Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SBL highlights

For more than just a few of us, SBL is a real annual treat. Some of my highlights:

  1. the precious times of ruckus laughing while getting up to no good, especially with Jim West
  2. the meal with the Wipf & Stock crew, who kindly invited me to join their festivities last night. I don't think I have ever eaten so well. What a flippin great bunch of people they are. I got back to my room feeling like I had eaten half a cow (which wasn't far from the truth)
  3. time with Robin Parry, David Vinson, Max Turner, Doug Campbell, and other friends.
  4. the superb review session on Doug's extremely important book, The Deliverance of God. The formal responses from Douglas Moo, Michael Gorman and Alan Torrance were supplemented by short audience participation from Richard Hays, Tom Wright and Barry Matlock. Campbell handled the discussion masterfully and I don't think anyone provided a clear refutation of his exegetical claims – at least in the session. A private conversation with Richard Hays afterward gave me food for thought. But the strength of Doug's thesis surprised me; it is here to stay and needs more serious engagement in the future. Those who dismiss Campbell's work do so at their own peril. Are we seeing the changing of guard in Pauline scholarship, the bursting onto the scene of a new paradigm which will leave the former in many ways redundant?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Arrived in New Orleans

And had a great evening checking out Bourbon Street with Jim West. Bit shocking though. Let's just say that there weren't only chicken breasts in shop windows for all to taste and see. I.e. it is a bit of a mini-Amsterdam. We turning the street, after a lovely meal, and the culture changed 180 degrees. High culture shops and well dressed (well, just dressed) people, in complete contrast with the New Orleans just one street away. Variety is the spice of life, I suppose!

Tomorrow morning I'll head asap to the book hall over the road in Marriott. Perhaps see some of you there! Here are some of our pictures from tonight.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Off to SBL

And I'm looking forward to getting up to no good.

I will land at Louis Armstrong International, New Orleans, 15:52 tomorrow. If anyone is around at that time and wants to catch a Taxi to Sheraton Hotel, perhaps we could go together.

To recognise me: I'll be the chap standing on chairs preaching in public, telling people to turn from the wickedness of Jazz to the righteousness of tamborines and popular Christian Rock.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What happens when Elton John and Jim West meet eyes in the Blue Oyster Bar?

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Jesus and the Eyewitnesses thesis advances

In the Svenska Exegetiska Sällskapet 74 (Uppsala 2009), Richard Bauckham has published a new article, 'The Eyewitnesses in the Gospel of Mark', developing aspects of his groundbreaking Jesus and the Eyewitnesses thesis. One major part of that work, and one of its main innovative proposals, is that the Gospels are not only based on eyewitness testimony, but that the Gospels have ways of indicating their main eyewitnesses (see my two earlier posts on this matter here and here). His new article explores this proposal once again with special focus on Mark's Gospel. He responds particularly powerfully to Jerome Murphy-O'Connor's critique in RB 114 (2007).

'Given the stress that B. has laid on the preference of ancient historians for eyewitness testimony, one might have expected to find that it was they who directed his attention to the device of the eyewitness inclusio. In fact, he does not bring them into the argument at all…. For extra-biblical parallels B. has to go to Lucian's Alexander (C2 AD) and Porphyry's Life of Plotinus (C4 AD)' (p.626)

Murphy-O'Connor asserts that these parallels are not only irrelevant, because of their dates, but they also 'cannot be evidence for a literary convention in popular lives of such figures' (Bauckham's summary, 23). Bauckham's response seeks to offer the kind of evidence Murphy-O'Connor seeks, and to this end he examines Polybius and Plutarch. In both cases we read extremely compelling evidence that 'some of the personal names in the Gospel of Mark indicate the eyewitness sources of his narratives, especially in the cases of Peter, Simon of Cyrene and the three named women disciples' (37). In particular, material from Polybius shows that Bauckham's Markan eyewitness inclusio is highly plausible, and Plutarch's Life of Caesar presents evidence to affirmatively answer the question whether there are 'parallels in Greco-Roman history and biography to such a practice of indicating eyewitnesses without explicitly saying this about them' (33).

To be honest, I think Bauckham has hit a home run with this new evidence. His argument is very compelling.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Out from biblioblogging exile

With three posts of top theological class and erudition.

I thank you.

It's all in preparation for SBL, of course, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of you in a couple of weeks in New Orleans.

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