New in Bible and Interpretation: Jesus the Jew

Jesus the Jew and Christianity’s Indebtedness to Judaism

Thus, even decades into the Third Quest with its overall agreement about Jesus’ core belonging to Second Temple Judaism, assessments of his Jewishness as “marginal” continue. Depicting Jesus as a “marginal Jew” allows for distance from and criticism of “common Judaism.” Inadvertently, Jesus becomes somewhat “less” Jewish, enabling identification for today’s Christians.


Out of the Depths…

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning– Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel From all his iniquities. (Ps. 130:1-8)

The Source of Conflict? Desire in the Hearts of Those who Befriend the World

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.  Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (Jas. 4:1-4)

Michael Langlois Interviewed about the Scrolls


Je réponds aux questions du magazine Science & Vie sur les manuscrits de la mer Morte contrefaits.

La nouvelle de manuscrits de la mer Morte contrefaits parmi les collections du Musée de la Bible à Washington est arrivée en France. Le journaliste Thomas Cavaillé-Fol a écrit un article à ce sujet ; j’ai répondu à ses questions, d’autant que j’avais déjà évoqué ces contrefaçons avec lui en 2017.

Vous pouvez retrouver son article ici.

Enjoy! (As the kids say).

COVID-19 and Children: A Fascinating, Peer Reviewed Study That Should Ease the Minds of Many

Read it here, in the journal Pediatrics.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) presents arguably the greatest public health crisis in living memory. One surprising aspect of this pandemic is that children appear to be infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, far less frequently than adults and, when infected, typically have mild symptoms, although emerging reports of a novel Kawasaki disease–like multisystem inflammatory syndrome necessitate continued surveillance in pediatric patients. However, a major question remains unanswered: to what extent are children responsible for SARS-CoV-2 transmission? Resolving this issue is central to making informed public health decisions, ranging from how to safely re-open schools, child care facilities, and summer camps down to the precautions needed to obtain a throat culture in an uncooperative child. To date, few published data are available to help guide these decisions.

Read the whole.

‘But Muh Freedum’

I don’t like the government infringing on my freedom. And I will NOT be forced by some government rule to stop at stop signs or traffic lights. And if I want to veer from my lane into other lanes I don’t think the government has the right to tell me that I can’t. And if people are afraid of being hit out on the roads, they should just stay home. Because I have freedom!

And that’s exactly how daft the ‘I don’t have to wear a mask because I’m free’ argument sounds.

The End of the Leipzig Disputation

July 15, 1519 was the last day of the Leipzig Disputation.  Schaff remarks

Luther himself was greatly dissatisfied, and regarded the disputation as a mere waste of time. He made, however, a deep impression upon younger men, and many students left Leipzig for Wittenberg. After all, he was more benefited by the disputation and the controversies growing out of it, than his opponents.

The importance of this theological tournament lies in this: that it marks a progress in Luther’s emancipation from the papal system. Here for the first time he denied the divine right and origin of the papacy, and the infallibility of a general council. Henceforward he had nothing left but the divine Scriptures, his private judgment, and his faith in God who guides the course of history by his own Spirit, through all obstructions by human errors, to a glorious end. The ship of the Reformation was cut from its moorings, and had to fight with the winds and waves of the open sea.

So, what may seem a waste of time to you may be a help to someone else…

The Farce Called the Justice System Strikes Again

The Judge who sent kids to jail because he was getting kickback from the private jails he sent them to has been released from prison… because of COVID-19.

A former Pennsylvania judge involved in a scheme to send children to a for-profit jail in exchange for kickbacks was released from federal prison with six years left on his sentence because of coronavirus concerns, two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press.

Michael Conahan, 68, was sent home from the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Miami last Friday on a 30-day furlough that could lead to permanent home confinement for the remainder of his sentence, the officials said.

Prison officials had released Conahan in part because he has medical conditions that put him at a high risk for complications if he contracted the disease, according to the law enforcement sources, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and did so on condition of anonymity.

If he were Black it wouldn’t matter what pre-existing conditions he had.  He would stay in jail.  There is no justice system in America.  Especially not now.

