Paul Joyce appointed to Samuel Davidson Chair–Kings College London

Back in April, Paul Joyce was appointed to the Samuel Davidson Chair at Kings College London. Paul was previously at St. Peter’s College Oxford and has garnered international acclaim for his work in Ezekiel. I’ll always remember my first SBL in New Orleans when I was invited to the Oxford reception and I was introduced to Paul. He spent several minutes engaging me with questions about school, and introducing me to a number of other Old Testament faculty. There were many other (read: more important) figures at this reception and I was very humbled by his patience and his charity. He is more interested in lifting those around him up, rather than himself. If all Christian scholars were like Paul, Biblical Studies would be a healthier, less insecure environment.

Kings conducted an interview with Paul about his background and goals as the new chair. You can read the interview here. His post begins September 2012 and I am sure he will be great at Kings. Good luck Paul.

Southeastern Theological Review’s Round Table Discussion with Michael Licona

I’m thankful for STR for conducting a round table discussion concerning some of the brouhaha around Licona’s interpretation of Matthew 27. I won’t get into my own personal feelings of how this situation unfolded. You can read the dialogue here and decide for yourself.

 

(HT Ben Blackwell)

Scots Translation of the New Testament

Here was an interesting (and short) blog post from the New College Librarian on the 30th Anniversary of the translation of the New Testament into Scots. The New Testament is currently on display at the library at New College.

This post provoked a couple of thoughts: firstly, I was surprised that it wasn’t until 1983 that there was a translation of the New Testament into Scots (I have to admit my ignorance when it comes to the Celtic languages and this may not be a big deal because of the English translation of the New Testament). Secondly, the great need for good translations of both testaments for the many people groups with never seeing the Bible in their own tongue. Below is a 10-minute video of a people group receiving a translation of the New Testament into their own heart language.

Michael Kruger on the basis of distinguishing heresy from orthodoxy in the early church

Over at Canon Fodder (which is the best name I’ve heard for a blog), Michael Kruger has been discussing misconceptions of the NT Canon. In his latest post he discusses the basis for distinguising heresy from orthodoxy in the early church. I really enjoyed what he writes concerning the role of the Old Testament in the early church.

 Routinely overlooked by those in the Bauer camp—ironically in a Marcionite fashion—is the decisive role played by the Old Testament amongst the earliest Christians. M.F. Wiles once declared, “There was never a time when the Church was without written Scriptures.  From the beginning she had the Old Testament and it was for her the oracles of God.”[1]   Aside from the numerous examples of Old Testament usage within the New Testament itself, quotations from the Old Testament are abundant within the writings of the apostolic fathers and other early Christian texts. Thus, right from the outset, certain “versions” of Christianity would have been ruled as out of bounds.  For example, any quasi-Gnostic version of the faith which suggested the God of the Old Testament was not the true God but a “demiurge”—as in the case of the heretic Marcion—would have been deemed unorthodox on the basis of these Old Testament canonical books alone.  As Ben Witherington has observed, “Gnosticism was a non-starter from the outset because it rejected the very book the earliest Christians recognized as authoritative—the Old Testament.”[2] So, the claim that early Christians had no Scripture on which to base their declarations that some group was heretical and another orthodox is simply mistaken.   The Old Testament books would have provided that initial doctrinal foundation.

[1] M.F. Wiles, “Origen as Biblical Scholar,” in The Cambridge History of the Bible: From the Beginnings to Jerome (ed. P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 454.

[2] Ben Witherington, The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magadelene, and Da Vinci (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004), 115.

You can read the entire post here.

Book Notice: Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address

A book to keep your eye on if you are interested in theological interpretation is Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address (Eerdmans) edited by Craig G. Bartholomew and David J.H. Beldman. In the Preface Bartholomew and Beldman lament that the Old Testament is for the most part unknown by the majority Christians and that there are far too few books to assist Christians to feast upon it as Christian Scripture. Their response to the famine is this edited volume with the goal of listening for God’s address through the Old Testament:

At the heart of the hermeneutic advocated in this book is the belief that our love for the Old Testament and our desire for God will come together only when we make the goal of our interpretation to listen for God’s address. If Scripture is God’s Word, then any other goal is inadequate.

