Wednesday 31 October 2012

Haddington House Journal

Thanks to Rob Bradshaw for the heads up on the online availability of Haddington House Journal.

According to its website, the Haddington House Trust is ‘a registered Christian charity with home base in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada’, which ‘strives to advance evangelical theological education and training for the glory of God’.

In addition to other publications, their annual theological journal ‘endeavours to have a wide accessibility and to consider the needs of laity, ministers and students of theology while striving to have a global ethos’.

Back volumes covering 2003 t0 2011 are available here as pdfs.

Monday 22 October 2012

Currents in Biblical Research 11, 1 (October 2012)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research is now out; abstracts of the main articles are as below. Sage are offering free online access to their journals, including this one, until 31 October 2012.

Kristin De Troyer
The Seventy-two and their Many Grandchildren: A Review of Septuagint Studies from 1997 Onward
In this article, a summary will be offered of tools published in the field of Septuagint studies, such as editions, concordances, lexica, bibliographies, and translations. Then we will cover the origins of the Old Greek translations, as well as the forms of Greek used in the Septuagint. This article will also treat the debate about whether variants go back to a different Hebrew Vorlage, or to the interpretation of a translator. Contributions to the field of the early Jewish Greek revisions will also be summarized. Finally, in this survey of Septuagint studies, special attention will be given to the contents of Introductions to the Septuagint, and scholarly Proceedings and Festschriften on the Septuagint.

Nicholas Perrin and Christopher W. Skinner
Recent Trends in Gospel of Thomas Research (1989–2011). Part II: Genre, Theology and Relationship to the Gospel of John
This article, the second of a two-part series, examines scholarly research on the Gospel of Thomas between 1989 and 2011. The previous article (CBR 5.2 [2007]: 183-206) reviewed research on Thomas’s place in discussions of the historical Jesus and the Synoptic Gospels between 1991 and 2006. The current study focuses on three concerns: (1) scholarly opinions of Thomas’s genre, (2) the notoriously difficult problem of identifying Thomas’s theological outlook, and (3) the relationship between the Gospel of Thomas and the Fourth Gospel.

Timo S. Paananen
From Stalemate to Deadlock: Clement’s Letter to Theodore in Recent Scholarship
This article reviews the literature pertaining to the recent debate over the question of authenticity of Clement’s Letter to Theodore (including the so-called Secret Gospel of Mark) and argues that the academy has tied itself into a secure deadlock. The current ‘trench warfare’ situation is due to various scholarly malpractices, which include the practice of nonengagement with other scholars, abusive language towards them and mischaracterization of their position. In order to remedy the situation and move the discussion forwards a number of correcting acts are suggested.

Jonathan S. Milgram
Then and Now: A Summary of Developments in the Field of Talmudic Literature through Contributions to the First and Second Editions of the Encyclopaedia Judaica
Through the lens of the contributions to the first and second editions of Encyclopaedia Judaica, this article summarizes the major developments in the field of talmudic literature which took place between the two publications. As the encyclopedia entries in both editions deal almost exclusively with matters pertaining to text, source and redaction criticism, this article, too, primarily discusses developments in these areas.

Friday 19 October 2012

Justin Holcomb on Abraham Kuyper

Over at The Gospel Coalition, Justin Holcomb has a very brief but helpful overview of Abraham Kuyper’s life and thought – ‘Theologian Hero to a Nation’.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Journal of Moral Theology

The Journal of Moral Theology is an open-access journal from Mount St. Mary’s University. It ‘focuses on Catholic moral theology’, and is ‘concerned with contemporary issues as well as our deeply rooted tradition of inquiry about the moral life’.

Volume 1, 1 (January 2012) contains essays on ‘Formative Figures of Contemporary Catholic Moral Theology’.

Volume 1, 2 (June 2012) is devoted to ‘Love’.

Forthcoming volumes in 2013 will carry essays on ‘Christology’ and ‘Church and World’.

Christian History Magazine on Christmas

The latest issue of Christian History Magazine is devoted to ‘The Wonder of the Season: How Christians through the ages have heralded the birth of Jesus’.

The whole magazine is available as a 15.9 MB pdf here.

Nick Barrett on Books on Work and Vocation

Under the title, ‘The Crux of Work is the Crown of Vocation’, Nick Barrett reviews Ben Witherington’s Work: A Kingdom Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011) and Gordon T. Smith’s Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential, rev. edn. (Downers Grove: IVP, 2011).

In summary, ‘Witherington's book offers a broader theoretical reflection on a theology of vocation’, while ‘Smith’s book offers an accessible and concrete guide to vocational discernment’, and ‘one could say the two books need each other’.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Michael Gorman on Christians and Politics

Although it’s written out of a US context, much of Michael Gorman’s post on Christians and Politics seems more widely applicable, even in those points where he makes it clear he’s reflecting particularly from a US perspective.

