Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Nine

Chapter Three of Tom Wright's magnum opus is a first rate summary of Greek philosophy insofar as it has relevance to understanding the thought world and writing of Paul. Particular focus is given to Stoicism (including helpful discussions of Seneca and Epictetus of course). Such a precis is important because, as Tom stresses, Paul believed he was offering an essentially Jewish message to a largely pagan world (p. 200) and he wanted it to be a word on target, a persuasive word. The one thing I … [Read more...]

On the Separation of Church and State– Lincoln Weighs In

Here is a fascinating article about the blurring of the lines of the separation of church and state during the Civil War (an excerpt of which you will find below). It is a story about a North Carolinian, Presbyterian minister named Samuel B. McPheeters (a graduate of UNC and Princeton Seminary), who ran into trouble in 1863 in St. Louis due to his neutrality on the war, and finally ended up in 'my ole Kentucky home'. See what you … [Read more...]

Hurtado on Early High Christology

“High/Early Christology”: An Emerging Consensus? by larryhurtadoAlmost exactly a year ago, I posted on a very informative and judicious (in my view) review of recent scholarly work on the emergence of "high" christology (which = Jesus regarded and treated as in some meaningful way "divine") by Dr. Andrew Chester (Cambridge University), my earlier posting here. Given the tone of one or two recent comments, claiming, e.g., that any such view reflects some sort of theologically "conservative" … [Read more...]

The Crux of the Matter

There has been some recent debate about whether persons were crucified in the nude or not, and whether there is evidence that could settle this issue. There is no real historical doubt Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate (a punishment referred to by Tacitus himself who tells us Christ suffered 'the extreme penalty' which was crucifixion). But in fact there is evidence in Artemidorus about whether the crucified person was nude or not--- in fact he was. Here is what Artemidorus … [Read more...]

Graffiti in the Church of the Nativity

Matthew Kalmann has recently written an interesting article for the Guardian on the Church of the Nativity. Below you will find a small excerpt, and immediately below you will find a link to the article. It turns out, graffiti may have been a sanctioned practice in medieval churches and even earlier ones....http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/23/graffiti-selfies-record-bethlehem-pilgrims-church-nativity"Much of the graffiti is more suited to a park bench than the … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy on Coffee

Here's a nice post from the folks at orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org..... which I, as a former coffee shop owner where we have theologically named sandwiches (e.g. the Wesley Club, the Fo' Sure Not Kosher, etc.).----Your local coffeehouse may be a hotbed of heresy. Check the following list and see how yours measures up.Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee. Instant is Apollinarian because it’s had its soul removed and replaced. Frappuccinos are essentially a … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eight

Rehearsing a fair bit of the data Tom covered at length and well in Resurrection and the Son of God, Tom reminds us that the future hope of early Jews was basically not of an other-worldly nature. Very few texts (perhaps Wis. Sol. 3.1ff.) in fact take a non-material view of the afterlife. Thus Tom stresses that what answer you get from texts to a real extent depends on what questions you ask of a text--- If you ask What must I do to inherit everlasting life? and mean by that what many modern … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seven

Qualifications of an important thesis are always crucial. At the end of his robust defense of his exile thesis we get some of these and they are worth noting. First it should be noted that Tom is arguing that Deut. 27-30 combined with Dan. 7-9 (especially 9), set up a narrative pattern which affected many early Jews in the way they thought about their past, present and future. Many, but not all, by any means. On p. 158, in a parenthetical comment Tom says this--- "my case is not that all Jews … [Read more...]

Rock n’ Roll and Me— Part Three

The Stones, the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, the Animals, Led Zepplin, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, the Yardbirds, and on and on and on. The British Invasion changed American culture beginning about 1963-64. The American response was huge, and there was a period of music from about 1964-84 where there were an astounding number of good bands and solo artists cranking out great tunes, and playing lots of good concerts. I was fortunate enough to go to many of these concerts and see many of these … [Read more...]