- The Game Is On
- Notes on a theology of boredom
- How to Speak Seminarian
- Robot scribe copies Bible
- The Book of Revelation: Should it really be in our canon?
- Christianity, homosexuality, and politics
- A half-baked beginning
- Twenty Myths That Keep Christians From Discussing Abortion
- Biblical Cross-references Visualized
- The Spectacle of Evangelicalism: Battle Cry
- Evangelicals Defy Stereotypes, More 'Liberal' on Issues
- Around the Blogosphere
- Stromateis du Jour
- Inerrant traditions
- Is American an Empire?
- There Will Be Blood
- Authorial Intent and Community Understanding
- When asked ...
- Forgetting Christ in Our Christian Politics
- Found Footage: MacBook Air makes thin in again
- Things That Gods Hate
- Thinking About the Canon: A Post-Evangelical's View
- Two Different Cultures, In The Same Space, Separated By Ten Minutes
- Why Calvinism has such a staying power
- Will the Holy Spirit Never Do or Say Anything Contrary to the Bible?
- You get bigger as you go: No one told me -- I just know: Love in the midst of War
- What if You Knew Nothing About Religion?
- Political Compass, or Holy Crap I'm A Libertarian?
- Christians and Lobbying - Part 4
- A Little More Huckabee
- The Text is a Picture
- Pacifism and the Good Samaritan
- Then and Now
What's on my mind?
i know i'll lose my membership in the "being taken seriously" club for this (as if i had one in the first place), but check out the comments on this. my favorite:
I know! I've had children, oh my god....maybe....maybe that means that so many people will give a damn about how I got back into shape afterwards!!! oh yeah! gag. trista- get a life. you're not nearly as great as you think you are. they're right ...get a job too and then maybe people will respect you. It's hilarious she actually thinks people give a damn about baby 2. Us Magazine - please do something about this!Us Magazine, have some decency!
Not usually the most scintillating topic in the world. But Dan Wallace has posted on the intersection of Greek grammar and the Great Commission:
I don’t know the source, but I suspect it is from a Christian magazine article written in the last 75 years. My guess is that this idea would have found fertile soil during the Great Depression (when funds were definitely low and excuses for lack of action could be high; for a parallel, see Jas 2.1-13). There’s a myth foisted on the Christian public about the meaning of the Great Commission (Matt 28.19-20). It goes something like this: “In the Greek, the word translated ‘Go’ is really a participle and it literally means, ‘as you are going.’ But the words ‘make disciples’ are an imperative in Greek. That’s the only imperative in these two verses. Therefore, the Great Commission is not a command to go; rather, it is a command to make disciples as you are going, or make disciples along the way.” The exposition based on this understanding of the Greek text then attempts to salve the consciences of the congregation, permitting them to do nothing about the lost if it at all means going out of their way.He's already elicited a number of reactions: Michael Jackson of Christian Cornucopia, David Wayne of Jollyblogger, and Mike Aubrey of εν εφεσω.
After Obama's big win over the weekend, I've had a few thoughts rumbling around my head (and a few windows I had to leave open on my desktop). It's time to clear things out.
While I know it's still unlikely that Obama will become the Democratic nominee (and that there are many who expect such a result), I can't help but recognize that for the first time in my life, I am genuinely excited by a political figure. I don't feel a "civic duty" or "responsibility" to vote come November; I am actually looking forward to voting in my state's primary and then following the campaign to its conclusion. I also can't help but observe, however, that one of the other candidates is engaging in the kinds of election sabotage that show no respect for either the electorate or political process, and instead reveal only an intense desire to win at all costs.
Hillary Clinton, following Obama's win, did two things that made me realize why I would never vote for her. First, she let her husband denigrate the South Carolina win, with an insipid comparison that speaks to the worst of our impulses. Bill Clinton blithely observed that "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice," the wink-wink nature of which screamed "this state doesn't count, they elect black people!" Second, she has reneged on her pledge not to campaign in Florida. When Michigan and Florida moved their primaries ahead of the earliest approved dates, the DNC stripped their delegates. The fairness of that move is certainly questionable, but if the candidates had a problem with that, they should have said so at the time. Instead, they all pledged neither to campaign nor participate in those states. Only now that she desperately needs the wins is she asking that those states be counted. I guess it's pretty easy to win a state when no major candidate is competing there.
