Thursday, May 26, 2005

Jesus at the Movies in Cornwall

If you are in Cornwall in the south west of England on Saturday, I'm giving a day school on Jesus at the Movies. I'm going to turn this into a working holiday since it's too good an opportunity to miss, the sun, the sand, the sea, the seafood, the walks, the swimming, the picnics, the pasties and the relaxation. I can't wait. And I've promised my family that the "holiday" bit of "working holiday" means that I'll be leaving the blogging machine behind, along with all my academic books. (Might just sneak a pocket sized Greek NT in). I look forward to seeing you all when I'm back.

Worth Mentioning

I have so many blog clippings at the moment that I'd like to comment on. Since I'm about to take a week's break from blogging, that is not going to happen, so instead here is a round-up of a few recent things I thought at least worth mentioning.

I was pleased that on Sansblogue Tim Bulkeley drew our attention to something I'd otherwise have missed, Andrew Jones on

If the Bible was blogged

I have also been meaning to draw attention to the latest on the Gospel of Judas on Hypotyposeis:

Detering on the Gospel of Judas

The same Detering has radical views on the dating of the Gospels, and Michael Turton discusses his dating of Mark on The Sword:

Was Detering Right about the Date of Mark?

Meanwhile on Gypsy Scholar, Jeffery Hodges notes that I'll be pleased that he's blogged on something NT related:

A Gnostic Turn for the Worse

And there are a couple of things that need adding to the NT Gateway but have not been yet. First, on Biblical Theology, Jim West mentions this site:

Computer Assisted Language Learning: Koine Greek

Second, on Biblaridion Bryan Cox notes the need of indexing the image of P26, something I'll definitely be doing:

Manuscript P26 . . . Found!

Sorting out JSNT

I've been struggling to follow the JSNT updates recently, especially as the new booklist comes up on their electronic updates as if another volume of the journal. Michael Pahl has got it all sorted out, though, on Stuff of Earth and I'll repeat his links here:

March 1 2005, Volume 27, No. 3

June 1 2005, Volume 27, No. 4

June 1 2005, Volume 27, No. 5 (Booklist)

BibleDudes go Redaction Critical

Courtesy of the BibleDudes blog, the latest page to be added to BibleDudes covers redaction criticism:

Redaction Criticism

In addition to the usual talking animals, we have Charlton Heston and Martin Noth.

Philip Harland's new blog

I'm certainly following the many others (Paleojudaica, Biblical Theology, RogueClassicism, Hypotyposeis, Philo of Alexandria, Stuff of Earth) in welcoming Philip Harland's assimilation to the blogosphere:

Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
Posts on religious life among Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians in the Roman empire and on the social history of Christianity.

It's added to my blogroll. Whether or not Michael Turton will be able to shows us a picture of Harland's assimilation (cf. Bryan Cox Assmilated!) remains to be seen.

As Stephen Carlson mentions, "Phil also has an exquisite homepage for his scholarship,, which I hope will be a model to other scholars". Indeed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Thank you!

I'd like to say a massive thank you to so many who have sent their congratulations and good wishes and encouragement on my forthcoming move to Duke. It is really appreciated and I'm really touched. I'll answer all the emails in due course, though I am going to be away from the blogging machine for a week from Friday morning onwards. But thanks for the blog comments, currently a record for me at fourteen, the comments in the blogs (Hypotyposeis, Paleojudaica, Ralph -- but someone will need to explain the Krzyewski reference --, Stuff of Earth, Helenann Hartley, The Anglo-File and of course Biblical Theology -- typically Jim was there first!). Thanks too for the comments on Xtalk, especially Ken Olson's ditty and cf. Michael Pahl's commiserating. To be honest, it is all really overwhelming. Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts, friends, acquaintances and new friends and well-wishers.

Briefly in answer to queries: (1) the NT Gateway should carry on unhindered and from the same address. I enjoy doing the NT Gateway and don't foresee a time when I won't enjoy it. (2) More specifically, this blog will continue unhindered, I hope, and there will be moments when it will morph, temporarily, into a travel diary on the transition from living in the UK to living in the US. I have toyed with the idea of opening a separate blog but have scrapped that -- all is going to be here, I am afraid. (3) Yes, I suspect I will lose some of my media work, especially with the BBC, though I hope that I can minimise that. There is already a project coming up in the autumn that I may struggle to be involved with in spite of earlier plans to be closely involved.

The most important thing to me in this context is my scholarship, and one of the appeals of Duke is that it is clear that it will give me more time to devote to research and writing, in a context in which there will be the strongest kind of intellectual exchange. That is something I am looking forward to very much, even if in the interim there is going to be a huge amount of upheaval in moving from here.

Update (12.06): thanks also to Torrey Seland and congratulations to Torrey on his move to the School of Mission and Theology in Stavanger as a professor in New Testament studies.

Thanks too to Steven Weiss on Canonist.

Move to Duke

I'm going to America! At some point in the not too distant future, I am hoping to move to Durham, North Carolina. Official news came yesterday afternoon -- the Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee at Duke University have approved my appointment to a faculty position in the Department of Religion, as Associate Professor with tenure, in the area of New Testament and Early Christianity. Although I will miss Birmingham, where I have been very happy and have had great colleagues and good friends, I am naturally very excited about the move and really looking forward to the future. I'm sure it goes without saying too that I feel really honoured to be invited to join such a prestigious department and university. I hope that I can live up to their faith in me. Timing is not yet clear. My offer letter gives a start date of September 1 but I have a good number of hurdles to clear yet, and that may not be possible. More when I have it.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


If you find your standard Amazon search a bit dull, here's a way to spice it up for a bit of fun:


So, for example, here's your Amaztype on a few contemporary writers on the NT:

John Dominic Crossan

Bart Ehrman

Larry Hurtado

N. T. Wright

If you are patient enough, it'll spell out the author's name with their books, so don't click on the book covers straight away. Or to get back to the original display, just click on an area of white.

And if you really want to have fun, try some themes:

Synoptic Problem

Historical Jesus

Apostle Paul

The only problem is that the term can't be too long, so post-colonial hermeneutics won't do.

N. T. Wright page latest

Latest additions to the N. T Wright page:

The Servant and Jesus, The Relevance of the Colloquy for the Current Quest for Jesus
Originally published in William H. Bellinger, Jr. and William R. Farmer (eds.), Jesus and the Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 and Christian Origins (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1998): 281–297

The Lord’s Prayer as a Paradigm of Christian Prayer
Originally published in R.L. Longenecker (ed.), Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001): 132-54


Following the mention in Hypotyposeis, I have added this new blog to my blogroll:

Bryan Cox

Paul Ricoeur dies

Thanks to Holger Szesnat for this alert:

French thinker Paul Ricoeur dies
French philosopher and teacher Paul Ricoeur, whose interests ranged from phenomenology to biblical exegesis, has died, aged 92.

The story is from BBC News. This short obituary is from the LA Times:

Paul Ricoeur, 92; French Theorist Studied Types of Interpretation
Associated Press

From Swissinfo:

Leaders pay tribute to French philosopher Ricoeur

The rest of the stories are variations of the same Associated Press story.

