Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Lord's Prayer

Jeffrey Gibson was kind enough to send me a prepublication version of his forthcoming book on the Lord's Prayer. For the next few weeks or so, I'll be excerpting from it. Let's start with his translation of the prayer, which he calls (correctly, I think) the Disciples' Prayer. Jeffrey explains his translation over the course of the book.
I render these words, for reasons that will become apparent as we go along, as follows:

Our Father, the one in the heavens,
ensure that we “hallow” your name,
ensure that your reign “comes”
ensure that your will is done on earth just as it is done in heaven;
do indeed give us today our “daily” bread
and forgive us our sins
in the same manner in which we have forgiven
our enemies
and keep us from subjecting you to “testing”
but rescue us from doing evil.—The Disciples’ Prayer, page 28

<idle musing>
I have to admit that I was extremely skeptical of some of this when I started the book. But, 150 pages later (it's a short book), I began to agree with him.

I invite you to follow along and see if he convinces you...
</idle musing>

It's not a plan

There’s probably a part of you that wants a guarantee—you want to know that the risk of sharing your secrets will be worth it. You want to know how this journey will look, step-by-step, and how it will end. Well, God doesn’t usually work that way. As I’ve said from the beginning, this isn’t a ten-step program. Ultimately you must lean on God. And while He doesn’t often point out the exact route on a map, He does something better. He walks with you and promises never to leave your side.—What’s Your Secret? page 196

<idle musing>
That's the final excerpt from the book. I hope you learned from it and were challenged...
</idle musing>

Conflicting claims

The Prince of this World is the dominant force behind all government. And this is more distressing when governments claim to be on a Christian basis. Jesus and his Spirit cannot rule because our human schemes maintain absolute control.—Christoph Blumhardt in The Hidden Christ, page 14

<idle musing>
Ain't it the truth! As Ken Schenk put it this morning:

As for Christians, the New Testament has done away with the category of clean and unclean, at least in the public sphere. We are strangers and aliens in that land anyway. We need to stop thinking of America as sacred space we need to keep from being defiled.
To which I give a hearty Amen! And then, some advice from Thomas Kidd at the Anxious Bench:
-Stop sending the message that we are lapdogs for any political party, Republican or otherwise. Russell Moore’s recent emphases on our status as a moral minority, not beholden to any temporal political movement, strike a welcome tone on this subject.

-Adhere to the best of the historic and contemporary Christian intellectual tradition, and stop chasing after celebrities and faddish pop Christian writers. We have many able evangelical defenders of the faith, but the politicians and writers who get the most coverage on talk radio and Fox News are often not among them.

-Put our money and service where our mouth is in terms of missions and service. We cannot account for how the world construes what evangelicals do. But as much as we can, we should seek to be known by heroes such as Kent Brantly and Stephen Foster, people who give up their lives to take up their cross. In so doing they find their true life, whether or not anyone applauds them.

Thought for a snowy Tuesday

“Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 CEB)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Not universalism...not particularism

The principle of universal opportunity is far from universalism, as God still allows His gracious work to be rejected by nonbelievers, His call described in these passages does not ensure a positive response. Grace does not necessitate repentance, either in a universalist direction (excessively broad) or in an irresistible grace direction (excessively narrow). Instead, God grants an unregenerate individual the spiritual capacity to respond, as 2 Corinthians 3:5 states, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but out adequacy is from God.”— Prevenient Grace: God’s Provision for Fallen Humanity, page 54

Heart holiness

There is something about being heart focused that frees us, and that’s why Jesus continually addresses the heart. He lambasted the Pharisees for neglecting the heart, pointed the rich ruler toward an issue of the heart, and praised the widow for her fully devoted heart (Matt. 23; Luke 18; Mark 12). When we’re convicted of greed, it’s not about money; when we lust, it’s not about sex; and when we get angry, it’s not about revenge— it’s all about what happens in the secret places of our hearts.—What’s Your Secret? pages 192–93

<idle musing>
And that is why I always precede the word "holiness" with "heart." We need heart holiness. Anything less is legalism, which is a dead end, as we all know (if we're willing to admit it—even to ourselves).
</idle musing>

Greek word order—again

Most adjectives and other modifiers of the noun, however, convey no such semantic difference between attributive and predicative position. In general, modifiers can be freely placed before or after their head in both definite and indefinite NPs [noun phrases]. This begs the question of whether there may be any explanation for prenominal and postnominal position. For Classical Greek there is evidence that it is information structure that determines modifier position after all. (Dik 1997; Viti 2008a [StudLang 32:894–915], 2008b [Glotta 84:203–38]; Bakker 2009 [The Noun Phrase in in Ancient Greek]). More precisely, it has been claimed that the modifier is prenominal when it is the most salient element of the NP.—Giovanni, “Word Order” in Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, page 538

<idle musing>
Interesting, isn't it? You did follow all that, didn't you? : )

Now, let's take a look at James 1:5 again:

αἰτείτω παρὰ τοῦ διδόντος θεοῦ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ.

ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. (NRSV)

So, according to Giovanni, the most salient (relevant) part of the noun phrase "God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly" is that he is "giving." The fact that he does so "generously and ungrudgingly" tells us how he gives, but James didn't consider that as important as the fact that our God is a "giving" God.

Isn't linguistics fun? : )
</idle musing>

Nothing

We can accomplish nothing for God’s kingdom on the basis of human strength. All we can say is that “we are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty” (Luke 17:10). Jesus empowers the workers in his vineyard to overcome the world. It is not we who do it, but the Spirit, who acts in and through us and before whom all other spirits must bow. This is what you will experience when hearts turn to you. See to it, then, that God alone works. God is like the sun that sends its rays everywhere, even into the grimiest places.—Christoph Blumhardt in The Hidden Christ, pages 11–12

Sunday, March 29, 2015

God is dead

And it’s actually true – God is dead! Of course he isn’t really dead, but in the lives of people he is dead. Nobody gets very excited if you say “God”; that is one of the most boring things in the world. When a rabbit jumps up in a field, everybody calls out, “A rabbit!” and shows a certain interest. But for most people God is irrelevant. He is dead.

There is another way God is dead: our civilization simply doesn’t need God anymore. What good is God when you are on the train? The man at the controls, it is his job to get me to Stuttgart. The conductor can groan, the fireman can break his back, the engineer can worry, but isn’t it all the same to me? I just sit there on the train. That is why we can be so crude and ruthless about enjoying everything these modern times offer us; we do not need God. Science and technology do not need God. They are succeeding quite well without him! Hence the words, “They will look on him whom they have pierced” – killed, that is. God is dead, murdered. Nietzsche experienced more truth in his wrought-up nerves than all the boring Christians, who don’t have a serious thought left for God! God is of no real importance, even for people with religion, because religion has become more important than God. Though people get into tremendous arguments about religious questions, all the time God is dead. And it is perfectly all right with them if he is dead, because then they can do what they like. That is another trait of our times, people want to be able to do whatever pops into their heads or feels good at the moment....

Shame on us Christians who are always wanting to have it nice and soft, with a bit of God in our lives! We’ve got to fight until we’re dead, or we aren’t worth Christ’s name. God calls out to us, “Share in my business!” and we are fooling ourselves unless we do this.—Christoph Blumhardt in Action in Waiting

<idle musing>
I just discovered this guy from the 1800s, Christoph Blumhardt, thanks to Roger Olson's post from today. What I've read so far is great. You'll probably be seeing more excerpts from his books over the next weeks.

If you're interested in learning more, check out this link for free articles and e-books. I see that Wipf & Stock has some good stuff too; follow this link. They've even started a Blumhardt Series, although it doesn't seem to be producing a lot of books.
</idle musing>

Thought for the day

Lord, the depths of a person’s conscience lie exposed before your eyes. Could I hide anything from you, even if I did not want to confess it to you? If I tried I would only be hiding you from myself, not myself from you. Whoever I am, Lord, I lie exposed to your scrutiny.—Augustine

<idle musing>
Augustine at his best. I think I'm hiding from God, but really I'm just hiding God from myself. Food for thought, isn't it?
</idle musing>

Friday, March 27, 2015

It's a privilege to pray

"Seppli, Seppli!" he [Father Clemens] said kindly, as he pressed his hand, "what have I heard ? Are you not willing to follow Stanzeli when she wishes to go into the chapel? I wish to tell you something: our Heavenly Father does not command us to go into the church and pray; but He gives us the privilege of doing so, and every time we pray He sends us something, only we cannot always see it immediately."—Johanna Spyri, Red-Letter Stories, page 17

Word order in Greek

Within the framework of Functional Grammar, she [Helma Dik, Word Order in Ancient Greek, 1995; Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue, 2007] argues that the order of content words (i.e., Dover’s mobiles) in Classical Greek clauses can be accounted for by the following pattern:

(8) (Setting) — Topic — Focus — Verb — Remainder

According to (8) Classical Greek word order is pragmatically determined and fixed. The Setting slot refers to optional adverbials at the beginning of the clause (Dik 2007:36–37). Next follows the core of the clause: the first position is occupied by topic and the second position by focus; the verb is in the third position, unless it is itself topic or focus, and is followed by pragmatically unmarked constituents in an unspecified order.—Giovanni, “Word Order” in Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, page 535

<idle musing>
Good stuff. I'm working my way through Simon Dik's The Theory of Functional Grammar, Part 1 right now. Wonderful! Maybe I should have done some linguistics in grad school—as if I didn't have enough to do : )

And, yes, I'm strange; why else would I label a post like this as "Just for fun"!
</idle musing>

God started it

Arminians affirm that it was necessary for God to initiate salvation because man was spiritually depraved by his Adamic inheritance.— Prevenient Grace: God’s Provision for Fallen Humanity, page 40

"To" or "from"?

