John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift— Final Part

[The following are the verbatim conclusions from John's book,reprinted here by kind permission of Eerdmans]Chapter 18: ConclusionsThis book has offered a new approach to the concept of “grace,” a new analysis of Second Temple theologies of divine beneficence, and a new reading of Galatians and Romans through the lens of Paul’s theology of grace. We may summarize its distinctive contribution under five heads.1. Grace as Gift: Since both Paul and his contemporaries used the normal … [Read more...]

Steven Saylor’s Wrath of the Furies


As we will soon realize with the coming of the mega-event--- the Star Wars reboot at Christmas, it is very difficult to pull off a prequel successfully when it comes to putting real tension into the story line. Why? Because you already know what happens to the protagonists in the story when it comes to living and dying. Obviously, they live, because there are a variety of adventures already chronicled from later in the person or person's lives. So there has to be other ways to put tension … [Read more...]

John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift– Part Twenty One

panion to this one... if we are not both exhausted and if we are still game then.Blessings to you and yours, and we at Asbury hope you will come back sometime,Ben -----BEN: You decided to go out with a bang dealing with the most complicated material in all of Paul’s letters in Rom. 9-11 in your final chapter. This particular segment of Romans has been said to be the exegetes graveyard, where they go to die or at least die trying to figure it out. Let’s start with some of your ob … [Read more...]

John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift– Part Twenty

BEN: On p. 497 you discuss the synkrisis in Rom. 5.12-21. Focusing for a moment on 5.18-19 it seems to me that Paul is not merely saying that one group was considered sinners and then as a result of the grace gift, considered righteous. No, Paul wants to say more than that. He wants to say the act of Adam constituted human beings as fallen creatures, sinners, inherently so. And the grace gift, by contrast constitutes people as righteous, or to use Paul’s own terms they are ‘made rig … [Read more...]

Return to Zion has Arrived!

2014-05-14 19.39.31

The last of the Art West thrillers is now available, and as my Granny would say--- it's a doozy! It includes: 1) the blowing up of the Temple mount, 2) the uncovering of the cause of Yassir Arafat's death; 3) an archaeological discovery at Caesarea Maritima that shakes up the Christians in Israel; 4) a reunion of the old friends; 5) a new baby...... and much much more. Check it out. Here is the back cover tease, and blurbs.TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR KHALIL EL SAID, AS HIS … [Read more...]

John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift– Part Nineteen

BEN: On p. 471, you draw a helpful comparison between what Philo does in spiritualizing circumcision and what Paul does in interiorizing it I wonder, if one had interviewed Paul, if he would not say that he was most definitely a Jew inwardly well before he became a Christ follower. After all, he says in Philippians that no one could fault his keeping of the Law and the righteous standing one has from doing so when he was a Pharisee. Saul of Tarsus was no hypocrite. Indeed, as he says, he … [Read more...]

The Basilica at Catholic University– Part Three


There are of course many forms of Catholicism, and even offshoots from early Catholicism. Here is a couple of plaques reminding us about the Marionites.Here below are shots of the beautiful mosaics in several of the chapels in the crypt. See if you can identify the scenes depicted in the mosaics. … [Read more...]

The Basilica at Catholic University– Part Two


The Basilica at Catholic University does not have frescoes, nor does it have ordinary painted domes as this first picture will show.There is as well an interesting use of traditional Christian symbols, for instance this is the famous depiction of the seraphim with six wings, covering up. This same depiction can still be seen in Hagia Sophia. It is one of the few Christian symbols that were not defaced by the Muslims when they turned it into a mosque.Mary of course is not the only … [Read more...]

The Basilica at Catholic University— Part One


It is said that the Basilica at Catholic University is the large church in America. It may be true if we are talking about just the sanctuary itself. The building was constructed in the late 19th and in the 20th century, and there are still some chapels being constructed in the crypt. While at was lecturing at the Christology conference there, I was given a tour of the basilica by a young priest, and these pictures in this post and the next couple are the result. I will focus on the outside and … [Read more...]