Sunday, June 30, 2013

Great review of Johnson’s Karl Barth and the Analogia Entis

CoverOver at the Center for Barth Studies, please do check out Han-luen Kantzer Komline’s extremely helpful review of Keith Johnson’s, Karl Barth and the Analogia Entis (New York: T&T Clark, 2010).

“Balthasar contended that Barth’s attention to the substance of theology eventually transformed his method so as to lead him away from dialectic, toward analogy, and therefore toward Catholicism. Johnson proposes that just the opposite was the case. Barth’s ultimate decision to embrace a form of analogy was anything but a correction of his earlier assessments of Przywara’s position, still less a capitulation to Catholic perspectives. With Barth’s mature doctrine of analogy, his earlier quintessentially “Protestant” critiques had attained full bloom”

I’m not overly enamoured with calls for a return to the analogy of being, at least when disassociated from the doctrine of God’s unconditioned and triune act of redemption of enslaved sinners, in Christ and by the Spirit. Put analogy in the context of revelation - revelation understood in terms of God’s justification of the sinner – and you get, it seems Johnson argues, the mature Barth deploying language such as the analogia relationis. Fascinating!

I’m not qualified to comment on what seems from this review to be an argument from silence, namely that Barth backed away from direct critique of the analogy of being because “Barth wished to do nothing to interfere with the flourishing of a Christocentrism like Söhngen’s in Catholic theology”, but to my mind this seems a very helpful monograph set up by a tremendous review.

Friday, June 28, 2013

BibleWorks 9 Part 2: Useful functions

Immediately I ought to add that these “key features” are those I find particularly useful. I am a New Testament academic, which means I don’t tend to find too much use for some modules and items others may indeed require. To be honest, there is much in this package that I have not explored; I use it as my needs determine. In other words, don’t expect a complete overview of all BW tools and functions cos there are buttons I haven’t yet pressed!

So, where to start? In my previous post I added this screen shot:


So let me show why I claim that for those who want to get their noses into the text, there is no better tool. Sure, it comes with 200+ Bible translations in 40 languages, 40+ original language texts and morphology databases, and dozens of lexical-grammatical references (as they not on their webpage), but I tend to focus on issues involving:

  1. lexical and syntactical options
  2. grammatical issues
  3. text-criticism
  4. intertextual matters

In this post I will focus on the first two, the lexical and grammatical.

1) The raw data (signifiers / lexemes)
Of course, in a sense text-critical issues functions in coordination with this set of issues, but for the sake of order I will note first how BW9 enables analysis of the raw data. In the screenshot I focus on 1 Corinthians 8. I have purchased two key lexicons, the BDAG and HALOT (which I highly recommend). Just hovering over a word gives me BDAG + other standard lexicon information. A right mouse click brings up another menu, and I often perform a (restricted) search on the use of a given lemma in a discrete text or corpus. In other words, I gain all the lexical I might need together with a catalogue of its use in (here Paul's) texts. By lifting all restrictions from the search, I also get a broader sense of the use of a lemma (or specific word form), which alerts me to potential intertextual functions. Of course, if I struggle to parse a given word, that is automatically done by BW (although some care is needed here), and anything I need can be copied and pasted into my Word Processor (although again, care is needed as accents need to be proofed).

2) Grammatical issues
Of course, grammar belongs together with the above, but lexicons (which will tell you all about protasis and apodosis, cf. 1 Cor. 8:5, for example) and additional inbuilt grammars are invaluable (including Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics), which hyperlink to the relevant primary texts. For those who have some experience of sentence diagramming, BW comes with Leedy's version. So, 1 Cor 8:4 is reworked as follows:

The Leedy work comes with explanations for all of the symbols, but even if this is not my primary reference for grammatical matters (for that I need to consult the best commentaries) it offers potentially deeper insight and fresh perspectives.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Richard Burridge first non-Catholic to receive the Ratzinger Prize

Quite amazing, King College's own Dean, the Rev Richard Burridge is the first non-Catholic to receive the prize. Just before he left he led a study day with James Dunn at King's the last session of which I attended. As we shook hands he said that he couldn't hang around as he needed to get to the airport. Now I know why! Many congrats, Richard!

