Thursday, October 30, 2008

I hate group projects

Do group projects do anything other than reward slackers and impose more work on students who are actually willing to do their work? There is an inverse relationship between how "group" a project is and how much of a "project" it ends up being for the ones doing it.

Biblioblogger Get Together at SBL?

I know there's quite a few Bibliobloggers, so it's impossible to get everyone together...nor do I imagine that everyone would want to be in the same room. But, is there any kind of annual get-together at SBL amongst bloggers?

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm just not spiritual enough...

Or, atleast, that's what I was told tonight after class by a fellow student. Even though I took "World Religions" at Southeastern, ECU wanted me to take it again after I told them that the previous class had been informative, but was primarily about how to evangelize people of these various faiths. So, yes, I could tell you the difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, but the focus of the class was how to win them over.

Tonight we were learning about Judaism. The professor hit some of the highlights in the Hebrew Bible, talked about various beliefs, etc. Afterwards, I spoke to a student who just last week had tried to witness to me after learning that I'm Catholic. I asked him what he thought of the lecture - I had looked over and seen him rolling his eyes, shaking his head, or sleeping during most of the lecture. He said, "Well, he got a lot of things wrong."

"Oh?" I said, "Such as?"

"Well, like, he said that one of God's names was El. That's not true. It was Elohim - El is Aramaic."

I looked at him, a little confused and said, "No, El is Hebrew. It's Aleph Lamed. It's just short for Elohim and it's often used with other words like El Echad or whatever..."

"Man, you just don't understand, you don't have the Spirit."

I'm pretty sure this is the true meaning of John 20:22 - "And Jesus breathed onto them and said, 'Receive ye the Holy Spirit so that ye may be able to read Hebrew.'"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Books!

I was back home in Raleigh this weekend to go to the State Fair (which is always loads of fun). As I was driving back to Greenville today, I stopped by my favorite used book store on the way out of town - Ed Mckay's Used Books and More. I spent an hour there looking over different books, met a guy named Rhett who's going into the priesthood next year, and found some great books like always:

Alister McGrath Christian Theology: An Introduction (2nd ed) - $6

Das Neue Testament/Le Nouveau Testament/The New Testament - $8

The Basic Sixteen Documents of Vatican Council II: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations (ed. Austin Flannery, O.P.) - $5

Where else can you find these steals?! It's fantastic. If you're in Raleigh, absolutely check out this bookstore.

I also bought a couple of books on Amazon recently and am looking forward to digging into them:

Scheeben, Matthias Joseph, The Mysteries of Christianity - only $40!!!

I had to call my friend Chris Cuddy to make sure this was a good deal because it seemed too good to be true and I was pretty sure I remembered the book being much more expensive.

Finally: Bouyer, Louis, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism - $10

I've read Bouyer's book before and it is phenomenal. It explains the philosophical current that was in Europe during the time of the Reformation and how it influenced Luther et al.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Literary Criticism and the New Testament

I need a book suggestion on literary criticism and the NT. Is there any book that is the book on this right now?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SBL and Heresy Hunting

Because I love using the word heresy, and because I hate when people try to defeat an argument by misrepresenting it, I found this article very interesting.

Mike Bird has written a great response to the article.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back from Chicago

I'm back from Chicago and wow, what a trip! U of Chicago's campus is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like Hogwarts (one of the dining halls on campus is the backup dining hall in case something happens at their present location - Oxford, I think). The professors were incredibly nice. In Hans-Josef Klauck's "Farewell discouses in John" class we discussed the anointing at Bethany in John 12. I met later that day with Margaret M. Mitchell and I think scandalized her by saying I hold for a Pauline authorship of Hebrews and I also believe in Matthean priority (crazy, I know!). I figure, if anything, it will atleast make me memorable when I put in my application. She was incredibly nice.

In Dr. Klauck's class I met a Ph.D student named Matthijs Den Dulk. Matthijs, his wife, my girlfriend, and myself all went out for beers in Chicago later that night and it was fantastic. I don't really have anyone here at ECU that's doing any real work in New Testament/Early Christianity, so to have a chance to nerd it up with someone was great. He's an incredibly smart guy - I think the academy will definitely want to watch out for him.

Also, I want to wish Chris Tilling a belated 33rd birthday. He's a great guy and we all look forward to atleast a few more years of good work out of him (33 is exceptionally old, after all).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bibliobloggers in Chicago?

I'm heading to Chicago this weekend for my fall break to go to the University of Chicago and chat with some professors about grad school there. This trip has been in the works for about a month now and I don't think a day goes by that I'm not completely stoked about it. Monday morning I'm sitting in on Hans-Josef Klauck's "Farewell Discourses in John" class, then I'm meeting with David Martinez, who is the head of a Ph.D program "New Testament and Early Christian Literature" (yes, please!), and in the afternoon I'm meeting with Margaret Mitchell, who is one of my favorite scholars of the early Church.

If anyone knows of some must-see places around the University, I'm all ears (I've heard there's a good bookstore). I'm all stomach if you can recommend a good restaurant nearby.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Is a Christological interpretation of the OT an honest one?

It seems that, among Hebrew Bible scholars, there is a bit of trepidation about letting New Testament scholars and theologians alike have a go at interpreting the Hebrew Bible. There seems to be a sense of injustice done to the text by the NT scholar, not letting the text "speak for itself." This happens quite a lot, but here's the post over on James Getz's blog that has sparked my question.

Certainly, Christological interpretations of the OT occur in the NT itself - but again, were the NT authors being fair in their hermeneutical practices? Were they allowing a text to speak for itself or were they ripping it out of context?

Can one have a Christological interpretation that also pays due respect to the particular OT text in its particular context, or is this having one's theological cake and eating it too?

EDIT: (10/7/08):
Douglas Mangum gives a bit more reasoning behind his answer on his blog.
Phil Sumpter responds to this overall issue on his blog (not my questions specifically, but still good answers).

The Celebration of the Baptism of Christ by the Basilideans and the Origin of Epiphany: Is the Seemingly Obvious Correct?

A very interesting article in the Journal for Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, Volume 5:
by Hans Foerster.


(HT: Mark Goodacre)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bonehead moves in translating Greek AND "Thank God there are no original manuscripts"

Because neither of these thoughts were really long enough to mandate their own blog post, I figured I'd throw two completely unrelated things together...

First, every student of any language makes mistakes (atleast that's what I tell myself so that I feel better). One thing I've been doing over the last few months is confusing words that end in -νται as a participle instead of recognizing them as using the primary middle-passive suffixes. After having crammed as much as I could today into my head about Participles, I feel silly.

Ever done something while learning a language that you later realized what completely incorrect?

Secondly, a strange thought occured to me the other night. I think I'm actually glad that we don't have original copies of the New Testament documents. After seeing various posts around the net of the over-theologizing of grammar that goes on now, can you imagine the fervor with which pseudo-theologians and grammarians would pontificate upon the tense or mood or aspect or whatever of a particular word? It would be unchecked and without the caution that people have to exercise now due to lack of these originals. An odd thought, but there you have it - thank God we have no original manuscripts.

Michael Barber on various Criteria of Authenticity in Historical Jesus Research

You've probably already read these great little posts; but if you haven't, I wanted to point you to them. They're all short, but insightful (and well-sourced!!).

The Criterion of Dissimilarity to Judaism

The Criterion of Dissimilarity to Christianity

The Criterion of Multiple Attestation

The Criterion of Coherence