Zwingli’s Theology In One Volume: Today With Zwingli

zwingliPersons interested in learning Zwingli’s theological viewpoint on just about everything should read his
Auslegen und Gründe der Schlußreden, 14. Juli 1523 in Huldreich Zwinglis sämtliche Werke, vol. 2 (Leipzig: Heinsius, 1908) (Corpus Reformatorum 89).

In that text he covers everything from Christology to Church music.  The volume is an expansion of and commentary on his earlier 67 Articles.  He concludes with an invitation to his reader to send along any recommended corrections.  He also urges them to point out any place where he may have erred concerning his interpretation of Scripture.

Und ob ich an dem sinn der götlichen gschrifft geirrt hette und sich das mit der gschrifft erfunde an einem oder andren ort, daran die bewärnus läge, enbüt ich mich bericht lassen werden, doch nit mit menschen leren oder satzungen, sunder mit der gschrifft, die theopneustos [θεόπνευστος], das ist: von got ingsprochen, heißt. Ouch sol man mir den verstand der gschrifft nit mit vätteren, sunder mit der selbs gschrifft bewysen.

Denn ich mich ouch enbüt, die duncklen gschrifft nit uß minem kopff mit unnützem gschwetz ze bewären, sunder den sinn, den ich uß der geschrifft darbring, den wil ich mit der geschrifft bewären, und muoß die gschrifft min und aller menschen richter sin unnd der mensch nit richter über das wort gottes, in hoffnung, Christus, der die warheit ist, werde sin wort nit lassen undertruckt werden, sunder den schyn siner gnad und eeren uns armen sündren ie mee unnd me durch es offnen. Dem sye mit dem vatter und heilgem geist, einem gott, lob, eer und danck geseit in die ewigheit! Amen!

Now that’s a wise way to end a volume.

NB– If English is your language of choice, this is one of the far too few works of Zwingli that have been translated.  Here.

Nina Burleigh’s Fantastic Review of Mary Trump’s Book

You can read it here.  Amidst it she writes

But the disturbing thesis of the book has gotten less attention so far because it is too complex for a bullet point or a tweet. Mary Trump argues that her uncle has been “institutionalized” his entire life, from his father’s rigid house to military school to the Trump Organization and now the White House. In Washington, he is, for the first time in his life, subject to close scrutiny but still surrounded by enablers who have everything to lose if he is exposed as a fake and a fraud.

“The walls of his very expensive and well-guarded padded cell are starting to disintegrate,” she writes. “The people with access to him are weaker than Donald is, more craven, but just as desperate.”

These desperate people will use whatever means are at their disposal — courts, lawyers, intimidation, loss of employment and even, apparently, prison — to bolster Trump’s increasingly fragile facade. She writes that the president’s own siblings find him odious and ridiculous by turn and that they knew he was unfit for office but still kept quiet — and even tried to silence her in court.

You Reap What You Sow

A Texas doctor says a 30-year-old patient who thought the coronavirus was a hoax has died after attending a “COVID party.”

“One of the things that was heart-wrenching that he said to his nurse was, ‘You know, I think I made a mistake,’ and this young man went to a COVID party,” Dr. Jane Appleby, the chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital, told KSAT. “He didn’t really believe. He thought the disease was a hoax. He thought he was young and he was invincible and wouldn’t get affected by the disease.”

According to Appleby, a “COVID party” is a gathering held by someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. People attend to see who gets infected first.

“They’ll have a party to invite their friends over to see if they can beat the disease,” Appleby explained.

People will never learn.

Petrus van Mastricht (1630-1706): Text, Context, and Interpretation

Petrus van Mastricht (1630–1706): Text, Context, and Interpretation »is not just a statement of the state of the art on Mastricht studies. It also points the way forward for further exploration of Mastricht’s thought and the history of Reformed Orthodoxy in general« from the Preface by Carl R. Trueman.

