Eyes and Ears 2011

What am I reading?  What am I hearing?

Into the eyegate

12/26/11  Andreas J. Köstenberger and David A. Croteau, “Reconstructing a Biblical Model for Giving: A Discussion of Relevant Systematic Issues and New Testament Principles,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 16:2 (2006): 237-60.

12/26/11  Andreas J. Köstenberger and David A. Croteau, “‘Will a Man Rob God?’ (Malachi 3:8): A Study of Tithing in the Old and New Testaments,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 16:1 (2006): 53-77.

12/12/11  N. T. Wright, “Taking the Text with Her Pleasure: A Post-Post-Modernist Response to J. Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant with Apologies to A. A. Milne, St. Paul and James Joyce,” Theology 96 (1993): 303-310.

12/11/11  Rudolf Bultmann, “Is Exegesis Without Presuppositions Possible?”  Originally printed in Existence and Faith: Shorter Writings of Rudolf Bultmann (Meridian Books, 1960), 289-96.  Reprinted in Richard Lischer, Theories of Preaching: Selected Readings in the Homiletical Tradition (Durham, NC: Labyrinth, 1987), 159-66.  Bultmann answers his question with a qualified “no.”  On the one hand, exegesis must be approached “without presupposing the results of the exegesis” (160); allegorizing and dogmatic interpretation are to be cast aside.  But from another angle, presuppositionless exegesis is utterly impossible, “because as historical interpretation it presupposes the method of historical-critical research” (165).

12/10/11  J. K. Elliot, “Manuscripts, the Codex, and the Canon,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 63 (1996): 105-23.  Abstract: “The article analyses the contents of the most significant MSS of the New Testament and identifies the major differences between them regarding their contents and the sequences of the books they contain. It is argued that one of the reasons why the New Testament canon became relatively firmly fixed from an early date was that Christians used the codex. For the Old Testament the contents were far more fluid. The article draws attention to the differences not only between the Hebrew and Alexandrian canons but also between the often fluctuating contents of the Hebrew, Syriac, Latin and Greek MSS of the Old Testament. It is shown how the main MSS, especially within the Greek tradition, have affected modern printed editions of the Septuagint. A description of how the varying traditions in Latin and Greek have influenced modern versions is also included.”  “…canon and codex go hand in hand in the sense that the adoption of a fixed canon could be more easily controlled and promulgated when the codex was the normal means of gathering together originally separated compositions. (On the other hand, we also need to remind ourselves that the Jews had a canon but not the codex.)” (111).
I found this to be an intriguing point: “[T]he text of the New Testament that was found in the manuscripts was not of importance to those who pronounced on the canon. Jerome, Origen and others recognized certain books as approved, canonical scripture, but they did not try to specify a particular or precise form of the text to be found in the manuscripts even though these Fathers were alert to textual variation in manuscripts. As we know, the surviving manuscripts exhibit a marked difference between themselves—and this is especially true of the earliest manuscripts (precisely in the centuries before the canon was fixed). So what was fixed as canonical was ‘Mark’ without further qualification. The question was not raised whether Mark is to include 16.9-20 or not. ‘John’ was approved without a word being said about the inclusion or exclusion of the passage about the adulteress (Jn 7.53-8.11)” (112-13).

12/10/11 Albert C. Sundberg, “The Bible Canon and the Christian Doctrine of Inspiration,” Interpretation 29 (1975): 352-71.  I was moved to read this by references in  Köstenberger/Kellum/Quarles The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (e.g., 13-14), where Sundberg’s view of canonicity is opposed.  This is an important article, and I need to read it more carefully to judge the evidence it presents.  Sundberg argues, among other things, that the understanding of “inspiration” was much broader in the early church than today, that we should therefore distinguish between “inspired” material and “canonical” material, that the Muratorian canon is rightly dated to the 4th century not the 2nd, and suggests that Luther’s limitation of the OT canon to exclude the Apocrypha was a spur-of-the-moment desperate attempt to deny the doctrine of purgatory.  A representative quotation: “Throughout the entire period of canonization, discussion in the fathers over the question of inspiration or non-inspiration or negative inspiration [‘inspiration’ by Satan or demons] has to do, virtually without exception, with orthodoxy versus heresy. The question of inspiration, thus, does not function as a criteria of canonization ; the common view of the church throughout this period is that inspiration is broadly and constantly present in the church” (370).  “[I]n forming the canon, the church acknowledged and established the Bible as the measure or standard of inspiration in the church, not as the totality of it. What concurs with canon is of like inspiration; what does not is not of God” (371).  A very thought-provoking article, and I’m sure much had come from this line of thinking in the intervening 35+ years with which I am yet unfamiliar.

12/10/11  Gordon D. Fee, “Baptism in the Holy Spirit: The Issue of Separability and Subsequence,” Pneuma 7:2 (Fall 1985), 87-99.  Fee departs from many charismatics by arguing that baptism in the Spirit is not necessarily subsequent to and separate from conversion, only that it typically has been so among charismatics.  In the article, he lists what he sees as the “components of Christian conversion” emerging from the NT data.  Among them is “The empowerment for life, with openness to gifts and the miraculous, plus obedience to mission.”  This is presumably Spirit baptism, for he sees Pentecostals as unnecessarily demanding that this component be subsequent to and separate from conversion, and Protestants in general as either limiting this component to “fruit and growth” or omitting it altogether.
Within the article, I appreciate his points about a “spiritual Christian” being a redundancy (using “spiritual” as a category the way the NT uses it) (pp. 93-94); the OT teaching on the Spirit having two major motifs (the Spirit necessary for leadership in Israel, and responsible for all true prophecy) (p. 92); and the contrast between our typical understanding of the Spirit as a “quiet, unobtrusive presence” and the early church’s understanding of the Spirit as a “powerful presence” (p. 95).The point I’m missing is that on the one hand, Fee argues that this component “effectively got lost” “in the subsequent history of the church” (97) and it is the Pentecostals who have recovered it, but on the other hand, if it is part and parcel of what happens at salvation, what God does to the one he saves, then how in the world could it be lost?

12/6/11  W. Ward Gasque, “The Promise of Adolf Schlatter,” in With Heart, Mind and Strength: The Best of Crux 1979-1989, vol. 1, ed. Donald M. Lewis (Regent, 1990): 217-26.  Andreas Köstenberger speaks highly and often of Schlatter, and I found this brief 10-page article to be an accessible introduction to the man and his work.  From what I read, I like Schlatter!

12/4/11  Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1998).  After reading this myself (see below), I read it again with my family.

It's Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek12/3/11  David Alan Black, It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek (Baker, 1998).  Extremely accessible.  Maintains interest while getting across the need-to-know points of Greek syntax.  Does not review basic grammar/morphology by-and-large (although often gives the historical “why”), but references the basic grammars — and that is as it should be.   A great review for the rusty Greek student!

