Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Tour of Alter-Egos

There's a few lists running around of various Bibliobloggers' alter-egos. I have had the illustrious honor of being on a few. Here are my alter-egos according to fellow Bibliobloggers.

On Chris Tilling's site I am "Pope Benedikt XVI". My favorite two on this list are Jim West as Paris Hilton and Stephen Carlson as Britney Spears. Those are spot-on.

On Jim West's site I am Pope Pius XII (a very Holy man indeed!).

Apparently an ultimate correction was needed, so on Michael Barber's site I am John Henry Newman.

No offense to Mr./Ms. Spears and Mr./Ms. Hilton, but I think I really won out on all three.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pliny the Younger - "Trajan, please let me have a fire department!"

While working as governor of Bythnia-Pontus, Pliny (the younger) travelled around to various cities, making sure finances and such were in order. Nicomedia was the capital of Bythnia at the time. Pliny travelled to a neighboring city, Claudiopolis, which had just been destroyed by fire. Pliny concluded that had the city had a fire brigade, the damage would have been less extensive.

Fire brigades (or collegium fabrorum) were common in the Western part of the empire. Pliny wrote to Trajan, requesting that a fire brigade of only 150 men be assembled in Nicomedia in case of future happenings. He writes in the last part of his request, " will not be difficult to keep such small numbers under observation."

It was precisely groups such as these, those assembled for non-political purposes, that ended up causing so many problems in the province.

Trajan gives an odd (or expected, depending upon your view) response:

"...but we must remember that it is societies like these which have been responsible for political disturbances in your province, particularly in its cities. If people assemble for a common purpose, whatever name we give them and for whatever reason, they soon turn into a political club. It is a better policy to provide the equipment necessary for dealing with fires, and to instruct property owners to make use of it, calling on the help of the crowds which collect if they find it necessary."

The word used here for "political club" is hetaeria, the same word that Pliny will use when writing to Trajan about the Christians. Trajan was so worried about groups forming against him that he denied the capital city of Bythnia a Fire department!
*Attached is a picture of yours truly in his turnout gear while at a training burn for the Fire department. That's right, ladies, I read Koine Greek and put out fires...the best of both worlds.
**I didn't even think of what's going on in Southern California when I wrote this. Hopefully this isn't taken as being untimely or insensitive.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A little questionnaire

I answered some questions for Jacob Paul Breeze over on his blog. Go check it out. Also, the grainiest photo of me in existence is there.

Top ten verbatim agreements in the New Testament at Hypotyposeis

Stephen Carlson over at Hypotyposeis has done a list of the top ten verbatim agreements in the New Testament. Very cool.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Authors, Redactors, and Compilers, Oh my.

I'm reading through William Telford's The Barren Temple and the Withered Tree which is a discussion of Mark 11, specifically how the cursing of the fig tree relates to the cleansing of the temple.

I wanted to share this, out of the chapter "Source and Redaction in Mark 11":

"The first of these hands, a redactor of Mk I, R, was responsible for verses 20-24, and it was his version of Mark that Matthew used. Verses 25 and 26 are, however, late glosses. In addition, Hirsch posits a second redaction of Mark that occured before R's version adding verses 20-24 to Mk I. This version, Mk II, omitted the first visit to the Temple and the fig-tree story (verses 11-14) and brought together for the first time therby the Entry and Cleansing pericopes." (pg. 43)

He then goes on to give a chart describing the textual history. I find the argument really intriguing, but there's just something about all this redacting and authoring that doesn't sit well with me. Perhaps he's right, but do we punt to a "redactor" if we can't figure out why certain verses "sound a disharmonious note" too quickly? (ibid.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Rebuttal to Matthew Rondeau - The Blessed Sacrament

This begins our rebuttal of Part 2 of “Why I am not a Catholic”. The Eucharist is indeed the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324 quoting LG 11).

John 6 is interpreted in the context of the Lord’s Supper, even though Christ was not at this time giving them instructions for the Lord’s Supper. Furthermore, the Catholic interpretation is identical to the initial and incorrect interpretation of the disciples.

Apparently the “plain reading” of John 6 befuddled nearly every one of the Fathers. Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Ambrose of Milan, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, John Chrysostom, and too many more to list all believed in the literal presence. Also, it's interesting that John puts this teaching in the midst of the Passover, one year prior to Jesus' own crucifixion (John 6:4), which hurts Luther's argument rehashed here that there's no way St. John is speaking about the Eucharist. However, we should take a look at the text ourselves.

John 6:26-63 will be where I’m quoting from. Jesus repeatedly says “I am the bread of life” “I am the bread come down from Heaven” “I am the living bread”, etc. Then, the Jews protest, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (v. 52). Does Jesus say, “No no, it’s metaphorical.”? No, instead, He continues in His idea and states: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” As if it weren’t enough, He again states: “My flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink.” Pardon me if my hermeneutical gymnastics get in the way here, but I’ll just go ahead and take Jesus’ words at face value. Jesus does not just say that one must eat His flesh, He says that one must gnaw or gnash His flesh (ο τρωγων - the one gnawing/gnashing/eating). Interesting choice of words. In fact, the more people protest, the stronger His language gets!

