Saturday, September 29, 2012

New issue of Interpretation

The October issue of the journal, Interpretation, is out. Over the summer, I read a book titled, The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture, by Christian Smith, so this issue is especially interesting given Joel B. Green's review of the book. He recognizes that he is not an "expert" in the field by any means (he is a Harvard-trained sociologist) but at the same time tries to give his own account of how some of the fundamentalist reading of Scripture has become untenable. I thought it was a bit of fresh air to see how someone outside the biblical-studies guild would engage this issue, and though I haven't read Green's review (I will later today), it should be interesting to see how an "expert" in the field receives Smith's account. One interesting fact: Christian Smith was a professor of sociology at UNC prior to his appointment at Notre Dame, and apparently, he is a good friend of one of my former teachers at Duke, Douglas Campbell (at least it seems that way from Smith's Foreword in the book).  

If you haven't read Smith's book yet, I highly recommend you do so (it's a quick read), then jump over to Joel Green's review and see how he understands Smith's arguments.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Interested in Jesus research?

In a fairly recently started blog by Anthony Le Donne and Chris Keith, they asked Helen Bond who she would recommend doing Jesus research with (UK and US). It was nice to see her vote of confidence in one of my former teachers at Duke, Mark Goodacre (he also has his own blog with a lot of interesting posts, check it out here). You can see the rest of her interview in the post above, but in her own words, she said she'd "go for Dale Allison or Mark Goodacre." So there you go! If you're interested in doing some Jesus research, you have two options, go to PTS to work with Allison (not Princeton, but Pittsburgh) or Duke University to work with Goodacre. He was gracious enough to  agree to serve as my MTS thesis advisor even though he's housed in the Religion Department and not the Div School, and both classes I took with him (Synoptic Gospels and Greek Non-Canonical Gospels) were very good. I might be biased, but if you're in the search for programs to apply to do PhD work in Jesus research, I would definitely tell you to put Duke at the top of your list!

Update (9.29.12): Just saw that Le Donne and Keith are also interviewing Mark on their blog. Check it out! (Part I, II, III, and IV). Also, he has a book coming out on the Gospel of Thomas, parts of which he showed us in class last semester, I recommend purchasing it when it's out next month!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New issue of JBL

Seems like the Emory folks (and grad) are represented well in the most recent issue of JBL:

On the Hebrew Bible side, we have a current student, Ryan Bonfiglio who has an article titled, "Archer Imagery in Zechariah 9:11-17 in Light of Achaemenid Iconography":

The last six chapters of the book of Zechariah (chs. 9-14) present numerous interpretive challenges. Though widely recognized as a product of a postexilic context, these chapters, known collectively as Second Zechariah, lack the clear chronological framework and explicit historical signposts that are so evident in First Zechariah (chs. 1-8). Therefore, when it comes to historical-critical approaches to Second Zechariah, there is considerable debate and disagreement in the scholarly literature. In view of this impasse, an increasing number of scholars have turned to alternative interpretive methods to advance the study of Second Zechariah.

On the New Testament side, we have a recent graduate, Joshua Jipp, who has an article titled, "Paul's Areopagus Speech of Acts 17:16-34 as Both Critique and Propaganda":

Interpretations of Paul's Areopagus discourse in Acts 17:16-34 are often radically incongruous. They range from seeing it as a placid pantheistic sermon on natural theology all the way to seeing it as a scathing demonization of Gentile religion. Interpreters who emphasize the speech's similarities to Greco-Roman philosophy incline toward the former view, while those attuned to the Jewish context incline toward the latter. Both types have a significant amount of supporting evidence and are able to provide strong readings for their argument, given that the speech does indeed utilize Hellenistic philosophical concepts and Jewish critiques of idolatry. I suggest, however, that matters are more complex than an either/or interpretation of the Areopagus discourse and that Luke's purposes are more subtle than either “accommodation” or “critique/resistance” would allow.

I'm glad to see Emory folks contributing in a productive way to the guild. Go check these articles out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"The best book"

Some penetrating words from one of the giants in NT studies, Adolf von Harnack:

"No other book of the New Testament had to suffer so much as Acts, although despite its evident weaknesses, it is in more than one respect the weightiest (wichtigste) and best (beste) book in the New Testament. All the mistakes that have been made in NT criticism have come to a focus in the criticism of Acts. The book had to suffer above all because Paul and Paulinism have been understood in a one-sided way and simultaneously greatly overrated. It had to suffer because a false picture has been formed of the nature and relation of Jewish and Gentile Christianity. It had to suffer because (extraordinary survival of an unjustifiable reverence for the apostolic!) the most extreme demands have been made upon a companion of Paul--a sure understanding of Paul, congeniality, freedom from every independent tendency, absolutely trustworthiness, and an infallible memory."
--Lukas der Arzt, 87