Satan wants us to believe that God will reject us if we run to Him, convincing us that we had better run away from Him. Satan blinds us to God’s compassion and mercy and skews our perception of God. Convinced that God is mad at us, we buy into the lie that He will destroy us instead of the truth that God welcomes us in any state. Satan also knows that the best way to keep you from running to God is to keep you away from others, living in isolation.—What’s Your Secret? page 172

<idle musing>
Yep. Run from God and hide—by yourself. Away from the prying eyes of God and others—at least that is how we see it. But really, what are doing is running away from the compassionate love and care of God and the tender love of others...but we don't see it that way.
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 26, 2015

This is just plain evil

Got this today from "Catch the Buzz" a beekeeper e-mail. It originally appeared in Food Manufacturing News.
Inspired by the popular "USDA organic" label, House Republicans are proposing a new government certification for foods free of genetically modified ingredients.

The idea is part of an attempt to block mandatory labeling of foods that include genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The certification would be voluntary, says Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who is including the idea in legislation he is introducing Wednesday.

But here's the part that stinks
The bill would also override any state laws that require the labeling.

Under the legislation, the Agriculture Department would oversee the certification, as it does with organics. But while organic foods must be USDA-certified to carry any organic label on a package, the department's non-GMO certification would not be required for every food that bills itself as free of genetically modified ingredients. The idea is that foods the department certifies as free of GMOs would have a special government label that companies could use to market their foods. User fees would pay for the program.

Two things there: (1) It would override more stringent state laws.
And (2) certification would not be required for every food that bills itself as free of genetically modified ingredients. What!? You don't need to certify you are GMO-free to advertise it? But, you would need to be certified to have the label. Right! What happened to truth in advertising?

And what does the public think about GMO-free labeling?

According to a December Associated Press-GfK poll, two-thirds of Americans favor mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.
So for whom do these representatives really work? Obviously not for the 2/3 of Americans!

Write you congressperson and tell them to stop working for the big ag companies and start working for you.

This is just wrong!

I just ran across this editorial on Mother Earth News about seed sharing. Read the whole thing, but this paragraph grabbed me:
Minnesota’s seed law, for example, is so broad that it basically prohibits gardeners from sharing or giving away seeds unless they buy an annual permit, have the germination of each seed lot tested, and attach a detailed label to each seed packet. This law is enforced by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which has recently told seed libraries that they can’t distribute free seeds to gardeners unless they buy a permit and provide detailed labeling, even though the libraries aren’t selling the seeds. (The penalty for violating this law, by the way, is a fine of up to $7,500 per day!
<idle musing>
What!? Sure, Minnesota is home to Cargill and many other huge agricultural companies, but this is insane! I save seeds, not a lot, but I save seeds. They are the ones that have adapted and do best in our less than temperate climate here : ) I haven't given any away yet—I barely have enough for my own use at this point! But, what if my next-door neighbor sees how well my scarlet runner beans are doing and wants seeds? I'd have to buy a permit? You-gotta-be-kindin-me!

This calls for a new label: Insanity!
</idle musing>

It is assumed, prevenient grace, that is

The active force of the verb “suppress” (katechontōn) captures the intentional, counterworking effort of rebellios humankind to the effort of God or his revelation to show them his attributes. If the truth is actively suppressed, does that not suggest that the normal function of this truth is to persuade men—almost naturally? If they naturally and sinfully reject the truth, then is it not something like prevenient grace against which they fight? Human potential to accept the truth is presumed, as if that potential had been primevally established because God allowed humankind to see him through their ponderings about creation.— Prevenient Grace: God’s Provision for Fallen Humanity, page 36

<idle musing>
Sort of like the people who claim there is not an overarching metanarrative to life, and yet that there is no metanarrative is a metanarrative. Or the people who claim the law of noncontradiction isn't true, but have a bird when you point out that their stand depends on only one or the other being true—which means that the law of noncontradiction is true...
</idle musing>

The accuser

He piles on embarrassment, disappointment, frustration, fear, guilt, and shame by the truckload. The smooth-sounding tone, pseudo-promises, and seductive words of the deceiver quickly morph into the soul-crushing, shame-laden, degrading words of the accuser. He sweet talks us into believing a lie and then accuses us of being terrible human beings for doing what he asked. As soon as Adam and Eve gave in to the lies of the serpent, they looked for a hiding place. Why? They hid because shame had taken root in their hearts. Adam and Eve carried a burden that wasn’t meant for them. Shame forces us to carry something we don’t need to carry—but the enemy wants us to think that the burden is ours and that we deserve it.—What’s Your Secret? page 170

So stone me!

Recently, Chuck Pierce is in the news for "mantling" Glenn Beck. You can read about it here and the reactions, with Pierce's response, here. I chose Charisma News as the link because it is relatively favorable to this type of thing. I don't want to import biases before I say anything.

I was somewhat concerned when I read the first report, so I e-mailed a friend of mine who follows this stuff closer than I do. I wanted to know if there was a back-story to this that wasn't getting published. His response was pretty much the stuff published in the second article. He asked me what I thought. I didn't intend to give more than a short answer, but once I started writing, I couldn't stop. I'd like to think it was from the Lord, but you decide. It is relatively long, but you can read it faster than a cat video would take to watch...

Here's my response, slightly edited. I'm calling my friend Theophilus, which can mean either "beloved to God" or "lover of God." Both are true of him, and I hope of you. Either way, the former is true, you are beloved to God.

Dear Theophilus,

Lots of things going on in this whole scenario; I’ll try to deal with each one, but let me know if you don’t follow.

1. In The Land of Canaan and the Destiny of Israel, Frankel, a secular Jew, looked at the land promises to Israel and came to the conclusion that they are conditional on Israel serving YHWH. The current regime in Israel seems more intent on political subjugation of non-Jews than anything else. Witness the treatment of Palestinians and the “Wall” that is being built.

2. One can disagree with the stance of Israel toward the Palestinians and not be against Israel. I know some Israeli Jews who are very much opposed to the direction that Israel is taking here. One can scarcely call them anti-Israel! I fear that the formerly oppressed have become the oppressors themselves.

3. The prophets called Israel to account and were doing so by the voice of YHWH. When there was injustice, Amos called it out. Of course, the ruling party in the Northern Kingdom kicked him out, but YHWH was the one who called him. See Rick Hess, ed.,War in the Bible and Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, the last chapter (on Just Peacemaking) for more details (a great book, by the way!).

4. The close alliance between Christianity and Nationalism in the U.S. has me quite concerned. How much of what happened with Beck is related to his strong nationalism and the upcoming U.S. elections? Beck spews hatred and a strong civil religion with the U.S. as his real god. The fact that most U.S. Christians don’t see anything wrong with flying a flag in the church buildings while they won’t display a cross for fear of offending someone is a problem (and yes, I did have someone tell me that when I asked them why there was no cross but a U.S. flag!). The fact that patriotic holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, etc. call forth celebrations of “freedom” more that Easter does is a problem. The fact that most U.S. Christians don’t have a problem reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is terrifying. Where does their real allegiance lie? See just about anything by Michael Gorman for a good critique.

5. The U.S. is not God’s chosen instrument in the world. Well, let me rephrase that, it might be, but so was Assyria! But that didn’t keep God from judging Assyria for overstepping its bounds (see Habakkuk!). The Christians in the U.S. would do well to take a look at Augustine’s City of God for perspective. God was getting along fine before the U.S. became ascendent, and he will get along fine once it falls (and it will—every empire does).

6. The whole dispensationalist viewpoint on the end times is theologically deficient. At no time in the history of the church did anything approaching Dispensationalism appear until Darby and then Scofield’s development of it. It is based largely on a misreading of scripture through the lens of Germanic (and Enlightenment) anti-Semitism which equated the Old Testament with legalism and formalism (read Wellhausen, et al.). One only need read Hosea to realize that there is no covenant of law and covenant of grace. It is always and ever grace. The fulness of that grace wasn’t disclosed until the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, but it was always grace. From the moment that Adam and Eve took the apple, God has been pursuing humanity! Praise God for that! That’s all grace.

7. The way that the Christian Right has been whitewashing Mormonism since the last election has me concerned. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took down their page on Mormonism as a cult after Franklin Graham endorsed Mitt Romney. When called on the carpet, the BGEA said it was removing it because of something that I don’t recall, but the bottom line was Romney was Mormon and Franklin wanted him elected. Why? Because he represented what the Christian Right wanted. Not because Romney was an Evangelical who wanted to exalt God, but because he stood for a strong America with values that they endorsed. Sorry, but that’s just a bunch of double talk for we want to stay in power. Forget the cross, we want the crown. Bomb the Muslims! Revenge!

8. Just as the church sold out far too much to Constantine and his successors, so has the church sold out far too much to the U.S. Government for the sake of “influence.” What has that influence bought? The rich are richer than ever. The churches are emptier than in recent memory. There is no revival. There is no cry for revival—but there are loud cries for bigger armies and more invasions. Defend American interests! What ever happened to the way of the cross? What happened to forgiveness? What happened to feed the poor and oppressed? I haven’t seen any bills introduced to eliminate abortion—the calling card that the Right has always used to get the Evangelical vote—but there have been bills introduced to slice benefits to the poorest among us. There have been letters written warning Iran that we want war. Quite the exchange, the glory of God for a piece of power that will wilt. Pure religion and undefiled is to make widows and orphans seems to be what the church is saying instead of taking care of widows and orphans.