Enough anger for one post. I'll close only with a personal observation, whose value is not meant to be extrapolated to the electorate at large (at least explicitly), so take it for what you will. My father has always been a conservative, always voted Republican, enjoy watching Fox News kinda guy. Over the recent holidays, he asked me what I thought of the nomination process, who I liked, etc. Both because it's true, and because I thought it would fun to bother him a little bit, I responded that I really liked Obama. To my surprise, my father replied that he liked him too. He probably wouldn't vote for him, but he liked him. What did that say to me? That for the first time in as long as I can remember, there's a slim possibility that we could have a president that people don't necessarily agree with idealogically, but who could still bring them together rather than polarize them; a president who would get things done rather than keep the political discourse fractured. That'd be really nice to see.
- Obviously, one of the major issues for the presidential candidates is the sorry state of health-care in this country and the parasitic way the insurance industry feeds off a broken situation. In attempting to tackle some of the problems, Ryan Smith has expanded on Aaron Hampshire's "Six Propositions on Healthcare."
- What does it mean when we say 'I believe in God'? Renewed Theology's take.
- C. Michael Patton writes about attending a couple of churches on opposite ends of the "entertainment" spectrum. The entertainment church story starts here:
The signs pointed to valet parking for first time guests. I would have taken them up on the offer, but pride always rules (oh . . . and then there is that awkward feeling that you are supposed to give them some money even when they say they don’t take it). We were greeted by another enthusiastic character, a very nice young man, who led us around. When we told him we were first time visitors, he said “Oh, VIPs?” We then were introduced everywhere we went under this title “VIPs” (Very Important Persons). When others would hear that we were VIPs, they would have a look of excitement mixed with anxiousness. The anxiousness seemed to come from an underlying understanding that their church was focused on bringing in newcomers.It doesn't get better. [Related: internetmonk's commentary]
- Is IBSWM still going on? Wow, January was a long month.
- Michael Halcomb on the morality of lying and cheating in games: "On a reality game show, like Survivor, is it okay for Christians to use lying and deceit as tools that might help them win the game?" I always think of an example one professor used when speaking of lying as deception. In basketball, when you throw a shot-fake, you're attempting to deceive your opponent into believing you're doing something that you're not going to do. At the very least, it made me rethink my own definition of lying.
- Christian Cornucopia on the difficulty of giving the Gospel in a world burned by Christianity.
- James McGrath's "Statement of Faith for Biblical Literalists."
- Pat McCullough points out a couple places to go for free scholarship online.
- Peter Thurley addresses the morality of serial killing. No, really.
Blogos has been blogging the Bibletech:2008 conference over the weekend, point out all sorts of cool stuff:
Episode 4 drops today, and while I like the trajectory the season took with #3, I'm concerned for how everything's going to play out. I tend to agree with the sentiment that there's no way David Simon is going to let Omar play the hero once again. With that in mind, here are a couple predictions for the season:
- Omar dies trying to get Marlo, but takes care of Snoop in the process
- Michael rebels against Chris and Marlo, taking one or both of their lives (to our delight) but ensuring that he's the next drug king (to our chagrin)
- Dukie gets out...somehow
- McNulty definitely gets out...somehow
The seemingly always smiling, positive-thinking pastor to America’s largest congregation welcomes everyone to his church, including office holders and politicians – as long as they agree to leave politics outside the church doors.So...he doesn't talk about politics or religion.
Joel Osteen, best-selling author and pastor of the 47,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston, has a strict policy of not allowing any politician or government office holder to speak in his church about politics. Osteen also does not endorse any political candidate, although he doesn’t mind putting in a good word for the person if he or she happens to visit the church.
to me anyway. obama wins, and here's his victory speech. it's a pretty cool speech.
"If ever the book which I am not going to write is written it must be the full confession by Christendom of Christendom's specific contribution to the sum of human cruelty and treachery. Large areas of "the World" will not hear us till we have publicly disowned much of our past. Why should they? We have shouted the name of Christ and enacted the service of Moloch." - C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
You too can win arguments. Simply follow these rules:There are other steps, but that first one is the most important. [Via Chrisendom]
Suppose you're at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you're drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you'll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance, while the hotshot enthralls your date. But if you drink several large shots of Jack Daniels, you'll discover you have strong views about the Peruvian economy. You'll be a wealth of information. You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.
