Saturday, August 29, 2009

"ἐμπόριον οὖσα μέγιστον..."

This is a quote from Strabo in his Geography in Book 14.1.24, describing Ephesus as the "greatest commercial center in Asia on this side of the Taurus river." I just started Dr. Arnold's Th.M seminar class on Ephesians this semester so this quote is a really good one. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is a picture like this:

Amazing! This theater (which still exists today) was said to have seated up to 24,000 people, and the theater faced the colonnaded street that led to the harbor. This was the location of the mobbing scene depicted in Acts 19. Just plain amazing.

For the Th.M 3rd hour (the class is 2 hrs for MA-MDiv and 3 hrs for Th.M and other adventurous souls) we'll be reading a few journal articles regarding Ephesians and write an academic focused paper 12-15 pps. Here's some articles we'll read:

Ernst R. Wendland and S. Hachibamba, “A Central African Perspective on Contextualizing the Ephesian Potentates, Principalities, and Powers,” Missiology 28.3 (2000) 341-363.

Jody A. Barnard, “Unity in Christ: The Purpose of Ephesians,” Expository Times 120 (2009) 167-71.

Lee Gattis, “The Inexhaustible Fountain of All Good Things: Union with Christ in Calvin on Ephesians,” Themelios 34.2 (2009) 194-206.

S. Grindheim, “What the OT Prophets Did Not Know: The Mystery of the Church in Eph 3,2-13,” Biblica 84.4 (2003) 531-553.

Excited? I know I am.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who knows the schools?

So, following the end of my program here, I am looking to do one more masters program, just like Brian L. mentioned here. For those of you that might be reading this blog, which schools do you guys recommend a student try to get into for a terminal masters for the following:

(1) ThM in New Testament
(2) MA in Classics
(3) Are there any other good masters program for someone trying to pursue a PhD in NT eventually?

I have to say... trying to find the "right" school is so difficult!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book review:

Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture

David A. deSilva, 336 pages
IVP Academic

ISBN: 978-0-8308-1572-2
IVP Press

David A. deSilva is Trustees' Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio. He has published numerous books already, and in this book he attempts to "provide a concise guide to some of the more prominent and prevalent aspects of the culture that gave birth to the early church", that is honor, patronage, kinship, and purity. The book is divided into eight chapters, in which deSilva investigates one particular aspect in the world at large in one chapter, then follows up that chapter with a look at how that is then applied throughout the New Testament.

Chapters 1 and 2: Honor & Shame
deSilva does a good job here to help the readers encounter the honor and shame culture that was the 1st century world. He also looks into the language of honor and dishonor in the first-century Greco-Roman world (in which the first century Jewish world would be a subset). He also brings to light the fact that honor was also tied to group values; that individuals tried to display virtues that found approval from the group and simultaneously avoided vices that brought dishonor and shame from the group. The second part of this section is deSilva's look into how honor and shame was formulated by the early Christians.

Chapters 3 and 4: Patronage & Reciprocity
Personally, I think these chapters were the most intriguing part of the book, as patronage is a concept that is very foreign to our world today, and yet, it is a concept that continues to draw my interest. Here deSilva overviews some relevant material in the Greco-Roman world that well portrays this institution that so dominated the first century world. deSilva focuses most of his attention in the NT chapter (ch. 4) on how God is our benefactor and the proper response Christians are to display to that beneficience.

Chapters 5 and 6: Kinship
If chapters 3 and 4 were the most interesting, chapters 5 and 6 were the most fulfilling to read. I just recently wrote a paper that talked about elements of kinship language found in the Thessalonian correspondence, so these chapters were a good review again of this great aspect of NT culture. deSilva looks into how kinship is reconstituted in the Christian community and in his conclusion he states,

"Our churches will be better equipped to serve as vessels of God's love and favor as we adopt and help one another in the church keep before their eyes the "ethos of kin" that Jesus, Paul and the other New Testament voices instruct Christians to take up toward one another. Many Christians are less than kin and less than kind to one another. Violations of the spirit of unity and of the command to put the interests of the other ahead of a person's own interests need to be addressed gently but forthrightly in the context of the vision the New Testament gives us of what the church could be..."

Chapters 7 and 8: Purity
In these sections, deSilva looks into the concept of "pollution" and how the concept of "holy" and "pure" has been skewed in our post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment era. He does an excellent but brief survey of Jewish material that helps to understand how early Christians understood the concept of "sacred space" and how some lines regarding purity and holiness have been redrawn in the Christian community.

Final thoughts:
All in all, this is an excellent survey of four important aspects of NT culture that may be overlooked often in our readings of the NT. My only wish was that he included more primary sources in his book, but my guess is that he aimed this book to be semi-academic; so as not to be so esoteric that it is beyond the grasp of serious readers of the Bible, but not so elementary that it would be overlooked as a serious work of a scholar. Highly recommended!

Win a book!

Matthew Burgess, a doctoral student at UVA is doing a book giveaway on his blog. I've never read any of Bart Ehrman's work, so this would be a nice way to get started if I win! Plus, I can't say no to a free book...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fast Shipping

Janice just recently signed up for promotional period as an Amazon Prime member that gives free 2-day deliveries for most items. I decided to take advantage of that in preparation for my upcoming semester:

Ordered these items ~Tuesday afternoon, arrived today at around 2PM!

Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
, eds. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall

The Gospel of Mark, NIGTC, R.T. France

The Letter to the Ephesians, PNTC, Peter T. O'Brien

Basics of Biblical Hebrew, Workbook, Pratico & Van Pelt

Basics of Biblical Hebrew, Textbook, Pratico & Van Pelt

Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (2nd ed.), Craig Blomberg

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Clinton Arnold

I don't know about you guys, but getting books shipped quick is definitely a plus.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Falling behind...

After returning from a 11-day vacation to Africa, I've fallen behind on some things:

(1) Daily Greek NT reading

I just read Romans 12 and well by now I should've read 1 Corinthians 10! Oh boy... time to get cracking.

(2) Google Reader

Looks like this:

845!?! I'm never going to finish reading through all that.

(3) Summer readings

I tried darn hard to finish some books I listed in a previous post, and frankly, I probably finished about 45% of the list, and school starts next week! Sad.

(4) Party planning

I'm going to be the best man for a good friend of mine who is getting married in October, and I need to get on the ball and plan out the details of his bachelor party. Time flies!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Out of Africa

After getting on 10 planes on 4 different airlines, 3 continents, and unending security checks, I've returned from Kenya!

Some pictures:

I have so much more, but I guess this is it for now! I am very exhausted/jetlagged, so goodbye for now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Off to Africa.

For a few weeks, I will be gone to: Kenya/Zanzibar! For those of you that are unfamiliar with where in the world that is:

Very excited to spend some time in the Maasai Mara reserve:

So in the meanwhile, please read my other posts and talk to you all when I get back!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

5 + 2 = "Whatever he wanted"?

I have to admit, I haven't watched his show very much, but these video clips are so funny!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Assassination Squads, Biblical History & Gay Penguins
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTasers