Friday, April 27, 2007
As I was driving in my newly-repaired truck this afternoon, I heard an interesting story on NPR.
Basically, another audio Bible is coming out, but this one features an interesting cast of characters. For instance, Luke Perry (of Beverly Hills: 90210 fame) is Judas, Marisa Tomei as Mary Magdelene, Richard Dreyfuss as Moses (a better choice than Heston, I believe), and the one and only Jim Caviezel as Jesus himself (who else can play Jesus?).
The real kicker for me, though, is Terence Stamp who played Zod in "Superman II" as the voice of God. There is something ridiculous about Zod playing God.
As far as the title of the post :
"Kneel before Zod" was a line out of Superman II
"Krypton" is the planet from which Superman and Zod come from and 94342 is one of the zip codes of Jerusalem (you know, like Beverly Hills : 90210.....)
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I plan on posting my review for the second chapter of Downing's "The Bible and Flying Saucers" soon.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
All of the speakers did a fantastic job. It was interesting to find that even though one may not agree with vss 9-20 being original, there's a myriad of other theories to which one can adhere. For instance, Dr. Black and Dr. Robinson both agreed that the long ending (L.E.) is the original, but for different reasons. Dr. Robinson's appeal was primarily to internal evidence, showing how Markan 9-20 really is, giving a brief account of manuscript evidence, etc. However, Dr. Black, contrary to Robinson, holds to Matthaen priority and nearly all of his argument rests on patristic evidence. Dr. Black holds to the idea that there was initially a version of Mark, penned by Mark under the guidance of Peter, that did not include 9-20. After Peter's death, Mark added 9-20 as an homage to Peter. Thus, there were copies of Mark's gospel circulating that ended at verse 8.
Dr. Keith Elliot was brilliant. Is it just me or is there something about British theologians being the kindest people alive?! I chatted with him a bit last night after he spoke (he was the 3rd and final speaker Friday night, which was pretty amazing considering his "body time" was about 2am) and he treated me like a friend. Dr. Elliot made the case that 9-20 is not original, but that Mark did not originally end at 16:8 either. He believes that the ending was lost. He discussed the various scribes in Sinaiticus and how "D"s writing actually gets bigger (or is more spaced out) towards the end, as if he were aiming to fill up space that had originally been left for...more verses, perhaps? Wallace had dismissed the gap in Vaticanus as being something that happens in Vaticanus anyway, but Elliot had a quick response that the other three gaps (after Nehemiah, Daniel, and Tobit) are all Old Testament. Also, after Nehemiah in Vaticanus comes the Psalter, which is written in 2 columns and not 3, so it makes sense for there to be a gap. The gap after Daniel was explained easily, as it is the end of the OT in Vaticanus.
Dr. Bock and Dr. Wallace both agreed that 16:8 was the original ending. Wallace did a great job explaining the cumulative weight of evidence against 9-20 being original. He made some interesting points, noting that Smith's "Secret Mark" is actually more Markan than 9-20.
Dr. Bock had the task of wrapping everything up today. He was the last speaker and his job was basically to see where we are currently. He talked a lot about presuppositions and interpretations. He noted that all the scholars agreed on most of the facts (patristic witnesses, manuscript evidence, etc), but their interpretations were different due to the "models" in which they operated.
Some thoughts of my own:
Not enough evidence was brought forth to show that books end in a post-positive γαρ. With my little Greek knowledge, this seems somewhat awkward. Wallace mentioned that there are ancient writings that have open-ended conclusions, but didn't mention any. Bock mentioned that in the Gospels there are some "open-ended" conclusions. The end of Acts, for example. What happens to Paul? What happens to the Jews?
I didn't think sufficient evidence had been brought forth to show why anyone would omit 9-20. Either Black's or Elliot's theory seems to work better here.
It's interesting that scholars can look at 9-20 and there's a debate over how Markan or not it is. Everyone had pretty convincing arguments, Dr. Robinson's being the most in depth (concerning the vocabulary, style, etc). I suppose the only thing left for me to do is see what I think about it on my own. Sheesh. This is what conferences are for... to answer questions, not create them!