As I was reading for class today (I can't spend all my time blogging!), I came across this quote from the opening chapter of Dan Wallace's Greek Grammar beyond the Basics (pp. 9-10):
In a historical-literary investigation we are dealing with probability vs. possibility. We are attempting to recover meaning without all the data. This is not a hard science. None of the examples culled from the literature are repeatable in a pristine laboratory. Unlike the hard sciences, a falsifiable hypothesis in the humanities is difficult to demonstrate because of the vacillations in the levels of ambiguity in the data examined (in our case, the ambiguities in texts whose authors cannot be consulted).36 In particular, many of the so-called undisputed examples may well be disputed by some; conversely, some of what we consider disputed examples may be patently undisputed to others. But in literature and linguistics statistical probabilities are not ultimately to be measured in decimal points, but in patterns and composite pictures. Rather than creating reproducible results in a test tube, our objective is, first, to detect any linguistic patterns in the surviving literature and, second, to apply such patterns to exegetically problematic texts.I post this particularly because of the ongoing discussion on theology, cosmology, types of evidence, trustworthiness, etc. This isn't meant to be a response to Ryan's arguments (I'm thinking, I'm thinking) but I do think it echoes some of what Drew was saying.
Apparently, the title comes from a story in Ian Fleming's collection For Your Eyes Only, published in 1960. The original short story is not a spy story at all, according to Wikipedia, and Bond appears only as a listener at "a boring dinner party" in Nassau. "Quantum of Solace" is about an unhappy marriage that ends with a husband leaving his penniless wife in Bermuda and causes Bond — who's been told the story by his host — to reflect on the eventful lives led even by people who aren't superspies.What does it say about me that I would desperately want to see that movie.
- Wayne Leman of the Better Bibles Blog asks "How does iron sharpen iron?" I always think of swords (and then ninjas) personally.
- Of course, then there are other, even more important questions.
- THAT'S how you start a story.
- Michael Halcomb on the oddity of praying over the phone.
- Psalms about car troubles. I know that game.
- Various reactions to the Accordance booth at MacWorld. My favorite:
Then there are always those who don't dare enter our booth, but who walk by, notice the sign, nudge the person next to them and mouth, "Bible software?" in a bemused sort of way.
- Think Christian on the "stealing" wifi issue.
- That sure is a big picture of Joel Osteen. [Via katagrapho]
[Update: Chris Brady has posted his thoughts on the matter as well]
Jim West posted earlier today about the differences (or lack thereof) between Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, supporting his conclusion with date from a recent Barna survey. His contention is that
[The result of the survey] indicates that ‘Evangelicals’ are ‘Fundamentalists’ with an upgraded and less derogatory label.First of all, I don't think that's what the Barna survey indicates at all, because the survey itself is what sets up the boundaries for its terms. Under the heading "Born Again and Evangelical Voters?" the article points out what I would consider to be a rather important caveat:
Note that Barna surveys do not classify a person based upon a respondent’s use of the terms "born again" or "evangelical," instead basing the classification on what a person believes about spiritual matters.So we can see that this survey has nothing to do with people's self-identification (i.e., what they "want to be" as Jim puts it) as born again, evangelical, conservative, fundamentalist, or otherwise. It has everything to do with the criteria Barna used to determine who fell within those labels. That criteria is as follows:
"Born again Christians" are defined as people who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents are not asked to describe themselves as "born again."Barna's definition of 'born again' sounds an awful lot like what I would define as 'evangelical,' and his seven additional criteria for 'evangelical' ensure that only the most conservative of respondents fall within the category (an issue we will take up in another post). It shouldn't be much of a surprise, therefore, when the 'evangelicals' Barna speaks of sound a lot more like 'fundamentalists.' This isn't because self-identifying evangelicals actually are fundamentalists (Jim's contention), it's because the manner in which Barna defines 'evangelical' is really much closer to 'fundamentalist.'
