Monday 30 November 2020

Currents in Biblical Research 19, 1 (October 2020)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research recently arrived, with titles and abstracts of the main articles as below.

Jennifer M. Matheny

Ruth in Recent Research

From the early treatments focused on historical-critical methods to the interdisciplinary approaches of the social sciences today, Ruth research continues to speak to the current developments within interpretive conversations. This article briefly surveys major commentaries on Ruth, and then discusses the shifts in research from 2001 to today, highlighting future trajectories and trends.

Phillip Sherman

The Hebrew Bible and the ‘Animal Turn’

Animal Studies refers to a set of questions which take seriously the reality of animal lives, past and present, and the ways in which human societies have conceived of those lives, related to them, and utilized them in the production of human cultures. Scholars of the Hebrew Bible are increasingly engaging animals in their interpretive work. Such engagement is often implicit or partial, but increasingly drawing directly on the more critical aspects of Animal Studies. This article proceeds as a tour through the menagerie of the biblical canon by exploring key texts in order to describe and analyze what Animal Studies has brought to the field of Biblical Studies. Biblical texts are grouped into the following categories: animals in the narrative accounts of the Torah, legal and ritual texts concerning animals, animal metaphors in the prophets, and wisdom literature and animal life. The emergence and application of zooarchaeological research and a number of studies focusing on specific animal species will be discussed. Sustained attention will be given to two recent works which have brought Animal Studies into the fractured fold of biblical scholarship more directly. Finally, I will suggest some future directions for the study of the Hebrew Bible in light of Animal Studies.

Jason F. Moraff

Recent Trends in the Study of Jews and Judaism in Luke-Acts

This article surveys and assesses recent developments in the study of the depiction of Jews and Judaism in Luke-Acts since 2010. Studies are grouped into three general, often overlapping approaches. First, identity construction proves to be a productive avenue of research for understanding Luke’s portrait of ‘the Jews’. Second, scholars have begun to investigate the place of Luke-Acts in the ‘parting(s) of the ways’. Third, others continue to evaluate the relationship between the Jewish people, the covenant, and Luke’s future hope for Israel. The final section outlines some common issues and potential areas for further study, highlighting how these studies have reinvigorated a stagnant debate.

Jonathan Lookadoo

The Date and Authenticity of the Ignatian Letters: An Outline of Recent Discussions

This article examines recent studies of the date and authenticity of the letters of Ignatius of Antioch. Although the debate has a long history, this article focuses on the most recent period of this debate – from roughly 1997 through 2018. While not wanting to diminish the differences between contributors to this debate, three general views can be adduced. This article begins by highlighting the major players and formative contributors to each view. Of particular note in this most recent phase of debate is the separation of the date of the letters from the question of their authenticity. The article next turns to consider the primary pieces of evidence that are utilized when considering Ignatius’s date: the historical value of the Eusebian evidence, the possibility of interpolations within Polycarp’s Philippians, and Ignatius’s interactions with Second Sophistic rhetoric. The conclusion inquires about whether there is other evidence that might be utilized to aid scholars in dating and evaluating the Ignatian letters more securely.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

The Bible Project on Genesis 1

The Bible Project team has released a new video, this one on Genesis 1. Here is the blurb:

‘How is our interpretation of the creation story in Genesis 1 deepened when we consider its ancient historical and cultural context? In this Bible commentary video, we look at how the literary design of Genesis 1 reveals God’s ideal vision for the whole cosmos.’

It manages to cram a lot into its 7:42 length, and is well worth checking out here.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Centre for Public Christianity (November 2020)

The Centre for Public Christianity has posted two ‘Life and Faith’ podcasts, related to the current US elections: one (here) with Krish Kandiah on ‘the joys and challenges of caring for children in great need’, and one (here) in which ‘a poet, a philosopher, a jazz musician, and a couple in their fiftieth year of marriage explore the counterintuitive idea that freedom requires constraints’.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Asbury Journal 75, 2 (2020)

The latest issue of Asbury Journal is now available, containing the below articles. The entire issue is available as a pdf here.

