Bengal was Right – Alot But Not Always

The multifarious abuse, or I should rather say nefarious contempt of Holy Scripture has, in our days, reached its climax, and that not only with the profane, but even with those, who in their own opinion are wise, nay spiritual. The ΓῈΓΡΑΠΤΑΙ, “It is written,” wherewith the Son of God Himself, in His single combat with Satan, defeated all his assaults, has come to be held so cheap, that those, who feed upon Scripture whole and alone, are considered to dote or to want soul. – Albrecht Bengal

Our own day is giving 1742 a run for its money and far surpassing it in terms of our contempt for Scripture. Just look around and see the way the Emergents treat it. And the Presbyterians and Methodists and Catholics and Lutherans, not to mention the Episcopalians.

Bengal thought ignorance of and contempt for Scripture a serious problem. By now, it’s a horrifying disaster.

Bengal Was Right

Not everyone who owns a harp can play upon it.  – Albrecht Bengal

The context of that bit of wisdom (ancient when he cited it) here is the fact that simply owning a Bible doesn’t mean that the one who does knows anything about it.  And he said that in 1742.   What would he say today?

Bengel: On Commentaries

Bengal describes the purpose of commentaries thusly:

Commentaries are chiefly available for the following purposes: 

  • to preserve, restore, or defend the purity of the text;
  • to exhibit the exact force of the language employed by any sacred writer;
  • to explain the circumstances under which any passage was uttered or written, or to which it refers;
  • to remove errors [of understanding] or abuses [of the text] which have arisen in later times.

The first hearers required none of these things. 

If your commentary doesn’t do those things, it really isn’t of value to the Church.

The Death of Shlomo Moussaieff

Robert Deutsch writes

Shlomo Moussaieff dies at the age of 92

deutsch cross moussaifShlomo Moussaieff’s passion for collecting antiquities began in his youth, on the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City. He very soon developed an enthusiasm for antiquities of historical significance, specifically for inscribed items. His acquisitions were always motivated and inspired by the biblical narrative and the history of the Jewish people, with the primary drive being to establish the link between the ancient finds and the Bible, which he knew by heart.

As a collector for over 80 years, Mr. Moussaieff amassed the largest collection of biblical antiquities found in private hands. His huge collection numbers over 3000 objects. But of greater significance is the quality of the collection. Extremely important and unique pieces were added simply because he was the right man in the right place, at the right time.

His generosity was evident in his positive attitude to scholars interested in studying and publishing artifacts from his collection. Belief in the historicity of the biblical narrative was his main driving force in sharing knowledge and money to promote his vision, which was expressed in his own words: “To prove the authenticity of the Bible”.

Mr. Moussaieff’s philanthropic qualities were observed in his longstanding contributions to archaeological excavations such as the Megiddo expedition, the Tel Gath excavations, the new investigation and survey of the tombs of the sons of Hezzir in Jerusalem, and his support for publications such as the Israel Numismatic Journal, The Coins of Beit Shean, and more.

I had the privilege to study hundreds of items from Mr. Moussaieff’s collection and to publish a portion of them in several books. Artifacts such as inscribed vessels, arrowheads, ostraca, weights, jar handles and inscribed bronze bowls were published since 1994, in four books: “Forty New Ancient West Semitic Inscriptions”, “New Epigraphic Evidence from the Biblical Period”, “Windows to the Past” and “Epigraphic News”. In 1997, I published his Hebrew seal impressions in a book entitled “Messages from the Past”, and in 2000 with the collaboration of André Lemaire, we published “Biblical Period Personal Seals in the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection” dedicated to his collection of west Semitic seals. The last two books were printed both in English and Hebrew. Many other artifacts appeared in various journals and magazines such as Eretz Israel, Israel Exploration Journal, Israel Numismatic Journal, Semitica, Transeuphraténe, Biblical Archaeology Review, etc.

Mr. Moussaieff’s wise decision to make his collection known to the public was possibly his most important act. He acknowledged the fact that the real scientific value of an inscribed artifact is in its publication. Publicizing them is comparable to bringing them back to life.

In June 2000 Bar-Ilan University bestows an honorary doctorate upon Mr. Shlomo Moussaieff in appreciation of his endowment of a Center for Research in Kabbalah and his generous donation of rare book and manuscript collection to the university.

