what the epistles have to say about God, Christ and the Spirit, and about Christian identity and hope, and considers their role in responsible community life today.

Reese, R.A. 2000. Writing Jude: The Reader, the Text, and the Author in Constructs of Power and Desire. BIS 51; Leiden: Brill.

Writing Jude is a practical application of literary theory to the Epistle of Jude. As such, it explores the nature of language, reading, and interpretation. This is the first such study to be undertaken with an Epistle.
Writing Jude contains a chapter on each of the elements that affect interpretation -- reader, text, and author. In these broad categories, the book examines various contemporary literary theories and their application to the Epistle of Jude.
The book provides a clear introduction to some of the most well known literary theories of the twentieth century and provides a demonstration of those theories in a particular text. This study breaks new ground in the understanding of both the Epistle of Jude and the application of literary theory to Epistles in general.

Gerdmar, A. 2001. Rethinking the Judaism-Hellenism Dichotomy: A Historiographical Case Study of Second Peter and Jude. ConBT 36; Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.

Since the beginning of modern New Testament exegesis, the Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy has been influential as a heuristic tool. However, the concept of Hellenism is ambiguous and its historiographical foundation needs rethinking, having been formed out of Hegelian idealism with a Christian bias. Current historiography urges reconsideration of Hellenism, Hellenisation and Hellenistic Judaism. In exegetical methodology, the dichotomy assumes a paradigmatic function. Hence, 2Peter and Jude, though closely related from a literary standpoint, are often contrasted as emanating from different backgrounds. Jude is considered 'more Jewish' than 2Peter, which is classified as 'Hellenistic' or 'Hellenistic Jewish'. Applying reversed heuristics, viz., looking for 'Jewish' features where 'Hellenistic' are expected and vice versa, brings about a new picture. An analysis of textual, ideological and historical factors shows that data considered 'Hellenistic' are slighted in Jude, whereas 'Jewish' features are neglected in 2Peter. Thereby the traditional picture is turned upside down. 2Peter probably uses a Hebrew Bible version, has numerous Semitisms and has a distinct Jewish apocalyptic theology. Jude is closer to the Septuagint, may have a calque from Hesiod and has better Greek than 2Peter. Ideological and historical analyses bring the letters together, situating both in a Jewish Christian apocalyptic current. Methodological consequences are that constructs built an the dichotomy need reconsideration, whereas new discoveries may be seen through reversed heuristics in the well-researched New Testament corpus. The concept of Hellenism should be reserved for the time period and not used for any other description without specifying the level and nature of Greek influence.

Brosend, William F. 2004. Letters of James and Jude. NCBC; Cambridge: CUP.

This is the first commentary to focus exclusively on the two letters written by the ‘brothers of the Lord’, James and Jude. Each letter is discussed on its own merits, and interpreted as having been written early in the life of the Church - it is posited that the letter of James may be one of the oldest Christian writings as well as an early witness to the teachings of Jesus. Particular attention is devoted to understanding the social worlds of James and Jude and to interpreting the significance of their message for our day. Of special interest is the focus on the ‘ideological texture’ of James, in particular on James’ working out of the ethical implications of the teachings of Jesus on poverty and wealth.

Davids, Peter H. 2006 (June). Letters of 2 Peter and Jude. PNTC; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Tackling these two historically underappreciated books, Peter Davids artfully reveals two fascinating epistles that deal with the confrontation between the Greco-Roman world and the burgeoning first-century Jesus communities. Davids takes on a number of thorny issues in this Pillar commentary, from Jude's overzealous condemnation of his opponents to the reality of the final judgment. He firmly grasps the overall structure of these oft-maligned epistles and presents a strong case for 2 Peter and Jude as coherent, consistent documents. Marked by exceptional xegesis, sharp, independent judgments, and timely application to the concerns of the local church, Davids's work not only connects with the latest scholarship but also transforms these scholarly insights into helpful conclusions that benefit all believers. Informed, astute, and evangelical, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude displays a careful balance between scholarship and pastoral concern and is readily accessible for both teachers and students, pastors and thoughtful members of their churches.

Mention should also be made of Robert L. Webb's 2 Peter & Jude commentary forthcoming in the NICNT series.

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Blogs VIII

First there is The New Perspective on Rob who seems to be seriously sick right now the poor chappie! Pray for him!!

