Daily Archives: 13 Aug 2019

LXX Scholar Interview: Dr. Peter J. Gentry Discusses His New Critical Edition

An interesting exchange which raises a couple of questions for me. Especially this Q&A-

What surprised you about the book (e.g., its language, translation, variants, etc.), particularly in relationship to MT?

What surprised me about the book in terms of language, translation, variants? The Greek Translation has only a dozen places where it differs from MT, and most of these are not serious issues. The differences between MT and LXX were exaggerated by the editor of the BHQ volume on Ecclesiastes.

How so?

Septuaginta &c.

Within a discipline as small and technical as Septuagint scholarship the definition of “exciting news” starts to look pretty odd to the typical person on the street. But for those of us involved in the field, the appearance of a new edition within the corpus certainly qualifies.

This is precisely what has happened within the last few weeks, as Dr. Peter J. Gentry finished the critical text of Greek Ecclesiastes. Gentry is a well respected scholar within Septuagint studies as well as the Donald L. Williams Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. According to a recent Facebook post by Peter’s wife, Barbara, this volume represents over two decades’ worth of labor. Thankfully, he is not the only one at work on the so-called Göttingen edition, as a handful of other volumes are currently underway.

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Not Christian, Not Prophet

They Really Haven’t

The reasoning is circular. All the find really tells us is that there was a conflagration. The evidence doesn’t tell us who did the burning nor when, firmly, it took place.

Of course facts never get in the way of yet more ‘bible proven true’ rhetoric.

Peter Opitz’s Bio of Zwingli is Now Available in French


The Zwinglis


New Essays By Avraham Faust

Faust, 2019, ‘The Inhabitants of Philistia’: On the identity of the Iron I settlers in the periphery of the Philistine Heartland, Palestine Exploration Quarterly 151: 105-133.

Faust, A., 2019, A Social Archaeology of the Kingdom of Judah, in A. Yasur-Landau, E. Cline and Y. Rowan (eds.), The Social Archaeology of the Levant: From Prehistory to the Present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 337-353.

Faust, A., 2018, Social Stratification in the Iron Age Levant, in J.S. Greer, J.W. Hilber, and J.H. Walton (eds.), Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social and Historical Contexts of Ancient Israel, Baker Academic, pp. 482-491.

As always, well worth a read.

The Theology of Heinrich Bullinger

Many years ago I began corresponding with W. P. Stephens, author of many studies on both Zwingli and Bullinger. Almost simultaneously Joe Mock and I also began corresponding and a true friendship developed, with both of them.

Joe and I finally met in the flesh in 2014 at the Calvin Conference in Zurich. Meanwhile, Professor Stephens was beginning work on a new project titled ‘The Theology of Heinrich Bullinger’.

As Prof. Stephens experienced the onset of many age related issues he became concerned that his book would be left unfinished, so he emailed Joe (whom he had also been corresponding with) and asked if we might be willing to see the volume to its completion, whatever the stage it happened to be in should he pass.

We both immediately agreed and set to work on the manuscript.

In February the three of us met in Zurich during the Zwingli conference and discussed many aspects of the work as well as which publisher might be best placed to bring it to the public.

In March it was decided that Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht would be ideal. Herman Selderhuis quickly welcomed the project to the Reformed Historical Theology series which he oversees and compiling the volume continued apace.

Then, tragically, Prof. Stephens died in early April of this year and Joe and I were left to conclude the work.

Today the final contract arrived. The volume is in the very capable hands of the publisher, and it should soon appear on their website for pre-order.

I hope you will read it if Reformed theology is of interest to you. It is an exceptional volume: not because of Joe and I, but because Prof. Stephens was such a brilliant scholar.

This volume will stand as his memorial. And it is worthy of doing so.

Pray for Hong Kong

Things are getting grim.

Christians and the State

Christians may belong to whatever political party their conscience can bear. But no Christian can give their highest loyalty to any party, whether Democrat, Republican, Independent, Communist, Green, Lib Dems, Tories, UKIP, or any of the rest.

Our highest loyalty belings to God alone. And to be blunt, if you believe otherwise, your Christianity is highly suspect.

We must serve God rather than man. That is our only real slogan. All the rest verge on paganism.

On the Preaching Office

It’s always bemusing to see people who have not been called to preach telling people who have what they should be saying.  As though these preachers are so bereft of the Spirit that they need additional guidance in order to ‘get it right’.

Frankly, it’s insulting and demeaning.  When you are called to preach, preach what God gives you, not what the crowd demands.

News from This Year’s CBA Annual Meeting

Among other things:

Annual General Meeting: Starting next year, CBA will begin the 3-host cycle where there will be only three host sites: Catholic University of American in Washington, DC, Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. Next year’s meeting will be at CUA; work already is underway with CUA Conference Services. Negotiations have begun with Creighton University which is beginning to consider long-term contracts. An initial contact has been made with Santa Clara University and we are awaiting their reply. It should be noted that as semesters are beginning earlier in August, the CBA meeting likely be held during the last week of July more frequently.

I think that’s brilliant.  Knowing where the meeting will be every year, in advance, allows for long range travel planning.

Today With Zwingli

The disputation at Baden was the Old Church’s reply to the Zurich disputations of 1523. The conditions were exactly reversed. The friends of the Reformation packed the former, the opponents of it the latter. The immediate occasion of it was John Eck’s offer from Ingolstadt to the Swiss Diet at Baden, on August 13, 1524, to refute Zwingli’s heresies in a public disputation.

The challenge was communicated to Zwingli, and he replied to this on August 31st, in the insulting language he thought proper to use towards his Roman Catholic opponents1, offering to debate with Eck in Zurich. Eck replied very dignifiedly that he would meet Zwingli at Baden or Luzern, provided he had proper safe conduct.

He shows much better spirit than Zwingli2. The letter having been sent to the Zurich authorities, Zwingli replied that he would dispute in Zurich, and his reply appeared in print. And on the same day, November 6, 1524, the Great Council invited Eck to Zurich and sent him a safe conduct. But he declined to come, simply because the place for the proposed disputation was to be decided by the cantonal assembly and he would meet Zwingli there. On November 18th he replied at length to Zwingli’s latest attack.*

1Here’s the letter in question, which begins “En tibi, audacissime homo, repercussionem non hercle te, sed nobis dignam! Tu enim merebaris, ut, quicquid usquam est contumeliarum, scommatum, laedoriarum, in te iaceretur, nisi nos decuisset has artes tuas contemnere potius, quam pro dignitate referire. Nam quę porro est insania, ut te induci patiaris, ut ad Helvetios de nobis scribas tam impudenter tamque tum impure tum nequiter? An putas obscurum esse, quibus impulsoribus id feceris et in quem usum? Tune tam foeliciter unquam in hac arenade pugnasti, ut victor abieris? quamvis quid refert, etiam si victor abeas? An propterea veritas non est veritas, an verbum dei vim et ingenium suum mutabit, quod tu quemquam clamosa ista loquacitate tua obruas?”

2Jackson is being a bit anachronistic here. Methods of argumentation and debate were different in the 16th century and the people of that day should be judged by the standards of their time and not ours

*Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 270–271).

Two Birds With One Stone, As it Were…