So, yes, I have a huge check in my spirit about this whole thing. I think that nationalism has dulled the sensitivity of too many people to what God is really calling the church to: humble fasting and praying that holiness would grab the church. After all, the promise in Chronicles starts out by saying if my people will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways… it doesn’t say if other people will turn… and as long as the divorce rate in the church is as high as the rest of society, I’d say we have a problem. As long as preachers are preaching prosperity instead of giving to the poor, we have a problem. As long as…you get the idea.

Sorry this got so long, but this is where my prayers have been going for the last 10 years or more—actually since before 9/11 and especially since. Especially when the Sunday after 9/11 when we were at a megachurch in Minneapolis and the pastor prayed for our soldiers to win. I felt the Lord nudging me to go up to him, so I did. I asked him if we couldn’t pray for the perpetrators as well, that they might experience the love of God. He told me he couldn’t. To his credit, within a week he was able to. But most pastors didn’t. That’s a problem. We’ve equated nationalism with Christianity. That’s sin.

<idle musing>
Now it's your turn...what's wrong with my response? Or, maybe a better question, what is God calling you to do in response to this? If he isn't calling you to prayer, something is wrong! And that prayer could be that I "see the light!" But if it causes you to classify me as a "liberal" or "Israel hater" or some such label, then know that your hope isn't in God, but in a political process that will ultimately fail you, because only God can fix matters of the heart, not laws and government processes...

Just an
</idle musing>

There's a textual variant

The way things are going, I thought maybe I had misread James 1:27:
θρησκεία ⸆ καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ °τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὕτη ἐστίν, ⌜ἐπισκέπτεσθαι ὀρφανοὺς καὶ χήρας ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν, ⸂ἄσπιλον ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν⸃ ἀπὸ τοῦ κόσμου.

True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us. (CEB)

And maybe I did—after all there is a textual variant—see the ⌜ in the middle of the verse? Maybe the variant says ἀποκτείνειν (to kill)! Or maybe ποιεῖν (to make)! Wouldn't that be something! To think we might have been missing a variant that would justify our actions all these years!

So what does the variant say?

επισκεπτεσθε et ⸂υπερασπιζειν αυτους 𝔓74; Lact

OK, what does that mean? Well, it changed the infinitive into an imperative with the same verb and added an infinitive that means "to hold a shield over them (as protection)." So we should translate the verse as

True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: Care for orphans and widows in their difficulties to hold a shield over them as protection and to keep the world from contaminating us."

So much for the vain hope of being justified in violence...the variant holds you to an even stricter account. No wonder it wasn't adopted! : )

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prepostions, you gotta luv 'em

I'm in the midst of reading Chip Hardy's dissertation on the Hebrew preposition. Interesting stuff—very linguistic in orientation. I came across this little tidbit, which I really like [I couldn't get the transliteration to paste correctly, sorry]:
One finds several BH examples of which may be understood as having either a locative formation or the comitative function. In Example (172), Saul is said to have met a group of prophets. Enthused by the Spirit of God, the narrative states that Saul prophesied בְּתוֹכָֽם btokam 'among (the group of) them'.

(172) וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֖א בְּתוֹכָֽם
wayyi nabbeʾ ɔm
prophesy-WCPC.3M.SG. INSIDE/COM+them
[Saul] prophesied among them. 1 Samuel 10:10

This usage could be understood as a locative relation denoting the location 'within the group of prophets'. Alternatively, it may be read as the COMITATIVE designating the pluralization of the subjective participant. Saul may be seen as prophesying as one of the group of prophets, namely 'together with them'. This latter formation appears to motivate the incredulous response and the proverbial saying: גַ֥ם שָׁא֖וּל בַּנְּבִאִֽים 'Is Saul among the prophets?' (vs. 12). This designation seems to suggest more than a location in the midst of a group but the extension of the identification with the primary characteristic of that group, namely prophecy.—Diachronic Development in Biblical Hebrew Prepositions, pages 265–66

<idle musing>
I like that...see, grammar (and linguistics) really does matter!
</idle musing>

Romans 1—noch einmal

Yet in Romans 1, Paul condemns those who fail to honor God and says they are without excuse for it. This does not seem congruent; it requires us to believe that these people are too depraved to repent before God, but not too depraved to be able to recognize his goodness. Some gracious revelation is at work here that elicits human response. Without going so far as to assume that they could be saved through natural revelation..., it is clear that they had some ability to recognize God.— Prevenient Grace: God’s Provision for Fallen Humanity, page 34

<idle musing>
Brand new book—well new to me anyway—that I recently read. I tell you, trying to get this book via interlibrary loan wasn't easy, either. It isn't in any libraries in Minnesota; my copy ended up coming from my alma mater, Asbury College—oops, University. I wish Francis Asbury Press would have a better distribution network...

Anyway, this is an excellent book that everyone interested in the concept of Prevenient Grace should read. Of course, you can just enjoy the excerpts that I supply you. Hopefully that will entice you to read the whole thing—and recommend it to your local librarian!
</idle musing>

Change isn't easy

The reality is that most people are deeply connected to their hurt. It becomes part of their identities. To let go of it means major change.—What’s Your Secret? page 158

The atonement

The death of Christ should not be seen as the expression of divine anger or even wrath, but as the expression of divine love. It is the gift of God’s son and, at least in some sense, the gift of God’s own self: “God was in Christ . . .” (2 Cor 5:19; MJG). If that is the major emphasis from the satisfaction/sacrificial/penal kind of atonement models, then there may also be room for the satisfaction and penal components as minor sub-plots in the atonement narrative, but only if they can be clearly found in New Testament texts, and only if they retain their minor role in relation to divine, covenantal love.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 226

<idle musing>
I give a hearty AMEN to those sentiments! I can't really fathom how Penal Substitution, an idea which isn't even mentioned by the Church Fathers, has come to dominate so much of modern theology of the atonement. Well, that's not true, I can. Sadly.

First, you take a Latin/Roman view of justice, mix thoroughly with a misunderstanding of the curses in Genesis 3, add a healthy dose of shame and works, and what do you get? A mad god who needs placating or he'll blow you to pieces before sending you to hell...

There's a popular saying, "The god of the philosophers is not the God of the Bible." Perhaps we should modify that, "The god of the Penal Substitution model is not the God of the Bible." What do you think?

That's the final excerpt from this wonderful book (with many thanks to Wipf & Stock for the copy). Hope you enjoyed it.
</idle musing>

Passion—and virtue

Even though I object to the "us versus them" attitude in this post, this paragraph makes it worth posting:
While Christian theologians have typically regarded a concept such as love as both a passion and a virtue, modern secular society has collapsed the two into each other and made the latter dependent for its meaning upon the former. Love is now really nothing more than a passion. To put it more generally, passions are virtues. When this move is made, the whole vocabulary of moral discourse concerning love and other virtues may look the same as it has always done but conceptually it has been fundamentally transformed into something very different. It is subjective and rooted in emotional responses, responses which are easy to manufacture in our aesthetic age through the instruments of pop culture.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stuff only a geek could love

I just discovered that Steve Runge, whose blog has lain fallow since last fall, is now doing a weekly blurb on Greek and discourse grammar—the heading says it will eventually also include Hebrew. Right now, he is two weeks into every first year Greek student's favorite(?) subject, the participle! Good stuff.

Here's the link to the first one, All about Participles, Part 1.

And here's the second one, called appropriately enough, All about Participles, Part 2

I am especially fond of his last example this week:

Consider the impact of the participles in James 1:5 (a twofer!):

James 1:5 (SBLGNT) Εἰ δέ τις ὑμῶν λείπεται σοφίας, αἰτείτω παρὰ τοῦ διδόντος θεοῦ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος, καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ·

James 1:5 (LEB) Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask for it from God, who gives to all without reservation and not reproaching, and it will be given to him.

The participles are not helping us determine which god James is referring to. Instead they shape how we think about him. Of all of the potential images that might come to mind in the context of asking him for something, James portrays him as the giving God, giving to all without reservation. He is also the “not reproaching” God. This is great news for those of us who might be too intimidated to ask him for things like wisdom. After all, what if our request makes him angry? The portrait that James paints of God serves to disabuse us of wrong ideas like this, and participles offer a great alternative to adjectives and nouns for creating evocative pictures.

I've often commented on the placement of the participle in this verse. I love that διδόντος (giving) comes before θεοῦ (God). James doesn't want you to import any ideas into whom he is mentioning, so he qualifies exactly what he wants highlighted about God before he even mentions him. And then, just to make sure you get it right, he follows up with what kind of giving we can expect.

Good stuff! See, grammar really does matter : )

Add it to your RSS feed. I'm sure the blog will be worth your time...

But who wrote it?

“But who wrote these words is quite a pointless question when we believe confidently that the Holy Spirit is the true author of the book. The writer is the one who dictates things to be written. The writer is the one who inspires the book and recounts through the voice of the scribe the deeds we are to imitate.—Gregory the Great, Moralia as quoted in Ascetic Pneumatology from John Cassian to Gregory the Great, page 187

<idle musing>
As long as this doesn't degenerate into the oral dictation theory, I agree. Although I love researching who might have written what, in the end, it's the Holy Spirit. And unless we submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we are just beating the air...and even though beating the air might feel like you're doing something, it won't result in a changed life. Or a closer walk with Jesus. And that is the goal, isn't it?
</idle musing>

Part of the problem

When we turn to bitterness or wrath, failing to forgive, we become part of the problem. Our humanity broke things in the first place, so why do we think our own fix will contribute to true justice? Do we really believe that getting even will make the world right?—What’s Your Secret? page 154

Necessary but not sufficient

The same new Testament writers who use new-covenant language also use the language of sacrifice. forgiveness of sins via the sacrifice of Christ is an essential, but not a sufficient, dimension of an atonement model rooted in the New Testament texts. To suggest that the new-covenant model and the sacrificial model are mutually exclusive would be to ignore the evidence of the New Testament itself. The prophetic promise of a forgiven covenantal people is realized in the sacrificial death of Christ.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 225

Monday, March 23, 2015

Origen got it right

For as the different strings of the harp or lyre, each of which gives forth a sound of its own seemingly unlike that of any other, are thought by the unmusical who do not understand the theory of harmony to be discordant because the sounds are dissimilar, so are they who have not ears to detect the harmony of God in the holy scriptures. . . . But if a reader comes who has been instructed in God’s music, one who is wise in word and deed, and for this reason may be called David—which is interpreted “skillful player”—he will produce the sound of God’s music. . . . For he knows that the whole scripture is the one, perfect, harmonious instrument of God, which blends the different sounds, for those who wish to learn, into one harmonious song of salvation.—Origen of Alexandria, Commentary on Matthew 2 in Philocalia 6.2 quoted in The Harp of Prophecy

<idle musing>
Yes, there really is a metanarrative in scripture. And Origen got it right here, despite his horrendous etymology for David's name : )

And I've got to get this book! But interlibrary loan says I have to wait until it is 6 months old! Another 3 months...

