Monthly Archives: November 2013

‘Ridiculous Ignorance’ – Yup, That Sums it Up Nicely Antonio

jesus_footprintMy pal and buddy Antonio Lombatti has once again hit the nail on the head when he calls this story ‘ridiculous ignorance’ for that is what it is:

Così come è ridicola la patacca delle impronte dei piedi di Gesù, che un anonimo (e vorrei ben vedere…) giornalista ricorda essere conservate nella chiesa di Santa Maria delle Piante a Roma

Good grief.  What insanity.

National Bible Week

Bible Gateway doth tweet-

This is @NationalBible Week. Select a #Bible reading plan that’s right for you:  #NationalBibleWeek #BibleWeek #Advent.

Read the Bible- not just about the Bible.  That’s what will turn you into a theologian.

The Catholic Biblical Association’s Obituary of Jerome Murphy-O’Connor

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P. – Nov. 11, 2013

Please pray for the repose of Rev. Dr. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., who died in Jerusalem on Nov. 11, 2013 at the age of 78.

A CBA member since 1966, Fr. Jerome served on the Editorial Board of Catholic Biblical Quarterly from 1997 to 2004 and wrote several articles for the journal. He was a leading authority on St. Paul, a Professor of New Testament at the École Biblique in Jerusalem, and a cousin to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

Born on 10 April 1935 to Kerry Murphy-O’Connor and Mary McCrohan, Fr. Jerome was the eldest of four children. He attended the Christian Brothers College in Cork, going on to study at the Vincentian-run Castleknock College in Dublin. He entered the Dominican Novitiate in Cork in September 1953, giving up his baptismal name ‘James’ and to take a new name in religion, ‘Jerome’, a symbol of his commitment to his faith. Bearing in mind his future career, this was an apt choice, as Jerome is the patron saint of biblical studies.

Fr. Jerome was ordained priest in July 1960. At the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, the core of his scholarly life emerged. His first serious study as a lecturer was on the theme of Preaching in St. Paul, which he later developed into a doctoral thesis under the direction of the Dominican biblical scholar, Ceslas Spicq. He received his Doctorate in 1962, and studied in Rome in 1963. He also researched the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of Heidelberg, and New Testament theology at the University of Tübingen. From there he went to the École Biblique in Jerusalem, which was to become his religious, scholarly, and personal home for the next 40 years.

The École Biblique, founded in 1890 by French Dominican scholars, was an internationally renowned centre for Biblical studies and Biblical archaeology. Fr. Jerome was appointed Professor of New Testament there in 1967. Oxford University Press invited him to write an archaeological guide to the Holy Land which was published in 1980. This was translated into several languages with a revised edition in 1986, and has become the standard guide-book. Murphy-O’Connor lectured around the world and made numerous television appearances.

Here is a man who’s passing elicited sorrow and lamentation.  A true servant of God.

Paul Crouch is Dead

The Los Angeles Times is reporting the news that Crouch, founder of TBN has died.  To be honest, while I can feel sorrow for his family and friends, I find it impossible to mourn the passing of a man who misled so many and who fleeced the well-meaning flock of God for all he could get.

Paul Crouch, a pioneering televangelist who founded Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest Christian TV network, died today, according to the network’s website. He was 79.  The church reported in October that Crouch fell ill and was taken to a Dallas-area hospital in October while on a visit to a TBN facility in Colleyville, Texas. He had “heart and related health issues,” the church said, and was later returned to California for continued treatment.

The son of a Missouri missionary, Crouch moved to California in the early 1960s to manage the movie and television unit of the Assemblies of God. A decade later, after receiving what he believed was a message from God, he began to buy television stations, cable channels and satellites and developed enough Christian programming to sustain a 24-hour network.  By the mid-1980s, Orange County-based TBN was “the country’s most-watched religious network,” according to J. Gordon Melton and Jon R. Stone in their book “Prime-Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting.”

His passing can elicit pity for his family, but not lamentation.

And Jeremy Thompson is Glad Peter Enns Wasn’t His Doctoral Advisor

As he explains here why he finished his PhD.

When I look back on the reasons why I finished my PhD I think the reasons were threefold:

  1. I had a sense of vocational calling when I started
  2. I didn’t accumulate school related debt
  3. I always had what I felt like was a legitimate plan B other than teaching at a college or university

Of course, memory is a fragile thing and I’ve probably forgotten many things I thought along the way, but I can say that I almost completely lost number 1 in the list above at different times for a variety of reasons.

