Friday, March 31, 2006

Exegetical Idol?

The previous post generated some interest and some good comments. Someone noted the tendency to "idolize," and this reminded me of "American Idol," I think it's called "Pop Idol" in UK and "Australian Idol" in...New Zealand. Anyway, let's roll with that analogy:

Although one judge thought he was too liberal (authorship of Jude/2 Peter), and another thought he was too conservative (early high christology, lack of respect for critical consensus on Gospel communities), the viewers hvae spoken. It looks like Richard Bauckham wins the very scientific voting on this year's edition of "Exegetical Idol": he wins a five year publishing/recording contract with "Chris Tilling Really Very Holy Ministries (CTRVHM)", a worldwide ministry enterprise that will really help Richard get out of the academic set and into the mainstream. There's even a movie, the script already written, about apocalyptic drama, which will star Bauckham as a coffehouse barista and secret exegete who uncovers the plot to end history. The script of course is written by Alan Bandy.

What, you say? Pitting scholars as actors? Well, there's so much exegesis in this movie, hiring actors would prove problematic, as the first year of production would be taken up by intensive study of the New Testament, Greek and other relevant languages, Hebrew Scriptures, etc. Several actors, including Tom Cruise, took but failed to pass an exegetical test to see if they could qualify. So we're going with Bauckham. It's like hiring a non-Italian actor when you could just get an Italian non-actor; saves you a lot of time in the long run.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Who's Your Favorite/Who's the Best?
In his interview with Alan Bandy, Mike Bird noted the prowess of Richard Bauckham: But Richard Bauckham has got to be the guy I respect the most * every time he puts pen to paper you know it is going to be rigorous, insightful, provocative, and announce the end of some poorly argued assumption in biblical scholarship (e.g. the existence of Gospel “communities”). Indeed RB has the ability to focus like a laser, master the issues, take a totally different track from previous scholars, and change the state of scholarship. He certainly did this with God Crucified, which I thoroughly enjoyed and which takes a huge swipe at some mainstays of NT theology, and in an article on my dissertation topic: "Tamar's Ancestry and Rahab's Marriage: Two Problems in the Matthean Genealogy," Novum Testamentum 37 (1995) 313-329. Very, very insightful; loads of common sense in the first half.

Elsewhere on the blogosphere, Scot McKnight (himself a favorite of a few) confesses that Dale C. Allison is the greatest on a blurb in one of Allison's books. Seems like I remember Chris Tilling admitting to being a Tom Wright fan simply for the sake of ideas and writing ability. Blogfather says Ed Sanders is most definitely the man. I think Jim West argued for Bultmann.

Anyone care to state their favorite, or one single scholar they think has done truly great work in the field?
Matthew 5.6: Justice or Righteousness...and so what?

As I sat down to blog, I got a great email from a 14-year-old distant relative tonight. She's a sharp cookie in a great learning environment. Here's her question: "For my dad's class we were assigned people to ask questions about what we have been learning. My question for you is "What is the meaning of Matthew 6:5 - Could righteousness be justice? Why, Why not, and so what. Hope this isn't too much of a bother." Her father is also a sharp cookie and a great one for bouncing ideas around with, so he knew what he was doing when he assigned this question, and I'm certain to be playing into his hands as he molds the next generation of American evangelicals into self-sacrificial, justice-minded individuals. I thought my response to her would make a reasonable blog entry.

A., this is a tough question. The Greek word "dikaiosune" can be
used for both righteousness and justice...[skip stuff about LXX]...I'm
inclined to say that Matthew might not have tried to make too much distinction;
he probably often thinks of them as both being part of the meaning of
dikaiosune when he uses it.

But in Matthew 5:6 (is this what
you mean? righteousness isn't in 6:5), I think Matthew almost certainly
wants us to have justice in view. These beatitudes are about people who
are in trouble, beat up, crying, have lost land, suffered scorned, been mocked,
misunderstood, and even persecuted in this present life, primarily because of
their relationship with Jesus and his people and the way they live their life as
a result. Therefore, these people are hungry and thirsty for JUSTICE, for
the right thing to be done and for God to vindicate them in their
suffering. They are oppressed and rejected and despised--but they can
know, says Jesus, that God is on their side right now, and in the future.
And because of what will happen in the future (we will be satisfied, and have
true justice and peace) we are blessed right now.

