Wednesday, November 25, 2015

VIDEO: Paul and "gift"

If you were at AAR/SBL this year in Atlanta, and your interest is in NT, or even more narrowly, Pauline studies, you would have likely heard about John Barclay's just published book, Paul and the Gift. On top of that, maybe you had the chance to attend the session devoted to reviews of Barclay's book, with a very serious panel consisting of Joel Marcus, Margaret Mitchell, and Miroslav Volf. I had kind of a packed schedule, so I only caught the back end of Dr. Marcus's review (honestly, all I remember is him saying that Paul and the gift is a gift that keeps on giving and some comments about 4 Ezra) and stayed for most of Dr. Mitchell's review before I had to scoot out for a meeting and run back when Barclay was giving some final comments. Again, I had to leave early again, so needless to say, I didn't get to hear a lot of the interactions regarding Barclay's book.

Also, I had meant to finish reading Barclay's book before this session but my schedule got ahead of me, so it was helpful to hear from Marcus and Mitchell on some of the perceived shortcomings of Barclay's book–though as far as I could tell, it was very well received despite the critical comments about it. In my opinion thus far, the book is very well organized and clearly argued; it seems to me that Barclay's book dances along that fine line between the appropriation of method(s)/analytical tool(s) (in Barclay's case, the 6 "perfections" of gift/grace) and careful sifting through the primary sources. Honestly, it's rare to find a book of this length and quality that doesn't seem unnecessarily long or difficult to read given the technical fine points of book x. It's so clear and well organized to the degree that I think even a non-specialist could derive huge benefits from reading his book.

Anyway, if you are interested, I also saw that there is a short clip of Barclay explaining his project. Check it out:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Notice: Bultmann

I want to mention a recently published book titled, Rudolf Bultmann: A Companion to His Theology (Cascade) by David W. Congdon. On his most recent blog post (go here) he mentions a promo by which you can receive 40% through Nov. 15. 
Bultmann and his Theology of the New Testament still receives plenty of attention even in NT scholarship, seen for example in the recent publication of Beyond Bultmann. Last year in SD, SBL held a session devoted to this book (room was packed), and all the participants did a great job presenting their own interactions with Bultmann. My own supervisor also wrote an essay for the volume, though he was not in the SBL session. I'm still intrigued by his hermeneutical methods and his NTT, and I think Congdon's book will be a welcome addition to helping Bultmann dilettantes like myself wade through his vast oeuvre beyond just his Theology. Go buy a copy if you're interested!

QOTD: John Barclay

Teaching/dissertating has been taking up most of my time, hence very little blogging as of late. I recently borrowed John Barclay's Paul and the Gifta book that has been a highly anticipated work.  As far as I am aware, Barclay doesn't publish a ton of monograph length material, but when he does, people read and listen. I'm less than a 100 pages in, but so far, I think this book is no exception. The book is not germane to my research, but I've very much enjoyed reading it when I can make time. It is a refreshing investigation into a term/concept in Pauline theology that continues to receive much attention, though as Barclay shows, with much terminological and conceptual slippage among those that talk about it. 

Back to the title of my blog post, I will leave you with a short quotation:

"When two different authors speak of divine benevolence or grace, but disagree on its meaning and its implications, this may be not because one emphasizes grace more than the other, or grasps its 'true' meaning while the other does not, but simply because they are perfecting different facets of grace. As we shall see, Pelagius held firmly to the superabundance of divine grace, which was prior to all human activity; but (for theological reasons) he could not accept Augustine's perfection of the incongruity of grace. Augustine did not believe in grace more than Pelagius; he simply believed in it differently." (p. 77)

If you are attending SBL/AAR this year, you probably know that there is a review of his book. I'm planning to catch the session, which I expect will be very well attended. Unfortunately, I also have a meeting with a publisher that overlaps, so I'm hoping someone out there will have some kind of review of the entire session... If you read this and you are attending, please take some notes! :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ernst Käsemann Remembered (Audio)

