Thursday, April 28, 2016

When the Rock Star met the Bible Scholar

Fascinating little video here

I was struck, one, by Peterson's focus on the task in hand (not being distracted from his deadline by a world famous rock star's invitation. Surely an indication of how he has acheived so much in life, focus!

And two, by Bono's comment about the dishonesty of Christian art and worship music. Ouch!

Enjoy, let me know what you think,


Monday, April 11, 2016

The Secret Life of Bible Societies

Scot McKnight offers a fascinating precis of John Fea's book The Bible Cause. It is not for nothing that many countries ban the distribution of Bibles, it is a highly political act, but not just the distribution, a Bible society's decisions about what to include or exclude can have far reaching effects. Forget the Illuminati we should all be worrying about the agendas of the Bible societies.

Easter, that famous pagan festival, not.

We've probably all heard how the celebration of Easter is based on the pre Christian celebration of the goddess Oester, from who we got oestrogen, and that Christians just tacked on some cute stories about Jesus to fit in with it. Of course that is a rather revisionist approach to the Christian explanation which is that Easter is the Christian celebration of the passover, fulfilled as it was by Jesus in his death and resurrection. And it also rather neatly ignores the fact that Christianity did not start celebrating Easter in Europe (where it could conceivably have been borrowing the fertility rites of a fictive German goddess) but in the Middle East. But never mind. Anyway if you are interested, I thought this was a helpful article on the subject. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Going further with Hebrew

So last year I did the introduction and intermediate course in Hebrew with Laidlaw College. I had previously self taught myself enough Hebrew to engage with commentaries, do word studies, etc, but it was good to go systematically through a course with the aim to actually read something off the page. So like many Hebrew students I am left with the question, "what next". What I wanted was a list of easy-ish Hebrew texts I could work my way through, to help me practice what I had learned without becoming hopelessly discouraged by coming across passages I had no chance with. I found this list on a blog copied from a book. All I wanted was the list but if you want more assistance I suggest you buy the book.

I'm going to be working my way through the list which will hopefully result in me not forgetting all I learnt last year! I'll let you know how I get on. Are there any other lists like this that you are aware of? Dan Wallace provides this list of how to read through the New Testament in order of difficulty (easiest first).

Law

1. Genesis 1:1-5 – In the Beginning
2. Genesis 2:1-3 – The Seventh Day
3. Genesis 26:1-6 – God’s Promises to Isaac
4. Genesis 35:9-15 – God’s Promises to Jacob
5. Genesis 43:1-8 – Jacob Sends Benjamin to Egypt
6. Exodus 3:1-12 – The Burning Bush
7. Exodus 6:1-8 – I am the LORD
8. Exodus 34:1-6 – The LORD Proclaims His Name
9. Leviticus 19:1-4 – The Demand for Holiness
10. Numbers 6:22-26 – Aaron’s Blessing
11. Deuteronomy 6:1-15 – The Shema
12. Deuteronomy 11:18-23 – Teach These Words to Your Children
13. Deuteronomy 31:1-8 – Be Strong and Courageous

Prophets

14. Joshua 24:14-18 – Joshua’s Challenge to Serve the LORD
15. Judges 3:7-11 – The LORD Delivers Israel with Othniel
16. Judges 10:10-15 – Cry to the Gods Whom You Have Chosen
17. 1 Samuel 15:10-24 – To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice
18. 2 Samuel 7:1-9 – David’s Desire to Build the Temple
19. 1 Kings 8:22-26 – Solomon’s Prayer
20. 2 Kings 17:34-40 – You Shall Fear the LORD
21. Isaiah 43:1-6 – You Are Precious in My Eyes
22. Jeremiah 31:31-34 – A New Covenant
23. Ezekiel 37:1-6 – The Valley of Dry Bones
24. Joel 3:1-5 (2:28-32) – I Will Pour Out My Spirit

Writings

25. Psalm 23:1-6 – The LORD is My Shepherd
26. Psalm 100:1-5 – Hymn of Praise
27. Psalm 121:1-8 – The LORD Will Keep You
28. Ezra 7:6-10 – A Model for Generations to Come
29. 2 Chronicles 1:7-10 – Solomon Asks for Wisdom
30. 2 Chronicles 7:1-4 – The Glory of the LORD Fills the Temple

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tanya Riches: A new (to me) blog!

A little while back on facebook I came across this gem of an article about citing people (even if they are female and/or Australian). I think Tanya is too soft on cheating scumbags who want to pass off other people's work as their own, but never mind, and otherwise she is spot on.

But the blog also includes theological music reviews and commentary on aboriginal rights among other things. So check Tanya out. I've added her to my feed reader.

Jospeh's Bones (Genesis 5:24-25)

I've been thinking this week about the bones of Joseph. There is a strange little bit at the end of the book of Genesis where Joseph tells his family that when the time comes for Israel to return to the land of Canaan he wants his bones taken with them (Gen 50:24-25). I've read it many times and not given it much thought. But this week I was struck by the fact that this is really strange.

Think about it for a second. Joseph has seen four generations of his children born in Egypt (50:23). He was given the highest non-hereditary office in the land of Egypt (41:41-3). He married into a high status family in Egypt (41:45). He became the saviour of Egypt and surrounding lands during a terrible famine (41:56-57). So in Egypt he has family, wealth, success, prestige and honour, everything that the world could offer. What better resting place could there be for his bones? Why would he want his bones taken back to Canaan, the land of his childhood where he was a spoilt brat hated by his brothers?

But it is not nostalgia that motivates Joseph. He does not call Canaan "the land of my childhood", but "the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Jacob's motivation is not in the past but in the future. Even after all he had in the land of Egypt his heart was in the promises of God for the future. What a challenge to us! How attached are we to this world and what it gives us? Is our heart really in the future promised by God or are we happy for our "bones" to rest for ever in the blessings of this world? For as Jesus said, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:21).