11/28/11 Wayne G. Strickland, “The Inauguration of the Law of Christ with the Gospel of Christ: A Dispensational View,” (and responses) in The Law, the Gospel, and the Modern Christian: Five Views, ed. Wayne G. Strickland (Zondervan, 1993), 229-315.

11/27/11 R. Tudur Jones, “Union with Christ: The Existential Nerve of Puritan Piety,” Tyndale Bulletin 41.2 (1990): 186-208.

11/26/11  Roger Nicole, “The New Testament Use of the Old Testament,” in G. K. Beale, ed., The Right Doctrine from the Wong Texts?  Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New (Baker, 1994), 13-28.

11/26/11  G. K. Beale, “Positive Answer to the Question [Should the Exegetical Methods of the New Testament Authors Be Reproduced?]: Did Jesus and His Followers Preach the Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts?” in G. K. Beale, ed., The Right Doctrine from the Wong Texts?  Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New (Baker, 1994), 387-404.  Holds to a particular view of sensus plenior (defined a bit differently than usual).  Sees the following assumptions of NT writers as they use the OT:

“(1) the assumption of corporate solidarity or representation.  (2) that Christ is viewed as representing the true Israel of the Old Testament and true Israel, the church, in the New Testament; (3) that history is unified by a wise and sovereign plan so that the earlier parts are designed to correspond and point to the latter parts (cf. Matt. 11:13-14); (4) that the age of eschatological fulfillment has  come in Christ; (5) as a consequence of (3) and (4), the fifth presupposition affirms that the latter parts of biblical history function as the broader context to interpret earlier parts because they all have the same, ultimate divine author who inspires the various human authors, and one deduction from this premise is that Christ as the centre of history is the key to interpreting the earlier portions of the Old Testament and its promises.” (392)

“New Testament Scripture interprets the Old Testament Scripture by expanding its meaning, seeing new implications in it and giving it new applications. I believe, however, that it can be demonstrated that this expansion does not contravene the integrity of the earlier texts but rather develops them in a way which is consistent with the Old Testament author’s understanding of the way in which God interacts with his people–which is the unifying factor between the Testaments.” (393)
“…the proposal of many that the New Testament’s exegetical approach to the Old Testament is characteristically non-contextual is a substantial overstatement. . . . I remain convinced that once the hermeneutical and theological presuppositions of the New Testament writers are considered, there are no clear examples where they have developed a meaning from the Old Testament which is inconsistent or contradictory to some aspect of the original Old Testament intention.” (398)

11/26/11  Michael J. Vlach, “New Testament Use of the Old Testament: A Survey of Where the Debate Currently Stands.”  Vlach is a professor at Master’s Seminary and in this article gives a good summary of major “NT use of OT” positions presently on the table, along with some potential questions/concerns regarding each, and directions for future study.

 11/25/11  Myron Houghton, Law and Grace (Regular Baptist Press, 2011).  I met with my NT professor Jon Pratt to try to gain a better understanding of the role of the law (if any) in the believer’s life.  He recommended this book.  I’m glad he did.  Houghton’s extensive theological studies under Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, and Dispensationalist teachers has put him in good stead to address the topic.  In this volume, he presents the Roman Catholic view of the law (mixes law and grace), the Reformed view of the law (Houghton rejects Calvin’s “third use of the Law”), and finally the Dispensational view of the law.  I think it would be fair to characterize the book’s major thesis with this quote: ““Believers today are not under the law, either as a way of salvation or as a rule of life” (157).  A fuller summary is found in this post.

Who Needs Classical Music?: Cultural Choice and Musical Value

11/25/11  Julian Johnson, Who Needs Classical Music?  Cultural Choice and Musical Value (Oxford, 2002).   A thoughtful and thought-provoking apologetic for classical music, and not just as “cultured” background music.  Johnson goes down deep and does not come up dry.  He taught me quite a few things about classical music, music as art (vs. object), perceived elitism in music, etc.   Note my longer comments here.

11/22/11  Raymond B. Dillard and Tremper Longman III, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Zondervan, 1994).  I read this standard OTI in preparation for doctoral entrance exams; I should note that there is an updated (2006) edition of this work of which I was unaware, but the 1994 edition was the one which was available for me to borrow from a friend.  After an introduction chapter, the authors provide, in canonical order, introductions for each of the books in the Protestant OT canon, and that is the sum of the book.  For each book, they focus on historical background, literary analysis, theological message, and connection with the NT.  Dillard and Longman are concerned to defend the validity of predictive prophecy, and thus date the books rather conservatively.  At the same time, while not going overboard supporting redaction theories, they are happy to accept a number of OT books as being the result of a certain amount of editing/redacting which puts together the work of the named or traditional author with similar material by someone else.    They emphasize repeatedly that while critical scholarship has in the past questioned the unity/integrity of many books, the tide has turned so that the focus is presently on the canonical form of the books without much reference to history of composition.   They wish to be sensitive to genre, and allow generic considerations to support conclusions that might be at odds with much of past conservative scholarship: while the Genesis creation account is meant to be historical, and God is presented as creating ex nihilo, “the description of creation in these chapters . . . does not allow us to be dogmatic over such questions as the length of time and order of God’s creative process” (51); Jonah need not be read as an historical account.  One of the points of particular value in this OTI is the connections the authors draw between previous and later OT texts, and between OT texts and the historical milieu (which connections provoked a couple of posts here and here).  As the authors draw NT connections, they consistently present the church as the new Israel, a point which will annoy dispensationalist readers, and at times their connections seem a bit tenuous.

11/18/11  Martin Hengel, “Paul in Arabia,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 12.1 (2002): 47-66.  Typical Hengel: relatively conservative (for German scholarship), lucid, fascinating.

11/18/11  Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, “Paul in Arabia,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 55 (1993): 732-37.  Excellent, succinct treatment supporting Paul as missionary (not recluse) in Arabia for a short time.  Great treatment of the historical background of “Arabia” (= Nabatea) vis-a-vis the Roman political situation.

11/17/11  N. T. Wright, “Paul, Arabia, and Elijah (Galatians 1:17),” Journal of Biblical Literature 115 (1996): 683-92.  Portrays the pre-conversion Paul in the tradition of Elijah in light of his violent “zeal” for the Lord and the Law.  Paul goes to Arabia for similar reasons to Elijah.  See “Paul in Arabia”.

11/3/11 Eckhard J. Schnabel, “Introduction,” “The Missionary Work of the Apostle Paul,” and “The Missionary Task According to Paul’s Letters,” in Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods (InterVarsity, 2008), 1-154.  See “Paul in Arabia”.

10/27/11  Craig R. Koester, “Jesus the Way, the Cross, and the World according to the Gospel of John,” Word and World 21:4 (2001): 360-69.  “According to the internal logic of John’s Gospel, Jesus’ claim to be ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ is a remarkably inclusive statement, with none of the exclusive character sometimes attributed to it.”