But, endnotes! Why? It is a scholarly book for scholars. There is no way to justify endnotes instead of footnotes! The software can easily handle footnotes. Why or why? Maybe so we could take up a Psalm of lament? : (
</idle musing>

Just for fun

A week or three ago, we were in the Grand Marais Public Library, picking up an interlibrary loan book or two or three or...well, you get the idea, when I got to talking to the head librarian. One of the things we discussed was the Internet comic, Unshelved. It's a comic about public libraries and the experiences of the staff. Fun stuff.

Steve, the head librarian, started talking about some of his more bizarred experiences. The one that stood out the most was the time a person came into the library, pulled out a bag and began making a salad. Yep, making a salad. Not just eating one, but actually constructing one. With Italian Dressing, no less! Not a thick dressing that would stay on the salad when tossed, but a oily, splattery Italian one.

Well, needless to say, eating in the library is against the rules! So, Steve walked over and told them they weren't allowed to do it. They acted surprised, after all, isn't that what a library is for?

I thought the story would make a good Unshelved episode and told Steve to submit it. He said that he wouldn't, but gave me permission to do so. So I did.

Guess what? They liked it and today, they published a strip with a salad making patron. Go look at it and think of Grand Marais : )

Mary and Martha, two views

When speaking of Martha and Mary, Augustine’s emphasis lies with Mary as a type of the life to come: “Mary…has shown us a likeness of this joy beforehand…she rested from every occupation and was absorbed with the truth according to the manner of which this life is capable, and thus has foreshadowed the future life that shall last forever. For Augustine, Martha and Mary signify types of life separated by what is possible in this life and what is possible after death. “In these two women two kinds of life are represented: present life and future life…temporal life and eternal life…In Martha was to be found the image of things present, in Mary that of things to come. Alternatively, for Cassia, both Martha and Mary signify lives that Christians regularly lead on earth. One has to draw lines between Cassian and Augustine carefully: both Cassian and Augustine are convinced that the contemplation we will experience face to face is radically superior to the contemplation we experience now, and both are willing to consider that we progress towards that contemplation in this life as a regular part of the ascetic’s life, as we saw in Chapter 2. Contemplation is more than barely begun in this life according to Cassian. Contemplation is a regular part of the reading of scripture and prayer experiences of the Christian ascetic. For Augustine, on the other hand, “active” and “contemplative” most naturally name this life and the next. Contemplation is barely begun in this life, and is a rare experience, according to the mature Augustine.—Ascetic Pneumatology from John Cassian to Gregory the Great, page 185

<idle musing>
Where to begin...there is so much wrong with this—and so much right!

First off, we see the problem with the allegorical interpretation of scripture. Mary and Martha are reduced to types. But, if Mary represents the future, then how come she's experiencing it right now?! She is already experiencing a restful life in Christ, sure there will be more in the future, as both Augustine and Cassian acknowledge. But, there is indeed a foretaste of it now.

Second, Augustine is wrong to say that it is rare and barely begun! This flows out of his extreme embrace of the fallenness of humanity. His earlier stuff, before he encountered Pelagius, is a bit more optimistic. But once he began to refute Pelagius, he became more extreme on the extent of the fall. I'm not enough of an Augustine scholar to know if he ever says that the image of God is destroyed in humanity, but he certainly extends the extent to which is it effaced. Cassian is closer to right here. We can experience a much greater degree of the contemplative life here and now than Augustine allows here.

What's right? We only get a foretaste. But what a foretaste it can be! But it's still only a foretaste.

Now, I wonder how Augustine reconciles his extreme pessimism here with his optimism here?!

Just an
</idle musing>

Whoda judge?

Forgiveness is not about disregarding justice. For me, holding on to an offense reflects my desire for the offender to hurt as much as I have. We don’t like to be this honest, but our hesitance to forgive is often based in our desire for some kind of revenge. However, it’s not our place to see that others pay for their actions; that job belongs to God. Forgiveness is not a statement about disregarding justice but a statement about who will execute justice.—What’s Your Secret? page 152

<idle musing>
A bit too honest, isn't he? Forgiveness means letting God take care of the offense, not I. It is acknowledging that I'm not God—in fact, I'm not even a god...what a blow to my self-esteem—and we all know that self-esteem is the ultimate definition of who I am, right? He says, cynically.
</idle musing>

Cross-shaped witness

So what is an appropriate politic for those who claim allegiance to the crucified Messiah? It is the task of every Christian community, in each and every time and place, to seek the will of God, the mind of Christ, and the guidance of the Spirit in discerning how to be such a community of the new covenant within the host culture, which is to say in the “world.” That world, is both the object of God’s love and the locus of human rebellion against God. The church’s presence in the world, as an alter-culture, including its alternative politics, is thus grounded in the twin realities of divine love, on the one hand, and human sin and need, on the other. The world, or the human city (in Augustine’s words), is therefore both the focus of the church’s cross-shaped mission and the source of the church’s cross-shaped suffering, its temptations and trials. The church is salt and light. Its cruciform voice will be double-edged, like that of the prophets, offering both critique and hope, judgment and salvation, with both aspects of its message shaped by the cross.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 221

I like that

Scot McKnight has a post of a recent interview with J.I. Packer concerning Anglicanism. This paragraph caught my attention:
[I]n Anglican circles, any question can be asked and the Anglican ethic is to take the question seriously and discuss it responsibly. There are, of course, Protestant churches which, I think you have to say, are always running scared and as soon as a question of this kind – a real puzzle of our Christian truth, of the ways of God – is raised in their circles, they bring out the big stick. “Now you mustn’t talk like that, you shouldn’t be concerning yourself about that. Just stay with the ABC of the Gospel and Bible truth”. Theological reflection is discouraged rather than helped on its way. That makes, I believe, for real immaturity. So I celebrate the fact that Anglicanism, characteristically is rational and reflective and believes in the discipline of debate and sustained discussion, believing, you see, that like panning for gold, the gold of truth will be distilled out through the discussion and the dross of error will be panned away.
<idle musing>
Yep. Especially in the U.S., people are afraid of questions. It might require thinking! And, even worse, it might upset my neatly laid out (but largely unthought, unexamined, and unbiblical!) way of living. We can't have that!
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Syriac tidbit

The term marí (“my lord”) is frequently used in Syriac literature to refer to holy people.—David Eastman, The Deaths of the Apostles: Ancient Accounts of the Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Society of Biblical Literature, forthcoming, chapter 4, note 13.

<idle musing>
Cool! I didn't know that...
</idle musing>

Looking for a dissertation topic?

I therefore conclude that, in Hebrew, verbal forms were marked for social dynamics. Scribes chose unmarked forms when no distinction needed to be made between the social status of the speaker and that of the listener. In con- texts where the social dynamics were significant, scribes used marked forms and added the particle of politeness נָא for additional modality.—The Syntax of Volitives in Biblical Hebrew and Amarna Canaanite Prose, page 223

<idle musing>
Not sure how I feel about this—even after looking over her data...is נָא really a particle of politeness?

Dallaire looks at the Ugaritic and Hebrew data and concludes it is—which is a return to the position that was held pre-Ugaritic. Once the Ugaritic tablets were deciphered, scholar's noted n' was frequently used with the imperative. It became common to refer to it as the imperative marker. After all, in unpointed (without vowels) texts, there needs to be a way to mark the imperative when context isn't enough.

Now Dallaire has reexamined the data and returned to the old conclusion...As I said, I'm not totally convinced. But, I haven't studied the data as closely as she has. And I don't have the motivation or time to do it.

To do it properly, one would need to look at every occurrence of an imperative (or potential imperative) in the Ugaritic corpus. And, you would need to make a distinction based on genre—as we all know, poetry does funky things with grammar! And then you would have to do the same with the Biblical Hebrew texts.

Not this kid! But what about some PhD candidate somewhere? Sounds like it could be a good dissertation topic...
</idle musing>

Where is the power?

I’ve heard horrific stories of how people have been violated and traumatized. When I suggest that they need to forgive the one who hurt them, initially it might seem incomprehensible, even impossible. And I think it is … on our own. That is why we must rely on the Holy Spirit to empower us to forgive.—What’s Your Secret? page 150

Seeking the welfare of

Members of the new-covenant community are still to seek the welfare of the city in which they reside, as Jeremiah told the exiles (Jer 29:7). But this must be a good they seek in cruciform mode. Their lives should be a living presence and voice that reflect the cross of the crucified Messiah. This is not, I would submit, the way that most discussions of Christians and politics (or public witness) proceed. If politics as it is normally understood and practiced is at least in part about the exercise of power, Christians have far too often sought to share that secular power, to control the political and/or public realm, and even to participate in the exercise of power in ways that are antithetical to the cross. As we all know, in fact, at times the cross has ironically and idolatrously become the symbol of such un-cruciform power, whether in the execution of medieval crusades, or in so-called “cross-lightings” by the KKK, or in contemporary popular war propaganda in which crosses and American flags are merged into a single blasphemous icon.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 221

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Say that again, slowly this time...