There is Jonathan from North Ireland and his blog Accoding to Jonathan and his interests include Monotheism and NT Christology (I can imagine him and Chris Tilling having a fine chat together).

Additional Note:

I've just come across another blog Revelation is Real by Antoninus King Wai Siew (aka Tony Siew) who is a pastor in Malaysia. I'm sure Tony and Alan Bandy will have much to talk about.

Happy blogging!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Always Reforming

New Book from Apollos, edited by Andrew McGowan

Although the Reformation took place in the sixteenth century, this was the beginning of something and not the end. The Reformed churches affirmed the need to be semper reformanda (‘always reforming’).

Unfortunately, this commitment to continuing reformation has not been faithfully and consistently maintained over the centuries. At one end of the theological spectrum, some have invoked semper reformanda in order to justify abandoning the core of Reformation theology and departing from received orthodoxy. At the other end, some have forgotten about semper reformanda in their progress towards a rigid confessionalism, giving the impression that the final codification of truth has already taken place, and that there is no further need for reformation.

Between these two extremes, there is a vital task to be performed by the church in every generation: ¬to subject its beliefs and practices to renewed scrutiny in the light of Scripture. In doing so, the church must re-state biblical truth in ways that faithfully communicate the gospel, advance the mission of the church, and address the issues which men, women and children face as they seek to follow Christ and witness to him.

This volume is an exercise in semper reformanda. Each contributor was asked to take a different theme, doctrine or subject area within the discipline of systematic theology, and to assess the current state of scholarship in that area, before indicating areas where further work, development, re-statement or clarification are required. Overall, this stimulating collection is intended to make a positive contribution to evangelical scholarship, by helping to identify problems, dangers and exciting new possibilities, and to set an agenda for future theological reflection.

The contributors are Henri Blocher, Gerald Bray, Richard Gaffin, Richard Gamble, A. T. B. McGowan, Robert Reymond, Derek Thomas, Kevin Vanhoozer, Cornelius Venema and Stephen Williams


A.T.B. McGowan is Principal and Lecturer in Systematic Theology at the Highland Theological College, Dingwall, Scotland. He is Adjunct Professor of Theology at the Reformed Theological Seminary, USA and Visiting Professor of Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, USA. Contributor to The God of Covenant (Apollos), author of The New Birth (Christian Focus) and The Federal Theology of Thomas Boston (Paternoster).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mark Seifrid on the pistis christou debate

In Christ, our righteousness: Paul's Theology of Justification (pp. 139-46), Seifrid puts in his 2 cents on the pistis christou ("faith of Christ") debate. Although he acknowledges the validity of the faithfulness of Christ in Hebrews, Romans 5 and Revelation as a biblical theme, Seifrid urges that in Paul's letters Christ is the object of faith. Proponents of the subjective genitive can displace the significance of Christ's atoning death for a moral ideal of fidelity. In light of the grammatical debates about the meaning of the "faith of Christ" in Gal. 2.16, 3.22, Rom. 3.22, 26, Phil. 3.9 and Eph 3.12, Seifrid states as follows:

1. Paul speaks of the "faith of Christ" in connection with the gift of salvation, esp. in assocation with justification.

2.The passages in which the expression occurs invariably have to do with the revelation of God's saving purposes in Jesus Christ, usually in contrast to the will of God as expressed in the law.

3. Paul's usage of the noun is absolute, he speak of "the faith" without qualifying it.

Seifrid's own option is as follows:

"We have to do here with a 'qualifying' genitive, which is roughly parrallel to Paul's usage of the genitive in 'the word of Christ', 'the gospel of Christ, 'the truth of Christ', 'the law of Christ' and the like. In speak of the 'faith of Christ, Paul points to the cross and resurrection as the ground of faith, the decisive act of God in which 'faith' has come into the world as a reality and demand. He sets forth Christ as the exclusive, all-determining source of faith. In fact, his striking statements in Galatians that 'faith has arrived' appears precisely in conjunction with his use of the verbal expression 'the faith of Christ' ...Those who have argued for reading the expression as a subjective genitive have rightly sensed that in these contets Paul is concerned to affirm that faith itself is the work of god. They have failed to see, however, that Paul speaks of Christ's cross and resurrrection as the 'place' in which God has effected faith." (p. 146).

