Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
2. Does the vertical/horizontal divide go far enough? No doubt these elements are identifiable in Paul's thought (e.g. Rom. 3.21-26 and 27-30). But many will want to insist that vertical is the basis/content of justification while the horizontal is merely the scope/context of justification. Does that downplay the social/horizontal elements? I've struggled with this myself insofar as I've referred to the social side of justification as something that is both an implicate of and yet intrinsic to the justifying verdict.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I have used Accordance for research in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Aramaic Targums, the Mishnah, the Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, the Septuagint, the Apostolic Fathers, Ireneaus, and Justin Martyr. The Dead Sea Scrolls, Aramaic Targums, and the Mishnah tagged texts saved me countless hours of time I would have otherwise spent on painstakingly looking up the words in a Hebrew/Aramaic Lexicon. In addition, because most of this literature is unpointed, I have been able to work with it much more easily thanks to Accordance. Recently, my research has shifted into early Christian literature and I have used the tagged Greek texts of the AF, Ireneaus and Justin to great effect. While I infrequently conduct detailed grammatical research, Accordance provides the most user-friendly and intuitive search engines out there.
Without getting into a detailed discussion of using Accordance for research, I’ll be content to mention one very convenient feature. If you are working with a Greek text (or Hebrew or Aramaic for that matter) and you want to research a word in the various tools that you have (including Lexicons, Grammars, Commentaries, Bible Notes, etc.) you simply right click the mouse and select “Search All Tools”. A list of all the occurrences of that word in all your tools is generated. You simply select which the tool you want to look at and a new window appears with that tool.
This past weekend North Park Theological Seminary held their annual symposium and this year the theme was Conversion. This symposium results in the yearly publication Ex Auditu published by Wiph & Stock. The list of presenters and respondents was impressive with the likes of Scot McKnight (North Park), Markus Bockmuehl (Oxford), Michael Gorman (St. Mary’s), J. Warren Smith (Duke), Lewis Rambo (San Francisco Theological Seminary), Stephen Chester (North Park), J. Andrew Dearman (Fuller), George Kalantzis (Wheaton) and Wyndy Corbin Reuschling (Ashland).
Unfortunately, I was not able to make many of the papers due to teaching and commitments at home, but I did attend McKnight’s, Bockmeuhl’s and Smith’s. Each of these were interesting and enlightening. Scot’s paper was on the perennial question was Paul converted or called. Using social science he argued that Paul was converted, but provocatively he asserted that Paul remained a Jew and probably maintained much of his former Jewish practice, although Scot was reluctant to say to what extent Paul practiced Torah.
Markus gave the kind of paper you come to expect from him. He addressed Peter’s conversion, which is not provided in Luke’s narrative in either Luke or Acts, by attempting to ascertain the footprint left in early Christianity using early Christian art, apocryphal anecdotes from the Gospel of Peter and later New Testament texts. It was excellently written both interesting and informing. I continue to be awed by Markus’ grasp of ancient sources: Jewish and Christian. Michael Gorman gave a very thoughtful response to Markus’ paper that spurred a very good discussion.
Warren gave a fascinating paper on Ambrose’s homilies on the patriarch Joseph which form the climax of his catechesis for those being baptized during Holy Week. He showed among other things that Ambrose’s figurative reading of the Joseph story led him to conclude that the Jews would turn to Christ and be saved at the end of the age. Perhaps most interesting was Ambrose’s claim that this would be paradoxically as a result of the person of Saint Paul.
I suppose what was most enjoyable was to see Markus whom I hadn’t seen in a good deal of time. It was fun to have him experience North Park and I even had a chance to show him my small office. I also had the chance to meet Michael Gorman for the first time which was a real treat as I have admired his work for some time. In addition, I had a great conversation over dinner with Andrew Dearman, who was very curious about my views on Paul. Andrew is a great guy and I appreciated how interested he was in my work. It was also good to get reacquainted with Wyndy Corbin Reuschling whom I had met at Tyndale House in 2006 while I was in Cambridge for my Ph.D. viva.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
I, II, & III John (NTL)
Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2009
Available at Alban Books in the UK and Amazon.com in the US
Thursday, September 24, 2009
HT: Text, Community, and Mission
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I can't resist a few comments (I tried, I really did, but I can't resist):
1. Every western democracy from Norway to New Zealand has universal health care for its citizens except for the wealthiest nation on earth.