My study shows that the Hebrew yiqtol embodies a number of prefix conjugations: the indicative yaqtulu, the jussive yiqtol, and the volitive yaqtula. On certain types of verbs, the morphological features of the jussive differ from those of the indicative yaqtulu and the volitive yaqtula, but due to the loss of final short vowels, the yaqtulu and the yaqtula became morphologically indistinguishable in Hebrew.—The Syntax of Volitives in Biblical Hebrew and Amarna Canaanite Prose, page 159

Where's the fine print?

We always have a good reason why we’re exempt from this commandment [to forgive] after people hurt us repeatedly. But there is no biblical caveat that says, “Forgive unless you can’t muster up the strength or unless your situation is really, really bad.” There is no disclaimer. Forgiveness is a must.—What’s Your Secret? pages 148–49

<idle musing>
That's right. There is no fine print. Read it and weep—or forgive.

How?

By the power of the Holy Spirit living within you, that's how.
</idle musing>

Who's on trial?

For all kinds of reasons, members of the new-covenant community should operate with a hermeneutic, an interpretive posture, of suspicion vis-à-vis the powers, since those powers crucified Jesus. The Gospel of John reminds us that political power is often blind to the truth of God and, we should probably say, to truth more generally. in John’s passion narrative we have the famous scenes of Pilate coming in and out as he exercises his political power, in deference to the crowds and the emperor, by questioning Jesus and having the innocent man flogged and eventually crucified (John 18:28—19:16a). But when Jesus identifies himself as being on a divine mission to witness to truth, Pilate asks, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). For readers of John, this is not the sincere question of a philosopher-king but the question of a blind politician so caught up in the web of imperial untruth that he cannot recognize truth when it is standing in front of him, the incarnation of truth, the one who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Thus, as Raymond Brown said, “the tables are turned; and Pilate, not Jesus, is the one who is really on trial,” for his question about truth is “in reality a decision for falsehood.” [A Crucified Christ in Holy Week, 10].— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 219-20

Thought for the day

Pray that Jerusalem has peace: 
"Let those who love you have rest. 
Let there be peace on your walls; 
let there be rest on your fortifications.
" For the sake of my family and friends, 
I say, "Peace be with you, Jerusalem." (Psalms 122:6-8 CEB)

Nice catch

I love this translation of מֵֽעַתָּ֗ה וְעַד־עוֹלָֽם (me`attah we`ad `olam) in the Common English Bible: "from now until forever from now."

There's much to like in the CEB: Instruction for תורה (Torah), faithful love for חסד (ḥesed), immigrant for גר (gar). But what's with "the human one" for ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (ho hyios tou anthropou)? How can they get so many things right and then bomb on that one?

Oh well...right now it is my translation of choice—in the OT especially. It reminds me of the original Jerusalem Bible; it catches the feel of the Hebrew nicely.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Supplements to the SBLHS abbreviations

I'm a copy editor, among other things, and I have three basic tools that I carry with me everywhere: The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, and SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd edition.
I suppose I could break down and get electronic versions of the first two—they're available. But, I like being able to page through them, leave them open on my desk, make notes, etc. Besides, Internet isn't always available here. We're just one cable cut away from no access to the outside world. Even the cell phone towers are dependent on a landline. So, hard copy is essential.
But I also depend heavily on the Internet for references. So, in that spirit, I'm putting up this page of supplements to the SBLHS2 list of abbreviations; I've been keeping a file since the new version came out. I'll add to it as I find them. Feel free to assist by adding comments.
By the way, Danny Zacharias has made an electronic supplement available for purchase. His serves a different purpose than mine. Mine is just a list of abbreviations not found in SBLHS2—nothing more.

By the way, here's a couple of other good places to find abbreviations:
Oxford Classical Dictionary for Classics and classical authors
CDLI:wiki (Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative) for Akkadian/Sumerian/Hittite
L'Année Philologique for Classics journals

UPDATE, August 14, 2017: You might be interested in knowing that IATG3 is now available in paperback for only $57.99! That's still not cheap, but it sure beats the hardback for $189.99! I broke down and purchased it, so you will see a lot less updating here, as I refer to it first.