Interesting stuff to ponder, particularly in light of Watson's thoughts on the same subject about keeping the genitives deliberately ambiguous.

Latest Issue of Tyndale Bulletin

The latest issue of TynBul is available soon, here's the contents:


New Exodus and No Exodus in Jeremiah 26-45: Promise and Warning to the Exiles in Babylon
Gary Yates (Liberty University, Virginia)

Pistis Christou in Galatians 2:16: Clarification from 3:1-6
Debbie Hunn (Dallas Theological Seminary)

Method and Old Testament Theology: Barr, Brueggemann, and Goldingay Considered
Tim Meadowcroft (Bible College of New Zealand, Waitakere)

The Glory of God in Salvation Through Judgment: The Centre of Biblical Theology?
James M. Hamilton Jr. (Southwestern Seminary, Houston)

Josephus' Retelling of 1 Kings 1 for a Graeco-Roman Audience
Christopher Begg (Catholic University of America)

Justification as Forensic Declaration and Covenant Membership: A Via Media Between Reformed and Revisionist Readings of Paul
Michael F. Bird (Highland Theological College, Dingwall)

Codex, Roll, and Libraries in Oxyrhynchus
Don C. Barker (Macquarie University, Sydney)

Mark 16:8 and Plato, Protagoras 328d
Nicholas Denyer (Trinity College, Cambridge)

Dissertation Summaries

A Study of 2 Timothy 4:1-8: The Contribution of Epistolary Analysis and Rhetorical Criticism
Craig A. Smith (Trinity College, Bristol)

Wealth and Wisdom in Matthew 6:19-34
Batara Sihombing (Abdi Sabda Theological Seminary, Medan, Indonesia)

The Leading of the Spirit and the Curse of the Law: Reassessing Paul's Response to the Galatian Crisis
Todd A. Wilson (College Church, Wheaton, Illinois)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Translating Luke-Acts

I'm working my way through Luke-Acts in Greek and translating key passages of the text. Here's my rendition of Luke 1.1-4:

Since many have tried their hand to compile an orderly narrative concerning the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were delivered to us from those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and servants of the word; it occurred to me, having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, to write a successive account for you most noble Theophilus in order that you might known the veracity of the accounts which you were taught.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

James Dunn, A Retrospective Look at the New Perspective

The New Perspective on Paul
Collected Essays
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament - WUNT 185
by James D. G. Dunn

Mohr Siebeck, 2005
xii + 539 pages, English
ISBN: 3161486773

James Dunn's new book contains a series of previously published essays about the New Perspective. It does, however, contain two new essays written just for this volume, the final one on Philippians 3 and the opening essay "The New Perspective: Whence, What, and Whither?". It is this opening 89 page essay that contains Dunn's reflections on the New Perspective and he offers some interesting remarks about the criticism that he and others have received. (Incidentally the book is dedicated to Tom Wright). On the whole it is a positive piece that attempts to bridge the gap from revisionist and reformed readings of Paul.

Dunn's essay stresses that the New Perspective on Paul (NPP) is not, in his opinion, antithetical to the Reformed tradition. He makes this statement at several junctures:

"For my own part, even though it is not the language of the Reformed tradition, I have no particular problem in affirming that the doctrine of justification (in its fully orbed expression) is articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae; I am astonished by and repudiate entirely the charge that the 'new perspective on Paul' constitutes an attack on and denial of that Lutheran fundamental ... There point I am trying to make is simply that there is another dimension (or other dimensions) of the biblical doctrine of God's justice and of Paul's teaching on justification which have been overlooked and neglected, and that it is important to recover these aspects and to think them through afresh in the changing circumstances of today's world." (pp. 21-22).

"This I say once again is what the 'new perspective' is all about for me. It does not set this understanding of justification by faith in antithesis to the justification of the individual by faith. It is not opposed to the classic Reformed doctrine of justification. It simply observed that a social and ethnic dimension was part of exposition and defence of the doctirne - 'Jew first but also Greek'. .. This is the lost theological dimension of the doctrine which needs to be brough afresh into the light, not to diminish the traditonal doctrine, but to enrich the doctrine from its biblical roots and to recover the wholeness of Paul's teaching on the subject." (p. 33).

