April 6, 2011

Introduction | Chapter One | Chapter Two (N.B.  This is a long post on this chapter, and you may want to take it in doses, as there is much to deal with). So we may orient ourselves appropriately we will start with Bart’s bold conclusion on p. 114.— “the majority of scholars acknowledge that whereas there are seven letters in the New Testament that Paul certainly wrote, , six others are probably (or for some scholars, certainly) not by Paul…”    I have… Read more

April 5, 2011

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700123591/Historical-Jesus-Prophet-or-revolutionary.html The author of the article interviewed several scholars, including your truly.   Check it out. Read more

April 5, 2011

Introduction | Chapter One Bart begins his second chapter (pp. 43-77)  by making the good point that truth is complex, and that there can be stories that may never have historically happened, but are true in some other or deeper sense.   Obviously any kind of good fiction, say parables, is a good example of this point.  Parables are not attempt to describe things that have actually happened and were observed to have happened.   There has never been a harvest like the… Read more

April 4, 2011

Meet Hassan Saida.  By day a truck driver, by night a cave crawler.   He lives in the northern part of the Galilee, and claims he found these lead objects in a cave (where else) northeast of the Sea of Galilee near the conjunction of  Israel Jordan and Syra, near the town of Saham, Jordan.   Jordanian officials naturally want these object back and are making large claims about their importance in regard to Jesus and the history of his earliest… Read more

April 4, 2011

Introduction The first chapter begins with something of a disclaimer.  “There was a good deal of that sort of activity in the ancient world [i.e. forgery]…although it was not a major factor in early Christianity. This was for a simple reason: Christian books were not, by and large, for sale”  (p. 15) and as Bart points out,  making money was even in antiquity one major reason for forgeries.    On p. 17 Bart goes on to say that there is ‘scant’… Read more

April 4, 2011

There have been three truly great medieval murder mystery writers in my lifetime, all British—  Ellis Peters  (aka Edith Pargeter, with her sleuth Brother Cadfael), C.J. Sansom,  and Paul Doherty.  They all write very well, know how to keep you guessing and have produced interesting full-bodied characters.   While Peters novels are a bit lighter and more cheerful and often involve romance as well as murder,  Doherty and Sansom’s novels plumb the depths of some of the more dark side… Read more

April 3, 2011

If you were to actually begin reading Love Wins with the very last chapter, you would quickly see why I have said the book deserves to be evaluated primarily as a poetic expression of Rob’s faith.   It is not an exercise in detailed exegesis or systematic theology any more than the psalms (songs) should be evaluated as systematic theology.    While I agree that the underlying theological assumptions and assertions in this book are fair game for close analysis and critique, … Read more

April 2, 2011

[Note: This continues the chapter-by-chapter review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins.  To catch up on the series so far, read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six] I like Rob Bell’s pastoral spirit.  And I love the story he tells at the beginning of the Seventh Chapter of this book.  Rob knows how to deal with abused persons and broken persons in compassionate ways, in the spirit of  Christ’s own dealings with such persons. There’s no doubt that Rob is… Read more

April 1, 2011

On my trip to Houston, from which I just returned,  I had occasion to visit Mark Lanier’s  brainchild— a little Christian enclave consisting of a fine research library (modeled, as he told me on various Oxfordian libraries) a beautiful Orthodox style stone chapel, and a Cotswoldian style cottage for scholar’s in residence to stay in.  With my sabbatical coming up next year,  I volunteered to be scholar in residence for a bit.   Mark Lanier is an interesting guy—- said to… Read more

March 31, 2011

[Note: This continues the chapter-by-chapter review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins.  To catch up on the series so far, read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.] It’s not usually kosher to complain when a book written for lay people and even for non-believers fails to reference a particular part of the scholarly discussion of something.  But when in fact ignorance of the discussion leads to misinterpretation of Biblical texts, on issues as large as — ‘on what basis are… Read more

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