Friday, April 27, 2007

Lo, Chris Tilling with less blubber

An old friend has just posted up in photos of me and a few friends during our days at St Andrews Uni! I can't believe I used to have a beard! I can't believe that you could once make out my bone structure (long since lost under folds of, err, muscle).

Biblical Studies Colloquium with Bauckham

As many of you may know, Jim West and I moderate the popular Biblical Studies discussion list. At present there are almost 680 members, including quite a few well-known scholars. The discussions are usually lively and well-informed, and I personally learn a lot from the members.

And so I am delighted to announce that Richard Bauckham will be our guest on the upcoming online colloquium, to be hosted between May 20th and 26th. We will be discussing his book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and invite you to join us.

Jim explains: “As in the past, we (the moderators) will collect two or three of the best questions posed by list members each day and pass them along to Professor Bauckham. He will respond and we will post his responses to the list”.

We are looking forward to this colloquium very much and hope that it generates a good bit of interesting dialogue.

In light of the upcoming colloquium, I will upload a (circa) 15 minute podcast summarising the main arguments of Bauckham’s book - for those who found my blog series on the book a tad too long!

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Lüdemann on Pope Benedikt’s book

Jim West has drawn attention to Gerd Lüdemann's critique of Papst Benedikt's new book, Jesus von Nazareth. Unsurprisingly, the tone of Lüdemann's argumention is a tad too one sided for my liking, but he is correct in the following:

'Als Ganzes ist das päpstliche Jesuswerk entgegen dem Anspruch seines Verfassers kein historisches Buch, sondern eine Sammlung von gottesdienstlichen Meditationen über die Gestalt Jesu, ergänzt um Ausflüge in die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft'

The book doesn't attempt a sustained historical argument in the way that, say, Sanders, Borg or Wright do, but I for one am not judging it merely in this light. While the Pope certainly does have his eyes firmly on matters relevant to historical reconstruction, this is done in such a way that rides upon, rather than constitutes, his main points. But, together with Lüdemann, my general impression of the book thus far is also that it does indeed have the character of 'gottesdienstlichen Meditationen'. To be honest I am finding the blatant confessional element rather refreshing, however! And more than that, I suspect that this book will also serve a noble ecumenical role. Evangelicals will be attracted and encouraged by his commitment to and work with the biblical testimony. Those bored stiff of plain academic argumentation will really like his gentle pastoral tone and message. Biblical scholars will appreciate the role the Pope gives historical-critical methods (at least in theory), and the manner in which he expresses gratitude to the academic guild.

In his final paragraph, Lüdemann writes: 'Wäre nicht der Papst der Verfasser dieses Buches, würde es von akademischen Exegeten nicht oder doch nur als eine peinliche Entgleisung zur Kenntnis genommen werden und in kirchlichen Buchläden bald verstauben'.

While not in the same league as other 'historical-Jesus' works, one would be unfair to judge the book merely in this light. No, the book is far from being simply 'eine peinliche Entgleisung'.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wright’s essay: The Cross and the Caricatures

Alastair has already linked to the article and shared his own thoughts, but I also wanted to heartily recommend to my readers Tom Wright's recent essay, "The Cross and the Caricatures", which takes a look at some of the current debates flying around the matter of penal substitution.

Wright believes that penal substitution is biblical, even if not all 'penal substitution' models are. I entirely agree. Alas, sadly many have thrown that baby out with some undeniably stinky bathwater, and now carelessly castigate 'penal substitution' as an outdated and even barbaric doctrine. Some formulations are, but others, whether we like it or not, are biblical. At least in my view.