He left his wife Aliza and his three daughters, Dorrit, Tamara and Sharon

Fuller Seminary Needs to be Renamed Fooler

Because- foolishness.  Stupid, senseless foolishness is happening there because the administration is controlled by the spirit of cowardice and fear and trembling and no longer believes in the sacred notion of academic freedom.  And that’s foolish.  Or perhaps we should now begin to say, Fuller-ish.

What, you ask?  Chris Skinner writes

I continue to be disappointed (though not surprised) by the high profile departures of evangelical scholars who, in my opinion, are: (1) not afraid of the difficult questions; (2) not afraid of the answers that emerge from those questions; and (3) are genuinely committed to dialogue and living in the midst of theological tension. I don’t need to provide a list for you. If you’ve been paying attention over the past few years, you know exactly which professors I’m referencing.

At this point, it really doesn’t help to lament much more than many of us have in recent years. I guess I can only wish the best, both for Daniel and for Fuller.

I agree with everything Chris says except the last three words.  I’m the terrible sort who never wishes well to those who do wrong.  And forcing a great scholar like JRDK to leave for the most paltry and intellectually bankrupt causes is PRECISELY what’s wrong with evangelical institutions today.

No, I don’t wish Fuller well.  I wish it would fold because it has stopped educating and started indoctrinating and no one needs more institutions like that these days.

Bibleworks 10: Greek Audio and Final Observations

Earlier segments of this review series are listed here.  In this present, and final installment I would like to focus on the audio portion (for which you’ll simply have to take my word since there’s no way to share the audio files known to me) and the program’s features and one minor criticism.

So, concerning the Greek audio-  it’s a useful thing but something I do not intend regularly to use.  I prefer, frankly, seeing the words rather than hearing someone else speak them.  Others will, naturally, enjoy being read to.  I do not.

Concerning the full features of this new incarnation of BibleWorks-  here’s what it has:

Program Features
. Customizable screen layout and colors
. Screen scaling (essential for use on many high resolution pad computers)
. Morpholological color coding for Greek and Hebrew tagged texts
. EPUB reader and library manager
. Dedicated tab for getting the most out of the AGNT Greek New Testamanr
. Fuzzy search capability
. Holy land picture database
. A wide range of Greek and Hebrew fonts are provided, both Unicode and non-Unicode. The Unicode fonts SBL Greek and SBL Hebrew are included.
. Analysis windows show related lexical and grammatical references for a word or verse, cross references, full browse context, common words, Study Bible notes, critical apparatus sections, full list of word usage with occurrence graphs, etc. as the cursor moves over text.
. Bible texts, dictionaries and lexicons are fully searchable, with many search options.
. Bibliographic information (includes Zotero RDF, Refer-BiblX, BibTeX, and RIS files).
. Comparison tools highlight differences between Bible versions.
. Complete lemmatization and parsing is provided for Greek New Testament, Septuagint and Hebrew Old Testament.
. Copy and paste verse text to other programs customizing text and verse reference format.
. Custom cross-reference databases can be created.
. Custom lexicons can be created, based on words in a particular passage.
. Diagramming module enables users to construct diagrams of any text.
. Drag & Drop is supported between BibleWorks and many word processors.
. Editable timelines of church and secular history provide a historical perspective.
. Editor supports Unicode and has a wide range of editing features.
. Extensive search tools for lexical, grammatical, phrase, semantic domain, related verse, key word in context searches. Build search with graphical interface.
. Hebrew and Greek review tools including vocabulary flashcards are available in print, electronic and audio formats, Daily Light in Greek & Hebrew, and more.
. Highlighted text and search results can be saved in multiple sets.
. Learn to use the program with hours of online videos and a full electronic manual.
. Link manager handles your own links to Internet resources and other Bible software.
. Listen to English Bible text read aloud.
. Manage and browse online and offline books and internet links (ERMIE). Trade catalogs of links.
. Mouse pop-ups show verse text for each resource.
. Multiple copies of BibleWorks may be opened for convenience.
. Multiple views show Bible versions in parallel columns, vertical comparative lines or full context.
. Parallel-Aligned Hebrew and Greek text makes it easy to find Hebrew and Greek equivalents.
. Parsing, lexical information and cross references are displayed when cursor moves over tagged Bible text.
. Popup list of morphology codes opens as you enter morphological codes.
. Popup window, with word definition and parsing, is displayed when mouse is held over Greek and Hebrew words.
. Report generator compiles and prints lexical information, morphological analysis, multiple Bible versions, word frequencies and more.
. Satellite maps can be customized with time periods, sites and other notations.
. Search queries and results can be saved and reused.
. Searches can be very broad or limited to selected verses or books.
. Sets of favorite Bible versions can be created, saved and searched.
. Statistics utility allows you to plot, compare and export graphs of search results.
. Synopsis window shows editable parallel gospel accounts.
. Text can be exported to Unicode Hebrew and Greek.
. Verses, chapters, books or entire Bible versions can be exported.
. Word list utility can generate word frequency lists for any range of verses.
. Your own chapter or verse notes load automatically each time you view a verse.
. Your own Bible versions can be created, saved, searched and integrated into BibleWorks.

It’s rather a lot- especially considering that it’s more than enough to fully research any biblical text before turning to secondary literature, commentaries, and other resources.

Indeed, as I have suggested concerning earlier versions of BibleWorks- it is the best tool for exegesis known to me (in electronic form, of course). Logos is excellent for secondary sources but BibleWorks is where one must begin the most important task: exegesis.

But, as with earlier versions of the software, I again feel compelled to note that the continued inclusion of Strong’s Concordance is unfortunate. Strong’s is simply too often wrong to be of serious use. Of course I realize that many people are familiar with Strong’s and use it with regularity. But that really is not sufficient reason to continue using it in biblical studies software. Especially since we now have so many very useful alternatives.

All in all, however, BibleWorks has many advantages over its competitors and users of the new version will not, I imagine, regret the investment.

Congratulations America, You’ve Gone Officially INSANE: Walmart Will Make An ISIS Cake, But Not A Confederate Flag Cake

A man in Louisiana is asking for an explanation from Walmart after his request for a Confederate flag cake at one of its bakeries was rejected, but a design with the ISIS flag was accepted. Chuck Netzhammer said he ordered the image of the Confederate flag on a cake with the words, “Heritage Not Hate,” on Thursday at a Walmart in Slidell, Louisiana. But the bakery denied his request, he said. At some point later, he ordered the image of the ISIS flag that represents the terrorist group.

“I went back yesterday and managed to get an ISIS battleflag printed. ISIS happens to be somebody who we’re fighting against right now who are killing are men and boys overseas and are beheading Christians,” Netzhammer said. “That’s an ISIS battleflag cake that anybody can go buy at Walmart,” he explains in a video posted on YouTube showing the sheetcake. “But you can’t buy a Confederate flag toy, with like, say, a ‘Dukes of Hazzards’ car.” Last week, companies like Walmart, Amazon, Etsy and eBay announced that they were banning sales of Confederate flag merchandise in the wake of the shooting death of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, allegedly by a racist gunman who was seen in photos wearing the flag.

Only one word will do here:  STUPID.

Bristol Palin: The Left Should Love Her

amd-bristol-2-jpgShe’s just like so many Emergent ‘Christians’: talking about God and how much she loves God, etc., etc., but living as she pleases without any regard for anything revealed in Scripture.

She should be a Saint to the left.  They should light candles to her and direct their prayers in her direction.  She is the embodiment of all that’s wrong with Christianity today: faith without works.  Lukewarmness.  Mendacity.  Hypocrisy.  Pretense.   Pseudo-spirituality and all of it based on the false belief that God loves people so much that they can do whatever the hell (I mean that literally) they want without any responsibility or answerability.

Bristol Palin is the left.  She is Emergent Christianity.  She is RHE and Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyers and Rick Warren all rolled into one.  She is crossless Christianity, Christless faith.  Self-denial is as foreign to her as self control.  And she has, like the left, never taken up her Cross, denied herself, and followed Jesus.

She is the left.  She speaks out of both sides of her mouth.  She is the left and the left should love her.

Bumper Stickers: An Observation

Political slogans might fit on bumper stickers, because they are necessarily shallow and meaningless.  But theology confined to a few words is neither useful nor true.    Our ‘soundbite driven culture’s wishes’ for imprecision and inaccuracy notwithstanding.

Adolf von Harnack- Reprinted with a New Preface

This is very cool-

Harnack, Adolf von – Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte

vonharnDas ›Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschiche‹ ist Adolf von Harnacks wichtigstes und berühmtestes Werk und ein Monument liberaler christlicher Geschichtsschreibung. In diesem Werk macht Harnack Ursprung und Entwicklung des christlichen Dogmas ausfindig, welches er als das autoritäre System verstand, dass die christliche Doktrin im 4. Jahrhundert gebildet hatte. Harnack stellt die radikale These auf, das Christentum müsse von seiner Verbindung mit Dogmen von Christus und Gott befreit werden. Er erfährt harschen Widerspruch bei den Konservativen und im Evangelischen Oberkirchenrat. Das Buch gilt damals wie heute als ein Standardwerk der Dogmengeschichte.

Da Harnack sich inhaltlich auf die Zeit vor der Reformation konzentriert, ist es konfessionsübergreifend ein unverzichtbares Nachschlagewerk.

It’s such an amazing history.  Amazing.  And now even more amazing because available with a new preface by a von Harnackian of unqeustioned skill.  If you need any history of Christian theology, this is it.

Enough Concessions, Philipp

Luther wrote Melanchthon from Coburg on 29 June, 1530 whilst the latter was attending the Augsburg mess.  He remarks, with a touch of irritation

I have received your Apologia, and I wonder what it is you want when you ask what and how much is to be conceded to the papists. In connection with the Sovereign it is another question what he may concede, if danger threatens him. For me personally more than enough has been conceded in this Apologia. If the papists reject it, then I see nothing that I could still concede, unless I saw their reasoning, or [were given] clearer Scripture passages than I have seen till now. Day and night I am occupied with this matter, considering it, turning it around, debating it, and searching the whole Scripture [because of it]; certainty grows continuously in me about this, our teaching, and I am more and more sure that now (God willing) I shall not permit anything further to be taken away from me, come what may.

I don’t like that you write in your letter that you have followed my authority in this cause. I don’t wish to be, or be called, the originator [of] this cause for you people; even though this might be properly interpreted, yet I don’t want [to hear] this term [“originator”]. If this is not simultaneously and in the same way your cause, then I don’t want it to be called mine and imposed upon you. If it is my cause alone then I will handle it by myself.*

Melancthon is encouraged in the rest of the letter with words of encouragement.

_____________
*Luther’s works, (Vol. 49, p. 328).

Heckling Joel

Who hasn’t heckled Joel Osteen?  Instead of being arrested these people should have been applauded and everyone in Osteen’s audience (I refuse to use the word congregation because that would imply Osteen pastored an actual Church) should have joined in the heckling and then walked out.

“The moment he started to preach, somebody gets up and they yell “Joel Osteen you’re a liar,” said Anwar Richardson.  Richardson shot video of a security taking one of the hecklers out.  you can hear the congregation clapping as pastor Joel Osteen attempts to move along with his sermon.  but the disruptions continued.  “After the sixth time that it occurred, my son was sleeping in my lap, and I looked at my wife and she was nervous and we just decided we have to get out of here,” said Richardson.

Good decision.  Better decision- not to attend Heretic Osteen’s Audience.

Congratulations to Irene Dingel

irene_dingelLutherische Theologische Hochschule – Heute Vormittag ist an der LThH der Hermann-Sasse-Preis der SELK für lutherische theologische Literatur für das Jahr 2015 an Frau Prof. Dr. Irene Dingel für die Neuedition der Bekenntnisschriften der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche (BSELK) verliehen worden. Den ganzen Tag noch läuft ein Studientag zum Thema “Lutherische Bekenntnisschriften”. (CB)

It’s a brilliant series and this is a well deserved honor for Prof. Dingel.  The publisher of the volume, V&R writes

Wir gratulieren unserer Autorin Irene Dingel zum Hermann-Sasse-Preis 2015!  Erhalten hat sie ihn am Wochenende für die Neuedition der »Bekenntnisschriften der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche«.
Das Buch stelle »einen Markstein in der Editionsgeschichte des Konkordienbuchs« dar, heißt es in der Pressemitteilung des Leibniz-Instituts für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz.

The prize was announced some months back but the presentation took place Saturday.  There’s more on the volumes for which the honor was received here.