Self-Designations and Group Identity– Part Three


The second major self-designation that Paul Trebilco explores at length is the term 'believer' (whether in a noun or a verbal ['the one believing'] form). This terminology occurs some 79 times in the NT with 65 of them being the substantive verbal form, the rest adjectival form. There is no debate that this same sort of terminology can be found in Josephus, Philo, and 15 times in the LXX we find the substantive use of the verb pisteuo, but what is notable is how much more frequent this … [Read more...]

Self-Designations and Group Identity– Part Two


The technical label fictive kinship is one a person frequently encounters in sociological literature when one is talking about a group that talks to and about each other as if they were family when in fact they are not physical kin. My problem with applying this technical phrase to the 'family of faith' language we find in the NT, is that it appears to me that Paul and others really believe there is such a thing as a spiritual kinship involved for those who are a part of the body of Christ (to … [Read more...]

Self-Designations and Group Identity— Part One


The sociological study on the NT has been going on now for decades, and it has produced some remarkable fruit ever since the landmark study by Wayne Meeks--- The First Urban Christians. More recently, one of the most useful and insightful approaches has involved appropriating social identity theory, especially when it comes to group identity. A good example of this is the recently published thesis of Aaron Kuecker on social identity in Luke-Acts. Paul Trebilco's work has for sometime made … [Read more...]

Jesus and his Disciples—- What’s in a Word


(A schematic of the large house of the fisherman unearthed in Bethsaida--- hometown of Peter and Andrew).The term mathetes is thrown around a lot in church these days, usually translated 'disciple'. It's actual literal sense is a 'learner' but often it means something more like 'adherent'. Interestingly, this term does not really show up in the NT outside of the Gospels and Acts, and in Acts the usage seems to be Lukan, by which I mean it does not seem to come from Luke's sources, but from … [Read more...]

Skyfall—- a 50th Year Anniversary Windfall

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While it is hard to believe, there have been 50 years worth of James Bond films, some very good, some not so good, some forgettable. Cubby Broccoli was in charge for most of the way, but more recently his daughter Barbara has taken over the director's chair, and to good effect. For the record, I've seen all the Bond films, some of them several times, and I am extremely happy to tell you--- the 50th anniversary edition is one of the very best. While the ending drags on a bit long as the villain … [Read more...]

Hurtado on God-Talk


“Binitarian,” “Dyadic,” “Triadic”: Early Christian God-talk and Devotion by larryhurtadoBack from the annual meeting of the British New Testament Society (King's College London, 6-8 Sept), I want to report on, and engage briefly, the plenary lecture by Professor Anthony Thiselton: "Must We Rest Content with 'Binitarianism' in New Testament Studies?" I respect and admire Professor Thiselton greatly, and this is not in any way intended to refute or negate his lecture. But, given that he ope … [Read more...]

A Dog Gone Mistake

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Here's a helpful piece by Larry Hurtado. See what you think. BW3 Dogs, Doggies, and Exegesis by larryhurtadoSince the assigned lection a few Sundays ago on Jesus and the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30), I've intended to comment on what appears to me a surprisingly widespread mis-reading of the passage. Essentially, the "dogs" (who Jesus says here must wait till after the "children" have eaten before they can be fed) are taken with an extremely pejorative connotation as feral … [Read more...]

The Radicality of Jesus

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Despite our very best efforts to domesticate Jesus, or recreate him in our own image, Jesus continues to burst our conventional ideas and images of what he must have been like. This is especially clear in his sayings about calling people away from their families in order for them to follow Jesus. We've discussed sayings like 'I did not come to bring peace but sword....' before on this blog, not to mention Mk. 3.31-35, but today we need to address certainly one of the most shocking things … [Read more...]

‘Flight’ Risk—Decensus ad Inferno

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When you come to the end of yourself, you meet your God. And when you come to the end of your lies, you meet the truth. Whip Whitaker is an addict so deeply into denial, that like most addicts, he thinks his will power is still in control. Alas, of course it is not. The problem is multiplied by the fact that he is also a major airline pilot, and worse still he is able to fly well, even when, stoned, drunk, or coked out or all three. We meet Whip the night before a flight from Orlando to … [Read more...]