Daily Archives: 4 May 2018

SWBTS Used to be A Great Seminary, But it has Jumped the Shark

Any institution led by a self righteous arrogant misogynist who imagines himself a dictator and who fires anyone who calls his behavior into question doesn’t deserve the financial support of Southern Baptists.  Furter, such a leader needs to be immediately removed from his position.  Paige Patterson must be terminated.  He is a disgrace to Baptists and a disgrace to Christianity.  

He is a stumbling block and according to Jesus it would have been better for Patterson had he never been born.

Patterson MUST go.

Closing the Gap: Best Practices for Integrating Historical and Theological Exegesis

Colleagues, registration is now open for an exciting conference in Durham focused on theological interpretation. It’s entitled ‘Closing the Gap: Best Practices for Integrating Historical and Theological Exegesis’. Amidst a burgeoning interest in reading biblical texts theologically, our aim is to have a concrete discussion about the actual practices employed in this kind of exegetical work. What forms of best practice might one use for integrating historical and theological exegesis? How should students design research projects that combine these approaches? What pitfalls should the theological interpreter avoid and why? The conference is due to take place on June 18-19 and it involves specialists from the UK and USA, including NT scholars John Barclay, Grant Macaskill, Wesley Hill, Katherine Grieb, Loveday Alexander, Elizabeth Shively, and Francis Watson. The registration cost is £23 for those outside of Durham. Spaces are limited so register soon: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=979

Go if you can go.  It sounds like a blast.

To Be Famous He Sure Doesn’t Think Very Clearly

‘Everything’?  Nope.  ‘Yes’? Nope.  God says no to all manner of things.

Thomas Römer appears in a Graphic Nonfiction Book!

Words can’t express how much I love this. I NEED to read this book.

Remnant of Giants

Thomas Römer, Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at the College de France, now appears as a character in a new graphic nonfiction book!

The book, Naissance de la Bible: Comment elle a été écrite [The Birth of the Bible: How it came to be written] (Brussels: Le Lombard, 4 May 2018) is the 23rd volume to be published in the series La petite Bédéthèque des Savoirs. Books in the series provide academic introductions in comic-book form to subjects as wide-ranging as artificial intelligence, the history of prostitution, feminism, rugby, liberalism, and human rights. In Naissance de la Bible, Thomas Römer and the illustrator Léonie Bischoff discuss the content of the Bible, how it came to be written, and the origins of the god Yahweh.

For example, in one part of Naissance de la Bible, Thomas Römer tells Léonie Bischoff that there are often different laws and or different…

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David French’s ‘Open Letter to Trump’s Evangelical Defenders’

French is right.  Completely.

A Christian’s primary purpose is not to defend his own religious liberty. It’s not even to fight abortion — as vital as that task is. His basic task on this Earth isn’t protecting Christian education or preserving the freedom of Christian artists. Each of those things is important. Each of those things is necessary. But their defense cannot and must not compromise our true purpose.

And what is that purpose? I’m reminded of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

Or, I’m reminded of Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Or, let’s refer to Christ’s famous words: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Taken together, these words indicate that our life on this Earth should glorify God, demonstrate profound virtue, and count even our lives forfeit in the pursuit of eternal truth. We are told — promised, even — that in living this life we should expect the world’s scorn. We are told — promised, even — that we will suffer trials of many kinds, and those trials can include brutal persecution.

We are not told, however, to compromise our moral convictions for the sake of earthly relief, no matter how dire the crisis. We are not told to rationalize and justify sinful actions to preserve political influence or a popular audience. We are not told that the ends of good policies justify silence in the face of sin. Indeed — and this message goes out specifically to the politicians and pundits who go on television and say things they do not believe (you know who you are) to protect this administration and to preserve their presence in the halls of the power — there is specific scripture that applies to you:

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

The president of the United States has paid hush money to a porn star — apparently to cover up a tryst that occurred shortly after the birth of his son. And that’s hardly his only affair. More than a dozen women have accused him of sexual assault or some form of sexual harassment. He has been caught lying, repeatedly and regularly. Yet there are numerous Christians of real influence and prominence who not only won’t dare utter a negative word about the president, they’ll vigorously turn the tables on his critics, noting the specks in his critics’ eyes while ignoring the sequoia-sized beam in their own.

I’m sorry, but you cannot compartmentalize this behavior, declare that it’s “just politics,” and take solace that you’re a good spouse or parent, that you serve in your church and volunteer for mission trips, or that you’re relatively charitable and kind in other contexts. It’s sin, and it’s sin that is collapsing the Evangelical moral witness.

Read it all.

If 40 People Haven’t Entered a Starvation Pact Until they Kill You…

You haven’t really annoyed anyone.

When it was day, the Jews held a secret meeting at which they made a vow not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. More than forty of them entered this pact,  and they went to the chief priests and elders and told them, ‘We have made a solemn vow to let nothing pass our lips until we have killed Paul.  Now it is up to you and the Sanhedrin together to apply to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you meant to examine his case more closely; we, on our side, are prepared to dispose of him before he reaches you.’  (Acts 23:12-15)

When that many people are mad enough at you to kill you or starve to death themselves, you know you’ve touched a nerve.