As I add items, I will put the date added in square brackets after the item in the format [mm/dd/yy] (yes, I use the U.S. system of dating). That way you can easily find new ones.
So, here's the list as it stands today, March 17, 2015 (Last updated August 19, 2017):
Addendum to SBLHS2 abbreviations
AAASH Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae [3/31/17]
AAE Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy [3/18/17]
AAEA Anejos de Archivo español de arqueología [4/10/17]
AANEA Archaeopress Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology [3/5/17]
ABG Arbeiten zur Bibel und ihrer Geschichte [5/29/15]
AfAsL Afroasiatic Linguistics [6/30/17] (IATG2)
AIRF Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae [3/28/17]
AJEC Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
ALH Acta Linguistica Hafniensia: International Journal of Linguistics [2/20/16]
AMIT Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan [3/14/17]
AMuGS Antike Münzen und geschnittene Steine [5/9/17]
ANCL Ante-Nicene Christian Library
ANEMS Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean Studies [3/31/17]
ANETS Ancient Near Eastern Texts and Studies [10/7/16]
AntAf Antiquités africaines [4/21/17]
AnTard Antiquité tardive
AnthrToday Anthropology Today [1/21/17]
AntK Antike Kunst [3/29/17]
AntSem Antiquités Sémitiques [3/3/17]
ANYAS Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences [7/18/15]
APAAA Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association [5/2/17]
APB Acta Patristica et Byzantina [1221/15]
ARA Annual Review of Anthropology [12/11/16]
ArchCl Archeologia classica [3/29/17]
ARID Analecta Romana Instituti Danici [4/21/17]
ARP Accordia Research Papers [5/3/17]
ARTA Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology [3/17/17]
ASAESup Supplément aux annales du service des Antiquités de L’Égypte [3/30/17]
ASCP Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology [10/24/15]
ASSM Accordia Specialist Studies on the Mediterranean [12/14/16]
AST Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science, Series IV: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory [1/9/16] (say that one real fast 3 times!)
ATM Altes Testament und Moderne [5/22/15]
ATSAT Arbeiten zu Text und Sprache im Alten Testament [10/7/16]
AUMSR Andrews University Monograph Studies in Religion [12/13/15]
AuOrSup Aula orientalis Supplementa [12/13/15]
AUU Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis [3/7/17]
AVO Altertumskunde des Vorderen Orients [4/76/17]
AWCH Ancient World: Comparative Histories [3/30/17]
BA La Bible d’Alexandrie [12/20/15]
BAe Bibliotheca Aegyptiaca [6/8/15]
BAL Blackwell Ancient Lives [4/4/17]
BARIS British Archaeological Reports International Series [6/8/15]
BCAW Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World [10/20/15]
BCCT Brill's Companions to the Christian Tradition [6/11/16]
BCLL Bibliothèque des Cahiers de Linguistique de Louvain [12/19/15]
BCLSB Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Sciences morales et politiques de l'Académie Royale de Belgique [7/4/16]
BCOTWP Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms [12/3/16]
BCT Bible and Critical Theory [8/14/17]
BDS BIBAL Dissertation Series [3/30/17]
BES Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar[3/10/17]
BEStud Brown Egyptological Studies [6/8/15]
BH Book History [12/30/15]
BHAW Blackwell History of the Ancient World [4/4/17]
BHL Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics [11/8/15]
BHRef Bibliotheca Humanistica & Reformatorica 7/3/16]
BIAAOP Occasional Publications of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara [12/15/15]
BICS Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies [10/24/15]
BICSSup Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplement [4/10/17]
BiE Biblische Enzyklopädie [10/7/16]
BISNELC Bar-Ilan Studies in Near Eastern Languages and Culture [4/3/17]
BJL Belgian Journal of Linguistics [2/20/16]
BLG Biblical Languages: Greek [10/12/15]
BM Beth Mikra [12/12/15]
BMRP British Museum Research Publication
BRSS Berkeley Religious Studies Series [6/12/16]
BSAH Blackwell Sourcebooks in Ancient History [3/31/17]
BSalmD Bibliotheca Salmanticensis Dissertationes [12/25/15]
BSCS Brill Septuagint Commentary Series [12/10/16]
BSEG Bulletin de la Société d'Égyptologie Genève [3/30/17]
BSGA Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology [4/17/17]
BTAVO Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients [2/7/15
BTCB Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible [12/3/16]
BThSt Biblisch-Theologische Studien [5/31/15]
BTL Benjamins Translation Library [6/7/17] [Yes, these two are identical : (]
BTL Blackwell Textbooks in Linguistics [1/9/16]
BVB Beiträge zum Verstehen der Bibel [8/19/17]
CahTD Cahiers du Groupe François-Thureau Dangin [12/13/15]
CALS Cambridge Applied Linguistics Series [5/10/15]
CBÅ Collegium Biblicum Årsskrift [12/14/16]
CBSC Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges [12/3/16]
CCS Cambridge Classical Studies [3/7/16]
CCSA Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum
CeS Civilisations et sociétés [12/10/16]
CJL Canadian Journal of Linguistics [10/22/15]
CQS Companion to the Qumran Scrolls [7/18/15]
CFHB.SB Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae. Series Berolinensis [3/21/15]
CGLC Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics [1/28/16]
CHSC Center for Hellenic Studies Colloquia [3/30/17]
CII Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum [4/2/17]
CJA Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity [7/18/15]
CLR Cognitive Linguistics Research [1/9/16]
CMAO Contributi e Materiali di Archeologia Orientale [4/5/17]
CQS Companion to the Qumran Scrolls [7/10/15]
CRHPhR Cahiers de la Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuses [4/25/17]
CRIR Culture and Religion in International Relations [3/5/17]
CRRAI Compte Rendu de la Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale [12/13/15]
CrStHB Critical Studies in the Hebrew Bible [1/30/16] (confirmed by SBL, 1/30/16)
CSCT Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition [5/9/17]
CSL Cambridge Studies in Linguistics [10/20/15]
CSSCA Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology [5/3/17]
CSSH Comparative Studies in Society and History: an International Quarterly [6/7/15]
CTL Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics [10/20/15]
CTN Cuneiform Texts from Nimrud [3/7/17]
CTRJ Clothing and Textiles Research Journal [12/10/16]
CTSRR College Theology Society Resources in Religion [6/6/17]
CurSL Current Studies in Linguistics [10/25/15]
CWA Current World Archaeology (italics) [3/14/17]
CWA Cambridge World Archaeology (no italics) [3/18/17]
DASOR Dissertation Series of the American Schools of Oriental Research [3/5/17]
DBSJ Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal [2/20/16]
DCLY Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Yearbook
DHR Dynamics in the History of Religions [12/11/16]
DMA Documenta Mundi Aegyptiaca [4/3/17]
DoArch Dossiers d'Archéologie [3/18/17] but the EEF has [LDA], which means it's suggested only.
EAH Entretiens d’archéologie et d’histoire [4/3/17]
EALT Empirical Approaches to Language Typology [11/7/15]
EBS Encountering Biblical Studies [12/4/16]
ECDSS Eerdmans Commentaries on the Dead Sea Scrolls [6/13/15]
ECHC Early Christianity in Its Hellenistic Context [12/14/16]
EHMF Early Hebrew Manuscripts in Facsimile [6/22/16]
ELL English Language and Linguistics [1/9/16]
EnAC Entretiens sur l'antiquite classique [6/8/17]
EstNT Estudios de Nuevo Testamento [2/20/16]
FFC Folklore Fellows Communications [12/30/15]
FGLG Forschungen zur griechischen und lateinischen Grammatik [10/22/15]
FilNeot Filología Neotestamentaria [10/5/15]
FL Foundations of Language [12/5/15]
FontC Fontes Christiani [3/21/15]
G&H Gender & History [12/10/16]
GDBS Gorgias Dissertations, Biblical Studies [4/7/17]
GDNE Gorgias Dissertations: Near East Series [3/20/16]
GDR Gorgias Dissertations in Religion [12/11/16]
GHand Gorgias Handbooks [6/21/16]
Glotta Zeitschrift für griechische und lateinische Sprache [10/24/15]
GSAT Giornale della Società asiatica italiana [3/24/15]
GTJ Grace Theological Journal [1/23/16]
GUS Gorgias Ugaritic Studies [4/5/17]
HÄB Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge [3/31/17]
HAW Handbuch der altertumswissenschaft [10/22/15]
HBIS History of Biblical Interpretation Series [5/10/15]
HBM Hebrew Bible Monographs [5/2/15]
HBV Hebrew Bible and its Versions [12/25/15]
HEO Hautes études orientales [4/4/17]
HerBS Herders biblische Studien [3/20/16] (HBS is already taken)
HiMA Revue Internationale d’Histoire Militaire Ancienne [3/30/17]
HistFilosSkr Historisk-filosofiske skrifter/Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab [3/31/17]
HO Hieratic Ostraca. Jaroslav Černý and Alan H. Gardiner. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957. [5/9/15]
HPBM Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum [5/9/15]
HSCL Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature [12/30/15]
HSK Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft/Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science [11/8/15]
HUBP Hebrew University Bible Project [6/22/16]
HumLov Humanistica Lovaniensia [8/4/16]
HW History of Warfare [3/6/17]
IBT Interpreting Biblical Texts [5/9/15]
IE Interface Explorations [10/24/15]
IEED Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary [10/20/15]
IJAL International Journal of American Linguistics [6/11/16]
IP Instrumenta Patristica [3/24/15]
IPrag Intercultural Pragmatics [11/9/15]
IstMitt Istanbuler Mitteilungen [3/29/17]
ITSRS Italian Texts and Studies on Religion and Society [12/13/16]
IVPNTC InterVarsity Press New Testament Commentary Series [12/10/16]
JAAS Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies [3/14/17]
JAH Journal of Ancient History [3/14/17]
JAJ Journal of Ancient Judaism
JAJSup Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplements
JAMT Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory [4/5/17]
JANEH Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History [4/3/17]
JBTh Jahrbuch für biblische Theologie [3/20/16]
JCC Jewish Culture and Contexts [12/11/16]
JCM Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World [34/13/17]
JCPS Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series [7/3/16]
JCSSup Journal of Cuneiform Studies Supplement Series (also known as JCSSS, but SBL seems to prefer using Sup) [12/13/15]
JCTC Jewish and Christian Texts in Contexts and Related Studies
JESHO Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient [4/6/17]
JGL Journal of Greek Linguistics [10/24/15]
JKF Jahrbuch für kleinasiatische Forschung [3/30/17
JL Journal of Linguistics [12/19/15]
JLSMin Janua Linguarum, Series minor [2/10/16]
JMEMSt Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies [4/21/17]
JMH Journal of Military History [3/31/17]
JPh Journal of Philology [1/9/16]
JPICL Joan Palevsky Imprint in Classical Literature [4/10/17]
JSAH Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
JSHJ Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus [12/15/15]
JSJSup Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism
JSSSup Journal of Semitic Studies Supplement Series [3/18/17]
JT Journal of Translation [2/10/16]
JTI Journal for Theological Interpretation [added 3/19/15]
JWP Journal of World Prehistory [4/2/17]
KAANT Kleine Arbeiten zum Alten und Neuen Testament [11/5/15]
KAL Keilschrifttexte aus Assur literarischen Inhalts [12/15/15]
KAW Kulturgeschichte der antiken Welt [12/10/16]
KölnJb Kölner Jahrbuch für Vor- und Frühgeschichte [4/21/17]
KUT Kohlhammer Urbantaschenbücher [10/8/16]
LA Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today [1/9/16]
LAOS Leipziger altorientalistische Studien [3/3/17]
LBS Linguistic Biblical Studies [11/7/15]
LCBI Literary Currents in Biblical Interpretation [10/7/16]
LCS Lang Classical Studies [5/9/17]
LDSS Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls [1/5/16]
LingAegSM Lingua Aegyptia Studia Monographica [4/7/17]
Linguistics Linguistics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences [10/24/15]
LiTy Linguistic Typology [2/20/16]
LLL Longman Linguistics Library [11/8/15]
LLSEE Linguistic and Literary Studies in Eastern Europe [11/8/15]
LOC Lettres Orientales et Classiques [10/22/15]
LSRS Lincoln Studies in Religion and Society [12/14/16]
LTUR Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae. Edited by Eva Margereta Steinby. 6 vols. Rome: Quasar, 1993–2000. [5/3/17]
MAA Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry [1/28/17]
MACr Monumenti di antichità cristiana [added 3/20/15]
MÄS Müncher Ägyptologische Studien [5/9/15]
MATS Miscellanea Agostiniana Testi e studi [3/21/15]
MAVA Materialien zur allgemeinen und vergleichenden Archäologie [1/30/17]
MBT Münsterische Beiträge zur Theologie [12/10/16]
MedEnc Medieval Encounters: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Culture in Confluence and Dialogue [7/3/16]
MEFRA Mélanges de l'Ecole française de Rome: Antiquité [3/28/17]
MenCom Mentor Commentaries [6/11/16]
MES Medieval European Studies [12/30/15]
MF Mandäistische Forschungen [12/19/15]
MG Materia Giudaica [7/4/16]
MGH.AA Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Auctores antiquissimi
MGH.SRM Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores rerum merovingicarum [3/21/15]
MGR Monumenta Graeca et Romana [5/9/17]
MLBS Mercer Library of Biblical Studies [10/6/16]
MS Mnemosyne Supplementum [10/22/15]
MSym Melammu Symposia [3/2/17
NAC Numismatica e antichità classiche [4/27/17
NCCS New Covenant Commentary Series [12/11/16]
NEAEHL The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land. Edited by Ephraim Stern. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993–2008. [4/3/17]
NETS New English Translation of the Septuagint. Edited by Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
NNM Numismatic Notes and Monographs [5/9/17]
NSBT New Studies in Biblical Theology [12/10/16]
NTC New Testament in Context [12/14/16]
NTT New Testament Theology [1/7/16]
OAF Oxford Apostolic Fathers [3/24/15]
OCTb Oxford Centre Textbooks [1/4/16]
OMRL Oudheidkundige Mededelingen uit het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden te Leiden [4/21/17]
OPSNKF Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund [12/14/15]
OrGand Orientalia Gandensia [6/28/17]
OrT Oral Tradition [6/12/16]
OSCC Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture [4/6/17]
OSEE Oxford Studies in Early Empire [3/5/17]
OTM Oxford Theological Monographs
P&B NS Pragmatics & Beyond, New Series [3/6/16]
PA Památky Archeologické [3/6/17]
PAAH Publications of the Association of Ancient Historians [3/30/17]
PAB Potsdamer altertumswissenschaftliche Beiträge [4/1/17]
PapyVind Papyrologia Vindobonensia [3/6/17]
PastPsy Pastoral Psychology [12/10/16]
PBSR Papers of the British School at Rome [5/3/17]
PC Proclamation Commentaries [12/14/16]
PEFR Publications de l’École française de Rome [3/18/17]
PhR The Philosophical Review [10/25/15]
PLAL Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages [2/10/16]
PMAAR Papers and Monographs of the American Academy in Rome [5/3/17]
PMAULS Publications de la Massion archéologique de l’Université de Liège en Syrie [3/30/17]
PMTKA Palingenesia: Monographien und Texte zur klassischen Altertumswissenschaft
PNTC Pillar New Testament Commentary [1/23/16]
PPSD Pauline and Patristic Scholars in Debate [3/24/15]
QAFP Quaderni di Archeologia Fenicio-Punica [8/29/15]
QGS Quaderni di geografia storica [3/2/17]
QuadMess Quaderni dell'Istituto di archeologia della Facoltà di lettere e filosofia, Universitä di Messina [4/17/17]
QVO Quaderni di Vicino Oriente[1/1/17]
RdA Rivista di archeologia [3/29/17]
REL Revue des Études Latines [4/9/17]
ResAnt Res Antiquae[3/12/17]
RFCC Religion in the First Christian Centuries [12/11/16]
RhMus Rheinisches Museum (from OCD) [4/10/17]
ROC Revue de l’Orient chrétien
ROMOP Royal Ontario Museum Occasional Papers [3/5/17]
RPAA Atti della Pontificia Accademia romana di Archeologia: Rendiconti [5/9/17]
RRJ Review of Rabbinic Judaism
RSQ Rhetoric Society Quarterly [5/3/17]
SAG Stuttgarter Arbeiten zur Germanistik [1/9/16]
SAGA Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Altägyptens [4/2/17]
SAK Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur [5/9/15]
SAL Studies in Arabic Literature [1/2/16]
SAM Studies in Ancient Monarchies — but:
SAM Studies in Ancient Medicine [4/5/17]
SAMD Studies in Ancient Magic and Divination [3/30/17]
SANER Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records [4/3/17]
SBG Studies in Biblical Greek [10/22/15]
ScAnt Scienze dell'Antichita: Storia, archeologia, antropologia [3/6/17]
SCL Sather Classical Lectures [12/30/15]
SDSS Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature [12/11/15]
SECA Studies on Early Christian Apocrypha [3/24/15]
SESJ Suomen Eksegeettisen Seuran julkaisuja [6/4/15]
SGRR Studies in Greek and Roman Religion [4/21/17]
SHAR Studies in the History and Anthropology of Religion [4/7/17]
SHGR Studies in the history of Greece and Rome [34/9/17]
SHJ Studying the Historical Jesus [12/14/16]
Siphrut Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures [confirmed by SBL, 1/30/16]
SJMT Studies in Judaism in Modern Times
SLCS Studies in Language Companion Series [3/5/16]
SLi Sprache und Literatur [2/2/16]
SLL Synthese Language Library [10/24/15]
SLP Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy [10/25/15]
SM Scripta Mediterranea [1/28/17]
SPh Studies in Philology [12/5/15]
SPM Stromata Patristica et Mediaevalia [3/21/15]
SRB Studies in the Reception History of the Bible [6/1/15]
SSCA Stockholm Studies in Classical Archaeology [3/29/17]
SSEA Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities [5/9/15]
SSLL Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics [12/5/15]
SSU Studia Semitica Upsaliensia [12/15/15]
StMes Studia Mesopotamica [3/5/17]
StMiss Studia Missionalia [5/19/15]
StSam Studia Samaritana [11/5/15]
SThL Sammlung theologischer Lehrbücher [10/8/16]
StudLang Studies in Language: International Journal Sponsored by the Foundations of Language [11/7/15]
STUF Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung [1/9/16]
STW Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft [12/10/16]
SVTG Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum (This is the Göttingen LXX from V&R.)
SWJL Southwest Journal of Linguistics [2/10/16]
TCT Textual Criticism and the Translator [6/11/16]
TDSA Testi e documenti per lo studio dell' antichità [10/20/15]
TECC Textos y Estudios “Cardenal Cisneros” [12/21/15]
ThesCRA Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum. Los Angeles: Getty Museum, 2004–. [3/29/17]
TiCSup Trends in Classics Supplemental Volumes [1/3/16]
TiEL Topics in English Linguistics [1/28/16]
TiLSM Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs [10/24/15]
TLL Topics in Language and Linguistics [2/10/16]
TMO Travaux de la Maison de l'Orient [3/18/17]
TPhS Transactions of the Philological Society [10/24/15]
TSHLRS Texts and Studies in the Hebrew Language and Related Subjects [12/20/15]
TSL Typological Studies in Language [1/3/16]
TT Textes et Traditions [3/21/15]
TTC Teach the Text Commentary [9/7/16]
UALG Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte
UAVA Untersuchungen zur Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie [12/13/15]
UISK Untersuchungen zur indogermanischen Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaft [3/12/17]
VEccl Verbum et Ecclesia [12/10/16]
VetChr Vetera Christianorum
VKNWL Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, afdeling Letterkunde [2/20/16]
VOHDSupp Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland Supplementband
VWGTh Veröffentlichungen der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie [1/3/16]
WA World Archaeology [3/3/17]
WBJb Jahrbuch: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin [3/18/17]
WesBibComp Westminster Bible Companion [12/10/16]
WesTJ Wesleyan Theological Journal [2/8/16]
YES Yale Egyptological Studies [4/4/17]
YLS Yale Language Series [5/16/17]
ZECNT Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament [12/14/16]
ZNT Zeitschrift für Neues Testament [12/12/16]

