Mandatum Thursday

 If you are wondering where in the world the phrase Maundy Thursday comes from, wonder no more. It actually comes from the phrase Mandatum Thursday, or loosely translated 'mandate' or 'commandment' Thursday. It refers to the commandment from John 13 which you see in the picture above. Unfortunately, it was assumed that John 13 is about what transpired on Thursday of Holy Week, but historically this is probably incorrect. There is not footwashing episode on Thursday according to all … [Read more...]

The Durham Chronicles are Coming!

  I have been named scholar in residence at John's College at the University of Durham (not to be confused with Duke) in Durham England. So I will be returning to my alma mater for the Spring or Easter term beginning today, Maundy Thursday. I will be writing a series of posts about my adventures and misadventures at my alma mater beginning soon. Stay tuned!! … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel— Part Thirteen


While the conclusion of this weighty tome is but six pages long (on which see the coda below) the final essay is not (pp. 290-317). Jean Francois Landolt (yet another colleague of Marguerat at Lausanne) focuses on Paul as an exemplary figure in his letters (see 1 Thess. 1.6; Gal. 4.12; 1 Cor. 4.16; 11.1; Phil. 3.17) and wants to compare that image with Acts, asking whether Acts also presents Paul as a exemplum. All this is fine and dandy, but Landolt also wants to take Romans 7 as … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Twelve


The issue of Paul working with his hands, which comes up in a variety of Pauline texts, and also in Acts (cf. Acts 20.33; 2 Thess. 3.7-10; 1 Tim. 5.17; 2 Tim. 3.7-10, and also the general discussion in 1 Cor. 9), is treated in the translated essay by Yann Redalie (pp. 282ff.). The elders in Ephesus are exhorted to follow Paul in regard to this practice, which is part of the largely exhortation towards imitatio Pauli. The motive given for such imitation in Acts 20 is so that the weak may be … [Read more...]

The Lust for Certainty


 In an uncertain time, in an uncertain world, where the epistemic foundations of knowing have been undermined by post-modern philosophies of meaning (its all in the eye of the beholder, we create our own meanings. Objective reality does not break through our cloud of unknowing), it is only natural that there have been deep seated needs expressed for certainty, and perhaps especially religious certainty. Consider the cartoon below. Where I see this lust for certainty on … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel— Part Eleven


However we evaluate the historical merits of Acts, and I am on record of thinking highly of them, the portrait of Paul in Acts is most certainly a construct, a selective portrayal, that leaves out of account many things, for example that Paul wrote important letters. Thus, it is appropriate to ask the question of Acts what sort of portrait is Luke trying to convey, and how much does it comport with what we can deduce from Paul's own letters, and indeed, other sources. Scholars today are more … [Read more...]

What Marriage is and Isn’t

Gold Wedding Rings

There is a first rate article on the nature of marriage from a legal point of view on the CNN website. Here is the link--- article is written by three persons legally competent to analyze the legal pros and cons of legalizing gay marriage. Here is how the article begins.....Editor's note: Robert P. George is a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton … [Read more...]

As Good as it Getz

Stan Getz, as much as anyone, was responsible for mediating Brazilian jazz to the American public. For one thing, his career went all the way back to the big band era (he played with Woody Herman), and it spanned the whole 'cool' period, hard bop period, classic jazz period, and beyond. And he was a saxaphone player with a smooth tone and style, who would be an enormous influence on folks like David Sanborn. Like so many musicians of his era, he was also plagued with drug problems which … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Ten


The article by Andreas Dettwiler (translated by Eric Gilchrest and Nicholas Zola, the former of which is one of my own former students) has much the same orientation as the article by Sterling, reviewed in the previous post in this particular series. That is, it involves a comparison of the supposedly deutero-Pauline Colossians and Ephesians to the portrait of Paul in Acts. Like so many who take this view of the pseudonymous character of those Pauline letters, the author talks about a Pauline … [Read more...]