10/24/11  Loren L. Johns and Douglas B. Miller, “The Signs as Witnesses in the Fourth Gospel: Reexamining the Evidence,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 56 (1994): 519-35.  The authors argue that the Gospel of John presents Jesus’ signs as consistently playing a positive role for faith.  In turn, the article “introduces the problem of the signs, presents evidence of consistent rhetorical design concerning the signs, and provides an analysis of texts that have been considered problematic for this view”, i.e., seem to disparage a “signs-faith”.    Johns and Miller summarize the evidence that demonstrates the juridical character of John’s Gospel (reflected in its vocabulary of witness and judgment), then examine the use of “works” and “signs” as prime witnesses, and highlight the references to Moses which “recall his attestation before Israel, in which signs also played a positive role.”  “Problem passages” (which seem to disparage a “signs-faith” at some level) addressed include John 2:23-3:21 (arguing that those to whom Jesus didn’t “entrust” himself were secret believers (like Nicodemus), unwilling to make a public profession of their faith in Jesus), John 4:48, John 6:25-51, and John 20:24-29.

10/24/11  C. John Collins, “John 4:23-24, ‘In Spirit and Truth’: An Idiomatic Proposal,” Presbyterion 21/2 (1995): 118-23.  Collins uses a grammatically similar passage in 1 John 3:18 to argue that “in spirit and in truth” (as often translated) ought to be something like “in spirit, that is (epexegetical kai), truly”.

10/20/11  Ronald F. Marshall, “Our Serpent of Salvation: The Offense of Jesus in John’s Gospel,” Word and World 21:4 (2001): 385-93.  “…the crucifixion dominates John’s Gospel.  It continues to be the supreme scandal that stands at the very center of this gospel” (386).  “John’s Gospel was written ‘within brackets drawn from the story of Passover’: that is, the Lamb of God of John 1:29 correlates nicely with the explicit identificaiton of Jesus with the paschal lamb in 19:36” (386).
“In John’s Gospel the theme of the Son of Man being lifted up is ‘the Johannine theology of the cross in a nutshell!’ This ascent theme is in John 3:14, 8:28, and 12:32-34. It manifests the domination of the crucifixion in John’s Gospel by setting off ‘the upward swing of the great pendulum of the Incarnation corresponding to the descent of the Word which became flesh.'” (386)

10/19/11  Marianne Meye Thompson, “What Is the Gospel of John?” Word and World 21:4 (2001): 333-342.  Appreciated this quote (though the way Thompson speaks of “word of God” and “Scripture” should probably be clarified): “[W]e need to be clear that faithful interpretation of Scripture requires spiritual and moral maturity that enable the discernment necessary to hear the word of God in Scripture.  We have tended to assume that good interpretation of the text leads to faithful living, but in earlier centuries it was assumed that faithful Christian living undergirds good interpretation.  According to Athanasius: ‘For the searching and right understanding of the Scriptures there is need of a good life and a pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind to grasp, so far as human nature can, the truth concerning God the Word.’ Alasdair MacIntyre put it this way, ‘What the reader . . . has to learn about him or herself is that it is only the self as transformed through and by the reading of the texts which will be capable of reading the texts aright.'” (340)

From the Garden to the City10/18/11  John Dyer, From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology (Kregel, 2011).  An interesting treatment and (perhaps appropriately) the first full-length (192 pp in print) book I’ve read in its entirety on my Kindle.  I still like print better!  Dyer strikes a middle position between seeing technology as morally neutral tool and technology as inevitably determinative.  A quote or two:
“Though [a particular form of technology] is not itself morally evil, it cannot be considered ‘neutral’ either.  Instead, embedded in its design is a tendency of usage from which a set of values emerge. . . . For all the good that [particular forms of technology] offer, they also bring with them a series of trade-offs and unintended consequences.” (location 2437)
“The technology of writing also brought with it a sense of permanence and authority. . . . [it] values exactness and precision. By choosing this technology, God was communicating that his Law did not contain optional truths or malleable commands. His Law was literally set in stone. In the early days of writing, paper and ink were incredibly expensive. This meant that people could only afford to write down what was of highest importance to them. Unlike our throwaway to-do lists, virtually everything written down was vital. This meant that when people invoked the words “It is written,” they were appealing to the authority of the medium. After all, it wouldn’t be written if it weren’t important. So God chose a medium of communication that was not only cutting edge for the time but also reinforced the message of that Law. In creating the culture of the people of Israel, God was giving the world his final, authoritative, and unchanging Law. And he chose a technological medium that reinforced those values.” (location 1894-1904)

10/17/11  D. Moody Smith, “Johannine Studies since Bultmann,” Word and World 21:4 (2001): 343-51.  Among other observations, “Since Bultmann, commentaries on the Fourth Gospel have taken much greater account of its roots in Scripture, the Old Testament. . . . The prologue’s ‘in the beginning’ obviously evokes the creation scene of Genesis quite deliberately and offers an explicit key to the importance of the scriptural story for John.  Also, recognition of the gospel’s biblical context makes sense of the recurring Jewish festivals and the paralleling of Jesus with the fathers of Israel and with Moses.  Jesus is greater than any or all of them but not comprehensible apart from them.” (350, italics mine)

A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume I: The Roots of the Problem and the Person (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)10/15/11  John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume 1: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York: Doubleday, 1991).  My first significant excursion into a full-scale “life of Jesus” book written from a “Quest for the Historical Jesus” sort of perspective.  Meier is an American Catholic scholar approaching the topic from a historical-critical perspective.  While his presuppositions (e.g., an errant Scripture) lead to conclusions I cannot embrace, the amount of research and data reflected and documented in the volume make it a valuable resource.  (longer post)

10/11/11  Klaus Scholtissek, “Johannine Studies: A Survey of Recent Research with Special Regard to German Contributions,” Currents in Research: Biblical Studies 9 (2001): 277-305.  Abstract: “The second part of a survey of recent research on the Fourth Gospel by German scholars presented here examines further publications and assesses their values and limitations. It discusses the contributions in sections that deal with new commentaries, individual studies, Johannine eschatology, theJohannine cleansing of the Temple, whether there is mysticism in John’s Gospel, Johannine form criticism, and Johannine Christology in religio-historical perspective.  The studies examined here show a clear trend toward synchronic text interpretation, and indicate both in their strengths and weaknesses the need to keep in view the total theological and coordinated system of John’s Gospel. A biblical, monotheistic image of God, in which Christology is inscribed as soteriological eschatology, together with a biblical creation anthropology, belong to the basic requirements of theological thinking in John’s Gospel.”

