Daily Archives: 18 Apr 2017

The Bee Stings the ‘Life Verse’-ers

Lots of Christians have a “life verse”—a Bible verse that they set aside as especially meaningful to them, tucking it into their heart as a reminder or inspirational thought they can turn to at any time during their faith walk.

Do YOU have a life verse? If you don’t, you’ve come to the right place! Just answer the following three simple questions and we’ll match you with a PERFECT life verse that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

And for those of you who already have a life verse—we have good news for you, too: you’re about to have a new and improved one that suits you even better!

LOL – here’s mine…


Aramaic Tobit at Qumran

Here’s a good one:

For a long time, the book of Tobit has been studied as a one-of-a-kind composition, with other so-called “novels,” such as Esther and the book of Judith. However, the presence of Aramaic copies of Tobit among the Qumran scrolls, together with other Aramaic texts, revealed its background and context and taught us much about the language and cultural setting of the composition. Most particularly, Tobit shows affinity to the Aramaic stories about the biblical patriarchs and to the Aramaic court-tales. Despite the fact that this corpus is the closest to Tobit in time and place, little has been done to utilize the Qumran Aramaic literature as a key to interpreting Tobit. This may be due partly to the well-anchored opinion, still maintained by numerous scholars, that Tobit was composed in the “Eastern Diaspora.” The Tobit copies found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and the numerous links Tobit displays to the Aramaic texts discovered there, suggest that the origin and setting of the book is in the land of Israel.


Pettegree Reviews Roper

Among many things, he notes

It is inevitable that the anniversary of the Reformation would bring forth a flood of new publications. “Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet” is undoubtedly one of the best and most substantial. Deeply researched over a period of more than 10 years, this biography offers a fresh and deeply illuminating study of the man who somewhat reluctantly divided a continent. What emerges is a work of impeccable scholarship and painstaking fairmindedness. In particular Roper has mined the correspondence, which illuminates every page of this book, as Luther coped with the strains of first becoming a public figure, searched for allies and unburdened himself to trusted friends. In letters that were both deeply learned and alarmingly frank, his charisma shines through, but we also see his complexity: He was a man who could, by turns, be abusive and utterly unforgiving, but also gentle, affectionate and funny.

Roper is especially good on Luther’s unusual upbringing as the son of a mining family. It was a hard life, full of risk; they lived well, but always one bad business decision away from disaster. Young Martin knew that the price of his education was an investment in the family’s future, and how much his decision to abandon his legal studies in favor of a church career would disrupt his father’s plans. But any breach between the two healed, and Luther rose steadily through the ranks of the Augustinian order. His appointment as professor in Wittenberg was at first unwelcome; Luther felt he had been exiled to a provincial backwater.

And he concludes

… but the focus on Luther’s inner life leaves us with an incomplete sense of how the man became a movement.

I agree in large part with Pettegree’s assessment and his summary of the volume is superb.  But Roper has really delivered a fantastic volume and the singular weakness of the volume (being its peering sometimes too deeply into Luther’s psychology) does not mitigate the book’s worth.  Even just a little.

Christophe Chalamet Has a New Book Out

Une voie infiniment supérieure: Essai sur la foi, l’espérance et l’amour

Le professeur de théologie Christophe Chalamet propose un essai audacieux qui, en s’appuyant autant sur ses convictions intimes que sur d’innombrables ressources théologiques, cherche à réfléchir sur la foi, l’espérance et l’amour. Pour l’auteur en effet, cette « triade » doit se comprendre en tant qu’actes humains qui répondent à un agir antécédent qui les fonde ; en définitive, selon Christophe Chalamet, c’est la puissance de Dieu – avant tout le reste – qui permet à la foi, à l’espérance et à l’amour d’émerger chez l’être humain. Un passionnant parcours et une réflexion théologique inédite.

Luther’s Wife, Luther’s Life

Here’s a new volume that will interest folk:

Wenn Engel lachen: Die unverhoffte Liebesgeschichte der Katharina von Bora

Fabian Vogt

Weder die eigenwillige Katharina von Bora noch der ehrenwerte Professor Martin Luther hätten gedacht, dass aus ihnen mal ein Paar werden würde. Denn Katharina war unsterblich in einen Patriziersohn verliebt, während Luther ein Auge auf Katharinas Freundin Ava geworfen hatte. Beide wollten sie ein gutes Wort für den jeweils anderen einlegen.

Wie aus dieser Abmachung im Atelier von Lukas Cranach schließlich doch eines der berühmtesten Paare unserer Geschichte wird, erzählt Fabian Vogt höchst unterhaltsam und spannend. Und nimmt uns mit hinein in eine Liebe, in der sich die ganze Dynamik der Reformation widerspiegelt. Ein mitreißendes Lesevergnügen.

Dear Academics

Pile of BooksIf you agree to provide an essay for a collection of essays or a Festschrift please respect the deadlines which the editors establish.  Taking said deadlines halfheartedly is a tremendous problem for those who are putting volumes together and strains nerves, hearts, and minds.

Would you allow your students to take weeks or in some cases months past course assignment deadlines to turn work in?  I wouldn’t.  You wouldn’t either.

So why treat your colleagues that way?  If you don’t have the time, don’t agree to participate.  If you agree to participate, make the time.


[Written on behalf of all those poor benighted editors who are crushed to the point of asylum despair thanks to missed deadlines and mountainous excuses the post-doc equivalent of ‘the dog ate my assignment’].

Grazie.  Mille grazie!