Eyes and Ears 2012

(past reading/listening logs: 2007  2008  2009  2010  2011)

What am I reading?  What am I listening to?

Into the eye-gate

12/24/12  P. H. Towner, “The Pastoral Epistles,” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (ed. T. Desmond Alexander and Brian S. Rosner; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000), 330-36.

12/15/12  F. Gerald Downing, “‘Honor’ among Exegetes,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61 (1999): 53-73.

12/15/12 David A. deSilva, “Honor and Shame,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2000), 518-22.

12/14/12 Jonathan Yates, “Weaker Vessels and Hindered Prayers: 1 Peter 3:7 in Jerome and Augustine,” Augustiniana 54 (2004): 243-59.

12/13/12 Carolyn Osiek, “Diakonos and Prostasis: Women’s Patronage in Early Christianity.” Hervormde teologiese studies 61 (2005): 347-70.

12/13/12 Sojung Yoon, “Phoebe, a Minister in the Early Christian Church,” in Distant Voices Drawing Near: Essays in Honor of Antoinette Clark Wire (ed. Holly E. Hearon; Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2004), 19-31.

12/13/12 Romaniuk, Kazimierz. “Was Phoebe in Romans 16,1 a Deaconess?” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 81 (1990): 132-34.

12/12/12 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “Missionaries, Apostles, Coworkers: Romans 16 and the Reconstruction of Women’s Early Christian History,” Word and World 6 (1986): 420-33.

12/9/12  deSilva, David A. “Patronage & Reciprocity” and “Patronage & Grace in the New Testament.” Pages 95-156 in Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000.

12/8/12 Elliot, John H. “Patronage and Clientage.” Pages 144-156 in The Social Sciences and New Testament Interpretation. Edited by Richard Rohrbaugh. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1996.

12/8/12 Malina, Bruce J. “Patronage System in Roman Palestine.” Pages 388-90 in Social-Scientific Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels (2nd ed.; Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Fortress, 2003).

12/8/12 Lampe, Peter. “Paul, Patrons, and Clients.” Pages 488-523 in Paul and the Greco-Roman World: A Handbook. Edited by J. Paul Sampley. Harrisburg, Penn.: Trinity Press International, 2003.

12/3/12  James W. Aageson, “1 Peter 2.11-3.7: Slaves, Wives and the Complexities of Interpretation,” pages 34-49 in A Feminist Companion to the Catholic Epistles and Hebrews (FCNT 8; New York: T&T Clark, 2004).

11/27/12  Andrew Cameron and Brian Rosner, eds. The Trials of Theology: Becoming a “Proven Worker” in a Dangerous Business (Christian Focus, 2010).

11/25/12  David K. Clark, To Know and Love God: Method for Theology, Foundations for Evangelical Theology (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003).  I read the Introduction, chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, and the Conclusion.

11/22/12  Bruce Riley Ashford and Keith Whitfield, “Theological Method: An Introduction to the Task of Theology,” chapter 1 in A Theology for the Church (forthcoming).

11/18/12  Troy W. Martin, “The TestAbr and the Background of 1Pet 3,6,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde derälteren Kirche 90 (1999): 139-146.

11/18/12  Miroslav Volf, “Soft Difference: Theological Reflections on the Relation Between Church and Culture in 1 Peter,” Ex Auditu 10 (1994): 15-30.  Argues for a more nuanced approach than merely embracing or rejecting the culture.  “…there is no single proper way for Christians to relate to a given culture as a whole. Instead, there are numerous ways of accepting, rejecting, subverting or transforming various aspects of a culture which itself is a complex pattern of symbols, beliefs, values, practices and organizations that are partly congruent with one another and partly contradictory.”

11/18/12  Jeannine K. Brown, “Silent Wives, Verbal Believers: Ethical and Hermeneutical Considerations in 1 Peter 3:1-6 and Its Context,” Word and World 24 (2004): 395-403.

11/18/12  Jennifer A. Glancy, “Obstacles to Slaves’ Participation in the Corinthian Church,” Journal of Biblical Literature 117 (1998): 481-501.

11/18/12  Peter J. Leithart, Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009).  An intriguing plea for a multifaceted reading of Scripture akin to the medieval quadriga.  Interacts and disagrees here and there with the likes of Hirsch and Silva.  Always interesting, and occasionally–dare I say it?–lighthearted.  See this post and this post.

11/16/12  E. G. Lovik, “A Look at the Ancient Codes and Their Contributions to Understanding 1 Peter 3:1-7”, CBTJ 11 (1995): 49-63.

11/11/12  Moses Chin, “A Heavenly Home for the Homeless: Aliens and Strangers in 1 Peter,” Tyndale Bulletin 42 (1991): 96-112.

11/10/12  Mark Kiley, “Like Sara: The Tale of Terror behind 1 Peter 3:6,” Journal of Biblical Literature 106 (1987): 689-92.  A good treatment, suggesting that it is not specifically Gen 18:12 (where Sarah calls Abraham “lord”) that provides the background of 1 Peter 3:6, but the larger narratives of Genesis 12 and 20, where in a foreign land Abraham asks Sarah to pose as his sister and she is taken by a foreign ruler; Kiley suggests that this provides a better background for the wives of 1 Peter 3, “sojourners” (1Pe 1:1) who are being instructed to submit even when their husbands are disobedient to the word.  Sarah’s “comportment . . . establishes her not just as a model of obedience but as a model of those wives who obey their spouses in an unjust and frightening situation in a foreign land/hostile environment” (692).

11/10/12  John H. Elliot, material on 1 Peter 3:7, “General Comment” on 3:1-7, and “Detailed Comment: Reading 1 Peter 3:1-7 Today–The Hermeneutical Problem and Contextualizing Gender Constructs,” pages 574-99 in 1 Peter: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, Anchor Bible 37B (New York: Doubleday, 2000).  In Elliott’s massive work on 1 Peter he takes a thoughtful and respectable position on women’s roles, albeit one with which I disagree.  Unlike evangelical feminists, he does not attempt to reinterpret the biblical data to suggest that the early church was really about establishing an egalitarian community — he recognizes clear language of subordination.  He believes that because of better understanding of biology, societal structures, etc., we can better apply the principles of the gospel than the early church was able to in their context with their level of knowledge.  This, of course, runs into difficulty for inerrantists; we do desire to bring the biblical text into our own day, recognizing cultural differences, but when it comes to saying that the biblical writers were children of their own times to the extent that they were wrong in what they wrote, we must beg to differ.

11/9/12  Carl D. Gross, “Are the Wives of 1 Peter 3.7 Christians?” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 35 (1989): 89-96.  An excellent little article that argues the answer “no” to the question which comprises the title, doing so on the basis of the syntax of the verse, the context of the verse, and the social setting of the recipients.

11/8/12  Peter Cotterell and Max Turner, Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1989)

11/8/12  James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961).

11/4/12 T. R. Wolthuis, “Jude and the Rhetorician: A Dialogue on the Rhetorical Nature of the Epistle of Jude.” Calvin Theological Journal 24 (1989): 126-34.

11/1/12  David Crump, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer (Grand Rapids: Baker: 2006).

11/1/12  Oscar Cullman, Prayer in the New Testament, Overtures to Biblical Theology (Fortress, 1995).

10/30/12  Ferguson, Everett. “Topos in 1 Timothy 2:8.” Restoration Quarterly 33 (1991): 65-73.

10/28/12  McKee, Elsie. “Calvin and Praying for ‘All People Who Dwell on Earth.’” Interpretation 63 (2009): 130-40.

10/27/12  John A. L. Lee, A History of New Testament Lexicography, Studies in Biblical Greek 8 (New York: Peter Lang, 2003).  Highly recommended.  I’ll never look at an entry in a Greek lexicon in the same way after having read Lee.  He has an intimate knowledge of the entire tradition of Greek lexicons produced over the centuries, and shows the deficiencies inherent in various editions and methodologies.  The book ends with over 100 pages devoted to case studies where the major lexicons are flat-out wrong in certain instances, usually because they are relying on their predecessors.  That is, someone made a fundamental definitional error years and years back, and that error has been uncritically reproduced (not just mechanically, but conceptually) through the stream of lexicons that followed because new editions did not revisit the original work that was done.

10/26/12  I. Howard Marshall on 1 Timothy 2:1-8 in The Pastoral Epistles, ICC (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999), 415-35.

10/25/12  Frei, Hans.  The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974.

10/23/12  Henry, Carl F. H.  “Narrative Theology: An Evangelical Appraisal.” Trinity Journal 8 NS (1987): 3-19.

10/18/12  Hirsch, E. D. Validity in Interpretation. New Haven: Yale, 1967.

10/16/12 Neyrey, Jerome H.  “Social-Scientific Criticism.”  Pages 177-191 in The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament.  Edited by David E. Aune.  Chichester, U.K. and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

10/15/12 Tidball, Derek J. “On Wooing a Crocodile: An Historical Survey of the Relationship between Sociology and New Testament Studies.” Vox Evangelica 15 (1985): 95-110.

10/15/12  Malina, Bruce J.  “Bible Study and Cultural Anthropology: Interpreting Texts Fairly.”  Pages 1-27 in The The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology. Revised edition.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1993.

10/15/12 Barton, Stephen C.  “Social-Scientific Criticism.”  Pages 277-289 in Handbook to Exegesis of the New Testament.  Edited by Stanley E. Porter.  New Testament Tools and Studies XXV.  Leiden: Brill, 1997.

10/15/12 DeSilva, David A.  “Embodying the Word: Social-Scientific Interpretation of the New Testament.”  Pages 118-29 in The Face of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research.  Edited by Scot McKnight and Grant R. Osborne.  Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.

10/14/12 Horrell, David G.  “Whither Social-Scientific Approaches to New Testament Interpretation?  Reflections on Contested Methodologies and the Future.”  Pages 6-20 in After the First Urban Christians: The Social-Scientific Study of Pauline Christianity Twenty-Five Years Later.  Edited by Todd D. Still and David G. Horrell.  London and New York: T&T Clark, 2009.

10/14/12  Bruce J. Malina, “The Social Sciences and Biblical Interpretation,” Interpretation 36 (1982): 229-42.  A programmatic statement of social-scientific interpretation of Scripture by one of the foremost practitioners of the methodology.  Argues that social-scientific criticism is necessary for proper interpretation of Scripture.

10/10/12  D. A. Carson, The Intolerance of Tolerance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012).

10/8/12  John D. D’Elia, A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).  See this post.

10/5/12  Ciampa, Roy E.  “Revisiting the Euphemism in 1 Corinthians 7.1.”  Journal for the Study of the New Testament 31 (2009): 325-38.

10/2/12  Gordon Fee, “Preaching Apocalyptic?  You’ve Got to Be Kidding!”  Calvin Theological Journal 41 (2006): 7-16.

9/30/12  Scot McKnight, “The Professor as Scholar: Exiled to Eden.”  Address to All-Faculty Colloquium at North Park University (no date).  http://www.vanguardchurch.com/the_professor_as_scholar_by_scot_mcknight.pdf

9/30/12  Al Mohler, “Can Believers Be Bible Scholars?  A Strange Debate in the Academy.”  http://www.albertmohler.com/2006/03/20/can-believers-be-bible-scholars-a-strange-debate-in-the-academy-2/

9/30/12  A series of SBL Forum and Cafe Apocalypsis articles/interviews on faith and scholarship, including Michael V. Fox, “Bible Scholarship and Faith-Based Study: My View.”  Online: http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Essays-on-Faithbased-Scholarship-from-the-SBL-Forum.pdf and http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Fatih-Based-Scholarship-Interviews-from-Cafe-Apocalypsis.pdf.

9/30/12  Andreas J. Kostenberger, “Of Professors and Madmen: Currents in Contemporary New Testament Scholarship,” transcript of  faculty lecture delivered May 11, 2006, at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.  Online: http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/38-Professors-and-Madmen.pdf.

9/29/12  Andreas J. Kostenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology, Invitation to Theological Studies (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011).

9/27/12  Jonathan Edwards, “The Acts of the Will of the human soul of Jesus Christ, necessarily holy, yet truly virtuous, praise-worthy, rewardable, &c.”  Pages 111-21 in The Freedom of the Will (online: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/will.pdf).

