As guest editor Hugh Kemp notes, the apparently eclectic nature of the articles and book reviews in this edition might hide the fact that ‘they represent three ways to incarnate the Gospel of Christ in innovative ways: dialogue with Buddhists, creative prayer spaces for British kids, and restorative justice as an alternative vision to conflict and punishment’.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
The latest issue of the Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament is freely available online. Articles (listed below with their abstracts) are available from here, with a pdf of the entire issue available here.
Sacred Time in West Semitic Festival Calendars and the Dating of Leviticus 23
The Bible records several versions of the Israelite festival calendar, including accounts in Exod 23; 34; Lev 23; Num 28-9; Deut 16; and Ezek 45. The festivals, as depicted in the various texts, have many commonalities; however, there are also differences. Some of the often cited differences in the festival calendar texts include fixed dates versus dates based upon the harvest, the combination of two named rites into a larger ritual complex, the mention of simultaneous rites in different locations of the same text, and some festivals are named in one text and unnamed in others. Scholars have explored these similarities and differences arguing that the various calendars were written by different sources (authors/redactors) at different times in Israelite history. The current project provides a comparative analysis between Lev 23 and the second-millennium Akkadian multi-month festival calendar from Syria (Emar 446). After a review of each text and the contextual material, this study argues that Lev 23 preserves an early second-millennium West Semitic ritual tradition.
Andrew E. Steinmann
Gazelles, Does, and Flames: (De)Limiting Love in Song of Songs
Some of the most commented upon and enigmatic passages in Song of Songs are the adjuration refrains (Song 2:7; 3:5; 8:4) and the comparison of love to a flame (Song 8:6). This paper proposes that these verses serve to delimit and define love in Song of Songs while also limiting the expression of that love. In each context there is a reference to God – often by clever circumlocution (Song 2:7; 3:5) – thereby defining the legitimate expression of love according to divine intent. This use of circumlocution and its omission at Song 8:4 build suspense for the punch line at Song 8:6 which finally reveals the involvement of God in love and its expression between the Shulammite and her beloved.
John G. Ferch
The Story of Torah: The Role of Narrative in Leviticus’s Legal Discourse
For years, source critics have proposed a broad two-part structure for Leviticus, based on two independent sources that are presumed to underlie the book. This approach, coupled with a popular perception of Leviticus as nothing more than a long list of sundry Israelite laws, has caused the book’s narrative unity within the broader story of the Pentateuch to be neglected. By applying narrative criticism to the often-forgotten stories in Leviticus 10 and 24, crucial literary links are revealed which suggest a three-part outline to the book, supporting a united message that presents the giving of the Law as an act of divine grace designed to prepare Yahweh’s people to live in His presence.
Spencer L. Allen
An Examination of Northwest Semitic Divine Names and the Bet-locative
Four separate inscriptions from Kuntillet ‘Ajrûd (ca. 800 b.c.) invoke the divine names Yahweh-of-Teman (HI KAjr 14, 19A, and 20) and Yahweh-of-Samaria (HI KAjr 18), which reopened the debate about Deut 6:4’s declaration that “Yahweh is One” and the possibility of distinct, localized Yahwehs in the Israelite pantheon. In the biblical texts, the name Yahweh never appears in a construct chain with a geographic name (e.g., there is no Yahweh-of-Jerusalem), so alternative divine name formulas have been sought as additional evidence for an ancient poly-Yahwism. The most commonly suggested alternative involves a divine name followed by a geographic name in a bet-locative phrase: DN-b-GN. Thus, Yahweh-in-Zion (Ps 99:2) and Yahweh-in-Hebron (2 Sam 15:7) have been proposed as two additional localized Israelite deities. Comparable evidence from Ugaritic, Ammonite, Phoenician, and Punic texts containing the formula DN-b-GN has been offered in the past to support this claim (e.g., Tannit-in-Lebanon, KAI 81:1). This paper examines the relationship between divine names and geographic names as they pertain to potentially localized Yahweh deities and other Northwest Semitic deities. The formula DN-b-GN is carefully examined and rejected as a means of identifying any distinct deity in the various Northwest Semitic pantheons, including those of biblical Israel, for syntactical and other methodological reasons.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
The latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, from The Lausanne Movement, is now available online.
According to its blurb, the Lausanne Global Analysis ‘seeks to deliver strategic and credible information and insight from an international network of evangelical analysts so that Christian leaders will be equipped for the task of world evangelization’.
I recently stumbled across The Living Church, which describes itself as ‘a biweekly magazine of news, cultural analysis, and teaching’, published by The Living Church Foundation, Inc., ‘an independent, not-for-profit foundation of communion-minded and -committed Anglicans from several nations, devoted to seeking and serving the full visible unity of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church’.
Issues are archived here, where all but the recent editions appear to be available for download.
Friday, 7 June 2013
I contributed this week’s ‘Connecting with Culture’, a weekly email service provided by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.
Queen Alexandra, George V’s mother, described it as a ‘sad accident caused through the abominable conduct of a brutal lunatic woman’. History has been kinder to suffragette Emily Wilding Davison who, 100 years ago this week, squeezed through the railings at the Epsom Derby to make a grab for the king’s horse as it raced past.
Davison died four days later, and thousands of suffragettes turned out in London for her funeral. Buried in Morpeth in Northumberland, her headstone is inscribed with the King James Version of John 15:13, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’, along with the maxim of the Women’s Social and Political Union – ‘Deeds Not Words’.
Although speculation has always surrounded her intentions – fueled by some documentary evidence that she was willing to give up her life for the cause – there is now good reason to indicate she didn’t intend to commit suicide. Close analysis of grainy footage of the incident suggests she was seeking to attach a scarf to the bridle of the horse.
Still, it’s clear she was prepared to go to considerable risk to make a dramatic statement, as part of a wider struggle against the inequalities of a rigid class-based society. And she did so, along with others, in the face of hostility, imprisonment and violence. A century on, her death still raises the question of what we would fight for, even be prepared to die for.
Earlier this week, The Guardian asked ‘prominent figures’ what still needs addressing in the fight for women’s rights. Economic inequalities, power imbalance, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and media misrepresentation were all mentioned, along with the need for women to be freed from a sense that their value lies in how they are seen by men. Some also commented on the need for men and women to collaborate in challenging oppression of all kinds.
Along with others seeking the common good, Christians have a stake in addressing those issues. Christians also have a stake in exhibiting to the world what renewed relationships in Christ look like, not least between men and women in different spheres of life.
Originally the Suffragette slogan, ‘Deeds Not Words’, was a call to radical action, but it resonates with the biblical injunction that faith without works is dead, and is seen most notably in the supreme sacrifice of Jesus giving his life for his friends.
Thursday, 6 June 2013
The latest edition of Regent’s Reviews is now available here.
It contains reviews of (among others), Out of Babylon by Walter Brueggemann, the second edition of The Fall of Interpretation by James K. A. Smith, The Message of Women by Derek and Dianne Tidball, the second edition of Worshipping Trinity by Robin Parry, Faith in the Public Square by Rowan Williams, and Church for Every Context by Michael Moynagh with Philip Harrold.
Earlier issues can be accessed here.
The latest report in the 21st Century Evangelicals Series from the Evangelical Alliance UK highlights research about the church.
The full report – Life in the Church? – is available as a pdf here.
This is what the EA says:
‘This report reveals fascinating details about church life, including how we get involved, what we look for in a church and how we feel about our church leaders. It also explores the experiences and feelings of church leaders, our views on church discipline and the reasons why we move church.’
PowerPoint presentation and discussion questions for churches are linked to from this page.