Daily Archives: 11 Sep 2012

Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Critical Engagement with Douglas Campbell’s “The Deliverance of God” Duke Divinity School November 9-10, 2012

Via T.J. Lang of Duke U.-

This conference will engage Douglas Campbell’s book, “The Deliverance of God” (Eerdmans, 2009). It will summarize and critically discuss his proposals concerning the modern interpretation of Paul’s justification language, argumentation, and resulting version of the gospel. It will cover broader church historical and theological issues, key questions of close exegesis, and the politics of interpretation, especially in the modern American context.

Scholars, students, ministers, and interested lay people are all welcome to attend.

Conference Format
Each session will focus on a paper, which will be pre-circulated to attendees, and should be read in advance by all attendees. The presenters will summarize the papers at the beginning of each session for 5-10 minutes, and designated respondents can then engage in discussion with the presenters. The chair will then move discussion into plenary. Faculty attending the conference and respondents from other sessions will have priority in plenary.

Respondents will include Stephen Chapman, Susan Eastman, Stanley Hauerwas, Willie Jennings, Warren Smith, and David Steinmetz.

For any further questions, including information about hotels and travel, please contact T.J. Lang.

Visit the link above at the commencement of this post for the schedule and registration information (to be available in the next day or so).  Chris Tilling and I are attending.  If you are, we’d love to see you there and chat- and maybe even catch a meal together.

Posted on My FB Wall…

and I’m so nice…  I wish I were quadruplets.

Radical Taliban-esque Right Wing Jews and their Witch-Hunt Against Jewish Academics

The witch hunt against U.S. Jewish academic Judith Butler, who is being awarded the prestigious Adorno prize, originates in a dangerous strand of American Jewry that has been assaulting freedom of expression even in U.S. universities.

Writes the wise Yitzhak Laor

Butler is accused of “anti-Semitism” because she supports a (selective ) boycott of Israel. And because at one conference, after the Second Lebanon War, she responded affirmatively to a question asked by someone in the audience as to whether it’s possible to include Hamas and Hezbollah in the “global left,” this answer has also been added to the charges against her (of course, the people bandying it about aren’t part of any “global left,” but why not be insulted in its name in order to wring a little more guilt out of the German prize committee? ).

This witch hunt originates in a dangerous strand of American Jewry that has been assaulting freedom of expression even in American universities. An article in The Jerusalem Post by one such person opened with the idiotic sentence, “Judith Butler … came to prominence as an anti-Israel agitator almost a decade ago.”

One could retort to the writer that “People mention you from time to time by virtue of your assaults on great men and women such as Noam Chomsky or Butler.” One could also reply by citing figures: In 1990, Butler’s book “Gender Trouble” sold some 100,000 copies, becoming a worldwide best-seller despite not containing a single word about Palestine.

Anytime anyone questions Israeli fundamentalists and their quest for power and total domination, one is labeled an anti-semite. It doesn’t matter what the field of study, whether it be archaeology or philosophy or genetics or biblical studies- all who refuse to toe the Haredi party line or use the bible as a roadmap to archaeological sites, the trump card played by the far right Taliban-esque ultra Zionists are tarred and feathered, unjustly, as anti-semitic.

The problem, though, is that such a move, i.e., calling everyone an anti-semite, empties the term of its true meaning. It also is a thinly veiled and ever more failing effort to curtail debate and control discussion.

It’s time for the Israeli right wing to grow up. If they are afraid to debate, stay home and shut up. And if they aren’t, then they need to stop whining ‘anti-semite’ every time they’re losing a discussion.

Coming Soon: The Festschrift for Douglas A. Knight

From Continuum

This volume makes a positive intervention into maximalist/minimalist debates about Israelite historiography by pointing to the events that happened during the Persian and Hellenistic periods.  During this historical epoch, traditions about Israel and Judah’s founding became fixed as markers of ethnic identity, and much of the canonical Hebrew Bible came into its present form.  Concentrating on these events, a clearer historical picture emerges.

The entire volume is set within the context of Doug Knight’s contributions, which have encouraged a rigorous social-scientific and tradition-historical approach to the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel in general.  Many scholars have pursued how the social scientific method, first used to analyze early monarchic Israel, can shape the understanding of these later historical periods.  Knight’s methods, teachings, writings, and scholarly interventions have pointed the contributors of this volume to fresh considerations of the Persian and Hellenistic periods.  The concluding essay will examine the future directions in which such sociological and historical investigation can go forward.  

Amazon has it for $81.  Eisenbrauns doesn’t list it.

More Evidence of Egyptian Domination of the Entire Israelite Territory

A rare scarab amulet newly unearthed in Tel Aviv reveals the ancient Egyptian presence in this modern Israeli city.

