Daily Archives: 25 Jun 2015

Martin Luther Visits the ‘Unofficial’ SBL Facebook Page

And he has some thoughts on the assembly-

In appearance and words you simulate modesty, but you are so swollen with haughtiness, arrogance, pride, malice, villainy, rashness, superciliousness, ignorance, and stupidity that there is nothing to surpass you.

You are like mouse-dropping in the pepper.

I would sit still and blithely watch how you, the devil, and your sausages and your tripes vainly fret and torment yourselves, and blubber and writhe, achieving nothing except to make us laugh and make you own case worse. Indeed, I would like to see you say aloud what you write, for if you did, people would gather with chains and bars and out of sympathy would seize and bind you as demoniacs. And if people did not do this, then, perhaps at God’s prompting, oxen and swine would trample you to death with their horns and hoofs.

It makes me tingle with pleasure from head to toe when I see that through me, poor wretched man that I am, God the Lord maddens and exasperates you hellish and worldly people, so that in your spite you will burst and tear yourselves to pieces – while I sit under the shade of faith and the Lord’s Prayer, laughing at you devils and your crew and you blubber and struggler in your great fury.

Luther doesn’t seem at all impressed, does he.

Apparently I Have Angered The Dilettantes Collected at the ‘Unofficial’ SBL Facebook Page

A friend writes

Man, you are sure taking a beating over on the “unofficial” SBL FB page.

Which only proves the points I earlier made that

  • Non-scholars have no business pretending to belong to scholarly societies.
  • They are incapable of reasoned discourse


  • SBL is only cast in a bad light by such unofficial sites.

I am not now nor have I ever been nor will I ever be troubled by the howlings of the ignorant.  They are more than welcome to drive traffic to ye ole blog as often, as much as they wish.  And those ‘learned colleagues’ who are gleefully taking part can dance to the tune of stupidity as much as they want.  This is America.  I don’t participate in their unofficial mental excremental discharges or their facile anti-intellectual vomitings.

They’ll soon enough be distracted by a squirrel or a patch of fuzz on an emergent’s chin or a new tome by Rachel Held Evans.  Until then- bash and dance to your heart’s content.   Children.  And, because you evidently deserve it- here’s your Dilly.  #TransToThat.


Update:  ‘Unofficial’ SBL page- behold, your moderator.  Yeah, you’ve hitched your wagon to that.  Congrats.


The Invention of Children’s Church

Texas: Where the Governor Chooses a Homeschooler to Be the Chair of the Board of Education

Because that makes sense… if, and only if, you live in bizarroland where doctors are cowhands and cowhands are doctors and no one who has any sense at all is elected to anything.

I don’t know if the Governor knows this, but Homeschoolers are homeschoolers because they despise public education, think it’s useless, and would rather have their kids ‘taught’ by people who may or may not have any skill at all in teaching. So, it really doesn’t make any sense to put such a person in charge of public ed.  It. Just. Doesn’t.  It’s like putting Joel Osteen in charge of the Department of Biblical Studies at Southwestern Seminary (although given their President, it wouldn’t be surprising).

A Texas watchdog group expressed concerned this week after Gov. Greg Abbott named a new chairperson to the State Board of Education who has never sent her own children to a public school.  Last week, Abbott announced that he was appointing Houston Republican Donna Bahorich, a former communications director for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to chair the Board of Education.  According to Texas Public Radio, Bahorich homeschooled her own sons before sending them to a private high school.

The Texas Freedom Network, a watchdog group, warned that Bahorich would “put culture war agendas ahead of educating more than 5 million Texas kids.” “If Gov. Abbott wanted to demonstrate that he won’t continue his predecessor’s efforts to politicize and undermine our state’s public schools, this appointment falls far short,” Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said in a statement. “The governor has appointed as board chair an ideologue who voted to adopt new textbooks that scholars sharply criticized as distorting American history, who rejected public education for her own family and who supports shifting tax dollars from neighborhood public schools to private and religious schools through vouchers.”