Update (20.06): AKMA comments.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Tyndale Tech Latest -- Unicode

The latest Tyndale Tech email arrived today from David Instone Brewer (not yet on the web) and it returns to the theme of Biblical language fonts and unicode. David has now dispensed with some of his previous qualms about the adoption of unicode, especially for those working with Macs (see April 2004: Greek and Hebrew Fonts: Unicode and Older and my blog comment Unicode: Tyndale Tech and some thoughts on Greek) and he has developed several of his own new utilities, including the following, in the tradition of his previous Tyndale Font Kits:
Tyndale Unicode Font Kit for PCs
Save this installer on your desktop, double-click on it to install the files, and follow the simple instructions to activate it. Then you can delete it.

Tyndale Unicode Font Kit for Macs
Download this, open the folder, and open the "Instructions" file
I have not had chance to try these out for myself yet, but clearly it is likely to be another excellent and helpful tool.

One minor comment: David suggests that "Unicode fonts are loved by publishers". That has not been my own experience yet, though I think it is beginning to change. One of the biggest Theology and Religion / Biblical Studies publishers, T and T Clark International / Continuum, still go with SPIonic, something I'd like to see them change. I have found that other publishers are amenable to shifting to unicode when the aesthetics of font choice are pointed out, e.g. Palatino Linotype's Greek looks a whole league division more attractive than SPIonic.

To subscribe to the Tyndale Tech updates, if you are not already receiving them, go to Tyndale Tech and scroll to the bottom.

For more web helps on working with unicode, and especially Greek, see The Greek New Testament Gateway: Fonts.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 articles

I have previously listed a bunch of articles hosted by Robert Bradshaw on Robert has been in touch to note that he has added a large number since I made that list. There are so many available that I will not try to list them here but will refer you to the website in question. They are articles from a conservative evangelical perspective on academic Biblical Studies on a variety of topics and by a variety of authors: Hosted Articles, Monographs and Books

Gay Jesus Film Hoax?

On the always interesting FilmChat, Peter Chattaway has a post on the fascinating topic of Him, a film allegedly made by a certain Ed D. Louie in 1974, the topic of which is Jesus' sexuality:

The Gay Jesus Movie -- Hoax or Fact?

It seems that there is a very good chance that no such film was ever made and that the idea that there is such a film in existence goes back to a spoof entry in Harry Medved and Michael Medved, The Golden Turkey Awards, a book that actually announces that one of the entries in the book is a hoax. However, Peter points out that a recent website, The Weird World of 70s Cinema: Lost Movies, lists the film as genuine and even reproduces the movie poster (also copied in Peter's blog entry). I must admit that the alleged poster looks distinctly bogus to me, but it may simply be that this is a weird and poor film with a weird and poor poster.

One of my favourite websites, Snopes, has some reference to a related urban legend under the heading Gay Jesus Film.

It will be interesting to see if Peter's enquiries or blog post bring us any closer to a solution to this odd business. I am reminded of an unpublished article I have on Urban Legends, called "The Tale of Theresa Banyan" and since it is now pretty unlikely that I will get it published anywhere, I'll upload to the web once I've dug it out. It concerns the fascinating ways in which urban legends proliferate on the internet, with multiple variations based around a couple of basic versions.

On the Gay Jesus film, it's interesting that the date given is 1974, just a year after the publication of Morton Smith's two books on Secret Mark.

I have tried some of my own googling, along the lines that uncovered some of the detail for my earlier article on Theresa Banyan, and like Peter, I can't find anything at all extra on Him. And Ed D. Louie is nowhere to be found, not even in variant spellings, as far as I can see.

Update (Sunday, 22.25): more in comments from Thomas Anderson, Arts and Faith forum.

Update (Sunday 23.55): Steven I. Weiss comments on The Canonist and is also on the watch.

Update (Monday, 16.59): On FilmChat, Peter Chattaway is trying a promising new tack: Tracking down the Golden Turkey Hoax. By going through the Golden Turkeys one by one and cross-referring to the IMDb, he has isolated the possible hoax to two films, Him and Dog of Norway (1948).

The interesting thing is that others on the net seem to think that the hoax film is, in fact, Dog of Norway. Here's the relevant quotation, on a Snopes forum of March 21 2001:
The fake film was "Dog Of Norway" featuring Muki the wonder hound.

The dog shown illustrating the film (page 129 in my edition) is the Medved's own dog.

The clincher is that the dog appears with the Medveds on the "meet the authors" page (page 6 in my edition).
Sounds pretty persuasive, in which case Him really does exist. See also a comment on another board on non-existing movies and other bits and bobs claiming that this is the case, e.g.'s Cult and Exploitation Cinema Discussion has four reasons for suspecting Dog of Norway including, "The Medved brothers dedicated one of their books ("The Hollywood Hall Of Shame", I believe") to their dog Muki - the same name as the dog in DOG OF NORWAY" (Keith Bailey, 12/07/2003).

TWU and Greek NT Manuscripts

Newswise has this report:

Access-Limited Primary Biblical Research Now Available to Canadians
. . . . After 50 years of collating biblical manuscripts, New Testament scholar Reuben Swanson, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Western Carolina University, is passing on his massive collection of primary research to TWU’s Kent Clarke, Ph.D., professor of religious studies. Clarke, who recently began working with Swanson on editing the collection, inherited over 100 different ancient manuscripts on microfilm, containing all of the books of the New Testament and some Old Testament books.

According to Clarke, not only is this microfilm as close to the exemplar manuscripts as possible, this collection is by far the biggest of its nature in Canada. It’s Clarke’s goal to make the primary biblical texts available for students and the community alike.

“It’s pretty hard for any of us to fly to the Vatican library to evaluate ancient manuscripts—though some of us do that—so textual critics have pretty much relied on microfilm,” explains Clarke. “Throughout Swanson’s 50 years of research, he spent significant time and money slowly gathering this collection. There is nothing comparable to this in Canada—and now it’s right here in Langley.” . . . .
Rick Brannan comments in Ricoblog. I particularly like his characterization of a "Jim Davila inspired moment". I think that's right -- one of the things that Jim has set the standard on -- holding the news media to account.