So what?
Well, this encourages us to seek justice for others, even at our own
expense, because that is good and godly; but mostly it helps us give up our
right to pursue justice for ourselves in this life. If we are hungry and
thirsty now for the sake of Jesus and his kingdom, then we know we have justice
in the end, and we are blessed now because of that. But if we try to hold
onto our rights, we usually will wind up hurting others or becoming selfish
people whose minds are set on ourselves, not on Jesus. This is why Paul
tells the Corinthians not to sue (1 Cor 6): it leads to the harming of others,
because human justice is never perfect, and when we get power we tend to hurt
others (vs. 8), and as Christians, we should trust in God's justice, count
ourselves blessed despite our problems. We should be willing to be
have others do us wrong and put up with injustice rather than fail in our
calling to love others in God's family (vs 7).

Hope all that
helps! If you want an A, you ought to try to think of some examples of how
this might work in your life.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Canon within a Canon: the Evidence from Google

Stephen Carlson has an interesting post on "canon within a canon" with a little help from google and a few graphs. I have to say I could have guessed the evidence for Gal 2 and Eph 2, but on other verses the graph does "help."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Faith and Scholarship (Again)

We are in a situation where often faith-based scholarship feels and is made to feel inferior to secular scholarship. Consequently, evangelicals tend to publish their brightest ideas in non-confessional journals, allowing people like Michael Fox (in the SBL Forum) to claim that secular scholarship should take credit for all advances in human knowledge.
That's from Peter J. Williams at Alan Bandy's blog, in what has been an interesting series. I would also note to other possible "problems":

(1) Some ideas that might be deemed "evangelical" are not prized at many non-confessional journals, originality being more favorable than defense of traditional ideas; this is understandable but frustrating--I'm sure we've all read journal articles or dissertations which are virtually worthless, but possess that all-t00-desirable asset of "creativity."

(2) I note here an off-hand comment by Mark Goodacre earlier this winter where he cites an article from “…a journal I don't think I've read before, I'm ashamed to say, called Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.” This is certainly not to slam Mark, but I do wonder whether this is because the content of the Journal is too restricted confessionally speaking, or because it is subpar in quality (surely sometimes the case, but not always), or because of general non-evangelical prejudice (not by Mark, but by the wider scholarly community, which could of course have affected him; I'm allowing that this could be warranted prejudice, btw) or general lack of interest, perhaps because of the more "traditional" approaches usually taken, or assumed to be taken, in the scholarship represented in such journals.

This explains how Blomberg or others can argue that the idea of Midrash in Matthew has been refuted effectively, while others have no clue about the challenges, precisely because many (a majority?) of the “important” responses to Gundry (and others like Goulder through him) are from evangelicals in evangelical journals or books, for example: D. A. Carson, "Gundry on Matthew: A Critical Review," TrinJ 3NS (1982): 71-91; Philip B. Payne, "Midrash and History in the Gospels With Special Reference to R. H. Gundry's Matthew," in Gospel Perspectives, vol. 3 (ed. R. T. France and David Wenham; Sheffield: JSOT, 1983): 177-215; Douglas J. Moo, "Matthew and Midrash: An Evaluation of Robert H. Gundry's Approach," JETS 26 (1983): 31-39; and Scott Cunningham and Darrell L. Bock, "Is Matthew Midrash?" BSac 144 (1987): 157-80.

Perhaps there is simply too much talking past one another in separate corners, and scholars of all sorts would profit massively from better interaction with those of other realms.

