September 22, 2003

There’s a wonderful article in the October 2003 issue of First Things by David B. Hart, an Orthodox theology who teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota (also home to William Cavanagh, one of the most interesting American theologians writing today). Hart’s article is taken from a lecture on the First Commandment, and he makes the argument that the modern world is faced with the stark choice between Christ and nihilism. I resist the urge to… Read more

September 21, 2003

Communion meditation for September 21: In many traditional Eucharistic liturgies, the liturgy begins with the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), which includes the words that were sung to Jesus at the time of His entry into Jerusalem: “Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.” By this song, the church was acknowledging the entry of Jesus to commune with His bride at the table. Normally, we think that Jesus comes… Read more

September 21, 2003

My exhortation for September 21: The word of God always divides. It always evokes hostility as well as faith. That is what Jesus says about John’s preaching and ministry in our sermon text this morning, and it was also true of Jesus’ preaching. Both John and Jesus divided Israel by their words, by the sharp sword of their mouths. We can see it right here in the text: When Jesus commends John’s ministry, part of the crowd, the people and… Read more

September 20, 2003

More from Green’s commentary: Luke is amazing. In 7:1-10, Jews come to Jesus interceding for the centurion. They insist that the centurion is worthy of attention because he has done good to the nation of Israel: “He loves our nation, and it was he who built our synagogue” (v. 5). They want Jesus to do a loving thing for the centurion because the centurion has done a loving thing for Israel. “Do good, Jesus, for the centurion has done good… Read more

September 20, 2003

Building from Joel Green’s comments on Luke 7:1-10, I suggest a combination of chiastic and parallel structure in the passage: A. Centurion’s slave is ill, v 2 B. Centurion sends delegation of Jews, v 3 C. Jews convince Jesus the centurion is “worthy,” vv 4-5 D. Jesus responds by going with them, v 6a B’. Centurion sends a delegation of “friends,” v 6b C’. Friends insist that the centurion is “not worthy,” vv 6c-8 D’. Jesus responds by commending the… Read more

September 20, 2003

Bailey’s discussion (previous post) also helped me to answer questions about the sexual imagery of Luke 7. Not only do we have references to “feet” (euphemistic for sexual organs), but the woman is said to “touch” him, which often has sexual connotations as well. Plus, the woman looses her hair as she approaches Jesus, something a respectable Jewish woman would likely not do except before her husband. But that’s just the point: She is acknowledging Jesus as her husband. She… Read more

September 20, 2003

There is a very intriguing analysis of Luke 7:36-50 in Kenneth Bailey’s Through Peasant Eyes . He points out that Simon the Pharisee must have invited Jesus to his house with the deliberate intent of insulting him, testing him. Simon left out all the basic rites of hospitality, which he could not have done without deliberate malicious intent. He was treating Jesus not as an honored guest but as a much inferior person, and the woman makes up for his… Read more

September 20, 2003

It was one of those “blinding flashes of the obvious” that Jim Jordan often talks about (and apparently, experiences). I was asked the other day if the effort to formulate a thorough-going Trinitarian theology was an exercise of systematics, and if so how this fit with my bias (and that of many others, especially of the Biblical Horizons crowd) toward biblical theology. I had answered before I realized fully what I was saying: Yes, of course, Trinitarian theology is systematics,… Read more

September 19, 2003

After reading through a stack of papers on Aeschylus’s Oresteian trilogy, a few thoughts have occurred to me, mainly having to do with my unbegun and doubtless forever unfinished work on the atonement, sacrifice, and so on. Essentially, these thoughts all boil down to one question: What would Aeschylus have made of the gospel? What would he have made of a suffering and bleeding God who brings an end to sacrifice? It seems at times that he almost is hoping… Read more

September 19, 2003

In the Greek text of Ephesians 2:8, the statement “and this not of ourselves, it is the gift of God” is chiastically structured. A wooden translation is: “and this not out of ourselves, of God the gift,” with the EX HUMON (“out of ourselves”) chiastically matching the genitive THEOU (“of God”). OK, so what? Chiasm works, at least at times, by moving the text “down” to a depth or “into” a center, and then digging it out again. In the… Read more

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