A few months ago, the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University's Candler School of Theology hosted an event inviting Prof. Calvin Roetzel to lecture about Ernst Käsemann (see details here). This is part of an exciting project here gathering Käsemann's correspondence with various scholars around the world. It appears that the audio is now available, check it out here (the audio quality is bad at first, but picks up a bit into the lecture).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

VIDEO: The Gospel of Jesus' Wife intro

I saw that the newest issue of NTS (61.3) is devoted entirely to the interesting document called the Gospel of Jesus' Wife. I haven't had a chance to read any of the articles, but it looks like a good range of topics to get at the nature of this text. I also heard that some have done a little bit of mudslinging against those that say yea or nay on this text being an ancient document, but I think it's best to just give this text a fair hearing and see what the various scholars have to say about it in this top peer-reviewed journal.

For an introduction, see this intro video from Simon Gathercole of Cambridge:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

VIDEO: Richard Hays @ Lanier Theological Library

Recently, Professor Richard Hays of Duke Divinity School was involved in a panel discussion on what's called "figural reading" of OT in NT. This recalls his earlier work on Paul as well as the more recently work on the Gospels (Reading Backwards), the latter which is part of a larger ongoing project (likely to be completed sooner with his stepping down as the Dean of the Divinity School).

See the video below:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

RIP: J. Louis Martyn (1925 - June 2015)

I was saddened to hear the passing of one of the great NT scholar/theologians of the current generation, Professor J. Louis Martyn (see a tribute by Prof. Gaventa here). During my first semester at Duke Div, I took a course on Galatians with Dr. Susan Eastman, in which we worked through his wonderful AB commentary on Galatians. Thanks to her friendship with Prof. Martyn, we had the great privilege of having him join our last class session in which we talked about Paul and Galatians for three hours. I still remember his graciousness and humility, and he was very much interested in hearing from all of us as much as we wanted to hear from him. He fully engaged with all of our (and I'm sure in many ways, amateur) questions and it was such a great way to end the seminar. Whatever the various criticisms (or praises) that could be had of his AB commentary, to this day I tell my friends/colleagues that it is one of the most readable and interesting commentaries that I have ever come across. 

RIP Professor, it was truly an honor to have met you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Recently in The New York Times, Mark Bauerlein (who happens to be a professor here at Emory University in the English department) wrote an article titled "What's the Point of a Professor?" As someone who is headed (hopefully!?) to a job in academia, I found this article to be an important (though I suppose as others have argued, subjective) perspective on the current state of the professorial position. 

I'll link the NYT article here and would be interested to hear your thoughts if any.
Bauerlein has also received some criticism (see here), and in response, he was interviewed for some post-article Q&A here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Candler Centennial (1914–2014/15)

This academic year marked the 100 year anniversary of the founding of Candler School of Theology here at Emory University. In order to mark this significant milestone of Candler, the school ran a year-long program, including a conference during this spring semester (Mar. 18–20). This conference kicked off with a keynote address from my doktorvater, Luke Timothy Johnson, titled "Theological Challenges of the New Century."

I saw that Candler now has uploaded all the videos from this conference to their Vimeo website, and I thought I would share with you Luke's address:

Sunday, March 15, 2015


It looks like interest in Marcion is picking up as of late with the (soon to be) publication of scholarly works concerning this interesting figure in early Christianity. Harnack had attempted to recover Marcion's text more than a century ago, and as far as I know he still sets much of the agenda on the question of Marcion and his relationship to the NT. Check out these new books in chronological order with their respective descriptions:

Markus Vinzent, Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (Peeters: 2014)

Are the Synoptic Gospels at odds with Early Christian art and archaeology? Art and archaeology cannot provide the material basis 'to secure the irrefutable inner continuity' of the Christian beginnings (Erich Dinkler); can the Synoptic Gospels step in? Their narratives, however, are as absent from the first hundred and fourty years of early Christianity as are their visual imageries. 'Many of the dates confidently assigned by modern experts to the New Testament documents', especially the Gospels, rest 'on presuppositions rather than facts' (J.A.T. Robinson, 1976). The present volume is the first systematic study of all available early evidence that we have about the first witness to our Gospel narratives, Marcion of Sinope. It evaluates our commonly known arguments for dating the Synoptic Gospels, elaborates on Marcion's crucial role in the Gospel making and argues for a re-dating of the Gospels to the years between 138 and 144 AD.