Next, Texas will appoint Rachel Held Evans ‘Theologian in Residence’.

Because These Days We Need Constant Reminders

paulἀλλὰ ἀπειπάμεθα τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης, μὴ περιπατοῦντες ἐν πανουργίᾳ μηδὲ δολοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ τῇ φανερώσει τῆς ἀληθείας συνιστάνοντες ἑαυτοὺς πρὸς πᾶσαν συνείδησιν ἀνθρώπων ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ. εἰ δὲ καὶ ἔστιν κεκαλυμμένον τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν, ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις ἐστὶν κεκαλυμμένον, ἐν οἷς ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἐτύφλωσεν τὰ νοήματα τῶν ἀπίστων εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι τὸν φωτισμὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς δόξης τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ. οὐ γὰρ ἑαυτοὺς κηρύσσομεν ἀλλὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν κύριον, ἑαυτοὺς δὲ δούλους ὑμῶν διὰ Ἰησοῦν. ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ὁ εἰπών· Ἐκ σκότους φῶς λάμψει, ὃς ἔλαμψεν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν πρὸς φωτισμὸν τῆς γνώσεως τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν προσώπῳ Χριστοῦ. –  Paul – 2 Cor 4:2-6

The Cranachs In the News

Deutsche Welle has this great piece which is stuffed with great art like this:

"The Last Supper" with C. d. J. as the Cupbearer

“The Last Supper” with C. d. J. as the Cupbearer

"Reformers and Papists in the Vineyard of the Lord" (1573-1574)

“Reformers and Papists in the Vineyard of the Lord” (1573-1574)

Christ: The Supreme Head of the Church

bullinger4Christ is the life, salvation, and light, or that which giveth light to the church, the supreme governor of the faithful, who both can and will always be present to the whole congregation of saints, of all ages, and dispersed throughout the whole world; hear her prayers and requests, and moreover send her succour in all things: and briefly, who is able perfectly to govern the whole church, and both provide for and bring to pass all her matters, and that in all things. – Heinrich Bullinger

Liars Are Still Gonna Lie…

So, what to do when one is the victim of falsehood?

Huldrych Zwingli was no stranger to being the victim of falsehoods hurled.  So, after enduring a good bit of it in the middle of 1524 he wrote, on June 25th, his Eine Unterrichtung wie man sich vor Lügen hüten soll.

The opponents of Reform had taken to spreading all kinds of falsehoods and here Zwingli spells out, once for all, his opinion of such deceptions and the lies his foes were spreading:

  • He did not deny the importance of the Supper;
  • he did in fact preach Jesus Christ as God’s Crucified Son;
  • and he wasn’t a secret Jew (because of his reliance on the Hebrew Bible instead of the Latin Vulgate for matters of exposition and interpretation).
  • Nor did he deny the significance of Mary (whom, oddly, Zwingli believed to have been a lifelong virgin).
  • He asserted as well that those who were spreading lies would be exposed by the Word of God to be the deceivers they were to all the world.

And he closes with a citation from Micah 7:6 (in Latin!) Inimici hominis domestici eius  (a not so subtle dig at his enemies).

Now, as then, liars are still gonna lie.  What better way to spread misinformation and call people to your own position than to lie about those who disagree with you; accuse them of hatred or even hate crimes; and then sit back satisfied with yourself.

Zwingli knew how to handle liars.  His remarks are still relevant, and helpful.

The Menu on the Left

Is, by default, collapsed.  To expand it, simply click the menu bars.

Law and Gospel

Human law never trumps Gospel truth.  And the Supreme Court is not the supreme authority.

I Wish It Were September 30

Then, we can celebrate St Jerome- the greatest of all the saints (until Zwingli).  Of him Augustine said “What is unknown to Jerome is not known to any mortal”.  True dat, Augustine.

Anyway- I’m just counting the days till we get to observe Jerome’s Day again.

