HT: Ben Myers
Monday, March 31, 2008
HT: Ben Myers
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Mark’s thesis is that the “weak", whom he prefers to label "impaired" (more on this later), throughout 1 Cor 8—11 are not what the traditional and prevailing interpretation asserts, namely Christ believers who are prone to idolatry because of their cultural baggage. Through 33 pages of argumentation Mark contends that the group in view is instead non-believing idolatrous Corinthians. And since no moniker is better, he labels them “polytheists”, by which he means “non-Christ-believing-non-Jews” (1).
Mark begins with a largely even-handed review of traditional interpretations of the referent of Paul’s term “weak”, which differ slightly in detail, but agree on the Christ-believing identity of the group. He lists several reasons why he thinks the traditional interpretation has had such convincing force. Among the reasons are (1) Paul’s reference to this group as “brothers/sisters”, (2) Paul’s assertion that to sin against them is to sin against Christ, and (3) Paul’s assumption that the weak brothers and sisters are vulnerable to influence by the knowledgeable. What’s more, Mark suggests prevailing meta-assumptions about Paul also function to support the traditional reading not least the prevailing view of Paul as one who no longer is a Torah-observant Jew since converting to Christ faith.
Friday, March 28, 2008
This is drawn from a footnote in a forthcoming lecture that I'm giving in July.
- In light of several things (including influences diverse as Wrede, Ladd, Marshall, Thielman, and Carson), I have recently come out in favour of the corpus-by-corpus approach as opposed to the thematic approach when it comes to doing New Testament Theology. Although I recognize that the thematic approach (e.g. Guthrie, Caird, Schreiner) provides a better synthesizing element than does the corpus-by-corpus approach, I take the latter to be superior in terms of analysis of the actual texts themselves.
- In the interview, Schreiner offers an excellent description of the differentation between systematic and biblical theology.
- This volume looks like it will be a synthesis of Piperesque and Laddian view points when it comes to the framework of a New Testament Theology, which is probably a good combination.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The following passage from Tacitus, Hist. 5.5 illustrates very clearly the social stimga attached to keeping the Torah:
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Well, I'm dizzy already!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Smell ya later.
A blessed Easter to all!
In Greek versions the Son of Man comes:
What is interesting is a similar view is found in the Shepherd of Hermas:
Michael Gorman, Reading Paul
Paul Barnett, Paul: Missionary of Jesus
David Capes et. al., Rediscovering Paul
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
1. On Jesus’ relation to the Father:
"His self-constancy and perserverance of character, in other words, are consistently construed in relational terms as between the Son and the Father. “God was in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:19); but also: Jesus is the identity of God. What you see is what you get: indeed, what you see here is all you could possibly get. For the fourth Evangelist and others this is crystal clear. To see Jesus is to see the Father of Jesus (John 14:9), Abraham’s and Isaiah’s thrice-holy Lord made flesh (John 8:56058; 12:41), the unique son who alone bears the ineffable name (Phil. 2:9; Eph. 1:21; John 17:11-12): “the Messiah who is over all, God blessed forever” (Rom 9:5) who sits on the heavenly throne, at God’s right hand (Mark 14:62; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20-23; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 7:17) and to whom is due the worship of all creation (Phil. 2:10-11; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:12-14; 22:3). In keeping with that conviction, several authors go so far as to claim that only here can God be seen: no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).’ (Bockmuehl, Seeing the Word, 192). This is a good a summary as you'll find of the NT's teachings on Jesus' relationship to the God.
2. On the Jesus Seminar:
"What is perhaps most striking bout this 'new vision,' as Borg 1987 calls it, is less its newness than the family resemblance it bears to its critical predecessors. Here, the nineteenth-century ethical-liberal idealism of Albrecht Ritschl, Adolf von Harnack, and others seems to have echoed and transformed into the Jesus Seminar’s ahistorical spirituality and mellifluously bland (or, on the other hand, neo-Marxian) moralism". (Bockmuehl, Seeing the Word, 197). Amen! Amen!
"Contra certain postliberal views sometimes (rightly or wrongly) associated with Hans Frei …, for the early Christian church the identity of Jesus is not accessible simply in “stories” about him that may or may not have a bearing on history. It is the referential truth of that apostolic testimony that undergirds that the very possibility of faith (John 19:35; 21:35); indeed, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile ad you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17 NRSV). And what is “doubting” (apistos, “faithless”) about the Fourth Gospel’s Thomas is not his desire for facts but his emphatic refusal to trust the apostolic testimony: unless he personally sees and touches the evidence, he “will not believe” (John 20:25, 27, 29). Unless at some basic level we are prepared to receive, trust and inhabit a given communal embodiment of memory and witness, we can know nothing at all. The solipsis of cogito ergo sum is logically compelling only in the madhouse." (Bockmuehl, Seeing the Word, 206).
4. On Parables:
Sunday, March 16, 2008
New Testament Theology: Exploring Diversity and Unity
Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox, 2007.