From the Editor

Esther D. Jadhav

The Place of Theology in Diversity Efforts in Christian Higher Education: A Wesleyan Perspective

Theology is essential to diversity efforts in Christian Higher Education. In current culture there are at least two ways in which theology emerges in this work, as an afterthought and as foundational in some instances. In this article the author provides a discussion around the question: Does theology have a place in the work of diversity efforts in Christian higher education? This paper asserts that theology is a critical and significant contributor in diversity as it relates to these efforts taking place across Christian Higher Education in North America. A Wesleyan theological perspective is utilized to demonstrate how Wesleyan theology can speak into diversity efforts in Christian higher education.

Shawn P. Behan

Exegeting Scripture, Exegeting Culture: Combining Exegesis to Fulfill God’s Calling

Seminary has separated biblical exegesis from cultural exegesis, teaching them in different programs and seldom requiring them for those outside of those programs. Yet, to fulfill either of those exegetical processes we need both – they are mutually building and supporting entities that only make sense when combined with the other. As teachers, preachers, and leaders of God’s Church, it is essential that we learn how to combine these two exegetical processes in order to faithfully live out our calling in God’s kingdom. Thus, we must study both biblical and cultural exegesis and learn how to combine the two; for one without the other is knowledge, but combined they form knowledge with the wisdom of how to apply that knowledge. While this seems like a Herculean task, it has been accomplished by many in the history of the Church, often when they did not even know they were doing so. One such previous leader and teacher in the Church is Bishop J. E. Lesslie Newbigin, who’s [sic] exegetical life made him a renowned name in his own day and continues to challenge us to “do likewise” in our lives.

Abbie F. Mantor

Caring for the Sufferers Among Us: Job 3 Through the Lens of Classical Rhetorical Theory and Modern Psychological Trauma Studies

A lack of engagement with the theology of evil and suffering leads to immature responses when tragedy strikes our congregations and alienates the sufferers among us. I believe the best path forward is an interdisciplinary approach that is both intellectually honest and spiritually whole. In this article, I explore the first speech of Job through the lens of classical rhetorical studies and modern psychological trauma theories in order to demonstrate how Job’s deep lament offers the Church an example of how to give sufferers the space to work through their grief as they walk their path towards healing and hope.

Dain Alexander Smith

Prophetic Peace in the Epistle to the Romans: Intertextuality, Isaianic Discourse and Romans 14:17

Interpreters of Romans have not recognized the Isaianic character of Paul’s description of the kingdom in Rom 14:17. Therefore, in this paper I demonstrate that there is an intertextual relationship between multiple Isaianic texts and Rom 14:17. First, I identify key texts in Isaiah that depict kings or kingdoms and share terms found in Romans: righteousness, peace, joy, good, and spirit. Second, I conclude by rereading Romans 14:17 in dialogue with Isaianic kingdom texts. This reading reveals that Romans presents the kingdom of God – and the church community – as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s eschatological hope for peace.

Kelly J. Godoy de Danielson

Women on the Outside Looking In: Rahab and Ruth as Foreign Converts to the People of God

How does an outsider become an insider? This is a question that emerges from considering both the modern immigrant situation and the unique situation of non-Israelite women becoming part of the people of God in the Old Testament. The usual pattern in the Old Testament is to be born into the people of Israel, but for men there is the possibility to become part of the covenantal people through the physical act of circumcision. In this patriarchal society, women usually had no choice but to follow the decisions of their husbands. But what if there was no husband? The Bible tends to take a particularly harsh view on Israelite men marrying non-Israelite women, so even marriage does not seem to be an acceptable pathway for unmarried or widowed women. But two significant women in the Old Testament do successfully navigate the transition from outsider to insider, Rahab and Ruth. This article explores what this means for understanding conversion within the Old Testament context as well as its potential theological implication for the immigrant community in today’s world. Understanding the importance of a person’s allegiance to YHWH as well as following up this allegiance through actions of loving-kindness (hesed) are the key similarities which bind these two women together and help create a theological bridge for immigrants in our modern context.