The essay is a scintillating read with some especially spot-on and timely rebuking of the sad and ill-informed witch-hunting going on in some evangelical circles. I for one have just about had enough of the next Mr Big Conservative Name making yet another terribly serious (yet -uninformed-because-totally-unsympathetic) statement about how those not entirely matching their doctrinal programme are 'infecting the church', 'betraying the faith' or 'negating scripture'. While real discernment of course has an important place, the lack of perspective, shallow use of scripture, cry-wolf tactics and misrepresentation elements tend to make me think much evangelical fuss is just a load of bull. I have come to think that discernment should first and foremost be concerned with what teachings do or do not facilitate healthy gospel living. I know more could be said, but I'll leave it at this: discernment is primarily about what is healthy! Otherwise matters can degenerate into one camp throwing their proof texts at the other camp who are doing the same, while both manage to stay trapped in the paper world of prooftexting swordfights and miss the bigger picture of God's concern for the world.

I'm an evangelical and I love the various evangelical traditions, but some of the matters Wright touches on in critique of certain strands of evangelicalism make me terribly sad as I know that he is hitting the target. Volltreffer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chrys Caragounis on 2 Cor 3:16

My thanks to Prof. Chrys Caragounis for the following 3 page comment on the question which I posted earlier, here.

To view this file, a pdf, please click here. I've left it as a pdf as the Greek fonts wouldn't work on blogger.

I do encourage you to give his short argument a read. I for one am now convinced by his perspective. Find ye a problem, do let me know!

While you are at it, do visit his webpage:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Biblical Sanctification

The Christian Michael Bird


Who does the turning?

Sorry to those of you who are still waiting upon a response from me via e-mail or on the blog.

*Insert here a speech about how the change to the new computer has thrown me out of my rhythm*

Of course in 10,000 years time when super robot higher consciousness are researching the historical Chris Tilling, some clever chap will suggest that the above speech is probably an unlikely variant reading for an original which read: "I admit it. I've been a lazy git".

In the next post I am delighted to announce that I will offer the thoughts of Prof. Chrys Caragounis on the tricky problem of the implied subject of the verb, evpistre,yh, in 2 Cor 3:16. Who does the turning? He kindly responded to the question, which I stated here, with some very helpful thoughts that speak heavily against my (together with many of the older German works, e.g. Bultmann, Windisch) earlier suggestion to simply take the subject as the personal pronoun in the previous verse.

I deeply respect his scholarship and so was delighted to receive his response. Chrys Caragounis is the author of such works as: The Ephesian Mysterion. Meaning and Content, GWK Gleerup, Lund 1977, The Son of Man: Vision and Interpretation (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 38), J.C.B. Mohr, Paul Siebeck, Tübingen 1986, Peter and the Rock (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 58), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1990, and the monumental, The Development of Greek and the New Testament: Morphology, Syntax, Phonology, and Textual Transmission (WUNT 137). Mohr-Siebeck: Tübingen 2004 (which I previously mentioned here and here).


Pope rearranges the afterlife

Rom - Nach Jahre langer Debatte hat Papst Benedikt XVI. die traditionelle katholische Vorstellung einer «Vorhölle» (Limbus) für ungetaufte tote Kinder offiziell für überholt erklärt

(I am really, really, really enjoying his new book, Jesus von Nazareth, and will write more about this later)

Friday, April 20, 2007

A link and a question

A link: Shane Clifton has written a couple of interesting posts on the potential elitism of the Pentecostal doctrine of the baptism in the Spirit here: part 1, and part 2. Personally, I don't subscribe to the Pentecostal doctrine of the baptism of the Spirit, at least not as it is precisely formulated; I've been too influenced by my supervisor, Max Turner, on this front to think otherwise! However, of course I don't want to deny the worth of the Pentecostal impulse to seek for 'more of God' in that which they call the baptism of the Spirit. Whatever we call it, zeal in seeking God is in itself a good thing, and those of us who are theologians or (would-be) biblical scholars ought not to get too proud about our knowledge if we remain as spiritually arid as a sundried cowpat ('Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord' Rom 12:11). Either way, whether we speak with charismatic or Pentecostal language, elitism is a problem in these circles, and so I appreciated Shane's posts.

