Daily Archives: 1 Nov 2017

Sign of the Times

Commentary Plagiarism, Again, Causes Baker to Pull Koestenberger’s Commentary on John

Baker writes

The commentary on John by Andreas Köstenberger in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) series has been declared out of print. Baker Academic recently became aware that while the author frequently cites D. A. Carson in the volume, he also used some material from Dr. Carson’s Pillar commentary on John without sufficient attribution and beyond the limits of fair use. After a thorough examination of the matter, we have determined that the only suitable solution at this time is to cease publication of the BECNT John volume.

Dr. Köstenberger was the first to bring this matter to our attention. He has identified the cause of the problem, has apologized to his mentor Dr. Carson, and has made restitution to Dr. Carson and his publisher. Dr. Köstenberger also intends to produce a new edition of the commentary that will bring it into conformity with academic publishing standards and incorporate his more recent research on John.

Baker Publishing Group regrets the inconvenience caused by this matter. We will work with accounts and customers to rectify any concerns raised. And we affirm our ongoing commitment to publishing in accordance with the standards of the academy and the publishing industry.

Yup, That’s a Heretic For Ya…

Retweeted Dr Michael J. Svigel (@Svigel):  – Theology 101: “The heretics give as much veneration to their opinions as the pagans do to their gods.” (Vincent)

Remember, that Live Lecture by Lyndal on Luther is at 2 PM Eastern Time

November 1, at 6 PM (UK time)-  (and here is the direct link to their facebook live stream).

When Luther was close to death he reportedly exclaimed: ‘Living I was your plague O Pope, Dead I will be your Death.’

This lecture marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his famous 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. It will focus on the passions that drove Luther throughout his life, including the use of images by the artist Lucas Cranach to create a distinctive visual style to convey his message.

The Reconstruction of Vadian

THIS is fascinating!


As #election2018 nears how about everyone agree not to vote based on what they see on facebook or twitter. How about we all agree to that.

The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media

The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media is a convenient and authoritative reference tool, introducing specific terms and concepts helpful to the study of the Bible and related literature in ancient communications culture. Since the early 1980s, biblical scholars have begun to explore the potentials of interdisciplinary theories of oral tradition, oral performance, personal and collective memory, ancient literacy and scribality, visual culture and ritual. Over time these theories have been combined with considerations of critical and exegetical problems in the study of the Bible, the history of Israel, Christian origins, and rabbinics. The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media responds to the rapid growth of the field by providing a source of reference that offers clear definitions, and in-depth discussions of relevant terms and concepts, and the relationships between them.

A review copy was provided some weeks ago and my thoughts on the work follow:

The volume contains a list of entries, a list of contributors (which is almost as long as the list of entries), editorial bios of the three chief editors, a little entry called ‘How to use this book’ and an introduction to media studies and biblical studies.

Entries include such topics as ‘Jan Assmann’, ‘Rudolf Bultmann’, ‘Circumcision’, ‘Code Switching’, ‘Dance’, ‘Epigraphy’, ‘Guslar’ (and I admit, I had no idea what that was supposed to be.  I imagined it must be some sort of Hipster beer or some such thing), ‘Iconography in the Hebrew Bible’, ‘Libraries’, a half dozen or so entries on some aspect of ‘Memory’ (which one would expect given the presence of Chris Keith on the editorial board), ‘Susan Niditch’, ‘Pilgrimage’, ‘Plato (on Writing and Memory)’, ‘Riddles’, ‘Social Memory’ (!), ‘Targums’, ‘Verbatim Memory’ (!!), ‘Wax Tablet’, and a great hoard of others.

It may seem, at first glance, that the topics  selected for entry are completely random, or ideologically motivated.  But that isn’t actually the case.  Rather, the selected topics all do ‘fit together’ and when the volume’s opening section is consulted (the bit called ‘How to use this book’) it all makes actual sense.  It aims, according to the editors, to introduce users to the blossoming field of Media studies and its fruitfulness (or at least potential fruitfulness) for biblical studies, ‘… by providing a convenient handbook of key terms, concepts, methods, and voices that are frequently encountered in media-critical studies of the Bible’.

Naturally, they continue, the entries in the Dictionary are not exhaustive, and many other topics could be included.  Yet it seems clear to this reader that their own key term is ‘communications culture’.  That is the term that summarizes the volume and its central concern.  It is, I presume, the newest ‘buzzword’ and I suspect in the next few years many, many papers at SBL will include somewhere in their titles the phrase ‘Communications Culture’ or ‘Media Culture’.  This volume, to put it plainly, will probably just be the first of many which focus on ‘communications’ in connection with Biblical Studies.

Whether ‘communications culture’ will become the latest flash in the pan fad of biblical studies or whether it will eek out a permanent place in the methodological universe remains to be seen.  We appear to be merely at the opening of the play, with several acts to follow (to mix metaphors).

The question, at present, remains:  is this a useful volume?  Every reader will have their own opinion on the topic and answer to that question, but for my part, I would say yes, very much so; and no, perhaps not.  Allow me to excerpt a portion in illustration of my answer by means of a snippet of the entry on Bultmann:

I think it fair to say that Bultmann would be very surprised to learn that he was a practitioner of ‘Media Criticism of the Bible’.  So perhaps the method is a bit forced at this point.  Perhaps it’s seeing ‘media criticism’ where none is really to be found.  But of course this is a natural stage in the development in any new methodology: in striving to justify its existence, it must provide examples of it.  Sometimes those examples are more than a little tendentious.

However, let me hasten to say that the book does better.  Here’s an excerpt from an entry that actually does have to do with media:

Thus the volume strives mightily to justify itself and its nascent methodology and at some points it fails but in many it succeeds.  For what is essentially the first attempt at a new field in relationship to study of the bible, it’s very useful.

I recommend it.  It will surely be turned to by students and scholars in the near future as a groundbreaking resource.  Whether, however, it has shelf life remains to be seen.

William of Ockham: Luther Learned Everything He Knew From Him

Irene Dingel writes (in her fantastic new volume)

ockhamIn seinen Streitschriften wandte sich Ockham besonders gegen den Gedanken der »plenitudo potestatis« und die Zwei-Schwerter-Lehre. Gegen die herrschende päpstliche Ansicht vertrat er die Meinung, dass auch die höchste weltliche Gewalt unmittelbar von Gott, nicht etwa vom Papst, in ihr Amt eingesetzt sei. Außerdem sprach er dem Konzil die höchste kirchliche Autorität zu.

Luther was hardly original in his thinking.  He’s only thought to be such by those relatively unfamiliar with those who came before him.

Alister McGrath on ‘Protestantism’s Dangerous Idea’

The essay is here.

To its many supporters, the Protestant Reformation represented a necessary correction and long overdue renewal of the Christian faith, liberating it from its imprisonment to the transient medieval intellectual and social order, and preparing it for new challenges, as western Europe emerged from the feudalism of the Middle Ages.

Christianity was being born all over again, with a new potency and capacity to engage with an emerging new world order. Yet from its outset, the movement was seen by its critics as a menacing development, opening the way to religious mayhem, social disintegration and political chaos.

What I want to consider here is one of the most significant and distinct Protestant beliefs which emerged from the Reformation, which proved to be charged with revolutionary promise, creating new conceptual and practical possibilities that had the potential to change the face of Christianity.

The Logos Free Book (But Not a Book this Time) of the Month