And how about missing ones that would cause redundancy? What do we do with these:
Critical Studies in the Hebrew Bible - CSHB (already taken by Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae)[see above, CrStHB, approved by SBL]
New Testament Monographs (Sheffield Phoenix) – NTM (already taken by New Testament Message)

And corrections to the list:
BaF (pp. 177, 221) should not be italics (comfirmed)
BBRSup should not be italics; it's a monograph series [added 3/19/15 (unconfirmed)]
BRLA (pp. 180, 225) should be BRLJ (Brill Reference Library of Judaism) [5/11/15 (confirmed)]
IOS (pp. 193, 237) should not be italics (confirmed)[12/18/15]
MdB (pp. 199, 243) should not be italics (confirmed) [1/11/16]
MSL (pp. 198, 243) should not be italics (under consideration by SBL)
OtSt (pp. 202, 247) should not be italics [12/20/15](confirmed)
Revue de Qumrân (205, 249) the a should be â [1/14/16] (confirmed)

The following are compliments of Baker Academic, they are all confirmed by SBL [received 9/23/15, confirmed 1/13/16]
These titles are italic in the list at §8.4.1 but roman in the list at §8.4.2. We believe they should be italic in both places:
AT Annales Theologici
CH Church History
MScRel Mélanges de science religieuse
MSJ The Master's Seminary Journal

This title is roman in the list at §8.4.1 but italic in the list at §8.4.2. We believe it should be roman in both places:
MNTC Moffatt New Testament Commentary

These titles are roman in both lists, but we believe they should be italic:
PIBA Proceedings of the Irish Biblical Association
SPhiloA Studia Philonica Annual
StZ Stimmen der Zeit

Grammar does matter

Is the presence of the volitive yiqtol in Samuel a coincidence, or should we suspect a scribal tradition in which the volitive functions of the yiqtol (< yaqtula) were well known? Could the scribes of Samuel have been familiar with the Hebrew volitive yaqtula while the scribes of other books expressed volition strictly through the jussive, imperative, and cohortative? Since a concentration of “volitive followed by yiqtol” is found in Samuel, I advocate for a literary style peculiar to a specific scribal tradition rather than suggesting emendations for all the passages traditionally interpreted as textual errors. The scribes of Samuel, who were certainly familiar with the Canaanite volitive yaqtula, give us a glimpse into their understanding of the modal system of Hebrew.—The Syntax of Volitives in Biblical Hebrew and Amarna Canaanite Prose, page 141

<idle musing>
See, grammar really can make a difference! Now, we'll see if BHQ takes note of it whenever they finally get around to Samuel. As an aside, is there significance in the fact that the home page of the project itself is blank? I hope not!

And, by extension, will HBCE take note of it?
</idle musing>

Space for God

Trying to help ourselves leaves no space for God. Effort that cooperates with the work of God makes space for Him. Consider the ideas in part 1 of this book: the actions of confession and repentance. Repentance is not an effort that earns us salvation; it’s an action that provides space for God and “leads to salvation” (2 Cor. 7: 10). Repentance demands room in my life for God to work. Repentance is a prerequisite for receiving the grace of God.—What’s Your Secret? page 116

Erasmian

A reconstructed pronunciation of both Greek and Latin was suggested by the Humanist Erasmus in a treatise of 1528: the early Humanists had learned Greek from Byzantine scholars, who used the Byzantine (i.e., modern Greek) pronunciation of the Greek letters. Greeks on the whole continue to use the modern Greek pronunciation, and foreigners are generally ignorant of the Greek animosity to what is called "Erasmian" pronunciation in Greece, where it has come to symbolize Western appropriation of classical culture, and a humiliating rejection of the medieval and modern Greek claim to Greekness.—A Brief History of Ancient Greek, pages 179–80

<idle musing>
This is very obvious in the huge volume The Development of Greek and the New Testament by Chrys Caragounis. (Aside: There is a good analysis of Caragounis's reconstructed pronunciation of Koiné here.)
</idle musing>

Loyalty to whom?