ABC Resurrection Programme

On The Stuff of Earth, Michael Pahl points to a documentary to air in the USA (and Canada?) on The Resurrection of Jesus. Beliefnet has one of its associated websites on the programme:

The Meaning of the Resurrection

As Michael points out, there's no John Dominic Crossan or Tom Wright on the ABC Special, and they are absent from the Beliefnet site too, which has a kind of second team line up, no disrespect intended to those included. There are the usual articles arguing the different sides of the case, BWIII, Spong and so on, but it's not as major an offering as on previous such occasions. And no "Scholarly Smackdown". Boo!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

BMCR on Burridge

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2005.05.31 (alert courtesy of RogueClassicism) has a review of the second edition of Burridge's book on Gospel genre:

Richard A. Burridge, What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography
Reviewed by James V. Morrison

There's an interesting first line, "It is possible to receive a Ph.D. in Classics today without ever having read the New Testament in Greek." I had to read that twice because I thought at first it was saying that it is possible to receive a PhD in New Testament today without having read the NT in Greek. I sincerely hope that that is not the case! But Morrison returns to the point in an interesting conclusion to a very positive review:
For much of the twentieth century the study of Classics concerned particular authors (Homer, Plato, Sophocles, Vergil, Cicero, and Tacitus) while the study of the Bible and early Christianity "belonged" to other academic departments (or seminaries) associated with Oriental studies and religion. First- or second-year Greek courses might consist of reading Xenophon, Plato, or Homer, but not the gospel of Mark or Revelation. I will only mention my own success in offering selections from the gospels, the book of Acts, and Revelation during the final eight weeks of first-year Greek (we read significant continuous passages before the summer and leave the optative to the second year). But the larger point is whether the academic distinction between biblical and classical makes sense. In the past few decades, not only have Roman historians made extensive use of the Church Fathers, but graduate programs have now been redesigned to embrace "Ancient Mediterranean Studies," "Classical and Near Eastern Studies," and "Ancient Mediterranean Culture and Society." One of our recent APA presidents asked the question: What is the future of Classics? The inevitable answer, in my view, is that we will move toward the study of the ancient world with a broader focus beyond the "canonical" works written in Greek and Latin. B.'s work blazes this path in admirable fashion, for its valuable methodology allows us to approach works traditionally outside the "classical" canon with an appreciation of their origins in a world under the influence of Graeco-Roman literature and culture.

Bibliobloggers @ CARG

On Biblical Theology, Jim West mentions the CARG (Computer Assisted Research Group) session on biblioblogging at the forthcoming Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. I was asked to put the session together by Kirk Lowery of the CARG. Here are some details as we have them at this stage. First, the blurb:
The phenomenon of "blogging", the maintenance of a regular on-line journal or weblog, has proliferated massively in recent times. As in all areas of life, political, religious, cultural, art, entertainment and media, so too in the area of academic Biblical Studies, the blog is an informative, innovative, up-to-the-minute way of discovering more about the subject, discussing the latest developments, interacting on controversial topics and enjoying the lighter side of the discipline. These "biblioblogs" are now widely consulted by those in the guild, and are contributing something of interest and intelligence. But what is the future of the biblioblogs? What is their scope for development? This session gathers together a panel of pioneers in this area and asks about the pleasures, the pains and the prospects for biblioblogging.
I'm afraid I find that alliteration so difficult to resist! I will be presiding and giving a 5-10 minute introduction to the session; there will then be two main speakers, Jim Davila and Rick Brannan. Rick Brannan's presentation has an abstract as follows: is an attempt at sharpening the focus of a biblioblog. It is one part blog, to allow for the regular random-yet-informed musings that define the popular biblioblogs of the day. It is also one part annotated bibliography, with bibliography content added blog-style, integrated directly in the site RSS feed. This allows the regular addition and annotation of material into the normal flow of the blog. The software that is is a collection of scripts, written in JScript, running on Microsoft's Internet Information Server. The blog and other post data (e.g. bibliography information) is kept in XML. All posts and other entries have different sorts of metadata encoded to allow for future processes to create subject or reference indices of the site material. The structure of is extensible, so other "post types" may be added in the future, allowing to grow and adapt over time. For instance, an "article" post type could be created simply by adding an XML file that defines the structure of the "article" to the proper location on the server. This flexibility will hopefully allow to adjust itself as biblioblogs grow and mature over the next few years.
The remainder of the session will probably revolve around panel discussion featuring in addition to those already mentioned A. K. M. Adam, Tim Bulkeley, Stephen Carlson, Ed Cook, Torrey Seland (hopeful rather than confirmed) and Jim West. More as and when I have it.

Update (Thursday, 13.55): lots of comment on this post, some also relating it to my earlier one on Blogging addiction. Most importantly, see Jim Davila's post on Paleojudaica, which adds what I did not have, Jim's title and abstract, here now reproduced in full for completeness:

The rise of weblogs or "blogs" (basically just web pages produced with software that facilitates frequent updates and allows links to individual posts) as a media and political force has been an important cultural milestone in the last few years. Along with political pundits, hobbyists, diarists, etc., biblical scholars and those in related academic disciplines have also been establishing a niche for themselves in the "Blogosphere." By common consent, or at least in resignation, biblical scholars who blog refer to themselves as "bibliobloggers." As of this writing in the spring of 2005, for the last two years I have operated a blog called PaleoJudaica, which focuses on news and Internet content on ancient Judaism and its historical and linguistic context. Since PaleoJudaica began, there has been a gradual but ultimately geometric increase in the number of biblioblogs. At present I am aware of more than two dozen.

Given the rate at which web-based technology and its effects on our culture are developing, it is difficult to predict more than half a year in advance what aspects of blogging will be of greatest interest at the time of this CARG session. But I plan to share with you some of my experiences with PaleoJudaica and also to describe my work on Qumranica, a blog I have set up for the spring semester of 2005 for a course I am teaching on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I will also discuss some of the uses to which I and other bibliobloggers have put our blogs, such as commenting on and supplementing media stories in our areas of expertise; noting errors (which frequently are rife) in such stories; reporting on scholarly conferences we've attended; sharing our preliminary thoughts on our research; and sometimes providing advance summaries of scholarly work we are publishing.
NB also Stephen Carlson on Hypotyposeis, Ed Cook in Ralph the Sacred River, Jim West in Biblical Theology, Rubén Gómez in Bible Software Review Weblog and Rick Brannan in Ricoblog

More Google Print

A handful of items I've recently looked at using Google Print Search:

Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002)

Larry Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003)

Carol Meyers, Toni Craven and Ross Kraemer, Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001)

John Painter, Mark's Gospel (London & New York: Routledge, 1997)

John J. Pilch, The Cultural Dictionary of the Bible (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999)

Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas (London & New York: Routledge, 1997)

Norman H. Young, Syntax Lists for Students of New Testament Greek (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)

Head on a Platter @ Laudator Temporis Acti

On Laudator Temporis Acti, Michael Gilleland points to the interesting parallel between Mark 6.17-29 // Matt. 14.3-12 and "a remarkably similar episode from the life of Lucius Quinctius Flaminius, consul in 192 B.C., expelled from the Senate by Cato the Censor in 184 B.C." The story is found in Cicero, Livy, and Plutarch and Michael has the texts handy:

A Head on a Platter

Michael notes that the parallel is not mentioned in the commentaries available to him. It is, however, occasionally mentioned in recent literature, e.g. according to Ross Kraemer, Kathleen Corley and John Dominic Crossan both claim that Mark invented the story on the basis of the one about Lucius. See Ross Kraemer, Herodias I in Carol Meyers, Toni Craven and Ross Kraemer, Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001): 92-4.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Heart of the Beholder

I am keeping an eye out for this film:

Heart of the Beholder

It is directed by Ken Tipton, with a 2005 release date (above link to IMDb). Basic blurb:
Based on the true story of a family who opened the first videocassette rental stores in St. Louis in 1980. The family was ruined by a corrupt prosecutor who had been blackmailed by a religious group because the family refused to remove Martin Scorsese's controversial film, "The Last Temptation of Christ", from their stores.
There is a teaser and some more information here on an official site:

Heart of the Beholder

It's all a bit sensationalist, "The movie Hollywood was afraid to make", etc., but the link with the interesting Last Temptation of Christ controversy certainly makes me prick up my ears.