A question: In 2 Cor 3:15-16 it states: 'Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed' – at least according to the NRSV. The implied subject of the verb translated as 'turns' is actually not clear, yet I tend to think that the personal pronoun in the previous verse ('a veil lies over their minds') should function as the subject. Coming closer to this is then Luther's translation of v. 16 which runs: 'Wenn Israel aber sich bekehrt zu dem Herrn, so wird die Decke abgetan'. It makes more sense to me, when the subject is not clear, to simply use the nearest personal pronoun to clear matters up. Is that faulty reasoning?


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Quote of the day

"New creation is precisely that future of the present world, of all created reality, which does not emerge from the history of this world but will be given to it by God. It requires an originating act of God, just as creation in the beginning did, but in this case it will be an act which preserves the identity of the first creation while creatively transforming it"

(Bauckham and Hart, Hope against Hope, cited in Marianne Meye Thompson's brilliant new two horizons commentary, Colossians & Philemon, 78)


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fee’s change of mind

I posted twice concerning Fatehi's christological reading of 2 Cor 3:16-18 and forgot to mention my source! Fatehi's work to which I referred is his utterly brilliant WUNT monograph, The Spirit's Relation to the Risen Lord in Paul (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000). This will probably sound like an exaggeration, but I honestly think it is one of the most important and smoothly argued monographs relating to Pauline Christology to have been written in modern times. In this post I briefly detail why Fee has changed his mind on the 2 Cor 3:16-18 matter:

While Fee's earlier publications maintained, together with the then emerging scholarly consensus, that the kurios should not be understood as christological, in his recent (2007) and brilliant work on Pauline Christology Fee has to an extent retracted his earlier exegesis in favour of a greater appreciation of the christological reading. Why? While still asserting the Pauline rabbinic interpretation of 3:16 in 3:17, and while still maintaining the estin is an exegetical significant, Fee nevertheless appears to allow for multiple references of the kurios in these verses. '"The Lord" in the Exodus passage refers to the work of the Spirit ... And the Spirit, of course, is "the Spirit of the Lord" = Christ' (178). In other words, Paul reworks the LXX text 'to make it refer simultaneously to the work of the Spirit and Christ' (177). Important for Fee is the identity of the Lord in the phrase 'the Spirit of the Lord' in 3:17. While in his previous work he argued the Lord was 'the Father', he rejects this reading, independent of Fatehi, because of three factors. '(1) Paul regularly appropriates the Septuagint's kurios = Yahweh as referring to Christ; (2) Paul consistently uses kurios in all other passages to refer to Christ; and (3) in concluding the present argument, Paul ... explicitly says that he preaches ... "Jesus Christ as Lord"' (179).

Personally, I find Fatehi's arguments a good deal more persuasive and important, but it is still good to know that Fee is on one's own side!

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Thank you all for the hilarious comments on my last post. This all reminds me of the competition I ran for the last New Year celebrations: the Lords per minute competition. Actually, it recently occurred to me that I never announced the winner, who will receive a copy of the Pope's new book on Jesus.

I won.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Popular Evangelical Liturgy

Your basic evangelical (version 1.0a): "Lord, we just pray that you would just, Lord, just be with them"

