Another Note on the Upcoming Carnival

Lady people- I’d be grateful if you would let me know if you see a biblical studies related post or news report or essay by a lady person.  I’m running the carnival for the month and since March is the month of women, I’d really like to include as many posts by women as I can.   And your help is indispensable because, as you know, I don’t know any women.   Except you lot…

February 2018 Biblical Studies Carnival

This month’s carnival. Good job, kiddo.

Pursuing Veritas

Welcome to the February 2018 Biblical Studies Carnival!

This 144th Biblical Studies Carnival marks the twelve year anniversary of these events. I’m honored to be facilitating today’s overview of the very best that the Biblioblogging world has to offer.

Over the next several months, these fine people will be hosting the carnival:

If you’re interested in signing up to host a future Biblical Studies Carnival (or just want to have a conversation with a truly pleasant person), contact Phil Long (email, @plong42). Hosts are needed for June, July, August, October, November, and December. Speaking of Phil, I want to thank him for continuing to coordinate these carnivals, and for allowing younger scholars such as myself the opportunity to host.

In lieu…

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One of My Favorite Stories Of David… David The Dying Mafia Boss and His Vengeance

The following is the lovely tale of David’s flight from Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion and his encounter with a certain cursing Benjaminite.

As David was reaching Bahurim, out came a man of the same clan as Saul’s family. His name was Shimei son of Gera and, as he came, he uttered curse after curse and threw stones at David and at all King David’s retinue, even though the whole army and all the champions formed an escort round the king on either side. The words of his curse were these, ‘Off with you, off with you, man of blood, scoundrel! Yahweh has paid you back for all the spilt blood of the House of Saul whose sovereignty you have usurped; and Yahweh has transferred the sovereign power to Absalom your son. Now your wickedness has overtaken you, man of blood that you are.’ Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off.’ But the king replied, ‘What concern is my business to you, sons of Zeruiah? Let him curse! If Yahweh has said to him, “Curse David!” what right has anyone to say, “Why have you done so?” ‘ David said to Abishai and all his retinue, ‘Why, the son sprung from my own body is now seeking my life; all the more reason for this Benjaminite to do so! Let him curse on, if Yahweh has told him to! Perhaps Yahweh will look on my wretchedness and will repay me with good for his curses today.’ So David and his men went on their way, and Shimei kept pace with him along the opposite mountainside, cursing as he went, throwing stones and flinging dust. (2 Sam. 16:5-13 NJB).

David sounds so peaceful, forgiving even. ‘Maybe God wants him to curse me… who knows.’ How sweet! Except David is none of those things.

Or is he? When Absalom’s rebellion ends, and David heads home, he meets Shimei again-

Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite of Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. With him were a thousand men from Benjamin. Ziba, servant of the House of Saul, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, arrived at the Jordan before the king and worked manfully ferrying the king’s family across and doing whatever he required. While the king was crossing the Jordan, Shimei son of Gera fell at the king’s feet and said to the king, ‘I hope my lord does not regard me as guilty of a crime! Forget about the wrong your servant did on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Let my lord not hold my guilt against me. For your servant is aware of having sinned, and that is why I have come today — the first member of the whole House of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.’ At this, Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up and said, ‘Does Shimei not deserve death for having cursed Yahweh’s anointed?’ To which David replied, ‘What concern is my business to you, sons of Zeruiah, that you should oppose my wishes today? Could anyone be put to death in Israel today? Today I know for sure that I am king of Israel?’ ‘Your life is spared,’ the king said. And the king gave him his oath. (2 Sam. 19:17-24 NJB)

An oath! Well, that seals it- David really is awesomely forgiving and kind. Or, is he… We next hear of Shimei when David is old and on his death bed, issuing his dying commands to his son Solomon:

You also have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim. He called down a terrible curse on me the day I left for Mahanaim, but he came down to meet me at the Jordan and I swore to him by Yahweh that I would not put him to death. But you, you must not let him go unpunished; you are a wise man and will know how to deal with him, to bring his grey head down to Sheol in blood.’ So David fell asleep with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. (1 Ki. 2:8-10 NJB)

David’s dying words were ‘I promised not to kill him, so you have to’. That’s David’s true attitude towards this cursing Benjaminite. He hid it for whatever reason for all those years but the last gasp of breath isn’t praise of God or love for son, but bitter revenge. That’s the David known to the Deuteronomist. A man despised and despicable.  A man of pretense and hypocrisy.  A bloody, bloodthirsty brute of a man.  A king. A mafia boss.

Dan Johnson Jumped off a Bridge Because He Was Under Investigation for Molesting Minors…

So his ‘church’ needs a new ‘pastor’, in case you want to send along your resume to them. Here he is with his ‘congregation’ before he threw himself off the bridge. The taller guy in the middle that the camera keeps centering on. Oh, and the ‘Church’ had drunken sex parties… so that tells you all you need to know and the gun lust shows you their real lord. (With thanks to Justin for the heads up).

The Wassy Massacre: Farel’s Murder was the Objective

March 1, 1562, Huguenot worshippers are massacred under the orders of Francis, Duke of Guise in Wassy, France. It is recognized as the first major event in the French Wars of religion.