This volume presents collected essays from scholars around the world on various aspects of Petrus van Mastricht (1630-1706) theology, philosophy, and reception in the context of the challenges of orthodoxy in his day. This book, then, locates Mastricht’s ideas in the context of the theological and philosophical currents of his day. The pre-Revolutionary status of theology and philosophy in the wake of the Enlightenment had many of the same problems we see in theology today as relating to the use and appropriation of classical theology in a 21st-century context. Ideas about the necessity of classical primary sources of Christianity in sustaining Reformed theology are once again becoming important, and Mastricht has many insights in this area. The last thirty years have witnessed a remarkable revolution in the study of Reformed Orthodoxy, that broad movement of theological consolidation which took place in the two centuries between the early breakthroughs of the Reformation and the reorganization of intellectual disciplines within the university world heralded by the arrival of the various intellectual and cultural developments known collectively as the Enlightenment. The old models which tended to prioritize one or two figures in the Reformation. In place of this older scholarship, we now have a growing number of studies which seek to place Reformed thinkers of the period in a much wider context. One of the results of this is that serious scholarly attention is now being directed at figures who were previously neglected, such as Petrus van Mastricht, a German-Dutch theologian, who has emerged as significant voices in shaping the Christianity of his day. He was the author of a major system of divinity. This work is in the process of being translated into English (two volumes are available at the time of writing). Mastricht is also the subject of a growing body of literature in English, of which this volume is a fine example. The essays contained in book work represent precisely the range of scholarly interests that the new approach to Reformed Orthodoxy has come to embody. Dealing specifically with the areas of theology, philosophy, and reception, this book points toward three critical areas of study.

The obvious benefit of this volume is that if presents readers a basic overview of the works of a once famous and now all but forgotten theologian.  Van Mastricht isn’t the usual topic of conversation at AAR and certainly not at SBL.  He doesn’t generate the interest of Barth or Calvin or Zwingli or Luther or even Brunner.  He wasn’t ‘flashy’ or ‘stupendous’ and he clearly did not leave such a legacy that children are named after him.

But in his day he was so very important.  And even today he deserves an audience.  And this book may serve a purpose if it causes people to think about the contributions of van Mastricht to Reformed theology.

To kick things off, Trueman offers as good an apologia for van Mastricht research as anyone could.  This is followed by Neele’s Preface which contains a short summary of the volume’s contents.

The body of the volume itself is comprised of a section on Theology, one on Philosophy, and one on Reception.  Important appendices provide readers with a chronology of his life and work, a bibliography of his publications, and a fairly extensive (if the fairly small body of secondary literature on an undeservedly obscure theologian can be called ‘extensive’) list of secondary materials.

The Theology section is the most interesting to me.  It provides essays on van Mastricht’s understanding of the twofold kingdom of Christ, the external and internal call, Christology of the Old Testament, and practical theology.  The Philosophy section and its three essays will appeal to those with a philosophical bent.  And the Reception section will appeal to those whose interests are more centered in historical theology.

The contributors are a relatively diverse group, including several Europeans, several Asians, and many Americans.  One is an entrepreneur, several are Professors, and one is a PhD student.  Their wide range of backgrounds means that this volume engages a range of perspectives.

In terms of the contents of the volume in relationship to scholarship and scholarly insight, it is very good indeed.  One essay was relatively weak but the remainder were really very well executed.

Petrus van Mastricht was a really very interesting person.  He could be a bit dry and a tad boring at times but that’s true of everyone who writes and especially is it true of theological works.  And that’s fine.  I much prefer someone who is a bit dull and yet remains relevant to someone who peppers their works with pop culture references that are outdated within a year or two of publication.  While trying to be witty and contemporary what they actually achieve is planned obsolescence.   Their jokes and puns and asides where reference is made to Spiderman or Captain Kirk may generate buzz, at the end of the day that’s all that’s generated.  They are all form and no substance.

And that’s an accusation that can never be made against those theologians whose works stand the test of time.  They are substance first and care nothing for the act of putting makeup on a pig.  They exalt substance over form, unlike the soon irrelevant form over substance crowd.

Petrus van Mastricht is all substance.  Whatever one thinks of his form.  And this little book is an ideal entry into his thought-world.  Give it a read.  You won’t regret it.  And there isn’t a pop-culture reference in the whole thing.  Thanks be to God.

On True Confession

To confess is to acknowledge that of which you are reproached or accused; as those whose consciences were pricked by the preaching of John acknowledged that the case was as he taught. So today those confess their sins who when they hear the word of God are conscience stricken so that they recognize their trouble, and straightway betake themselves to the physician.

Finally, we confess our sins when we inform our neighbor or some learned scholar of our secret guilt, in order that he may join us in asking forgiveness of the Heavenly Father, or may find counsel, as has been said, that will enable us to resist evil thereafter. — Huldrych Zwingli