Monday, September 27, 2010

Logos giveaway

For all my blog readers, if you're interested, per Logos:

Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes!

They’re also having a special limited-time sale on their Mac and PC base packages and upgrades. Check it out!

That is all.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Sabbath

For my OT interpretation class, my professor assigned a PDF chapter out of a book titled, The Ten Commandments: Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church by Patrick Miller, a retired professor from Princeton Seminary, and just as Dr. Portier-Young said, his chapter did not disappoint. I'd like to quote to you a short section from the chapter on the Sabbath:

"The people of ancient Israel were far more concerned about release from toilsome labor than about ensuring that the work got done. For those who think that divine judgments of Genesis 3 created a fixed order that cannot be ameliorated, the Sabbath command is one of the things at work in God's way to offset their force. The power of work to control human life is forever relativized in the Sabbath. There is no eternal assembly line in the community that lives by these guidelines. The Sabbath helps to guard against one of the primary idolatries to which many, if not all, are prone: idolizing our work by making it the center value and meaning for our lives. The Sabbath relativizes human work and makes it possible regularly to set aside our goals and plans, our ambitions and accomplishments, to think and care about the God who created us and God's work, about God's plan and our place in it. The Sabbath, therefore, is both a safeguard against one of the central ways in which we violate the First Commandment and also a barrier against the constant inclination to justify ourselves and to define ourselves by our work, what we do. The Sabbath cuts human beings loose from their work and calls them to do nothing but give praise to God. It is a constant reminder—and exemplar—of what the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism says is the goal of human existence: "to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." (emphasis original)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Know that phrase!

I've been really enjoying Dr. Eastman's Greek Exegesis of Galatians class, and if you've looked through this text in Greek, there are a few phrases that biblical scholars have been wrestling with for... oh, I don't know, decades? I might be wrong, but it seems like the debate will never end. Anyway, here's two phrases that you might be familiar with:

(1) ἔργων νόμου
(2) πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

The first phrase, most often translated as "works of the Law" occurs seven times (if I'm counting correctly) in the NT: Rom. 2:15, 3:20, 3:28; Gal. 2:16, 3:2, 3:5, and 3:10. The problem lies in what Paul actually meant by "works of the Law." Is it some type of legalistic adherence to Jewish law, customs, traditions, etc. as the Reformers have understood Paul? Or is it the food laws, circumcision, etc., that are the "markers" or "badges" of the ones in the covenant? In addition, this phrase is very odd and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls with 4QMMT (one of the texts from the find), we now have another understanding of the phrase "works of the Law" or מעשי התורה.

The second phrase, most often translated as "faith in Jesus Christ" is actually not as neatly translatable as it seems in the popular English versions. It occurs in this construction five times in the NT: Rom. 3:22, Gal 2:16, 3:22, 3:26, and Phil. 3:9. It is in what's called the genitive construction and in this particular case, most often understood as objective genitive (i.e., faith in Jesus Christ, where Jesus Christ is the object of the faith) or subjective genitive (i.e., faith[fulness] of Jesus Christ, where Jesus Christ is the subject of the faith). Plenty of ink has been spilled on this topic and while the traditional view of seeing it in objective genitive relationship prevailed for a long time, recently the subjective genitive has been gaining support.

Why am I bringing this up? Well I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this whole debate and wanted to know what you all thought about these phrases. We haven't hit either of these phrases yet in my seminar class, but I'm looking forward to the lively debate.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Desert Spirtuality

In my class called Introduction to Christian Spirituality, we're currently in a section regarding the "Desert Fathers" and the spirituality that they showed and taught. One of our readings for this week comes from John Climacus who lived around 6-7th century CE, writing a book titled Κλίμαξ or Scala Paradisi in Latin, meaning the Ladder of Divine Ascent. We're only reading a portion of it, but it was interesting to read what I was used to seeing from Reformers & Puritans almost a thousand years before they said it:

Let us fear the Lord not less than we fear beasts. For I have seen men who were going to steal and were not afraid of God, but, hearing the barking of dogs, they at once turned back; and what the fear of God could not achieve was done by the fear of animals. Let us love God at least as much as we respect our friends. For I have often seen people who had offended God and were not in the least perturbed about it. And I have seen how those same people provoked their friends in some trifling matter, and then employed every artifice, every device, every sacrifice, every apology, both personally and through friends and relatives, not sparing gifts, in order to regain their former love.

I wonder if the Reformers & Puritans and others of the "Western" Christian persuasion read the Desert Fathers?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Say 'ma'?

ܝܶܫܘܽܥ ܕܶܝܢ ܐܷܡܰܪ ܠܗܴ̇ܝ ܐܱܢ̱ܬܬܴܐ. ܗܰܝܡܳܢܘܽܬܷܟܝ ܐܱܚܝܰܬܷܟܝ. ܙܶܠܝ ܒܰܫܠܴܡܳܐ

If you know Hebrew, you would know my post title means, "Say what?". I say that because at least some words (like 'what' for example) are the same in Syriac (thankfully), and therefore, you'd be thinking "say what?!" as you read (or saw) the above script (at least that's what I thought when I first started reading Syriac last week!) This is my first attempt to type one verse from the NT Peshitta (anyone know from where?) in Syriac, and I have to say, this is tough! Dr. Van Rompay started to pick up the pace, so I better get to studying.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What's in a letter?


These are all letters that are short for certain hypothetical documents that according to source criticism, redactors have used to form certain documents of the Old Testament (e.g. the Pentateuch) and the New Testament (e.g. the Gospels). Obviously I'm not at the level of a, say, Julius Wellhausen, but still, these hypothetical sources still confuse me at best and annoy me at worst. How do scholars posit such a certainty of these documents when as far as I know, no independent sources apart from the current "redactional" states (i.e. the forms as it is appropriated in the Scriptures) exist? I'm currently in an OT interpretations class, and the lectures have been very stimulating so far, but when it comes to the issue of Documentary Hypothesis, I've never been fully convinced no matter where I hear it (not when I heard it first at Talbot and not now at Duke). Is there something to these conclusions through source-criticism that I'm not getting? I guess I'm not too terribly off-track on some levels because even one Professor here at Duke, Mark Goodacre, rejects "Q."

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? What's your take on source-criticism in general, and these specific sources specifically?