  • Soft charismatic extension pack (1.1a): "Kiwimaschulhumbaba muschkarleevangol mahashrolsohomka bananananananananananananan. Lord, we just pray that you would, Lord, just be with them"
  • Hardcore charismatic package (1.1b) "Kiwimaschulhumbaba muschkarleevangol mahashrolsohomka banananannananan Kiwimaschulhumbaba muschkgol mahashrolsohomka banandhduiujsinksnann Kiwimaschulhvangol mahashrolsohomka. Lord, Kiwimaschulhuamuschkarleevangol mahashrolsohomka bananananananananananananan, we just pray that you, Kiwimaschulhumbaba muschkarleevangol Kiwimaschulhumbaba muschkarleevangol mahashrolsohomka bananananananananananananan, would, Lord, just be with them. Kiwimaschulhumbaba muschkarleevangol mahashrolsohomka"
  • Pentecostal upgrade: "Lord, *insert dance* we just pray that you *insert jig* would, Lord, just be with them. AMEN and AMEN to JEEEEEESSSSSSSUUUUUSSSSSSS. Yeeeeaeaaaaaaaaaa woooooooooo *congregation explodes in a fit of enthusiasm"
  • Emergent: *Lights a candle* *mutters something about the return from exile and the mystery of God* *blows out candle* *rises and continues in unashamed compromise against the Gospel according to John MacArthur*
  • Conservative evangelical: *prays for a long time all about scriptural inerrancy, absolute certainty and penal substitution* "oh yes, and we just pray that you would, Lord, just be with them"
  • Faith-Word: "We just ask you be with them based on Matt 28:20, and we just proclaim this is reality now, we just speak this into reality by faith" (can also be mixed rather effectively with the Pentecostal upgrade).

OK, I'll stop now before I insult the whole planet, but readers of Chrisendom surely now realise that much of what I write is to be taken in jest. I would add, however, that I make these caricatures as an evangelical who, with a conservative evangelical operating system, has at one time or another downloaded and installed a charismatic/Pentecostal, faith-word and emergent patch – despite the numerous incompatibility problems that ensued.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fatehi and Christology in 2 Cor 3:16-18 Part 2 of 2

See the first part here, in which I summarised Fatehi's argument for a christological reading of 2 Cor 3:16-18 based upon contextual issues. This post summarises the second and final phase of his argument.

(B) First, 'from a discourse point of view, it seems that from 14b onwards Paul has already begun to apply his text to the contemporary situation of the Jews' (296). In other words, 3:16 is not a citation from Exodus which is then exegetically explained in 3:17. It is 'already an applied text ... in which case kurios could hardly be taken as an undefined term to be explained by Paul in 17a' (297 – and he notes that the examples Belleville uses are different from 3:16-17 as the boundaries between text and interpretation in those she cites are relatively intact. Not so with Paul here.) This means that in 3:17 Paul is explaining 'not the "kurois" of a cited text ..., but the kurios to whom the Israelites turn according to his application of the text in v. 16' (297-98). The anaphoric function of the article in 3:17 is thus more general than those who reject a christological reading would allow.

Second, Fatehi pursues an analysis of the significance of the repeated particle de, something that accords well with the more general understanding of the anaphoric article. In sum, 'there is no reason to take 2 Corinthians 3:17a as Paul's exegetical comments in a word from a cited text. What Paul does in 17a is basically the same as what he does in 17b ... i.e. [he is] developing his argument by building upon what he has said in his previous statement' (299). o` de. ku,rioj is simply not a comment on a cited text, and the two other instances often cited in favour of Belleville's argument (Gal 4:21-30; 1 Cor 10:4) rather affirm, Fatehi argues, the developmental de marker usage.

Thirdly, Fatehi buries the often-cited argument that the estin is an exegetical significant in 3:17a. In other words, the supposed citation and exegetical comment procedure of 3:16-17 that is maintained to deny a christological reading simply cannot carry the day, and the contextual features outlined by Fatehi (see the previous post) are decisive.

Note: Many argue that Paul identifies Christ with the 'glory' and image of the Lord in 3:18, but not with the Lord himself (the early Fee, Thrall etc.). However, Fatehi argues that this distinction is too subtle that Paul could expect his readers to pick up on it. Furthermore, Paul speaks of the glory of Christ in 4:4 which is itself evidence that 'glory' and 'image' were not clearly isolated entities separate from the Lord, at least not within this argument.

Fatehi has made a strong case for the christological reading of 2 Cor 3:16-18, raising serious objections against the modern case for a non-christological interpretation. At present I happen to think he is correct and have gathered a number of arguments in favour of Fatehi's position, which I may share here at some stage if anyone is interested!

