John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift– Part Two

Ben: The Greek term ‘charis’ does indeed have as a basic meaning gift, though the term can also be used to refer to the response of ‘gratitude’ to the gift. One linguistic question arises--- can a response to a charis (gift) really be seen as a ‘gift’, since it's not initiated without prior stimulus or conditions? Or should we say that ‘charis’ at least when predicated of humans responding to God has a different sense than it does when it is predicated of God?John: As you say, Gre … [Read more...]

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

(published August 2015, Eerdmans, 656 pages).There are only a few landmark or seminal books in one scholar's lifetime, that are written in his field. When it comes to Paul and my scholarly career, one can easily mention E.P. Sanders Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977), and Wayne Meeks, The First Urban Christians (2 editions, 2nd edition 2003). It is too early to assess the impact of John Barclay's Paul and the Gift, for various reasons, not the least is that it is the first of a two … [Read more...]

City of Gold and Shadows– The Twelfth Felse Novel

The Felse series of novels first appeared in the 60s and 70s, then there were new editions by Headline in the 80s and 90s, the latter partly prompted, no doubt, by the enormous success of the Cadfael novels which began in 1977 and ran into the 90s. The Twelfth novel in the Felse series, which emerged for the first time in 1973, is once more all about George the Inspector (with cameo appearances by Bunty), and not about Dominic or his fiancee Tossa who are off in India helping with agricultural … [Read more...]

More Analysis on the Talpiot Tomb and the James Ossuary

Eerdmans has published a very important collection of essays, which were originally papers given at a conference in Jerusalem in January 2008. The papers have been collected and put together by my fellow N.C. Methodist NT scholar, Jim Charlesworth, and the book is entitled 'The Tomb of Jesus and His Family? Exploring Ancient Jewish Tombs Near Jerusalem’s Walls (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013. Pp. xx + 585. Paper.$48.00. ISBN 9780802867452.The book has recently been reviewed by Jodi Magness o … [Read more...]

Death to the Landlords— the Eleventh Felse Novel

The second and final Felse novel set in 'darkest India' is a novel that involves only Dominic Felse, whose fiancee has apparently gone back to Oxford to finish her degree, leaving Dominic to go walkabout. In other words, this is a travelogue novel, with Dominic touring the southern part of India, right down to the Cape. Along the way, he has the misfortune of running into another murder, this time by Nagalite terrorists who's battle cry is 'Death to the Landlords', especially the uber-corrupt … [Read more...]

The Knocker on Death’s Door— The Tenth Felse Novel

The word knocker can have several meanings. It can refer to a person who knocks on a door, or it can refer to an implement on the door, in this case a church door. In Ellis Peter's tenth novel, and the best so far in the series, it, and many other things are in fact double entendres. Indeed, many things are not as they seem in this novel. There is a church door which isn't, and a Norman family which is, well sort of, and a crime which seems to have no link with more recent murders, and yet it … [Read more...]

Mourning Raga— The Ninth Felse Novel

As it turns out, some this series of mysteries by Ellis Peters focus on George, some on Dominic, and at least one on Bunty Felse. This one is entirely focused on Dominic and his girl Tossa, and their impromptu trip to India, free of charge, in exchange for escorting the daughter of a film star to her father's home in Delhi. If the last novel was all opera all the time, this one is all atmosphere, and Peters does an excellent job of conveying the sounds, sights, smells, feel of incredibly … [Read more...]

The House of Green Turf– The 8th George Felse Novel

The eight novel in the George and Dominic Felse series takes on the character of an opera, not least because it involves a diva, Maggie Tressider, who has gained fame throughout Europe as a remarkable alto with beautiful steel blue eyes. Maggie is unattached, married to her career so to speak, and doing well until one very rainy day, she slides off the motorway and has a big wreck and a near death experience. This in itself might be enough to overcome, but she begins to feel that she is being … [Read more...]

The Grass Widow’s Tale– The Seventh Felse Novel

The Free Dictionary online (by Farlex accessed 8-27-15) gives us an interesting history for the term grass widow. It says the following--- The phrase "Grass widow is first recorded in 1528, and originally referred to an unmarried woman who has lived with one or more men, a discarded mistress, or a woman who has borne a child out of wedlock. The grass in grass widow seems to have originally made reference to the makeshift bed of grass or hay (as opposed to a real bed with a mattress and … [Read more...]