Laying it on the Line— A Reflection on Lay Ministry


LAYING IT ON THE LINE: THE ROLE OF LAITY IN MINISTRY THEN AND NOW  (A Lecture Given in Houston)Ben Witherington, IIII have been reading an important recent volume by Ramsay MacMullen, the doyen of social historians, now retired from Yale—The Second Church. A.D. 200-400 (SBL 2009).  In this volume, MacMullen chronicles in detail, region by region throughout the Mediterranean world how the church, its leadership structures, and its buildings developed over that period of time, with the gre … [Read more...]

X Men— X-Troverts Xtraordinaire


I have to admit,  I have not been the world's biggest fan of  the X Men, either the previous movies or the comic book originals.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Marvel comics as a kid growing up, but I mostly focused on Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, Captain America (who shows up in theaters next month) and the like.  There were lots of different comic lines in the Marvel arsenal, and X Men, as far as I was concerned was down the depth chart.   There were various reasons for that.  For one thing, th … [Read more...]

Plane Movies—– 127 Hours during 11 Hours


During my 11 and a half hour flight from Istanbul to Chicago after a two hour flight from Izmir to Istanbul and followed by an hour and a half flight from Chicago to Lexington I watched two pretty good movies I missed first go around.  This was indeed a long days journey into night (ever had a 32 hour day?).  The first of these films I watched was  127 Hours, James Franco's star turn portraying the true story of  a hiker and spelunker who literally find himself between a rock and a hard place (wh … [Read more...]

How Long Were Ancient Manuscripts Used?


The following is another post from a good colleague and friend, Larry Hurtado.--------------George W. Houston, "Papyrological Evidence for Book Collections and Libraries in the Roman Empire," in Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome, ed. William A. Johnson and Holt N. Parker (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 233-67.One matter Houston addresses is how long manuscripts appear to have been in use.   On the basis of manuscripts from Oxyrhynchus a … [Read more...]

'The Prince of Darkness' Grim……..

As most of you know, I enjoy good mysteries, especially those well grounded in historical realities of the given period.  'The Prince of Darkness' is such a mystery written by the prolific novelist and headmaster of a Catholic school in England,  P.C. Doherty.   I have enjoyed getting to know the redoubtable Paul and his novels, of which there are many.  He and I share various things in common, not the least of which is a fondness for Durham (no not the one in North Carolina).This particular no … [Read more...]

Gobecklitepe Temple—- the History Channel

Here is something to whet your appetite for my reports when I return from Gobecklitepe and from Mt. Ararat.   BW3: … [Read more...]

Evangelical Sub-Cultures


Though the term Evangelicalism has come to mean different things to different people  (e.g. to very liberal Protestants it seems to be a term hardly distinguishable from the term Fundamentalism) but what it usually connotes is Conservative Protestants, and more specifically white Conservative Protestants.  In fact many African American Protestants are just as conservative as 'Evangelicals'  but they do not self-identify as 'Evangelicals'.    A good litmus test is looking at the membership rolls o … [Read more...]

Ancient Monotheistic Worship


Further to his post on monotheism, Larry Hurtado has now posted this on his blog.....-----------In response to some comments and questions directed to my posting (4 May) on the term "monotheism," I want to emphasize the particular importance of worship in the ancient religious setting.  For a variety of historical reasons, western scholars have tended to focus on religious beliefs, doctrines, and the terminology used to express them, and often have neglected worship.  I'll try to be … [Read more...]

Early Christian Testimonia Texts


What follows in this blog post is another fine blog post by my friend and NT colleague Larry Hurtado----------------------Another noteworthy manuscript recently published in the Oxyrhynchus volumes is P.Oxyrhynchus 73.4933, a papyrus leaf with remains of excerpts of several OT texts in Greek (Jer. 38:24-26 [LXX]; Amos 9:11-12; Psa. 17:1-11).   The editor dates the handwriting ("an upright semi-documentary hand") to the late third or early fourth century CE.    For full introduction a … [Read more...]