Coming Soon: An Interview with the Editor of the New Edition of the Zurich Bible

This new edition of the Zurich Bible came out in January and the editor has agreed to ‘sit down’ for an interview about the volume. I’m looking forward to sharing our exchange with you. More anon.

Die Ausgabe für das persönliche Bibelstudium und die Arbeit in der Gemeinde. Neu mit deuterokanonischen Schriften.

• mit deuterokanonischen Schriften
• mit Einleitungen und Glossar
• einspaltig
• Schriftgrösse 100 %

Andere einspaltige Ausgaben: Schulbibel rot, Leinen grün
Einspaltig mit grösserer Schrift: Leinen dunkelrot, Kunstbibel, Leinen rubinrot

2019, 2251 Seiten, 12.9 x 20.0 cm, Hardcover
ISBN 978-3-85995-256-0
ca. 19,90 €

It also comes in red.

Wahrheit – Glaube – Geltung: Theologische und philosophische Konkretionen

In einer Zeit, in der sich unterschiedliche und zuweilen widersprechende Wahrheiten nahezu täglich neu Geltung verschaffen, müssen die Wahrheits- und Geltungsansprüche des christlichen Glaubens überprüft und in einer steten Interpretation der biblischen Texte vergegenwärtigt werden. Sich in den vielfältigen Deutungen der Großbegriffe zu orientieren und theologische und philosophische Konkretionen zu formulieren, hat sich die 20. Jahrestagung der Rudolf-Bultmann-Gesellschaft für Hermeneutische Theologie zur Aufgabe gemacht. Der Sammelband dokumentiert deren Erträge.

20 Jahre waren auch Anlass für eine Rückschau. Neben zwei Beiträgen der beiden Vorsitzenden findet sich deshalb auch eine Übersicht zu den Vorstandsmitgliedern sowie zu den Themen und Vorträgen der Jahrestagungen. 

Mit Beiträgen von Volker Gerhardt, Corinna Körting, Michael Labahn, Malte Dominik Krüger, Isolde Karle, Ulrich H. J. Körtner und Christof Landmesser.

The Rudolf-Bultmann-Gesellschaft has met every year since 1998 and every year a volume of collected essays from that gathering has been published.    This volume is the 20th.

Indeed, the conference where these papers were delivered occurred exactly one year ago this week (the 19-21 of February, 2018).  They focus on the topic described in the book’s title, which was also the title of the gathering last year.  Following the introduction by the editors there are 7 essays- 5 on various subjects related to the conference theme, 2 which survey the history of the RBG and finally a summary of the contents of the volumes which the annual conference has produced.

The essays are uniformly well written but that by Malte Dominik Krüger is particularly engaging beginning, as it does, with a reference to and description of a Nespresso commercial featuring George Clooney and the discussion it engendered in Germany given it’s depiction of the afterlife.  When Krüger asks ‘Warum Heute Evangelisch Sein?’ his answer resonates not only with German society but with American too.

The last two essays take in turn the history of the RBG, first from 1998 to 2008 and second from 2008 to 2018.  The essays fully describe the conferences each year and mark the highlights and themes of those meetings.

Here are the contents:



As is the case with the previous volumes in this series, the present work is an excellent read; informative, helpful, and contemporary in terms of relevance.  Those unable to attend the annual meeting of the world’s only Rudolf Bultmann Society can ‘sit in’ through these essays as a ‘fly on the wall’ and hear some of the most groundbreaking theological material between the covers of a book.

I joyously recommend it.

Condolences, Katie

February 20, 1546: Elector John Frederick wrote to Katie Luther to send his condolences for the death of Martin:

“Dear Special One,

“We have learned with deep sorrow that our dear devout Doctor Martin Luther has departed this life last Thursday. We do not doubt that the almighty God will be merciful to his soul. We try to gauge the immensity of your pain and sadness over Luther’s final departure. . . . Yet since none of us is able to oppose the gracious will of God almighty, who dealt with him so mercifully and kindly, we now commend him to the Lord. May it ease the burden of your grief and be a comfort to you that Luther departed this world as a Christian. For the sake of your husband we are ready to be at your and your children’s disposal and will not forsake you.” (Markwald, Rudolf: “Katharina Von Bora” pg. 174)

The Elector also took charge of all of the funeral arrangements. By this time the funeral procession from Eisleben to Wittenberg had begun.