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Bargain Book

I was utterly delighted to have found a cheap second hand hardback copy, today, of a book that I have wanted for a long, long time: Jüngel's Gott als Geheimnis der Welt– only 18 euro! I skipped home!

I also skimmed through Pope Benedikt XVI's new volume on Jesus (Jesus von Nazareth. Von der Taufe im Jordan bis zur Verklärung). As I mentioned already to Jim, it is an unapologetic mix of biblical scholarship (albeit limited in scope if the index is anything to go on) and confessional prose. While this may put some off, I found it to be a breath of fresh air and I look forward to reading it. I would add that at 24 euro this is a well priced book.


Sunday, April 15, 2007


I'm not sure what this UnSpun thing is about, but there appears to be a league being generated of the 'best blogs about biblical studies'. At the moment Chrisendom is #2 (though I'm not sure of the significance of this), with Jim West's blog lagging hopelessly behind in position #3 (I am sure about the significance of this :-)).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Christology and Jehovah Witnesses

Two Jehovah Witnesses knocked on my door yesterday and we spent an hour in heated debate. I wanted to focus on what I consider to be the most problematic element of their teaching, their unorthodox Christology. I argued that the NT has elements of both a subordinationist and a divine Christology, that the Watchtower only accepts the subordinationist and then applies a logical-wringer across the scriptures to suppress the divine and maintain a one sided view. When I got the usual speech of Jesus' subordination to the Father but I simply replied with an 'amen'! However, and lining themselves up for real trouble, they maintained that Jesus was never worshiped or prayed to in the NT, as part of their suppression strategy. I pointed out, among other passages, Stephen's prayer to Jesus as he was stoned ('While they were stoning Stephen, he called upon and prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit"' Acts 7:59), the worship of the Lamb on the throne in Rev ('"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!" The four living creatures said, "Amen", and the elders fell down and worshipped' Rev 5:13-14), the Maranatha of 1 Cor 16:22 etc., and time and time again I sought to show how they immediately attempted to apply this logical wringer to suppress the obvious. For Stephen, for example, the talkative one suggested that this is no different than if he were drowning and called out to me for help, no different than talking to me in this room. 'But Jesus is in heaven' I cried! 'If I were in heaven and you called to me for help or talked to me then that would be prayer too'!

But it all, of course, fell on deaf ears which was a lesson in itself. I find it hard to resist speaking about Jesus and Christology with those who want to, but with those such as JWs, and other such sects along with many Fundamentalists, there is simply no exchange or dialogue. I said to them as they left - they asked if we wanted to meet again - that I honestly want to convert them to orthodox Christian faith, so I leave it up to them. Please do pray for these two and that my (sometimes blunt) words may have good effect.

Theoretically I think we should be willing and ready to speak to all about our faith, but I have quite a bit of experience with JWs and the discussions, while they may have sown the odd seed of doubt in their hearts, didn't do much more than that. Is it a waste of time? Next time they come should I send them off? What do you do?



Friday, April 13, 2007

Fatehi and Christology in 2 Cor 3:16-18 Part 1 of 2

I noted in a previous post my christological understanding of 2 Cor 3:16-18 and was delighted to receive some immediate feedback from a few readers, especially Sean here. However, I am well aware that my own perspective runs against the tide of most modern commentators. To be sure, it is only in the last 20 years or so that this consensus has developed and for most of the twentieth century the scholarly world identified the kurios of 3:16 as Christ. However, this was often maintained in service of a wider scheme which sought to identify Christ and the spirit in Paul in such a way as to undermine trinitarian presuppositions in Paul (Hermann) and to have the apostle fit into a developmental scheme of Christology especially as it related to Religionsgeschichtliche Schule assumptions (Deismann, Gunkel, Bousset).

