Thursday, 5 March 2015

Currents in Biblical Research 13, 2 (February 2015)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research recently arrived; abstracts of the main articles are as below.

Ronald Troxel
The Fate of Joel in the Redaction of the Twelve
In the twenty years since James Nogalski introduced the topic... the book of Joel has received renewed redactional analysis, within the context of the discussion of the redaction of the Book of the Twelve. This article provides both a survey of how numerous monographs on the Twelve have portrayed Joel’s place within the collection, as well as a critique of the application of redaction criticism to chapters 1–2 of the book. The problems besetting such proposals suggest that the choice of this approach for the study of Joel within the context of the Book of the Twelve constitutes a problem of coordinating analysis with genre, rather than a weakness of the tool itself.

Amanda M. Davis Bledsoe
The Relationship of the Different Editions of Daniel: A History of Scholarship
The book of Daniel has one of the more complicated textual histories of any biblical book. It is written in two languages (Hebrew and Aramaic), and the content drastically differs in the two halves of the book (stories in chs. 1–6 and visions in chs. 7–12). Perhaps the most difficult attribute to explain, however, is that it is preserved in several distinct editions, which at times vastly diverge from one another. These are the Masoretic edition in Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Old Greek and Theodotionic editions in Greek. The relationship of these three editions of the book of Daniel has been disputed for more than two hundred years, and a scholarly consensus has not yet been reached. This overview surveys the history of scholarship on the different editions in hopes that future studies on the book of Daniel will give the OG edition equal status with the MT edition of the book, which it has hitherto not received.

Gregory P. Fewster
The Philippians ‘Christ Hymn’: Trends in Critical Scholarship
The so-called ‘Christ hymn’ of Phil. 2.5-11 has maintained great scholarly interest for over a century, with monographs and articles continuing to appear that seek to address important critical issues. Questions including the pre-existence of Christ and ‘kenotic theology’ have digressed and been revived with the invocation of numerous methodologies and the influence of major philosophical trends external to New Testament studies proper. This article tracks the major trends in research of Phil. 2.5-11, with a view to three central topics of interest: the authorship and origin of the passage, its plausible hymnic structure and form, and its function and theology within the letter itself, including its ancient audience.

Richard S. Ascough
What Are They Now Saying about Christ Groups and Associations?
Over the past decade and a half a considerable number of scholarly books and articles have addressed directly the relationship between associations and early Christ groups. Some, albeit not all, of the Pauline communities have been subjected to thorough investigation, while preliminary studies have been undertaken with the Gospels, Acts, and other early Christian writings. The majority of scholarly works leave little doubt regarding the relevance of the associations for understanding the organizational and ideological predilections of the early Christ groups. In their structure and organization Christ groups look and sound like associations. Thus, it no longer makes sense to construe the investigation, as has so often been the case in past scholarship, as focusing on three separate and distinct categories such as ‘synagogues, churches, and associations’. A review of the data available and the trends in recent scholarship is suggestive for new and fruitful avenues of exploration that dismantle such falsely constructed categorical boundaries.

Maxine L. Grossman
Is Ancient Jewish Studies (Still) Postmodern (Yet)?
Postmodern theory, with its concerns about textual meaning, identity formation, and dynamics of power, has had an impact on the study of ancient Judaism in a variety of ways over the last several decades. Theories of reader-response and intertextuality have particularly shaped recent work in biblical studies, while these and other philosophical concerns have contributed to postmodern understandings of midrash. The impact of postmodern theory on the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls is more subtle but nonetheless provides an interesting model for the use of theory in the study of ancient Judaism. Attention to the work of a particular scholar (D. Boyarin) or the possibilities for a particular theoretical approach (postcolonial theory) provides further evidence for postmodern treatments of ancient Jewish texts and history. Although the heyday of critical theory is now long past, the field of ancient Jewish studies has been shaped by theory-driven concerns about discourse, power, and the world.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Theos Report on Justice

The latest report from Theos has just been published.

Here’s the blurb:

‘The rule of law is absolutely foundational to any fair society. But the rule of law is not enough if that law is only accessible to those with sufficient funds. For justice to be done, people need to have access to justice. This essay argues that recent government changes to legal aid are putting access to justice at risk.

‘Written from an openly Christian perspective, it argues that there is a deep tradition within Christian scriptures not only on law – that much is clear from even a cursory reading of the Bible – but also equality before the law, universality of access, the need for legal advocacy, and the impartial administration of justice. Without these, no society can be a good society.