"Evangelicals" meet the born again criteria (described above) plus seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent upon church attendance or the denominational affiliation of the church attended. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as "evangelical."
Now, I might be misunderstanding Jim, but I think his point is basically this: if you call yourself an evangelical, you're really a fundamentalist, and this survey is the evidence that proves it. Jim quotes Tony Cartledge to support his point, except that I think Tony's saying just the opposite. Jim doesn't think there's a distinction between evangelicals and fundamentalists. Tony points out that there is a distinction and the reason for confusion is that "the term 'evangelical' has also been co-opted and used as a descriptor for the politically conservative religious right, or as another euphemism for 'fundamentalist.'" Indeed, his whole post is on the similar way in which the term "conservative" was co-opted by the fundamentalists in the SBC.
Middle-of-the-road Baptists who had always considered themselves to be conservative complained that fundamentalists had usurped the adjective and redefined "conservative" much more narrowly. Only begrudgingly did they begin to use the anemic-sounding term "moderate," and then only for lack of a better alternative. They didn't want to accept the fundamentalists' charge that they were liberals, but couldn't come up with a better term than "moderate" to describe "non-fundamentalists who aren't liberal."By analogy, the problem isn't that evangelicals are actually fundamentalists with a better name. It's that there actually are two distinct groups (evangelicals and fundamentalists) but one of the groups has started identifying itself as the others (fundamentalists calling themselves evangelicals). I suppose Jim could argue that it's too late to reclaim the term 'evangelical' and that we should give it up to 'fundamentalists.' I argue that it's not too late, and we need to be vociferous in defense of the distinction.
As far as the results of the survey go, it turns out that they align not so much with the Barna labels of 'born again,' 'non-born again,' or 'evangelical' as they do with, surprise surprise, political affiliation (emphasis mine).
We can see that the born again distinction makes no difference in the data for Democrats or independents. In addition to which, the 'born again' group has significantly different concerns that can be explained quite easily by party affiliation. Any useful distinction 'born again' might be able to proffer beyond party affiliation occurs only within the most conservative block of voters.
- Out of the 10 issues assessed in the research, born again Republicans are most concerned about Americans’ personal indebtedness (80%) and abortion (80%), while non-born again Republicans are most concerned about debt (74%), HIV/AIDS (68%), poverty (66%) and immigration (65%).
- Born again Democrats are most likely to identify HIV/AIDS (86%) and poverty (86%) as major problems facing America. These are the same top-two concerns identified among non-born again Democrats (85% and 84%, respectively).
- Born agains who are registered as Independent are most concerned with personal debt levels (77%) and poverty (72%). Interestingly, these are also the leading concerns among non-born again Independents (75% and 77%, respectively).
- As expected, born again members of the GOP are significantly more concerned than are born again Democrats about abortion (80% versus 58%), media content (69% versus 48%), homosexual activists (61% versus 38%), and homosexual lifestyles (58% versus 43%). However, born again Democrats are more likely to be concerned than are non-born again Republicans about abortion, media content and same-sex relationships.
What does this have to do with evangelicals and fundamentalists? Nothing. It's evident that the most conservative of voters (Barna's 'evangelicals') have concerns about abortion, Hollywood, and homosexuality, which just happens to be the fundy axis of evil. But what value is it to discover that the most conservative respondents reflect extremely conservative positions.
You needn't look far. This is now my go-to "yep, I'm an idiot" post. Chris Heard of Higgaion was kind enough to comment on and correct some of my evidence/analysis in this "Biblical Cosmology" post. Indeed, he was kind in every sense, as it would have been perfectly legitimate to tear me apart for how unclear I was with my thoughts (as well as factually incorrect). I've attempted to clarify those thoughts here, but I can't promise much!
Not only did I think that Church Marketing Sucks post was the best idea I'd read today, I also thoroughly enjoyed the article it linked to on the ethics of "stealing" wifi.
It's time to put an end to this silliness. Using an open WiFi network is no more "stealing" than is listening to the radio or watching TV using the old rabbit ears. If the WiFi waves come to you and can be accessed without hacking, there should be no question that such access is legal and morally OK. If your neighbor runs his sprinkler and accidentally waters your yard, do you owe him money? Have you done something wrong? Have you ripped off the water company? Of course not. So why is it that when it comes to WiFi, people start talking about theft?I've lived in apartments all of my adult life, and whatever it might say about me, I've never had any problem logging on to someone's unsecured wireless network.