William Tyndale Conference in Oxford

The following information was sent to me yesterday and may be of interest:

The Fourth Oxford Tyndale Conference

4 pm Thursday, 15th to 1 pm Sunday, 18th September, 2005


We are very pleased to be able to send you final information about this major Conference in celebration of the Society’s 10th Year. It will be held at Hertford College, Oxford, where our Chairman, Professor David Daniell, has brought together a programme of outstanding speakers from four continents.

Worldwide: from New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, Dr David Norton; from USA, Coastal University of Southern Carolina, Professor Don Millus; from Belgium, Catholic University of Louvain, Dr Guido Latre; from Canada, University of Western Ontario, Professor Peter Auksi; from Switzerland, University of Geneva, Professor Francis Higman, Valerie Offord (resident Geneva) MA Cantab; from Japan, Meijigakuin University, Tokyo, Kaoru Yamazaki; from Hungary, Dr Tibor Fabiny.

From the United Kingdom: University of Oxford, Professor David Daniell, Dr Korey Maas; United Bible Societies, Revd Edwin Robertson; from Scotland, University of Edinburgh, Dr Ron Asher; from Wales, University of Wales, Lampeter, Revd Dr Simon Oliver; University of Reading, Dr Helen Parish; University of Kent, Dr John Court; Kingston University, Surrey, Dr Tom Betteridge; University of Hull, Revd. Dr Ralph Werrell; University of Sussex, Professor Brian Cummings, Professor Andrew Hadfield; University of Cambridge, Dr Bruce Winter.

William Tyndale made headlines in 1994 when the British Library paid over £1 million for his 1526 New Testament. This small, much-thumbed pocket book, the first ever translation of the original Gospel text into English, travelled from Bloomsbury to America as the star attraction of the exhibition ‘Let There Be Light’, seen by 250,000 people. From that triumphant beginning sprang The Tyndale Society, founded to examine and celebrate the life and work of the man whose determination to bring the Scriptures to English-speaking people in their mother tongue began the modern development of our language, religion and social consciousness.

Over four days in September 2005, The Tyndale Society - now 400 members worldwide and growing - celebrates its 10th anniversary with a major academic conference, held in Oxford where the boy Tyndale was once a scholar. An international group will meet to explore far-ranging aspects of Tyndale’s work and influence. We are proud that our keynote speaker is the Cambridge theologian and bible scholar, Professor Morna Hooker.

Food for the mind, but for the senses also when we sit in the beautiful Chapel at Hertford College and hear the English Chamber Choir in a concert of singing specially chosen to encompass the words of Tyndale and the vibrant musical period in which he lived.

The Booking Form is attached, and we urge you to make your reservation soon as places are limited. There is a substantial discount for early payment. Further details will be found on our website – – as they are finalised.

Please join us in this wonderful occasion for celebration when, in the words of Tyndale about the wyse men from the est, you will be

‘marveylously gladd’

The Fourth Oxford Tyndale Conference

4 pm Thursday 15th to 1 pm Sunday 18th September 2005.


Conference on the Twin Themes of Bible Translation & the Re-discovery of Tyndale as Theologian

To make this exceptional event accessible to everyone we offer 3 levels of Attendance:

1. FULL CONFERENCE to include @ £269/ $512/ €395

College accommodation for Thurs/Fri/Sat nights

3 breakfasts

3 Dinners/2 Lunches/Refreshments

Conference pack & Fee

Concert by The English Chamber Choir

Discount for payment by 15th June …. £249/ $474/ €366

2. DAY RATE to include @ £45/ $86/ €66 p.d Lunch & Refreshments

Conference pack

Concert (Saturday only)

3. PLOUGHBOY AFTERNOON @ £15/ $30/ €22

2-8 pm September 17th

Special Programme 2-4 pm


Major Lecture 4.30-5.30 pm



I would like to attend the Conference on a FULL CONFERENCE / DAY / PLOUGHBOY basis.

I enclose a cheque made payable to ‘The Tyndale Society’ for ……………

Name: …………………………………………………………………………………………………….………..

Address: …………………………………………………………………………………………………….………..


Phone: ……………………………………e-mail: ………………………………………………………………..

Supplement for en suite accommodation (limited numbers) @ £10/ $20/ €15 per night ………………………...

Any dietary or physical requirements

(e.g. difficulty with stairs):…………………………………………………………………………..

Please return this form to: Mrs Valerie Kemp, The Tyndale Society, c/o Hertford College, Oxford, OX1 3BW; Phone: 01865 279473

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature, with lots of interest:

Adams, Edward
Constructing the World: A Study in Paul's Cosmological Language
Reviewed by F. Stanley Jones

Akpunonu, Peter Damian
The Vine, Israel and the Church
Reviewed by Carol J. Dempsey

Burkett, Delbert
Rethinking the Gospel Sources: From Proto-Mark to Mark
Reviewed by Douglas Geyer

Fitzgerald, John T., Dirk Obbink and Glenn S. Holland, eds.
Philodemus and the New Testament World
Reviewed by Matt Jackson-Mccabe

Sabin, Marie Noonan
Reopening the Word: Reading Mark as Theology in the Context of Early Judaism
Reviewed by Gregg S. Morrison

Trafton, Joseph L.
Reading Revelation: A Liteterary and Theological Commentary
Reviewed by David Barr

Watson, Francis
Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith
Reviewed by Mark Gignilliat

Is blogging an addiction?

I do miss blogging when I am away from the blogging machine. There's a strange sense of dissatisfaction when you go a day without blogging, still more when you go more than a day. It sometimes worries me. Is it a kind of addiction?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Biblical Studies Bulletin 35

Ridley Hall, Cambridge / Grove Books have their latest Biblical Studies Bulletin on-line:

Biblical Studies Bulletin 35

The BSB is edited by Michael Thompson and, as ever, it is full of items of interest.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Hugh Montefiore (1920-2005)

From today's Guardian news of the death of Hugh Montefiore, whom many will know for his NT scholarship, but also as a very important figure in the Church. I first heard of him from his book on Thomas, and was then excited to find out that the Bishop of Birmingham was in fact the same person:

The Rt Rev Hugh Montefiore
Progressive Anglican theologian and cleric who spoke up for literary freedom, women priests and the environment
Michael de-la-Noy
. . . . After war service with a commission in the Royal Artillery, he was ordained deacon in 1949, at the age of 29, and was priested a year later. After serving a brief curacy in Newcastle, he was appointed, in 1951, as chaplain and tutor at the Cambridge theological college, Westcott House.