Available from Alban Books
Available from Amazon.com
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
1. God's faithfulness to Israel.
2. God's impartiality in judging the human race.
"The student, perplexed by the consideration of these matters [differences among the Gospels], will either give up the attempt to find everything in the gospels true, and, not venturing to conclude that all f our information about the Lord is untrustworthy, will choose one of them at random to be his guide; or he will accept all four, and will conclude that their truth is not to be sought in the outward and material letter (Origen, Comm. Joh. 10.2)".
"[I]f they sometimes dealt freely with things which to the eye of history happened differently, and changed them so as to subserve the mystical aims they had in view – speaking of something that happened in one place as if it had happened in another or of something that took place at one time as if it had taken place at another, and introducing into what was spoken in a certain way some changes of their own. Where possible, they intended to speak the truth both materially and spiritually; and where this was not possible, they chose to prefer the spiritual to the material. Spiritual truth was often preserved, as one might say, in material falsehood (Origen, Comm. Joh. 10.4)".
"Each evangelist constructs his own particular narrative on a kind of plan which gives the appearance of being the complete and orderly record of the events in their succession. For, preserving a simple silence on the subject of those incidents of which he intends to give no account, he then connects those which he does wish to relate with what he has been immediately recounting, in such a manner as to make the recital seem continuous (Augustine, Harmony of the Evangelists 2.5.16)."
"If you ask which of these different versions represent what was actually expressed by the voice, you may fix on whichever you wish, provided that you understand that those of the writers who have not reproduced the identical form of speech have still reproduced the same sense intended to be conveyed. And these variations in the modes of expression are also useful in this way, that they make it possible for us to teach a more adequate conception of the saying than might been the case with only one form, and that they also secure it against being interpreted in a sense not consonant with the real state of the case (Augustine, Harmony of the Evangelists, 2.14.31)."
“In Augustine’s reflection on gospel differences, there is no trace of an a priori commitment to the precise historical accuracy of every part of every gospel. Rather, this is a pragmatic, inductive approach that considers each difference on its merits, and finds the harmony of the gospels more in the theological subject-matter than in the verbal expressions … Origen’s claim that a theological truth can come to expression in a historical falsehood, and that the fourfold gospel itself falsifies the absolute historicity of its individual narratives, seems better attuned to modern scholarly assumptions about the gospels. Yet, in the end, Origen and Augustine have a great deal in common. They have both made a careful study of the gospel differences; they are both convinced that the four gospels speak in various ways of a singular though infinitely rich theological subject-matter; and they both believe that this subject-matter is articulated in the differences and not in spite of them. In contrast, it is not clear that modern scholarship has achieved the balance sought by these patristic theologians in their reflections on the fourfold gospels: the balance between individual text and its plural contexts, or between difference and commonality (p. 50).
This raises some interesting issues for Gospel interpretation!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Eva in Röm 7
Christus, des Gesetzes Ende? Die Theologie des Apostels Paulus in kritischer Perspektive
God's Execution of His Condemned Apostles. Paul's Imagery of the Roman Arena in 1 Cor 4,9
V. Henry T. Nguyen
David M. Moffitt
From Apostle to the Gentiles to Apostle of the Church: Images of Paul at the End of the First Century
Gregory E. Sterling
Der Apostel von Johannes 13,16
Abraham, the friend of God, in Rom 5. A Short Notice
Karl Olav Sandnes
"They Promise Them Freedom". Once again, the ψευδοδιδάσκλοι in 2 Peter
Thomas Scott Caulley
Erste internationale Konferenz »Der Apostel Paulus und Korinth«. 1950 Jahre nach der Abfassung der Korintherbriefe (Korinth, 23–25 September 2007)
My Proposal for the Antioch Incident, Part Two: What role does James play in the circumstances; and who are “those of the circumcision”?
After thinking about the Antioch incident, I have come to the conclusion that the two questions of (1) James’ role and (2) the identity of the circumcision party are in all events less crucial for the interpretation of the incident than many have admitted. I have come to this view for two reasons.
In the end, I don’t think the Antioch Incident provides much useful information for our understanding of James. The story does not emit a quantity or quality of evidence needed to develop an understanding of James’ role in the event and I think this fact needs to be more readily acknowledge by interpreters. There is no reason to assume James was apprehensive about the Gentile mission in Antioch such that he sent a delegation to investigate. The text says neither that the “men from James” actively pressured Peter “to draw back” from associating with Gentiles, nor that James sent them for this purpose.
1. It is absurd to talk of human faith as the mechanism through which the "righteousness of God" is revealed when, in Rom. 3.21-26, it takes place in the Christ-event (Heliso, p. 36).
2. Could not the phrase "the righteous [one] shall live by faith" refer to the Messiah who acquired eschatological life through his faithfulness and is the one who will come to save the faithful (Heliso, p. 70)?
3. Hab. 2.3-4 was interpreted messianically in the LXX .
4. The title ho dikaios was a christological title in the early church (e.g. Acts 3.14; 7.52).
But on the negative side (see esp. Francis Watson):
1. Christ is not mentioned by name in the entire passage!
2. Paul's main concern is to demonstrate: (a) the conformity of his gospel to the pattern of Scripture, and (b) to show the link of "righteousness" and "faith" in counter-point to an ethnocentric nomism.
