Monthly Archives: August 2012

Emil Brunner: An Observation

There is no modern theologian I enjoy reading more, learn more from, and am more appreciative of, than Emil Brunner.

FC Zurich!


I’m Glad To Say, I’ve Entered Strophe 3

So I’m glad that I can now sing with Huldrych

3. In der besserung

Gsund, herr gott, gsund!
Ich mein, ich ker
schon widrumb her.
Ja, wenn dich dunckt,
der sünden funck
werd nit mer bherrschen mich uff erd,
so muoß min mund
din lob unnd leer
ußsprechen mer
dann vormals ye,
wie es ioch gen,
einfaltigklich on alle gferd.
Wiewol ich muoß
deß todes buoß
erleyden zwar ein mal
vilicht mit grösserm qual,
dann yetzund wer
geschähen, her,
so ich sunst bin
nach gfaren hin;
so wil ich doch
den trutz und boch
in diser wält
tragen frölich umb widergelt
mit hilffe din,
on den nüt mag vollkummen sin.

Mine is So Short

My CV, that is, in comparison to Israel Finkelstein’s newly updated and uploaded one… Only one word suffices: astonishing. That’s accomplishment.

The Joel Green Interview

Logos has an interview up today with Joel Green, general editor of the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.  I like this question a lot-

If you had to choose one NICNT volume as your favorite, or one that best represents the series as a whole, which would you choose?

That’s a tough question. On the one hand, I’ve often thought of Gordon Fee’s commentary on 1 Corinthians as the “standard” for evangelical commentary: clearly written, eminently readable, a model of exegesis in the service of the biblical text, biblical interpretation for the church. Among my favorites, though, would be R. T. France’s volume on Matthew, which represents decades of intimacy with Matthew’s Gospel, with his mature reflections on this Gospel evident on every page.

There are several others as well.

Sad News: Carlo Martini Has Died

Joe Zias writes

One of the greatest intellectuals of the Roman Catholic Church, Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a Jesuit, known for his liberal views in a very conservative society passed away this morning. He was often quoted by scholars interested in the historical Jesus and respected by many in the academic world.

And the BBC opines

Italian cardinal and progressive Catholic Carlo Maria Martini has died at the age of 85. An archbishop for the key archdiocese of Milan for over two decades, Martini was once tipped as a future pope. He passed away on Friday near the northern city, having suffered from Parkinson’s disease for several years. Martini, a popular figure with liberal stances on many issues, commanded great respect from both Pope John Paul II and his successor Pope Benedict XVI. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi described Cardinal Martini as “a great evangeliser”. The BBC’s David Willey, in Rome, says that one of the characteristics that distinguished Martini was his dual identity both as a distinguished academic and as someone able to explain Catholic teaching in easily understandable terms to everyone. He was not afraid, our correspondent adds, to speak his mind on matters that the Vatican sometimes considered taboo, including the use of condoms to fight Aids and the role of women in the Church.

He was a brilliant scholar. He will be missed. Especially these days. Rest in peace, good sir.

In Less Than 12 Hours…

Chris Tilling in the Zurich Carnival- with his mask OFF.

The Carnival comes to town.  In the waning hours beforehand if there has been something you thought Carnival-worthy (and that doesn’t include book reviews re-hashing tired old questions long ago settled or cat videos or Sci-Fi posts or the intersection of vegetarianism and Buddhism), do pass along word.

I usually stay up till 10 or so, so if I haven’t seen it by then, I won’t until the Carnival goes live at 12:01 Eastern Time tonight.  (It’s already scheduled).

So, hop to it or what may well be of interest to lots of folks will languish in obscurity and it will be your fault.

The Digital Mishnah Demo


Jim Aitken has pointed out (on FB) the appearance, at long last, of the demo page for the Digital Mishnah.  Worth checking out!

The demo for the Digital Mishnah project is now live (for the old “Examples of Work” page see here). In fact, there are two versions applying two versions of CollateX to perform the alignment:

  • Version A (based on the version of CollateX available in October 2011)
  • Version B (based on a newer version, numbered 1.3)

For genizah fragments, the entire fragment is represented. For other, longer manuscripts only Chapter 2 of Mishnah Bava Metsia is available.

