There’s A Time To Pray, And a Time To Act. Now is The Time to Act

In the wake of today’s horror in Connecticut, Chris writes on FB

You who are posting prayers: The schoolchildren who are going to be killed by guns next week, or next month, or next year, would be grateful if your prayers could be followed by action. “The Lord said… these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me.”  Christopher B. Hays

Amen, and amen.

Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World

9780801039782With many thanks to Baker Academic for sending this volume for review:

Apocalypticism is not a specialized or peripheral topic in biblical studies. It represents the central, characteristic transformation of Hebrew thought in the period of the Second Temple and is the context in which the New Testament books were written. Frederick Murphy defines apocalypticism while discussing its origins, its expressions in the Hebrew Bible, and its bearing on Jesus and the New Testament. This text will be useful for students of early Christianity and will work well as a supplemental text for Second Temple Judaism, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament courses.

Contents
Introduction
1. Definitions and Origins
2. Proto-apocalyptic Biblical Texts
3. Daniel and the Animal Apocalypse
4. The Book of Revelation
5. Ancient Jewish Apocalypses
6. Ancient Jewish Literature Related to Apocalypticism
7. The Dead Sea Scrolls
8. The Gospels, Q, and Acts of the Apostles
9. Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet
10. The Apostle Paul
11. The Rest of the New Testament
12. The Ongoing Legacy of Apocalypticism
13. Glossary
Indexes

I shall let you know if it is as suggested.  The review will be posted, inevitably, here.

Children Forever Traumatized Because Yet Another Gun Toting Lunatic Exalted His ‘Right’ Above Other’s Lives

Reuters reports on yet ANOTHER incident involving some crackpot gun toter:

newtownA shooter on Friday opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, leading to multiple victims, the Hartfort Courant newspaper reported.  All Newtown schools were placed in lockdown after the shooting, the Newtown Public School District said.  The shooter, an adult, was dead and two handguns were recovered from the scene, NBC News reported without citing a source.  Danbury Hospital had received three patients from the scene, a hospital spokeswoman told NBC Connecticut.  One child was carried from Sandy Hook Elementary School by a police officer, and the child appeared to have been wounded, the town’s weekly newspaper, the Newtown Bee, said on its website.

And all survivors forever traumatized because yet another gun toting lunatic exalted his ‘right’ above other’s lives.  And our society is complicit every single time this happens.  Our lawmakers are, our lax gun laws are, and our courts are.   And still we aren’t sick to death of the sickness.  We want to ‘cure cancer’ because so many are affected by it.  Let’s cure this cancer.

[Photo via]

UPDATE:  More than a dozen people were killed– including children.

UPDATE II:  And now the death toll tops 27.  Including little kids.  27….

UPDATE III:  And now, the Telegraph reports 18 of the dead are kids.  I just am so sickened.

An Early Christmas Gift From a Friend

smith2A family here which always, for 20 years now, has gotten me a very nice gift for Christmas (and always gotten it early!  May the Early Tribe increase!) has sent this new edition of Mark Smith’s Stories From Ancient Canaan.

Mark’s a great guy and every year we both happen to be at the CBA annual meeting I enjoy the chats we have.  Furthermore, he’s a great scholar too.

So I’m glad to have gotten this kind gift and I’m most especially glad that Mark is the guy behind it.

Crossley and Myles on Malina and Contradictions

New in Bible and Interpretation, this:

malinaIn a recent collection of essays, New Testament scholar Bruce Malina curiously lumps all Israelis together as “non-Semitic, central European people of Turkic origin,” an unusual view which might lead to questions about, for instance, Arab Israelis, Israelis of North African background, and, of course, conventional understandings of Jewish Israelis. As it would turn out, this appears to be the tip of the iceberg of Malina’s unusual explanations of terms such as ‘Jew,’ ‘Israeli’ and ‘Semite.’ The examples collated below provide some further depth to what we already know of Malina’s personal political views on Jews, Judaism, and the Israel/Palestine conflict, and potentially reveal a deeper (contradictory) ideological framework that undergirds his influential scholarship.

James has presented his understanding of Malina’s work before; most recently in his book on neoliberalism.  This followup essay illustrates further and undergirds more firmly, at least for me, what Crossley stated there.