Francis was despised by Calvin, who, in his commentary on Daniel, writes

Who knows not the crafty, treacherous, and intriguing wickedness of the Queen-mother, CATHERINE OF MEDICI? Who knows not the ambitious worldliness of the two sons of CLAUDE OF LORRAINE—Francis, the DUKE OF GUISE—the savage butcher of the HUGUENOTS of Champagne, and Charles, the CARDINAL LORRAINE, the subtle agent of Rome’s most hateful policy? These artful brothers worked their way to supreme influence in the national councils.

Interestingly, though, it was an act aimed at Farel rather than Calvin!

Enraged at [Farel’s] success, the Roman Catholics of that city formed the detestable design of massacring him and his congregation. The renegade Caroli seems to have been at the head of this plot. At his instigation the Duke of Guise sent a company of infantry, together with some cavalry, to fall upon the congregation at Gorze; which on Easter day, 1543, had assembled to the number of 300, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Service was ended, and the congregation preparing to depart, when suddenly the trumpet was heard; and Guise’s band, led by his son the Duke d’Aumale, fell upon the helpless and unsuspecting multitude. Numbers were slaughtered, and it was with difficulty that Furstenberg and Farel escaped into the castle; whence the count afterward got Farel removed, at considerable hazard, to Strasburgh, with a wagon-load of the wounded. This foul and cowardly massacre is said to have been sanctioned by the French king.

That evil act was just the first of many brutalities against the Reformed of France.

Zwingli’s Foreword to the ‘Prophet’s Bible’

On 1 March, 1529,the famous ‘Prophet’s Bible’ was published in Zurich by the printer Froschauer.  Naturally it was Zwingli’s task to write the foreword to a work which the learned clerics at Zurich in the Prophezei had produced.  Zwingli states the project’s rationale as follows:

Es sind gar vil wort by den Ebreern, die, so man sy in tütsch vertolmetschet, ir krafft unnd ducht, ir liebliche und schöne gar verlürend oder ye nitt gnuogsam ußtruckend. Uff das nun in sölichem dem Tütschen nüt manglete unnd der ursprünglichen spraach, in deren die propheten gschriben, eygenschafft und ard wol harfürbracht wurde, habend wir zuo zyten, wo es die not erforderet, annstatt des ebreischen ein anders gschoben, doch ein söliches, das die eigenschafft des ebreischen eygentlich zuo verston gebe.

That’s what translations are supposed to do!


Barth is the Abstract Art of Theology

barth_valentineAnd like abstract art, no one understands what he’s talking about.  Not even he himself.  But in order to pretend a superior insight, his viewers will declare that they do.  Take this dribble of meaninglessness-

A fully restrained and fully alive doctrine of God’s attributes will take as its fundamental point of departure the truth that God is for us fully revealed and fully concealed in His self-disclosure. We cannot say partly revealed and partly concealed, but we must actually say wholly revealed and wholly concealed at one and the same time. (Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of God, Part 1 (vol. 2, 341.)

Go ahead, explain that in language that makes sense to any sensible person.  Nay, it cannot be done because it is meaningless, like so much in Barth.  And, again, rather than admit its meaninglessness, the Barthians prefer to act as if it actually made sense, thereby striving to rescue their hero from what is obvious to everyone else: the emperor has no clothes.

Mind you, Barth could be brilliant.  It’s just that most of the time he wasn’t.  He was just obtuse and convoluted, like abstract art.  And, like abstract art, ultimately meaningless and pointless.

The Bankruptcy of Philosophical Theology

lutherSome wag said to Luther, whilst discussing difficult theological concepts-

“It is asserted in the Creed, ‘he descended into hell.’”

Luther responded,

“This must be believed. We can’t understand it. That’s the way it is. There will be debate about how the Trinity is in the unity (when there’s no relation between the infinite and the finite), how nature can produce such a strange marvel as a God-man, etc. [While occupied thus with disputation] men will let the article concerning justification go.

If only we would study in the meantime how to believe and pray and become godly! We’re not content with that which we can understand and insist on disputing about something higher, which we can’t possibly understand and which our Lord God doesn’t want us to understand. That’s the way human nature is. It wishes to do what is forbidden; the rest it ignores and then starts asking, Why? Why? Why?

This is what happens when philosophy is introduced into theology. When the devil went to Eve with the question Why? the game was up. One should be on one’s guard against this. It’s better to fall on one’s knees and pray an Our Father. This will help more. “Dear Lord God, protect us from the devil, and also from ourselves!”

There’s something glorious in simplicity and honesty that eclipses pretensions to false knowledge.

Davenant Residential Summer Courses

The Davenant Latin Institute is gearing up for this year’s Residential Summer Courses. These are designed with the needs of seminarians, graduate students, and teachers in mind, offering a chance to rapidly build your language skills during the summer break, so that you can maintain and develop them further during the following academic year with relatively minimal effort.


Ad Theobaldi Billicani et Urbani Rheii epistolae responsio

zwingliThe Lord’s Supper occupied Zwingli from 1522 onwards with things coming to a head at Marburg in 1529.  Between these two critical dates amidst disputing with the Papists and the Anabaptists, Zwingli had to explain to friends and foes his view.

On 1 March 1526 Zwingli published his Ad Theobaldi Billicani et Urbani Rheii epistolae responsio. Here Zwingli glosses a letter from Billican and writes a letter to him and Urban in order to describe more fully not only his views but to point out their errors.

It’s a pleasant read. Enjoy.