The modern consensus, which has insisted that the kurios in 3:16 is not christological at all, must be seen against this background to which it reacted. It has been maintained by arguing that 1) 3:16 is a loose citation from the Exod 34 narrative, and as such is referring to YHWH, that 2) 3:17 is thus an interpretive comment on the 'Lord' of the previous verse such that Paul reads the Lord pneumatologically (e.g. Belleville, Turner, Fee, Thrall, Harris etc.)

However, the older view need not be identified with the concerns of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule and a more nuanced understanding of the identity between Spirit and risen Lord in Paul is provided by Mehrdad Fatehi. This is important as there are good reasons to accept the older consensus. In this post and the next I summarise Fatehi's argument for a christological reading of 2 Cor 3:16-18. I happen to think that he is totally on the money and that his argument can even be strengthened.

His case is twofold, relating to both (A) the contextual matters and (B) the alleged exegetical comment of 3:17 on 3:16.

(A) He notes the contextual evidence in 3:3 that makes it clear that 'it is Christ who is the new covenant counterpart of the Yahweh of the Old Testament' (290). In other words, the Lord in 3:16 cannot simply be understood as YHWH because it is based on a Pentateuchal text. Furthermore, a broader analysis of the logic of the entire passage, especially as it relates to the meaning of the telos as not 'end' but 'goal' or 'purpose', leads Fatehi to suggest that:

'[I]t seems to make good sense to take "the Lord" whose glory the Christians behold with unveiled face to be the same telos who was hidden from the Israelites by the veil. And it seems that this is to a great extent what Paul actually affirm in 4:3f. What is veiled from the unbelievers in the latter passage is the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. This implies that what the believers behold with unveiled face is the glory of the same Lord' (292). Ergo, the reasoning would appear to suggest, the Lord of 3:16 is christological'.

After establishing that 3:14 is best read as 'The same veil remains; unlifted, because it is in Christ it is abolished', Fatehi asserts that the subject of katargeitai (abolished) would 'most probably be the veil rather that the old covenant' (293). Hence, '[i]n the context, from v. 13 down to v. 18, the problem which is under focus in the discourse is the veil rather than the old covenant itself' (293). However, if this is so, 'Paul has clearly expressed, just two verses before v. 16, the turning point in the situation of the Jews and the removal of the veil with reference to Christ [evn Cristw/ katargei/tai]' (294 italics mine). This link between 3:16 and 3:14 is made all the plausible given that 3:15 and 3:16 are simply further elaborations on 3:14.

Finally, he strongly maintains that 4:1-6 is more consistent with a christological interpretation of 3:16-18. First, in 4:4 it is the gospel of the glory of Christ that is veiled from unbelievers. Second, 3:18 speaks of 'being transformed into the same image' as the glory of the Lord that is beheld. In 4:4 the image is defined as Christ. Third, Fatehi notes that the gospel preached by Paul is that 'Jesus Christ is Lord' (4:5). This means that 'the two motifs of Christ's glory and his status as Lord are clearly associated in Paul's mind when writing this passage' (294).

These contextual arguments lead Fatehi to argue that a reading of kurios in 3:17 that is not as he maintains must make its case in such a way that makes a christological reading 'in no way compatible with taking kurios to stand for the risen Lord'. Only then would a christological reading be overturned. This has been done, as noted above, by asserting that 3:17 is an exegetical comment on the loose citation from Exod 34:34 in 3:16. But this argument simply doesn't manage to overwhelm the christological implications of the context. To support this claim he makes three points to which I turn in the next post.

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Quote of the day

"If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism; if you steal from many, it's research" – Wilson Mizner

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The power of prayer

Theology meets golf today. On the BBC website, Robbo Robson shares his thoughts about Zach Johnson, the recent Masters Golf champion, and his thanking God in his prize winning speech.

Robbo first notes: ‘Now I always feel a bit unsettled when sportsmen give the Big Fella the credit. God’s a busy bloke’. However, picking up on theodicy related matters he rightly asks ‘if God gave Zach the gumption to chip it to a foot on the 72nd, was he also responsible for the tree that whacked Rose's drive on the 17th even further off into No Man's Land?’!