3. Most uses of Hab. 2.3-4 in Judaism (e.g. Qumran) were not messianic.
4. 1.16 clearly focuses on human faith, while 1.17 is probably more focused on divine faithfulness.
I find it hard to go past the anthropological reading when it is tied more closely to divine activity (as opposed to a believing versus doing antithesis). Mark Seifrid is about to argue (in our forthcoming "Faith of Jesus Christ" book) that this passage means "Faith has its source in the faithfulness of the God who promises and fulfills". Interesting stuff!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
As I have already on more than one occasion suggested in earlier posts, I wish to propose that the issue here is not what was eaten (traditional view), or how (the manner in which) it was eaten (Nanos’ view), but where it was eaten. The contextual marker for this is the verb “withdrew”: Peter and the other Jews who followed his lead “withdrew” from eating with the non-Jewish believers in Jesus. It is possible that the description is meant to be a figure of speech, but it is not obviously so. What if we take it to be a concrete depiction of the event: Peter left the meals. In this way, Peter’s action of which Paul so vehemently opposed was a departure from a place where the shared meals were eaten. If the space was Jewish space to where would they have withdrawn? Would not they have had to force the non-Jews to depart? This may appear to some to be an overly literal reading of the text, but I am growing persuaded that the verb “to withdraw” is more than simply a figure of speech in this context and becomes something of a key that better explains the other elements. Furthermore, the idea of a concrete withdraw can be substantiated by an appeal to Luke’s account in Acts, however controversial that may be. If one allows Luke’s narrative to have an influence here then it makes good sense of Paul’s strong rebuke of Peter.
Acts 10—11 make clear the issue at stake in Peter’s ministry to Cornelius’ household was association: the right for a Jew to enter the home of a non-Jew, even one who is a god-fearer (see 10:28). Peter’s vision corrected an apparently longstanding view that it was against law to enter the home of a non-Jew. God makes clear that this is to be no concern of Peter and he subsequently visits Cornelius at his home. This raises the concern of the Jerusalem church so a meeting is called and Peter is called to account. After his testimony the church agrees that God does not make distinctions between Jew and non-Jew and in essence a halakic principle of association is set forth that makes it appropriate for Christ-believing Jews to fellowship in the homes of non-Jewish god-fearing believers in Jesus.
On this reading, Peter and the other Jewish believers in Jesus by withdrawing from fellowship with Gentiles, presumably from fellowship in the Gentile’s own social space, were not only implying that these Gentiles needed to be judaized (2:14)—and I take this to mean not only to become circumcised but more importantly for this context to live in such a way as to create a conducive Jewish social space for intimate social intercourse—but disregarding the direct revelation from the Lord.
I think then when the context of Gal 2:11-14 is carefully considered and allowed to rightfully define the clause “living like a Gentile” (2:14), it seems to me that the clause connotes association—or lack of. In another context the description may mean something very different since “living like a Gentile” is ambiguous when disconnected from a particular context, as is “living like a Jew”. I agree that our source materials suggest that it was possible for one to live Jewishly and eat with Gentiles but it appears that the “eating with” was acceptable under certain conditions at least for some more scrupulous Jews; that is: in a controlled Jewish social space. While I am well aware that there was not one view on levels of association in the first century, clearly there were strong views of separation by some groups at least in Judea. Luke's evidence suggests there were such views among even the common folk such that Peter states it is "unlawful for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him" (10:28). Cornelius was a god-fearer so he must have had social intercourse with Jews, but it seems as if the issue rested on the place of that intercourse. E.P. Sanders voices this perspective on the situation in the Second Temple period:
Jewish food laws permitted them [Jews] to entertain Gentiles, but not to accept Gentile hospitality (unless the Gentiles could provide Jewish food and wine). The new result of this one-sided possibility would be very little entertaining of the one by the other. Social intercourse among equals involved reciprocity (1990:181; cf. Dunn 2002:209, emphasis added).
While this view is perhaps closest to Nanos’ reading, I remain unconvinced of his assertion that the issue was “how” these meals were conducted since it is unclear to me how an outsider could tell in Jewish social space that Jews were treating god-fearing Gentiles with a higher respect than was appropriate to their position. He did not provide evidence that showed concretely how this would be observed. In an earlier post Isuggested the possibility in jest of a bouncer at the door of the house who said “Drop’um!” I think the verb “withdraw” has real traction when taken concretely. Peter was eating with Gentiles in Gentile social space (as he did with Cornelius), but then withdrew from those situations. I agree with Nanos' point, however, that Paul's answer to the problem is an affirmation of the Gentile identity as equal members of the eschatological age. Interestingly, Paul's central idea in Galatians 2:15-21 is reminiscent of that of Acts 11:17-18.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Robert M. Bowman Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski
(Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal, 2007).
Jesus shares the honours due to God.
Jesus shares the attributes of God.
Jesus shares the names of God.
Jesus shares in the deeds of God.
Jesus shares the seat of God's throne.