When a Syllabus is not a Syllabus— Ancient Literacies Part One

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The Latin word syllabus derives from the Greek word sillybos/ sillyboi. What it refers to in the first instance is the tag attached to a papyrus roll by which its contents is identified. One example of an actual tag from antiquity reads 'Hermarchus, 'Against Empedocles' Book 9'. There was no Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress system of labeling and cataloging rolls and codexes in antiquity, and so instead what was done was two fold: 1) a book list of rolls and codexes owned would be … [Read more...]

Men in Black with Aliens on their Backs


One of the things that made me most wish there was something like a 'neuralizer' was Men in Black II. What a come down after the first film came out in 1997 to considerable acclaim, producing many guffaws.So it was with some trepidation that I went to the Loewe's Cineplex in Boston yesterday and plunked down my $12.00 to see the IMAX 3D version of MIB III. Yes, it had the same fine actors, Will Smith playing J, and Tommy Lee Jones playing K (not to be confused with his Harvard … [Read more...]

The Living Legacy– a Graduation Message for Boston Baptist College


( the following commencement address was delivered in Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston on May 23rd, 2012).Me at Faneuil Hall preparing to give this address.THE LIVING LEGACYGraduations are always rites of passage of one sort or another. For some students a college degree is only the stepping stone or pre-requisite to a higher degree or degrees. I remember the advice of my Grandmother who only graduated from the 8th grade, as I was going on to seminary and PhD work. She … [Read more...]

The Problem for Christians in Syria


If you have not been hiding under a rock, you will have noticed that a lot of bad things have been going down in Syria in the last year. Lots of innocent persons killed, lots of mayhem and destruction. Most of it inflicted by governmental forces of President Bashar Assad. One of the great neglected subjects when it comes to American media coverage (see the article in U.S.A. Today May 11 by Stephen Starr, however, which is an exception), is the plight of Christians. Also MIA in American … [Read more...]

Debating the Didache— Was it Orthodox?

One of the more important and neglected extra canonical but very early Christian books is the Didache. There is now a gigantic Hermeneia commentary on it, so one would expect more discussion of this interesting early Christian document. Here below is some of that discussion by my friend Larry Hurtado. The Didache and Careful Reading by larry hurtadoIn the course of preparing an invited contribution for the Oxford Online Bibliography project on "Worship, New Testament and Early … [Read more...]

More on Justification and Campbell’s Views


(The following info from Larry Hurtado shows the ongoing furor over Campbell's take on righteousness). More Engagement with Campbell on “Justification” by larry hurtadoRunning a little behind in tracking journals, I've only recently noted that a recent issue of Journal for the Study of the New Testament (vol. 34, 2011) is devoted to a robust debate over Douglas Campbell's book, The Deliverance of God (which Campbell also discussed with me in response to an earlier posting on this blo … [Read more...]

Hurtado on Hengel

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(Here's a fine reminder of the value of the voluminous work of Martin Hengel. See what you think. BW3).New Testament Chronology and Christian Origins by larry hurtadoIn the course of writing an essay this past week in which I'm trying to work up a conceptual model for early Christianity, I had occasion to read again Martin Hengel's pithy gem-essay: "Christology and New Testament Chronology," in his book, Between Jesus and Paul (London: SCM, 1983), 30-47. Since grad students and … [Read more...]

The Matriculants— Asbury’s First PhDs in Biblical Studies

Ph.D.B.S. Graduates Class of 2012

The newly minted PhDs are in the forefront of the picture--- Adesola Akala, David Shreiner, and Mark Awabdy. You may recognize a few other souls in the picture. Your's truly is on the back row wearing his puffy hat and lots of Durham and Jerusalem red. … [Read more...]

First Raitt— Concert Bliss

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Finding good concerts with stars of the 60s and 70s who still play and sing well is of course becoming more and more difficult. Too many of them are in the morgue, or at least they sound like they are dead, and I'm grateful I've managed to avoid most of those kinds of concerts. But when the opportunity arose to see a clean and sober Bonnie Raitt back on top of her game, and on top of that, an opening act of Marc Cohn who still sings and plays wonderfully, even after he was shot in the head in … [Read more...]