Daily Archives: 9 Nov 2018

The SBL Annual Meeting, Instagram, and a Photo Contest

Well this should be a lot of fun!  First, the Annual Meeting is on Instagram.  AND- there’s a photo contest!

Photo Contest

1. Take a photo of the Exhibit Hall Entrance, Annual Meetings Tote Bag, Annual Meetings signage, or Program Book.

Okie dokie!

2. Take a photo with your favorite session author, presenter, or panelist.

So, of myself.  Will do!

3. Take a photo of you buying a book.

Can it be of me being given one or do I actually have to buy one with money?

4. Take a photo of your favorite Denver meal.

15 a day to choose from on that one.

5. Networking matters. Introduce yourself to someone new and snap a selfie.

I know everyone who is anyone but maybe I’ll find some lowly grad kid and have them pay me to be in a pic with me.

6. Take a photo of your favorite Denver landmark.

I do the touristy thing when I’m not in the book hall.  So will do.

7. Take a selfie at a Sponsor’s booth (for a list of sponsors see your Annual Meeting Program Book).

I don’t know… this one might be a challenge.

8. Take a selfie with the Big Blue Bear.

Erm……  So have you roomed with Chris Tilling too?

9.  Take a shoefie (photo of your shoes) with your favorite convention center or hotel carpet.

I will do!

10. For bonus points, find the Instagram photo spot (you’ll recognize the hashtag #sblaar18) in front of the exhibit hall and take a creative photo!

Consider it done.  I’m all in!  I’m 100% millennial when it comes to reasons to take the selfies.

The First Testament

IVP Academic have published this new translation of the Old Testament by John Goldingay.

Most translations bend the text toward us. They make the rough places smooth, the odd bits more palatable to our modern sensibilities. In every translation something is gained and something lost.

In The First Testament: A New Translation, John Goldingay interrupts our sleepy familiarity with the Old Testament. He sets our expectations off balance by inviting us to hear the strange accent of the Hebrew text. We encounter the sinewed cadences of the Hebrew Bible, its tics and its textures. Translating words consistently, word by word, allows us to hear resonances and see the subtle figures stitched into the textual carpet. In a day of white-bread renderings of the Bible, here is a nine-grain translation with no sugar or additives.

Individual’s who translate the Bible make me nervous.  And so does their work.  NT Wright’s rendering of the New Testament was more interpretation than translation and David Bentley Hart appears not to know three words of Greek, given his extraordinarily pale and limpid attempt to render the New Testament into modern English.

Most translations of the Bible are rightly done by a team of scholars who check and recheck one another and their work has gone through more peer review than any essay or journal entry could ever hope to suffer in their most hellish nightmare.  Reviewer 2… that embodiment of the Antichrist, that always anonymous sniper shooting down from safe cover every idea and thought not her own, looks up to team translations the way a small child looks up at its mother’s hand when there’s a giant ice cream cone in it.

So I approached Goldingay’s work with more than the normal trepidation.

First, it has to be noted that this one volume translation of the Old Testament is the translation Goldingay did for his multi-volume commentary titled ‘The Old Testament for Everyone.’   If you have that series, you have this translation.

And second, even if you have that series, you should get hold of this volume because it’s easier to read through a one volume work than it is to haul around multiple volumes so you can read through the Old Testament.

Several have seen fit to review this work.  Notably, Phil Long.  And though I can’t think of many times when I have referenced another review in one of my own, this time I think it appropriate.  Because Phil has hit all the right points.  He even has a line or two to say (though a bit too blandly) about the issues involved in individual’s doing a translation for a Testament.  So if I might, I would say that I agree with Phil as much as I can.

I would only add that the translation is a joy to read.  Especially for people who have read the Bible more than once.  Is it as good as the Revised English Bible?  No.  But is it better than the New International Version or the Contemporary English Version or the New King James Version?  Oh yes.  Yes it is.  By leaps and bounds it is.

Read it.  You won’t regret it like you did when you read Wright’s and Hart’s bastardizations of the New Testament.

Old Man Self Identifies as Young Man To Get Youth Pastor Job

Signs of the times, I suppose, and goes along with all the other ‘self identifies’ madness so beloved today.

Greg Sterling, 47, sued the government earlier this week in to get his age changed 20 years younger than he actually is in order to land a job as a youth pastor at a local church.

Sterling petitioned to have his age changed to 27 so he could be cool, hip, and blend in with the youth at Combustion Youth Group.