Constantine Campbell on Union with Christ

This looks like a comprehensive and important work, just about to be released from Zondervan: Constantine R. Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012).

Zondervan provide a pdf sample here, and the galleys of the whole volume are available for viewing by users of Netgalley.

In addition, Mike Bird links to a short video of Con introducing the book.

Julian Rivers on Redefining Marriage

The latest Cambridge Paper from the Jubilee Centre is available online, this one by Julian Rivers:

Here is the summary:

‘The Government’s proposal to introduce same-sex marriage seems to rest on reasons of equality, stability and convenience. But on closer inspection, these are respectively incomplete, speculative and negligible. As currently defined, marriage secures the equal value of men and women. It also promotes the welfare of children. By contrast, the new definition of marriage will unavoidably call into question its exclusivity, its permanence and even its sexual nature. Such an unravelling of marriage is too high a price to pay for a proposal which fulfils no practical legal need.’

Monday 15 October 2012

Orality Journal

The first edition of Orality Journal, published online by the International Orality Network, is available as a 7.8 MB pdf document here, and includes a number of articles on Bible storying and telling Bible stories in specific contexts.

Here’s the official blurb:

‘Orality Journal is the journal of the International Orality Network. It is published online semi-annually and aims to provide a platform for scholarly discourse on the issues of orality, discoveries of innovations in orality, and praxis of effictiveness across multiple domains in society. This online journal is international and interdisciplinary, serving the interests of the orality movement through research articles, documentation, book reviews, and academic news. Occasionally, print editions will be created. Submission of items that could contribute to the furtherance of the orality movement are welcomed.’

Pro Rege 41, 1 (2012)

The latest issue of Pro Rege – the quarterly faculty publication of Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa – is online, containing the following main essays:

Jason Lief
The Two Kingdoms Perspective and Theological Method: Why I Still Disagree with David Van Drunen

James Calvin Schaap
Holy Writ and Human Writ

Jan van Vliet
Abraham Kuyper’s Wisdom and Wonder: Review Essay

The whole issue is available as a pdf here.

Ben Witherington III on Everyday Life from a Kingdom Perspective

Christianity Today carries an interview with Ben Witherington III about his latest book, The Rest of Life: Rest, Play, Eating, Studying, Sex from a Kingdom Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012). There is also a review of it on the EerdWord blog, along with a brief summary post from Witherington himself.

The book effectively provides a final a volume in his ‘Kingdom Perspectives’ series, having previously published on worship, work, and the kingdom of God. In this one, Witherington offers theological reflection on aspects of ordinary, everyday life. 

As he summarises:

‘What we are, and what we do in life, is tremendously important to God, to the kingdom of God, and to ourselves. When we think about our Christian faith and how we spend our work week, faith should not be something that we do on Sunday, but something that shapes our worldview and how we live.’

Friday 12 October 2012

IVP Academic Alert 21, 3 (Winter 2013)

The latest Academic Alert from IVP (USA) is available here, profiling forthcoming titles, with a special focus on Gerald Rau’s Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything, and Stephen Holmes’ The Quest for the Trinity: The Doctrine of God in Scripture, History and Modernity (which has already been published in the UK by Paternoster, with the title The Holy Trinity: Understanding God’s Life).

Thursday 11 October 2012

Anvil 28, 2 (2012) on Englishness and Britishness

The August 2012 issue of Anvil is available online, with essays on Englishness and Britishness:

Stephen Backhouse
Benign Indifference: Patriotism, Protest and the Theological Politics of Romans 13:1-7
Christians on all sides of the debate regarding place of patriotic affection and national allegiance invariably find themselves wrestling with Paul’s injunction to submit to the governing authorities in Romans 13:1-7. Patriots read in this passage a clarion call to civic participation in the best interests of their nation. Radicals see instead a moral judgement on all states and an ethic of suffering submission to evil that effectively pits Christians against their countries. The paper argues that when it comes to the question of the earliest Christian attitude towards nations and states as found in Romans a controlling motif can be discerned, and that motif is best described as benign indifference. As such Romans (and the indeed the wider New Testament) does not endorse the family of feelings best known as patriotism (love for country). At the same time, neither does it endorse a radical attack on national forms of life (hatred of country). The political ethos of Romans is socially subversive. However, this subversion is not the goal, but a secondary by-product of the sweeping re-orientation of values and Christian identity that Paul works out in Romans. Both the patriotic and the radical approaches to 13:1-7 make much of the passage as a guide to government and to the citizen’s towards their countries, yet both camps fail to consider the wider context of Romans and the Pauline corpus, which is remarkably sanguine about these things. The paper reads Paul’s treatment of submission to authority in light of his treatment of submission to evil and to the weaker brother. In each case, Paul is far less concerned with those on the receiving end of right Christian action than he is with the Christians themselves. Christians are to submit to state authority, but this submission derives from priorities other than those of the life of the state itself. Any reading of this text that focuses on states and nations distorts the ethical injunction of the passage, which is only secondarily concerned with the effect that submission might have on a country (positively or negatively), and primarily concerned with the attitude of Christ-like submission in its own right. Christian submission springs not from the supposed superiority of the state and its natural created function, as the patriots would maintain; rather the reverse is true. No longer bound by the old cultural and national markers, in effect Paul is telling the Christians that they can condescend to abide by the old system for a time, because these things are ultimately a matter of indifference. Yet this newfound ‘Christian superiority’ is not directed against the state either. Paul is not seeking to eliminate one’s country any more than he wants to wipe out one’s weaker brother. A theo-political ethos of benign indifference charts a new course between the traditional forms of protest and patriotism.