Jesus' words in John 6:63 should not be seen as a contraction of His previous statements. Jesus did not go through the repeated attempts at explaining that His body was the real bread which comes down from Heaven to contradict Himself. "It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing." Misunderstood, this is shocking. Did Jesus just go through a very lengthy teaching only to turn it on its head to say that flesh profits nothing? No, of course not. For one, as Christians, there better be a hope that Jesus' flesh profits something or else our hope on Calvary is lost (unless you're a modern Docetist). Jesus is discussing belief here. The Spirit is what provides knowledge of the truth (and Truth) (1 Cor. 2:12). Human flesh profits nothing, it does not provide the Divine wisdom and faith needed for this statement (Matthew 16:17). This is made obvious by vs. 64 - "But there are some of you who don't believe." Don't believe what, a metaphor? What's hard about not believing that Jesus is just talking metaphorically?

I quote the second part of his argument here:

We must also remember the accounts of the last supper in the Gospels, which are separate and distinct from this account in John 6. He tells them that the bread was his body, given for them. And then He tells them that the cup was the new covenant in His blood. There is also the command to “do this in remembrance of Me.” It is here that Catholic christology diverges severely from Scripture. The Catholic mass is not a remembrance of Christ, it is an actual re-sacrificing of Christ.

I'll try to be brief. "Do this in remembrance of me" is not "you know, keep me in your mind." The Eucharist was instituted on the backdrop of the Passover. When the Hebrews would celebrate the Passover years after the Exodus, the fathers would say to their families, "This is what the Lord has done for me. He has led me out of Egypt..." etc. Curious. The idea is that the Semitic idea of "remembrance" was not simply a psychological event, but was a reliving or a continual living of that event. Being Jews, the 12 would've understood what Christ here meant.

Also, the Mass is not a re-sacrifice of Christ. The CCC paragraph 1366 states, "The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it represents the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit." Represent = makes present. The Mass is the making present of the reality of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross to the faithful today.

Matthew then quotes from Ephesians 1:22-23 and states:
The body of Christ is comprised of the people who believe in Him, not a piece of bread.

Scripture also calls the body "living stones". Are we "The Thing" from Fantastic four? No...I wish. It's bad form to take a metahpor and make it exclusive of all other meanings.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Go figure

Eucharistic theology
created with
You scored as Catholic

You are a Catholic. You believe that the bread and wine are transformed by the priest and become the Body and Blood of Christ. Though the accidents, or appearance, of bread and wine remain, the substance has been changed. The Eucharist remains the Body and Blood of Christ after the celebration, and is reserved in the Tabernacle; Eucharistic devotions are proper. As the whole Christ is present under either species, you partake fully of the Eucharist even if you receive only one.













Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hebrews 4:12 and Christology

A popular passage for Evangelicals to show the magnificence of Scripture is Hebrews 4:12. I used to think this was talking about Scripture until recently. I'm convinced that ο λογος του θεου is Christological. For one, I don't know that Paul (the obvious author of Hebrews) would have seen Scripture as "living and active." Nor do I think Paul would've seen Scripture as having the power to "judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

There's a myriad of other reasons why I think this is Christological, but I was wondering if anyone thinks the same.

Also, this is my 100th post. You would think I would have written something better.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Top Signs You've Been in Biblical Studies for Too Long

Top signs you’ve been in Biblical Studies for too long:

You think Aramaic and Coptic are really very useful languages

You can argue for hours about how books just don’t end with a post-positive γαρ

Your mailman had to retire early due to a bad back after years of hauling your books up to the door

(For the younger guys) – You actually get disappointed when your friends want to discuss the cute girls in the bar rather than discuss that new book you just read on Pauline Christology

You know that Pride actually comes before destruction, Haughtiness before a fall

You thought Gomer was a beautiful suggestion for your newborn daughter

You thought Maher-shalal-hash-baz would’ve been a cool name for your newborn son

You didn’t know people blogged about other things

You keep trying to visit γοογλε and can’t figure out why it won’t work

Q, L, and M are not just letters of the alphabet

You know who these guys are without their last names: Rudolph, Huldrych, D.F., Bruce, Walter

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blog Worth

My blog is worth $1,000,000,000.00.
How much is your blog worth?

Okay, so I fiddled with the HTML. My blog wasn't even worth enough to pay a year's tuition.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Luke 16:19-31 - The Rich Man and Lazarus

Last Sunday the Gospel reading was Luke 16:19-31. This story is odd, if anything. It fits well within Luke's theme of eschatological role reversals with the poor receiving their due reward in Christ (which is why he quotes so much from Isaiah 61). At any rate, something I had never noticed before (and this is a very duh thing) is the way Jesus ends the parable:

But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'

I can't help but think that Luke included this quote as an encouragment for the Church to be aware of the Old Testament. It also seems that, to Luke, Jesus is in the OT (Lk. 24:27). This gives creedance to the Church Fathers' interpretation of the Old Testament with Christological lenses (for modern Christological Exegesis of the OT, I'd say look at Graeme Goldsworthy).

I'm also trying to figure out if there's some kind of a "dig" involved here. Did Jesus say this as a sort of prophetic "slam" to the Pharisees, saying that since they don't believe in Moses and the Prophets, they wouldn't believe in a walking talking supposedly dead guy? Jesus also doesn't say it himself, but has Abraham saying this (a double slam?). Did Luke include it for the reason I stated above, or did he include it also as a way to shock people?