Given that whenever artifacts identified as ‘Israelite’ are discovered the ‘bible and spade’ crowd invariably shouts ‘this proves the land is Israel’s!!!!!’, doesn’t this discovery prove that the territory really belongs to Egypt?

Scorched mud bricks from an Egyptian fortification gate in Jaffa.
CREDIT: ©: Martin Peilstöcker + The Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project

Archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Jaffa, now part of Tel Aviv, have long uncovered evidence of Egyptian influence. Now, researchers have learned that a gateway belonging to an Egyptian fortification in Jaffa was destroyed and rebuilt at least four times. They have also found the scarab, which bears the cartouche of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who ruled from 1390 to 1353 B.C. Scarabs were common charms in ancient Egypt, representing the journey of the sun across the sky and the cycle of life.

Jaffa was the site of major trading activity since the second millennium B.C. Excavations in the 1950s uncovered the Egyptian fortification, which dates back to the dynasty of Ramses II between 1279 and 1213 B.C. Mud brick architecture and household pottery also point to Egyptian influence, according to researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany and the University of California, Los Angeles, who have been conducting new explorations at the site.

Tel Aviv clearly belongs under modern Egyptian control….

Dear Logos: Yikes, Someone Went Digit Crazy!

From the welcome screen as Logos software opened a bit ago:

Granted, I’m no math whiz, but wow, I think $1000 might be wrong!  It’s not a Brill publication!   😉

Those Attending SBL / AAR in Chicago Must Go By the University of Chicago Library…

For a special exhibition

Swiss Treasures: From Biblical Papyrus and Parchment to Erasmus, Zwingli, Calvin, and Barth:  Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, September 21, 2012 – December 14, 2012

This exhibition displays historical Biblical texts and modern manuscripts in Biblical studies drawn from eight libraries and archives in seven Swiss cities (Fribourg, Cologny, Lausanne, Geneva, St. Gallen, Zurich, and Basel). The display of highlights from these Swiss institutions marks the joint annual meetings in Chicago in November 2012 of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion.

With many thanks to Adrian Schenker for mentioning it.

Benjamin Netanyahu Is Exactly The Same as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Both are equally insane and unhinged.  Both need to be removed from office.

Comments from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are ratcheting up diplomatic tension between Israel and the United States. During a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Netanyahu expressed his frustration with how world powers are handling Iran and its nuclear program.  “The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said.

I hope and pray that when this madman subjects the region to full blown war that the United States allows him to suffer the consequences completely unaided.  Then let’s hear him talk about moral rights.  We have a moral right here not to have our foreign policy determined by a raving lunatic.  We have a moral right to abstain from interfering in a war started by a death-lover.  And we have a moral right to refuse to take sides in a conflict neither of our own making nor concerning ourselves.

Bibi, if you want a war so badly, enjoy it- alone.  And take John Hagee with you.

More on ‘Voces Clamantium in Deserto. Essays in Honor of Kari Syreeni’

Mogens has sent along an offprint of his essay, which also includes the table of contents.  I’ve snapped a photo of them with my phone (which explains the rather poor quality- though the sheets are still readable enough)-

Fantastic looking, isn’t it!

Mark Driscoll’s Precious Irony…

I noticed an advert on the facebook for something calling itself the Pastor’s Edge- (resources for lazy pastors who would rather plagiarize and pass off someone else’s work than do their own) so I thought I’d take a look and get a chuckle before I go out to mow. And what did I find, to my surprise, but a remark by none other than the pandering Mark Driscoll, who actually had the stones to write… well see for yourself:

You read that right- from the guy who has made tricks and gimmicks into an art form and who is perhaps the worst exegete occupying any Pulpit in America today (in the same league with John Hagee and TD Jakes and Harold Camping and the wretch in Houston who put his bed on his church roof and whose name I won’t even use).

Mark Driscoll’s precious irony…  What could be more simultaneously laughable and saddening.

Pat Robertson Proves Himself a Servant of Satan, Again

He urges a man to become a Muslim so he can beat his wife… Tongue in cheek or not, it’s vile. And the remainder of his comments… ABSURD. This man is a wicked lunatic and in no sense a representative of Christianity.

‘Christians Aren’t Perfect: Just Forgiven’ – Another Example of Miserable Sub-Christian Pseudo-Theology

Doubtless you’ve seen the miserably inaccurate and misleading bumper sticker sporting the phrase- ‘Christians aren’t perfect: Just forgiven.’