Friday, March 24, 2006

10 Blogs I Hope to see in the near future

(1) Blogfather: “How I talked Hays and Sanders into biblioblogging”
(2) Chris Tilling: “Why I rooted for the USA during Germany ‘06 and the story of how they won the Cup”
(3) Deinde (Danny Zacharias): “Why we decided to make Deinde user friendly”
(4) Mike Bird #1: “Emerging in Dingwall: Not a Contradiction in Terms." You’d have to experience the thriving metropolis of Dingwall, Scotland to understand...
(5) Evangelical Textual Criticism: “Syriac Made Simple: a new blog by P. J. Williams"
(6) Jim West: “Why Biblical Studies is More Important than Theology”
(7) Mike Bird #2: “Why I Converted: Football as the Official Sport of the New Heavens and New Earth
(8) Ben Myers: “Why I Agree with Jim West’s New Post...and Mike Bird's as well”
(9) Unidentified Reformed blogger: “How I learned to stop worrying and love NTW as a scholar and a brother (HT: Mike Bird)”
(10) James Crossley: “How I learned to stop worrying and love W” (Okay, just kidding on that one; I'll take a mulligan)
(10) Scot McKnight, Jesus Creed: “Why I’m switching to open source publishing” but I'd willingly settle for the following from Scot: "Now taking requests for blogged book reviews"
Sports News: Soccer, Basketball

A few short notes on sports. Word has it German fans are relieved at the "thrashing" of the US squad last week in a World Cup warm-up. They shouldn't be: our entire starting midfield, one or two defenders, and our starting forward (Fulham’s leading scorer) did not play in the 4-1 loss to Germany. Our first batch of reserves outplayed the Germans in the first half—we only lost it when we started subbing out our second team, Germany scoring thrice after the 70th minute. Not that this means the US is going past the group stages again in June!

Also, the hometown University of Memphis is in the final eight of the NCAA basketball tournament, while Duke (sorry blogfather) and other luminaries are out.
Building a Theology of the Land: Wrap-up and Take Away (or, "Who Cares about a Theology of the Land?!?")

Applying the Promise of the Land

If we are heirs to the Land in the sense that I have described, what do we do with this information? In my last post I suggested ways in which we use this information hermeneutically. I have previously investigated the political aspects, if only because my country (sadly, particularly the Christian, Evangelical community) is so horribly slanted against non-Jewish perspectives in present-day Palestine. I believe it is absolutely vital for American believers in particular to have the exegetical nous to renounce the traditional Zionist theology of the Land, which has been proven unjust and costly in its influence on American foreign policy and religion. For more on this see especially (from a North American evangelical perspective) Gary Burge, Whose Land? Whose Promise?

But for now a few brief comments on other applications:

(1) The promise of future inheritance should lead to a willingness to sacrifice in this present life for the kingdom, even to the point of sacrificing ancestral lands and all other possessions (Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16) . The point here is not tit-for-tat reward, but gratitude for what all our present material and immaterial blessings, and expectation of future blessing. Note that faith is vital here: it’s something we cannot see that we are after, just as was the case with Abraham. Perhaps a lack of a vision for what God has for his people is a chief reason for the remarkable absence of generosity among wealthy Christians in America today; perhaps lack of faith in the God of promise is what leads us to ignore what is promised and focus on what has already been attained. Faithlessness inherently ascribes too much importance to our earthly possessions, or puts far too much emphasis on whether a particular race of people possess a particular strip of land in the eastern Mediterranean.

As an aside, as a response to literalist health and wealth types going on about Abraham and wealth and blessing and promises, have them read ">Calvin’s Institutes, 2.10.11, a brilliant paragraph that ends as follows: “Any one desirous to give a picture of a calamitous life could not find one more appropriate.” (HT to our research asst. Justin Borger on that one).

The NT never features the OT’s “blessed man gets the rich life,” at least not in this present age. The postponement of “Land” functions as a motive for postponement of everything or anything this life has to offer, though of course we also experience these things (feasts, houses, profit, etc) whenever--and provided that we--share them with others liberally and across socio-economic and racial boundaries (Luke 14:12-14; Gal 2:11-12; I think Mark 10:29-30 falls here as well), so that we in effect all receive “100 times” in this present age.

(2) The future inheritance can be imitated, and indeed must be imitated in this present life through the pursuit of sharing of possessions and equality in the community of God (Acts 2, 4; 2 Corinthians 8:13-15). Surely when the Son--whose nature is to love and give of himself even to the point of death, and whose Spirit proves him to be the giver of good gifts--finally reigns supreme there will be justice and radical sharing, so why should it not be so now? As I read it, Mark 10:29-30 incorporates this point and the previous point.