His tight logical argument ends:

‘Nah, Mr Johnson, it looked to me like you won ‘cos you practised hard, not ‘cos you prayed hard. As a Boro fan and an Englishman, I can assure you that when it comes to sport, the power of prayer is well overrated’!
OK, maybe I didn't need to make the picture of this golfer quite so big. I think her posture looks technically rather perfect however. Especially the legs.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Harvey review of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

1) I’ve looked at many despicable and depraved things in my time as a blogger, but this has to be the lowest and most wicked, lying and beelzebubified post I have ever seen.

2) Ascending from these sweatiest armpits of hell to the light of heaven, do have a listen to these two podcasts on the resurrection, a joint effort by Michael Barber and Brant Pitre of one of the very best blogs around, Singing In The Reign. As part of a show on Catholic Answers Radio, they discuss matters for two hours also answering call in questions.

3) Finally, A. E. Harvey has written a review of Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses which can be read here.

After noting some areas of Bauckham’s thesis that may cause dispute, he I think correctly argues that “the critics’ real reason for disputing Bauckham’s theory will be that to accept it would demand a profound paradigm shift in New Testament studies”. Personally speaking, having been largely convinced by Bauckham’s thesis, I suspect time is ripe for this paradigm shift. He ends his article with the words: ‘Richard Bauckham’s careful and eloquent presentation of his argument, supported not just by careful scholarship but by admirable common sense, deserves earnest consideration”.

Admittedly it is getting late and I could have misunderstood Harvey, but a few thoughts of criticism about the review as I suspect he didn’t entirely understand Bauckham’s argument. If I comprehend Bauckham’s thesis at all, then it simply isn’t simply an alternative hypothesis to explain the relation between the synoptic Gospels, though it does have implications in this direction for sure. Actually, I believe that the ‘historical Bauckham’ is happy with a literary sharing between the synoptics, a matter that he uses to support his argument in relation to the Lukan and Johannine adoption of the Markan inclusio. I also believe that Bauckham would not deny a literary usage of Mark’s Gospel by those of Luke and John, both of which acknowledge Peter’s testimony as it is embodied in Mark’s telling. Nonetheless, a generally helpful review despite the slightly odd spin Harvey puts on it all.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A short interview

As interviews are all the rage on biblioblogdom at the moment, I thought I’d perform a short interview with Simon Hardwick of ‘thelostmessage’ for Chrisendom today. I think this especially appropriate in light of this post recently (he called me ‘a pluralistic, relativistic butt muncher feasting on the postmodern swill of Derrida’ if you remember. Revenge is sweet.).

Chris: Thanks for agreeing for an interview, Simon. Tell me, what got you blogging?

Si: You, mate! You and your totally brilliant blog which is the best in the world and MUCH better than mine.

Chris: Well thank you! I notice from your blog that you are very sympathetic with the ‘emerging conversation’. To simply take the devil’s advocate position for a moment, perhaps you could give me one good reason why I shouldn’t dismiss the whole thing as the pointless banter of folk drunk on the wine of compromise and the fear of man?

Si: [Answer has been lightly edited for grammatical reasons] Well, Chris, that is [not] a stupid arse question ... and ... I ... cannot ... answer ... for the life of me ... no.

Chris: OK, fair enough. So, Si, tell me about your life. You are a popular chap, tell me how many friends do you have?

Si: Errr.

Chris: No need for details, just how many?

Si: Er, well. Interesting question. I wonder, can we talk about something else if this is going on your blog?

Chris: Oh come on, Si! I just want to know how many friends you have. Just a number!

Si: Do work associates count?

Chris: How many?

Si: *Hangs up the phone*

BibleWorks on Vista warning

Back from an Easter break and back to blogging. I have quite a lot planned for the coming months so I look forward to discussion and response.