[Bryan] is arguing that the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints seems to not "really take into account the experience of the Holy Spirit in the believers’ lives as evidence of their salvation."I would encourage you to click through for those reasons. While I don't agree with all of them--for example, I think his #1 is an effect of the reduction of the role of the Spirit in Evangelicalism, not a cause--I do think he is spot on in his conclusion:
I would like to take it a step further if I may (at some risk), I think the same can generally be said of Evangelicalism at large - here it is dangerous to generalize because once you do - someone breaks the generalization. I think Evangelicalism tends to downplay the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Why do I think this? Well, there are several reasons.
I recognize I am not complete and may be inaccurate in my assessment but I think I am on the right track - both Reformed and Evangelical Theology, in general, tend to play down the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the community of faith.I would also add that part of the problem is the Evangelical's desire to "let the Bible reign supreme," however illegitimate that may be. This not only reduces the role of the Spirit to what can be found (and understood) in Scripture, it also encourages the replacement of the Spirit by Scripture. This would be one of the few times that I would agree with Jim West's cries of "idolatry, idolatry!"
This idea from Church Marketing Sucks:
What if your church had the sweetest wifi in the town, some really comfy chairs and a few friendly faces? How great would it be to have folks normally hostile to "church" be able to say, "I'm gonna go hang out at the church and get some work done."Now, if I just had a church I could implement this at...
As a connoisseur of fine seating (ENO and Love Sac, if you're wondering) and a constant searcher for the perfect coffee shop, I can tell you this: if I found somewhere with good coffee or sweet tea, open spaces and comfy chairs, I'd be there in a heartbeat. Folks lucky enough to work at home, thankful as they should be, need to get away sometimes.
Apparently, when Tiger Woods enters a tournament, his major competition do significantly worse stroke-wise than when he doesn't. I'd love to see a study that tries to replicate the results with Roger Federer...
Those evangelicals in South Carolina must be scaring him: Christianity Today interview.
Things are looking bleaker for those of us who do not wish to be forced to choose between Clinton and a Republican. But, Obama is still out there campaigning (and leading, apparently, in South Carolina), and has given an interview to Beliefnet.
- Paul Gregory Alms has posted an article on First Things touching on a number of subjects: pallbearing, cultural customs, Christian funerals, technology's advance into every area of our lives, his grandfather.
- Bryan L on The Holy Spirit and Calvinism.
- At first, I thought Nick Norelli had just misspelled 'Lacuna.' (He didn't.)
- April DeConick has a few more reflections (and objections) regarding the recent Talpiot conference and the letter going around as a retort to Simcha Jacobovici's press release. Her biggest problem with the Duke letter is
the marginalization of Gat's widow, which I find offensive. Her treatment is appalling to me, especially with no proof given that we shouldn't trust her words. What benefit is there to discredit her memory of her husband and his work? It makes absolutely no difference to the Talpiot Tomb discussion whether or not Professor Gat thought this was or wasn't the Jesus family tomb. So why would a handful of archaeologists feel so compelled to argue that she doesn't know what she is talking about because Gat didn't read the inscriptions?But it seems to me that the rationale for such a reaction was contained within the letter inasmuch as...
Jacobovici now claims that Mrs. Gat’s statement has vindicated his claims about the tomb.It would be of little matter what Mrs. Gat thought, except that it's being abused by Jacobovici, and so, the scholars had to respond.
- As usual, I'm rushing to class. I'll try and update with a few more links later.
Are they even pretending to be fair when the article starts out with this story?
On a quiet Sunday morning in June, as worshippers settled into the pews at Allen Baptist Church in southwestern Michigan, Pastor Jason Burrick grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911. When a dispatcher answered, the preacher said a former congregant was in the sanctuary. "And we need to, um, have her out A.S.A.P."The rest of the article doesn't get much better. Finally, a few paragraphs from the end, we get something resembling reality (emphasis mine):
Half an hour later, 71-year-old Karolyn Caskey, a church member for nearly 50 years who had taught Sunday school and regularly donated 10% of her pension, was led out by a state trooper and a county sheriff's officer. One held her purse and Bible. The other put her in handcuffs. (Listen to the 911 call)
The charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey's real offense, in her pastor's view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he'd charged her with spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" and expelled her from the congregation. "I've been shunned," she says.