"My hope is that the debate ocassioned by the new perspective can now move forward. If we can move beyond the confusions and misunderstandings, the false polarisations which are the meat and drink of polemic, and the debates over particular texts which will probably be never-ending, it should be possible to engage in a more fruitful discussion of the main issues which have emerged from quarter a century's reflection on Sanders' new perspective on Second Temple Judaism. In this way the debate may help to achieve a richer and fuller understanding of Paul's teaching on justification and on its implications for Christian living." (p. 54).

"Justfication by faith alone needs to be reasserted as strongly as ever it was by Paul or by Augustine or by Luther. To acknowledge dependence wholly on God the Creator and Redeemer, to glorify and worhsip him alone, to trust in him and give him thanks is the proper and only proper response of the creature before the Creator. But its full scope needs to be appreciated. For justification by faith speaks against all attempts to add anythingto the gopsel as essential to salvation or to require anythingadditional to the gospel as the basis for believers to eat and work together - not excluding particular definitions of apostolic succession, eucharistic exclusivisty, denial of women's ministry, assertions of biblical inerrancy, and such extras." (p. 87).

In fact Dunn's use of "scope" in this last paragraph is similar to Gathercole, Watson and O'Brien who distinguish the content of justification from the scope. I wonder if Dunn had said something like this in his 1983 BJRL article then maybe alot of the anguished debate over the NP might have fizzled before it began.

On Works of the Law Dunn writes:

"Let me make quite clear, then: I have no doubt that 'works of the law' refer to what the law requires, the conduct prescribed by the Torah; whatever the law requires to be done can be described as 'doing' the law, as a work of the law." (p. 22).

More recently several commentators have argued that Judaism held a synergistic view of salvation (e.g. Talbert, Eskola, Moo, Thielman). Dunn objects because of the faithfulness/obedience motif in the NT, esp. Paul, renders Christianity as equally synergistic as Judaism (see Kent Yinger for much of the same). He says:

"So, if it is indeed fair to characterize Jewish soteriology as synergistic, should we not in fairness read the exhortations in passges like Rom. 12.9-21, Gal. 6.1-5, and Col. 3.5-4.1 in a similar way?" (p. 71).

"'Justification' and the gift of the Spirit might well mark the beginning of the process most effective, just as final justification and resurrection by the power of the Spirit might well mark the end of the process most effectively. But it is the transformation of the justified sinner by teh power of the indwelling Spirit to become more and more like Christ, like Christ in his dying as well as his rising again, which best characterizes the ongoing process of salvation." (p. 86).

For Dunn the differences lies in Jesus Christ (p. 80). In which case the problem with the Law is that it is not Christ.

About this essay:

1. The tone is conciliatroy and defensive, and it is apparent that Dunn is trying to show that NP is not the greatest enemy of the Reformation since Pope Pius IX.
2. Dunn qualifies his views alot more (esp. on works of the law, admits to works-righteousness being contained in Rom. 4.4-5, and the limited value of covenantal nomism).
3. He maintains the basic framework he has always advocated: covenantal nomism, Judaism was not legalistic, works of the law connotes the Jewish lifestyle, Paul attacks Jewish exclusivism, "life" in Galatians 3.12 is life in the covenant, etc.

This is an important essay for anyone to read who is engaged in researching or reading about the NPP debate.

Ehrman's New Book

I'm currently reading through Ehrman's new book about Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene. Here's the blurb.

Bart Ehrman, author of the highly popular Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code and Lost Christianities, here takes readers on another engaging tour of the early Christian church, illuminating the lives of three of Jesus' most intriguing followers: Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, and Mary Magdalene. What do the writings of the New Testament tell us about each of these key followers of Christ? What legends have sprung up about them in the centuries after their deaths? Was Paul bow-legged and bald? Was Peter crucified upside down? Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute? In this lively work,Ehrman separates fact from fiction, presenting complicated historical issues in a clear and informative way and relating vivid anecdotes culled from the traditions of these three followers. He notes, for instance, that historians are able to say with virtual certainty that Mary, the follower of Jesus, was from the fishing village of Magdala on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (this is confirmed by her name, Mary Magdalene, reported in numerous independent sources); but there is no evidence to suggest that she was a prostitute (this legend can be traced to a sermon preached by Gregory the Great five centuries after her death), and little reason to think that she was married to Jesus. Similarly, there is no historical evidence for the well-known tale that Peter was crucified upside down. Ehrman also argues that the stories of Paul's miracle working powers as an apostle are legendary accounts that celebrate his importance. A serious book but vibrantly written and leavened with many colorful stories, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene will appeal to anyone curious about the early Christian church and the lives of these important figures.