10/9/11  Andreas J. Köstenberger and Michael J. Kruger, The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010).  A response to the recent popularization of the Bauer thesis by (most notably) Bart Ehrman.  The Bauer thesis is that early Christianity was quite diverse and had no agreed-upon “orthodoxy”; its relative uniformity came about by the exercise of power by the Roman church, whose particular slant on Christianity became “orthodoxy” at that point.  As the authors note (233-35), the Bauer thesis has been debunked; while the present work restates and summarizes the position against the Bauer thesis, its particular burden is to demonstrate that “the Bauer-Ehrman thesis commands paradigmatic stature [although] it has been soundly discredited in the past [is because it] resonates profoundly with the intellectual and cultural climate in the West at the beginning of the twenty-first century,” specifically, its “fascination with diversity” and corresponding “celebration of diversity as the only ‘truth’ that is left” (233-34).  The Bauer-Ehrman thesis reflects “the emergence of postmodernism, the belief that truth is inherently subjective and a function of power” (39).   The authors look at the extent of diversity in the Christian movement (minimal) and the question of whether diversity truly preceded orthodoxy (no).  An excellent discussion of the NT canon follows, then a section on supposed theologically motivated scribal errors in the NT, both sections in response to Ehrman’s recent works. The authors strongly support the reliability and uniformity of the NT.
I was familiar with much of the material set forth in the book, since it meant to be a summary of research. I learned quite a few new things though, including the following:
1) I knew that the use of the codex was early and widespread among Christians and was familiar with the theory that Christians had actually invented the form. The authors note, however, that scholarly theory is now solidly behind the Greco-Roman origin of the codex (not specifically Christian). An interesting discussion on the “why” of the immense popularity of the codex among Christians, noting the suggestions that it was the only form that could hold all four Gospels (or all of Paul’s epistles) in one volume (192-195).
2) I appreciated the use of 2 Peter 3:2 to support the notion of an early recognition of apostolic writings as Scripture (132-33) — hadn’t considered that verse in that connection before — and the similar support lent by the public reading of apostolic writings as corresponding to the public reading of OT Scripture (133-35).
3) Interesting information and hypotheses about early Christian “publishing” — churches that may have been hubs for the reproduction and dissemination of Christian writings (196-200).

9/30/11  Udo Schnelle, “Recent Views of John’s Gospel,” translated by Frederick J. Gaiser, Word and World 21:4 (2001): 352-59.  “The study of the Fourth Gospel stands at a point of fundamental transition.  Everything is in flux, not only the methodological presuppositions of Johannine exegesis but all the central issues of the gospel itself (gnosticism, theology of incarnation and cross, eschatology, sacraments, pneumatology, relation to the Synoptics, pre-Johannine sources).”  The Gospel of John is “a post-Easter remembering effected by the Spirit” (357).  Schnelle observes the scholarly shift from viewing the Gospel of John in light of proposed prehistory and redaction, to reading it as a coherent text (353).  “Johannine theology is marked throughout by its concentration on christology, making incarnation, cross, and lifting up the appropriate answer to the question of its theological center” (359).

9/16/11  Robert L. Thomas, “Historical Criticism and the Evangelical: Another View,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43:1 (2000): 193-210.

9/16/11  Grant R. Osborne, “Historical Criticism and the Evangelical.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 42:2 (1999): 193-210.

9/11/11  James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy, “The Quest for the Historical Jesus: An Introduction,” in The Historical Jesus: Five Views (InterVarsity, 2009), 9-54.

9/10/11  John P. Meier, “The Present State of the ‘Third Quest’ for the Historical Jesus: Loss and Gain,” Biblica 80:4 (1999): 459-87.  “Despite the questionable method and positions of the Jesus Seminar, the third quest for the historical Jesus has resulted in seven notable gains as compared with the old quests. (1) The third quest has an ecumenical and international character. (2) It clarifies the question of reliable sources. (3) It presents a more accurate picture of first-century Judaism. (4) It employs new insights from archaeology, philology, and sociology. (5) It clarifies the application of criteria of historicity. (6) It gives proper attention to the miracle tradition. (7) It takes the Jewishness of Jesus with utter seriousness.”

9/9/11  Tom Holmén, “A Theologically Disinterested Quest? On the Origins of the ‘Third Quest’ for the Historical Jesus,” Studia Theologica 55 (2001): 175-97.  Holmén seeks to demonstrate that in spite of protestations to the contrary, Third Questers are just as theologically motivated as New Questers.  “As a matter of fact then, I would contend that theological interest is actually the source from which the pursuit of studying Jesus substantially originates today.  It may also be that the whole ‘renaissance in Jesus studies’, which has become known as the ‘Third Quest’, has from the outset been generated by theological motives.

9/7/11  I. Howard Marshall, “Recent Study of the Pastoral Epistles,” Themelios 23:1 (1997): 3-29.

9/6/11  Bruce L. Shelley, “A Bridge for Intelligent Moderns: Protestant Liberalism” and “Nothing to Lose but Chains: The Social Crisis,” chapters 40-41 in Church History in Plain Language, updated 2nd ed. (Nelson, 1995), 394-415.

8/21/11  J. Julius Scott, Jr., “The Messianic Hope,” in Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament (Baker, 1995), 307-23.

8/19/11  Gary M. Burge, “Glory,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, ed. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall (InterVarsity, 1992), 268-70.

8/17/11  John Paul Heil, “Jesus as the Unique High Priest in the Gospel of John,” Catholic Bible Quarterly 57 (1995): 729-45.  (http://www.scotthahn.com/download/attachment/3739) I used Heil’s monograph The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians (SBLMS 15; Leiden: Brill, 2005) in my thesis, and enjoyed the thoroughness with which he examined 1 Corinthians 5.  In this article, he turns his attention to John 11:45-53 (Caiaphas’s advice), John 18:1-17 (arrest and trial of Jesus), and John 19:23-24 (Roman soldiers and Jesus’ seamless tunic) to make certain points about the Johannine presentation of the high priesthood of Jesus: “the high priesthood of the Johannine Jesus is ironic, recognized not by the characters in the narrative but only by the reader; it is new and different, as Jesus sacrifices himself rather than an animal; and it is unique, since Jesus is the one and only true high priest in contrast to a plurality of Jewish priests.” (730)  Heil uses narrative criticism to make certain interpretative points based on lexical connections that sometimes seem a bit tenuous.  One wonders whether John actually intended certain of the connections that Heil discovers, or whether he himself would be surprised.  All the same, some very interesting points can be gleaned from this article.
* “Whereas the high priest Caiaphas indicated that it would be beneficial if one man died for the people (11:50), the narrator’s aside makes it clear that Caiaphas was not speaking ‘of himself’ [af’ heautou]: ‘He did not say this of himself, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation’ (11:51). This not only means that his statement was not from himself but from God as a prophecy but also emphasizes that the ‘one man’ to die is not Caiaphas himself but Jesus.” (732-33)
* “By cutting off the right ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest himself, Peter effects a mutilation that disqualifies this chief representative of the high priest from assisting in his sacrificial office (18:10).” (736)

8/9/11  Ceslas Spicq, “semeion,” in Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (Hendrickson, 1994): 249-54.