I think a big part of what kept me working through was knowing that I wasn’t really putting my family at any kind of financial risk. And, I also knew the PhD would give me a better shot at even my plan B job a little further down the line.  So, even when the feeling of calling had gotten buried somewhere along the way and I may have felt like scrapping the whole thing for that reason, I still had the sense that it was a good idea to finish.

Etc.  So, the moral of the story?  Don’t let Peter Enns dissuade you from studying and don’t let Jeremy Thompson or anyone else talk you into something you don’t feel called to do.

Doubt- It’s the Easy Thing To Do

LOL_Luther_and_MelanchthonA question was proposed by Master Ignatius, a student of sacred literature, on the day before the Kalentis of December, 1532: Why do we more readily believe Satan when he terrifies than Christ when he consoles?

The question was answered by Dr. Martin Luther:

“Because we are better equipped to doubt than to hope; because hope comes from the Spirit of God but despair comes from our own spirit. Accordingly God has forbidden it [despair] under severe penalty. That we more easily believe penalty than reward is a product of the reason or spirit of man. Hoping and believing are different from thinking and speculating. Reason sees death before it, and it’s impossible for reason not to be terrified by it. Likewise we can’t be persuaded [by our reason] that God gives his Son and loves us so much, and hence we say, ‘You have not allowed your Son to be crucified for nothing!’ This is above reason. That God is so merciful, not on account of my works but on account of his Son, is incomprehensible.

Martin Luther, chatting at the table.

John Wesley: Panentheist and Osteenist

Wesley you prat, God is not the grass and flowers!

Wesley you prat, God is not the grass and flowers!

John Wesley was an Arminian, a Panentheist (if not a downright pantheist) and the Joel Osteen of his day.*

* This post brought to you in response to Joel Watts maniacal assertion that John Wesley was better than John Calvin. As if.

Otto Kaiser’s Birth-iversary

The Old Testament scholar Otto Kaiser was born on November 30th, 1924.   A Bultmannian, Kaiser’s many volumes are articulate and insightful.  His most important work, in my estimation, is Der Gott des Alten Testaments. Theologie des Alten Testaments in 3 vols.

He’s a fine exegete and his commentaries are some of the best.

He was celebrated on his 80th birthday in 2004, and rightly so, with this Festschrift-  Gott und Mensch im Dialog. Festschrift für Otto Kaiser zum 80. Geburtstag. 2 vols. Markus Witte, ed. BZAW 345/I-II. Berlin – New York: de Gruyter, 2004.

He’s a scholar you must surely know.

Peter Enns Feels Dirty- Or He Would Do If He Were Still Teaching Doctoral Students

It’s a good post.  I hope you’ll read it.  I don’t think the problem lies with student’s aspirations- I think it lies with institutions of higher learning which, lets face it, are just as greedily interested in money (which means in collecting students) as any depraved diploma mill or ‘for profit’ school.  99% of the schools in America are ‘for profit’ even if they call themselves non profit.

Students are being sold a bill of goods and they need to refuse to be used for the profiteerings of administrators.

Horrifying Black Friday News…


Alister McGrath’s Forthcoming Study of Emil Brunner

Amazon has this book available for pre order (for the Kindle)(for the hardback):

In Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal, renowned theologian Alister E. McGrath presents a comprehensive intellectual history of Emil Brunner, the highly influential Swiss theologian who was instrumental in shaping modern Protestant theology.

– Explores Brunner’s theological development and offers a critical engagement of his theology
– Examines the role that Brunner played in shaping the characteristics of dialectical theology
– Reveals the complex and shifting personal and professional relationship between Brunner and Barth
– Delves into the reasons for Brunner’s contemporary neglect in theological scholarship
Represents the only book-length study of Brunner’s works and significance in the English language

Great, right?

UPDATE:  You can now see the table of contents and read the Preface online, here.

What I’m Reading Now

And loving it-


Old Testament Theology: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture

9780801048852In this volume

Moberly offers an in-depth study of key Old Testament passages, highlighting enduring issues in Hebrew Bible interpretation and discussing Jewish readings alongside Christian readings. The volume is representative of the content of Israel’s scriptures rather than comprehensive, yet it discusses most of the major topics of Old Testament theology. Moberly is attentive to varying ways of reading Israel’s scriptures throughout history and to contemporary challenges in appropriating the content of the Old Testament. He demonstrates a Christian approach to reading the Old Testament that holds together the priorities of both scholarship and faith.

I’ve been sent a copy to review by Baker and that review is available here.