2. Putting profit-driven companies in charge of health care sounds like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. You need more than market forces to keep greed in check, if you don't believe me, go apply for a loan at Lehman Brothers.
3. I've lived in two countries with universal health-care and it works great (not faultless by any strech, but it works).
4. Australia has both a public and private system and the two can and do co-exist in peaceful harmony, i.e., there is a safety net for the masses and those who want breast implants and ankle reconstructions on demand can have it. My two daughters were born in private hospitals, but I've also made use of the public system for the most part.
5. To oppose access to affordable health care strikes me as a violation of the golden rule.
6. I can understand the desire not to put government in charge of everything, to encourage a free market economy, to create profit-motive, to foster upward economic mobility, and avoid becoming a welfare state - I'm on board - but you can still have all that with more government involvement in health care.
7. Does anyone know of any theological reflections on health care?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Yet, I do not espouse the method of teaching Greek, which some schools now offer, that simply teach students to the use software without an adequate foundation in Greek grammar and syntax. I do not advocate learning to use Accordance or any other program in place of the basic study of Greek grammar. This goes for online courses as well. While they can be useful especially for folks who do not have access to a seminary or college that teaches biblical languages, it is very difficult, although not impossible, to gain a sufficient proficiency outside of a classroom experience. Everyone, I realize, will not share this view; but even this semester I have a student auditing my class because they were unprepared for the exegesis course after successfully completing the Greek grammar course online. No matter what Rosetta Stone may say, learning languages is not easy no matter what bells and whistles may come with the product. At the end of the day, it comes down to just grinding it out in study.
Returning to my “crutch” analogy, I also tell them “one must break their leg, before a crutch is useful or necessary. This course will break your leg! After you complete it you’ll be ready to use a crutch".
Simply put, the long term effectiveness of Bible software for teaching and preaching is related to the extent of one’s basic grammatical knowledge.
I am aware that Logos has made significant strides to gain a market share in the high-end Bible software arena. Logos historically had been not much more than an electronic library with little to no primary source modules. About five years or so ago, however, Logos rolled out a new product and it looks pretty good. I surveyed their website recently and it appears that Logos can provide scholars and pastors with solid resource for biblical studies. While I would not invest in it myself for a number of reasons, I think it would be an adequate program. Logos has many ministry-oriented modules (even magazines apparently) that Accordance and BibleWorks don’t and this may appeal to some. I am personally not interested in collecting a bunch of books and magazines in an electronic format. I am still “old school” enough that if I’m going to read something, I don’t want to read it on a screen. For me the benefits of Bible software are the research capabilities: the ability to have at one’s fingertips lexicons, commentaries, grammars, etc; as well as the ability to have vital linguistic information available with the move of a mouse or a click. As best I can tell Accordance does this better than any other product on the market.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Author: Joel Willitts
David Sim has argued that Matthew’s so-called Great Commission (Mt 28:16–20) represents a direct anti-Pauline polemic. While this thesis may be theoretically possible and perhaps fits within the perspective of an earlier era in New Testament research, namely that of the Tübingen School, the evidence in both Matthew and the Pauline corpus does not support such a reading of early Christianity. In this paper, I argue that an antithetical relationship between Matthew’s Great Commission and Paul’s Gentile mission as reflected in his epistles is possible only (1) with a certain reading of Matthew and (2) with a caricature of Paul. In light of the most recent research on both Matthew’s Great Commission and the historical Paul, these two traditions can be seen as harmonious and not antithetical in spite of the recent arguments to the contrary. My argument provides a further corrective to the view of early Christianity, which posits a deep schism between so-called Jewish Christianity and Paul’s ostensibly Law-free mission to the Gentiles.