‘This being so, the authors argue that Christians ought to be concerned with recent changes to legal aid, the effect of which is likely to be on the most disadvantaged in our society. In the longer term it threatens social cohesion, accountability of public bodies and powerful private individuals, and the rule of law.

‘Christians have long seen healing, teaching, comforting and supporting others as key areas of their mission. Speaking Up argues that justice is no less important than any of these, and that Christians should seek to provide access to justice and to protect it where they can.’

A pdf of the full report is available here.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cinnamon Theology Symposium

The Cinnamon Network has kindly posted online a free ebook containing transcripts of the presentations given at the Cinnamon Theology Symposium on 12 February 2015.

The symposium invited three main speakers (David Shosanya, Dan Strange, and Mark Bonnington) to help local churches to grapple with the theological underpinnings of social action.

Summary films by the speakers are here, and the ebook containing their talks is available as a pdf here.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Knowing and Doing (Spring 2015)

The Spring 2015 edition of Knowing & Doing – ‘A Teaching Quarterly for Discipleship of Heart and Mind’ – from the C.S. Lewis Institute is now available online (here as a pdf), and contains the following articles:

Terry Lindvall
The Role of Laughter in the Christian Life
Dr. Terry Lindvall has written an engaging article on the role of humor for the disciple of Jesus.

Randy Newman
Tensions in Evangelism
Dr. Randy Newman, Senior Teaching Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism, highlights the hidden tensions we often experience when we share the Gospel with our neighbors.

Gerald R. McDermott
A Thumbnail Sketch of Hinduism(s) for Christians
Gerald McDermott provides Christians with an insightful overview of Hinduism.

Michael Suderman
How To Speak To Your Hindu Neighbor
Michael Suderman, an Oxford trained apologist serving in the Washington, D.C. area with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, shares helpful and practical tips on outreach to your Hindu friends.

Thomas A. Tarrants, III
Two Final Things, Then Home at Last
Dr. Tom Tarrants, City Director for Washington, D.C., takes us where many theologians fear to tread and helps us thoughtfully reflect upon the taboo topics of death and final judgment – the two things that we must all face in the end.

Joel S. Woodruff
Is My Child a Follower of Jesus?
President Joel S. Woodruff provides helpful thoughts on ways to discern the conversion of a child.

LeAnne Martin
A Love Without End
C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow LeAnne Martin shares a beautiful commentary on C.S. Lewis’s poem that begins, “Love’s as warm as tears.”

A Fellow’s Journey:
Interview with Annie Nardone
C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow Annie Nardone tells how she has sharpened her apologetic tools to effectively disciple others.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Robert L. Plummer on John 13:1 and 19:30

There’s another helpful weekend video here from Robert L. Plummer, looking at the literary bracket between τέλος (telos) in John 13:1 (‘he loved them to the end’) and τετέλεσται (tetelestai) in 19:40 (‘It is finished’).

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Evangelical Alliance on Politics

The latest report in the 21st Century Evangelicals Series from the Evangelical Alliance UK highlights research about politics.

The full report – Faith in Politics? – is available as a (8.7 MB) pdf here.

This is what the EA says:

‘Our latest research explores the political views of UK evangelicals and how engaged they and their churches are in politics. Our survey of more than 2,000 evangelicals found that many are disillusioned with UK politics, with less than one in 10 (six per cent) believing that politicians can be trusted to keep their manifesto promises. But evangelicals are also much more likely to be interested and engaged in politics and to prioritise the common good of society above personal gain.

‘The issues that concern evangelicals are quite different from those that concern the general public. Evangelicals care far more about poverty and inequality than immigration – ranking this the single most important issue facing the UK today. And the key issues that will affect their vote are religious liberty and freedom of expression, poverty alleviation, human trafficking, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.’

PowerPoint presentation and discussion questions for churches are linked to from this page.

The Jubilee Centre on Thinking Biblically About Everything

The Jubilee Centre is producing a helpful series of short pamphlets on ‘Thinking Biblically About…’ particular topics.

The latest to be released sets itself the modest goal of thinking biblically about... everything.

According to the website, this one ‘introduces the Bible’s relational worldview, and shows how it provides the key for us to translate the biblical social vision into the 21st century – where despite the passage of time, history and geography, human relationships are essentially the same as they were when the Bible was written’.

The pamphlet is available to buy or download here.