“Richard Burridge today,” said Cardinal Ruini, “is definitely an eminent figure in the field of Biblical studies and not only of the English language. In particular, he has made a great contribution in that decisive area of the historical and theological recognition of the Gospels' inseparable connection to Jesus of Nazareth.”

(Text from of the Vatican Radio website)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Ascension

From requiredreligion, via the wonderful Mary is my Homegirl

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Orthodogs Church

You can blame Anja for the blog post title, something she shot out after she looked over my shoulder to see what I was excitedly typing to create the picture

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

BibleWorks 9 Part 1

Thanks to the guys at BibleWorks for a review copy of BW9, which upgrades me from version 6. I have been sniffing around the BW webpage ( quite a bit of late, deciding whether to pop for v9. I was therefore of course delighted to get this review copy. The following will look at some of the features of BW9 in the second and third posts. My fourth post will ask whether it makes sense to upgraded from an earlier version (and here I will speak as a long-term v6 user). Also, I will sum up with some overall thoughts.

However, in this first post I wanted to make a few personal comments about BW, Bible software that I have used for about ten years now. Frankly, together with Logos (, which I will be reviewing soon) and NotaBene (, it has been my most important resource. Why? In terms of practical exegesis, it has been my most well used tool. It allows me to go deeper in my exegetical adventures, and the search functions are invaluable. So I speak as an advocate, an unashamed fan of this software package. But with this in mind, I also ought to add that I am without any experience of the main rival package for Mac users, Accordance (

That is enough disclosure for one day. Here are a few annotated screen shots to whet your appetite for what is to follow:


This screen shot above is of the basic interface (four columns, now, not three as in my earlier version). The screen below is of the BW Diagramming Module, which can be rather helpful in laying out exegetical possibilities.


Friday, June 14, 2013

A nice album title

But may I suggest a different one, instead:

"Jesus, in the name of all that is holy, please give us a different hairstylist and punish our present one with seeping face verrucas at the very least"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Classic edition of Richard Burridge’s Four Gospels, One Jesus?

It was an absolute delight to attend the launch of the Classic edition of Richard Burridge’s Four Gospels, One Jesus? a few weeks ago with a number of my 1st year students. Prof Steve Walton (LST) and Dr Edward Adams (King’s) delivered papers reflecting on Richard’s book and they both did a wonderful job outlining just why Four Gospels has made such an impact. I loved the fact that our students got to meet people they have heard about in lectures! For your reading enjoyment, the presenters were kind enough to send me their papers.

First Eddie Adam's contribution (click on link for pdf):

Eddie, Steve and Richard in discussion in the King's College Chapel
And here is Steve Walton's paper (click on link for pdf):

Afterwards, Richard himself responded and I took the opportunity to paparazzi (yes, I'm going to use that as a verb)

Compulsory shot of the key guests:
Left to right: Eddie, Richard, SPCK's Philip Law (who commissioned the 1st ed!), Steve

And finally, a nice picture of Richard presenting the justly famous Desmond Tutu (who brings all of the  Peace Prizes to the yard) with a copy of the Classic Edition.

If you haven't yet read Richard's book, you have a real treat ahead. It is a work written not just for the academic community; its prose is so clear anyone will enjoy reading through. I have learnt much from it, particularly (a) to respect the fourfold nature of the Gospels, something it seems the church is constantly tempted to ignore (whether in the name of historical Jesus Questing or naive harmonisation). And yet (b) it also makes clear that these biographies are primarily about Jesus, not something else!

Tolle lege!