The picture is of Elector John Frederick with the Reformers and is by Lucas Cranach the Younger.

-Rebecca DeGarmeaux

Handling the SBC Abuse Scandal Through ‘Disfellowshipping’ Is An Empty Gesture

When a church is disfellowshipped it is simply no longer allowed to send representatives to the Local, State, or National annual meetings.  Nor is its money accepted by those entities.  Nor can its members be elected to office in those entities.

In short, punishment by disfellowship means that ‘you can’t come play with us anymore’.  Nothing more.

Further, if a church is disfellowshipped by the National SBC that doesn’t mean it has been by the State or Local associations.  Each must vote on its own relationship to the church.   A State or Local association may well remain in fellowship with a church even if the National SBC cuts off fellowship.

The SBC isn’t the papacy.  We have NO mechanism for accountability outside of the rather banal and meaningless act of disfellowship.  We can’t punish churches or pastors for bad behavior beyond disfellowship.

The only, and I mean the ONLY way to address clergy and staff sex abuse in SBC churches is to establish a database of offenders so that churches can be aware of the sort of person they are calling before they do so.  That’s it.

And anyone who tells you otherwise simply doesn’t know how the SBC works.

When I Get Books To Review That I Don’t Wish to Review…

I trash them if they look to be rubbish. Such a book arrived today:



What nonsense.

No, The Tower of Babel Hasn’t Been Found. I Don’t Care What Any Numbskull Claims in His Documentary

THE Biblical story of the Tower of Babel could be proved to be true after ancient remains were discovered in Iraq, an Amazon Prime documentary has claimed.

Amazon Prime’s Bible Conspiracy says ruins uncovered at the Borsippa archaeological site have similarities to the tale.

What these tragically ignorant souls don’t understand at all is that the tale of Babel is an etiological tale intending to explain the existence of Ziggurats and to explain the variety of languages. Accordingly, if some Ziggurat is discovered, it doesn’t prove the Tower existed, it proves Ziggurats did! Further, there is simply no way to demonstrate that any one Ziggurat is THE Tower. It’s all just mindless speculation by ignorant imaginers. And if you believe them, you deserve to be fooled.

Get your biblical scholarship from biblical scholars.  Not nitwits on Amazon Prime.

Ignorant Persistence, or Persistent Ignorance

Either way, the Turin Shroud Crowd simply cannot let it go

In an attempt to prove that the Turin Shroud—a strip of linen that some people believe was used to wrap Jesus’s body after his crucifixion and carries the image of his face—is real, researchers have strapped human volunteers to a cross and drenched them in blood. Most mainstream scientists agree the shroud is a fake created in the 14th century,

The mock crucifixions are the most reliable recreations yet of the death of Jesus, the researchers suggest in an online abstract of a paper to be presented next week at a forensic science conference in Baltimore, Maryland (abstract E73 on p. 573 here). And they are the latest in a tit-for-tat series of tests, academic rebuttals, and furious arguments over the provenance—or lack thereof—of the centuries-old religious artifact. But the researchers hope the experiment will “support the hypothesis of Shroud authenticity in some new and unexpected ways.”

The research team from the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado in Colorado Springs would not comment on the crucifixion experiments before presenting them to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences’s (AAFS’s) annual meeting on 21 February. But the abstract describes “an experimental protocol by which special wrist and foot attachment mechanisms safely and realistically suspend the male subjects on a full-size cross.”

Bloody loons.  In the words of ‘Frozen’, ‘Let it go….’  With thanks to Bible and Interpretation for the tip.

Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature

Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature places the Gospels in the context of contemporaneous Greco-Roman Jewish texts (4th cent. BC–3rd cent. AD), a collection that includes the Dead Sea Scrolls and the literature of the early Rabbis.