The first phrase is completely accurate.  The second is a miserable failure and completely misleading if not heretical.  Why?  Because the use of the word ‘just’ fails to appreciate the cost of redemption and the price of forgiveness.  ‘Just’, in the context of the sticker, can only mean ‘simply’ or ‘merely’ or ‘only’.  None of which measures up to capturing the full truth of the horrors which salvation required.

English: Icon of Jesus being crucified

Jesus was crucified and died on the cross for our salvation.  Can any of us with any sensibility say that Jesus was ‘only’ crucified or ‘simply’ crucified or ‘just’ crucified?  Only madness would lead us to answer yes.

Indeed, the early church understood so clearly the abject horror of Jesus’ salvific act that it correctly appropriated Isaiah 53 as a description of that deed.

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (Isa 53:3-10 KJV)

Anyone who can read that passage, and view the execution of Jesus in its light, who can still say ‘just forgiven’, show that they lack any sense of the high price of redemption.

This is why it’s best to get one’s theology from the Bible, and not from soundbites or bumper stickers or Christian bookstore pins or mottos.

‘Your Only Comfort’ – Conference Announcement

On January 18-19, 2013, a conference will be held at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism and exploring how this confession can continue to serve the church for generations to come.

The organizer on this anniversary: “Since it was first published in 1563, the Heidelberg Catechism has been cherished by Christians around the world. Its warm, pastoral summary of the holy gospel has guided generations of God’s people, teaching them about their only true comfort in life and in death.”

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Joel Beeke, Grand Rapids, USA: Catechism Preaching
Dr. Lyle Bierma, Grand Rapids, USA: The Doctrine of the Covenant in the Heidelberg Catechism
Dr. Herman Selderhuis, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands: The Heidelberg Catechism: The Secret of Its Success
Dr. Jason van Vliet, Hamilton, Canada: The Comforted I in the Catechism

Click here for more information on the conference, workshops, registrations, cost etc.

Happy Feast of Sts. Felix and Regula!

It might strike folk as odd that I, a non-Roman-Catholic, would mention the feast day of a pair of Saints but I really like these two.  Their story is fantastic and gory.

Legend has it that Felix and Regula, Roman Christians and the patron saints of Zürich, fled to the city from the massacre of their legion in Valais in the third century AD. They were martyred by decapitation on the site of today’s Wasserkirche for refusing to pray to Roman gods, whereupon they picked up their heads and carried them up the hill to the spot where they wished to be buried.

Over the next centuries, pilgrims came from all over the region to pray at the graves of the saints, even though the legend of their martyrdom was probably one which survived by word of mouth only.

By the eighth century the story had been written down, in conjunction with another tale in which Charlemagne arrived at the same spot having hunted a stag all the way from Aachen near Köln, when his horse suddenly went down on its knees in deference to the saints buried beneath. Charlemagne proceeded to found a church and adjacent chapterhouse in their honour, the forerunner of the Grossmünster. In the late ninth century, relics of the saints were transferred to the newly rebuilt Fraumünster, the women’s convent just across the Limmat, forming a pilgrimage trail through the city: the Grossmünster as the site of burial, the Wasserkirche as the site of execution, and the Fraumünster as the repository of the saints’ remains. A bridge – the Münsterbrücke – was built to link all three in about 1220.  (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Zwingli too liked the story, naming his daughter Regula, after the good lady.

Wikipedia Stinks

And everyone knows it.

The 11th Anniversary of 9/11

Everyone will doubtless be sharing their remembrances today.  I shan’t.  Oh it’s not that I don’t remember the day, I do.  It’s emblazoned on my memory as few things are.  Instead, I’ll be pondering what our country has accomplished since then.

We invaded Iraq, lost thousands more of our own young people, and who knows how many Iraqis died.  We invaded Afganistan and are still mired down there, where thousands more of our children have died along with many thousand more Afghanis.  Neither country can be counted a true friend to the U.S. in spite of the fact that we spend more on them than we do on our own people.  We provide them medical care, but not our own citizens.  We build them schools and roads and we can’t afford to build our own.

We are no safer now than we were on September 10th, 2001.  Our enemies are still plotting to destroy us but do they really need to try all that hard?  We seem to be doing a pretty good job destroying ourselves, since we keep electing the same incompetent politicians to lead us down the path of economic armageddon.

We’re paying more for everything thanks to our wars and the higher cost of oil, the fuel that drives us and by which we are driven in nearly every policy decision we make.

And I’ve not yet even mentioned the continuing moral decay of our citizenry; a people for whom good is evil and sin is celebrated and depravity is exalted more than righteousness.

In sum, the only thing that really changed on 9/11 is that thousands died and tens of thousands more have died in the wake of that event.  We are no better as a people.  We haven’t been improved by our disasters.  We haven’t learned the lessons of history and we are, therefore, doomed to repeat it.