Kelly J. Godoy de Danielson

Mujeres desde Afuera Mirando hacia Adentro: Rahab y Rut como Conversas Extranjeras al Pueblo de Dios


From the Archives: Ichthus Music Festival – The World of Christian Music Comes to Wilmore

Book Reviews

Friday 20 November 2020

Theos Report on Religious London

A new report from Theos has recently been published:

Paul Bickley and Nathan Mladin, Religious London: Faith in a Global City (London: Theos, 2020).

Here are some paragraphs from the Theos website:

‘London is often perceived to be different from the rest of the UK – more liberal and more secular. However, Londoners are not just more likely to belong to a particular religion, but to actively participate by, for instance, attending services on a regular basis. London’s religious micro-climate is paradoxical: a secular, liberal and cosmopolitan city in which religion is becoming more visible and significant.

‘The research found that London is more religious than the rest of Britain (62% identify as religious compared to 53% across the rest of Britain ex. London).

‘Londoners are more intensely practicing (more likely to pray and more likely to attend a religious service) than those outside the capital...

‘Londoners are more socially conservative than the rest of Britain on some key moral questions...

‘Religious Londoners are more civically-minded than non-religious Londoners...

‘There is a significant sense of religious discrimination and civic discomfort in the Capital.’

A pdf of the full report is available here.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Currents in Theology and Mission 47, 4 (2020) on Mark’s Gospel

The most recent issue of Currents in Theology and Mission is available from here, this one containing essays on various aspects of Mark’s gospel.

Monday 16 November 2020

The Beautiful Story

Following on the heels of the Church of England’s ‘Living in Love and Faith’ (see here) is a 32-minute video from the Church of England Evangelical Council – ‘The Beautiful Story’.

According to the blurb:

‘Christians believe that the gospel is good news for all people and for all time. But since the narratives of our contemporary culture don’t always echo a biblical worldview, the church needs to be clear about how the gospel challenges and transforms human experience – including in our relationships and sexuality. The Beautiful Story is a 30 minute film that explains how a biblical vision for human sexuality is good for individuals, the church and society as a whole. It is intended to galvanise and support discussion in local churches around sexuality and relationships and to provide the case for what many call a traditional Christian viewpoint.’

Update: The CEEC has provided (here) some background on the video, along with a message to clergy and lay leaders about using it in parishes, with a promise of a shortened version of the film to come in the near future.

Saturday 14 November 2020

Lausanne Global Analysis 9, 6 (November 2020)

The latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, from The Lausanne Movement, is available online from here, including pdfs of individual articles as below.

Stephen Ko, Paul Hudson, and Jennifer Jao

Kingdom Opportunities for Bridging COVID-19 Disparities: A Multi-dimensional Approach

Medical professionals Stephen Ko, Paul Hudson, and Jennifer Jao show how the global church has the unique opportunity to creatively bridge disparities wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hebert Palomino

Building a Moveable Pulpit for Mental Health: Connecting Our Stories to God’s Story

COVID-19 has exacerbated the global mental health crisis. Hebert Palomino, a mental health practitioner and professor of pastoral care, demonstrates how we can each build a moveable pulpit amidst the stress, loneliness, and despair.

Jacob Daniel

Kashmir on the Cusp of a New Dawn: A Call to Global Prayer

The global church is called to intercede on behalf of the turmoil taking place in Kashmir. International speaker and cultural analyst Jacob Daniel provides an insightful guide to pray for this turbulent region.

Charles Rijnhart

The World’s Least Reached Are On Our Streets: Global Gateway Cities and the Opportunity for Mission

What if going to the ends of the world meant going to the other end of the street? Writing from Nepal with Diaspora Missions Initiative, Charles Rijnhart demonstrates how local churches in global gateway cities are the key to reaching the world’s least reached.

D.J. Oden

Keys to Contextualized Church Planting in Thailand: Phetchabun and the Free in Jesus Christ Church Association

There's a growing movement for Christ in Central Thailand among Buddhists. D.J. Oden, a cross-cultural worker in southeast Asia with Pioneers, shows what successfully contextualized church planting can look like.