While decades of research into the “Jewish backgrounds” of the Gospels have proven to be fruitful, little attention has been given to their function as a witness to the evolution of ancient Judaism. Comprehending this evolution sheds new light and meaning on the Gospel narratives, as well as on the core message of the Jesus movement. Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature argues that when viewed through the lens of ancient Judaism, the Gospels become a source for the geographical, historical, and religious reality of ancient Judaism, some of which would have otherwise been missing from the historical record. And in turn, the study of ancient Judaism clarifies some of the teachings attributed to Jesus by the Evangelists.

While slim (it’s just 38 pages in length plus endnotes) this little volume is filled with very important first class historical detail, and like all Carta volumes, richly, richly illustrated with photos and maps and charts and such.  Jeffrey Garcia offers details every student of the New Testament needs to have well in hand before beginning study of the text.

Garcia divides his work into these short major sections

  • Introduction
  • Sources for Understanding the Gospels
  • Geography of the Land of Israel in the Gospels
  • Jewish Political History in the Gospels
  • Jewish Life in the Gospels
  • Jewish Styles of Teaching in the Gospels
  • Charity, Deeds of Reciprocal Kindness, and the Image of God in the Gospels
  • The Gospels as the First Literary Witness to Jewish Practice

The work concludes, again, with extensive endnotes, rich in bibiographic references.

The sections above include sometimes few and sometimes many and in a few cases none when it comes to subsections.  The introduction is one page.  The sources for understanding the Gospels take up but three pages, etc.  Each topic is scraped across the surface and then Garcia moves on.

Each section serves, so far as I am concerned, as an introduction to the topic at hand and an encouragement to further, deeper reading on those topics which interest individual readers.

The little work is the ideal tool for classroom use and Sunday School students to find themselves face to face with the strange and foreign world of the New Testament.  I recommend it to undergrad courses and church workers as well as to interested layfolk of all levels.  It is a delightful volume.

The Early Reception of the Book of Isaiah

By none less than Kristin!

This volume brings together a lively set of papers from the first session of the Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature program unit of the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in 2016. Together with a few later contributions, these essays explore a number of thematic and textual issues as they trace the reception history of the Book of Isaiah in Deuterocanonical and cognate literature.


This will be of interest to many:

Dogmatics embodies the nature of Christian faith and reflects the truth content and meaning of the Christian understanding of God and world. Important issues in Christian dogmatics include: the clarity of the terminology used, links to biblical and church traditions, and connections to experience and thought in the contemporary life world.

It Took A Day for Word to Reach Luther’s Wife that He Had Died

luther_katieFebruary 19, 1546: Katie Luther’s world is turned upside down. Shortly after 6 am, the news of her husband Martin’s death is brought to her by close family friends Philipp Melanchthon, Johannes Bugenhagen, and Caspar Cruciger. They had all received the news of Luther’s death from Justus Jonas who had been with Luther when he died.

Melanchthon reported later to Chancellor Gregor Brück: “It is easy to see that the poor woman is deeply shocked and greatly troubled, but especially on account of the three sons whom the sainted Doctor had in Eisleben, not knowing how they might react to their father’s death.” (Kroker: “The Mother of the Reformation: The Amazing Life and Story of Katharine Luther” pg. 221)

Meanwhile in Eisleben, Luther’s body was laid in state at St. Andrew’s church where he had preached just days before. Justus Jonas preached a funeral sermon and that night ten citizens of the town kept vigil over his body out of respect for this great church leader.

-Rebecca DeGarmeaux

Christoph Heilig’s Doctoral Dissertation: “Paul as Narrator/Paulus als Erzähler”

Christoph has posted the table of contents here.

I read through the book last year and in a very brief review would say of it that Heilig’s careful and meticulously crafted thorough examination of the work of NT Wright and Richard Hays is the clearest and most sustained critique of Pauline studies yet written.

Heilig’s masterful grasp of the material (both in its primary and secondary sources) is breathtaking. And whilst at times the pages turn slowly and readers are required to concentrate quite vigorously, such concentration is richly rewarded by the end of the tome.

It’s the work, in sum, of a genius and one of the most brilliant young minds presently at work in New Testament studies. Watch this young man, he is going to turn the theological world inside out.

And when his dissertation is published, and it will be, get it.