Two years later, Montefiore's gifts as a New Testament scholar ensured that he was appointed vice principal of the college, a post from which he inexplicably resigned without having another job to go to - a "lunatic thing to do", as he later admitted. Nevertheless, in 1954 he began a distinguished, nine-year stint as fellow and dean of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, during the last four years of which he combined the post with that of university lecturer in New Testament studies . . . .

. . . . .Just as remarkable as his appointment as bishop of Kingston was his preferment in 1978 as bishop of Birmingham. His was the first appointment recommended by the newly constituted Crown Appointments Commission, and it is reasonable to assume that, under the previous system of choosing bishops on the old-boy network, he would never have become a diocesan . . . .

. . . . Both Aberdeen and Birmingham universities conferred honorary doctorates on Montefiore, due recognition of his scholarship and learning; between 1954 and 2002, he wrote, edited or contributed to some 40 books, publishing in 1995 a breezy autobiography with the snappy title, Oh God, What Next? For many years, he wrote a weekly article for the Church Times . . . .
Update (21.28):

Telegraph obituary

Times obituary

Bishop and eco-warrier (85) dies
(BBC Birmingham)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Google Print Search Plugin for Firefox

Further to previous posts on the topic, it's any thanks to Holger Szesnat for proving this Google Print Search Plugin for the Mozilla Firefox browser:

Google Print Search Plugin (ZIP file)

Scott Brown's Secret Mark dissertation on-line

Further to my previous post on this topic, it's worth noting that you can read Scott Brown's University of Toronto dissertation on-line at Theses Canada:

The more spiritual gospel: Markan literary techniques in the longer Gospel of Mark
Scott G. Brown

Go to that page for the details and the PDF download. This is the 1999 thesis on which Brown's new book is based.

More Secret Mark

Michael Pahl has more on Secret Mark: Both Sides of Secret Mark . The new article on to which Michael is referring is here (via Bible and Interpretation):

Mark's secret gospel
What does a contested text say about Jesus, gay sex and baptism?

It features an account of the public spat between Jacob Neusner and Morton Smith (cf. Jim West's excerpt on Biblical Theology). The catalyst for the article is the new book by Scott Brown, Mark's Other Gospel. Unlike Stephen Carlson, Brown does not think that Clement's letter is a forgery. Indeed, he thinks that the letter is genuine and that it quotes part of a genuine expanded edition of Mark, the "Mark's Other Gospel" of the title. Wilfred Wilfrid Laurier University Press, who published Brown's book last week, have a ringing endorsement from John Kloppenborg, in the light of which it will be interesting to hear what Brown and Kloppenborg make of Stephen Carlson's book. Having read Stephen's manuscript, I would say that the case is so strong that I would be very surprised if anyone will still seriously be able to maintain that Clement's Letter to Theodore (and Secret Mark) is not a forgery.

Wilfred Wilfrid Laurier Press also feature a short interview with Brown:

Interview with Scott G. Brown
Mark's Other Gospel
. . . . There's no reason to suspect forgery. I strongly doubt that someone other than Mark wrote this text because it accords with Markan theology (imitators have their own agendas), elucidates some long-standing enigmas in the canonical gospel, and uses literary techniques that are distinctively Markan yet were not noted by scholars of Mark prior to Smith's discovery of the letter . . . .
Brown is even more forthright in the article cited above:
"Even close up, on the ground, I couldn't see the forgery. The gospel incident quoted in Clement's letter reflects a profound comprehension of Mark's literary techniques -- subtle matters of composition that experts had not yet realized when the letter was discovered."
I suppose that my concern with that would be that it does not require "profound comprehension of Mark's literary techniques" by experts in general, but by just one of them. My own impression of the man is that he had a brilliant mind and certainly the erudition necessary to see things others did not. One should not underestimate Morton Smith.

Philip Esler AHRC role

Congratulations to Prof. Philip Esler at St Andrews University for his appointment as new chief executive for the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This is from the eGov monitor

New Chief Executive for the Arts and Humanities Research Council
Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury, today announced the appointment of Professor Philip Esler as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Announcing the appointment Lord Sainsbury said:

"I am very pleased to welcome Professor Esler to the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Professor Esler's research background in Theology and Biblical Studies, his international research networks and his interest in the visual arts will be of great benefit to the Council" . . . .

. . . . Professor Esler will be the first permanent Chief Executive. He will take up post on 1st September 2005. The appointment is for four years. He said

"The arts and humanities are indispensable to the cultural life and economic vitality of the United Kingdom and I am excited by the prospect of becoming Chief Executive of the AHRC. . . . ." . . .
Update (11.04): Helenann Hartley comments and notes a report on the story in The Guardian, AHRC names new chief, which even features a nice picture, the same one that appears on Esler's homepage.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

More on Google Print

I blogged the other day again on Google Print and that post generated a lot of comment. It seems that, unfortunately, Google Print went down for a while yesterday and so the links in that post were not working. I'll gather some more of the many, many books available for a bit of fun. I should clarify that when I said "I've looked around to see if there's a plugin yet for Firefox for Google Print but no one seems to have written one yet", I meant a search plugin, the kind you stick at the top right of the browser (e.g. I have Google Scholar included up there). Holger Szesnat has sent me over one he has written and it's working really well for me, so thanks, Holger.

Update: Tim Bulkeley asks for the link to the Google Scholar Search Plugin. Go to the Search Plugins Page and enter "Google Scholar" into the search box. Or just scroll down and click on "Academic" and there are many other useful search plugins there. On Google Print, Holger is hoping to make his code available soon.

Stephen Carlson and Secret Mark

It's good to see the announcement on Hypotyposeis about Stephen Carlson's forthcoming SBL paper on Secret Mark. Already the bunch of comments to that post give an idea of just how much interest this is going to generate. It's good to hear that Stephen's short book on the topic is forthcoming. I am lucky enough to have read an earlier draft and I can say that what I have seen is a really superb piece of scholarship and an utterly convincing case. I look forward very much to publication.

Update (16.40): Michael Turton feels the same way.

Update (Saturday, 21.53): Amazon are already taking orders for Uncovered: Morton Smith's Secret and the Anatomy of an Academic Hoax.

Happy Annivesary Biblical Theology

I was in Glasgow examining yesterday, so missed the chance to say Happy Blogiversary to Jim West's Biblical Theology. Jim has carved a real niche in the biblioblog world over the last year (I'd have guessed it was longer thatn a year) and I'd say that one of his great skills in getting the information out to the punters quickly, efficiently, without fuss or fanfare. He could well add "Read it here first". It's often the first place I see things. And often I am grateful to Jim for covering something so that I feel I don't need to! Keep up the good work, Jim -- it's appreciated.

Two millionth visitor today

At some stage today, the NT Gateway counter should turn over the 2 million visits mark. It is currently at 1,998,996 visits and 5,430,911 page views. With just over a thousand more visits today, which would be normal from this point (lunchtime as I write), we should see the 2,000,000. I can't remember quite how far that web counter goes back, but I think it is to the point when I moved over from Birmingham as host to I might check that out later.