“I know physically I look old, but I personally identify as a lit, dope 20-something and not an old man,” he told reporters. “Old people are so lame, am I right, fam? I’m hip!”

In order to live out his chosen identity as a young, cool, relatable youth pastor, Sterling wears trucker hats, sunglasses, and even a wallet chain. He listens to “contemporary” music like Carman, T-Bone, and Project 86. He uses current terminology like “dope,” “phat,” and “tight,” cementing his status as a perpetually young guy the kids can “just chill” with.

He must hate himself a lot to want to be a youth pastor but whatevs….

Quote of the Day

Who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Gal. 5:7)

All It Needs is the Word ‘White’ In Front of Male and It Will Be Peak Political Correctness

Biblical Theology of the New Testament

It’s one of the most important NT theology’s ever written (perhaps the most important since Bultmann’s) and it has no, after many years, appeared in translation so that a wider audience can benefit from its brilliance.

Since its original publication in German, Peter Stuhlmacher’s two-volume Biblische Theologie des Neuen Testaments has influenced an entire generation of biblical scholars and theologians. Now Daniel Bailey’s expert translation makes this important work of New Testament theology available in English for the first time.

Following an extended discussion of the task of writing a New Testament theology, Stuhlmacher explores the development of the Christian message across the pages of the Gospels, the writings of Paul, and the other canonical books of the New Testament. The second part of the book examines the biblical canon and its historical significance. A concluding essay by Bailey applies Stuhlmacher’s approach to specific texts in Romans and 4 Maccabees.

Professor Stuhlmacher completed his two volume theology in 1999 and published it that year.  That’s, for all intents and purposes, two decades ago now.  The English rendering now appearing is based on revised editions coming along in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century.

The volume is introduced, and summarized to an extent, by G.K. Beale and also set in its historical context by the same.  The author and the translator also have some things to say about the translation and the process through which it went to arrive in its present incarnation.  Beale’s introduction is really remarkably helpful and the author and translator segments are also very informative.

It may be the habit of some to skip such frontmatter and dive directly in to the text at hand, but readers of this work really should start at the very first page and work through it consecutively.  The argument of the work is progressive and cumulative.

The volume proper begins with a chapter titled ‘Foundations’.  Here Stuhlmacher discusses the task of New Testament theology.  Here he outlines his methodology.

‘Book One’ follows, containing six Parts.  These are

  1. The Proclamation of Jesus
  2. The Proclamation of the Early Church
  3. The Proclamation of Paul
  4. The Proclamation in the Period after Paul
  5. The Proclamation of the Synoptic Gospels
  6. The Proclamation of John and His School

‘Book Two’ is comprised of but one topic: The Problem of the Canon and the Center of Scripture.

The translator affixes a chapter he calls “Biblical and Greco-Roman Uses of Hilasterion in Romans 3:25 and 4 Maccabees 17:22 (Codex S)”.  Then follows an index of subjects, index of modern authors, and an index of Scripture and other ancient sources.

Stuhlmacher’s approach is very engaging.  And a bit unique.  For instead of talking about the problem of the Canon and the ‘center’ of the New Testament at the outset, he leaves that off until he has presented the various theological leanings of the New Testament’s various writers; and then, and only then, does he offer what he perceives to be their unifying or at least common thought.

Put another way, the volume asks what it is that Jesus proclaims, the early church proclaims, Paul proclaims, Paul’s followers proclaim, the Synoptics proclaim, and John proclaims.  What are they after?  What is their central belief?

To answer these questions, Stuhlmacher provides both what we in America would call an ‘Introduction to the Writings of the New Testament’ alongside and combined with a ‘Theology of the New Testament.’  That is, there are two volumes in one.  Additionally, his work is also something of a ‘Reception History’ of New Testament studies, providing, as it does, analysis of Stuhlmacher’s predecessors works.  There is, it’s fair to say, a lot going on between the covers.

A closer look at the various Parts of Stuhlmacher’s investigation will provide an open window to his approach.  So, for instance, Part Two, The Proclamation of the Early Church, is made up of three chapters (chapters 13-15):

  • Jesus’s Resurrection from the Dead
  • The Development of the Confession of Christ
  • The Formation, Structure, and Mission of the First Churches

Part Six, The Proclamation of John and his School, is comprised of five chapters (35-39):

  • The Tradition of the Johannine School
  • Johannine Christology
  • Life in Faith and Love
  • The Johannine View of the Church
  • The Significance of the Tradition of the Johannine School

Stuhlmacher’s writing style is engaging whilst managing also not to be plodding or boring.

