Still Another Biblically Based Fad Diet

This one’s called ‘the Deuteronomy Diet‘ –

The ‘Deuteronomy Diet’: A Jewish guide to eating right. For part one in a three-part series, Rabbi Michael Knopf explains how lessons in Jewish law can help us break free of our poisonous American diets. The Deuteronomy Diet is a three-pronged solution that, if followed (ahem) religiously, will help us break free of our poisonous American diets, avoid obesity (with all of its related complications) and, generally, live better. I will break down the Deuteronomy Diet’s three component parts – eating, being satisfied, and being grateful – into three separate articles so I can carefully explain each element. In this piece, I will discuss the first verb, to “eat.”

Etc… Look for thousands of books on the ‘Deuteronomy Diet’ soon in your local bookstore, for where there’s fat, there’s money to be made…

Peter Williams on the Dead ‘Wife of Jesus’

Peter has written a very fine, precise, and ‘all you need to know about the ‘Jesus Wife’ fiasco’ piece here.

He concludes

What do we learn from all this?

First, we see a number of layers of spin in this tale. Dr. King’s original decision to call the media and to label the fragment a ‘Gospel’ just set the ball rolling. Soon media reports copied each other, and started to suggest that this was a discovery to revolutionise or challenge Christian teaching. By the time this arrived at popular perception, the transformation was complete: a piece of historical evidence suggested that Jesus actually had a wife. The majority impression given by the media was that this was an authentic piece, and the message that, even if genuine, the fragment was of little historical consequence was not heard. Public attitude will have been affected for the worse.

So we are reminded that the secular media appear incredibly powerful at getting false messages across which it is hard for us to redress.

Secondly, it could have been worse. To her credit, from the beginning Dr. King released high resolution photos and the technical information she had. This enabled quick scrutiny. Had the person responsible for the fake been better at his or her job the story could have had yet more negative impact. As it was, it’s noteworthy that British and British-educated scholars like Watson, Bernhard, and Goodacre mentioned above, along with evangelicals Simon Gathercole and Christian Askeland, played a significant role in exposing the problems with the manuscript and claims about it on blogs and in the media. Andrew Brown ofThe Guardian was commendably quick to notice and publish the doubts being raised.

It is worth reflecting on the progress here. Evangelicals now make up a significant proportion of those with the technical expertise to tackle a subject like this, and some of them had an intellectual firepower on the subject considerably exceeding that of the Harvard professor. I was contacted by Christians in touch with the media and was able to refer them to Simon Gathercole, a leading evangelical expert on apocryphal gospels. The rapid and informed response by Christians probably went a considerable way to deflating the story.

It is now well known by many who are not believers that there is a vigorous conspiracy-theory industry propagandising against the Christian faith. If Christians are seen as standing on history while others follow spin, even what seems like adverse publicity will ultimately end up glorifying God’s name.

Amen and amen.  With thanks to Mark Goodacre for mentioning it on the twitter.

More Luther From Logos

This popped up today and I would describe it as ‘noteworthy’ or ‘remark-able’ (i.e., able to be remarked upon without hesitation) –

Martin Luther’s works are of “importance for the faith, life, and history of the Christian church.”Luther’s Works has made Martin Luther accessible to the modern reader. Concordia Publishing House has expanded Luther’s Works to include genres underrepresented in the previous existing American edition volumes, such as Luther’s sermons and disputations. These new volumes are intended to reflect both modern and sixteenth-century interests. They include annotations and introductions by the editors and various scholars. The primary basis for the translation is the comprehensive Weimar edition.

This collection presents sermons from 1539–1546 and numerous book prefaces written by Martin Luther. With Logos, you get access to these massive volumes with the power and speed of your digital library. Perform searches, create footnotes and citations, and click your way through Luther’s sermons and prefaces!

Indeed.  If you think Luther was rakish in his theological treatises you should read his Prefaces…  Yikes.  He gives the late and esteemed James Barr a run for his money as a witty and scathing commentator upon the works of others.

Lemche Responds to Friedman

In Bible and Interpretation.

…  when it comes to history, especially Friedman seems to have little understanding of what is going on in modern historical research. His introduction here of post-modernism as the background of minimalism is simply nonsense as shown a long time ago by other scholars not belonging to this circle (James Pasto in SJOT, among others). Minimalism arose really as a modern response to wrong interpretations of historical evidence, and that in a very modern way.

Let me say a word about my friend Niels Peter because sometimes I think people may take his Nordic directness and ‘no-nonsense’ prose as ‘rude’ or ‘impolite’.  He certainly has been accused of those things but it’s just not the case that he is.

He is simply direct and to the point.  That’s all.  His various works should be read in a neutral tone of voice, not in an angry one or an impolite one.  He’s merely stating the facts as he sees them and in all honesty he’s usually pretty right.

To be sure, he doesn’t need me to defend him and in all honesty I’m not- I’m simply trying to explain him to those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting this really excellent person.  What you take for gruffness is just simple Danish brevity.  I know.  I’ve spent time with him in Copenhagen and at his farm in Sweden and we have been friends for many years.  Trust me.  You would like him were you ever to meet him, even if you don’t agree with his viewpoint.

The Palestine Exploration Quarterly: 3 Years Gratis

Via Todd Bolen

You can read or download the last three years of Palestine Exploration Quarterly for free with a simple registration, for a limited time. You can see the table of contents here. The issues from 2009-2011 appear to be free without registration from the table of contents.

That’s VERY cool!

From 1 November to 15 December 2012 we are offering free access to all content in  Palestine Exploration Quarterly from the last 3 years.