Update (14.58): Jim West makes some too flattering comments on Biblical Theology, adding that "Mark's only shortcoming is his resolute disregard of Q". Actually, as I've commented in the past, I am very fond of Q. There is something spoilsport about having tried to put together a case against it, but in the end it's the evidence that counts :).

Update (16.33): 1,999,391. Thanks to Danny Zacharias and Michael Pahl for comments. I should add that the 2 million figure is for the entire NT Gateway, not just the blog (but doesn't include associated sites, like Case Against Q, All-in-One, BNTC etc., so we are talking NT Gateway proper, i.e. anything with the NT Gateway logo). I've checked when the counter started and it seems it was indeed when the site moved to, on 15 April 2000 (an old logbook). So the 2 million visits is over five years; the counter first appears in May 2000 Featured Links.

Update (20.55): 1,999,846. The two millionth visitor should be checking in around 22.00 BST.

Update (22.02): 1,999,963.

Update (22.20): 2,000,000 visits has been reached. The two millionth visitor came from the domain, had done a google search on Gospel of John New Testament to get here and came to the John's Gospel page and left straight away. Let's hope s/he found what s/he was looking for.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Google Print: Revolution or Peep Show?

I blogged recently on what I called the Google Print Revolution. Others are less impressed, among them Ed Cook on Ralph the Sacred River:

Google Peep Show
The problem is, I haven't yet come across a book whose entire content is online. The maximum amount I have been able to access for any one book is about 15 pages . . . .

. . . . At this point, Google Print (and I know it's in the beta stage) is the print equivalent of a peep show: "Try these free samples! Get hooked and buy the rest!" They're going to have to lift some limitations on presenting full content, or else the tool will be more frustrating than helpful . . . .
We are probably looking at different books, but most of what I have looked at recently have been on-line more-or-less in toto. Sometimes the odd page is restricted, e.g. in some of the Paulist Press offerings, but others have the lot on there. One needs to do some tweaking to view it all, as one does with Amazon's full text offerings, but it is do-able with some patience. Some recent books I've been looking at on Google Print:

John Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel

Martinus C. de Boer, Johannine Perspectives on the Death of Jesus

Graham N. Stanton, Stephen C. Barton, Bruce Longenecker, The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins

Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

And that's only a very small handful. There are loads out there, especially from Oxford University Press, Paulist, Routledge, Cambridge University Press. One of the things that I find really useful is being able to search within the books in question. There was something today I wanted to check up in the Ashton book above and I was able to go straight to it -- it would have taken me far longer if I'd have browsed through my own copy.

So I remain a fan. I've looked around to see if there's a plugin yet for Firefox for Google Print but no one seems to have written one yet. I might have a go myself if nothing else is forthcoming soon. Anyone else heard of one?

Daniel Wallace on 666 and 616

On Daniel Wallace comments on an earlier article by Chris Wattie. Below is an excerpt, but it's all worth reading:

Daniel B. Wallace responds to article on 'the number of the Beast'
. . . . Second, the fragment was not so badly discoloured that scholars could not make out the wording without sophisticated imaging equipment. Such equipment--such as multi-spectral imaging (MSI)--is often used on manuscripts that are in very bad shape.

This fragment, however, is part of a score of other fragments which span nine chapters in the book of Revelation. It is about the size of a postage stamp. No imaging equipment was needed to make out its wording.

I saw the fragment two years ago at the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University. It was published over five years ago; just now it is making its way into popular literature as though it were a new discovery. When I looked at the fragment, the curator had to slice open its case because the verse in question (Revelation 13.18) was on the backside. He told me that no one had asked to see the fragment since it had been published. I looked at it under a microscope to make sure that the wording had not been tampered with. But even with the naked eye, it was quite legible.

Fourth, I don't know who Ellen Aitken is, nor Elijah Dann, but it seems that Wattie did not interview textual critics for this piece. Aitken makes the astounding claim that "it now seems that 616 was the original number of the beast." . . . .
It's a model of how to write a succinct yet precise article setting the record straight after a lazy news article.

Gadarene Swine @ Laudator Temporis Acti

At Laudator Temporis Acti Michael Gilleland has an interesting post on:

The Gadarene Swine
. . . .There are passages from Greek and Latin literature in which petitioners beg the gods to transfer an evil from one place to another, or from one person to another. It's almost as if the amount of evil in the world is constant, and evil cannot be destroyed but can only change location . . . .
Michael has very several interesting examples of this underlying thought (read the post). The same assumption seems to underly Matt. 12.43-45:
43"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

12:43 ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου διέρχεται δι' ἀνύδρων τόπων ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκει 44 τότε λέγει εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα σεσαρωμένον καὶ κεκοσμημένον 45 τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ' ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ
(Par. Luke 11.24-26).

Update (Thursday, 22.00): Michael Gilleland comments further on Laudator Temporis Acti.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Matthean Posteriority

On Deinde, Danny Zacharias asks a question prompted in part by previous discussion here.

The Synoptic Problem . . . A Question

The gist of Danny's question relates to the possibility of Matthean Posteriority. I'll come to that in a moment, but first some correction again on terminology:
I think I am right in saying that the majority of NT scholars hold to marcan priority, with the two-source hypothesis and the two-gospel hypothesis being the next line of demarcation within marcan priority.
The first clause is correct, but the next is horribly wrong. "The two-gospel hypothesis" is not a Marcan Priority theory. On the contrary, it is another name for the Griesbach ~Theory, which postulates Matthew first, Luke's use of Matthew, Mark's use of both. I think what Danny meant to write here was the Farrer theory, which holds to Marcan Priority but also postulates Luke's use of Matthew. I know that Synoptic scholars can sometimes seem a bit like nit-pickers, but it is important to get the terminology as accurate as possible in order that everyone can be clear about what is being discussed.

Now on to the specific topic, Matthean Posteriority. Danny brings up Evan Powell's work. I own this; Stevan Davies sent me a copy a few years ago. It's a booklet in the form of an open letter to the Jesus Seminar. The most famous recent advocate of Matthean Posteriority is Martin Hengel, though he holds this theory in addition to the Q theory, and does not have a full defence of the theory -- it is a sketch in his The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ (London: SCM; Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2000). Two other advocates are worth mentioning, R. V. Huggins, "Matthean Posteriority: A Preliminary Proposal", NovT 34 (1992): 1-21, and Alan Garrow, The Gospel of Matthew's Dependence on the Didache. It is not a thesis I am persuaded of myself given my own arguments for Luke's familiarity with Matthew, for which I refer the reader to my Case Against Q.