Friday 13 November 2020

Centre for Public Christianity (November 2020)

Among other items, the Centre for Public Christianity has posted an interview with John Stackhouse (here) ‘about his new book Can I Believe?, and why he thinks the weirdness of Christianity fits the weirdness of the world as it really is’.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Christopher Watkin on a Biblical Theology of Culture

Christopher Watkin, author of the excellent Thinking through Creation: Genesis 1 and 2 as Tools of Cultural Critique (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2017), recently led two seminars at the 2020 FEUER Academic Speakers Network.

Taking his cue from John Stott’s call to ‘double listening’, he tackles the question of ‘how to read culture through the categories and patterns of the Bible, specifically through the creation-fall-redemption framework of biblical theology’.

The two videos are available here, and are well worth checking out by those interested in this area.

Monday 9 November 2020

Living in Love and Faith

Several years in the making – and not without controversy – the Church of England has today released a set of resources on Living in Love and Faith, billed as ‘Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage’.

The main website is here, which has more information about the project, and from where the Living in Love and Faith Learning Hub can be accessed (including access to the book, podcasts, a course with films and discussion questions, and other resources) in return for an email address.

Update: Andrew Goddard (a consultant on the Co-Ordinating Group of Living in Love and Faith) provides a very helpful introduction and overview here: ‘LLF for Dummies: 10 FAQs about the Church of England’s new teaching and learning resources on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.’

Further Update: A pdf of the full book can be downloaded here.

Credo 10, 3 (2020) on the Nicene Creed

The current issue of Credo is available, this one devoted to the topic of ‘The Nicene Creed’.

Here’s the blurb:

‘The doctrine of the Trinity is foundational to Christianity. Without it, we have no Christianity at all. For that reason, the church fathers of the fourth century labored to protect the church from those in their midst who undermined the equality of the Son and Spirit with the Father. With great scriptural care, they affirmed the Son’s eternal generation and the Spirit’s eternal spiration not only to distinguish the persons of the Trinity but to safeguard their consubstantiality and divine simplicity. Unfortunately, many have never read the Nicene Creed let alone considered its importance for the preservation of biblical orthodoxy today. This issue of Credo Magazine introduces readers to the Nicene Creed to ensure the next generation is equipped to confess the faith once for all delivered to the saints.’

Individual articles, along with interviews and book reviews, are available to read from here.

Friday 6 November 2020

Tony Watkins on Philip Pullman

The latest Cambridge Paper from the Jubilee Centre is available online here (from where a pdf can be downloaded here), this one by Tony Watkins:

Tony Watkins, ‘The Art of Darkness: Philip Pullman’s Christian Atheism’, Cambridge Papers 29, 3 (September 2020).

Here is the summary:

‘Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, is well known for his antipathy towards religion. Yet although he insists that this world is all there is, he seems constantly drawn towards ideas of transcendence. He advocates many Christian values, though he refuses to accept their Judeo-Christian origins, and assumes them in his attack on the church. He sees himself as an enemy of religion, but his atheism has a distinctively Christian flavour.’

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Centre for Public Christianity (October 2020)

The Centre for Public Christianity has posted two ‘Life and Faith’ podcasts, related to the current US elections: one (here) which ‘speaks to Amy Black, Andy Crouch and Lisa Sharon Harper about how growing polarisation and the politicisation of faith are playing out in the 2020 presidential race’, and another (here) which ‘explores the role of faith, and particularly (white) evangelicals, in shaping the results’.

Monday 2 November 2020

Mission Frontiers 42, 6 (November-December 2020)

The November-December 2020 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by the U.S. Center for World Mission, contains a number of articles on the topic of ‘Human Trafficking’.

According to the blurb:

‘This issue of Mission Frontiers takes on the very challenging topic of human trafficking in the world around us. As followers of Jesus we must sometimes face the ugliness of our world head-on in order to do what is right in the sight of our Lord… [T]he sheer tragedy of 25+ million precious people being enslaved in our day demands that we as Jesus followers speak up in their defense. As representatives of God on earth, we must take action to set the captives free. In numerous places in this issue of MF we provide you with specific steps you can take to stop human trafficking and those industries that fuel it. We don’t just lament the problem but we provide specific solutions to defeat this global menace.’

The issue is available here, from where individual articles can be downloaded, and the entire issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.