Michael Pahl on ‘Evangelicalism’

Must reading.  He commences

It’s a perennial question among evangelicals: What does it mean to be “evangelical”?  As a Canadian, I’ve got more than a little experience with these sorts of identity crises. In Canada attempting to describe what it means to be Canadian is a national past-time right up there with hockey.  So imagine being a Canadian evangelical. It’s truly dizzying.  I’ve thought quite a bit about evangelical identity over the years. Even more so recently, both in light of some personal events but also in view of a book I’m working on that gives some space to this very question.


Today With Zwingli: Answering Balthasar Hubmaier on Baptism

Zwingli’s Antwort über Balthasar Hubmaiers Taufbüchlein, appeared on 5 November 1525.

It commences (after its Preface to Hubmaier)

Für das erst, das der widertouff ein sect oder ein rott sye, ist offenbar, dann ir anfang hat dise gstalt: Die by uns den widertouff angehebt, habend vormals uns zuegemuotet, daß wir ein besundere kilchen anhuebind. Und do wir inen das nit gestattet, sind sy hinus gefaren uff das land, und habend on alles kundthuon der obergheit der kilchen: der bischoffen oder wächteren, in den wincklen angehebt ze widertouffen.

Nun verstadt mencklich, so sy das liecht geflohen habend, das sy ir meinung vom widertouff der kilchen nit gesagt habend, darinn sy inn angehebt, und darinn ir urteil und bericht nit erwartet, das es offenlich ein sect und rott ist; dann die kilch sol unser leer urteilen 1. Corinth. 14. [1. Cor. 14. 29], Ioan. 10. [Joh. 10. 27]. Denn das sind rotten, die zämenvallend hinder der ordnung, dero sy ordenlich söllend ghorsam sin etc.

Nun habend sy das nit an einem end allein gethon, sunder an gheinem end anderst, dann wie sy zum ersten gethon habend, das ist: ir meinung vor gheiner kilchen offen nie fürgetragen, sunder all weg zum ersten in den wincklen angehebt ze widertouffen.

Hubmaier was the most intellectually gifted of the ‘Anabaptists’ but he was a man given to waffling.  When faced with the prospect of expulsion from Zurich he suddenly came to agree with Zwingli on the subject of baptism and then his conscience got the better of him and he recanted his recantation.

So he was locked up.  And then expelled.

Zwingli’s ‘Answer’ is a fine example of an excellent and yet ultimately unpersuasive defense of infant baptism.  And that primarily for one reason- baptism isn’t like circumcision.  Baptism is an act undertaken by believers.  Circumcision was an act performed upon newborns.

The analogy Zwingli and other defenders of infant baptism cling to – i.e., that just as circumcision served as a sign of the covenant for Israel so too does baptism for Christians – is false.  They are incomparable.

Still, Zwingli being wrong about baptism only means one thing: he wasn’t always right. But even given his disagreement with Hubmaier, his tone is extremely civil (a gift Luther completely lacked) –

Call for Papers: The Heidelberg Catechism in Ecumenical Perspective

On April 18-19, 2013, the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit at Leuven (ETF) will host an International Conference on The Heidelberg Catechism in Ecumenical Perspective on the occasion its 450th anniversary. The conference will be organized by the ETF in cooperation with the Centre for Ecumenical Research of the Catholic University of Leuven, the Faculteit voor Protestantse Godgeleerdheid, Brussels, and Refo500.

The intention of this conference is to bring together experts in all major traditions of the European Reformations, including the Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist and Dissident traditions, and in relevant social-political aspects of the Confessional Era. Thus new vistas for research on the historical interaction between these traditions can be opened up, leading to an advanced understanding of religion and education in the Early Modern Era.

Papers are invited on all relevant topics; see the Call for Papers.

The Reformers and Islam: A Public Lecture by Emidio Campi

One of the leading scholars of the Reformation is holding a series of public lectures around the country. Emidio Campi will be at Union Theological Seminary in New York tomorrow night presenting on ‘The Reformers and Islam’. You will WANT TO GO if you are nearby. Campi is stunningly brilliant and his work is top of the line.

Date: November 6, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: Union Theological Seminary, New York
Topic: The Reformers and Islam

Don’t miss it.  

Professor Campi was educated at the Waldensian (reformed) Theological Faculty in Rome, at the University of Tübingen and at the Comenius Theological Faculty in Prague, where he completed doctoral studies in Theology and History. He holds doctoral degrees from both the Comenius Faculty and the University of Tübingen.

He has served as General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation, based in Geneva, and as Pastor to the Waldensian Congregation in Florence. From 1989 until his retirement in 2009 he taught at the University of Zürich, latterly serving as Professor Ordinarius of Church History and Director of the Swiss Reformation Studies Institute in the University.

Professor Campi’s many scholarly publications include Michelangelo e Vittoria Colonna. Un dialogo artistico teologico ispirato da Bernardino Ochino, Torino: Claudiana, 1994; Peter Martyr Vermigli. Humanism, Republicanism, Reformation, Geneva: Droz, 2002 [ed. in collaboration with Frank James III and Peter Opitz]; Heinrich Bullinger und seine Zeit. Eine Vorlesungsreihe, Zurich: Theologischer Verlag, 2004; The Architect of the Reformation. An Introduction to Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575), Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House 2004 [ed. with Bruce Gordon].

His current research projects include scholarly editions of the church ordinances of the major Swiss reformed cities, and continuing research on the Italian reformer Pietro Martire Vermigli. He is also preparing a history of the World Student Christian Federation. Professor Campi serves on many editorial boards in the fields of Reformation scholarship and church history more generally.

Registration is required, RSVP online