Her story reflects a growing movement among some conservative Protestant pastors to bring back church discipline, an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are privately confronted and then publicly castigated and excommunicated if they refuse to repent. While many Christians find such practices outdated, pastors in large and small churches across the country are expelling members for offenses ranging from adultery and theft to gossiping, skipping service and criticizing church leaders.
In Christianity's early centuries, church discipline led sinners to cover themselves with ashes or spend time in the stocks. In later centuries, expulsion was more common. Until the late 19th century, shunning was widely practiced by American evangelicals, including Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists. Today, excommunication rarely occurs in the U.S. Catholic Church, and shunning is largely unheard of among mainline Protestants.A little old lady kicked out of church by what sounds like a (word I can't say online for fear that a future employer will opt not to employ me) of a pastor. WSJ reads this as "a growing movement among some conservative Protestant pastors to bring back church discipline," right up until the end of the story. What else don't we find out about till the very end? "Allen Baptist is an independent congregation, unaffiliated with a church hierarchy that might review the ouster." Someone at the Wall Street Journal needs a lesson in objectivity. Or a promotion, depending on your point of view, I suppose.
- Bibletech:2008 looks very cool. I only wish that I could either go or live in Seattle (or better, both!). Rick Brannan of Ricoblog will give a presentation that I would love to get my hands on in some form: Locating New Testament Cross-References. I've often wondered, with all the 'wiki' tools out there, why no one has set up a 'wiki-bible' complete with hyperlinked cross references of names, places, scriptural allusions, parallels, and more. Any enterprising programmers/biblical scholars want to help me out?
- Ben Myers opines on the skill of John Milton. I have to confess, I've not been able to make it out of the first bit of Paradise Lost, so I will have to rely on others to recognize its genius (or not).
- I love this blog's name. I will find out if the posts live up to it in the coming weeks. [Via Think Christian]
- Microsoft is really good at certain things, such as, attempting to create an open document format and failing miserably.
- I've vowed to no longer post about inerrancy, otherwise I would definitely link to these posts.
Apparently, on their way to 63% of the vote in the South Carolina primary, John McCain and Mike Huckabee had to endure the bleating of multiple talk radio personalities annoyed that their influence over the Republican party is waning. Indeed, the pundits weren't the only ones crying out, as none other than former House majority leader Tom DeLay called out McCain for harboring closet liberal tendencies such as, you know, exposing massive corruption:
"McCain has done more to hurt the Republican Party than any elected official I know of," said DeLay, the former House majority leader, who was personally damaged by McCain's Senate probe of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a probe that implicated numerous DeLay associates.I can't help but think of one of the best scenes from last night's The Wire, in which corrupt state senator Clay Davis complains impotently to the mayor following a grand jury investigation that (it looks like) is finally going to bring him down.
Medved goes onto (sic) conclude that “the talk radio jihad against Mac and Huck” has failed to damage those candidates, but “has damaged, and may help destroy, talk radio.”One can only dream of the day...
From "The American Success Syndrome":
The word "success" summarized for Alger what is now commonly referred to as "the Good Life." The Good Life -- or, as I shall call it, the "American Success Syndrome" -- consists of having a lot of money, making the right kinds of connections, and achieving social power through success in the business world or one of the professions.May it never be...
For a laugh, take a look at these observations: "When asked about whether certain historical events in the life of Jesus actually happened..." from Chris Tilling, and "When asked about whether the resurrection actually happened..." from rarely-seen-as-of-late Josh McManaway.
It's a question that has been on my mind a lot lately as I think about doctoral programs (and the difficulty I will have being admitted to one). Fortunately, I have at least one more place to check out, as Jim West has started a series highlighting some of the better programs. Today's: University of Sheffield. Here's hoping he doesn't just highlight programs abroad...