The New Testament proclaims that the reign of God has already begun in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore members of the new-covenant community formed by his death constitute an alter-culture (an alternative culture) within whichever host culture they find themselves. This theme runs through the New Testament, from each of the Gospels, through Acts and Paul and other letters, to Revelation. Members of the new covenant live in a kind of exile, as resident aliens, constituted by a different charter, the word of the cross. That is, we are a politic before we have a politics. Our primary political activity is to be the church, the new-covenant community shaped by the cross: to worship God truly and to live out the demands of the kingdom of God and the lordship of Jesus.

The primary group identity of all members of the new-covenant community is that they belong to their common Lord and to one another across the globe. Thus their primary allegiance is to that common Lord and to one another, not to any other group or entity, including any nation-state. In other words, the death of Jesus means, for his followers, the death of every form of nationalism. Participation in the new covenant means a change of loyalty.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 219 (emphasis original)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Not anymore

What did it mean to be a Christian, a true Christian, among the early followers of Jesus? The evidence suggests that a key element in this definition was suffering. A true Christian followed the example of Jesus to suffering and even death, and Peter and Paul were models for this. The Acts of Peter and Acts of Paul recount the many trials and persecutions that the apostles endured during their later careers. Often challenged and threatened, they eventually suffered martyrdom for bearing witness to the faith.—The Deaths of the Apostles: Ancient Accounts of the Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, by David L. Eastman, Society of Biblical Literature, forthcoming.

<idle musing>
That would empty out a good number of churches, wouldn't it? : (
</idle musing>

It's a Preservative

All ancient Near Easterners had the greatest respect for their gods and goddesses. The continuance of their existence, their community, government and city, utterly depended on the supernatural realm’s good graces. The deities were all-powerful, all-wise beings who were indifferent one moment and sympathetic the next. The vicissitudes of the world in which they lived bore this out. Given the capriciousness of their deities, even the most powerful āšipu/ašiptu, prophet or prophetess, kaššāpu/ kaššaptu would never dare command the great and mighty deities to do anything they were not disposed to accomplish. For to do so would presume equality with them, an attitude that certainly would not foster a co-operative relationship.

When viewed in this way, it becomes clear that the act of “cutting off evil” is a defense strategy that endeavors to preserve the “life”/“goodness” of the whole and bolster the ongoing favor of the patron deities. It attempts to preserve the “purity” and “blessedness” of what is left behind by extracting any “impurity” and “cursedness” that would imperil the remnant’s existence.— Cursed Are You!, page 470

<idle musing>
In other words, they had greater respect for their deities than some Christians have for the triune God! As Jesus might say, "They are more righteous than you." Ouch.

I've been editing a discourse handbook on the Greek text of the Epistle of James. Good stuff to make you examine your theology. Funny how when you read the Bible as it is written instead of as you want it to be written your theology gets challenged. Over and over again I've been seeing how our Western christianity—at least as it is practiced in the U.S.—is far more cultural than Christian.

By the way, that's the final post from Kitz's book. I hope you enjoyed the excerpts enough to read/buy the book. I would rate it as the best book I've read in the last year or two—and I read between 25 and 100 books a year...but you read it and decide. And let me know what you think of it via a post to the comment section of the blog.
</idle musing>

Doric?

There is a tradition among classicists of referring to the retention of inherited [ā] (where Attic-Ionic changed to [ē]) as "Doric alpha." This comes from the fact that students of ancient Greek are brought up on grammars which give Attic-Ionic as the norm: the only other dialect they meet is the Doric of lyric poetry, a and they therefore imagine that this is a diagnostic feature of Doric, a sound-change even. The term is unfortunate and meaningless: all the Greek dialects retain [ā] apart from Attic and Ionic.—A Brief History of Ancient Greek, page 107

<idle musing>
Yep. Me too.
</idle musing>

That self-help guru

God is not our self-help guru, available to use when we need Him. God is not someone we’re trying to fit into our world in order to “bless” our relationships, our careers, our finances, or to help us kick some bad habits. Sin is not reserved for those on death row. We are not good enough on our own. We need to be rescued. We can’t fix ourselves, we can’t make our own way, and we are not the center of the universe. We must see sin as it is, God for who He is, and ourselves as we truly are. That’s where our hearts and grace collide, and freedom begins.—What’s Your Secret? page 108

Ongoing change

The close relationship of the Spirit to the cross, that is, to atonement, means that, whatever else the cross does, it connects people to God and to one another in a transformative way. To be saved by the cross of Christ is not only to be forgiven but also to be changed; it is not merely to believe in a past one-time act but to participate in its ongoing, transformative effects—all by the workings of the Spirit.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 212

Thought for the day

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, 
very patient, and full of faithful love. 
God won’t always play the judge; 
he won’t be angry forever. 
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin 
or repay us according to our wrongdoing, 
because as high as heaven is above the earth, 
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him. 
As far as east is from west— 
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us. 
Like a parent feels compassion for their children—
 that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him. (Psalms 103:8-13 CEB)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

What I'm reading right now

I'm reading too many books right now! I usually have 1–2 books going at a time, but right now I'm in the midst of, well...too many. As usual, an eclectic list of eccentric books, all delightful!

First off, I'm in the midst of Chip Hardy's dissertation, Diachronic Development in Biblical Hebrew Prepositions: A Case Study in Grammaticalization. Chip was kind enough to forward it to me. As you can probably guess by the title, it is heavy on the linguistics. This was written under the direction of Dennis Pardee at the University of Chicago. Dennis was my Ugaritic professor when I was at the OI; his dissertation was on the Preposition in Ugaritic, so he knows a bit about these things : ) I'm on page 160 of 400+ pages—right in the middle of the detailed evaluation of each preposition. Good stuff!

Second, I just picked up a few books from interlibrary loan. I started A Brief History of Ancient Greek by Stephen Colvin. This really is a brief history—only 200 pages long! But does he ever pack a lot into those 200 pages! It is very readable, assuming minimal knowledge of both Greek and linguistics. If you are interested in the history of ancient Greek, this would be a good book to start with. Of course, finding it might be a problem! There isn't a single copy in the entire Minnesota library system. The one I'm reading came from Wheaton.

The two other books that came with the previous one are Ethics at the Beginning of Life, which I mentioned last week. It looks very interesting. The third book is Theory of Functional Grammar, Pt. 1. This is a 400 page whopper. I'm hoping it isn't too dense—if I start quoting from it, you'll know it was readable : )

I'm also about halfway through Scot McKnight's Kingdom Conspiracy. A very good book that you will see excerpts from sometime soon. Scot's a good theologian with a very accessible writing style.

I'm still rereading Steve Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. I must admit, I'm not being too diligent about reading it, though. It really is an excellent book and if you have any Greek whatsoever, you should read this. It will assist you in understanding why and how Greek syntax works.

Think I'm done listing books? Nope. Not yet.

Jeffrey Gibson was kind enough to forward me a copy of his forthcoming book The Disciples’ Prayer The Prayer Jesus Taught in Its Historical Setting. I've just glanced at it so far, but am looking forward to reading it. He explores the "Temptation" petition in the Lord's Prayer, which I mentioned in an excerpt from David Parker's dissertation on the Lord's Prayer.

Lest you think I only read scholarly stuff...I just finished My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful's Mountain by Jean Craighead George. I had read the first one as a kid and then reread it when our kid's were young in conjunction with the second one. I didn't even know the third one existed until a few week's ago. It was a wonderful ending to the series. I highly recommend it if you like the outdoors.

And, finally, I just finished Konrad Schmid's little treatise on Old Testament Theology, Is There Theology in the Hebrew Bible?. A quick little read that I wish he had been able to develop further—but that's the nature of that series: quick little overviews of complicated subjects. He covers a lot of ground in about 150 pages, and does it well.

Christians and thinking

Roger Olson talks about anti-intellectualism in this post. Read the whole thing, but to give you a taste of it...
To a very large extent American “Christianity” simply fits in with our overwhelmingly secular and increasingly pagan culture that is driven by money, entertainment, celebrity obsession, sex, personal autonomy (“above all be true to yourself”), and “freedom” (lack of accountability).

One aspect of this I’d especially like to point to is—anti-intellectualism. American society is saturated with antipathy toward the life of the mind. We love “experts” but disdain “scholars.” How often is someone identified on a television news or talk program as a “scholar?” Almost never. I recognize some as scholars but see that they are routinely introduced as “experts.” What’s the difference? A scholar is a researcher who knows all knowledge is ambiguous and continually growing. A scholar is someone who only reluctantly, if ever, will offer a media talking head’s required “sound byte.” An “expert,” on the other hand, is someone who is knowledgeable about a particular subject, usually a skill, has statistics at her fingertips, and is willing to package information without ambiguity or complication. One person can be both, of course. Americans despise scholars but love experts.

Isn't that the truth! You can't nuance things in a sound bite. And you can't take more than 15 seconds of the viewers time or they will turn off...we have more important things to do than think! After all, there are new cat videos on the Internet!

A little further on he laments:

Some years ago there was a television commercial for black colleges with the motto “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste.” If we were honest about it, the motto of many American Christians would be “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Use”—especially in relation to faith.

Many contemporary American churches do not even care whether their pastoral staff members have any formal education. The big question is whether they are talented, attractive, charismatic, articulate and personable. The result is the pastor I heard preach at a mega-church a few months ago. His “sermon” was nonsense—literally. It made no sense. He claimed the Bible says things it absolutely does not say. But he was handsome, youthful, animated, well-dressed, wore the right glasses, passionate and engaging. And funny. If he ever went to seminary he has left whatever he learned there behind. He had the approximately one thousand people in that one service eating out of his hand.

His parting shot is so true it hurts:
A great irony is that supposedly “conservative” churches are often the most eager to imitate secular/pagan culture in terms of style and substance—even as they point accusing fingers at “liberal churches” for accommodating to modern or postmodern thought forms.