You can find the article here at HTS.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
One question that comes immediately to mind however is where does Catholic scholarship fit within the discussion? Zetterholm doesn’t deal with Catholic scholarship. He does deal with a Catholic perspective only to the extent that he provides a historical overview of the church’s interpretation of Paul and Judaism before the Reformation. (ch 2) But after the Reformation and the introduction of Lutheran readings with the stress on “justification by faith”, Zetterholm doesn’t deal with the continuing Catholic tradition.
Would then the Catholic tradition represent a fourth approach in addition to the three Zetterholm identifies? Or does modern Catholic scholarship merely reflect the dominant categories and questions? If the New Perspective is largely a critique of Lutheranism, what is its relationship to Catholic scholarship? I would assume that Sander’s new view of Judaism has some influence on Catholic scholars, but wouldn’t his critique of the Lutheran Paul have been largely relevant to Catholic scholarship?
I suppose one way to look at this from Zetterholm's perspective is that insofar as Catholic scholarship’s questions are primarily related to dogmatic questions of Christian theology and insofar as each shares the fundamental historic assumption of mutual exclusivity of Judaism and Christianity, Catholic tradition can fall under Zetterholm's “traditional” perspective. No matter that it is not “Lutheran”, its concern is the same as Lutheranism: to relate doctrine and the theology of Paul. Catholic scholarship, in other words, would come to very different conclusions than Lutheran scholarship, but they would be addressing the very same questions.
However, there is a problem isn't there with referring to these very divergent traditions with the one category: the “traditional Paul”. To begin with Baur, as Zetterholm does, is to begin with Protestant scholarship, to the exclusion of the earlier and ongoing Catholic tradition. What would my Catholic friends say to this? Is there something unique about a Catholic approach to Paul? If so, what?
Perhaps our friends Michael and Brant over at Singing in the Reign/The Sacred Page can respond.
As I began my Ph.D. work at Cambridge I studied alongside a Finnish guy named Marko. Marko and I got along well and we shared similar research interests. Marko was a computer programmer before leaving the workplace to pursue a degree in the New Testament. During his years at Tyndale House he was the resident computer expert. Marko made a significant impression on me with respect to the advantage of Accordance over BibleWorks through various conversations. While the details now of his opinions are not fuzzy, I remember that he strongly believed that for people not extremely computer savvy, Accordance was the better of the two. One comment I remember him making was that in his opinion BibleWorks was a more demanding and not as intuitive a program. This was to say nothing of the fact that at that time Accordance was leading the way in publishing tagged primary source material. such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
As I remember it, while Marko liked BibleWorks, and I think he was a PC man and used it, he thought on the whole Accordance was better. So, when it became apparent to me that Gramcord was not going to be my long-term solution, I began to think about a Mac. I decided to wait until I had the resources to purchase a Mac and until then I would just hold out. There was no reason to buy an inferior program, if one day I would have wished I had just waited for Accordance.
Then at an SBL I was introduced to the free Mac emulator that Tim Hegg developed. Tim showed me how easy it was to use and I was sold. The emulator opened up the Accordance world to me. On that day, I discovered that I could run Accordance on my PC. I could have Accordance without purchasing at Mac. So at that SBL, I purchased my first Accordance program and modules. I think that was 02 or 03. I would run Accordance on my PC for the next four years until the summer 2007 when I got a MacBook for the first time.
I’ll be honest and say that the emulator, while giving you the goods, is not an efficient tool. On the most basic and important tasks, such as cutting and pasting texts or printing, you would be required to do a number of additional tasks in order to perform the very simple one. For example, on of the most frustrating aspects of the emulator was the inability to directly cut and paste biblical texts into a document. I would have to copy them into a word document in the emulator (I got a free version of Word 5 for Mac) before saving the doc file onto a flash disk. Then after switching from the emulator, I would open the doc on the PC side. I could then copy the text and paste it into my document. This became frustrating after awhile, although I considered it a small inconvenience. One other issue was that it was not practical to use the emulator for teaching given that you would have to jump between the Mac side and the PC side during a presentation and this jumped did not always go smoothly. I Still, I was very thankful for the emulator and over the moon about the fact that I had Accordance.