9/25/12  John E. McKinley, “Theological Models,” including “Patristic Models,” “The Medieval Model,” “The Reformation Model,” and “Modern Models.”  Pages 81-244 in Tempted for Us: Theological Models and the Practical Relevance of Christ’s Impeccability and Temptation, Paternoster Theological Monographs (Colorado Springs, CO: Paternoster, 2009).

9/25/12  Richard N. Longenecker, “Prayer in the Pauline Letters.” In Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 203-227.

9/24/12  Letha Dawson Scanzoni, “Why We Need Evangelical Feminists,” in New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views (Woodstock, VT: SkyLight, 2010), 64-76.

9/24/12  “Introduction: A Fifteen-Year History of Third-Wave Feminism,” in The Women’s Movement Today: An Encyclopedia of Third-Wave Feminism, ed. L. L. Haywood, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005), xv-xxii.

9/22/12  David Wells, “Part 2: Historical Development,” pages 85-125 in The Person of Christ: A Biblical and Historical Analysis of the Incarnation (1984; reprint, Alliance, OH: Bible Scholar Books, 1992).

9/21/12  Andreas Kostenberger, Man & Woman, God’s Design (forthcoming).

9/18/12  Ernest Best, “Acts xiii.1-3,” Journal of Theological Studies 11 (1960): 345-48.

9/16/12  John Ellington.  “Kissing in the Bible: Form and Meaning.”  Bible Translator 41 (1990): 409-16.

9/16/12  Michael Penn.  “Performing Family: Ritual Kissing and the Construction of Early Christian Kinship.”  Journal of Early Christian Studies 10:2 (2002): 151-74.

9/16/12  William Klassen, “The Sacred Kiss in the New Testament: An Example of Social Boundary Lines.”  New Testament Studies 39 (1993): 122-35.

9/16/12  Gustav Stählin, “The Kiss in the New Testament,” in “Φιλεω, κτλ.,” TDNT 9:138-41.

9/15/12  Russell C. D. Arnold. “Excursus: The Role of Fasting at Qumran.” Pages 101-105 in The Social Role of Liturgy in the Religion of the Qumran Community.  Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 60.  Leiden: Brill, 2006.

9/15/12  C. Clifton Black. “Exegesis as Prayer.” Princeton Seminary Bulletin 23 (2002).

9/15/12  Craig G. Bartholomew. and Robby Holt.  “Prayer in/and the Drama of Redemption in Luke: Prayer and Exegetical Performance.”  Pages 350-75 in Reading Luke: Interpretation, Reflection, Formation.  Scripture and Hermeneutics Series 6.  Edited by C. G. Bartholomew, J. B. Green, and A. C. Thiselton. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

9/15/12  Curtis C. Mitchell.  “The Practice of Fasting in the New Testament.” Bibliotheca Sacra 147 (1990): 455-69.

9/14/12  “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.”  Southeastern Theological Review 3/1 (2012): 71-98.

9/11/12  Richard L. Epstein and Carolyn Kernberger.  The Pocket Guide to Critical Thinking.  3rd edition.  Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2006.

9/10/12  M. Neil Browne and Stuart M. Keeley.  Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking.  9th edition.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2010.

9/9/12  Kyu Sam Han.  “Theology of Prayer in the Gospel of Luke.”  Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43 (2000): 675-93.  Han leans heavily on O’Brien, “Prayer in Luke-Acts.”   He examines prayer in the context of inaugurated eschatology, concluding that as a Lukan theme, prayer always has the cross in view, whether in prospect or retrospect.

9/9/12  Joel B. Green, “Persevering Together in Prayer: The Significance of Prayer in the Acts of the Apostles.”  In Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 183-201.  “Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’ followers at prayer in the Acts of the Apostles presents the early church as . . . [an] exemplar of the theological formation expected of those who embrace the gospel. . . . Jesus’ followers in Acts are people of prayer.” (183) So prayerfulness is a key characteristic of “faithful discipleship” in Luke. In Luke’s Gospel, the disciples aren’t pray-ers, but in Acts they are.  “In Acts, prayer is (1) a means by which God’s aim is disclosed and discerned, and (2) the means by which people get in sync with and participate in what God is doing” (194).

9/8/12  Robert J. Karris.  “Prayer in Luke-Acts.”  Pages 40-81 in Prayer and the New Testament.  New York: Crossroad, 2000.  “Luke . . . adapts traditional hymns and prayers in his Gospel and Acts to foster his theology and Christology.” (44) Karris holds that the Lukan prayers/hymns (and the Lukan speeches) are not historical/actual, but developed by Luke himself, as Karris suggests was the practice of historians (cf. Josephus).  Karris seeks to incorporate the Lukan canticles into a study of prayer in Luke-Acts, suggesting that many major treatments of the subject unduly limit the field of inquiry by limiting “prayer” to “intercession.”  In Luke-Acts, Jesus is the model of faithful prayer, yes, but more: the mediator of salvation (cf. Feldkämper) and the intercessor for his disciples (cf. Crump).  “Jesus and others come to know God’s will and plan through prayer” (61).

9/2/12  Dennis Hamm.  “Praying ‘Regularly’ (Not ‘Constantly’): A Note on the Cultic Background of dia pantos at Luke 24:53, Acts 10:2 and Hebrews 9:6, 13:15.”  Expository Times 116 (2004): 50-52.  Argues that the Greek phrase dia pantos when used in the context or organized religion ought to be understood as “regularly” based on LXX usage.

9/1/12  Dorothy Sayers, “The Lost Tools of Learning.”

9/1/12  Liam Atchison, “The Idea of a University: A Community Engaged in the Leisure of Scholarship,” Mars Hill Review 9 (Fall 1997): 9-18.

8/31/12  Andrew T. Lincoln, “God’s Name, Jesus’ Name, and Prayer in the Fourth Gospel,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 155-80.  Lincoln provides an interesting contrast of John’s portrayal of the prayer life of Jesus as opposed to the Synoptics; the different emphases are striking.  In sum: “what is distinctive about the Fourth Gospel’s portrayal of Jesus at prayer is (1) that it assumes the intimate relationship narrated in the synoptic Gospels as being one of prayer, but (2) that it heightens the Synoptic portrayals by depicting Jesus as so much at one with the will of the Father that he really does not need to petition on his own account.”  Lincoln does raise the point of definition of prayer: instead of asking “why doesn’t John portray Jesus as praying much”, Lincoln wants to ask whether our idea of “prayer” is too limited and suggests that “Prayer for Jesus in John’s Gospel…is a sustained spiritual communion with God in which he asks for and receives what is needed for his ministry, but without needing to express his concerns in actual uttered words.” (160)  I’m still wrestling with the notion of “wordless prayer”; it seems to me that the sort of communion Lincoln references here is something different than what Scripture considers to be “prayer”.

8/30/12 Stephen S. Smalley.  “Spirit, Kingdom and Prayer in Luke-Acts.” Novum Testamentum 15 (1973): 59-71. Smalley builds on the inaugurated eschatology of Perrin, and Dunn’s connection of Spirit and Kingdom in Luke-Acts, and tries to take a step beyond Dunn by making the Lukan theme of prayer an integral part of the Spirit-Kingdom connection he sees. Unfortunately for Smalley’s thesis, in most of the passages in which he sees this triad, he is forced to place one or another of the trio into the passage “by implication,” as it is not explicit in the text.

8/30/12  Peter T. O’Brien. “Prayer in Luke-Acts.” Tyndale Bulletin 24 (1973): 111-27.  General overview.  Notes prayer-related parallels between Luke and Acts.

8/30/12  Graham H. Twelftree. “Prayer and the Coming of the Spirit in Acts.” Expository Times 117 (2006): 271-76. Twelftree avers that while both prayer and the Spirit are themes in Luke-Acts, Luke does not draw a direct correlation between prayer and the bestowing of the Spirit. Instead, the correlation is indirect: the promised Spirit is bestowed on God’s devout people, and their consistent practice of prayer is an evidence of their devoutness. In Luke 11:13, it is not so much a matter of the Father giving the Spirit to those who ask for the Spirit, but (as Luke says) to those who “ask,” that is, who “pray.”

8/29/12  Daniel J. Treier, “The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis?  Sic et Non,” Trinity Journal 24 (2003): 77-103.

8/29/12  David C. Steinmetz, “The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis,” Theology Today (1980): 27-38.

8/21/12  Graeme Goldsworthy, “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Prayer,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 10:4 (2006): 14-25.

8/19/12  N. T. Wright, “The Lord’s Prayer as a Paradigm of Christian Prayer,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 132-154.

8/19/12  I. Howard Marshall, “Jesus—Example and Teacher of Prayer in the Synoptic Gospels,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 113-131.

8/18/12  Stephen Farris, “The Canticles of Luke’s Infancy Narrative: The Appropriation of a Biblical Tradition,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 91-112.

8/17/12  Frank D. Galliard, “More Silent Reading in Antiquity: Non Omne Verbum Sonabat,” Journal of Biblical Literature 112 (1993): 689-694.

8/17/12  Michael Slusser, “Reading Silently in Antiquity,” Journal of Biblical Literature 111 (1992): 499.

8/17/12  Stanley E. Porter and Bryan R. Dyer, “Oral Texts?  A Reassessment of the Oral and Rhetorical Nature of Paul’s Letters in Light of Recent Studies,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 55:2 (2012): 323-41.  (See this post.)

8/12/12  Eileen M. Schuller, “Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 66-88.

8/12/12  Asher Finkel, “Prayer in Jewish Life of the First Century as Background to Early Christianity,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 43-65.

8/11/12  David E. Aune, “Prayer in the Greco-Roman World,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 23-42.  Aune defines prayer in the Greco-Roman world as “the human propensity to communicate with supernatural beings who are regarded as more powerful than those who worship them” (25).  It incorporated a strong element of reciprocity, a central value in Greek society, and this feeds into the nearly universal connection of Greco-Roman prayer with sacrifice or intended sacrifice.  As well, “…thanksgiving and praise, which characterizes the Judeo-Christian prayer tradition, is largely absent from Greco-Roman prayer” (41).  And another contrast: Greek deities were often asked to “come” since they were not omnipresent, Zeus being the exception since he could see and act from where he was (32-33).  But “the Greek and Roman emphasis on invoking the presence of the deity, particularly at sacrifices, occurs only rarely in Israelite-Jewish prayers.  For the God of Israel was conceptualized as being always present — just as Zeus was thought to be always present by the Greeks.” (41)

8/11/12  Christopher R. Seitz, “Prayer in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible,” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, 2001), 3-22.

8/10/12  Armin Baum, “A Theological Justification for the Canonical Status of Literary Forgeries: Jacob’s Deceit (Genesis 27) and Petr Pokorny’s Sola Gratia Argument,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 55:2 (2012).

8/3/12  Gary L. Chamberlain, “Protestant and Catholic Meanings of Vocation: Is Business a True Vocation?” in Business as a Calling: Interdisciplinary Essays on the Meaning of Business from the Catholic Social Tradition, ed. Michael Naughton and Stephanie Rumpza (St. Paul: University of St. Thomas, 2004), http:// www.stthomas.edu/cathstudies/cst/publications/businessasacalling/06Chamberlain.pdf.  This essay provided a helpful history (from a Roman Catholic perspective) of how the understanding of “vocation” has changed over the last half-millennium or so in Catholic thought.

The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods8/2/12  A. G. Sertillanges, O. P.  The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods (Washington, D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998).  A translation of La Vie Intellectuelle (1921).  Sertillanges is a Roman Catholic, a strong Thomist, and bases his work loosely on Thomas’s “Sixteen Precepts for Acquiring the Treasure of Knowledge” (you can see Thomas’s list here).  Reading Sertillanges made me think of reading something written by Father Brown.  I wish I would have read this at the onset of my seminary studies.

Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (10th Edition)7/28/12  Joseph M. Williams and Gregory G. Colomb. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. 10th ed. Boston: Longman, 2010.   I and every teacher who has read my academic writing wish that I had read this book much earlier than I did.  Williams and Colomb are absolutely outstanding.   Highly recommended.  This book was both nourishing and delicious.  I needed the lessons in clarity and grace that it skillfully provided.