Over the weekend, NPR's Weekend Edition had a story on the recent decision of Edward Albee, an acclaimed playwright, to adjust a work from very early on in his career, forty years after its writing. That work, "The Zoo Story," has become something of a classic in the theater world, performed on (off-)Broadway and in local theater groups alike, by students, amateurs, and professionals. It is a production alive in both the minds of three generations of actors, directors, and writers as well as in the mind of its creator. Because of that ongoing 'living,' "The Zoo Story" represents something of an anomaly to us biblical studies slaves: a work whose author is still around to adjust it.
Why even assemble the conference in the first place if you're going to ignore the opinions of anyone who concludes disfavorably to you? I suppose for the press release.
More on the Talpiot Tomb:
To conclude, we wish to protest the misrepresentation of the conference proceedings in the media, and make it clear that the majority of scholars in attendance – including all of the archaeologists and epigraphers who presented papers relating to the tomb - either reject the identification of the Talpiot tomb as belonging to Jesus’ family or find this claim highly unlikely.See also Jim West.
Professor Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Professor Eric M. Meyers, Duke University
Choon-Leon Seow, Princeton Theological Seminary
F.W. Dobbs-Allsopp, Princeton Theological Seminary
Lee McDonald, Princeton Theological Seminary, visiting
Rachel Hachlili, Haifa University
Motti Aviam, University of Rochester
Amos Kloner, Bar Ilan University
Christopher Rollston, Emmanuel School of Religion
Shimon Gibson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Joe Zias, Science and Antiquity Group, Jerusalem
Jonathan Price, Tel Aviv University
C.D. Elledge, Gutavus Adolphus College
- More texts on-line: The Aleppo Codex. [Via Ancient Hebrew Poetry]
- The school is in Malibu, literally a couple hundred feet away from the beach. Now they have the best teacher in the United States also? Someone needs to take Pepperdine down a notch (or offer me a scholarship to study there). [Via Higgaion]
- I can't count the number of times I've ever felt this way, or talked with someone who felt that way.
- Publishing advice for the graduate student. [Via The Uncredible Hallq, along with an interesting discussion of "getting it right" vs. getting it out there]
- On being a citizen (sort of).
A writer at Think Christian has posted on the latest Westboro Baptist Church travesty. Despite his anger at the protesters, he notes:
BUT…I have to return to my previous TC post of just a week ago…I admitted that one of the points Yancey made was particularly hard for me:Well, he might be right on the "love your enemies" part, but I think he's off on the whole "God chose them too." That they call themselves Christians has no bearing on whether or not they actually are. I am not endowed with the ability to judge people's faith true or not, but the members of this cult live lives and spread a gospel that reflect only hate. I don't know why anyone would continue their delusion by calling them "Christians."Remember, those Christians who peeve you so much—God chose them too. For some reason, I find it much easier to show grace and acceptance toward immoral unbelievers than toward uptight, judgmental Christians. Which, of course, turns me into a different kind of uptight, judgmental Christian.And, of course, “love your enemies.”
Can I just pull out that inimitable response, “Okay, I’ll love them, but I don’t have to like them!” (accompanied by a high-pitched whine and the stamping of feet)?
Just a few for the weekend.
- For the text critics out there, Hypotyposeis' Andrew Criddle posts on "Lactantius and the Western text of the Ascension."
- Drew Tatusko exposes the hypocrisy involved of some of the "right to life" folks. It's quite a rant, and worth a read. [Related: A Catholic perspective on voting, and a more holistic view of the sanctity of life]
- Hall Harris's new blog is already paying off: the new German Bibel Society website has the text of NA27, BHS, the Rahlfs LXX, and the Vulgate online.
I have never been a big Roger Federer fan, though I've come to respect his accomplishments, and enjoy his big matches. But I have never understood the media's free pass on whatever comes out of his mouth. Anytime he says something unimaginably cocky (coming even after losses, e.g. to Rafael Nadal), they fawn all over him as if to say, "from anyone else (scowl)...but from you, Roger! (huge smily face)" Well, he's done it again following a five-setter in the Australian Open.
"Look, it happens sometimes," he said philosophically. "I had that a few times in my career already. I create myself so many opportunities, and then it's just, you don't make them." He's the only guy in the game that could say that without sounding insufferable.No, HE'S NOT.