When I purchased Accordance, Martin Abegg had recently finished the tagging of all the sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls and it was the only Bible program to offer them at the time. The Scrolls were one of the first modules I purchased and used it to great effect whilst working on research in the Scrolls. I am indebted to Accordance for that module as it was foundational to that research. It should be said that I have felt this kind of indebtedness on many an occasion over the course of the years.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Edited by Katherine Doob Sakenfeld
Nashville: Abingdon, 2009.
Available through Alban Books in the UK.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Text Exporting. There is now more flexibility as what the text looks like when you export it to a document. For instance, I prefer "In the beginning" (Gen 1:1). to "Gen 1:1 ESV In the beginning".
Monday, September 07, 2009
ABOUT THE New Covenant Commentary Series:
REVELATION – Gordon Fee
EPHESIANS – Lynn Cohick
JAMES – Pablo Jimenez
1–3 JOHN – Sam Ngewa
JOHN – Jey Kanagaraj
PASTORAL EPISTLES – Aida Besancon-Spencer
MARK – Kim Huat Tan
ACTS – Yongmo Cho
LUKE – Jeannine Brown
2 PETER AND JUDE – Andrew Mbuvi
MATTHEW – Joel Willitts
1 PETER – Eric Greaux
1–2 THESSALONIANS – TBD
PHILIPPIANS – Linda Belleville
HEBREWS – Tom Thatcher
GALATIANS – Brian Vickers
1 CORINTHIANS – TBD
2 CORINTHIANS – David DeSilva
Sunday, September 06, 2009
When I began seminary at Dallas Theological Seminary in the fall of 1993 I purchased my first home computer. I don’t remember much about it, perhaps it was a 386 or something, but it was a PC. During college I had gotten away with borrowing a friend's Brother word processor (it was just a big box). That first semester at DTS I had a Greek course with Dan Wallace where he introduced us to the latest and greatest Bible program called Gramcord. Desiring to have resources that would help me with biblical exegesis I purchased Gramcord. Back then the program came on about 10 disks that took probably an hour to load onto the commuter. I thought the program was the coolest thing and I hoped that it would be a great help to me as I progressed through seminary. At the time I had not yet envisaged pursuing Ph.D. I had purchased Gramcord simply because I was convinced that it would help me be a better youth pastor (OK so maybe the writing was on the wall, but I had yet to interpret it).
After several years of full-time ministry (about 7 in all), I came to realized that God was calling me into an academic ministry and at that point I reengaged the Bible program question. I had returned to DTS, after having been away for some time, in the summer of 1999. By that time the Bible programs had begun to come into their own with new products on the market. It was at this time that I was first introduced to Accordance, although it had been launched in 1994. I was a PC person, so it was not really an option at the time, but Bibleworks by that time had also come on the Market. Since I had already purchased Gramcord, I decided to contact them to see what was new and to acquire any upgrades. Gramcord began to discuss a new environment they were in the process of developing that they believed would rival both Accordance and Bibleworks. So rather than purchasing a new program I decided to wait it out.
Meanwhile, I was talking with my Profs about Bible programs and hands down they would each tell me that Accordance had no rival. One particular Prof, Harold Hoehner, could have been an Accordance Rep. Now if you knew Harold you will know that there were two topics he especially enjoyed discussing: Macs (and Accordance) and United Airlines. If you got him on either subject you would get an ear full. Other Profs had both a Mac and a PC and ran both Accordance and Bibleworks. I was consistently told that if you want the best Bible program get a Mac and get Accordance.
My next post will be "The Coming of the Emulator".