8/9/11  Harold Remus, “Does Terminology Distinguish Early Christian from Pagan Miracles,” Journal of Biblical Literature 101/4 (1982): 531-51.  I skimmed this article to get the highlights.  Remus is responding against certain writers (Rengstorf in Kittle, and C. F. D. Moule) who suggest that Scripture generally use particular terms for miracles (notably, semeion) which differ from pagan terminology and avoid their negative connotations.   Remus investigates pagan and early Christian usage and argues that this thesis is flawed.   Abstract: “A long tradition of scholarship contends that the terms used by early Christian writers for miracle differ intrinsically from those used by pagans of the period to designate their miracles. The article focuses on sēmeion and teras, examining the arguments of salient representatives of this tradition and assessing them in light of early Christian and pagan sources. While the two terms have distinctive meanings, in many contexts they are used interchangeably–by both pagan and Christian authors. The distinctions lie in the eyes of the beholders and represent communal and cultural judgments.”

8/7/11  Tony Perrottet, “The Ancient Roman Reading Craze,” The Believer 1:6  (Sep 2003).  http://www.believermag.com/issues/200309/?read=article_perrottet

8/6/11  G. K. Beale, “Can the Bible Be Completely Inspired by God and Yet Still Contain Errors?  A Response to Some Recent ‘Evangelical’ Proposals,” Westminster Theological Journal 73 (2011): 1-22.  Online: http://files.wts.edu/uploads/images/files/WTJ/G.K.%20Beale%20-%20Special%20Lecture.pdf

8/5/11  Robert McCabe, “Were Old Testament Believers Indwelt by the Spirit?” Detroit Baptist Theological Journal 9 (2004): 215-64.
http://dbts.edu/journals/2004/McCabe.pdf.  Summary: “The use of the term indwelling in theological discussions has promoted a certain level of misunderstanding. Since indwelling is not explicitly used in either of the testaments, its theological ambiguity may be expected. Based upon an integration of 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 and 2:14–15 with the Holy Spirit’s perfections of immensity and omnipresence, the thesis of this paper is that the Spirit’s gracious indwelling ministry with a believer refers to his permanently sustaining the saving relationship that he began at regeneration. Based upon an examination of biblical texts explicating man’s total depravity in such a way that man is described as being spiritually dead, hostile to God, and lacking the capacity to “please God,” man has no hope of eternal salvation unless the Spirit graciously, predicated upon the vicarious atonement of Christ, imparts spiritual life to the spiritually dead (regeneration) and permanently sustains this new life (indwelling). Because man’s natural inclination is one of antipathy and hostility toward God, man’s internal inclination must be transformed from a natural orientation towards one’s own idolatrous self-gratification to a spiritually produced orientation for God’s good pleasure. This transformation can only be produced by the Spirit’s work in regeneration. Since the Spirit is the source of initial life in the heart of a reprobate sinner, the Spirit’s ongoing ministry is a soteriological requirement if one is to exhibit the fruits of new life. While regeneration and indwelling may be viewed as two different ministries of the Spirit, the inevitable fruit from new life demands an indissoluble connection between regeneration and indwelling. To demonstrate that indwelling took place in the Old Testament, three texts, Ezekiel 36:25–27, 1 Corinthians 2:14–15, and Romans 8:9–11, were examined. These texts suggest the Spirit’s life-transforming presence, in both testaments, provides an inseparable link between regeneration and indwelling. This understanding of indwelling is likely in view in Numbers 27:18 and Psalm 143:10.” (263-64)
The two key NT texts suggesting Spirit indwelling as exclusive to NT saints are explained thus: John 7:37-39 refers to baptism of the Spirit (“the Spirit was not yet given” in relation to this particular ministry), and John 14:16-17 (being in the Farewell Discourse to the disciples) has direct reference to a sort of theocratic (“apostolic”) anointing of the apostles as the foundation of the church — the Spirit had been with them (as he was with all OT believers), but would be in them, and the use of “in” in 14:17 “rather than emphasizing the location where the Spirit would reside, emphasizes an intimate relationship the Spirit would have in the near future with Christ’s disciples” (227). The arguments of McCabe’s paper, in the end, are mainly theological. He provides alternate explanations for the NT passages commonly adduced to support Spirit indwelling as exclusive to NT saints, but does not give any unassailable positive presentation of Spirit indwelling in OT saints (the two passages he sets forth as suggesting this might both be understood in the context of theocratic anointing).

8/4/11  James M Hamilton Jr., “Old Covenant Believers and the Indwelling Spirit: A Survey of the Spectrum of Opinion,” Trinity Journal 24:1 (Spr 2003): 37-54.  The title says it all.  Hamilton notes in relation to his survey that he had set out to argue the Spirit-indwelling of OT saints, but John 7:39, 14:17, and 16:7 caused him to change his position.

8/4/11  Craig Blomberg, “Holy Spirit,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Baker, 1997), 344ff. Online: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/holy-spirit.html.

8/4/11  Craig S. Keener, “Why Does Luke Use Tongues as a Sign of the Spirit’s Empowerment?” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 15(2) 177-84. Keener argues that “Luke emphasizes baptism in the Spirit as power to testify for Christ cross-culturally; what better sign to evidence this particular empowerment of the Spirit than inspiration to speak in the languages of other cultures?” All the same, he acknowledges that when early Pentecostals engaged in mission work expecting their gift of tongues to allow them to communicate cross-culturally (i.e., in the local language), “most quickly discovered that this was not the case” (183).

8/4/11  Frederick R. Harm, “Structural Elements Related to the Gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts,” Concordia Journal (Jan 1988): 28-41. A rather vanilla treatment of the thesis (correct, in my opinion) that the examples of the gift of tongues in Acts were given as validation of the expansion of the gospel. Harm sees an overarching structure to the four instances in Acts (Semitic context: Jerusalem/Pentecost (unexpected), Samaria (Peter/John lay hands on believers); Gentile context: Caesarea (unexpected), Ephesus (Paul lays hands on Ephesian disciples)). As an addendum, provides a list of correlations/parallels between Peter’s and Paul’s ministries in Acts.

7/30/11  David R. Bauer, “Son of God,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall (InterVarsity, 1992), 769-75.

7/29/11  Charles G. Dennison, “How Is Jesus the Son of God?  Luke’s Baptism Narrative and Christology,” Calvin Theological Journal 17:1 (Apr 1982): 6-25. (post)

7/28/11 Herbert W. Bateman IV, “Defining the Titles ‘Christ’ and ‘Son of God’ in Mark’s Narrative Presentation of Jesus,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 50/3 (Sep 2007): 537-59.  Bateman, while in no way denying the deity of Christ, argues that “the explicit and plain meaning of the phrase ‘Son of God’ in Mark means first and foremost ‘the Christ'” (558), that is, the Messiah.  “It appears to me that most of the titles ascribed to Jesus throughout Mark’s narrative story about Jesus and in Mark 1:1 serve only to present Jesus to be ‘the Christ’ [as opposed to presenting Jesus as God]” (540).  He sees a too-prevalent, uncritical readiness to connect “Son of God” with the deity of Christ when, in his opinion, the first-century understanding of the title “Son of God,” as it was used by Jesus and others in reference to Jesus, would not have had overtones of deity, but would merely have characterized Jesus as the Davidic Messiah.  I should be clear here that Bateman is seeking to clarify the meaning of “Son of God” in the NT, particularly in Mark, not to deny Christ’s deity: “the Nicean Creed, a creed that correctly presented Jesus to be ontologically and functionally the second person of the Godhead, was and remains correct.” (537-38)  And indeed, Bateman’s concentration is upon Mark: “I must interject, however, that I do not deny that ‘sonship’ in Ps 2:7 is eventually escalated to mean divine sonship in other NT writings, which later Church fathers equated with the deity of Jesus.” (546, fn 26, although this statement is still somewhat lacking, if I understand it correctly; was “divine sonship” not equated with deity in the NT?)

