watching young scholars grow up on the internet

While I was a faculty member at Westminster Theological Seminary, a colleague (not in biblical studies) wrote a rather heavy-handed response to a well-known biblical scholar. I felt embarrassed by it, so much so that I wrote the scholar in essence apologizing for the school and assuring him that the biblical studies department did not share [Read More...]

10 books that made me rethink the Bible

This is not my 10 “best” books list, nor am I suggesting these are “must reads” for everyone (though they are all great books). These are books that crossed my path 20-25 years ago, mainly while in graduate school, that influenced my thinking in new and heretofore largely unexplored directions, and so opened my eyes to the larger world of [Read More...]

“aha” moments: biblical scholars tell their stories (18): Rob Dalrymple

It’s been a while since our last “aha” moment, but I told you they’d be coming in now and then, and I’ll post them as they do. I don’t mind telling you, nothing I’ve ever posted here on Patheos has elicited as many private emails and Facebook messages as this series. There are a lot [Read More...]

is the “wrath of God” wrath?

Here is Luke Timothy Johnson’s comment on what Paul means by “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” in Romans 1:18. …it is precisely the sort of expression that would have been instantly grasped by Paul’s first hearers but seems puzzling and off-putting to present-day readers.  The “wrath of God” (orge tou theou) is not a psychological category [Read More...]

experience teaches us to be radically undogmatic

As Gadamer puts it, “The truth of experience always contains an orientation towards new experiences.  The perfection of this experience, the perfect form of what we call ‘experienced,’ does not consist in the fact that someone already knows everything and knows better than anyone else. “Rather the experienced person proves to be, on the contrary, someone who is radically undogmatic; who, because of [Read More...]

superamazing major announcement!!

Not really. Just letting y’all know that I’m going to begin moderating comments on my blog, so if there is lag time (a few hours or so) until your comment posts, you’ll know why. Nothing personal. It’s the best way for a busy guy to stay on top of what appears on his blog. Also, as [Read More...]

12 Ways Some Evangelical Leaders Avoid Dealing with Real Problems in the Bible: A Response (of sorts) to Christianity Today.

Writing books and having them reviewed go hand in hand. I bet book reviews go back to whatever third millennium BCE Sumerian priest carved into clay the first flood story and his rival priests who felt “He really could have done a better job.” Like most authors, I normally sit back and let my books [Read More...]

does experience affect our theology?

The Yankees aren’t in the World Series. And I’m mad. And I don’t like it. So, I got to thinking about the most depressing moment of my baseball life, the 2001 World Series–and don’t stop reading because this is going somewhere. 2001, of course, was the year of 9/11. NYC was in shock and everything [Read More...]

The NEW Jewish Study Bible: this is so awesome I’m getting verklempt

The second edition of The Jewish Study Bible (eds. Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler) is about the be released (October 28). Oxford University Press sent me a preview copy, and I couldn’t wait to dig in. I’ve been using the first edition for years, and I just absolutely love it. The translation used in both editions is [Read More...]

the gift of darkness (or, why being bored in church might be God telling you something)

St. John of the Cross writes, in his prologue to The Ascent of Mount Carmel: “A deeper enlightenment and wider experience than mine is necessary to explain the dark night through which a soul journeys toward that divine light of perfect union with God that is achieved, insofar as possible in this life, through love. The [Read More...]

God and true freedom

Only love can know love, only mercy can know mercy, only the endless mystery I am to myself is ready for God’s Infinite Mystery. When I can stand in mystery (not knowing and not needing to know and being dazzled by such freedom), when I don’t need to split, to hate, to dismiss, to compartmentalize what I cannot [Read More...]

if historical criticism is so bad for you, how come it’s so convincing? huh?

So we face a curious paradox. If biblical criticism leads to false and destructive results, and if it is indeed as intellectually bankrupt as some conservative theologians aver, then why have so many thoughtful believers entered university graduate programs with a vibrant devotion to God only to emerge on the other side of their studies with a [Read More...]


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