Daily Archives: 3 Apr 2018
You MUST listen to this report from NPR today. It is exceptionally important. And incredibly timely.
This volume is part of the Changing Perspectives sub-series, which is constituted by anthologies of articles by world-renowned biblical scholars and historians that have made an impact on the field and changed its course during the last decades. This volume offers a collection of seminal essays by Keith Whitelam on the early history of ancient Palestine and the origins and emergence of Israel. Collected together in one volume for the first time, and featuring one unpublished article, this volume will be of interest to biblical and ancient Near Eastern scholars interested in the politics of historical representation but also on critical ways of constructing the history of ancient Palestine.
Looking forward to it very much.
Reading Christian Theology in the Protestant Tradition offers a distinctive approach to the value of classic works through the lens of Protestantism. While it is anachronistic to speak of Christian theology prior to the Reformation as “Protestant”, it is wholly appropriate to recognize how certain common Protestant concerns can be discerned in the earliest traditions of Christianity. The resonances between the ages became both informative and inspiring for Protestants who looked back to pre-reformation sources for confirmation, challenge, and insight. Thus this book begins with the first Christian theologians, covering nearly 2000 years of theological writing from the Didache, Justin Martyr, and Origen to James Cone, José Míguez Bonino, and Sallie McFague. Five major periods of church history are represented in 12 key works, each carefully explained and interpreted by an expert in the field.
Imagine, for a moment, being in a cafe and sitting around with people who just happen to be experts in some of the most important theological works in the history of Christian thought. And then imagine that said experts all go around the group and describe what they consider to be the most important books in that tradition- and specifically in the Protestant branch of that tradition. And then imagine that each of those experts pulls out a few books they think are incredibly important and commence to describe the contents for you and the rest of the group- adding introductory remarks which place the work in its historical context and ample citations from the work to make each point along the way. And that, in essence, is what you have in the present volume.
This collection of resources isn’t a ‘reader’. And it isn’t a flat description of important works either. It is a series of learned ‘book reviews’ which describe the contents and importance of very important Christian writings. The book is arranged chronologically:
Part One- The Early Church Period (100-500) and we are introduced to works like the Didache, the Dialogue with Trypho, and other such things.
Part Two- The Medieval Period (up to 1500) and here we get such things as Lombard’s Sentences.
Part Three- the most interesting part, covers 1500- 1600 and here we find Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and other luminaries, including some notable women.
Part Four- the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. With the likes of Wesley and Arminius and other terrible people.
Part Five- the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Yes, Barth and Brunner and that oddball Tillich and other strange but ‘important’ persons.
It’s fairly clear that once the 16th century passed, theology took a nosedive until Brunner. But perhaps that’s just this person’s opinion. In any event the work concludes with a great little section wherein each essay is summarized.
The collection leans on the expertise of its very knowledgeable contributors and 99% of the time they are on the mark. They do, however, make tiny errors from time to time- not in their representations of the texts they handle but in their biographical observations about our theological forebears. For instance, describing Zwingli, our contributor remarks
“As a preacher, Zwingli, a trained humanist and an ex-soldier…”
Zwingli was a trained humanist and he was an ex-chaplain but he was not an ex-solider in the sense of ex-combatant. Zwingli never wielded a weapon in battle, either at Marignano or later at Kappel-am-Albis. When modern readers see the word ‘soldier’ they instantly think ‘combat soldier’. That was not who Zwingli was and the eventual confusion about the matter could have been avoided had our author simply used ‘chaplain’ instead of ‘soldier’. But the rest, the 99%, is spot on. (Still, I am driven to go and gather in the 1% of facts left out in the wilderness of inaccuracy and leave the 99% right in the safety of the fold, as Jesus commands…)
That leads me to make the cautionary observation that whilst this is an excellent volume, readers will certainly want to check out the facts with other works which are more specialized.
The choice of works is very good and though while I would have added some theologians left out and left out some that are included, I certainly cannot fault the editors for their selections. Such a collection is by its very nature idiosyncratic (in the best sense of the word) and that would be true of any similar collection.
I also am compelled to admit that I learned a great deal about some theologians I had not had any dealings with since grad school. And that, I think, is a good thing. Other readers will be introduced to thinkers they have never heard of. And that’s a good thing too.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable gigantic book. Get a copy, take it to your local Starbucks, sit in a corner, turn off your electronics, and have some fun ‘discussing’ the important works of important theologians. And be sure to read the chapters concerning persons you’ve never heard of. Your theological world will be expanded. And that, in short, is the glory of this volume.
NB- Below are the full table of contents:
Details here. The guy teaching the course is an absolute genius. And no, I don’t mean me this time.
This fun and informal 5 day course aims to build confidence with the alphabet and language of the New Testament. Throughout the course we will be working closely with the Greek New Testament and by the end of the week you will gain the knowledge and skills to be able to read simple sentences and clauses from it. The course will be particularly useful for those wanting to read the primary sources (New Testament, Septuagint, Church Fathers) in their original language or scholarly works where Greek terms and passages are cited. Although the emphasis will be on the later form of Greek (koine) used by the New Testament authors, much of the course can be directly applied to other forms of Greek and would therefore be helpful for historians wanting an introduction into Classical Greek.
The website for registration for the 2018 British New Testament Conference at St Mary’s University, Twickenham (London), Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 September, is now open, here. (For any who are planning to stay off campus, a ‘daily rate’ will soon be added to the registration website—please wait for this if that’s your intention.) Travel details by various means to the St Mary’s campus are here.
There is a plan afoot to offer two visits on Thursday before the conference formally begins (in similar manner to the visit to the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin in 2017), and more details will follow. One is a guided visit to the National Gallery led by Dr Michelle Fletcher, who is Research Assistant in the King’s College London project to produce a visual commentary on the Bible—many of you will know Michelle as a regular member of the conference. The other is a visit to the British Library to learn about their collection of biblical manuscripts. As you can see from the registration pages, there is the possibility of arriving a day early, on Wednesday, and/or leaving a day later, on Sunday—and that may be helpful for those travelling to London from a distance who would like to join in with one or both of these visits. More details to follow.
If you have questions about the local arrangements, please contact Professor Chris Keith, who chairs the organising committee, here.
In other news, your committee were asked to nominate people for the REF panel for Theology and Religious Studies, and we have this week heard the good news that Professor David Horrell of the University of Exeter has been included in the ‘first cut’ panel to devise criteria for the panel to work with. Warm congratulations to David on this appointment. More information here. There will be a further opportunity to nominate potential members in 2020, once the panel has a sense of the volume of material to be considered in various sub-disciplines of TRS, and your committee will work further on this at that point.
This comes with warm good wishes for the Easter break.
Another Member of the ‘Well Regulated Militia’ Shoots Someone in the Head, While Showing off on Facebook…
Facebook Live video shows the moment a man was accidentally shot in the head on Easter, leaving him in critical condition. The victim, Devyn Holmes, was in a car with a woman and another man who were playing with two guns when he was shot around 2 a.m. Sunday. “You’re making me nervous,” Holmes says in the Facebook Live, captured outside a Valero gas station on Almeda and Southmore in Houston.
Here’s the part that proves it happened in Texas:
The woman who fired the weapon is only being charged with tampering with evidence after police said she tried to wipe off her hands before testing for gun powder residue.
The stupid never ends.