The Craft of Research, Third Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)7/23/12  Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 3d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.  Kindle edition.  Booth, Colomb, and Williams have produced an excellent general-purpose guide to help researchers in any field produce clear and logically coherent research reports.  I repeatedly experienced “aha!” moments as the authors explained (among many other things) why the way I write never seemed as lucid as I desired.  The Craft of Research is not a grammatical handbook nor a style manual; matters of grammar, spelling, punctuation, formal style and the like are mentioned only incidentally.  The book does, however, expertly teach the researcher how to plan a research project (chapters 3-6), assemble a research argument (chapters 7-11), and write and revise a research paper (chapters 12-17).  The authors close the body of the work with some comments on research ethics, a few suggestions for teachers, and a thorough discipline-specific bibliography on various aspects of the research process.

The Letters to Timothy and Titus (New International Commentary on the New Testament)7/21/12  Philip Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, NICNT (Eerdmans, 2006).  I read this massive (over 800 pages excluding back matter) commentary in preparation for a class on the Pastoral Epistles.  The assigned reading was actually George Knight’s NIGTC commentary, but I wanted something newer and one that interacted more with backgrounds than Knight’s did.  Towner played a major role in Marshall’s 1999 ICC commentary on the Pastorals (which I’ve found to be the best go-to volume for grammatical matters in the Greek text of the Pastorals), and his NICNT volume provides the fruit of an 7 additional years of thought on top of that earlier effort.  Towner is an egalitarian, and it was instructive to read his arguments in that regard as he commented on pertinent passages.  This commentary was worth reading.

Let Wives Be Submissive: The Domestic Code in I Peter (Society of Biblical Literature, Monograph Series, No. 26)7/20/12  David L. Balch, Let Wives Be Submissive: The Domestic Code in 1 Peter, SBLMS 26 (Scholar’s Press, 1981).  I read this treatment because it is a seminal work in dealing with the notion of household codes, and because Verner seems to ground some of his work in Balch’s dissertation.  Balch writes clearly and concisely, showing parallels to the NT “household codes” in Greco-Roman writings from Aristotle on, addressing previous theories of origin of these portions of Scripture.  He argues that 1 Peter is responding not to any formal government persecution of Christians, but to a more informal objection to what would be seen as a particularly subversive practice of Christians — the disturbance of harmony in household and society in general by Christian women/slaves not adhering to the religion of their pagan husbands/masters.

7/17/12  Andreas J. Kostenberger, “‘What Is Truth?’ Pilate’s Question in Its Johannine and Larger Biblical Context,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 (2005): 33-62.

7/17/12   J. D. Dvorak, “John H. Elliot’s Social-Scientific Criticism,” Trinity Journal 28 (2007): 251-278.

7/17/12  Bruce Malina, “The Received View and What It Cannot Do: III John and Hospitality,” Semeia 35 (1986): 171-194.

7/17/12  David M. May, “Introduction to Social Scientific Criticism,” in Social Scientific Criticism of the New Testament: A Bibliography (Mercer University Press, 1991), 1-11.

7/17/12  Kenneth Berding, “The Hermeneutical Framework of Social-Scientific Criticism: How Much Can Evangelicals Get Involved?” Evangelical Quarterly 75:1 (2003): 3-22.

7/16/12  Beryl Rawson, “‘The Roman Family’ in Recent Research: State of the Question,” Biblical Interpretation 11 (2003): 119-38.  Abstract: “This discussion of developments in the study of the ‘Roman family’ over the past two decades treats familial relationships, domestic space, household/family structure and dynamics, regional differentiation, and other aspects (e.g. Roman law, public life). It observes that the growing dialogue between Romanists and scholars of early Christianity is promising, and that the sparse evidence for early Christianity in Rome in the first two centuries a.d. can be supplemented by archaeological and anthropological analysis of public space and domestic architecture in that city. ”

7/16/12  The Gospel of Luke

7/14/12  David M. Scholer, “Introduction” (xiii-xx), and

E. A. Judge, “The Social Pattern of the Christian Groups in the First Century,” in Social Distinctives of the Christians in the First Century: Pivotal Essays by E. A. Judge, ed. David M. Scholer (Hendrickson, 2008), 1-56.

Judge is a pioneer in the field of social-scientific criticism, and though as Scholer notes, he was eclipsed in some regards by later developments in the field, his essays are well worth reading.  In reading Judge, one feels instinctively that he is reading someone who has mastered his field (and this essay was first published when he was only 32!) and is able to lucidly explain matters to the interested non-specialist.  I read Judge, as his work on the social context, internal social stratification, and external social relations of early Christians seems to underlie certain theories about the social context of the Pastorals.  This early and pivotal essay of Judge’s has a major section on “The Household Community: Oikonomia” (he also addresses “Republican Institutions: Politeia,” and “Unofficial Associations: Koinonia”).  He proposes three stages in the relationship between Christians and the Roman government as reflected in the NT, corresponding with how the Roman government was treating Christians at a given point in time: (1) “a duty of complete obedience to authority on the grounds that it is the instrument of God’s will . . . The government is assumed to be not inimical to the faith, and may even be counted on for protection” (Rom 13:1-7), corresponding to the “Gallio period, when Roman courts would only accept suits against Christians on criminal charges” (53-54); (2) “the authorities are still to be respected, but there is little hope held out of just treatment . . . Efforts are to be concentrated on avoiding any criminal act that would warrant prosecution anyway” (1 Peter, Pastorals), corresponding to the “Nero period, the stage when the Roman authorities had allowed convictions for criminal offences to serve as a precedent for prosecutions on the ground of membership [in the Christian community] alone” (54-55); (3) “the complete exclusion of any responsibility towards the government . . . an apocalyptic denunciation of the temporal power” (Revelation), corresponding to the “Pliny period, the stage when the Romans themselves, in an endeavour to stop an embarrassing spate of prosecutions, tried to prevail upon Christians to make a formal renunciation of their membership in the incriminating society” (55).

7/11/12  John Chrysostom, “Homily VIII” and “Homily IX” on 1 Tim 2:8-10 and 1 Tim 2:11-15 respectively, in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford, 1843), 62-75.

Martin Luther on 1 Timothy 2:9-15 in Luther’s Works, vol. 28, ed. Hilton C. Oswald (Concordia, 1973), 273-280.

John Calvin on 1 Timothy 2:8-15: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom43.iii.iv.iii.html

7/11/12  Ralph Martin, “Haustafeln,” in NIDNTT, 3:928-32.  Helpful both in tracing research on the matter, as well as providing this definition: “By this term . . . NT scholarship means a body of formalized ethical teaching by which members of the early communities were expected to conform to the standards of their contemporary society, but with a Christian motivation.”

7/11/12  Philip Towner, “Households and Household Codes,” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (InterVarsity, 1993), 417-19.

7/11/12  Philip Towner, “Household Codes,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments (InterVarsity, 1997), 513-19.  Interesting look at not only the non-Pauline “household codes” but alerted me to look up the ones in 1 Clement, Ignatius, and Didache.  Towner’s perspective summarized: “NT usage of the device demonstrates sensitivity to secular values and in critically adjusting certain features (emphasizing justice and fairness and providing a theological rationale) aimed to direct Christians to a constructive middle ground, avoiding either the simple return to patriarchy or emancipation.” (519)

Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith7/10/12  Peter E. Gillquist, Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith, revised (Conciliar Press, 1992).  A very interesting read about a group of men who became disillusioned with the church scene in the 60’s and early 70’s, and wrestled with their evangelical heritage.  As they studied church history (especially), they became convinced that the Orthodox were on the right track — but weren’t aware of the present-day Orthodox church, and formed their own denomination, the Evangelical Orthodox Church.  Eventually, the Orthodox Church received their denomination into formal fellowship.  In three sections, the book details Gillquist’s journey to embracing Orthodoxy, briefly discusses points of objection that Protestants have to Orthodoxy (e.g., icons, veneration of Mary, using “Father” of priests, the sign of the cross), and describes the EOC’s process of acceptance into formal fellowship with the larger Orthodox Church.

7/10/12  Jennifer Wright Knust, “Paul and the Politics of Virtue and Vice,” in Paul and the Roman Imperial Order, ed. Richard A. Horsley (Trinity Press, 2004), 155-74.  Knust presents Paul as partaking in the then-current “blame” strategy of vilifying his opponents in terms of sexual vice.  Knust reads this as “a critique of both emperor and the Empire,” seeing Paul as implicitly asserting the moral superiority of Christians over (especially) the emperor, who was presented as embodying all that was virtuous: “By the second century, the association of the emperor with the virtues had become a cliché.” (161)  Contrary to this common conception, Knust asserts, according to Paul, “Outsiders, incapable of virtue, can only be wicked, licentious, and avaricious tyrants, incapable of ruling themselves, let alone others.” (164)  While Knust applauds Paul’s opposition to empire, she bemoans the fact that evidently “[t]hough Paul may have rejected Rome and the prevailing imperial order, at the same time he adopted the hierarchical sex-gender-status cultural presuppositions that had previously served to uphold imperial, not Christian, claims to legitimacy.  His critique of Roman imperial pretensions, framed, in part, in terms of sexual virtue and vice, depended upon and reinscribed hierarchical theories of sex and gender that, historically, had been used by Romans and Greeks to claim their own privileged status while undermining the claims of their rivals. . . . By utilizing sexual virtue and vice to delineate the brothers and sisters in Christ from everyone else, Paul participated in this well-worn strategy.” (173)

7/10/12  Lars Hartman, “Some Unorthodox Thoughts on the ‘Household-Code Form’,” in The Social World of Formative Christianity and Judaism, ed. Jacob Neusner, et al. (Fortress, 1988), 219-230.  Provides a brief but helpful historical overview of scholarly treatment of the “household code” form as a literary form.  Raises serious questions as to whether there ever actually was a specific literary form that is today called the “household code.”  Suggests “that we cease confusing a socially given thought pattern with conventionally established literary forms, and furthermore, that we cease drawing hasty conclusions in terms of implied content and situation from literary form or literary shape.” (229)

7/10/12  Stanley K. Stowers, “Social Typification and Classification of Ancient Letters,” in The Social World of Formative Christianity and Judaism, ed. Jacob Neusner, et al. (Fortress, 1988), 78-90.  Stowers argues that it is reductionistic to view Hellenistic and Roman letters through categories based only on form and structure or topoi or phraseology; such classification leads to seeing significant disconnect between the forms in ancient handbooks of letter writing and the forms that are actually found from antiquity.  At one level, Stowers proposes that the classifications in the handbooks were ideals, and that more poorly educated people wrote in similar ways, just down a few levels, and that on the other hand, the various classifications were often or usually “mixed” so that “pure” handbook examples are rarely found for certain classifications.
But going further, Stowers builds on the notion that the letter was “a substitute for personal presence” or “fictionalized personal presence” and were written in the form of direct address, and avers that the handbooks are “chiefly occupied with depicting social situations,” not detailing literary features. (80)  “The handbooks provide samples of such reasons and motivations as are appropriate to the social situation that is typified in each kind of letter.” (81)  In using a handbook, “both the educated and the less educated letter writer would be reminded of the logic of the social code involved in performing some action–for example, praising, thanking, commending, rebuking, requesting–by means of a letter.” (83-84)
So in classifying ancient letters, many have classified them on “the formulaic elements of the prescript and conclusion of letters.”  But the handbooks focus on the body, which “is not mere information to be communicated but rather a medium through which a person performs an action or a social transaction with someone from whom he or she is physically separated.” (85)

7/10/12  N. T. Wright, “Paul’s Gospel and Caesar’s Empire,” in Paul and Politics: Ekklesia, Israel, Imperium, Interpretation, ed. Richard A. Horsley (Trinity Press, 2000), 160-83.  Wright is concerned in this article to show that in Philippians 3, Paul argues “as I, Paul, have rethought my Jewish allegiance in the light of the crucified and risen Jesus, so you should rethink your Roman allegiance in the same light.” (178)  “The evidence now available, including that from epigraphy and archaeology, appears to show that the cult of Caesar, so far from being one new religion among many in the Roman world, had already by the time of Paul’s missionary activity become not only the dominant cult in a large part of the empire, certainly in the parts where Paul was active, but was actually the means (as opposed to overt large-scale military presence) whereby the Romans managed to control and govern such huge areas as came under their sway.  The emperor’s far-off presence was made ubiquitous by the standard means of statues and coins (the latter being the principal mass medium of the ancient world), reflecting his image throughout his domains; he was the great benefactor, through whom the great blessings of justice and peace, and a host of lesser ones besides, were showered outwards upon the grateful populace–who in turn worshipped him, honored him, and paid him taxes.” (161)  Philippians 3:20: “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await the Saviour, the Lord Jesus, the Messiah.”  “These are Caesar-titles.  The whole verse says: Jesus is Lord, and Caesar isn’t.  Caesar’s empire, of which Philippi is a colonial outpost, is the parody; Jesus’ empire, of which the Philippian church is a colonial outpost, is the reality.” (173)  Here is a point which is perhaps applicable to the origin of Scriptural “household codes” or vice/virtue lists which have commonality with those in the broader culture: “just because all things are new in Christ, that does not mean that Christians do not share with their non-Christian pagan neighbors a broad perception of things that are good and things that are evil (Romans 12).  Just as it is wrong to suppose that either Paul was anti-Jewish or he had no critique of any other Jews, so it would be wrong to suppose that either he was opposed entirely to everything to do with the Roman Empire or he was a quisling, a compromiser, going with the flow of the new regime.  Once again, things are not so straightforward.” (178-79).