Thankfully, I now have everything important up and running on my new computer. However, a word of warning: if you want to install the excellent BibleWorks 6 or 7 on a Vista computer which isn’t English language based, then DO NOT install the patch BibleWorks has provided for Vista. As far as I can see all the patch does is automatically perform what is described in the notes on making BW 4 or 5 Vista friendly. However, if the system uses a different word for ‘USER’ in the groups lists than an English system then the patch will make things much worse! In fact, we struggled to delete the corrupted files that the patch distorted for about an hour. If you have a non-English language Vista and want to install BW 6 or 7, then simply follow the instructions for making BW 4 and 5 compatible and you will save yourself hours of trouble.

Two videos for your viewing pleasure.

The first, which I must admit I haven’t made time to watch in full yet, is the uncut version of Richard Dawkins’ interview with the Bishop of Oxford.

The second is a sermon clip of a preacher wasting his breath. And my time. This nugget is called ‘Satan’s Tool: The truth about contemporary Christian Music’. I have no idea why I sat down and actually watched it to the end. I think it is a similar human peculiarity that makes people slow down as they drive past a road accident so they can have a good look.

Oh, and my thanks to Stephen for this honour!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New Computer

I’ve been busy installing software on to the new computer today. All day, actually, which has left me feeling like an asthmatic ant with arthritis at the end of a long field march. I’m presently writing this post in Word 2007 which will take a little getting used to.

Unfortunately my Bibleworks 6 isn’t working for a rather odd reason, so I hope I can get that sorted asap.

Apart from that, it is wonderful to have a computer that won’t suddenly restart on me without warning. And it is a good deal faster too, with plenty of flashy ‘Vista’ extras.

I wanted to post an April 1st post this week but I’m just too tired right now. I think I have just about had enough of computers for one day, to be honest.

Another link of interest relating to the 1st of April is this gem. Eisenbrauns introduce us to a new 500 page monograph on Obadiah verse 1!

And this southern Baptist manages to somehow call me satan. Again. Which, in good ecumenical tradition, will necessitate an appropriate response in due time of course.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Tomorrow I will gladly receive my new computer in the post, a Dell. Actually, not too dissimilar from this one. My present machine just kept restarting for no reason and without warning, naturally generating some interesting choice language in response. I just hope most of my software will work under Vista.

Oh yes, it’s not everyday someone calls one of my posts ‘typically demented’!

This video (Family Guy on Jesus) is a bit blasphemous, but very funny in places. I especially liked the ‘the church in Kansas presents its alternative to the theory of evolution’ scene at the end.

This video is just plain funny. A truly cheeky monkey!

Christology in 2 Cor 3:16-18?

A standing debate with my supervisor, Max Turner, concerns 2 Cor 3:16-18. I understand the repeated kurios christologically, he doesn’t (nor does his other research student, and my friend, Volker Rabens). Now Max ‘has-probably-forgotten-more-than-I-have-ever-remembered’ Turner is certainly not the person I want to cross exegetical swords with but I am at least encouraged that my second supervisor (and ex-research student of Max) Mehrdad Fatehi (and author of my favourite WUNT title ever), has published an excellent case for the older christological consensus view against the modern emerging consensus which reads 3:17 as an exegetical comment on a loose citation from Exodus in 3:16.

However, reading Fee’s new work, Pauline Christology, I stumbled upon an encouraging piece of information. Fee, along with Max, was one of the major scholars to support the ‘emerging consensus’ that denied a christological reading of these verses in 2 Cor 3. Turning to his work on 2 Cor 3:16-18 I was thrilled to discover that Fee has now changed his mind! Yes, Max, Volker, its sackcloth and ashes time! Repent and see the light! The ‘Lord’ of 2 Cor 3:16-18, so says Fee, has a christological referent! (I always knew I was right, but some people have to learn the hard way I guess)

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

DSDS surprise

I can’t flippin believe that! Francisca Urio, easily the best talent on Deutschland sucht den Superstar (the German Pop Idol) was voted out of the competition tonight!

*mutters something about theodicy*