Fun Facts From Church History: Calvin’s Foes and the Ends they Went to In Order to Discourage Him

calvin4It took ten years constant and vigilant police oversight with combined moral and spiritual education to secure to Calvin his triumph over the intrigues of parties and the hatred of base born men. From 1545 to 1555 he felt the utmost venom of their opposition.

At one time he almost despaired and, December 14, 1547, wrote to Farel: “Affairs are in such a state of confusion that I despair of being able longer to retain the Church, at least by my own endeavors.” His opponents were of the same crowd who drove him away in 1538, and though they afterwards submitted, and in the case of one or two, even joined in the invitation for his return, yet under the fretting of his harsh discipline they began serious and offensive resistance.

They nicknamed him “Cain,” and named dogs after him; they threatened him in the pulpit, and fired guns off under his windows; even trying on one occasion to wrest from his hands the sacred elements at the Eucharist. Only an extraordinary man could have resisted the pressure.*

Just remember that the next time your Elders or Deacons call you up and tell you you’re a failure.  At least they aren’t naming their dogs after you… or…. are they?

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RT Stevenson, John Calvin: The Statesman, p. 137.

NT Wright’s View of the Bible Bears No Relationship to Reality

I was scanning through the twitter feed and saw this from Brian (a good guy, you should follow him) –

wrong

Now, assuming that Wright actually said such a thing and assuming that he didn’t surround it with all manner of qualifications and specifications which can’t be reported in a tweet, there couldn’t possibly be more wrong with Wright’s view of the Bible.

First, it is NOT a book of wisdom for all people.  It is ‘sectarian’ literature (in the best sense of that word) intended for a particular audience written by people who themselves belonged to the group which they addressed.

Second, we have not MADE it a ‘den of scholarship’ – it has always and since its inception BEEN a book by scholars, for scholars.  It wasn’t written by the ignorant for the ignorant, it was written by the learned, for the learned, who then bore the responsibility of sharing it with the unlearned.  Wright’s apparent belief that folk in ancient Israel or the early church toted around their Bible’s with them is anachronisitic and inappropriate.

And third, it itself IS a narrow, hard, and exclusive piety!  Or perhaps Prof. Wright has forgotten the words of Jesus- ‘straight is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life and few there be which find it’.  The very tone of Scripture is demand- from Torah to ‘take up your cross and follow me’ to ‘if anyone changes any of the words of this book, let him be accursed’.

Prof. Wright’s view of the bible as democratized resource for generalized piety is wrong headed and inaccurate.  His view of the Bible bears no relationship to reality, nor does it demonstrate any familiarity with the nature of literature, learning, and piety in the ancient world.

TM Law Is Correct This Time

I don’t want to say ‘TM Law is correct’ because some might think he’s always correct, so that’s why I’ve said ‘this time’ (and many other times too but now I’ve gotten distracted and must return to the subject at hand).  Anyway, he’s right (this time) – this is how the dear German’s roll and who couldn’t love it?

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German: It’s the Ideal Language for Hashtagging, because THAT’S ONE Word!

Alastair Continues his Review of Evans’ ‘Year of Biblical Womanhood’

Part three is now up.

siWelcome to the third part of the review of Rachel Held Evans’s A Year of Biblical Womanhood, within which we engage with chapters 7-9 of the book, following on from part 1 and part 2.

I have my own book project underway and just need the funding.  The title: A Year of Biblical Solomon-hood.  My plan is to – naturally – live just like Solomon because we all know that if I live like he did I will understand more fully and exactly what it would have been like to live as he did in his time… or something like that.  Anyway, I need a LOT of money to do it.  So, please, send your gifts and contributions to me via paypal and when I’ve lived just like Solomon did I’ll write a book about it and it will be awesome because I will be able to hire a very fine publicity team to get it turned into a movie.

[Now I just need to decide how historical my representation will be and whether I want to be the Deuteronomic Solomon or the Chronicler’s Solomon.  Or, hey Jack, I could just smoosh them both together and flatten them out and mash them up and be a cool Solomon combo that never really existed anyway!]

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Si’s picture is included because he is what Solomon looked like, as I conceive him, and re-enact his life in my year long ‘Year of Biblical Solomon-hood’.