Overall, the conference was really great. Dr. Bock's lecture in the end had some good advice: don't subscribe to a brittle fundamentalism. Understand that we all have the facts (dots) and your interpretations may differ from others (how you connect those dots). I like this kind of thinking (when it's appropriate). As Dr. Bock said, if we take out 9-20, we lose nothing. Almost everything (aside from poison and snakes, which I admit is a bit unattractive and seems to be uncharacteristic of Jesus' words...but what do I know?) is included elsewhere in the New Testament.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
...so I think that’s why Matthew and Matthew alone tells you about the guard at the tomb. It’s an apologetic device to defend the faith against those who were saying that Jesus’ body was stolen.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Beginning with Robinson’s ideas on the Ascension being “mythical”, Downing poses his argument that instead of the “either or” proposed by Robinson, the possibility of a third option exists: Jesus did ascend, but that it was on a “flying saucer” shaped like a cloud. The flaw in Robinson’s argument, according to Downing, is that he “failed to add that the Bible provided a vehicle – a “cloud” – to do the lifting.” Downing never makes mention that Jesus on a cloud is a reference to the Son of Man in Daniel (7:13), however, it would fit well within his theory.
Downing then stumbles crudely over to the demythologization camp. He gives a brief overview of Bultmann’s ideas. Downing suggests that this ideology has separated the church into two groups: conservatives who want to interpret the Bible “realistically” and liberals who “are more concerned with ‘demythologizing’.” Downing attempts to reconcile the two groups with what he calls his “realistic” reading that boils down to : UFO’s did it. Who led the Israelites out of Egypt? Why, UFO’s of course. Jesus’ ascension? You got it, UFO’s.
Apparently the main scientific criticism to Downing’s theory was that UFO’s were a post-WW II invention. Downing claims that people had seen objects in the sky for hundreds of years, however he gives no sources. He also states that the increase in UFO activity was due to the human discovery of nuclear power. Downing sees nuclear power, satellites, and radio waves as a sort of cosmic “fishing hook” by which humans have managed to attract life from other planets.
Back to theological matters, Downing takes to task the demythologizers and John 20:25, the account of Thomas’ doubt. Downing rightly states that “if the Resurrection is mythological, then this passage is meant deliberately to deceive us.” Downing believes that if the Resurrection is mythical, then “we have little right as a Church to preach that the ‘existential resurrection’ of Christ will ensure Christians eternal life.’”
Downing concludes his first chapter with his differentiation between “truth” and “honesty”. Essentially, honesty is internal whereas truth has an external referent. Downing gives the example of a blind man being “honest” about there being no light, but not really subscribing to the truth of the matter: that light exists. Downing discusses the main difference between science and theology; that science is more focused on truth while theology is focused more on honesty. He believes Robinson and Bultmann both are being honest, but not focused on the truth.
Downing closes his chapter with a short critique on demythologization and how it limits theology to a small sphere – the world. Downing’s theory, however, leads into a whole new realm – space. The next chapter in TBAFS deals with the inhabitants of space and the probability of Flying Saucers.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
And so in a large number of manuscripts, including some of our earliest, Paul doesn't rest assured that he and his followers have peace with God, he urges himself and others to seek peace.
Monday, April 2, 2007
After Jesus was baptized, some sort of UFO apparently entered the situation for some reason (ed. note: Downing is here talking about the Holy Spirit descending like a "dove"). What did the UFO look like, and what was its mission? The question as to the physical shape of the UFO has been the cause of controversy in the field of Biblical scholarship.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
To further this end, we are introducing a major new commentary series, Major Studies on Minor Biblical Books. The introductory volume, available now, is the biblical book of Obadiah, verse 1. This 500 page volume, lavishly illustrated with extensive charts and full color plates, concentrates on the overlooked importance of verse 1 in the canonical process and its implications for the entire biblical corpus, indeed for all theological undertakings. U. Will B. Bore, ed. for the series, expresses the purpose of the series very clearly, "We feel that in an age of inclusiveness and pluralism, it is only fair to examine the importance of these frequently overlooked biblical books. We are delighted that Eisenbrauns has agreed to publish this milestone in biblical studies."
Work on Volume II has already begun, which will include a whopping 479 pages on Obadiah 1:2.