7/27/11  Joel Marcus, “Mark 14:61: Are You the Messiah-Son-of-God?” Novum Testamentum 31:2 (1989): 125-41.  Marcus argues that “Son of God” is not merely a synonym for “Christ”/”Messiah,” but that it did indeed communicate the deity of Christ, leading to charges of blasphemy.  He points out that there were various conceptions of the Messiah in the Second Temple period, and that these were distinguished by such epithets as “Messiah the son of David” and “Messiah the son of Joseph.”  “[I]n Tannaitic sources the term ‘Messiah’ can be made more precise by the addition of the qualifier ‘Son-of-X’ to indicate the descent of the Messiah in question” (131).  “Restrictive appositives [such as ‘son-of-David’) would be necessary because of the variety of messianisms in the postbiblical period” (134).

7/19/11 Rachel Chambers, The Summons to Become (Xulon, 2010).

An engaging account of the first two years of adventures for this missionary to Zambia.  Excellent reading for short-termers, first-timers, or stay-at-homers who want to get a very realistic perspective of the culture shock involved in moving a large family from suburban America to urban Zambia.  Rachel is an engaging person, and her striking personality comes through in the vivid (and, I might add, typographically flawless!) prose.  But in the end, one has discovered an imperfect family that has by God’s grace overcome the significant challenges of Zambian culture shock.  And one is left with the understanding that it was God who did it.  Non nobis, non nobis, Domine, sed nomini, tuo da gloriam.  I understand there are more volumes to come, and they are greatly anticipated.

7/16/11 Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1998).  Not a paraphrase of John Owen, but Lundgaard takes Owen’s works Indwelling Sin in Believers and The Mortification of Sin and uses their marrow as the core of this excellent book.   Very readable, and makes one hungry to read Owen.  Suitable for all readers, lay and clergy alike.

7/13/11 G. L. Robinson and R. K. Harrison, “Canon of the OT,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Eerdmans, 1979), 1:591-601.

7/2/11  Richard P. Belcher, A Journey in Purity.  The second in Belcher’s series of “theological novels,” this one attacks the topic of church discipline.  Having done a good bit of research on the topic, I found myself disagreeing with certain exegetical conclusions Belcher makes via his protagonist, but as our family read through this work, it provided much fodder for discussion.

6/28/11  John F. Kilner, “Humanity in God’s Image: Is the Image Really Damaged?” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 53 (September 2010): 601-17.  The article argues that the answer to the title question is “no” (the image of God is fully present in humankind, even today), but in my estimation fails to win the day.  Although Scripture never explicitly states that the image of God in man is marred/defaced (a cornerstone of Kilner’s argument), it seems clear to me from Col 3:9-10 and Eph 4:20-24 that this is the case, since it could not be restored in Christ otherwise.  True, those passages never state that the image per se is being restored, only that the believer is, but Kilmer makes too much of this point.  Interestingly, Kilmer notes that “the image of Christ and the image of God are closely related, but appear not to be referring to quite the same thing.” (615)  I’m all for careful distinctions, but in this article, Kilmer seems to be drawing them a bit too fine.

6/19/11  Janet Soskice, The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009).  An enjoyable read for anyone interested in ancient manuscripts and the like.  From an Amazon review: “In short, Janet Soskice has written the story of two absolutely amazing women who traveled through the Sinai desert without husbands when that was unheard of; befriended some wonderful Greek Orthodox monks even though they were staunch Presbyterians; discovered obscure documents written in Syriac (not exactly the ligua franca of the day); and became two of the top Orientalists in their era – and in middle age yet!”  Shades of Constantin von Tischendorf!

6/8/11  David Laird Dungan, The History of the Synoptic Problem: The Canon, the Text, the Composition, and the Interpretation of the Gospels, Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library (Yale University Press, 1999).  A fascinating and enlightening read, Dungan addresses the history of NT interpretation through the lens of the synoptic problem.  He demonstrates how the general approach to the “synoptic problem” has changed over the last two millennia, seeing three major “forms” of the synoptic problem.  “Dungan sets forth a structured history from its [the synoptic problem’s] inception in the second century and elucidates for the first time the political and economic agendas that informed biblical interpretations.”  I learned about Spinoza and his “nominalist barrage”, that the “harmony” characterizes the “second form of the synoptic problem” but the “synopsis” characterizes the third form.  Toward the end, Dungan briefly critiques several exegetical handbooks including Fee & Hayes/Holladay.

6/6/11  James B. Rives, “Graeco-Roman Religion in the Roman Empire: Old Assumptions and New Approaches,” Currents in Biblical Research 8.2 (2010): 240-99.  http://cbi.sagepub.com/content/8/2/240.full.pdf+html.  An important recent summary article detailing shifts in the generally accepted paradigm of Greco-Roman religion.  Abstract: “This article surveys recent trends in research on Graeco-Roman religion, focusing on the first and second centuries CE. In the first half, I assess current views on what I call the old ‘master narrative’ of Graeco-Roman religious history in this period, that is, the assumption that the decline of traditional Graeco-Roman religion left a void filled on the one hand by the purely political phenomenon of imperial cult and on the other by mystery/oriental religions, which met the emotional needs of the populace. In the second half I discuss two areas of interest that have come to the fore in the wake of the old master narrative’s collapse: an approach to interpreting traditional Graeco-Roman religion that some scholars have termed the ‘polis religion model’, and a focus on religious life in the provinces of the Roman empire. As an appendix I include a brief survey of available scholarly resources in this field.”

6/6/11  R. V. Young, “Liberal Learning Confronts the Composition Despots,” Intercollegiate Review 46:1.  http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1482.  “We cannot “reform” our system of education because it is not at all a system of education in the original, root sense [bringing the immature to maturity] but instead a curious and uneven amalgam of job training, indoctrination, and custodial care.”

6/6/11  Richard N. Ostling, “The Search for the Historical Adam,” Christianity Today (June 2011). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/june/historicaladam.html.

5/16/11  Andrew David Naselli, “John Owen’s Argument for Definite Atonement in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ: A Summary and Evaluation,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 14:4 (2010): 60-82.  One of Andy’s many strengths is concise summaries, and John Owen’s DDDC is certainly in need of a concise summary!  Helpful applicational section: “Ten practical suggestions to believers for avoiding unhealthy schism over the extent of the atonement.”