Dieter T. Roth, The Text of Marcion's Gospel (Brill: January 2015)

In The Text of Marcion’s Gospel Dieter T. Roth offers a new, critical reconstruction of Marcion’s Gospel including various levels of certainty for readings in this Gospel text. An extensive history of research, overview of both attested and unattested verses in the various sources, and methodological considerations related, in particular, to understanding the citation customs of the sources set the stage for a comprehensive analysis of all relevant data concerning Marcion’s Gospel. On the basis of this new reconstruction significant issues in the study of early Christianity, including the relationship between Marcion’s Gospel and Luke and the place of Marcion in the history of the canon and the formation of the fourfold Gospel, can be considered anew.

Judith M. Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (forthcoming, Cambridge: April 2015)

A comprehensive and authoritative account of the 'heretic' Marcion, this volume traces the development of the concept and language of heresy in the setting of an exploration of second-century Christian intellectual debate. Judith M. Lieu analyses accounts of Marcion by the major early Christian polemicists who shaped the idea of heresy, including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Epiphanius of Salamis, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Ephraem Syrus. She examines Marcion's 'Gospel', 'Apostolikon', and 'Antitheses' in detail and compares his principles with those of contemporary Christian and non-Christian thinkers, covering a wide range of controversial issues: the nature of God, the relation of the divine to creation, the person of Jesus, the interpretation of Scripture, the nature of salvation, and the appropriate lifestyle of adherents. In this innovative study, Marcion emerges as a distinctive, creative figure who addressed widespread concerns within second-century Christian diversity.

They all look to be fascinating studies on Marcion and I'm sure many scholars will benefit from these works.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ZNW (Vol. 105, Issue 1)

It was brought to my attention on my social media feed (HT: Brian LePort) that ZNW has a new issue out this year. I'm glad to report that one of my mentors here at Emory, Walter Wilson, has published an article in this issue. See the TOC:

Walter T. Wilson, “Words of Wisdom (Matt 9,9-17; 11,16-19),” 1-20. 

Kylie Crabbe, “Being found fighting against God: Luke’s Gamaliel and Josephus on human responses to divine providence,” 21-39. 

Nils Neumann, “Die πανοπλία Gottes. Eph 6,11–17 als Reflexion der Belagerung einer Stadt,” 40-64. 

Michael Theobald, “Vom Werden des Rechts in der Kirche,” 65-95. 

Ole Jacob Fitvedt and Martil Wessbrandt, “Exploring the High Priesthood of Jesus in Early Christian Sources,” 96-114. 

Gerhard Rignhausen, “Das Rätsel der Ἡρῳδιανοί im Markusevangelium,” 115-125. 

Jason Staples, “Altered Because of Transgressions? The ‘Law of Deeds’ in Gal 3,19a,” 126-35. 

Garrick V. Allen, “Textual Pluriformity and Allusion in the Book of Revelation. The Text of Zechariah 4 in the Apocalypse,” 136-45. 

Walter has been working through the Gospel of Matthew for some time now (see now his recently published book with Fortress Press, Healing in the Gospel of Matthew: Reflections on Method and Ministry) and in the course I am TA-ing for him this semester at Candler School of Theology, students have been given various passages from Matthew, one of which they must choose for their final exegesis papers. If you're at all interested in this gospel, I suggest you take a look at his article then pick up his book.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CNN's Finding Jesus Episode 1

Looks like CNN's Finding Jesus (see my original post here about the miniseries here) had a very strong premier with their first episode this past Sunday, coming it at #1 in cable news during its respective time slot with over 1.1 million viewers. Good to see some familiar faces and no doubt the episodes to follow should continue to draw strong interest.

