Friday, March 30, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Things I'm working on:
My post on Liberation Theology (a bit behind)
My exegesis paper of 1 John 1:8-2:2 (I'll be posting my questions here soon)
Some thoughts on learning languages on one's own
A real nail-biter, I know. Stay tuned.
P.S. - Just a reminder, the Last Twelve Verses in Mark conference is coming up at Southeastern. Here's the link.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
****Editor's Note 3/22*****
Just a few minutes after posting this, I went back and looked over the original PDF file and its inscription, and then the new PDF file and its inscription and they aren't the same. It may just be for the sake of clarity, but it's misleading if one assumes that this is how the inscription appears on the ossuary. Now, before I make a few observations, it should again be restated that I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on anything...at all.
1) The Yodh (י) still looks nothing like a Yodh.
2) The Shin(שׁ) still looks nothing like a Shin.
3) The Vav (ו) still looks nothing like a Vav.
4) The Aiyin (ע) is the only one which looks remotely like a real Hebrew letter and not the aforementioned "scribble-scrabble".
I have no illusions that ancient writing will always look as uniform on ancient artifacts as it does in our textbooks, but I included in my last post the facsimile of the "Yehudah Bar Yeshua" inscription, which is written far more legibly than that of our friend "Yeshua(?)", to show that not all the inscriptions are nearly this hard to read. I am with James Charlesworth when he writes that "[t]he scribbling is not an inscription, it is sloppy graffiti."
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
At any rate, check out his blog here or over on the blogroll.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
So, lo and behold, I have a question about English translations of Romans 3:23. In Greek, the verse is:
παντες γαρ ημαρτον και υστερουνται της δοξης του θεου
My question centers around ημαρτον. I realize that it's Aorist (sinned), but in most English translations it's translated into the perfect (have sinned). Is it because of the possible theological implications behind "For all sinned" (i.e. it could be said that it's a past event of generations long ago)? Are there other instances where the aorist is translated into the perfect? Is this just to satisfy something on the English end of things, or is this how the original audience would've understood it? Can one really make an entire paragraph out of questions?!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I was reading in my Greek New Testament when I came across 1 Peter 1:2. Now, the Greek reads as follows:
κατα προγνωσιν θεου πατρος εν αγιασμω πνευματος εις υπακοην και ραντισμος αιματος Ιησου Χριστου χαρισ υμιν και ειρηνη πληθυνθειηThe NASB translation:
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
I don't mean to be nitpicky, but I think the NASB has it wrong and there may be significant theological ideas that can come about with a (perhaps) more accurate rendering. The idea of obedience in the NASB is ours alone ("to obey Jesus Christ"), whereas I think the Greek is indicating that the obedience is both ours and Jesus'. I realize that υπακοην is singular, but I think instead of that being an argument against the idea of a mass obedience, it argues for the singularity of the ultimate obedience. According to Peter, it was Jesus' obedience which brings about the blood with which believers are sprinkled in order to be sanctified by the spirit. I think that there's a larger theology at hand than what the NASB lets on. I believe it's by "getting into" this obedience, by becoming joint members in the obedience of Christ, that Christian salvation is brought about.
The Apostle Paul reiterates this position in the well-known Philippians 2:5-8 where Paul states that Jesus was "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." See also Romans 5:19 where Paul writes that "through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." It seems there's a Biblical precedent for Jesus' obedience being essential to salvation. This seems like an obvious statement, but I mean to say that obedience is often secondary, if not wholly forgotten in salvation-speak. I think most modern English translations are guilty of this in respect to 1 Peter 1:2.
Thus, my translation is as follows:
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctification of the Spirit, into the obedience and sprinkling of Jesus Christ's blood, your grace and peace multiply.
Theology aside, this seems to make more literary sense. Perhaps it's my Protestant tendency to want the text to be neatly subdivided (so that we can get our 3 points and a poem for a sermon), but I think the text identifies three persons who are acting in different ways for salvation. The NASB (and most English translations that I've read) are spot-on as far as the Father's foreknowledge and the Spirit's sanctification, but they miss the point about the third person. It's not about the blood, it's about the obedience.
So, in my mind the verse is broken down into four parts:
a. The foreknowledge of God the Father
b. The sanctification of the Spirit
c. The obedience of Christ and his blood through which we are obedient and are sprinkled with to bring about B according to A
d. The blessing that comes about from this sanctification through obedience
On a similar note, is anyone from North Carolina planning on attending the Annual meeting in California this year?