Sam Jackson & Charlie Pemberton
Patriotism? A Set of Questions...
This paper presents patriotism as a set of stories about national identity and loyalty rather than as something with an essential substance. Utilising presentations from a conference on patriotism, we provide three divergent understandings of patriotism and consider their theological basis. We then consider the issue of otherness as it relates to the theoretical construction of patriotism and in the creation of a political other, questioning the effect of simplistic patriotic sentiment on international conflict.

Doug Gay
On Englishness
In this article, Scottish practical theologian Doug Gay offers a personal and theological perspective on Englishness, tracking his own changing knowledges of it since childhood, before reading it in terms of a theological case for celebrating and protecting cultural diversity. The article offers trenchant criticisms of how Englishness is performed in public rituals and popular culture, while appreciating the dilemmas posed in the necessary work of reclaiming and decontaminating English identity. It challenges English theologians and churchpeople, in particular those within the Church of England, to accept responsibility for forging a new ‘ethical’ English nationalism, which can promote the common good internally and generate external relations of peace, respect and co-operation.

Martyn Percy
Ministering to the English? Sketching Some Challenges for Mission and Ministry
This article explores the interface between spirituality, religion and Christianity in England with particular reference to the Church of England. Martyn Percy argues that the secularisation thesis is more nuanced than we are often led to believe and that there never was a Golden Age of church attendance. He claims that religious observance is part of the ‘English cultural DNA’, that the clerical ministry is enduring and necessary and that religion continues to provide ‘enchantment’ for our contemporary world.

Hugh Kemp: Book Review
Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, by Kate Fox

Hugh Kemp: Book Review
The Faith of the English: Integrating Christ and Culture, by Nigel Rooms

Englewood Review of Books 2, 4 (Ordinary Time 2012)

The Ordinary Time 2012 issue of Englewood Review of Books has just become available.

Among other items, this one contains an interview with J.R. Woodward, author of Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World, a conversation with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove about his new book, The Awakening of Hope: Why We Practice a Common Faith, a review of Brian McLaren’s Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross The Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World, and a review of Phyllis Tickle’s Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It is Going, and Why It Matters.

Those outside North America are able to sign up for a free electronic edition, kindly delivered to your inbox as an attached pdf.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Centre for Public Christianity (October 2012)

The latest newsletter from the Centre for Public Christianity contains links to a video interview with Darrell Bock (on the trustworthiness of the oral tradition of the gospels), an audio conversation between Simon Smart and Justine Toh (on relationships in the iWorld), and a video interview with Richard Burridge (on what Jesus has to say about power).

Interview with Tim Keller on Center Church

Trevin Wax interviews Tim Keller here about some of the themes of gospel, culture and mission in Keller’s recent book, Center Church.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Theos Annual Lecture 2012

Having drawn attention last week to Rowan Williams’ Theos Lecture (‘The Person and the Individual: Human Dignity, Human Relationships, Human Limits’), I thought I should note that Theos have now made available the transcript of the lecture here.

Credo Magazine 2, 5 (October 2012)

The next issue of Credo is now out, this one devoted to ‘Francis Schaeffer at 100’.

According to the editorial blurb:

‘As many have observed, it is not an overstatement to say that the Schaeffers transformed, reshaped, and in many ways reformed American evangelicalism. Those writing in this new issue of Credo Magazine are proof, each writer bearing testimony to how Francis Schaeffer has made a monumental impact on how we understand and articulate the Christian faith and life in the world of ideas.’

The magazine is available to read here, from where also a 81.7 MB pdf of the whole issue can be downloaded.

Gene Edward Veith on the Purpose of Work

There is a short piece here by Gene Edward Veith on a Christian perspective on vocation and the purpose of work, taking his cue from a recent article in The New York Times by Notre Dame philosopher, Gary Gutting, on ‘What Work is For’.

