Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Twenty Four

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The discussion which begins on p. 634 on how exactly Paul reformed and reaffirmed Jewish monotheism is interesting in various ways. Tom begins by discussing texts such as the cause celebre Rom.8.18-30. His translation of key phrases is interesting (on which see his earlier Romans commentary). Instead of the word predestined, he prefers 'marked out in advance to be shaped according to the model of the image of the Son'. He also prefers the translation 'called according to his purpose' even … [Read more...]

The Apostolic Fathers– Helpful Editions

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Here below is a helpful post by Larry Hurtado. He does not mention what I would consider the best Intro to getting into the Fathers, namely my former GCTS classmate Rod Whitacre's Patristic Greek Reader published in 2007 by Baker, but otherwise this is a helpful summary. I should also add, that new unpublished works by Lightfoot, including essays on the Apostolic Fathers, will soon be forthcoming from yours truly and Todd Still under the title The Lightfoot Legacy. Stay tuned. ---- The … [Read more...]

The War on Christians in the World Today

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While many of us have been appalled by the recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt and the terroristic acts against churches in Pakistan, what many fail to realize, including apparently the author of the recent book on early Christian martyrdom reviewed previously on this blog, is that these actions are part of a much larger pattern of such persecution and murder. Here is a quote from a recent important article on this subject (see the link below), "According to the Pew Forum, between … [Read more...]

Another Review of Aslan’s Jesus Book

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Here is another review of Aslan's recent Jesus book, which appeared in the London review of books, saying basically what Hurtado said-- namely that the book focuses too much on the Zealot issue, rehashing old arguments, and leaves out some major clues to Jesus' identity and ministry--- namely the parables. See what you think.... The snake slunk off Diarmaid MacCulloch Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan Westbourne, 296 pp, £17.99, August, ISBN 978 1 … [Read more...]

Lecture on the Bible and the Media

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Here is the lecture I gave May 2nd at Castle College on the Bible and the Media... RELIGION AND THE MEDIA IN THE POST-MODERN WORLD PROLEGOMENA I have spent a great deal of my time as a professor of Biblical Studies working with the media--- ABC, NBC, CBS, the BBC, the Discovery and History Channels and so on. There are really two different sorts of dealings with the media that people who teach religion or theology are likely to have in this day and age--- questions from the press … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Ten

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The article by Andreas Dettwiler (translated by Eric Gilchrest and Nicholas Zola, the former of which is one of my own former students) has much the same orientation as the article by Sterling, reviewed in the previous post in this particular series. That is, it involves a comparison of the supposedly deutero-Pauline Colossians and Ephesians to the portrait of Paul in Acts. Like so many who take this view of the pseudonymous character of those Pauline letters, the author talks about a Pauline … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Nine

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It is a long standing tendency of certain streams of NT scholarship to claim or blame Paul for the way the Jesus movement turned out-- namely a largely Gentile religion based not on the teachings of Jesus but on what was later viewed as his soteriological significance and work. This in turn led to a 'back to Jesus' and 'away with Paul' thrust which we still hear the echoes of today from various members of the Jesus seminar, and most recently from the book by James Tabor Paul and Jesus: How the … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Eight

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Perhaps for the first time in this whole volume, Jens Schroter in his article on "Paul the Founder of the Church" provides a rationale for the title of the volume in saying "The Acts of the Apostles and the Pastoral Epistles belong to a trajectory of early Christianity committed to the heritage of Paul's mission and theology." (p. 195). As I have already said, there is a reason to connect those two sets of documents, the middle term being Luke, but if the Pastorals are ultimately from Paul they … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Two

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The next essay in Paul and the Heritage of Israel is one by Michael Wolter, based on sociology of knowledge paradigms as a key to interpreting Paul and as a way of distinguishing Paul from what Wolter calls the later pseudepigraphic Paul (in his view this includes 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, and the Pastorals). Basically, Wolter wants to make a hard and fast distinction between a religion of conversion (see 2 Cor. 5.17) and a religion of tradition (see the later Paulines). The … [Read more...]

The Craft of History and the Study of the NT— Part Two

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Here is the second part of my dialogue with my friend and colleague Beth Sheppard. 4) One of the things I hear regularly from folks like Bart Ehrman is that a true modern critical historian must bracket out the whole notion of the miraculous, which of course leaves large chunks of the NT in the lurch since the miraculous is on almost every page of the Gospels and Acts, and is found elsewhere in the NT as well. Do you think it is necessary to ignore or dismiss the miraculous in order to be a … [Read more...]