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Three years wiser, I'm picking it back up. It's interesting to see how much more I'm getting out of it now that I understand atleast the basics of hermeneutics, who Rudolph Bultmann was, etc. It's interesting to see what I've highlighted in the past, the notes I made, and how they differ from what I see as important today and the notes I write.
Thus far, I'm really enjoying Wright's ideas on reading the text without sacrificing one aspect of it. I really like what Wright says on pg. 24:
...all authority belongs ultimately to the creator god; and if (as traditional Christianity has gone on to say) this god is made known supremely in Jesus, then Jesus, too, holds an authority that is superior to all writing about him.
Sometimes I think evangelicals run the risk of Bible worship. This is most obvious in our fundamentalist breathren who advocate King James only. But a less obvious happening is that of Bible worship by those who adhere to an extremely strict inerrany beause they fail to give power and authority to Jesus. There were Christians for years (mind you, I think considerably less years than mainline sholarship says) who didn't have these texts and they got along just fine. The Bible cannot be the ultimate authority, therefore Christ must be.
Friday, March 9, 2007
For example, the Qu'ran states that Jesus created birds from clay, blew on them, and they were alive (Surahs 3:49; 5:110). The mention of this miracle in 5:110 is especially interesting because of the repitition "by My Permission" (referring to Allah). None of Isa's miracles in the Qu'ran are actually his own, but are done by the permission of Allah.
At any rate, the story is similar to that in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (Chapter 2). In the Infancy Gospel, the child Jesus is playing by a river on the Sabbath and forms twelve sparrows out of clay. When Joseph came to Jesus and asked him why he was doing these "unlawful" things on the Sabbath, Jesus clapped his hands, spoke to the sparrows and they flew off.
The second story in the Qu'ran which seems to show some familiarity with Gnostic documents is that in Surah 3:46 where the Angel tells Mary (who earlier gives the Angel an objection based on her virginity much like the objection given in Luke) that Jesus will "speak from the crib" and teach the people "scripture, wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel."
The idea of Jesus speaking from the crib is recorded in the "Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ", a 2nd Century Arabic text. In this text, Jesus says to Mary (as an infant):
...Jesus spake while in the cradle, and said to his mother, "Mary, I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Word, which you brought forth according to the declaration of the angel Gabriel, and My Father has sent me for the salvation of the world.
This is one self-aware infant! It's interesting that Muhammad has these two very distinct stories in the Qu'ran (or perhaps they're later additions? I'm no Qu'ranic scholar). It seems unlikely that he would create these on his own.
I haven't been able to find any books concerning interaction Muhammad may have had with Gnostic texts, but I'd be really interested in finding one. If you know of any, feel free to leave the suggestion in the comments or you can email me at Joshua.McManaway[at]sebts.edu.
*I understand that texts which don't necessarily show signs of Gnostic theology are labeled as such. I use the term simply as a convenient way to reference a set of documents without being too specific about the theology contained therein.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
I was looking over the "evidence" PDF file at the Discovery Channel's website and I noticed something that interests me concerning the inscriptions on the ossuaries. I looked over "Yehudah Bar Yeshua (Judah, Son of Jesus)"'s ossuary and the inscription on it, which appears below:
For those who can't read Hebrew, I've color-coded the inscription. In case you're unfamiliar, Hebrew is read from right to left. The word "Yeshua" is Yellow, the word "bar" is Red, and the word "Yehudah" is Blue. Now, I can clearly read "Yehudah" "Bar" and "Yeshua" (although it's written in a funny way, it's readable).
However, a look at the supposed "Yeshua Bar Yehosef" inscription shows a bit of difference. I can see "Bar", I can see "Yehosef", but I certainly cannot see "Yeshua" at all. One reason I color-coded the above inscription is because I wanted you to look for yourself. Do you see "Yeshua" anywhere in there?
In fact, if you look at the PDF file available on the website, the translator apparently wasn't sure whether this was "Yeshua" either. There's a question mark after the name "Yeshua". Later, the document goes on to say:
The first name following the X mark is difficult to read. In contrast to other ossuaries in this tomb, the incisions are here superficial and curiously carved. Each of the four letters suggesting ישוע is unclear, but the reading is corroborated by the inscription of Ossuary 2, above.
I'm not really sure I follow the logic here. Are they asserting that because there is a Jesus somewhere in the family (Ossuary 2 is that of Judah, Son of Jesus), then perhaps this scribble-scrabble could be made out to be that Jesus? This just seems like wishful thinking. To my (extremely untrained) eye, that name is just as likely "scribble-scrabble" as it is Jesus. Perhaps one day we'll find the Gospel of Scribble Scrabble and Dan Brown will write "The Scribble Scrabble Code" entirely in Scribble-Scrabble! It'll be a hit, for sure! He'll make hundreds!