The Ever Virgin Mary Has Moved to Hawaii

virgin-maryWho can blame her.  The weather there is quite nice year round and it is the one place on earth least likely to suffer a natural disaster (yes, it’s true, it was on the news some time back).  At any rate, what’s she up to now that she’s a resident of Hawaii?

Parishioners at a small, “cozy” Russian Orthodox Church in Hawaii say they have a lot to be thankful for.  “We certainly don’t deserve it,” Father Antole Lyovin says of the church’s good fortune. After all, the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church in Honolulu is home to not one, but two miracle icons.  The church’s image of the Virgin Mary and Christ child and a wooden cross both are said to produce myrrh, an oily resin that Father Lyovin describes as “drops that are like dew, dew on grass.”  The myrrh is said to smell sweet, like roses, and hold miraculous healing powers. It’s credited with healing a young girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and for restoring sight to a man who was mostly blind from a football accident.  “Before he had the accident,” Father Lyovin told KITV of the latter miracle, “he was not 20/20. But now he became 20/20.”

If she can make myrrh, she can make dodgeballs.  Oh wait, that’s another movie…  [And the Reformers thought they’d spoken forcefully enough to disabuse people of their idolatrous notions… no such luck guys.]

Mark Driscoll: Given an F for His Plagiarisms

First Things has a grand essay on the Driscoll fraud (or better, the fraud Driscoll) :

Mega-church pastor Mark Driscoll just can’t seem to avoid controversy. He’s crass and brash, and he says outrageous things. He’s always making some Christian somewhere uncomfortable. This time, however, it’s not about the words that he’s said. It’s that he’s claimed the words that other people have said.

On November 21, Janet Mefferd, a radio host, accused Driscoll of plagiarism. She pointed out that passages from his new book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?, reproduce ideas from a book by Peter Jones published in 1999, Gospel Truth/Pagan Lies: Can You Tell the Difference? Driscoll blew off her assertion. Mefferd has uploaded a comparison of the similar passages, along with some other suspect passages, here.

If I had come across the Call to Resurgence passage, I’d have been concerned about the lack of citation, but I might have just shrugged it off as ineptitude.

Some of the other evidence that Mefferd found is more damning. In a book on First and Second Peter published by Mars Hill Church, Driscoll lifts whole paragraphs almost word-for-word from the entry on First Peter in the New Bible Commentary, published by IVP in 1994. These passages are at the end of the previous link, and Mefferd provides additional passages here.

I’m a university professor. I have no tolerance for this kind of nonsense. I’ve failed students for less flagrant plagiarism. So, it’s my duty, as a member of my professing profession, to give Driscoll an “F.”

Mark Driscoll, you have failed.

I’ve dealt with a number of plagiarists, and it seems to me that plagiarism stems from two issues. I’ll let you decide which problem Driscoll suffers from, because there obviously is a problem.

1. Laziness. Writing is hard work, so some writers don’t want to do it right. Laziness also leads to procrastination. Getting behind schedule causes writers to cut corners and plagiarize.

2. Ignorance. I don’t mean ignorance of the conventions of proper citation. Everyone knows not to steal other people’s words. I mean ignorance of the topic. Sometimes people plagiarize because they are incompetent. They don’t know enough about their topic to ask interesting questions and provide interesting answers. Thus they must regurgitate what someone else has done. Becoming competent would take too much work (see reason one), and admitting incompetence would be embarrassing.

And more, worth your effort and time.  Driscoll long ago got an F from me- for his substandard ‘theology’.

Whenever I Feel Sad…

I pop on to and visit Israel Finkelstein’s page and smile to myself.


That’s quite a list of folk he follows…   😉    Ah, there’s that smile again.

Look, I Know You’ve Been Busy… But, Still, The Carnival is Coming to Town

The October Biblical Studies Carnival (Because it's November Down Under)And it will go live in just a few days, so send along your submissions.  They can be in any area of biblical studies, systematic theology, or historical theology (along with DSS and archaeology).

Don’t be shy.  You might win the lottery and be included.

Quote of the Day

CJ Werleman ‏– “It’s Black Friday in America but you can be pretty sure you won’t be crushed to death in a book store.”

That’s the truth. People only crush others for electronics and cookware.

La moglie del monsignore. Dal celibato alla pedofilia nella Chiesa

copAntonio Lombatti has had his publisher send along a review copy of his latest work.

I’m very keen to read this one as his books are great reading and he’s such a good writer.  And the topic is so incredibly important- and so incredibly timely.

When my review is finished I’ll post it here.

Thanks T&T Clark

I won this in their twitter contest and it arrived today!