For the full first episode, go to CNN's website here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Newest issue of NTS (April 2015)

Just noticed that NTS has the newest issue out, volume 61 issue 2 (April 2015). A little more German heavy than the usual (maybe?). Here are the contents:

Udo Schnelle, "Das frühe Christentums und die Bildung"

Gudrun Nassauer, "Göttersöhne: Lk 1.26-38 als Kontrasterzählung zu einem römischen Gründungsmythos"

Knut Backhaus, "Paulus und die Dioskuren (Apg 28.11): Über zwei denkwürdige Schutzpatrone des Evangeliums"

Claire Clivaz and Sara Schulthess, "On the Source and Rewriting of 1 Corinthians 2.9 in Christian, Jewish and Islamic Traditions"

Hans Förster, "Die Begegnung am Brunnen (Joh 4.4-42) im Licht der „Schrift": Überlegungen zu den Samaritern im Johannesevangelium"

Lourdes Garcia Urena, "Colour Adjectives in the New Testament"

George van Kooten, "How Greek was Paul's Eschatology?"

CNN miniseries: Finding Jesus

I saw on my social media feed that one of my teachers from Duke University, Mark Goodacre, recently served as the lead consultant to a six-part miniseries airing this Sunday (March 1) on CNN called Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery (see here). Should be interesting! The miniseries will kick off with the first episode looking at the Shroud of Turin.

For more info, see the CNN website here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review by LTJ

My teacher here at Emory University, Luke Timothy Johnson, has recently posted a short book review of Bart Ehrman's How Jesus Became God on the Commonweal Magazine website. Check it out here.

On this note, if you are interested in pursuing LTJ's comments further, check out his Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity.

Debate @ TEDS

If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area, you might be interested in the following debate at TEDS titled, "Paul on Justification: Is the Lutheran Approach to Pauline Justification 'Justified'?" The debate is taking place on February 12 at ATO Chapel at 7:00-8:30PM and it is between Douglas Campbell of Duke Divinity School and Douglas Moo of Wheaton College (see details here). This is an arena of continued debate among Pauline scholars and theologians, so it should be interesting to hear from two scholars who have studied this aspect of Pauline theology in detail.

There's also a five-part setup to this debate by Joshua Jipp (here).

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

QOTD: Albert Schweitzer

In his typical colorful language, Albert Schweitzer probes the 19th century skepticism that attempts to show how the one who gives (der Darbietende) simultaneously is the one who is partaken of (der Genossene) in the supper:

Das üppige Schlinggewächs historischer und exegetischer Einfälle ist keine Brücke über den Abgrund des Selbstwiderspruchs!  - Das Abendmahl im Zusammenhang mit dem Leben Jesu und der Geschichte des Urchristentums, 21

The luscious plant of historical and exegetical ideas is no bridge over the gulf of self-contradiction! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kenneth W. Clark Lectures @ Duke Div

One of my teachers here at Emory University, Carl Holladay, mentioned to me sometime last year about giving the Kenneth W. Clark Lectures at Duke Divinity School in 2015. I'm glad to see that the details are now available for those of you that are interested (see here). If you are in the area, you're definitely in for some good talks and conversations. Carl is a fantastic teacher as well as a great mentor for all of us here so I hope the students/faculty at my alma mater will benefit also from his time spent at Duke in February.
On another note, he will be giving the presidential address for the SNTS meeting later this year in Montreal so if you are part of that society, look forward to his address then as well.

HT: NT Blog

EDIT: I should note an error above: Carl is giving the presidential address for the SNTS meeting in the summer of 2016.