(3) The future inheritance prepares us to live as sojourners who practice the sacrifice of our rights, our possessions, our social allegiances and connections, and our agendas. “In the case of 1 Peter, the model readers presumed and sculpted by the text are those who hear their names in the letter’s opening, 'to the elect who are sojourners of the diaspora’ (1:1). Peter’s model readers are those who embrace and embody the status of persons whose identity as estranged sojourners in the world grows out of their experience of the new birth…membership in a community defined by their allegiance to Christ…whose forms of existence attract opposition from their neighbors.” Joel Green, "Practicing the Gospel in a Postcritical World: the Promise of Theological Exegesis," JETS 47.3 (2004), 387-397, a highly recommended article. See also Calvin's comments on Abraham linked above.
Building a Theology of the Land: Wrap-up and Take Away

One of the advantages to the Theology of the Land I have described is the way in which it might help us interpret and apply Scripture. One final verse to explore in this regard for hermeneutical fruit more is Ephesians 6:1-4. Here we find an appeal to Scripture and the promise of Land: "...that it may go well with them in the Land." I think this phrase is here intentionally, and not just as a description of the importance of obeying/honoring one's parents. The emphasis is on obedience, not on inheritance in the first place. But I think it likely that the writer and readers saw some value in this promise for themselves. The responsibility of children in OT and NT, just as with parents, husbands/wives, and slaves/masters, is to live out the good works to which they were called (Eph 2:10) and thus participate in the blessings which God has for his people. In the OT, this would have been life in the Land with the people of God under the reign of God and his Law; in the NT, what is this blessing?

I have suggested in previous segments of this discussion that the promise of Land is universalized and thrown into the future. Note that Ephesians 5:5 and 6:8 sets the whole discussion of walking in the Spirit in light of God's judgment, and the present-yet-future "inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God." Based on previous passages explored, Land expectation (if present) for the audience would probably be for participation in the New Heavens and New Earth, another “Land of Promise”: or rather, that to which the Promise of Land always pointed, so that Paul can typologically apply the Promise of Land from Exodus 20 to his present mixed-Gentile congregation in Ephesus, showing the “ultimate intent” of the Land Promise, just as he did with Abraham in Romans 4:13 (I submit that this falls in well with Hays’s analysis of Paul’s use of the Law in “Three Dramatic Roles: The Law in Romans 3-4,” Conversion of the Imagination.)

Whether Paul penned this or not is beside the point: if early Christians saw the promise of the Land applying to themselves universally, then th. But the inheritance is not merely Palestine--how could it be, after all, in a letter that stresses emphatically the unified nature of the people of God, Jew and Gentile together? Were the Gentile and Jewish Ephesian believers to travel to Judea, Samaria, or Galilee and "stake their claim"? Surely not: the inheritance here again is cosmic and largely future (as 4:7-11 and the various mentions of "inheritance," particularly 5:5, seem to hint).

Finally, I should note that this is not to deny that there is a present aspect to this as well. For instance, in this present age we can probably expect to receive the benefits of obedient respect of our parents in whatever land God has placed us. This alone should forestall any idea that we can ignore this 'present earth' in light of the coming New Creation. This should also suggest that there are present benefits for the people of God in the appropriation of the Promise of Land. I’ll explore this in one final post.

Monday, March 20, 2006

New SBL Seminar "The New Testament Mysticism Project"

Andrei Orlov has asked that I pass this on (and many thanks for the reference to Andrei):

The New Testament Mysticism Project Seminar (NTMPS) was organized under the auspices of the Society of Biblical Literature to facilitate the study of earlyJewish and Christian mystical traditions in the New Testament writings. The Seminar will progress systematically through each New Testament text. 2006 SBLsessions of the NTMPS will deal with the Gospel of Matthew. The Seminar members plan to collectively write a commentary covering mysticism in the New Testament.

