Monday, April 25, 2011

What text are they referring to?

I've been doing some research into Lev. 19:18 and its relationship to Paul in Rom. 13 and Gal. 5. Anyway, I read something today that was very odd. In Witherington's Romans commentary, he says about 13:8-10, "But Paul is also following a longer Jewish tradition that suggested that the pith or heart of the Law could be summed up in one phrase" then gives two references: Testament of Issachar 6 and the Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 31a. I'm trying to hunt down both of these references, but they seem to be either wrong or I might be missing something.

First, the T. Iss reference seems to be a mistake because when I read through that book in the OTP, chapter 6 has nothing (as far as I can tell) about the Torah being summed up in a phrase.

Second, I'm having a hard time trying to find the Talmudic reference. Does anyone know where I can get access to it online? I figured the Talmud would be online somewhere, but I can't seem to find it...

Anyone know what texts Witherington (among other commentators) are referring to and where I can get access to them? Any help is appreciated!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bonhoeffer and Anti-Semiticism

I've finished reading through Bonhoeffer's Life Together during this Lent season (My other Lent posts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), so I've been reading other material from Bonhoeffer during this time. In the early 1930s, as Germany began to adopt laws that became more and more explicltly anti-Semitic, Bonhoeffer was one of the few who recognized the dangers of the Church merging its interests completely with that of the State. The 'Aryan Paragraph' espoused by the German State/Church eventually led to a full-on legislation to distinguish the 'Aryans' from 'non-Aryans' with charts such as these:

If one has three or more grandparents (dark circles at the top), then you fall under the category of Jude ("Jew").

Against these kinds of ideologies, Bonhoeffer wrote a pamphlet titled 'The Aryan Paragraph in the Church' which is clear evidence of how differently he thought from the majority of German Christians around him. In it he writes:

"The German Christians say: We are not so much concerned with these thousand Jewish Christians as with the millions of our fellow citizens who are estranged from God. For their sake, these others might in certain cases have to be sacrificed. We answer: We too are concerned for those outside the church, but the church does not sacrifice a single one of its members. It may even be that the church for the sake of a thousand believing Jewish Christians that it is not allowed to sacrifice, might fail to win over those millions. But what good would it do to gain millions of people at the price of the truth and of love for even a single one?"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Radio silence

To my readers:

Apologies for the lack of any posts lately! Finals are coming up and I have two big (or three I guess if you count something I've been working on for journal submission since last semester) papers as we approach the end of this semester. Duke likes to assign a ton of reading and it's been super busy, so please excuse the infrequency of posts. I'm hoping to have more collected thoughts over the summer, so we'll talk more then. I'm glad that my first year at Duke is almost over and if you're wondering what my Fall schedule might be like, this is the tentative outlook:

OT in NT seminar
Learning Theology with CS Lewis
Intro to Aramaic
History: Between Augustine & Anselm
Christian Scripture & Ethics

Hopefully it'll end up being a great semester. Wish me well for the upcoming finals week!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lent Part 3

I'm currently reading through Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together (Lent Part 1, Part 2) which has been a very refreshing book to read as this semester has inundated me with reading a whole bunch of journal articles and monographs. I read something this morning which I hope will be an encouragement (or perhaps rebuke?) to you. This comes from a section entitled 'The Ministry of Listening':

The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God's love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.
Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he be not conscious of it. Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 97-98.