5/16/11  Kenneth Good, “The Doctrine of Separation: Understanding and Applying the Doctrine of Separation” (Ephrata, PA: Eastern Mennonite Publications, 2007).  A 79-page booklet which teaches and supports various principles and practices of separation in the Mennonite church.

5/2/11  R. E. Clements, “Claus Westermann on Creation in Genesis,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 32 (1990): 18-26.

4/17/11  Gene L. Green, Review of Moyer V. Hubbard, Christianity in the Greco-Roman World: A Narrative Introduction in Journal of the Evangelical Society 54 (2011): 145-47.

4/17/11  Sung Jin Park, Review of Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament: A Historical , Literary, and Theological Survey, in Journal of the Evangelical Society 54 (2011): 143-45.

4/17/11  Thomas Schreiner, “Justification: The Saving Righteousness of God in Christ,” Journal of the Evangelical Society 54 (2011): 19-34.  This is Schreiner’s 2010 plenary ETS address nearly word-for-word, in which he addresses several major problems with N. T. Wright’s position on justification, while making every effort to commend Wright’s work in general.

4/17/11  Eugene H. Merrill, “Old Testament Scholarship and the Man in the Street: Whence and Whither?” Journal of the Evangelical Society 54 (2011):  5-17.  Incorporates a valuable section on archaeological work in (relatively) recent years vis-a-vis the OT, giving a capsule summary of a number of different finds and their significance for OT studies (11-14).

4/12/11  Peter H. Davids, “Authority, Hermeneutics, and Criticism,” in Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Methods and Issues, ed. David Alan Black & David S. Dockery (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 2-16.

4/11/11  Stanley E. Porter, “New Testament Versions, Ancient,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background, ed. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000), 745-48.

4/11/11  R. T. Beckwith, “The Canon of Scripture,” in T. Desmond Alexander and Brian S. Rosner, eds., New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000).

4/11/11  Charles J. Bumgardner, “As a Brother: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 and Ecclesiastical Separation,” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 14 (2009): 55-97.

4/8/11  David E. Aune, “The World of Roman Hellenism,” in The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament, ed. David E. Aune (Chichester, West Sussex, Great Britain: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 15-35.

4/6/11  R. Bruce Compton, “The Continuation of New Testament Prophecy and a Closed Canon: A Critique of Wayne Grudem’s Two Levels of New Testament Prophecy.” Argues that cessationism vs. continuationism is very much a live issue that (at certain levels) ought to separate fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.  This is so because the issue comes down to that of a closed vs. an open canon, Grudem’s arguments to the contrary notwithstanding.

4/5/11  Gordon D. Fee, “The Use of the Greek Fathers for New Testament Textual Criticism,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis, 2nd rev. ed., ed. by Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids: 1995), 191-207.  An excellent article which points out the challenges of using patristic quotations of Scripture in the text-critical enterprise.  Fee sees more value in patristic quotations than is generally assigned to them, but recognizes the massive challenges to proper apprehension and utilization of these quotations.  Proposes a methodological way forward which would increase the helpfulness of including patristic evidence in apparatus critici.

4/5/11  James R. Royse, “Scribal Tendencies in the Transmission of the Text of the New Testament,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis, ed. by Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids: 1995), 239-52.   Argues, among other points, that the standard text-critical canon lectio brevior potior (the shorter reading is to be preferred) is at the least suspect, and the evidence from the six pre-fourth-century papyri that are relatively lengthy indicates that, au contraire, “other things being equal, one should prefer the longer reading” (246).

4/4/11  Arthur G. Patzia, The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text & Canon, 2nd edition (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2011).  (My thanks to IVP for providing this volume gratis as an examination copy!)  In some ways, this is a NT introduction, condensed with many resources for further study.  Being “hot off the press,” it provides excellent bibliographic information “for further research.”  Helpful glossary.  I disagree with Patzia’s acceptance of pseudonymity as a possibility for canonical NT writings (p. 116ff).  I also have problems with his characterization of the NT as a “living text” which “developed freely, especially during the first two centuries” (226).

3/30/11  James D. G. Dunn, “The Thought World of Jesus,” Early Christianity 3 (2010), 321-43.  Excerpts.

3/23/11  Michael Holmes, “Reconstructing the Text of the New Testament,” in The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament, ed. David E. Aune (Chichester, West Sussex, Great Britain: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 77-87.  Lucid summary treatment.

3/22/11  Michael Riley, “The Argument for Musical Diversity.” In this seven-part series, Michael carefully critiques the typical arguments for a wide-ranging diversity of music in contemporary Christian thought.  His best analogy comes in part seven: There is a point to which diversity in theology is good and helpful, but “after a certain point diversity in theology is no longer profitable,” i.e., when it leads to a theological position at odds with Scripture.  In the same way, he suggests, musical diversity in worship is profitable to a point, but when a musical style communicates something affectionally mistaken about God, it ceases to be helpful or appropriate in that context.

3/22/11  Richard P. Belcher, A Journey in Grace: A Theological Novel (Columbia, SC: Richbarry Press, 1990).  I read this one to our family.  This is the first in Richard Belcher’s Journey series of “theological novels,” which chronicle the main character’s journey through life as a pastor and professor who wrestles through various theological issues as the series progresses.  This first installment tackles Calvinism.

3/19/11  Peter Rodgers, The Scribes: A Novel about the Early Church (1st Books Library, 2000).  A work of historical fiction set in the second century, providing a thought-provoking account of a Christian scribe’s journey around the Roman empire.  Gives good background material and helps one in thinking about textual criticism and NT apocryphal literature.  The author has done his homework.  Recommended by Rod Decker.

3/8/11  Herbert Lockyer, Jr.  “The Birth of the Modern Hymn,” in All the Music of the Bible (Hendrickson, 2004), 133-48.

3/8/11  Armin J. Panning, “Tischendorf and the History of the Greek New Testament Text,”  http://www.wlsessays.net/files/PanningTischendorf.pdf.  A good, 7-page overview.

3/1/11  Stanley E. Porter, “Textual Criticism,” pages 1210-1214 in Dictionary of New Testament Background, ed. Craig E. Evans and Stanley A. Porter (InterVarsity, 2000).  Article-length overview of textual criticism in the NT.  Considers overconfident the widespread confidence that modern textual criticism has essentially brought us the original text.  Suggests that perhaps instead of an eclectic text, we argue for the “earliest establishable text,” perhaps choosing single ancient manuscripts to go by for each given book of the NT:  “Such an ancient text despite its errors, represents a text that was used, in the case of the NT, in an ancient church context, even if it has readings that were not original” (1213-14).

2/26/11  John Sailhamer, Biblical Archaeology, Zondervan Quick Reference Library (Zondervan, 1998).  The series takes a topic and breaks it into 1-2 page chunks.  I read at this one during my breaks at work and found the format helpful for the small amount of time I had to read at a spell.  Gives an overview of archaeological finds related to the text and times of Scripture, organized by the chronology of biblical history.  As is the nature of the beast, the work is quite heavily weighted toward the OT.