7/10/12 Joseph Heinemann, “Profile of a Midrash: The Art of Composition in Leviticus Rabba,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 39:2 (1971): 141-50.  A helpful discussion which I read in order to get a better grasp on what Midrash is and how it works.

7/9/12  Barry W. Holtz, “Midrash,” in Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts (Summit, 1984), 177-211.  I read this in order to try to understand better what Midrash is.  I believe Luke Timothy Johnson recommended this work in his commentary on the Pastorals.

7/9/12  David L. Balch, “Hellenization/Acculturation in 1 Peter,” in Perspectives on First Peter, ed. Charles H. Talbert (Mercer University Press, 1986), 79-101.  Three cautions on sociological theory: (1) it should be suggestive rather than generative. (2) it should be employed piecemeal, as needed, where it fits. (3) it will help us be more objective but not “disinterested.” (79-80)  Balch interacts with Elliott’s Home for the Homeless as he (Balch) seeks to “contribute to the social description of early Petrine Christianity”; where Elliott (according to Balch) uses conflict analysis as a lens to view 1 Peter, Balch is more sanguine about the use of theories of acculturation.  “Every household code found in early Christian texts occurs in documents which reflect high tension with Roman society.  Several of these texts are explicitly ‘apologetic,’ for example Col. 4:6, 1 Pet. 3:15, Titus 2:3-5, 1 Tim 5:14, that, they appeal to Greco-Roman cultural values and they belong to a limited period of church history, to the post-Pauline, late first-century and early second-century church.  A focus on the house and on domestic ethics did not provide identity and continuity for early Christians.” (99-100)  “The key identity symbol [for Christians] was a mythos not an ethos, a sacred story, not a domestic political institution, Christology not codified ethics. . . .As Israel learned to live without priests and kings, the church has learned to live without emperors and slaves (1 Pet. 2:13, 18) and can learn to live without the Roman form of marriage, wives subordinate to husbands (1 Pet. 3:1), while still maintaining its identity through retelling the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.” (100-101)

7/8/12 Margaret M. Mitchell, “New Testament Envoys in the Context of Greco-Roman Diplomatic and Epistolary Conventions: The Example of Timothy and Titus,” Journal of Biblical Literature 111/4 (1992): 641-662.  An excellent article.  Summary: “In 1 Thessalonians 3 and 2 Corinthians 7 we find Paul working within some established conventions about envoys and their role in maintaining and reaffirming relationships between separated partners. The two social and diplomatic principles governing the events Paul recounts are (1) that the envoy should have a reception proper to the one who sent him, and (2) that the envoy represents the one who sent him. The relationships between Paul and the two churches here are thus affirmed (1 Thessalonians) and reconfirmed (2 Corinthians) through the actions of the envoys and the retrospective narrative Paul composes as his response. This epistolary retrospective narrative, which mirrors formulas for responding to envoys in Hellenistic diplomatic correspondence, establishes the reciprocity of feeling of the two separated parties as attested by their treatment of the envoys on both ends of the transaction. The role of the envoy in the Pauline mission in these two instances clearly entails an important diplomatic service which helps to affirm and maintain Paul’s relationships with his churches from a distance. Hardly mere substitutes for the universally preferable Pauline presence, these envoys were consciously sent by Paul to play a complex and crucial intermediary role that he could not play, even if present himself.”  The article is at least partly in response to Robert Funk’s article on the apostolic parousia, in which he ranks hierarchically three forms of the apostolic parousia: personal presence, envoy, letter.  Mitchell argues instead that the various forms may be more or less preferable depending on the particular circumstances.  She also notes that conventions of ancient diplomacy are more likely in the background of the Christian apostolos than the rabbinic institution of the shaliach.

7/7/12  Luke Timothy Johnson, The First and Second Letters to Timothy, Anchor (Yale University Press, 2001), 13-99, 205-11.  In a tour de force (which is a delight to read), Johnson provides an outstanding defense of Pauline authorship of the Pastorals, demonstrating the unproven assumptions that underlie the contrary scholarly consensus.  “…the conventional wisdom concerning authenticity moves farther and farther from any grounding in evidence and argument, farther and farther from the best and most recent scholarship on Paul himself, and perpetuates itself mainly by force of inertia based on an unexamined majority vote by an increasingly uninformed electorate.” (90)  A chapter on the history of interpretation of the Pastorals reflects Johnson’s familiar ease with the fathers (most early commentary he summarizes are from Migne and Johnson seems to be working through the original-language versions), and reflects a 18-century monolithic opinion of Pauline authorship, although Johnson points out shifting interpretations of various cruces in the letters.  He is disappointingly egalitarian in discussing 1 Tim 2:9-15, but forthright: instead of trying to make the text mean something it doesn’t, he (incorrectly but straightforwardly) admits that “precisely where the gifts of the Lord in the ekklesia came up against the culturally defined gender roles of the oikos, Paul grew nervous,” displaying a “bias” which was bolstered by “his own cultural conservatism and that of his overall social context” and exacerbated by his Pharisaic background. (206-207)  Instead of recommending that the church ignore the passage, Johnson calls instead for its continued presentation and discussion, both academic and liturgical, while noting “the peculiar features of the text that make it problematic as normative: that it is gratuitous in context, going beyond what is required for the situation; that it based solely on Paul’s individual authority (ouk epitrepo, “I do not allow”), rather than on a principle intrinsic to the good news; and that the warrant for the injunction is, in fact, a faulty reading of Torah.” (211)

7/7/12  Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, vol. 1 (InterVarsity, 2006), 49-85, 113-15, 146-51, 217-32.  I read the section which introduces the PE, the discussion of 1 Tim 2:9-15, and several excurses: “The Household of God” (critiques Verner to some extent), “Paul, Imperial Rhetoric and Christian Ethics,” and “Women of High Status and Their Religious Roles in Ephesus.”  Witherington (leaning too heavily on the present tense of epitrepw in 2:12) suggests the restrictions of 1 Tim 2:9-15 were not universal, but were based in large part on the lack of education of the Ephesian women.

7/6/12  James W. Aageson, “Paul, the Pastoral Epistles, and the Pauline Legacy,” in Paul, the Pastoral Epistles, and the Early Church (Hendrickson, 2008), 1-17.  I read the introductory chapter, which sets forth Aageson’s agenda.  His argument: “A comparative analysis of theological patterns illustrates that even as the Pastoral Epistles represent Paul and his theology in new contexts, they also reflect and foreshadow the significant issues confronting the church in the first two centuries.  Among these issues are the nature of the true faith, the relationship of the church to Judaism, Christian asceticism, the prospect of church unity and the threat of disunity, the formation of the canon, the balance between Scripture and tradition, the place of women, and the role of authorized leaders in preserving the true faith and practice of the church.” (16)

7/6/12  Clarice J. Martin, “The Eyes Have It: Slaves in the Communities of Christ-Believers,” in Christian Origins, A People’s History of Christianity, vol. 1 (Augsburg Fortress, 2005), 221-239.  Brings up some interesting points about slavery in the Greco-Roman era, arguing that treatments of the practice have often sugar-coated it.

7/6/12  Benjamin L. Merkle, “Paul’s Arguments from Creation in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 and 1 Timothy 2:13-14: An Apparent Inconsistency Answered,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49 (2006): 527-48.  In brief, argues that creation arguments support headcoverings indirectly (they directly supports gender/role distinctions in 1 Cor 11), while they support a non-teaching/authority role for women directly.

7/6/12  1 Timothy in NA27

7/6/12  Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” The Atlantic (July/Aug 2012).  Online: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/1/

7/6/12  Karl Barth, “The Strange New World within the Bible” (somewhat abridged), in A Map of Twentieth-Century Theology: Readings from Karl Barth to Radical Pluralism (Augsburg, 1995), 21-31.  “…within the Bible there is a strange new world, the world of God.”

7/5/12  J. Andrew Kirk, “Did ‘Officials’ in the New Testament Church Receive a Salary?” Expository Times 84:4 (1973): 105-108.  An interesting approach, arguing that most references to receiving what is due as a minister of the gospel are in reference to an itinerant ministry, and that elders in churches might well receive “a handsome token of gratitude” for hard work, but such would be “on a person-to-person and day-to-day basis, according to the circumstances,” and not “a regular stipend.” (107)

7/5/12  R. Alastair Campbell, “KAI MALISTA OIKEION–A New Look at 1 Timothy 5:8,” New Testament Studies 41:1 (1995): 157-60.  Argues that oikeion in 1 Tim 5:8 is best understood not as blood relatives, but as the broader family of God, Christians.

7/5/12  Philip H. Towner, “The Function of the Public Reading of Scripture in 1 Timothy 4:13 and in the Biblical Tradition,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 7:3 (2003): 44-54.  (See “The Public Reading of Scripture”)  An enjoyable read.  After exploring the function of public reading of religious texts in Judaism and Greco-Roman contexts, he discusses the identity-forming nature of this exercise, answering for a community in crisis the foundational question “Who are we?”.  Some nuggets: “Reading [aloud in Greco-Roman contexts] was an act whose success was measured by the accuracy of communicating the content of a written discourse exactly.  Reverence for the biblical texts in the case of ancient Jewish culture assures the same level of concern within the Jewish context.” (47)  “Judaism and Christianity (even in the first century) were movements whose members linked their identities and worldviews to a written record, a story, the Scriptures.  For numerous reasons this story was written down . . . and surely one of the reasons was the sheer importance of the story for the community’s identity.  The Writings were intrinsic to Jewish and Christian identity, and they were read regularly in worship gatherings and at other important social occasions to reinforce this identity and underline the implications that existed within that identity” (50-51).

7/5/12  Gregory R. Perry, “Phoebe of Cenchreae and ‘Women’ of Ephesus: ‘Deacons’ in the Earliest Churches,” Presbyterion 36/1 (2010): 9-36.  Argues for women deacons in 1 Timothy 3.

7/4/12  Gregory S. Magee, “Uncovering the ‘Mystery’ in 1 Timothy 3,” Trinity Journal 29 (2008): 247-265.  “Taking 1 Tim 3:9 and 3:16 in concert, the picture of mystery emerging in this passage develops from earlier Pauline foundations while advancing Paul’s specific agenda to promote the inseparable bond between orthodoxy and piety in 1 Timothy.  The traditional connotations of an eternal mystery once hidden but now revealed through the preaching of the apostolic gospel forms the backdrop for Paul’s conception of mystery in these verses.” (264)

7/4/12  Paul Himes, “Peter and the Prophetic Word: The Theology of Prophecy Traced through Peter’s Sermons and Epistles,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 21:2 (2011): 227-43.  Himes is concerned to demonstrate that all of the materials which Scripture attributes to Peter can be used as a corpus which can be treated in a coherent biblical theological manner.  He focuses on prophecy in this essay, demonstrating that for Peter, themes of fulfillment, a dual source (divine/human), and a demand for personal action are prominent.