Monday, February 22, 2016

NZATS conf and call for papers



If you love a good acronym, then this is the conference for you!
NZATS Conference

Keynote speakers will be Murray Rae, Tim Meadowcroft and Rebecca Dudley.

Conference Announcement And Call For Papers


New Zealand Association of Theological Schools (NZATS) and it’s member institutions are coming together for a combined conference in 2016.


– Aotearoa-New Zealand Association of Biblical Studies (ANZABS)


– Aotearoa-New Zealand Association of Mission Studies (ANZAMS)


– Systematic Theology Association of Aotearoa-New Zealand (STAANZ) and


– Religious History Association of Aotearoa-New Zealand (RHAANZ)


– Network for Pastoral/Practical Theology in Aotearoa New Zealand (NPPTANZ)


Conference organiser on behalf of NZATS: Dr Myk Habets (myk.habets@carey.ac.nz)


All scholars and students involved in theological education or Christian ministry are invited to attend.


The 2016 NZATS Combined Conference will be hosted by Carey Baptist College, 473 Great South Road, Auckland, NZ

Just watch out for the NPPTANZ vs ANZAMS volley ball match, things could get bloody.




For more click here

Monday, February 15, 2016

Yes They Are The Same God

All the kerfuffle over that poor professor, it really is remarkable that intelligent people can find it so hard to understand.

Yes. Yahweh, Allah and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ are all intending to refer to the same object - the creator and soveriegn of the Universe, the one true God.

Nick Norelli (PBUH) makes the usual mistake of thinking that just because someone is wrong about an aspect of the object they are therefore referring to a different object altogether.

Here's the thing, saying we mean the same God is not the same as saying that we are all correct in our beliefs about that one God just as the Flat Earth Society live on the same Earth that we all do they are just wrong on the subject of its basic shape. And thank God for that else we'd all be unable to pray to or talk about the Most High on account of the smallest imperfections in our theology.

Put this another way, some people think I am a really cool guy, other think I'm a complete moron. Whether they are right or wrong (or the answer is a bit of both) they still refer to the same chap when they talk about me, even if they are fundamentally wrong about my character.

Don't they?


Where Does All Our Time Go?

Came across a fascinating (if slightly hyperbolic) article the other week. Well worth a read

If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it’s hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the – universally reviled – unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc) – and particularly its financial avatars – but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3-4 hour days.

Let me know what you think :-)

The Honest Christian Worship Album


Though this was pretty funny, if also a little painfully accurate? (source)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Liberalism has Started to Eat Itself: Jacob Williams on Free Speech

So this is an interesting discussion affecting Oxford University at the moment.

Here's one side of the story


And here's another.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bauckham on "Deliberate Hindsight"

"If God crucified introduces radical novelty into the identity of God, wherein lies the consistency of identity? The first point to make is . . . that Jewish monotheism did not characterize the uniqueness of God in such a way as to make the early Christian inclusion of Jesus in the unique identity of God inconceivable . . . However, this - so to speak - negative consistency was clearly not sufficient for the early Christians . . . they developed their fresh understanding of the Christological identity of God through creative exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures . . . Precisely at points where they appreciate most fully the new identity of God in Jesus, they are engaged in exegesis, the process of bringing the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures and the history of Jesus into mutually interpretive interplay. We misunderstand this process if we see it as an attempt, by reading Christology back into the texts, to pretend that actually nothing at all was unexpected . . . With deliberate hindsight they understand the identity of the God of Israel afresh in the light of his new identity as the God of Jesus Christ."

Richard Bauckham, "God Crucified," Jesus and the God of Israel, 2008: pp53-54

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Scholarly Bunfight Brewing Over Peter

If you like a good scrap between Bible scholars (and I do!) you should get in at the start of emerging hostilities between Larry Hurtado and Robert Gundry. They are both top rank NT scholars (IMHO) but come from very different approaches.

Larry started it in this scathing review of Robert's latest book about the apostle Peter.
For readers of any persuasion, however, the thesis advanced in Gundry’s book will come as something of a shock. Gundry insists that, just like Judas Iscariot, the Peter of the Gospel of Matthew is presented in a very negative light as a total and final failure. Other scholars might hesitate to defend such a view, given that it appears that no one previously in the 1900 years of reading of Matthew has advocated it.
While Robert has riposted on Scot McKnight's blog with a equally scathing attack on Larry's review.
In every instance of my argument, observes Hurtado, I have “to urge an interpretation, an inference” (emphasis original) rather than something “explicit.” Is that observation an argument? It sure looks like one. For if not, Hurtado needn’t have made it. But if so, am I to understand that he and others don’t engage in interpretation and inference?
Hopefully this is only the beginning of an all out flame-war between the two of them and their acolytes! Keep it clean chaps, Marquis of Queensberry rules!

Beards, Beards, Beards.

While I have commented before on the theology of beards in the feeds last week there were two beard related articles worthy of mention.

One on the health benefits for all humanity

And one on the missional benefits for Anglican clergy in London

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Call for Posts and Free ANE Resources

Tim Bulkeley is looking for posts for this month's biblical studies carnival, drop him a line if you want to nominate a post.

Tim has also has a chapter in a new SBL publication, THE BOOK OF THE TWELVE AND THE NEW FORM CRITICISM, Mark J. Boda, Michael H. Floyd, and Colin M. Toffelmire (eds), which is, amazingly, available for free download! Not only that but they have a whole series of impressive tomes on the ANE available for free download.

SBL are to be commended for such a commitment to open source scholarship and genuine "publication."