The three concepts of the gospel, justification, and faith – ευαγγελιον, δικαιωσις, and πιστις – designate the heart of Paul’s mission theology.  Together these three constitute the salvation that he has to preach (p. 346).

Stuhlmacher also provides more detailed exposition in sections of smaller font print (think the sections of Barth’s Dogmatics where he uses larger print for the main argument and smaller print for exposition and analysis:  Stuhlmacher does the same).

The translator also provides not only Stuhlmacher’s original bibliography but after each chapter’s bibliography he also provides a section titled ‘Further Reading’.

Readers can always tell a lot about a scholar by the sources he or she cites and with whom he or she interacts.  Stuhlmacher’s impressive work is actually part of a larger dialogue within German theological circles about central concerns of the discipline.  He interacts herein, then, with the ideas of Bultmann, Gese, Jeremias, Käsemann, and Wilckens, along with scores of other lesser luminaries.

This is an encylclopedic volume of over 900 pages in total.  It is superbly argued, brilliantly translated, incredibly faithful to its Urtext, and virtually a graduate level year long seminar on New Testament theology.  Indeed, it is well suited as a textbook for a course on New Testament which could easily span two semesters of upper level Seminary work.

I enjoyed the first edition German version; I love the English version based on revisions.  To say that I recommend it highly is the understatement of the century.  I recommend it utterly and unreservedly.  It is the sort of volume that those who read it will know more than those who don’t could ever hope to know.   It is an education in itself and a thorough one at that on the subject of the theology of the New Testament.

Get it.  Get it today.  Read it. Use it for coursework.  Assign it to your students.  Require it.  And if they don’t read it, fail them.

CBA Annual Meeting News


@TheTweetOfGod — The largest religious group in America is Ians.

Christians without Christ.

If Christians Treated Sports the Way they Do Worship

Another Gunman…. Again

At a school in North Carolina.

This country…

Life in Rural America

The worst thing about living in the gulag of rural America is that internet service support is non existent outside the hours of 5 pm till 9 am. If your internet goes down, there is absolutely no one to contact. So if you have a meeting or any online coursework, too bad.

Peak Lunacy

Has arrived…

Thanks, Dutchlander. You’ve brought us to speak lunacy.

Rudolf Bultmann: The Morning After Kristallnacht

bultmann22As related by Kurt Anders Richardson on FB-

Some years ago as a visiting prof at Uni Marburg theologische Fakultaet, I was told several times by different people about a certain non-lecture event. On the morning after that first Nazi pogrom, “Kristallnacht”, the regular lecture of Rudolf Bultmann was to take place.

His usual hall was on the third floor in the south east corner of the building with windows on two sides. For years the view had included the Synagogue of Marburg; but now, it was a smoking foundation.

Bultmann walked in at his usual time to a packed and silent room, everyone braced to hear what he might have to say – although all were now fearful to say anything. He came to the lectern, opened his folder, but immediately turned away from the students, walking over to the windows. For the entire period Bultmann stood staring out the window at the empty space and made no sound whatsoever. At the end of the time he returned to his notes, closed the folder, and walked out of the room.

Sometimes, many times indeed, silence speaks loudest of all.  Bultmann became a member of the Confessing Church and an inveterate foe of the ‘German Christians’ and Naziism.  Because of his standing he was left alone.  Had he been a man of less importance there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t have died in a death camp.

Kristallnacht: An Observation

Kristallnacht- proof of the existence of true evil. #NeverForget #NeverAgain

Call For Papers


Call for papers:
The Eleventh Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament

There are still three weeks before the deadline for paper proposals for the Eleventh Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament:

The next Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament will be held in Birmingham from Monday 4th to Wednesday 6th March 2019.

Proposals are invited for papers on the subject of New Testament textual criticism. In this colloquium, we intend to focus on matters relating to versional evidence (Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Georgian, Ethiopic etc.) and other indirect sources (e.g. biblical quotations). The standard length of a paper will be 25 minutes.

Proposals should be submitted to H.A.G.Houghton@bham.ac.uk by 1st December 2018 at the latest. A programme will be released subsequently, along with a booking form. As in previous years, accommodation has been reserved at Woodbrooke Study Centre.

Further information about the Birmingham Colloquium may be found at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/colloquium. This call for papers is also online at: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/itsee/news/2018/colloquium-cfp.aspx

Papers from the tenth colloquium are now available from Gorgias Press: https://www.gorgiaspress.com/liturgy-and-the-living-text-of-the-new-testament

Best wishes,
Hugh Houghton