7/3/12  John J. Wainwright, “Eusebeia: Syncretism or Conservative Contextualization?” Evangelical Quarterly 65:3 (1993): 211-24.  A response against the use of eusebeia to support Dibelius/Conzelmann’s notion of christliche Bürgerlichkeit as descriptive of the ethic of the PE.  Wainwright shows that this use does not take into account all the occurrences of the word in the PE.  A good article.

7/3/12  Jouette M. Bassler, “A Plethora of Epiphanies: Christology in the Pastoral Letters,” Princeton Seminary Bulletin 17:3 (1996): 310-25.  Abstract: “The epiphany Christology of the Pastoral letters functions as the foundation of a pervasive epiphanic pattern that touches almost the whole of their contents. The primary components of epiphaneia as the author of the Pastorals understood it are (1) the revelation of God’s saving intent and grace through the Christ-event and through Christian proclamation and (2) the active intervention that takes place on one level through the soteriological consequences of Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection, and, on another level, through the teaching, exhortation, and example of faithful church leaders. Once that is established, the conclusion seems near at hand that these pseudonymous letters themselves are epiphanic vehicles.”

7/3/12  David deSilva, “The Letters to Timothy and Titus,” in An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation (InterVarsity, 2004), 733-75.  deSilva makes frequent use of L. T. Johnson.  While deSilva remains rather ambivalent regarding Pauline authorship, he makes a spirited defense of an egalitarian reading of 2 Tim 2:9-15, including a 13-page section discussing feminist criticism.  In connection with his work on social backgrounds, he also spends time discussing honor/shame and purity in connection with the PE.

7/2/12  Alicia Batten, “Neither Gold nor Braided Hair (1 Timothy 2.9; 1 Peter 3:3),” New Testament Studies 55:4 (2009): 484-501.

7/2/12  Ignatius, “To the Ephesians,” in The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, ed. and rev. Michael W. Holmes (Baker, 1999), 137-151.  Read this to get a feel for the different church structure at this point of the church’s history, as critical scholars propose that the PE are a step along the way (or even very similar) in this regard.  “Now concerning my fellow servant Burrhus, who is by God’s will your deacon . . . I pray that he might remain with me both for your honor and the bishop’s. . . . It is proper, therefore, in every way to glorify Jesus Chirst, who has glorified you, so that you, joined together in a united obedience and subject to the bishop and the presbytery, may be sanctified in every respect.” (2.1-2)  “It is obvious, therefore, that we must regard the bishop as the Lord himself.” (6.1)

7/2/12  “The Acts of Paul and Thelca” in The Other Bible, ed. Willis Barnstone (HarperCollins, 1984), 447-53.

7/2/12  portions of Martin Dibelius and Hans Conzelmann, The Pastoral Epistles, Hermeneia (Fortress, 1972).  “Since the listing of virtues and vices in tabular form is a widespread form of presentation, one must not see the list as referring to actually contemporary events or as closely related to the historical or fictitious situation of the epistle” (23, on 1Ti 1:9,10).  I read the introduction (1-10), and excurses on “prayer for the pagan authority” (37-38), “the ideal of good Christian citizenship” (39-41), “instructions for women” (48-49; “The motivation and objectives of this extensive treatment of the questions relating to women are to be sought in the situation of the congregations which the author has in mind.”), “the position of the bishop” (54-57), “‘epiphany’ in the PE” (104), and the appendix with some relevant source material from Isocrates, Pseudo-Isocrates, Onosander, and Lucian (158-160).

7/1/12  Robert H. Gundry, “Form, Meaning and Background of the Hymn Quoted in 1 Timothy 3:16,” in Apostolic History and the Gospel, ed. W. W. Gasque and R. P. Martin (Eerdmans, 1970), 203-222.

7/1/12  Majorie Lightman and William Zeisel, “Univira: An Example of Continuity and Change in Roman Society,” Church History 46 (1977): 19-32.  “The Christian appropriation of univira completed a series of transformations which the epithet had be en undergoing since the early Republic. At first limited to the Roman elite, the term was applied at first to living women with living husbands. During the late Republic and Empire it became an epithet given by socially aspiring or elite husbands to their deceased wives. By the Christian period use of the word had spread to all social levels, and the epithet became a social commonplace. Christians adopted the word and  expanded its use to include celibate widowhood, a condition to which the newly Christianized society gave an ‘almost religious significance.’  The cumulative effect of each relatively modest innovation in usage produced by the fourth century A.D. a usage of univira radically different from what had obtained in the fourth century B.C.  The change in usage reflected various changes in Roman religion, mores, and social structure. But the basic meaning of univira remained constant, and in this immutability of meaning both pagans and Christians discovered an element  of commonality and continuity.” (32)

7/1/12  Richard Fellows, “Preference for praenomina in the New Testament,” http://paulandco-workers.blogspot.ca/2012/05/preference-for-praenomina-in-new.html.  In recorded Greco-Roman sources, when a Roman was referred to by a single name, it was rarely the praenomen (only 6% of occurrences), but in the NT, the praenomen is used about 30% of the time with Latin names.  Fellows suggests this has to do with the fictive kinship relationships in the church, reflects a distinctly Christian social ethos, and seems to be particularly the case with gracious hosts (such as Gaius).  The common use of the more intimate praenomen argues against hosts flaunting their high social status in leadership positions (which seems to be the sort of thing that Verner, The Household of God, argues for).

6/30/12  Sydney Page, “Marital Expectations of Church Leaders in the Pastoral Epistles,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 50 (1993): 105-20.  Sees the “one-woman man” requirement not as directly indicating marital status (e.g., divorced, widowed and remarried) but “the characteristic of being devoted exclusively to one’s spouse” (113-14).  “[T]he phrase does not describe a condition which is the result of something that happened in the past but a moral quality which is currently being demonstrated” (114).  This interpretation is supported by the observation that “Not only do the items in the lists express basic ethical standards all believers were to follow, they also refer to present, observable behaviour” (115).  Page sets forth Musonius Rufus as “illustrative of the thinking of the moral philosophers” in that he supports marital fidelity, but Oseik/Balch indicate that Musonius “stands as a lonely voice in his insistence that sexual fidelity should not operate on a double standard” (Families in the NT World, 63), i.e., Musonius is rather unique in his calling for the same standard of fidelity for both husbands and wives.

6/30/12  John Barclay, “The Jews of the Diaspora,” in Early Christian Thought in Its Jewish Context, ed. John Barclay and John Sweet (Cambridge University Press, 1996), 27-39.  “…whether as children, competitors, mimics or heirs, the early Christians can barely be understood except by reference to Diaspora Judaism. . . . the chequered history of Jews in the Diaspora influenced the development of early Christianity variously, according to particular local conditions.  But there were few if any churches which were not deeply influenced by their friendly, hostile or (usually) ambiguous relationship to Diaspora Jews.” (38)  Barclay notes in several places that objections resulted from the local populace when a Jewish community of the Diaspora sent money to Jerusalem to support the temple: “civic communities struggling to maintain or revive their ancestral traditions were apparently displeased that the Jewish communities enjoyed the fruits of civic life while sending large sums of money to a city and a temple in Judaea.”  How might this practice (or even, perhaps, local objection to it) connect with Paul’s collection for the saints?

Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches (Family, Religion, and Culture)6/30/12  Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches (Westminster John Knox, 1997), vii-102.  I suspect at times the authors are conforming the NT churches to closely to prevailing social practices, for instance, in the areas of patronage and social status being replicated in the church.

6/29/12  Warren Carter, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Journal of Religion 80:1 (2000): 177-79.

6/29/12  Susan R. Garrett, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Christian Century 115:35 (1998): 1223, 1225, 1227, 1229.

6/29/12  Stuart L. Love, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61:2 (1999): 373-75.

6/29/12  Bonnie Bowman Thurston, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Encounter 60:3 (1999): 433-34.

6/29/12  Robert Holst, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Concordia Journal 25:4 (1999): 469-470.

Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal [Paperback]6/28/12  T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal (P&R, 2010).  Approaching the worship wars from the perspective of a media ecologist, Gordon suggests that the ubiquitous nature of pop music (we hear it all the time, and it’s almost all we hear) has rendered much of our culture nearly incapable of embracing anything else as music.  This is not heathly for the church because pop music is oriented toward contemporanetity, sentimentality, and entertainment.  He inveighs against the guitar as an accompanying instrument for congregational singing.  A good quote (given in response to the notion that we have to incorporate the music of the youth culture in order to win youth): “Biblically, the goal of youth is to leave it as rapidly as possible . . . To ‘reach’ the young by propogating youth culture would be analogous to Jesus’ ‘reaching’ the rich young man by giving him money.  Money was part of the particular sinner’s problem, part of the reason he needed to be readhed.  Extended adolescence is part of what our youth need to be delivered from.” (161-162)

6/28/12  Natasha Vins, Children of the Storm: The Autobiography of Natasha Vins (JourneyForth, 2002).

6/27/12  Robert W. Yarbrough, “The Hermeneutics of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 155-196.

6/27/12  Harold O. J. Brown, “The New Testament Against Itself: 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the ‘Breakthrough’ of Galatians 3:28,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 197-209.  “…when opinions and convictions suddenly undergo dramatic alteration, although nothing new has been discovered and the only things that has dramatically changed is the spirit of the age, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that that spirit has had an important role to play in the shift.” (199)

6/27/12  Philip H. Towner, “Households and Household Codes,” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (InterVarsity, 1993), 417-19.  “…it is reasonable to say that the ‘fixed’ pattern of teaching [reflected in the form of canonical ‘household codes’] reflects a depth of interest in the household on the part of the early church equivalent to that of the pagan ethical writers.  From this it can also be suggested that Paul’s use of the Christian household code reflects his (and the church’s) sensitivity to wider social expectations.  Moreover, the emphasis, especially in the Pastoral Letters, on behavior that is visibly respectable and appropriate would seem to imply that the apostle desired the church to meet those social expectations as far as possible.” (419)

6/27/12  Thomas R. Schreiner, “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15: A Dialogue with Scholarship,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 105-154.  Schreiner defends the traditional view, agreeing with the “congruent creation” view which Doriani explicated: 2:14 indicates women should not teach or exercise authority over men since they “are more prone to introduce deception into the church since they are more nurturing and relational than men.  It is not that they do not have the capacity to teach doctrine or the ability to understand it.  Women are less likely to perceive the need to take a stand on doctrinal non-negotiable [sic] since they prize harmonious relationships more than men do.” (153)

6/26/12  Daniel Doriani, “A History of the Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2,” in in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 213-267.  Such an interesting treatment!  Not only does Doriani document the contours of the history of reception, he demonstrates how traditionalists have differed in their support of the traditional interpretation.  He divides those responses into ones that ground the subordinate role of women purely in God’s will (God said so, and that settles it) — a Scotist view; and ones that go on to give natural and/or theological reasons for the subordinate role of women — a Thomist view.  He points out that the trajectory of the twentieth century has been toward a Scotist view, as “recent conservative theologians have shied from ontological arguments for male headship” (259).  In response, he asks, “Do twentieth-century traditionalists want to affirm that God has ordered men to lead the church, and then give no reason for it?  Has he fashioned no difference whatsoever, to fit men to lead and women to receive their guidance?” (265)  Doriani himself embraces a “congruent creation” view (which he sees in Duns Scotus, Thomas Aquinas, Calvin, Hodge, and others): “men lead in home and church because God desired an ordered creation.  He sovereignly chose to order it through male headship, a headship given to them without a view to any merit on their part.  Yet God established a coherence or congruence between his decree and his creation.  Congruence thinkers affirm that God shaped the minds, proclivities and perhaps even the bodies of humans to reflect his decree. . . . God has engraved reflections of his sovereign decree into human nature.  In this view, because women generally focus on relationships more than abstract rational analysis, enmeshment in relationships could compromise a woman’s willingness to uproot heresy in the church.” (263, 265)

6/25/12  S. M. Baugh, “A Foreign World: Ephesus in the First Century,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 13-52.  Through a survey of pertinent archaeological and epigraphic evidence, puts to rest the myth that Ephesus was a bastion of feminism in the first century.

6/24/12  The Gospel of Mark

6/24/12  Heart, Soul, Mind: Meditations on Knowing and Loving God, ed. Kevin T. Bauder (Central Seminary Press, 2012).

6/24/12  C. Spicq, “semnos, semnotes” in TLNT, 244-248.