‘The doctrine of vocation, properly understood, frees us from our sinful selves through the gospel as our love for God overflows into love for our neighbors.  Our very work becomes transformed not in its substance – Christian workers mostly perform the same tasks as non-Christian workers – but in its meaning and in its value.’

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Encounters 42 (October 2012) on Water

The latest issue of Encounters from Redcliffe College is now available, this one dealing with ‘Christian Perspectives on Water’.

According to the introductory blurb on the website:

‘This edition focuses on the topic of water and considers missional responses in different water-stressed parts of the world. The first three articles are taken from the JRI Environment Day conference held at Redcliffe earlier in the year, and provide snapshots of local situations in Africa, as well as evaluating global concerns, whilst also including a theological perspective on water and what it meant to Old Testament Hebrews. The other two articles consider wider environmental perspectives, leading us to ponder those age-old questions again; who is my neighbour, and how should our relationships, both local and global, be conducted?’

Individual articles are available from here, or the pdf of the full issue is available here.

The Global Study Bible

Forthcoming from Crossway, and so using the ESV, is the Global Study Bible, ‘a one-volume study resource for globally minded Christians everywhere... designed from beginning to end to be highly accessible and value priced for distribution on a global scale’.

From the advance blurb:

‘The Global Study Bible features a fresh design, with a wide range of new features. Each book begins with an introduction, followed by a unique, insightful description of the global message of the book. Likewise, a set of new articles by global Christian leaders apply the Bible to global issues, such as the role of government, the nature of the church, world religions, social ethics, and missions and evangelism.’

Sample pages are available here.

Access to an online version comes with a purchase of a print edition, and Crossway promises that when customers register online for their free access, they will ‘make a second copy available free to another global Christian, wherever the demand is greatest, anywhere in the world’.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Rowan Williams on the Person and the Individual

Kudos to Theos for their excellent fifth annual lecture yesterday evening, when Rowan Williams addressed a large gathering at the Central Hall Westminster in what will probably be one of his last public appearances as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The title of the lecture was: ‘The Person and the Individual: Human Dignity, Human Relationships, Human Limits’.

Taking his cue from Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky’s 1955 essay, ‘The Theological Notion of the Human Person’, the Archbishop gently but persuasively presented a case for a ‘personalist’ as opposed to an ‘individualist’ view of what it means to be human.

None of this will be news to those aware of the turn towards ‘relationship’ in recent discussions about personhood, but it was a delight to hear it articulated so compellingly, so unashamedly theologically, in broad strokes, taking in Richard Sennett (sociology) and Patricia Gosling (psychotherapy) along the way.

The range of questions afterwards allowed him to reflect, albeit briefly, on the implications of a ‘personalist’ perspective for education, apprenticeship, business, sexuality, abortion, tolerance, earth care, human rights, and more besides.

I was struck by his graciousness in responding to these and other fairly ‘loaded’ questions not directly related to the topic of the evening (most of which were posed, to the obvious chagrin of some fellow punters near me, by the BBC’s Mishal Husain who chaired the lecture and Q&A time). He was able to move almost imperceptibly from academic to churchman to pastor, as adept at citing lines from Father Ted as from Vladimir Lossky.

Asked about his ‘favourite’ Archbishop (where I suspect the questioner was trying to draw him out on who his successor should be), he replied that it would be a tie between St Anselm and Michael Ramsey!

Asked, right at the end of the evening, whether he leaves the Church of England in a worse state than when he took on the role of Archbishop, he replied, ‘No, I don’t think so’, adding – to the apparent delight of most of those gathered – that if God has called this community into existence, God will be faithful to it.

The audio of the lecture is available here.

Free Access to SAGE Content During October 2012

See here for information about gaining free access to online research tools and resources, including SAGE Journals, SAGE Research Methods, and SAGE Knowledge until the end of October 2012.

Monday 1 October 2012

John Morris’ Contemporary Creed

The revised edition of John Morris, The Contemporary Creed: Reasonable Pathways through the Problems of Christian Beliefs and Ethics (Alresford: O-Books, 2012) is available to read online here.

Applauded by, among others, John Sentamu, John Polkinghorne, and Michael Green, and written for believers and non-believers alike, the author tackles some of the big questions of faith and life, flowing out of his own life experience.

He writes:

‘My 100-word creed, composed in 1999, was not written to replace the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds. They omit the problem of suffering which keeps many from any religious belief: “Where is God in a world of natural disasters?” – including children like my grandson, Daniel, born profoundly handicapped in 1999, and who stays with my wife and me on alternate weekends and holidays. My creed hints at an answer developed at length in the book.’