Danny suggests that the theory would have the following "going for it":
1) Matthew has a high Christology, probably the highest in the synoptics. This may indicate a progression in theology. 2) Matthew's careful arrangment of sayings material into 5 discourses seems to make more sense than Luke scattering it. Matthew had a theological purpose in arranging 5 discourses, so Matthew may have been taking Mark and Luke's material and arranging them purposefully. If Luke is using Matthew, why scatter it all about? It seems to me that that sort of organization would argue for posteriority of Matthew.
On Matthew's high Christology, even if Luke's were lower, I don't think it does anything to help establish direction of dependence. Paul's Christology is higher than Luke's, I would say, or at least higher than we can infer Luke's to have been from Luke-Acts, but he clearly pre-dates Luke. I think we have to be wary of the idea of a clear trajectory of low-to-high Christology, all the more so in the light of the work of Hurtado and Bauckham. On the arrangement of sayings material, I am not happy with the language of "scatter[ing] it all about" and can only refer the reader to The Case Against Q, Chapter 3, where I discuss this kind of rhetorical question on Luke's order, and Chapters 4-6, in which I attempt to set out how Luke's re-ordering of Matthew's non-Marcan material can be seen to be plausible. I would now also add three further important articles on the topic, all appearing in Mark Goodacre and Nick Perrin (eds.), Questioning Q, by Jeff Peterson, Mark Matson and Ken Olson, all dealing with different aspects of the question of Luke's ordering of Matthew.

Update (22.54): On Deinde, Danny Zacharias offers an update. One useful question:
I think I have been a living testimony to the confusion of some of this terminology, and I think two-source and two-gospel is the most confusing. After all, wouldn't Lucan posteriority and Matthean posteriority technically be 'two-gospel' theories because they are both using two gospels as their source? Perhaps I am missing something.
I agree -- the "two gospel hypothesis" is one of the more confusing terms in Synoptic criticism. It was coined by adherents of the Griesbach Theory with a view to providing a conscious alternative to "Two-Source Theory". Michael Goulder argued that it should be avoided since his own theory (what I call the Farrer Theory) is also a "two gospel" theory with Matthew and Mark the sources for Luke. I remember at the SNTS in Strasbourg 1996 Michael Goulder himself making a point of this to Bill Farmer over breakfast one morning. Bill Farmer then came over to me, a new unpublished lecturer from Birmingham, to tell me about that conversation. And then in the Synoptic Problem seminar, he also made an announcement of it. In some recent publications, the thesis has gone under the name "Two Gospel (neo-Griesbach) Hypothesis".

BibleDudes: Textual Criticism

BibleDudes Blog note that the latest addition is a section on Textual Criticism:

Bible Dudes: Textual Criticism

Something on Source-Criticism is apparently to be produced next (or at least next in sequence).

Electric Forest notes this new team blog:

Electric Forest

One of the bloggers is Bible techno-whizz Patrick Durusau, whom many will know through the SBL CARG and elsewhere. Nothing much related to Biblical Studies there yet, but eyes peeled. I've added it to my blogroll.

616 on MTV

In the latest of the articles on the alternative number of the beast, still prowling around the media and stalking up here and there, MTV write the following piece:

666 Not So Evil? '616' Revelation Might Bedevil Metalheads
. . . "It is clearly an important new manuscript, giving us a relatively very early copy of the text of Revelation," said Christopher Tuckett, a theology professor at Oxford University's Pembroke College. "It is probably not the earliest manuscript of Revelation that we have ... but this is the first time [the 616 reading] has been found in such an early text."

Fear of 666 is so extensive it actually has a name — hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia — and has inspired everything from televangelist speeches to Hollywood films. The numbers have long been appropriated into the heavy-metal lexicon and symbology. Black Sabbath, Rob Zombie, Danzig and Sepultura have featured depictions of "666" on their album covers, Slipknot have decorated their stage set with 666 signs, and hordes of other bands have incorporated 666 symbols into T-shirts, stickers and other merchandise . . . .
I'll bet it's the first time Chris Tuckett has appeared in the same article as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath! And if you are looking for a good quiz question, "What is hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia?" is worth adding.

Meanwhile, check up also Hypotyposeis, Ralph the Sacred River, rogueclassicism, FilmChat and Helenann Hartley for more recent blog entries.

Neotestamentica Latest

Thanks to Holger Szesnat for this note on the latest Neotestamentica

Neotestamentica 39 (2004), Issue 1

The latest issue is now available. The items Craffert and Botha; Decock; and Book Reviews are available full-text; other items are abstracts only:

Craffert, P F & P J J Botha 2005. Why Jesus Could Walk on the Sea but He Could Not Read and Write: Reflections on Historicity and Interpretation in Historical Jesus Research. Neotestamentica 39(1), 5-38. [abstract] [article (PDF)]

Bruce, P 2005. John 5:1-18 the Healing at the Pool: Some Narrative, Socio-Historical and Ethical Issues. Neotestamentica 39(1), 39-56.

Decock, P 2005. On the Value of Pre-Modern Interpretation of Scripture for Contemporary Biblical Studies. Neotestamentica 39(1), 57-74. [abstract] [article (PDF)]

De Villiers, P G R 2005. Turbulent Times and Golden Years: The First Twenty Five Years of the New Testament Society of South Africa (1965-1990) (Part 1). Neotestamentica 39(1), 75-110.

Fast, L 2005. Rejection and Reinstatement (Mark 12:1-11): The Rhetoric of Represented Speech in Mark. Neotestamentica 39(1), 111-126.

Loubser, J A 2005. Invoking the Ancestors: Some Socio-Rhetorical Aspects of the Genealogies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Neotestamentica 39(1), 127-140.

Meyer, W H 2005. Histories of Reading and Readings of "History": A Study of a Group of South African Students Reading Mark 4:35-41. Neotestamentica 39(1), 141-162.

Wilson, M 2005. The Early Christians in Ephesus and the Date of Revelation, Again. Neotestamentica 39(1), 163-193.

Book Reviews (all on-line, PDF)

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Too busy to blog anything else at the moment, here is the latest from the SBL's Review of Biblical Literature under the NT heading (and note that there are lots of interesting second temple Judaism titles too this time, which I'll leave others to blog):

Hall, David R.
The Unity of the Corinthian Correspondence
Reviewed by Russell Sisson

Hall, David R.
The Unity of the Corinthian Correspondence
Reviewed by Verlyn Verbrugge

Kruse, Colin G.
Reviewed by Dirk Van Der Merwe

Moyise, Steve
The Old Testament in the New: An Introduction
Reviewed by Peter Gosnell

Nanos, Mark
The Irony of Galatians: Paul's Letter in First-Century Context
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Neyrey, Jerome H.
Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine
Reviewed by Richard Edwards

Prieur, Jean-Marc, ed.
La Croix: Représentations Théologiques et Symboliques
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Thorsteinsson, Runar M.
Paul's Interlocutor in Romans 2: Function and Identity in the Context of Ancient Epistolography
Reviewed by Bryan Lee

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Alice Liddell

Speaking of Oxford, on RogueClassicism David Meadows draws attention to one of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Lives of the Week, Alice Liddell, famous as the heroine of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. David Meadows comments: "Most folks have have taken Greek will have been told that the model for Alice of Wonderland fame was the daughter of the guy who did that huge Greek dictionary"; here's the entry:

Hargreaves [née Liddell], Alice Pleasance (1852-1934)

It's a wonderfully written piece, by Lewis Carroll's most recent biographer, Morton Cohen, who was something of a Carroll figure to me, my brother and sister, when we were children. My father Selwyn Goodacre is something of an expert on Lewis Carroll and Professor Cohen used to visit. My father's interest in Lewis Carroll encouraged me to dabble in this a bit myself. I have a couple of articles on him, the most recent of which is "Reverence and Resolution: The Heart of Carroll's Religion", The Carrollian - The Lewis Carroll Journal 9 (Spring 2002): 32-42.