6/24/12  R. Alastair Campbell, “Identifying the Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Epistles,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 54 (1994): 73-86.  Campbell argues that the debate over the precise content of the “faithful sayings” can be resolved in light of a pattern (with occasional omissions of one part) of introductory formula + parenthetical reinforcement + saying + further qualification.  In light of this, the heavily debated “faithful saying” of 3:1 he sees as 3:16, with a significant interruption consisting of leadership qualifications.

6/23/12  N. J. McEleney, “The Vice-Lists of the Pastoral Epistles,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 26 (1974): 203-19.  “…the variations in the vice lists of the Pastorals suggest that no specific and detailed list circulated as an Urkatalog which one might hopefully yet discover or at least reconstruct as a source for the materials here, but rather that certain influences and themes present in the literature of antiquity illumine the background from which the author drew these lists.” (217) “…the vice lists of the Pastorals have been influenced by more or less of these elements: (1) reference to the Decalogue or other commands of the Law; (2) polemic against immoral pagan idolaters; (3) Hellenistic conceptions of virtue and vice as qualifications of a man; (4) moral dualism due to various inclinations or spirits in a man causing him to walk in one of two ways; (5) the theme of eschatological punishment.” (218)

6/23/12  J. D. Charles, “Vice and Virtue Lists,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background (InterVarsity, 2000), 1252-57.  “On the whole, NT virtue lists both bear similarity to and diverge from their pagan counterparts.” (1256)

The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius6/23/12  Portions of Paul Trebilco, The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius (Eerdmans, 2004), including the section on the PE in chapter 8, “The wider culture and the readers of the Pastorals, the Johannine Letters and Revelation: Acculturation, Assimilation and Accommodation” (pp 351-84) and 197-236 (matters of introduction), 507-528 (women), 553-69 (self-designation).  Trebilco examines the congregation in Ephesus through the writings of Paul, Acts, the Pastorals (which he sees as pseudonymous), the Johannine Epistles, and Rev 2:1-7.  Trebilco sees the church in Ephesus at the time of the Pastorals (c. 80-100) as engaging in a significant level of acculturation, in that the author of the Pastorals assumes his readers will be able to understand the number of terms, forms of thought, concepts and attitudes which he adopts from the Hellenistic world.  There is a strong concern for the opinion of contemporary society.

6/22/12  Benjamin Fiore, “Introduction” in The Pastoral Epistles, Sacra Pagina (Liturgical Press, 2007), xi-24.

Product Details6/19/12  Entrusted with the Gospel: Paul’s Theology in the Pastoral Epistles, ed. Andreas J. Kostenberger and Terry L. Wilder (B&H, 2010).  Kostenberger provides a good orienting chapter summarizing basic hermeneutical issues and exegetical cruxes in the PE (apart from the whole debate on women and the church); Wilder does a fine job addressing his area of specialization, pseudonymity, in relation to the PE.  Wolfe’s essay on the use of the OT in the PE is well done, and Madsen’s work on ethics is interesting; Ho’s treatment of mission in the PE addresses a neglected area.  Akin and Merkle give workmanlike treatments of Christology and ecclesiology in the PE, respectively.  Tomlinson (purpose/stewardship theme), Van Neste (cohesion/structure), Couser (theology proper), and Wieland (soteriology) all give more technical treatments that appear to be condensations of much longer works.  One of the present-day deans of the PE, Marshall provides a solid gold concluding chapter on the PE in recent study (since 1999, when his own ICC commentary was published), addressing works in both English and German.

Small6/14/12  John Piper and D. A. Carson, The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry (Crossway, 2011).  Very enjoyable and very helpful.  I had heard much of Piper’s material here and there in various contexts, but Carson’s contribution was less autobiographical and, I think, more helpful overall (particularly this point).  I would have profited from reading this before I hit seminary!

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books6/14/12  Michael J. Kruger, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012).  Utilizing a helpful taxonomy, Kruger argues that most canonical approaches ground canon in either community (historical-critical model, Roman Catholic model, canonical-criticism model, existential/neoorthodox model) or history (canon-within-the-canon model, criteria-of-canonicity model). Kruger argues that instead of appealing solely to an external authority (whether community or history), the canon should be considered “self-authenticating” or autopistic.

In essence, to say that the canon is self-authenticating is simply to recognize that one cannot authenticate the canon without appealing to the canon. It sets the terms for its own validation and investigation. A self-authenticating canon is not just a canon that claims to have authority, nor is it simply a canon that bears internal evidence of authority, but but one that guides and determines how that authority is to be established. (91)

The three “components” of this self-authenticating canon include providential exposure (the church must have corporate knowledge of a particular book), attributes of canonicity (evidences of divine inspiration), and the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit (recognition of the presence and validity of attributes of canonicity). Within the component of the “attributes of canonicity” are included three mutually reinforcing items: divine qualities (specifically, the beauty and excellency of Scripture, its efficacy and power, and its unity and harmony), corporate reception, and apostolic origins.
Among the various approaches, the matter of definition is key. Some approaches define the canon exclusively: the canon only exists when there is a final, closed list, which technically speaking means that NT books didn’t become canonical around the third or fourth century. Others define the canon functionally: “when books function as authoritative Scripture for the community,” which yields a NT canon by the mid-second century, if not before. Finally, the canon may be defined ontologically, “the scriptural books that God gave the corporate church,” which naturally indicates the NT canon was complete when the last NT book was written.
Kruger understands his self-authenticating model to accommodate all three definitions of canon, understanding each definition to have appropriate applications and uses, each capturing a true attribute of canon and implying the other two. Within his model, the attribute of “corporate reception” connects with an exclusive definition of canon; the attribute of “divine qualities” connects with the functional definition; and the attribute of “apostolic origins” connects with the ontological definition. The story of canon, broadly speaking, is a process and not a point in time; “canon” has a multidimensional meaning. God gave his books through the apostles (ontological), the books were recognized and used as Scripture by early Christians (functional), and the corporate church achieved a consensus around these books (exclusive). In the end, then, Kruger’s definition of canon (with all of the above as background) is “the collection of apostolic writings that is regarded as Scripture by the corporate church” (120).
The rest of the book deals with proposed “defeaters” for the self-authenticating model. The attribute of “divine qualities” is challenged by apparent disagreements and/or contradictions between NT books; the attribute of “apostolic origins” is challenged by the suggestion that a number of NT books are pseudonymous forgeries; and the attribute of “corporate reception” is challenged by the notion that there was widespread disagreement in the early church that lasted well into the fourth century (and beyond).

Small6/14/12  The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, ed. John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway, 2009).  I very much enjoyed this book.  Paul Tripp is always an enjoyable read (and, of course, not merely enjoyable but convicting as well!).  Ferguson was more vanilla (who wouldn’t be, after Tripp?), but presented a good exposition of James 3.  I appreciated Piper’s nuancing of eloquence in the light of various Scriptures that seem in some cases to laud it and in others to seriously downplay it.  Driscoll was thought-provoking as he addressed the notion of sharp, even satirical, words in the service of Christ and the church; I very much appreciated his list of ways to pray for one’s shepherd.  Daniel Taylor’s address on “story-shaped faith” was thought-provoking as well, reminding me that the many invaluable propositions upon which the faith is grounded are given in the context of stories and the Story, and that it is the stories our children hear that formatively shape their moral imaginations.   Kauflin’s address on singing had many excellent points.

6/13/12  Frederica Mathewes-Green, “What Women Need: Three Bad Ideas about Women & What to Do About Them,” Touchstone (July/August 2001).  Three (interlocking) bad ideas that sprang from the feminist movement are abortion, careerism, and promiscuity.  Mathewes-Green argues that the latter two (both adopted from men) made the first necessary: the nearly inevitable result of promiscuity (pregnancy) makes careerism difficult at best, and abortion is the answer.  She responds to these three bad ideas with “three good ideas”: personally support women who are pregnant outside of marriage, offer grief counseling for post-abortion women, and give young people the resources and incentives to remain chaste.

40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law (40 Questions & Answers Series)6/8/12  Thomas R. Schreiner, 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law (Kregel, 2010).  Schreiner is a good, clear writer, and the bite-sized nature of the volume (40 questions dealt with over 230 pages) makes it eminently readable.  Schreiner sees discontinuity between the Mosaic Law and the Christian, and is generally fairly close to Doug Moo’s position.

6/6/12  Charles C. Ryrie, “The End of the Law,” BibSac 124 (1967): 239-47.

6/6/12  David A. Dorsey, “The Law of Moses and the Christian: A Compromise,” JETS 34 (1991): 322-24.  I found this to be an excellent article.  (See The Christian and the Law)

6/3/12 The Gospel of Matthew

6/2/12  David C. Verner, The Household of God: The Social World of the Pastoral Epistles, SBLDS 71 (Scholars, 1983).

5/31/12  Raymond E. Brown, “Episkope and Episkopos: The New Testament Evidence,” Theological Studies 41 (1980): 322-38.

5/30/12  Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd edition (University of Chicago, 1972). An important and very thought-provoking book.  As an historian of science, Kuhn’s purpose is to demonstrate his understanding of the way in which scientific progress is made: usually by “normal science” which explores the minutiae of the prevailing paradigm in a particular field of research.  Then (among other possible reasons) when the prevailing paradigm fails to explain certain data and adjustments to the prevailing paradigm fail, younger scientists (or those new to the field) may develop/discover a new paradigm which may better account for the data.  When the new paradigm commends itself to enough people in the area of science which it affects, a “paradigm shift” (the notion that the book popularized) occurs within that field — hence the title The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  The paradigm shift is fundamental enough that it brings new ways of seeing certain things within the field of study even though the data under scrutiny may be unchanged (think “interpretation”, although I don’t know that Kuhn would see it as mere interpretation).  The Copernican Revolution is a prime example, but Kuhn gives numerous examples from the sciences to make his points.

5/27/12  A. E. Harvey, “Eunuchs for the Sake of the Kingdom,” Heythrop Journal XLVIII (2007): 1-17.  I was looking for an article-length treatment of Matthew 19:12, hoping to find something that gave a detailed case for justification of reading “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs” as figurative (e.g., “voluntarily remained single”), since that is the prevailing interpretation of the passage, but doesn’t seem to fit the context.  Harvey actually sees the “self-eunuching” as a literal reference to the self-castrated priests of the widespread cult of Cybele known throughout the Greco-Roman world, arguing that Jesus is using an extreme example (“shock[ing] and paradox[ical]”) as an “open metaphor for any form of radical renunciation”.  I’m not convinced.  All the same, I was apprised of something helpful in the midst of the article, when Harvey noted that the Ethiopian eunuch reading through Isaiah would have eventually encountered (and his familiarity with it could even have led to him obtaining the scroll) the prophecy of 56:3-5 about the status God would confer upon eunuchs.

Five Views on Law and Gospel5/26/12  Wayne G. Strickland, ed., Five Views on Law and Gospel (Zondervan, 1996).  As I wade into studying the relationship between the Christian and the Law of Moses, I find this book to be a generally helpful orientation.  Contributors are Willem VanGemeren (Reformed), Greg Bahnsen (theonomist), Walter Kaiser (“The Law as God’s Gracious Guidance for the Promotion of Holiness”), Wayne Strickland (dispensational), and Doug Moo (“a modified Lutheran view”).  The former three emphasize varying levels of continuity while the latter two emphasize discontinuity.

A Weed in the Church5/24/12  Scott T. Brown, A Weed in the Church: How a culture of age segregation is destroying the younger generation, fragmenting the family, and dividing the church (Wake Forest: The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, 2011).  I have not read many defenses of the age-integrated approach to ministry, but I doubt any could top this one for clarity and thoroughness.

5/21/12  William Einwechter, “A Review of and Response to Andreas Kostenberger’s Critique of the Family-Integrated Approach to Church Ministry,” online.

5/19/12  All fifteen book reviews in Southeastern Theological Review 2/2 (2011): 181-208.