Erasmus and the Diet of Augsburg: The Ascendancy of Cowardice

Erasmus was a great man and a gifted thinker but morally he was a coward.  He was, to put it bluntly, fearful of conflict with power.  As a result, he never stood up to any form of power, even when he knew it was wrong.  Take, for example, the Diet of Augsburg-

At the Diet of Augsburg neither Luther nor his rival was present. The former was still under the ban of the Empire. At the Diet of Worms, 1521, Erasmus refused to intervene. In 1526 he refused to intervene when the Diet of Spires met, and once more he stands aside. His health was feeble. Besides, the Emperor had not asked him, and he followed the maxim of Cato, who held that one ought not to go to an assembly to which one was not summoned.

Faithful to this maxim Erasmus did not attend, but many of his friends were present. To them he proffered counsels of moderation to which his correspondence was constantly inviting the attention of all its readers. In favour of toleration, in favour of peace he wrote to Christoph von Stadion, the Bishop of Augsburg; the Bishop of Würzburg; Christopher, the Chancellor of Poland; the Cardinal of Trent; Cardinal Campeggio, and the pontifical legate.

To all Erasmus represented that peace was the greatest of benefits, and that they must not despair of seeing it again. Did not the Church emerge from a crisis equally formidable in the time of the Emperor Theodosius, when it was struggling at the same time with the pagans and the Arians?

But it was certainly not by measures of force that they would appease the Divine wrath. Lutheranism had struck its roots too deeply, so deeply that no harsh methods could suppress it. They must pray to God that all the princes and even the Emperor himself would submit to the Pope, and inspire the Pope only to think of the interests of the Catholic Church.

Cowardice.  It’s sad in a common man.  It’s tragic in a great one.

Community Service Announcement


New Testament Studies: The Forged ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

NTS has posted the present issue and you can access the whole thing for free.  And the whole issue is devoted to the debunked forgery called ‘the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’.  Get it while you can.  Thanks to Richard Goode for the heads up.  And to Francis Watson who said the issue was forthcoming when we chatted about the ‘discovery’ at SBL, and who oversaw the coming to fruition of this useful collection of essays.

Francis writes, in his editorial introduction:

… it is now widely accepted that the Jesus’ Wife fragment is in reality a recent forgery. That is the view taken by contributors to this issue of the journal, not because they are predisposed to reject the papyrus fragment on ideological grounds but because of quite specific features which appear wholly incompatible with an ancient origin. Forgeries corrupt – and are intended to corrupt – the scholarly work of those who may be deceived by them, and they need to be exposed as conclusively as possible.

Quite so!

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript

706477Bobby K. of Hendrickson has sent a copy of Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript. It’s available in the UK from the British Museum but won’t be available here in the States until September.

The table of contents of this very impressive volume is available here.  Readers will want to visit that link before proceeding to the review which follows.  And do note, the siglum for Sinaiticus (א) will be used throughout the remainder of the review to spare readers from having to see the phrase ‘Codex Sinaiticus’ over and again.

The volume’s opening essay by Gamble sets the Codex in its historical context by discussing in the first place ancient book production techniques.  Then Gamble leads readers into the sometimes murky history of the biblical canon and א place in it.  Thirdly, and the heart of Gamble’s presentation, is a discussion of the ‘Origins and Uses’ of א.  The essay concludes, as do they all, with a very nicely thorough bibliography as well as the (by many) dreaded endnotes.

The second segment of the book consists of three essays and focus on the latest research on the Septuagint.

Section three, the longest, is also the most ‘technical’ and the most important.  In particular, the essays by Wachtel (The Corrected New Testament Text of Codex Sinaiticus) and Myshrall (The Presence of a Fourth Scribe?), as well as  Batovici’s (The Appearance of Hermas’s Text in Codex Sinaiticus) are what would fall under the category of ‘cutting edge research’ and, as a result, really should be read in whole even if other parts of the volume which do not interest particular readers are set aside for a later time.