Rock on Rocky Ground

Things have been quiet on the blogging front recently because I have been writing a paper. I am giving it in Oxford at their Graduate New Testament Seminar today. Here's the abstract:
The Rock on Rocky Ground: How Matthew Read Mark’s Characterization of Peter

It is a commonly held view that Mark’s negative portrait of Peter is overwritten in Matthew, with its positive depiction of Peter as the Rock on which the Church will be built. But the standard view underestimates the extent to which Matthew’s characterization of Peter builds on Mark’s, repeating the pattern of immediate, enthusiastic response followed by falling away. Peter is temporarily successful in walking on the water but then falters (14.30-31); he is commended for his confession of Jesus as Christ but then is rebuked for rejecting Jesus’ suffering (16.13-23); and he promises to stand by Jesus in his Passion but then forsakes him (26.33-35; 69-75). Peter in Matthew behaves like the seed that fell on rocky soil (πετρῶδες) in the parable of the Sower (Matt. 13.20-21 // Mark 4.16-17). What Mary Ann Tolbert famously observed for Mark turns out to be just as true for Matthew.

While a narrative critic might see this pattern, it is often missed by redaction critics placing undue emphasis on Matthew’s difference from Mark, allowing Jesus’ commendation of Peter in 16.17-19 to eclipse everything else. But careful attention to the development of Matthew’s narrative as a whole encourages one to explore his Gospel as a successful reading of Mark. Far from supplanting or vanquishing Mark’s characterization of Peter, Matthew underlines, clarifies and nuances his source. The analysis of this rock on rocky ground sheds light not only on Mark but also on Matthew, his first interpreter.
I discovered the answer to why Matthew embarks on this course after I had written the above abstract (which I prepared for the forthcoming SBL in Philadelphia). My handout is available here. Once I've done a bit more work on the paper, I will make it available on-line.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Doctrine of Justification in N. T. Wright

Thanks to Jason Hood for this link:

The Doctrine of Justification in the Work of N. T. Wright

This is a series of presentations by someone called Bill Wilder; you can listen to the presentations as MP3s and you can view PowerPoints. I haven't listened to any myself -- it takes too long to listen to stuff -- but I've looked at one of the PowerPoints and it is nicely done.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

New Testament Bibliography

I've updated the following page:


taking out a couple of dead links and updating two others, William Harmless's Bibliographies for Theology and the Vanderbilt Divinity Library's New Testament Bibliography (PDF).

Successor to Peter?

In this week's Tablet, there's an enjoyable piece in which Jesuit theologian José Ignacio González Faus writes an open letter to the new pope Benedict XVI "urging him to explore the meaning of the Petrine ministry":

Successor to Peter
José Ignacio González Faus
. . . Today, the ministry of Peter really needs restoration, like Michaelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel, to recover the freshness of the original colours. And not only the ministry of Peter: our politicians have now forgotten that the word “ministry” means service, which gives me the chance to discuss with you some biblical features of this service . . .
Of course one of the difficulties with taking the Biblical evidence seriously is that so much of it presents Peter in a largely negative light, but to his credit Faus attempts to reflect positively on this, for example:
Peter had his hesitations. He was intuitive and impulsive, but cowardly. And sometimes, for the sake of avoiding trouble, he betrayed the step that he had previously taken towards those who were not Jews. Paul, the whirlwind, criticised him for it in public. And Peter gave us a great lesson in humility when he accepted this criticism and did not silence Paul for saying so. You will no doubt remember what Augustine was to say later on: “I dare declare that even more exemplary than the courage of Paul was the humility of Peter.”
There is a little bit of creative embellishment of the story here, though, with Peter "accept[ing] this criticism" and "not silenc[ing] Paul". Peter's silence at the end of Gal. 2.11-20 is simply a function of Paul's rhetoric, and many a historian has (I think rightly) read between the lines to see Paul attempting to avoid relating the obvious conclusion of the Antioch incident, that Paul lost and Peter won.

I am writing a paper at the moment on the portrait of Peter in Matthew and I was pleased to see Faus stressing both sides of the Caesarea Philippi narrative of Matthew 16 in which Peter is first blessed and then rebuked:
The Church was founded on the faith of Peter. When this faith looked at Jesus from God’s viewpoint, Peter was described by the Lord as a “rock”. But Peter is also called by Jesus nothing less than “Satan” when he thinks of God in terms of power and triumph, and not in terms of a committed life (Mt. 16:18,23).
All too often in Biblical scholarship, it is only the "Blessed are you Simon bar Jonah . . ." material that gets spotted, because it is distinctive to Matthew, while the "Get thee behind me Satan!" material is missed because it is shared with Mark.

Chattaway on Spong

On FilmChat, Peter Chattaway discusses a short article he has written on Bishop John Shelby Spong's latest:

Spong 'loves the Bible,' decries scripture's 'sins'

I have never met Spong myself but I've read bits and bobs that he has written, and I rather like Chattaway's blog summary:
I have mixed feelings about the guy, myself. I appreciate his thirst for knowledge, as well as his desire to keep his knowledge and his worship in some sort of relationship, but I am also repulsed by the way he builds up walls between himself and his intellectual opponents, the way he makes his theology completely subservient to the science and political ideologies of the day, and the way he cannot express one positive belief without expressing a dozen or two negative beliefs first. I can be a champion nit-picker, at times, and there is something about Spong's always-on-the-attack mode that appeals to the worst in me, I think. Plus it seems to me that Spong, for all his talk of relevancy, is still wrestling with the demons of his pre-World War II childhood, in a way that has already made him culturally and theologically irrelevant himself.

Inventing New Testaments

While we are on the topic of David Parker, here's something that is a must-mention:

Inventing New Testaments
David Parker

This was David Parker's inaugural lecture from March 2003 and is an adapted froom his illustrated PowerPoint presentation.

Independent on 616

On RogueClassicism and Paleojudaica, David Meadows and Jim Davila draw attention to the article on today's Independent on Sunday:

Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it's a devilish 616)
By Tom Anderson

As Jim notes, the article "tries to be cute" by talking to a Satanist. What Jim doesn't mention is that it also talks to my colleague David Parker, certainly one of the people to talk to on this (another would be Peter Head, see comments and especially the link to Peter's article). Well, David's fame is on the rise as a result. I've already had the BBC in contact today asking me about him! And I was watching an episode last Sunday of Alias and to my surprise and delight the aliases taken on by our hero and heroine were David and Karen Parker (Season 4, Episode 5: Welcome to Liberty Village, a must see episode).