5/18/12  Robert Cole, “Isaiah 6 in Its Context,” Southeastern Theological Review 2/2 (2011): 161-80.  See “The Vision of Isaiah in Light of the Sin of Uzziah.”  In addition, instead of being surprised that John finds Jesus in the vision of Isa 6 (John 12:41), interpreters should not be surprised at all, because “the sixth chapter of Isaiah, when read in its context, portrays in its opening verses the glorious eschatological exaltation of Adonay as a visible and anthropomorphic priest/king from the line of Jesse.” (180)

5/17/12  Richard S. Briggs, “How to Do Things with Meaning in Biblical Interpretation,” Southeastern Theological Review 2/2 (2011): 143-60.  Briggs is a lucid and entertaining writer, and here seeks to set forth one major thesis: that the present-day obsession with questions of meaning is by and large unnecessary.  The point of the matter, he would aver, is not so much to develop theories of meaning, abstractly speaking, but to address concrete questions of the meaning of particular texts.  In his own words, “Despite the huge gravitational pull of theory, and hermeneutical theory in particular, I submit that generalizing such ad hoc questions into concerns about ‘what do texts mean?’ (or comparable matters such as ‘do texts mean what authors intend?’ and so forth) does not shed much light on the manifold tasks of reading scripture well.” (159)

5/16/12  Jason B. Hood, “Theology in Action: Paul, the Poor, and Christian Mission,” Southeastern Theological Review 2/2 (2011): 127-42.  Hood argues that the significance of Paul’s collection is not to be limited to its desired contribution to unity in the early church, but that it also reflects Paul’s interest in helping the poor, and as such is instructive for Christian mission.  The poor in view with the collection are clearly those in the church, but Hood argues that “Paul’s emphasis on care-within-the-church is not a rejection of beneficence outside the ecclesial sphere.  The limits on Christian social concern taught in Paul’s letters should not be pressed into service against Christian social obligation in the wider world.” (138)

5/15/12  “A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story: STR Interviews Dr. Michael Goheen,” Southeastern Theological Review 2/2 (2011): 109-16

5/15/12  Bruce Riley Ashford, “A Review Essay of Michael Goheen, A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story,” Southeastern Theological Review 2/2 (2011): 117-26.

Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study (Studies in Theological Interpretation)

5/12/12  Markus Bockmuehl, Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study, Studies in Theological Interpretation (Baker, 2006).  Bemoaning the fragmented state of NT scholarship (“a discipline that is now widely felt to lack agreed criteria, not just for appropriate methods and results, but in many cases even about the subject to be studied” [22]), Bockmuehl makes a couple of programmatic suggestions as to a way forward: “to investigate the implied readership and the implied readings that arise from its [i.e., the implied readership’s] engagement with the text” and “to harness the New Testament’s plural and diverse effects as a resource for renewed reflection on its interpretation” (230, italics added).  As to implied readers, the NT “favors a certain kind of exegetical posture that fosters attentive textual observation leading to a close cohesion of exegesis and theology in a personally and corporately engaged interpretation.”  More specifically, the NT text calls for a reader who (1) “has a personal stake in the truthful reference of what it asserts”, (2) “has undergone a religious, moral, and intellectual conversion to the gospel of which the documents speak”, (3) “already takes a view of the New Testament texts as authoritative”, (4) “are ecclesially situated”, “assumed to be relegated to the (or a) body of Christian believers, either as full members or at least as sympathizers and hangers-on,” and (5) “is evidently assumed to be ‘inspired,’ in the sense of Spirit filled,” that is, he or she “will in the act of reading be empowered to receive the saving divine reality of which the text speaks” — with the implication that “access to the text’s concerns is a function less of the detached acuity of criticism than of engaged self-involvement” — “the New Testament frequently claims that the realities of which it speaks are properly accessible only to believers like the implied reader” (69-73).  See “Interpreting the NT with Final-Form Literary Approaches”, and these Google Plus posts.

5/3/12  Hans-Josef Klauck, “Introduction” in The Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide to Graeco-Roman Religions (Fortress, 2003).  (see “Greco-Roman Religious Practices in Acts“)  Read the introduction on Amazon.  He quotes Wettstein approvingly thus: “Another rule [for NT interpretation] is much more useful and more easily comprehended: If you wish to get a thorough and complete understanding of the books of the New Testament, put yourself in the place of those to whom they were first delivered by the apostles as a legacy.  Transfer yourself in thought to that time and that area where they first were read.  Endeavour, so far as possible, to acquaint yourself with the customs, practices, habits, opinions, accepted ways of thought, proverbs, symbolic language, and everyday expressions of these men, and with the ways and means by which they attempt to persuade others or to furnish a foundation for faith.  Above all, keep in mind, when you turn to a passage, that you can make no progress by means of any modern system, whether of theology or of logic, or by means of opinions current today.”  There’s a lot of truth in that, I think.
Klauck goes on in the introduction to note two ends of the spectrum when considering possible influences on Christianity: the history of religions school has averred that Christianity was derived in large part from the religions of the surrounding milieu; reactions to this position have denied any dependence on non-Christian religions (except Judaism) whatsoever.  Klauck attempts to steer a middle course: “Ultimately, we are not helped here by antitheses such as Judaism or Hellenism, autonomy or independence.”  He notes that Judaism was strong in the Hellenistic diaspora, and Hellenism had made considerable inroads into Judaism, even that in Palestine.

4/10/12 Lynn Cohick, “Introduction,” in Women in the World of the Earliest Christians: Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life (Baker, 2009), 19-32. Read the introduction on Amazon in order to get an idea of what the book covers. Sounds interesting!

4/2/12  Paul Barnett, The Birth of Christianity: The First Twenty Years, After Jesus, vol. 1 (Eerdmans, 2005).  An expansion of a portion of his earlier Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity (InterVarsity, 1999).  Argues that there is a definite and traceable historical continuity between Jesus and his church.  Leans fairly heavily on Hengel, though he is not afraid to disagree at certain points.
* A good deal of emphasis on chronology (“…surprisingly, many scholars discuss theological terms and ideas rather vaguely, seemingly unaware of the brevity in which these terms and ideas arose.” (7)). In regard to chronology, a good quote from Martin Hengel: “If we look through some works on the history of earliest Christianity we might get the impression that people in them had declared war on chronology” (22, from Hengel, Between Jesus and Paul [Fortress, 1983], 39).
* Emphasizes the reliability of Acts as a historical (though also, of course, theological) narrative.
* Emphasizes a christology that was high from the very beginning (although it underwent “contextual adjustment” (8).  “My thesis is that the birth of Christianity and the birth of christology are inseparable, both as to time and essence.” (8)  “Our argument will be that while Paul was a ‘creative’ theologian, his christology in all essential points was not of his making but was formulated by those who were believers before him. . . . It was christology that gave birth to Christianity, not the reverse.” (26)

3/17/12 Martin Hengel, “Tasks of New Testament Scholarship,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996): 67-86. Somewhat dated now, but still a valuable little read for the NT student. One of the major points he presses is the necessity for the NT scholar to study outside the narrow field of NT studies. “A New Testament scholar who understands the New Testament alone cannot rightly understand it at all.” (67)  See this post for more.

2/29/12 Randy Alcorn, Safely Home (Tyndale, 2001). A novel about the persecuted church in China. I am solemnly reminded of how little my Christianity costs me.

2/18/12 John Reumann, “Is There a Centre to the New Testament?” in Variety and Unity in New Testament Thought (Oxford, 1991), 1-13.

2/18/12  David Johnson, review of The Witness of Jesus, Paul, and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology, by Larry Helyer, in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 52:3 (2009): 640-42.  Largely unfavorable.

2/18/12  Frank J. Matera, review of The Witness of Jesus, Paul, and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology, by Larry Helyer, in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 71:3 (2009): 647-48.  Largely favorable.

2/17/12  Daniel P. Fuller, “Biblical Theology and the Analogy of Faith,” in Unity and Diversity in New Testament Theology: Essays in honor of George E. Ladd, ed. Robert A. Guelich (Eerdmans, 1978), 195-210. Fuller traces the evolution of biblical theology from the Reformers to the present day, highlighting Luther and Calvin, Johann Gabler, Johannes Weiss, Karl Barth, and Oscar Cullmann). The emphasis of his essay seems to be that in all its permutations, biblical theology, while aiming for sola scriptura, has been tainted by the perspective of the interpreter instead of letting the text speak for itself. It appears that Fuller does see improvement in the enterprise, with Cullmann as the best of the bunch. I had long constrasted biblical theology with systematics — which is a legitimate contrast — but Fuller demonstrates that the genesis of the biblical theological movement is really over against dogmatics.

2/17/12 David Wenham, “Appendix: Unity and Diversity in the New Testament,” in George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, rev. ed. (Eerdmans, 1993), 684-719. “[T]he argument of this chapter is that an open historical approach points less toward disharmony in the New Testament than is often thought and more toward the traditional Christian convictions that Scripture has a remarkable unity in its diversity and that the creedal orthodoxy of the catholic church is the true heir of New Testament Christianity and of the religion of Jesus” (719).

2/12/12 The Real Jesus, special edition of U. S. News and World Report (2011). I was interested in what the “man on the street” was learning about Jesus and Christianity through popular media, so I read through this 90-page compendium. Includes the following articles:
Amy D. Bernstein, “A Need to Know Him: Scientists and scholars gather fresh clues to the mystery that still obscures the man”
Jeffery L. Sheler, “Who Was Jesus? Seeking the truth behind the man from Nazareth”
Jeffery L. Sheler, “The First Christmas: New evidence helps experts separate fact from folklore”
Jeffery L. Sheler, “Why Jesus Had to Die: His acts of defiance would launch a major religion”
Joseph Ratzinger, “The Trial of the Messiah,” excerpt from Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week (Ignatius Press, 2011)
Richard Z. Chesnoff, “God’s Own City: A guide to 3,000 years of Jerusalem History”
Richard Covington, “A Mother’s Tale: The Bible offers surprisingly little on Mary’s life”
Richard Covington, “A Long Miscast Outcast: Mary Magdalene is finally getting her due”
Caroline Hsu, “Models of Devotion: Scholars still debate the roles of Mary and Martha”
Elaine Pagels and Karen King, “Judas Agonistes,” excerpt from Reading Judas (Penguin, 2007)
Jay Tolson, “The Gospel Truth: Gnostic writings challenge orthodox Christianity”
Bart D. Ehrman, “Truth or Tale?” excerpt from Jesus, Interrupted (HarperCollins, 2009)
John R. Quain, “Digging for Proof: Startling finds–and frauds–roil the archaeological world”