April DeConick and Andrei Orlov are Co-Chairs of the Seminar. Their announcement does give rise to two debates: (1) To what extent does the NT reflect prior or contemporaneous mystic tradition, and (2) more pressing--are split infinitives really wrong? That's what we were all taught in grammar school, right? (Note the red material in the announcement.)
update--see the helpful comment; apparently there has been a Kuhnian shift in grammar since primary school!

Let's hope this seminar isn't scheduled at the same time as the regular SBL Matthew session, with this year's theme being "Reading Matthew in a Time of War." The regular Matthew session may also feature papers on "anti-Judaism, gender, global readings, poverty and wealth, reception history"; no word yet of course on the final shape of the seminar.

One prominent Matthew scholar I know recently mentioned he now avoids Matthew at SBL due to the heavy slate of narrative criticism. I suppose one could argue that there is some overkill; I'd love to see this debated at SBL 2006. I myself think there are good grounds for making narrative criticism a platform for broad study of the text; it is superior to redaction criticism in that respect--see the dead-on, if slightly pessimistic, analysis by Bockmuehl, SJT 51 (1998), 271-306, in "'To Be or Not to Be': Possible Futures of New Testament."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Building a Theology of the Land, Part 4

In an attempt to win the award for “longest series without comments” during the forthcoming “Biblical Studies Carnival IV,” I’m picking up my series on “Theology of the Land.”

When I last left off, I asked how Jesus’ application of the promise of Land to his disciples in Mt 5.5 functions. I think the rest of Mt and the NT tell us.

Some have argued that what the NT does with the Land is “spiritualization”; this was classically argued by W. D. Davies in his seminal work on the topic, The Gospel and the Land. For my part, I prefer to avoid the term “spiritualization,” which has decidedly docetic connotations (not accusing Davies of this). I think we actually see two things in the NT: (1) universalization (2) eschatological reserve, which will of course be eschatological reversal. These are not original with Christianity, but are built from the foundation of texts such as Isaiah 65-66, where we find a “new heavens and a new earth” despite the present throes of Exile and suffering.

Matthew 28:16-20 has universal implications which I think are spelled out well in Paul, see below—not that Matt or Paul were copying one another;

Revelation 21-22 is obvious, particularly in its echoes of Isaiah 65-66 and Genesis 1-3.

More potent than these, perhaps, is the remarkable Romans 4:13 (on which see NTW’s commentary, his short paper on New Exodus/New Inheritance in Romans 5-8 at, and Hays, Conversion of the Imagination, 90). Paul states that Abe was promised--not a strip of Land in Palestine, nor the Fertile Crescent, but--the KOSMOS. This of course leads up to Romans 8 and the groaning of ALL creation, which will be liberated in the future. Paul believes he has permission to make this hermeneutical move because of God's intention to rescue all creation, reconcile ALL THINGS (Colossians is very strong here); because the promise to Abe in Gen 12 carried universal implications; and because the Land was always meant to be a Type of God's intention for Earth, as Isaiah and others indicated.

Eschatological Reserve:
Matthew 19:28, the eschatological “regeneration” (palingenesia, a remarkable term worth more press than I can give it) has strong “Land” connotations, as Jesus speaks of 12 thrones and the 12 tribes. Jesus offers this as impetus to let go of lands, houses, etc. in the present—something those with such things have a difficult time doing, as the context in Matt 19 plainly shows.

Again, Revelation 21-22 is relevant.

Acts 7 (esp. vv 2-5, 29-33, 45-50) and Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16 are clear: Abe didn’t ever own a plot of land to set his foot in (save to bury his wife). Hebrews in particular takes this example and runs with it, applying it in spades to believers. As with Matthew, this is held out as an example, and it functions as an exhortation to let go (of traditions and Temple in Acts 7? Hard to say, but Heb 11 is quite clear) of things in this present world for the sake of gain in the future. Acts 7 speaks of near fulfillment in Israel's previous possession of the Land, but also, in the context of the "universalization" of God's reign in Acts, the whole of the OT is thrown into a different trajectory (Lk 24), a universalized one (Acts 28).

There is more in the NT on this question, as well as in contemporaneous lit like Qumran; but these are core texts (off the top of my head). Possibly a future post will explore the practical implications of this...