Monday, June 10, 2013

A model for future evangelical engagement with historical criticism

Christopher M. Hays is a brilliant young scholar, and together with Christopher Ansberry (there must be an anointing on that wonderful Christian name), they have edited the exciting new volume, Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism.

Reflecting on how historical-critical results may or may not challenge or illuminate evangelical theological concerns, they ask such questions as:

“[T]o what degree do the enscripturated events, attributions and expectations need to have occurred as described in order to maintain the integrity of evangelical Christian theology? To what degree is evangelical Christian theology threatened by the conclusions of historical criticism?” (13, italics supressed).

Chapters ensue, examining Adam and the fall, the exodus, fact fiction or both?, problems with prophecy, pseudepigraphy, the historical Jesus and many more besides. I have read a couple of pre-pub chapters and I just finished the opening chapter tonight after work, and I can confirm that this will prove to be a tremendous resource for those who care about the future of evangelical faith, to hold it with both conviction and intellectual honesty. They certainly don’t want simplistically to “prove” the historicity of x, y or z, but nor do they want to pretend that the veracity of historical reference is always irrelevant to faith. They write after my own heart!

As Chris Hays writes:

“As evangelicalism seeks to shed the anti-intellectualism of its youth, it will take more faith, not less, to walk the narrow path of fidelity in the life of the mind. In this, the task of the evangelical biblical scholar must not be to peddle pious truisms but to make plain the witness of Scripture on its own uncomfortable terms” (8)

A delightful call to faithful criticism and critical faith for a new generation of evangelicals who find the defensive rhetoric of some of the older Evangelical gate-keepers of little value on certain central concerns.

Winds of Worship Comeback Tour

Just to prove that I’m not a one album wonder, the new album, Stop! MC Athanasius Time, U Can’t Touch This, is expected some time next year. Here is a teaser track:

Better than Yours
A Psalm of Chris, to the tune of Kelis’ Milkshake

1The homoousios
brings all the saints to the yard,
And they're like, it's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours

2But the homoiousios,
brings all the sinners to the yard
And we’re like. It’s. Heresy.

3Being a faithful prayer warrior
brings all the sinners to their senses
And they’re like, orthodoxy now makes sense

4Damn right its better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Romans 7:7-11 in action

“What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived 10 and I died, and the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me” (St Paul)


Embedded image permalink

The Ultimate Theological Rock-Paper-Scissors Compilation

It all started with the Rev Professor Dr Robert Jenson, theologian extraordinaire, playing rock-paper-scissors.

My scissors won.

North American conservative preacher, John Piper, playing rock-paper-scissors. My paper won. Twice.

Yet another rock-paper-scissors victim. This time, the brilliant Prof Alan Torrance lost to my scissors. He's clearly a bit shocked (It’s talent, Alan, a gift)

I'm on a roll in the rock-paper-scissors matches. Even Jesus’s scissors loose to “my rock” (how theologically ironic!). He took it gracefully, of course.

Right, I've just about flogged this joke to death, and Karl Barth is not amused that my paper beat his rock. Sourpuss.

Sorry, Rowan, the sign for a black hole singularity isn't allowed in rock-paper-scissors. You loose. Cheater.

Embedded image permalink

And sorry again, Jesus, but I've changed back to paper again, which beats your rock.

Embedded image permalink

No, there are rules in rock-paper-scissors, it doesn't matter who you are. Pointing just ... No! Disqualified.

Embedded image permalink

Not to be denied three times, Jesus beats my paper with scissors - eerily like he knew what I was gonna play before I did. #benefitsofomniscience

Embedded image permalink

No, Mr Lee, you can't change your mind. You clearly chose rock 2nd - it was paper 1st, and my scissors busted yo ass

Embedded image permalink

And these just keep coming in a relentless stream of flogging what has quickly become a very old joke. I don't care.

Embedded image permalink

Smart ass ex-student sent this along.

Embedded image permalink

Okay, I get the message.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Low efficiency, high satisfaction and eco-friendly