Just 37 to go…

Signs of the Times

Via Erik Vanden Carbuncle on the twitter

What the Talmud Says About Men Who Can’t Control Their Lust: Let Them Die

via Wil Gafney on FB.  And get the Sefaria App for yourself.  It contains the Hebrew text of the Bible, plus the English Mishnah, the Talmud, and many other resources.

Thomas Römer Has a New Book Out

Naissance de la bible, Thomas Römer, Léonie Bischoff

Present and Future of Biblical Studies

This is a terrible work and ultimately  a thoroughly unsatisfying volume.  The good folk at Brill (and I love them) have provided a review copy which I’ve read through and weighed in the balances and found more than wanting.

What is the current state of the field known as biblical studies? How will biblical studies continue to develop in this diverse, globalized, and digital age? In this book, a diverse group of scholars who are known for their innovative practice of biblical interpretation come together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the critically acclaimed journal, Biblical Interpretation, by sharing their thoughts on and questions about the assumptions, practices, and parameters of biblical studies as well as their desires and fears about its disciplinary future. Covering a wide range of topics, geographical regions, resources, understandings, and viewpoints, this exceptional collection of essays will make you and help you rethink the conventions and convictions of biblical studies as an academic discipline.

I’ll say right up front that I found the work virtually useless.  Terribly irrelevant.  Depressingly self absorbed.  The essays fail to instruct and instead simply serve as a sort of mirror allowing their various authors to look at their own interests without regard for the reader on the other side of the page.  As a result, the essays don’t connect (at least with the present reader).

We’re treated to lots and loads and freight cars full of literary theory in the pages between the covers.  We hear a lot about this philosopher and that literary critic and how so and so’s work has influenced the essayists, but we don’t hear anything substantive or even interesting.

The introduction sets the tone for the volume: mind numbingly boring. We’re ‘treated’ to soul killing sentences like ‘If nostalgia is about entangled time as well as related to narrative, what we find in this volume are some rather entangled narratives about biblical studies, whether it is about historical criticism or about the place of the Bible’ (p. 9).   ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………

Reading the essays in this collection was literally one of the worst reading experiences I’ve had since I suffered through Hector Avalos’ grotesquely ignorant volume on the future of biblical studies.  Many words, signifying nothing.

The volume, were it a piece of art, would be a splotch of paint on a canvas dolloped by an elephant or an infant around which the pompous and silly would gather and exclaim that it was the most genius work of art they had ever seen.  It is a circle of rocks on a museum floor.

And it just doesn’t improve anywhere along the way.  Take this meaningless gem from page 147: “Reading alongside Edelman, unveiling, no matter who is being unveiled, maintains a heteronormative fantasy of reproductive futurity because it provides for a telos that preserves a fantasy of the subject and unified and unifiable, a possible future in which the Veil of Color or the white mask may be removed, and a truer self may be articulated and experienced.’

Such writing is full of itself.  And therefore completely pointless.  Essayists here are simply performing auto-erotic intellectualism and reaching satisfaction alone and singularly.  They are arrogant in their pretense and a travesty of wasted intelligence.  They could all do better: they could communicate.  But because they instead wished to ‘show off’ they achieved meaninglessness.  This is a meaningless volume.

I hate this book.  Every page of it.  I feel robbed of valuable time having read it and I regret with my entire being asking to review it.  I’ll know better next time.  In short, having read this work, I can echo, mutatis mutandis, this famous scene as my own final thoughts on this book:


Americans talk a lot about equality but what they really mean by the word is advantage.  America is a land ruled by oligarchs and special interests and judicial fiat.  Were America an actual democracy the populace would vote and issues would be decided.

So, for instance, the NRA is an organization with barely 5 million members.  That’s a tiny fragment of the population.  Yet instead of gun policy being determined by the majority of voting citizens policy is set by the NRA board and sent up to their bought and paid for elected officials who force the will of the minority on the majority.

The NRA doesn’t want the public to decide.  It doesn’t believe in democracy, it believes in domination and advantage.

And the same is true of every hot button political decision.  Follow the money and you can easily foretell the future of policy decisions in this un-democratic country.

Go ahead- try to prove me wrong.  I dare you to.

Felix Manz

John Barclay in Zurich: The Livestream

Anthropology, History and Theology: Are They Compatible is the title of Barclay’s lecture. And it will be held on Tuesday, May 8th at 10 a.m. Eastern Time here in the US (4 p.m. local time in Zurich)(calculate your local time accordingly).

The livestream will commence at 4:15 but drop in here at 4 and share the link with others.

Quote of the Day

“What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies”—Thomas Cranmer

Given the Way Many ‘Evangelicals’ Are Behaving, This Engraving By Dürer Seems Appropriate

Borders and Boundaries in Ancient Israel

Carly Crouch announced this on the SOTS facebook page-

The University of Nottingham’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies is excited to host a two-day interdisciplinary conference on borders and boundaries in ancient Israel on 5-6 June 2018.

Keynote addresses will be given by Dr. Christopher B. Hays(Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA), Dr. Shayna Sheinfeld (Centre College, Danville KY) and Dr. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman (Providence College, Providence RI).

The conference is generously funded by the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, and a limited number of bursaries will be available for student presenters who would otherwise not be able to attend the conference. Application forms may be requested via email and bursaries will be awarded on the basis of need.

Registration is free but necessary for catering numbers.

Go if you can.  Nottingham is a lovely city (even though it tried to kill me with the flu during SOTS a couple of years ago).

Here’s the program.