Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A bone to pick

Lord knows not nearly enough has been written on the blogosphere about the Talpiot Tomb, so I guess I need to pick up the slack and help out. The reaction by some bloggers (mostly conservative brethren) over the tomb puzzles me. It puzzles me in the same way that the massive response to The Da Vinci Code puzzles me. Did we really need to write a bazillion (yes, a bazillion) books on the matter? Was anyone thoroughly convinced by Dan Brown's massive research and amazing detail to historical accuracy? Likewise, do we all need to get our theological undies in a twist over something that's highly speculative? Does the reaction show a level of insecurity amongst those who believe in the gospel accounts being literal historical records (vs. someone who would be willing to accept Jesus' resurrection as metaphysical or even metaphorical)?

Now, I'm certainly not putting Tabor on the level of Dan Brown. But the fact remains that a great deal of the theory is based on speculation. There's nothing wrong with that. Maybe the theory will develop further and new evidence will be found to back up what Dr. Tabor has found. Maybe the theory will die out. I think the prudent thing to do with any new and up-and-coming theory is to sit back, analyze the evidence, and let N.T. Wright tell you what you should think.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus - Chapter 2 "The Copyists of the Early Christian Writings"

In Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, the second chapter deals primarily with the issues of 1) Who was copying the text and 2) Editorial practices of those scribes.

Ehrman makes a statement in the chapter:
Because the early Christian texts were not being copied by professional scribes, at least in the first two or three centuries of the church, but simply by educated members of the Christian congregations who could do the job and were willing to do so, we can expect that in the earliest copies, especially, mistakes were commonly made in transcription.

This seems to be contrary to what Philip Comfort says in his book Encountering the Manuscripts. Comfort believes there was a scriptorium in both Alexandria and Oxyrhynchus that were in full swing by the second century AD. If this is true, does this make Ehrman's claims of inept scribes obsolete? Are there good reasons to believe that there wasn't a scriptorium in Oxyrhynchus by the mid-2nd century AD?

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Last Twelve Verses in Mark Conference at SEBTS

A conference is scheduled for April 13-14, 2007 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary concerning the last twelve verses in Mark.

Speakers include: Daniel B. Wallace, Maurice Robinson, Keith Elliot, David Black, and Darrel Bock.

I'm looking forward to this conference due to 1) The chance to meet scholars like Bock, Wallace, and Elliot (Robinson and Black teach at my school, so I've already had the privilege of meeting them) and 2) the chance to see argumentation in favor of the last twelve verses being original (a la Black and Robinson). I certainly don't hold to the view that the last twelve verses are original, but I'm not convinced that 16:8 is the original ending either.

Joining the Ranks

I really enjoy reading the blogs of guys like Chris Tilling, Mark Goodacre, Brandon Wason, etc, so I figured I'd start my own. Not because I think I'm nearly as clever as any of them (Tilling's views on Church Discipline still make me laugh daily), but because those guys are all well-established in their studies (in various degrees) and I've not seen any blogs that are from the perspective of someone just starting out.

A bit about me:

I'm 22 and I'm a Junior at Southeastern College at Wake Forest (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's undergraduate program). I'm a double major in Biblical Studies and History of Ideas. I'm a member of SBL (since last year) and I'm hoping to attend some conferences, perhaps even write a paper or two.

I was a thoroughgoing Atheist until I was 16. How I became a Christian is perhaps a post for another time (if anyone's interested). I bounced around the idea of being a music major for awhile and then decided that Southeastern is where I wanted to go to study Christianity. I will admit that at times, it all seems impossible. Granted, I've only been studying Christianity for about 3 years, but it seems that there is an impossible amount of information to be assimilated. I suppose this is why Aquinas calls Theology the "queen of the sciences".

I'm planning on pursuing a Masters and a Ph.D in New Testament, but if I don't get into a good graduate school, I'm considering starting one of those crazy backwoods churches where I just scream at everyone.

I'm particularly interested in NT Textual Criticism (who isn't these days?), particularly in the Synoptic problem and the "Q" Hypothesis. I'm also interested in the Gospel of Thomas and its familiarity (or lack thereof) with Tatian's Diatessaron and the Syriac NT.

So here's my underlying question: Is anyone even interested? Is anyone interested in reading the musings of a Southern Baptist kid who has a secret love of high church and tradition? Is anyone interested in my ill-informed conclusions and sophomoric thoughts?