I shall review more of this in the fullness of time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Da Vinci Code Madness ! ? !

Let me cite here my top quotes from or about the DVC:

1. Stupidest quotes from the DVC (and there was a long list to choose from!)

“The Grail,” Langdon said, “is symbolic of the lost goddess. When Christianity came along, the old pagan religions did not die easily. Legends of chivalric quests for the lost Grail were in fact stories of forbidden quests to find the lost sacred feminine. Knights who claimed to be “searching for the chalice” were speaking in code as a way to protect themselves from a Church that had subjugated women, banished the Goddess, burned nonbelievers, and forbidden the pagan reverence for the sacred feminine. (pp. 238-39).

“These are photocopies of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea scrolls, which I mentioned earlier,” Teabing said. “The earliest Christian records. Troubling, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible.” (pp. 245-46).

2. Most interesting quote from the DVC (in the sense that it provokes thought about the nature of faith and religious language).

Langdon smiled. “Sophie, every faith is the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith – acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove. Every religion described God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. The problems arise when we begin to believe literally in our own metaphors … The bible represents a fundamental guidepost for millions of people on the planet … Those who understand their faiths understand the stories as metaphorical.” (DVC pp. 341-42).

3. Best quotes about the DVC from scholars (not written by anyone from Harvard or Vanderbilt Divinity school where DVC probably features as the text book for NT 101)

“I should emphasize that even though Christianity is based ultimately on the life and ministry of Jesus, it is much more than that. Traditional Christianity is the belief that he died for the sins of the world and was raised from the dead. Technically speaking, Christianity could not begin until someone proclaimed Jesus was raised from the dead. It appears that the first to do so was Mary Magdalene. If so, as I argued in the previous chapter, Mary really is the one who started Christianity. There could scarcely be a more significant woman for the history of Western civilization–or man, for that matter–who is at the same time less known than Mary Magdalene.” (Bart Ehrman, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene).

“Those who were thrown to the lions were not reading ‘Thomas’ or Q or the ‘Gospel of Mary.’ They were reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the rest, and being sustained thereby in a subversive mode of faith and life which, growing out of apocalyptic Judaism, posed a far greater threat to Roman empire and pagan worldviews than Cynic philosophy or Gnostic spirituality ever could. Why would Caesar worry about people rearranging their private spiritualities?” (Tom Wright)

A few pages of the most controversial quotes from DVC can be found here

The Incident at Antioch (Gal. 2.11-14) - Who was to Blame?

What I find it genuinely amusing is the way many scholars disagree as to who is to blame for the incident. For example, C.J. den Heyer (Paul: A Man of Two Worlds [London: SCM, 2000], 94) notes that although Peter is called the “rock” in Mt. 16.17-19: “There [in Antioch] he was no rock, and proved not to be capable of coming forward with authority and providing leadership for a community in confusion.” In contrast, John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed (Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts [San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2001], 41) say of Paul: “Paul’s position … was akin to machine-gunning butterflies. James, Peter, Barnabas, and all the others who agreed with him were right at Antioch. Paul was wrong at Antioch”.

I wonder if the question of who one blames depends on one's Protestant or Catholic bias?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Francis Watson

Last Thursday I was privileged to have had dinner with Francis Watson and the conversation was a most enjoyable one about the apocryphal Gospels, teaching NT to undergrads, contemporary Pauline scholarship, and spring rolls, etc. It all reminded me of one interesting quote from Watson's book Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith regarding Rom. 3.22 and the pistis christou debate:

It is striking that this passage interprets Jesus' death not as the outcome of his own faithfulness but as God's saving action. While this action has its own particular time and place, it is not closed in upon itself but forms the basis of the ongoing divine action in which God justifies the one who respond to it in faith. Faith, and consequently righteousness, is what is intended in God's action in the death of Jesus: God set forth Christ as an atoning sacrifice by his blood, but with a view to the "faith" through which its benefits - righteousness, remision of former sins - would be received. God justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus, since the name "Jesus" denotes nothing other than the saving action that God accomplished in his death. If, however, God's action in Christ intends the faith that leads to justification, this faith is itself the recognition and acknowledgement of the divine saving action. In a two-way movement from Christ's death and back to it again, God's saving act in Christ seeks to elicit the answering faith that acknowledges it as what it truly is. Faith, then, is "faith of Jesus Christ" in the dual sense that Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God's saving action, is as such both the origin and the object of faith. In this way, the ambiguous genitive formulation - "through faith of Jesus Christ", "the one who is of the faith of Jesus" (vv. 22, 26) - may be clarified, not by grammar but by context. (p. 75-76).

The Neglect of Luke-Acts

This semester I've had the privilege of teaching courses on Luke-Acts and Jesus and the Gospels (half of the second course consists of examination of the Lucan parables). I must say that it has imparted to me an awareness of the significance and relative neglect of Luke-Acts in NT Study. Consider the following:

W.G. Kümmel, The Theology of the New Testament: According to its Major Witnesses: Jesus – Paul – John (London: SCM, 1972).

It is interesting that N.T. Wright's COQG project was initially three volumes: Introduction, Jesus and Paul - the same bias is inherent there.

We could add Bultmann's Theology of the NT while we are at it. A few pages on Jesus, the early church, the Hellenistic chuch, stacks on Paul, the Johannine writings, and the ancient church; but no Luke-Acts.

What about Luke who makes us 28% of the NT? I find it interesting that scholars will frequently dedicate their careers to one or two areas of study, either Jesus and Paul or John and Paul or similar. Yet very few will do say Luke and Paul (the exceptions here are of course Talbert, Marshall and perhaps Bruce Longenecker). But I still think that there is a relative neglect of Luke in favour of Historical Jesus, Paul and John. I lament that most Reformed Evangelical Ph.D candidates I meet are all doing Paul.

Ranting aside here are some recent Luke-Acts studies I've found to be an interesting read:

Yongmo Cho. Spirit and Kingdom in the Writings of Luke and Paul: An Attempt to Reconcile these Concepts (Carlise, UK: Paternoster, 2005).

James M. Hamilton, "Rushing Wind and Organ Music: Toward Luke's Theology of hte Spirit in Acts," RTR 65.1 (2006): 15-33.

Barbara Shellard, New Light on Luke: its Purpose, Sources and Literary Context (JSNTSup 215; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002).

Brendan Byrne, "Jesus as Messiah in the Gospel of Luke: Discerning a Pattern of Correction," CBQ 65 (2003): 80-95.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Forthcoming Works from Sheffield Phoenix Press

Paulinists should note the following studies from Sheffield Phoenix Press which are due out soon:

Jacqueline C.R. de Roo, Works of the Law at Qumran and in Paul (NTM 13; Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, August 2006).

Stanley E. Porter, Romans (Readings: A New Biblical Commentary [RNBC]: Sheffield: Phoenix Press, June 2006).

Latest EJTh

Here's the contents from the latest European Journal of Theology:

Mike Bird, "Bauckham's The Gospel for All Christians Revisited", 5-13.

"Richard Bauckham's hypothesis that the canonical Gospels were written for circulation among Christians in general and not simply for isolated communities has drawn much criticism. This study presents a response to works that have criticized Bauckham's thesis including those by Philip Esler, Joel Marcus, David Sim, and Margaret Mitchell. The subsequent discussion attempts to defend the utility of Bauckham's proposal in light of these criticism."

Rüdiger Fuchs, “Bisher unbeachtet – zum unterschiedlichen Gebrauch von agathos, kalos und kalōs in der Schreiben an Timotheus und Titus”, 15-34.

Gregory J. Laughery and George R. Diepstra, "Scripture, Science and Hermeneutics", 35-49.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Biblical Studies Articles on-line

I got an email from John Sabatino (Austin, TX) about his Christian resources website called Apollos which is well worth looking over. On the NT side it has an assortment of articles on topics diverse as:

Historical Background
Reliability of the NT
Historical Jesus
The Book of Acts
Other Writings of the NT