Various of the essays include fantastic illustrations.  For instance, Wachtel’s previously mentioned contribution has a couple of tremendous photos which show scribal corrections up close in full color (at Mark 6 and John 6).  These sorts of illustrations are indispensable and whilst many volumes would simply provide black and white and somewhat grainy reproductions the present volume offers crystal clear color examples.

Section four of the volume turns to the interesting topic of א in modern history, and the four articles in this segment describe and investigate such matters as the discovery of the manuscript, and the acquisition of א by the British Museum.

The fifth and final section concerns itself with א in modern research, conservation and presentation.  Steve Walton’s essay, which closes the volume, is titled ‘Codex Sinaiticus and its Importance for Contemporary Christianity’ is particularly engaging.  He writes

Academics are regularly caricatured in the popular media as people out of touch with reality.  Thus, the topic of Codex Sinaiticus might be seen as abstruse and irrelevant to most.  However, three observations should make us hesitate about such a view (p. 295).

Perhaps most intriguing about Walton’s essay is his discussion of א and Christian dialogue with Islam.  Walton makes the very interesting point that whilst א shows numerous corrections, the Qur’an, believed to have been dictated from heaven, lacks such textual markings because there can only be one correct text to which all others must be aligned.  The implications of this historical fact are then fleshed out by Walton.

He writes in conclusion

So is Codex Sinaiticus only of antiquarian interest?  μη γενοιτο! (‘by no means’)!  This Codex is highly significant for Christian thinking, belief and living in the twenty-first century (p.301).

The same could, with the appropriate modifications, be said of this volume.  It is an important contribution to our understanding of an important text which is highly significant for Christian faith and practice in the present day.

The volume closes with a list of papyri and manuscripts, along with a website containing manuscript catalogs:  LDAB – Leuven Database of Ancient Bookshttp://www.trismegistos.org/ldab/, which currently has 14761 Greek, Latin, Coptic, Demotic, Syriac and other literary texts.  There are, of course, the usual indices of Scripture and general topics.

This collection of essays will be of value to Septuagintalists, Text Critics, and historians of the biblical text.  It is a well produced, well written, engaging, informative volume.

Slate Thinks the Court Will Rule in Favor of Gay Marriage

And I think they’re going to as well.

Early Monday morning, the Supreme Court refused to stay a federal judge’s order invalidating Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. In doing so, the justices immediately set up a constitutional crisis between the state’s lawless chief justice and the federal judiciary. They also effectively admitted what court-watchers have suspected for months: The court is preparing to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality at the end of this term.

Here’s how Monday’s decision reveals the justices’ intention to strike down gay marriage bans across the country. Typically, the justices will stay any federal court ruling whose merits are currently under consideration by the Supreme Court. Under normal circumstances, that is precisely what the court would have done here: The justices will rule on the constitutionality of state-level marriage bans this summer, so they might as well put any federal court rulings on hold until they’ve had a chance to say the last word. After all, if the court ultimately ruled against marriage equality, the Alabama district court’s order would be effectively reversed, and those gay couples who wed in the coming months would find their unions trapped in legal limbo.

Signs of the times.  In the words of Peter- it is more important to obey God than anything or anyone else.

Erasmus and his Greek New Testament

Via Refo500

Houston Baptist University announces a wonderful exhibition and a fascinating conference both related to the 500th anniversary of Erasmus’ edition of the New Testament in 2016.

Exhibition: “Renaissance of the Bible; 500th Anniversary of Erasmus’ Greek text, the foundation for Reformation”. A special exhibit for the 500th anniversary of the first publication of the printed Greek text by Erassmus in 1516.  January 4 – December 16, 2016

Conference: AD FONTES, AD FUTURA: Erasmus’ Bible and the Impact of Scripture.  February 25-27, 2016, hosted by the School of Christian Thought and the Dunham Bible Museum.  The call for papers will follow soon.

32 Years

Happy anniversary to the best wife on the planet.  Marital commitment is a rarity today when, if people even bother to marry, over half can’t manage to be devoted to another only.  I was fortunate to discover someone who can.

Love you, Doris.