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Yep, that's what the inside cover of my copy of "Unleashing the Scripture : Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America" has on it now. After last night's God Talk roundtable discussion, Dr. Hauerwas was generous enough to sign my copy of his book. What really made me excited is what he said and how he said it. Instead of "Yeah sure" or "Why not", he said with genuine enthusiasm "I'd love to!" It really impressed me that Dr. Hauerwas, who is such a big dog in the theological world, was genuinely excited that I'm reading his book and wanted to sign it.
I told him I'm a student at Southeastern and he asked me if I was interested in coming to Duke Divinity. I told him I actually have a meeting this month with Dr. Joel Marcus to discuss the Ph.D in New Testament at Duke. Again, he seemed delighted. I told him that I also thought of applying to the Div school as well and just seeing where God leads me.
Overall, Duke has impressed me leaps and bounds. Whereas it's sometimes played up as the ultimate evil by Southeasterners (professors and students alike) for being "liberal", their faculty has been nothing but amazingly Christ-like in my experience. For example, I emailed Dr. Mark Goodacre after reading his book "The Case Against Q" and asked him if he'd like to have coffee one day and discuss his book (among other things). Much to my surprise, within a few days he emailed me back and agreed. Dr. Marcus was equally amicable when I asked him (after his debate with Gary Habermas from Liberty on the resurrection) to lunch. The unfortunate thing is, I've been turned down without a reason by two Southeastern professors when I requested to take them to lunch (my treat, as is my policy when having lunch with professors). Mind you, they aren't all like that. We have some great professors here (Dr. Brad Reynolds, Dr. C. Ivan Spencer, and Dr. Tracy Mckenzie, amongst others, are shining examples of how professors should be). I just think it's sad that sometimes my school writes off servants of Christ, truly Christlike men, as "liberal" when they themselves can't seem to follow the life that Jesus told us to live.
Friday, March 2, 2007
παυλος δουλος θεου αποστολος δε ιησου χριστου κατα πιστιν εκλεκτων θεου και επιγνωσιν αληθειας της κατ ευσεβειαν 2 επ ελπιδι ζωης αιωνιου ην
επηγγειλατο ο αψευδης θεος προ χρονων αιωνιων 3 εφανερωσεν δε καιροις
ιδιοις τον λογον αυτου εν κηρυγματι ο επιστευθην εγω κατ επιταγην του
σωτηρος ημων θεου 4 τιτω γνησιω τεκνω κατα κοινην πιστιν χαρις και
ειρηνη απο θεου πατρος και χριστου ιησου του σωτηρος ημων
Paul, slave of God, Apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of the chosen of God and knowledge of truth, according to godliness, upon hope of life eternal, the promise of the truthful* God before time eternal. But at the proper time made known His word with the message with which I was trusted according to the command of God our savior. Titus, my genuine child according to shared faith, grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.
*As far as "truthful" goes, I took αψευδης to be an attributive adjective (as it falls after the article). I originally rendered it "the non-lying God" or "the undeceitful God". I was unsure of how exactly to translate it literally, so I translated it "truthful" for a more natural reading. I consulted NASB after I did my translation and that particular section reads "God, who cannot lie,..." Am I way off in trying to keep it simple? Should I take αψευδης as being "who cannot lie"?
********3/3/07 Editor's Note********
So, after some reading and scratching my head, I've decided to change it to "who cannot lie" on the basis of a few lexicons rendering αψευδης "that cannot lie" or "who cannot lie". I still can't figure out the rationale behind it, though.
********3/6/07 Editor's Note*********
After going back and reading over my notes, I realized I made some translation errors. Here is my revised (and final) translation of Titus 1:1-5 (I translated 5 as academic penance for messing up previously).
Paul, a slave of God, Apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of the chosen of God and knowledge of truth, according to Godliness, upon hope of life eternal, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time eternal, but at the proper time made known His word with the message with which I was trusted according to the command of God our savior. Titus, my genuine child according to shared faith, grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order that which is wanting and appoint presbyters in the city as I myself commanded you.
Dr. J.D. Greear
Pastor, Summit Church, Durham, NC
Dr. Stanley Hauerwas
Prof. Howard Lesnick
U. of Pennsylvania Law School
Dr. H. Jefferson Powell
Duke Law School