1/19/11  Ehud Netzer, “In Search of Herod’s Tomb,” Biblical Archaeology 37:01 (Jan-Feb 2011).

1/18/11  Carl Trueman, The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Kindle edition; Moody, 2010).  In a nutshell, Trueman suggests that the real scandal is not so much a lack of “mind” as it is a lack of definable “evangelicalism.”

1/17/11  Callia Rulmu, “Between Ambition and Quietism: the Socio-political Background of 1 Thessalonians 4, 9-12,” Biblica 91 (2010): 393-417.  Rulmu digs deep into the social and political background of the empire at that time in order to establish the Sitz im Leben for the question of the disorderly.  The abstract: “Assuming the Christian group of Thessalonica to be a professional voluntary association of hand-workers (probably leatherworkers), this paper argues that 1 Thessalonians in general, and especially the injunction to «keep quiet» (4,11), indicates Paul’s apprehension regarding how Roman rulers, city dwellers, and Greek oligarchies would perceive an association converted to an exclusive cult and eager to actively participate in the redistribution of the city resources. Paul, concerned about a definite practical situation rather than a philosophically or even theologically determined attitude, delivered precise counsel to the Thessalonians to take a stance of political quietism as a survival strategy.”

1/23/11  Chris Anderson, “Congregational Music Is Special Music.” A good and balanced position on service music which allows for prepared music but rightly emphasizes congregation singing. “If prepared music points people Christ-ward, let’s do it. If it’s merely a demonstration of talent or a habit, let’s not.”

Into the eargate

11/4/11  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and SPCO Chorale, Dale Warland conducting the latter.  Our family enjoyed this melding of J. S. Bach and Arvo Pärt.  We heard roughly the second half of The Art of Fugue (with different instrumentalists taking the four parts for different fugues), and four choral selections by Pärt: his Summa, The Woman with the Alabaster Box, Bogoróditse Djevo (Mother of God and Virgin), and his Magnificat.  Absolutely beautiful choral music.  We also attended a pre-concert lecture by the SPCO’s artistic director Patrick Castillo.

10/22/11 Minnesota Orchestra concert, Robert Spano conducting.  My wife and I enjoyed a concert together, and I found Spano’s conducting to be strong and a pleasure to watch.  Three selections: (1) Manuel de Falla, Suite No. 2 from The Three-Cornered Hat (Three Dances).  We enjoyed this work with its Spanish flair.  (2) Astor Piazzolla, The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires, for Violin and Strings.  Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg was on the violin for this set of four tangoes, and we were rather surprised to see her stride onto the platform wearing a pair of bright red velvet-like pants and a sequined top (traditional tango attire?).  The program notes described the Seasons as “a tango-flavored take on Vivaldi’s classic, by turns slinky, seductive, powerful and haunting,” and Salerno-Sonnenberg’s gyrations while she played partook (I assume) of the tango flavor as well.  We were not impressed.  (3) Aaron Copland, Symphony No. 3.  Distinctly Copland, the Third was a joy to listen to.  He quotes from Fanfare for the Common Man toward the end.

8/4/11 Jon Pratt, “The New Perspective on Paul: Evaluation and Critique.”  Chapel series in four parts from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Plymouth, MN. I try to listen through this every year or two in order to review the salient points of the NPP debate. Online: http://www.centralseminary.edu/mp3/chapel/Pratt_NewPerspectivePt1_cc040709.mp3


8/2/11  Greg Stiekes, “The Historical Jesus,” Sunday school lesson, Bethany Bible Church, Hendersonville, NC, June 5, 2011.  An outstanding hour-long class on the Quests and Historical Jesus, quite suitable for laypeople in the church, and very engaging.  http://www.bethanybiblechurch.net/resources/singlesermon.php?link=20110605094500

7/8/11 Todd Mitchell, “With Reverence and Awe,” 2011 Conference on Conservative Christianity, 30-31 May 2011.

7/8/11 Michael Riley, “A Theological and a Biblical Argument for Conservatism,” 2011 Conference on Conservative Christianity, 30-31 May 2011.

6/26/11  Jason Parker, “At Our Mother’s Knee: The Church as the Necessary Community for Developing Conservative Christianity,” 2011 Conference on Conservative Christianity, 30-31 May 2011.

6/27/11  Kevin Bauder, Address on conservative Christianity, 2011 Conference on Conservative Christianity, 30-31 May 2011.

4/7/11  Camden Bucey and Daniel Kunkle, “Christian Education,” Christ the Center Interview, 3 Sep 2010.  Interview on teaching secondary education from a Reformed perspective. http://reformedforum.org/ctc138/

4/7/11  Kevin Bauder, “Passionate Teaching”.  FBFI Annual Fellowship , 2007.  Excellent treatment of teaching both right doctrine and right affections.  http://centralseminary.edu/resources/mp3-audio/138-passionate-teaching

3/13/11  Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect?  Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. A DVD series on marriage in ten 25- minute sessions.  Absolutely outstanding.  Great for married couples of any age, for engaged couples (would be wonderful for premarital counseling), and even for older children!  The biblical principles Paul teaches are applicable beyond the area of marriage.  As I recall, there is nothing in the sessions that would be inappropriate for children.

1/24/11  Mark Driscoll, “Religion Saves (+ Nine Other Misconceptions), part 9: Regulative Principle.” Here Mark explains to his congregation the difference between the normative (=”green-light”) principle and the regulative (=”red-light”) principle.  He ends up stating that Mars Hill holds to the normative principle in theory, but in practice they really look like a regulative principle congregation.  But they prefer to keep the God-given freedom of the normative principle “in case we ever need it.”

1/24/11  Dave Doran, “Three Qualities of God-Honoring Worship Songs (Col 3:16).” Core principles for evaluating the songs we use in worship.  (1) Accuracy in terms of Bible and theology (working from the interpretation that “teaching and admonishing” is by means of “songs, hymns, and spiritual songs.”  (1a) Does it use biblical language acceptably? (1b) Is it sound doctrinally/theologically? (1c) Does it communicate well / is it comprehensible? (2) Appropriateness.  (2a) Is it appropriate for worship?  Is it consistent with God’s character and how the Bible says he must be approached? God is holy (Heb 12:14, 28, 29), enduring (“Because God is unchanging and enduring, … we should not be caught up in faddish kinds of ways to worship God.”) (2b) Is it consistent with what God has called the church and believers to be and do (congregational response is supposed to be “that is true” (“Amen”) not “good job” (applause), so Doran has less problem with clapping during a song than after a song)?  (2c) Is it appropriate to the truth — does the music appropriately carry the lyrics?  We are to worship God reverently, and there are some tunes that are not reverent.  (3) Accessible. (3a) Within the congregation’s capability.  (3b) Within a congregation’s culture (reflecting those parts of a culture that morally and biblically acceptable).  “We can’t afford to be “up-to-date” [faddish] because we haven’t had time to discern what is pleasing to God.”  Doran gives two examples at the end comparing older and newer tunes of two texts: “All the Way My Savior Leads Me” and “Before the Throne of God Above”.

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