Christopher Rollston on the ‘Biblical View of Women’

Chris has a new essay in the HuffPo.  Among other truths he notes

From Mesopotamia to Egypt, women in the ancient world were considered property — valuable property, but property nonetheless. And it’s true of the Bible’s view as well. Yes, there were biblical women who flourished in spite of the patriarchy, women like Ruth, Esther, Lydia and Priscilla. But women in the Bible were normally viewed as second class, if even that.

A fine piece of work.  Enjoy it all.

Well Here We Go- Another Day, Another Shooting…

What.  A. Surprise.

A 23-year-old gunman killed two co-workers Friday at a Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and then shot himself to death, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said.  The shooter wielded an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun, and was carrying multiple ammunition magazines, he said.  “I believe everyone in the store was a target,” said Kaplan, who said the gunman fired 16 rounds.  The man killed an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, and may have opened fire as he walked into the store, he said.  There were between 12 and 14 night shift workers in the store, Kaplan added. The man opened fire around 4 a.m.

Let’s see- it’s the same old formula:  angry guy + easy peasy access to any kind of gun he wants = lots of carnage and multiple deaths. America loves this or America would do something about it. Therefore  “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress.” – Jer 11:14

First and Second Peter

This arrived for review (via NetGalley) some weeks back courtesy the good folk at Baker Academic-

In this addition to the well-received Paideia series, New Testament scholars Duane Watson and Terrance Callan examine cultural context and theological meaning in First and Second Peter. This commentary, like each in the projected eighteen-volume series, proceeds by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Students, pastors, and other readers will appreciate the historical, literary, and theological insight Watson and Callan offer in interpreting First and Second Peter.

My review is downloadable here.

  • NetGalley (

The Question Isn’t Whether or Not You Believe In God…

The question – in life and in death – is whether God believes in you-

via on FB

On Those Who Wish To Appear To Know More Than They Really Do: Interlinears

At the Baden disputation Johannes Eck used the Complutensian Polyglot and pretended to read the Hebrew text while he was actually reading the Latin.   Zwingli justly derides this as pretense, Eck doing nothing more than using an interlinear!  As Zwingli writes at the end of August, 1526

Cumque aliquando Eccius, qui in suggesto nescio quas moles verborum volutabat, in Hebraicarum literarum mentionem incidisset: Quid, inquit, Oecolampadi, Hebraicas voces iactamus? Adeo dudum didicimus Hebraice loqui, ut ferme dedidicerimus. Ac simul magnum codicem ante se habens stridet quiddam Hebraicum: si vultis, dicam etiam Graece ac Latine. Hic non forte fortuna quidam aderat, cui semper suspecta fuit Eccii complicumque procacia, qui tum non longe ab Helia et a Corvo sedebat. Cumque Hebraicam istam Graecoquelatinam cantilenam finiisset Eccius ac librum e suggesto demitteret ad manus Corvi, ratus ille noster, quod res erat, nimirum esse glossis, ut vocant, interlinearibus fartum; occurrit, officiosus futurus scilicet, ut librum exciperet ac in struem librorum (quam isti tantam habebant,  ut decem lacertosi baiuli aegre simul tollerent) reponeret.  …  Obtemperat homo librumque explicat. Ibi adparuit insignis ista promptitudo Eccii. Fuit enim exemplum Hispanicum, quod ipse nondum vidi, habens Hebraica, Graeca et Latina, sic unum alii imposita, ut nobis olim pueris Catonis moralia Germanica expositione intra versuum spacia posita circumferebantur. Sic deprehendit bonus iste vir doctissimorum doctorum promptitudinem, quam nostri mirabantur perinde atque pueri Iunonis avem. Vides hic, cur merito ignorantiam nostram Eccius exibilet; loripedem enim rectus deridet, Aethiopem albus. Ipse enim sic trilinguis est, ut omnes treis legere possit ac sese coram rudibus doctissimum praedicare, non praestare.

So it is with the users of interlinears today.  Mutatis mutandis, what Zwingli said of Eck could be said of them.

You Know What… I Was Going to Make this Another ‘Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now’…

But I just couldn’t do it.  Apparently the flu makes me sensitive.  Or the story did…

News From ASOR: Qumran Focus

The folk at ASOR email

After our previous success in March and April with themed months on the New ‘Jesus Tomb’ Discovery and Artifacts Lacking Context, we are pleased to announce that the ASOR blog will be hosting another theme month in September, this time on Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Check in at on Tuesday, September 4 for Jodi Magness’ post ‘Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls’ and on Thursday, September 6 for James Charlesworth’s post ‘The Eternal Planting, the Eden of Glory.’