Hearing the Old Testament boasts an impressive collection of contributors beginning with Bartholomew’s opening chapter, “Listening for God’s Address: A Mere Trinitarian Hermeneutic for the Old Testament.” Part II of the volume concerns methods in interpretation and is appropriately named, “Learning to Listen.” Essays from Part III are involve listening to the different sections of the Old Testament.  Part IV concludes the volume with, “Hearing and Preaching the Old Testament.”

What stands out about this volume is the careful editorial process. Contributors to Part II, “Learning to Listen” first read Bartholomew’s chapter on Hermeneutics and then were invited to interact either positively or negatively with his essay. Contributors to Part III were asked to write their chapters after reading Bartholomew’s chapter and the chapter’s on “Learning to Listen.” Part IV was then written in light of the Parts I-III. This type of editorial planning should bring a certain type of cohesion that normally lacks in an edited volume. I only hope that future volumes may follow suit.

The List of chapters and authors:

  1. Listening for God’s Address: A Mere Trinitarian Hermeneutic for the Old Testament by Craig G. Bartholomew
  2. History of Old Testament Interpretation by Al Wolters
  3. Philosophy and Old Testament Interpretation by Bartholomew
  4. Literary Approaches and Old Testament Interpretation by David J.H. Beldman
  5. History and Old Testament Interpretation by Tremper Longman III
  6. Biblical Theology and Old Testament Interpretation by Mark J. Boda
  7. Canon and Old Testament Interpretation by Stephen G. Dempster
  8. Mission and Old Testament Interpretation by Christopher J.H. Wright
  9. Ethics and Old Testament Interpretation by M. Daniel Carroll R.
  10. Hearing the Pentateuch by Gordon J. Wenham
  11. Hearing the Historical Books by Iain Provan
  12. Hearing the Psalter by J. Clinton McCann Jr.
  13. Hearing the Old Testament Wisdom Literature by Bartholomew
  14. Hearing the Major Prophets by Richard Schultz
  15. Hearing the Minor Prophets by Heath Thomas
  16. Hearing and Preaching the Old Testament by Aubrey Spears

Compiling a Vocabulary List in Accordance

A friend of mine was preparing to preach on Deuteronomy 10:12-22 and asked if I could help him compile a vocabulary list from that section and where he could find where these words are used else where in the Hebrew Bible. Here is a step by step tutorial of how I compiled the vocabulary list and concordance.

First, make sure that you have selected Words in order to enable your search commands.

Next, you want to enter the Range of the text you are wanting for a vocabulary list and concordance. 

For my friend, he was wanting to examine Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Next, you want to connect your Range with the And and Wildcard commands. After you hit search the entire Range will be selected red.

Next, click on Analysis 

When you click on Analysis, your vocabulary list can then be ordered how you prefer–alphabetical or by frequency.

From there I went back to the Analysis tab and selected Concordance in order for him to find where each word was used else where.


Paul House and the Theme of the Prophets

I have been a fan of Paul House’s (Professor of Old Testament, Beeson Divinity School) work ever since I first picked up and read his OT Theology book. Although sometimes a bit rigid, I appreciate the way he works through a single book of the OT on its own right, but thoughtful in the way he sees certain themes being alluded to in other parts of the Hebrew canon. It can be said that he has good canonical sensitivity.

With that, I was pleased to see Justin Taylor highlight House’s essay on the unifying themes of the prophets from his article in the ESV Study Bible. This essay is going to be reprinted in Understanding the Bible Well: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well. According to House a thematic progression can be discerned in the prophets that begins with the prophets belief that God is speaking through them. Second, the prophets operate within the context that Israel has been chosen by God to exist in a covenantal relationship with him. Third, much of the message of the prophets emphasizes that Israel has broken  covenantal relationship. Fourth, the continued message of the prophets is that God’s judgement for covenantal unfaithfulness will eradicate sin. And fifth, the prophets see renewal beyond the judgement. You can read Taylor’s full post here.

Online Hebrew/Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Akkadian, and Arabic Lexicon

Many of you may be aware of the following resource from Tyndale House but I thought I would go ahead and link it to the blog. The lexicon is set up for you to select your choice of language and then click on the first two letters of the word you are looking up. You can access the lexicon by clicking here.

I have also added the lexicon to the Resources section of the blog for quick access.