Again, I insist that there is nothing “spiritual” (=anti-physical) in this doctrine, and that it grows organically out of the Scriptures of Jesus, Matt, Paul, author of Hebrews, etc. In a sense, it is even more physical than the original promises, if only due to the greater dimensions and the promise of permanence.
First Things First

One of the most interesting and important books I read last year was Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire, by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat. One of the most important statements in the book came on page 9, before the main body of material itself:

“St. Paul knows that the vision that he is talking about makes no sense if it doesn’t shape the Christian household as an alternative to the dominant roman model of household life. And so the testing ground for anything that we say in this book is first and foremost our family. Out three children, Jubal, Madeleine and Lydia, did not have to ‘suffer through’ the writing of this book. If they did then the book would in fact lack credibility. We did not ‘sacrifice’ family life through long absences while researching and writing. So we offer the kids no apologies. Rather we thank them for grounding our lives in the important things like learning and housekeeping, playing and growing up, stories and nighttime prayers, tears and laughter” (p. 9).

Thanks to Craig Blomberg for typing this out in his review, In light of the material noted in the last post, it's not surprising that Craig liked this book immensely.
Evangelical Liberation Theology?

In light of the recent spate of discussions on faith and scholarship, I thought I'd throw out a few resources/comments I've found interesting. Craig Blomberg has an interesting article available on the importance of global perspectives in hermeneutics: See also "The Globalization of Biblical Interpretation: A Test Case--John 3-4," BBR (1995), and "Implications of Globalization for Biblical Understanding," The Globalization of Theological Education (Orbis, 1993).

He's also done a fair bit of work with liberation theology from an evangelical perspective; see "The Liberation of Illegitimacy: Women and Rulers in Matthew 1-2," BTB 21 (1991), 145-150; and "Your Faith Has Made You Whole: The Evangelical Liberation Theology of Jesus," Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ (Eerdmans, 1994), 75-93 --I haven't read the latter myself. Incidentally, I'm taking issue with parts of Blomberg's view of the women in Matt 1 in my dissertation, though I think the underlying "liberation" element is part of what's "in the text," and can be easily borne out of the text by the reader.

Note the interesting comments on Blomberg at Wikipedia:

Evangelical Reader Response/Narrative Criticism?

Mark Alan Powell is one of my favorite Matthew scholars; Chasing the Eastern Star: Adventures in Reader-Reponse Criticism (WJK Press, 2001) is an under-appreciated text, I think; a great introduction to the question and a whale of a lot of fun to read, with good interaction in the endnotes. Interestingly, he makes room for what he calls "evangelical reader response criticism." Now, I'm not sure what this means, but my curiosity is piqued. Anyone care to take a guess at what he means here? Perhaps it is the sort of things that Blomberg has done above, ascribing "evangelical" to Jesus.

Powell is far from being the most conservative person I know, and that makes his remarks interesting:

Stephen Moore claims that poststructuralism finds narrative criticism intrinsically repulsive when the latter is exercised from a perspective of evangelical faith (Poststructuralism and the New Testament, 116). Why should this be so, when that perspective is clearly acknowledged? Even Moore seems ready to give a poststructuralist seal of approval to other (acknowledged) ideological or resistant reading strategies. I have never been able to see the logic in a position that I sometimes encounter at academic meetings devoted to biblical scholarship, namely, that which maintains the legitimacy of reading biblical texts from diverse ideological perspectives (feminist, Marxist, etc.) but denies the legitimacy of reading those texts from the perspective of evangelical Christianity. Why should the gospel of Christ be the only unacceptable philosophy? (235 n. 352)

Powell follows this up with another good footnote, 355. Elsewhere, however, he is much cozier with A.K.M. Adam, Moore and others.