2/9/12 D. A. Carson, “Unity and Diversity in the New Testament,” in Scripture and Truth, ed. D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge (Zondervan, 1983), 65-95. What an outstanding essay! Carson takes to task those who would find irreconcilable differences among the NT authors (e.g., Bauer and more recently Dunn, whose 1977 Unity and Diversity in the New Testament was in Carson’s mind as he penned the present essay), demonstrating a number of reasons that even given certain diversities in the NT corpus, there is and must be an underlying unity. I give here his seven “reflections relative to the possibility of establishing a systematic theology” based on the dual assumption of a high view of Scripture that includes an appreciation for the diversity of the NT documents:
1) “Virtually every person not an atheist adopts some kind of systematic theology” (77). Given this point, “relevant discussion . . . does not call into question the legitimacy of systematic theology per se, but the data base on which it is built; the methods admitted to its construction; the principles that pronounce exclusion of certain information; the language and felicity in which it is phrased; and the consistency, cogency, and precision of the results” (78) Those who disparage the unity of the NT are not in the end denying the possibility of systematic theology so much as limiting their data base. And in matters of systematic theology, “nothing is as important as the data basis [sic; “base”?] that is permitted, for this is a question of authority and legitimation, not of hermeneutics.” (79)
2) “The data base that is to be urged upon systematic theologians is the entire Bible, the canonical sixty-six books; and the validity of this choice depends on the adoption of four positions. . . (1) all of Scripture is trustworthy [and] truthful . . . (2) the basic laws of logic are not inventions of dubious worth but discoveries of the basic relationships that make both coherent communication and knowledge of truth possible . . . (3) the documents that constitute the Bible deal with the same general topic . . . [they are] close enough in subject matter to cohere . . . (4) although good systematic theology must be phrased in the language of the present and interact with and speak to contemporary concerns, it must be controlled by the biblical data.” (79-82)
3) “Progressive revelation must be treated with all seriousness, but appeal to progressive revelation in order to exclude inconvenient components along that revelation’s alleged trajectory is illegitimate” (82). Certain characteristics of NT diversity must be kept in mind: (a) “certain parts of the old covenant under which Jesus lived are not continued under the new covenant He inaugurated”; (b) “even after the Spirit-age begins at Pentecost the full implications of this new age take some time to be understood”; (c) differentiation must be made between development of a writer’s subject matter and development of the thought of the writer himself (82-84).
4) “The diversity in the NT very often reflects diverse pastoral concerns, with no implications whatsoever of a different creedal structure.” That is, a formal contradiction may not be real, but may represent antithetical language which addresses each side of a complex question (86-89).
5) “The diversity in the NT documents very often reflects the diverse personal interests and idiosyncratic styles of the individual writers.” Silence on a particular point doesn’t necessarily indicate denial of that point, and terminology may vary from writer to writer (89-90).
6) “On the basis of these reflections it must be insisted that there is no intrinsic disgrace to theological harmonization, which is of the essence of systematic theology.” (91)
7) “Systematic theologians should be careful to note how various truths and arguments function in Scripture and they should be very cautious about stepping outside those functions with new ones” (93). This caution is due to at least two reasons: (a) “to ascribe certain functions to various truths or events in Scripture even though Scripture does not make use of those same truths and events to develop such functions may involve us in a prejudicial selection of data from the data base”; (b) “a number of fundamental Christian beliefs include huge areas of unknowns” (93).
Summary: “I am not persuaded . . . that the early church was characterized by such tepid toleration and unconcern for truth that it would have put up with basic theological liberalism. As I read the evidence, I perceive great diversity in emphasis, formulation, application, genre of literature, and forms of ecclesiastical administration. But I also perceive that there is a unity of teaching that makes systematic theology not only possible but necessary, and that modern theology at variance with this stance is both methodologically and doctrinally deficient. It is difficult to conceive how systematic theology . . . is possible unless the NT documents (and the OT documents as well, for that matter) are true and trustworthy; and it is difficult to conceive how the same documents can be true and trustworthy without finding systematic theology both possible and necessary” (94-95).

2/6/12 Richard N. Longenecker, “On the Concept of Development in Pauline Thought,” in Perspectives on Evangelical Theology (Zondervan, 1979), 195-207. After proposing some general textual evidence for the concept of the development of Pauline thought, and some difficulties attending the enterprise of mapping out such development, Longenecker seeks a via media on the matter. He eschews on the one hand an identity or sameness between earlier foundations and later formulations of Pauline teaching (merely more precise explications), and on the other hand, Pauline innovations which minimize any necessary propositional connection with the foundational core. Instead, Longenecker defends a model of “continuity with an unchanging core and genuine growth of conceptualization and expression” (201-202). “If we really believe that God has acted historically and progressively in redemption, we are called upon in our scholarly studies to give attention to features of that redemption having to do with continuity and development–both as that redemption has been progressively unfolded by God and as it has been progressively understood by man.” (205) “What is needed in our scholarly study of Paul, our interpretation of the NT, and our writing of Christian theology today is a methodological approach that stresses both (1) continuity with an unchanging foundational core of revelation and conviction, and (2) development of conceptualization and expression as brought about by God’s Spirit often employing circumstances and alien ideologies as a catalyst.” (206)

2/5/12 Andreas J. Köstenberger, “Diversity and Unity in the New Testament” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect, ed. Scott Hafemann (InterVarsity, 2002), 144-58.

2/5/12 Andreas J. Köstenberger, “Unity and Diversity in the New Testament,” in Andreas Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (Broadman & Holman, 2009), 874-895.  I reread this chapter after I finished the larger work which includes it, and am using a detailed outline of the chapter as the framework for some personal study on unity and diversity in the New Testament.  The chapter is clearly entirely Köstenberger’s work.  Among other points, he recommends (following Carson) abandoning the search for a single integrative center of NT theology, opting instead for “integrative motifs” or “clusters of broadly common themes”, which he summarizes thus: “the NT is thus integrated around the convictions that there is one God, that Jesus is the Christ and the exalted Lord, and that the Christian community has been entrusted with the proclamation of the gospel, the message of salvation in Jesus Christ” (the summary statement is actually from the parallel essay “Diversity and Unity in the New Testament” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect, ed. Scott Hafemann [InterVarsity, 2002], 153).  In relation to explaining why Paul does not quote or directly reference Jesus’ teachings more than he does, Köstenberger suggests it is due to the necessity of persuading Jews of Jesus’ messiahship in Paul’s evangelistic preaching, and this being done most directly by means of referencing the OT, not Jesus’ teachings.  This may well be so, but still doesn’t explain why Paul didn’t often reference Jesus’ teachings in his epistles, which were not evangelistic in nature, but written to (largely Gentile) churches which had already been persuaded of Jesus’ messiahship.

The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism1/31/12  G. K. Beale, The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority, Kindle edition (Crossway, 2008).  This volume was edited as a result of Beale’s interaction with Peter Enns regarding Enns’s understanding of “inerrancy”.  Because of its genesis, the book is a sort of pastiche: the first four chapters consist of Beale’s side of the journal-published dialogue (slightly edited); then follow chapters on the single authorship of Isaiah (5) and a summary of Beale’s take on OT cosmology, which finds fuller expression in his The Temple and the Church’s Mission  (6-7).  The book closes with an appendix on “Postmodern Questions of Authorial Intent, Epistemology, and Presuppositions and Their Bearing on the Authority of the Old Testament in the New,” which is a reworking of a previously published response to the work of one Steve Moyise; another appendix containing the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy; and a final appendix with a collection of Barth quotations demonstrating that Barth believed Scripture contained errors and that he “did not identify God’s Word with the Bible but that the Bible is a witness to the Word [sic; that one missed the editor’s pen]” (location 6187/6410).
Frankly, the first four chapters get somewhat tedious — as rejoinders and surrejoinders typically do! — and in spite of summaries of Enns’s articles by one of Beale’s students, hearing only one side of the conversation is lopsided. Among other things, Enns understands certain biblical writers to have wrongly held that certain myths or ways of looking at the world current in their day; these wrong understandings influenced and are reflected in the Scripture that they wrote. A prime example is ANE cosmology; another is the “rock that followed Israel” (1 Cor 10:4).

Click to see a larger image of Is there a Doctor in the House? by Ben Witherington III1/30/12  Ben Witherington III, Is There a Doctor in the House?  An Insider’s Story and Advice on Becoming a Biblical Scholar, Kindle edition (Zondervan, 2011).  A quick and enjoyable read.  Witherington gives a straightforward, candid look at the academic doctorate in biblical studies, offering succinct advice in the way of both encouragement and warning.  See post.

1/29/12  Andreas Köstenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue, Kindle edition (Crossway, 2011).

1/24/12  I. Howard Marshall, review of The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown, by Andreas Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, in Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology.

1/24/12  I. Howard Marshall, “Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earlier Christianity,” Themelios 2/1 (1976): 5-14.

1/21/12  Andreas Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (Broadman & Holman, 2009).This 900-page tome took quite awhile to work through but was eminently worth it. Conservative, premillennial, posttribulational, non-dispensational. Defends traditional positions in NTI (e.g., traditional dating and authorship of NT books, inerrancy and historicity of NT) while engaging recent scholarship. Helpful tables on NT chronology (59-62; 402-403). Very thorough footnotes and outstanding chapter-end bibliographies; given that Köstenberger is one of the authors, the reader will find quite a few German works referenced throughout. Excellent introductory chapters (“Nature and Scope of Scripture,” “Political and Religious Background of the New Testament,” “Jesus and the Relationship between the Gospels” before the chapters on the gospels, “Paul: the Man and His Message” before the Pauline epistles, “Unity and Diversity in the New Testament” at the close). The content is generally quite thorough, and very readable, both in style and font. Maps, tables, and application sidebars throughout (though no illustrations; go to Burge, Cohick, and Green for those). Pedagogically astute: the “Core Knowledge” section heading each chapter is very helpful for study purposes, detailing what chapter content one should seek to master at a basic (college), intermediate (seminary), and advanced (postgraduate) level, and the “For Further Study” questions at the close of each chapter are helpful as well. Includes glossary (although some definitions are a bit lacking), as well as name, subject, and Scripture indices.

My one hesitation regarding content was the treatment of the history of New Testament interpretation. While Carson and Moo’s introduction has a significant section which very deftly summarizes this area, Cradle, Cross, Crown has chosen to handle issues of history of interpretation in a piecemeal fashion in the introductory chapters, and throughout the various chapters on biblical books (e.g., handling the Quests for the Historical Jesus in the chapter introducing the gospels). The closest the volume comes to an overview is an (admittedly) truncated treatment of two pages (xviii-xix) on “A Brief History of New Testament Introduction,” which really serves more to locate the volume in the conservative stream of NT introductions than to treat NT interpretation. One can’t include everything, but a chapter-long overview of NT interpretation would have been worth the extra pages, in my opinion. This is a small matter, however, and the interested reader can peruse Carson & Moo’s chapter, or for a longer treatment, Wright and Neill, or Baird.
On my shelf, I have most of the major NT introductions published in English in the last thirty years. Cradle, Cross, Crown has become my first choice for a conservative recommendation in this genre.

1/8/12  Michael J. Vlach, “New Testament Use of the Old Testament: A Survey of Where the Debate Currently Stands.”

Into the ear-gate

11/16/12  Douglas Moo, Plenary Session 4, ETS National Conference, 16 Nov 2012.  Livestreamed at http://www.livestream.com/zondervanacademic.

7/15/12  Josephus, The Jewish Wars.  Listened through the unabridged version, and profited immensely by it.  While the first part, which covered the machinations of Roman rulers (particularly related to Palestine) before Josephus’ time, was more “big picture” and less interesting, it was still educational to get a picture of how things operated at the level of kings and client rulers.  The second part, which detailed the Jewish revolt and the Roman suppression of it, was absolutely fascinating.

2/27/12 Kevin Vanhoozer, “The Man with the X-Rho Eyes,” 15 Mar 2009. http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/man_with_the_x-rho_eyes

2/27/12 Richard Bauckham, “Devotion to Christ in Earliest Christianity,” 7 Oct 2011. http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/devotion_to_christ_in_earliest_christianity. This lecture, which was apparently given at the occasion of the retirement of Larry Hurtado, gives an overview of the question of whether and how Jesus was venerated/worshiped in the early church. Bauckham interacts with the works of several scholars who have written in this area, focusing of course on Hurtado’s work.

1/26/12  Gordon Isaac, “Church History,” a ten-session class totaling about nine hours of lectures which cover the scope of church history from the early church to the twentieth century.  Isaac’s research interest in the Reformation is shown in that four of the ten sessions concern this period (“Reformation”; “Reformation in Europe”; “Reformation in Great Britain”; “Protestantism in France”).  Spends a pretty good amount of time on Pentecostalism.

1/24/12  Interview with Greg Beale, “The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism”, Reformed Forum podcast 30 Jan 2009.  Excellent.

1/24/12  Scott Aniol, “Why Do We Sing in Worship?” Bethany Bible Church, Hendersonville, NC, 12 June 2011.  Outstanding lesson.  Highlights the role of music in shaping our affections.  We need teaching in the church as to what to believe and how to live; we also need teaching as to what to love, and one of the ways this is accomplished is through the use of music.

1/24/12  Ryan Martin, “The Doctrine of Salvation: The Atonement and the Gospel,” Bethany Bible Church, Hendersonville, NC, 10 July 2011.

1/20/12  Everett Ferguson, “Why Study Early Christian History and Literature?”, 2010 Papatheofanis Lecture on Early Christianity, The Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies; online:  http://espace.wheaton.edu/media/wetn/BITH/mp3/100318Ferguson.mp3

1/20/12   Ligon Duncan, “Patristics for Busy Pastors”; online: http://www.sovgracemin.org/Blog/post/Patristics-for-Busy-Pastors-Interview-with-Dr-J-Ligon-Duncan-III-patrology.aspx

1/13/12  Al Mohler, “The President’s Forum on the Future of the Southern Baptist Convention,”  August 19, 2009.  After giving a succinct history of some of the changes the SBC has undergone throughout its history, Mohler challenges the SBC to recognize the changing times using the analogies of General Motors and shopping malls.

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