Other contributors include Casey Elledge, Moshe Bernstein, Daniel Machiela,Hannah Harrington, Molly Zahn, and Stephen Pfann.  

The guest editor for Qumran month is Casey Elledge and if you would like to submit a blog post for this theme please email it to Casey ( as well as, for consideration. 

Sounds fun.

The Characterization of Speech in the Septuagint Pentateuch

By my pal Jim Aitken. Among other things he concludes

Caution with regard to interpreting the Septuagint is advisable, and has rightly been emphasized in recent years. It is rare to be able to identify for certain innovations that the translator has made or ideas imported by the translator. Rather there is a need to depersonalize the translator and for the most part speak of a reading tradition reflected in the translation. Whether features in the translation are to be attributed to a Vorlage differing from the MT, an interpretative tradition or just a standard reading of the Hebrew, in all these cases they are part of a reading tradition that cannot be attributed necessarily to a translator in third-century Egypt. Caution is necessary given our uncertainty regarding the textual tradition and uncertainty as to how the Hebrew text was actually read by a translator.

It’s a very informative essay. Jim is a fine scholar, really fine. Admirable actually. Give it a thoroughgoing look-over.

Ivy League Cheaters…

And at an accredited school at that! Who could ever imagine such a thing (I mean aside from anyone who knows absolutely nothing about Higher Ed in America).

Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered they may have shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam.  Harvard officials aren’t releasing the name of the class, the students’ names or the exact number being investigated.  The undergraduate class had a minimum of 250 students and possible cheating was discovered in roughly half the take-home exams, university officials said Thursday.

I guess when you combine a sense of entitlement to an ethic of selfishness and success at any price you’re bound to end up with accredited students cheating like their unaccredited counterparts…

But even at that, 50% cheaters… that’s saying something about the atmosphere at Harvard, isn’t it. (And what is it exactly that the accreditation cult is supposed to accomplish again?  It’s hard to remember since it doesn’t guarantee superior faculty, facilities, students, or grades.  Oh I remember now, it enriches the accrediting agencies!)

A Shocking New Portrait of Martin Luther Discovered!

via ‘Lutheran Satire’ on FB

Who knew… Luther on the Bluetooth… Oh! Hey!!!! This is just what people do to the Historical Jesus! They put him in their own context… just as doofily.

Jesus Isn’t…

Jesus isn’t a proto-feminist.  He isn’t a proto-Marxist.  He isn’t a proto-egalitarian.  He isn’t a proto-Democrat.  He isn’t a proto-Republican.  He isn’t a cynic, a wandering minstrel, a dude with pithy cool new age sayings.  He isn’t interested in your economic theory.  He isn’t a follower of Adam Smith.

He is, however, a Jewish Rabbi of the first century (and as we must insist as Christians, God incarnate).

Please, people, please.  Stop co-opting Jesus and turning him into yourself.  Stop looking down the well and seeing your own ridiculous reflection.  Do yourself and the whole world (and especially your students) a favor and go to the library and pick up a copy of Schweitzer’s Leben Jesu.  I’d recommend you read your own copy but you clearly don’t have one or you wouldn’t keep insisting that Jesus mirrors your ideology.  For the love of all that’s holy, stop being so stupid and just accept the fact: Jesus was a Rabbi (and, as we must insist as Christians, God incarnate).

Read him as such.  Interpret him as such.   And if you can’t adopt the parenthetical you are nonetheless duty bound to insist on the primary truth: Jesus was a Rabbi!

Where Are Your Tax Dollars Being Sent Overseas?

Here are the top ten beggar states living off the American taxpayer:

10- Tanzania
9- Ethiopia
8- Nigeria
7- Kenya
6- Jordan
5- Egypt
4- Iraq
3- Pakistan
2- Afghanistan

And the largest beggar nation receiving the most American money? No surprise here at all:

1- Israel

Looks like we love Africa and the Middle East and have no use for Asia. Or maybe the Asians aren’t the sort of folk who have their hands out all the time.

Anyway, add up all that foreign aid flushed down foreign toilets and enriching foreign dictators and just imagine how many schools, roads, and hospitals we could construct and how many of our own people could find meaningful well paying jobs.

Our ship of state is captained by imbeciles. That’s why we’ve run aground and are taking on water.