In light of all this, is it fair to make a case for "evangelical liberation theology" or "evangelical reader response criticism/narrative criticism"? There are some evangelicals ("fundies," kata Bird) who still think they're being completely objective, of course, and some evangelicals who reject both of these strands of scholarship. But for more secular folks, is it legitimate to marry these? Should they be re-branded with a different name, or is the "evangelical" adjective sufficient?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I Pity the Fool that Ain't Positive

If you're having a bad day or struggling with self-esteem, you might consider the following video by the (former) American pop icon Mr. T:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hays, Conversion of the Imagination

Reviews are now out at on this very interesting work. Sometimes scholars get schtick for publishing a collection of previously published items, but this is well worth it. I'm reading this book right now (disobeying my supervisors, who have rightly encouraged me to set aside method...but how CAN I?!? And I do need to get a little Paul in my blood, don't I?!? And if I ever learn to imitate Hays writing style, or his emphasis on "converting" my imagination in line with Scripture, I'll accrue personal as well as professional benefits from this reading...there, it's justified), and may comment in the future.

[Since Moyise has reviewed this, I may have to draw him into the discussion as well. Steve Motyer has an excellent interaction with Moyise; see his excellently-titled "The Psalms quotations in Hebrews 1: a Hermeneutic Free Zone?" See, and scroll down, for a blurb on the article.]

The second chapter of the book, an expansion on method from Echoes with a particular approach to "Story," is of particular interest given my approach to Matthew's genealogy. And the conclusion, where Hays interacts with his critics, is excellent reading.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blessed by a Free Article

There is a free recent article available from Westminster Theological Journal, on the topic of blessing in Luke's Gospel: "Receiving Christ's Priestly Benediction: a Biblical, Historical, and Theological Exploration of Luke 24:50-53," by Kelly Kapic. Well worth a read and some thought.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Relevant Excursus--Walk the Line

After a very busy last week (on the heels of a busy few months, and a busy life!) the wife and I sat down to enjoy the new film about Johnny and June Cash. It was filmed in part at a house one block from our home in Memphis; we love Johnny Cash’s music; and our son Noah was born with a cleft lip (like Joaquin Phoenix—and it’s important to have role models like that). So you might say we were predisposed to enjoy the movie. Still, I think a more objective person would say it was a very good movie at the very least. Reese Witherspoon’s Oscar may have been startling, but it certainly wasn’t ill-deserved.

There's an interesting discussion between Johnny and his brother about "giftedness": one is good at songs, the other knows all the stories in the Bible. Young Jack Cash (Johnny’s older brother, who dies when the future singer is a youth) plans to be a preacher, so he deems it his responsibility to know the Bible "front to back," just as Johnny knows the hymnal front to back. Jack offers a great explanation for a narrative approach to Scripture: “You can’t help people unless you can tell ’em the right stories."

Another great line from the movie: Record Company Executive: "Your fans are gospel folk, Johnny. They're Christians, and they don't wanna hear you singing to a bunch of murderers and rapists, tryin' to cheer 'em up."
Johnny Cash: "Then they ain't Christians."

On the whole, the movie simultaneously made me (1) get my guitar out, and (2) rejoice for my family’s sake that I quit music to go into education. Roseanne Cash says that she can’t watch the movie because of the pain it evokes. Granted there’s grace and restoration, but the damage of “the lifestyle” was and is very real.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Germany '06

The World Cup is now officially 100 days away. If Mike Bird converts to God's sport, will he support Germany or Australia?
One-Liners on Matthew's Genealogy of Jesus

Light blogging ahead. Matt's genealogy of Jesus, the subject of my dissertation, has produced a remarkable body of scholarly literature, even a poem (Goulder, Midrash and Lection, 232; I don't fully agree with his reading but it's a great effort)! Here are a few of my favorite one-liners on Matthew’s genealogy:

“The genealogy has become a large figure of speech for Jesus’ messianic kingship.” Gundry 2nd ed., Matthew: A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church under Persecution, 15.

“By evoking important aspects of the story of Israel’s history the genealogy functions as a compressed retelling of the OT story.” Nolland, , 34.

Mauro Orsatti, in his short work on Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, Un Saggio di teologia della storia: Esegesi di Mt. 1, 1-17, trenchantly calls the genealogy something like the first fulfillment citation.

Much more where that came from, notably comments from Keener and NTW on the "story of Israel," and the literary role of the genealogy. Perhaps more in the future.