I'll join in on the fun, and list a couple search terms people have used to find this site. My two favorite, up to now, are "bater ginsburg" and "bursting from your blouse." Apparently they both point to my 2006 archives page, in particular to these two posts. Somehow, I don't think they found what they were looking for.
One of my favorite films to watch growing up was Searching for Bobby Fischer, about a young chess prodigy's development under various pressures (to win, to destroy opponents, to make friends). I suppose I liked the movie for any number of reasons: I had that same desire to win, to walk into a room where you know you're better at everyone else at that one particular thing. (I know, really Christian, right?) I wanted to be a prodigy, I wanted to play chess. There's a scene where the young prodigy, Max, seems to have made a mistake in his play, only to roar back into contention (punctuated by a relatively young Lawrence Fishburne declaring "There it is!"). My dad would randomly scream out "There it is!" and I'd love it.
Nick Norelli hates Barnes & Noble:
I just came from dinner with my father, sister, and nephew, and on the way home we stopped by Barnes & Noble so she could pick up a book she needed for school. Walking up to the doors I started to remember why it is that I never go to Barnes & Noble and why it is that I hate it so much. Barnes & Noble rips people off. They are the serial-rapist of the book selling industry.There's more where that came from.
[Jim West's post on a new scholarship at Virginia Theological Seminary has sparked, in my opinion, an unusually high quality dialogue on the subject of race-based scholarships. I say this only because oftentimes comments on issues like this quickly devolve into name-calling and race-baiting.* I've added my thoughts here, and reproduced them below.
a slightly more nuanced example of the phenomenon stated above might go something like this: a school offers a purely academic scholarship. in an attempt to make race a complete non-factor the scholarship applicant is not allowed to mark their race on the form, and applicants that allude to race are disqualified. there are no recommendations or personal statements on this application; the criteria are entirely academic. the school selects the applicants with the best transcripts, GPAs, extra-curriculars, etc., entirely in good faith. yet they select NO minority applicants. why? because white students have far more academic opportunities than minority students, not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well. more highly-funded schools from higher property taxes in better areas, or, as is usually the case now, private schools. better teachers, better facilities, better resources. not to mention standardized tests skewed in favor of white students (not purposely anymore, but skewed nonetheless). in this hypothetical, which is admittedly on the extreme side, the applicant committee did no wrong in choosing the most-qualified applicants, and was valiant in their effort to avoid racism, but larger, societal problems prevented them from fulfilling their goal of a truly “race-less” scholarship.
this of course isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be academic scholarships, or that there are no students who can rise above their circumstances to shine where one wouldn’t expect them to be able to, or of course that there aren’t any white students living in poor areas, attending poorly-funded schools. this is to recognize that generally, the present educational system places an undue burden on minority students that white students (for the most part) don’t have to deal with, and that scholarships such as the VTS endowment are meant to correct.
one last thought (i don’t mean to write this much, i promise): assuming the endowment is a form of racism, one might make the argument, “racism is wrong in any form, and more racism can only exacerbate, never fix the original problem.” i would be inclined to agree. but then we must be honest about fixing the inherent racism and classism that exists in public education RIGHT NOW. in lieu of that, race-based scholarships and endowments are an imperfect, but effective, stop-gap solution
Darrell Bock announces a new blog which he (along with Craig Evans, Craig Blomberg, Scot McKnight, Ben Witherington and more) will be posting to. It's unclear (to me at least) if this is actually new material, or just an aggregate of their current blogs.
- First Things on dwindling religious freedom, due not to any actual legal challenges, but merely to well-funded threats of legal challenges. Just like the founding fathers wanted it.
- Revisiting Ephesians 5 once more.
- A bit more information on the "Lost Tomb" conference [Via Bock's Blog and Jim West, see also W. Hall Harris's thoughts and April DeConick's from yesterday]
- I didn't realize up until the following quote that this article was a parody:
“The other day I met with a self-described Emergent pastor,” says Mohler. “I couldn’t believe my ears–there we were debating about the nature of the law when that young man said: ‘I simply will not accept that I need to make someone feel like sh*t before they can receive the Gospel’–can you believe that? He said the word sh*t. Right there at Starbucks.”This is one of those things too funny not to be true. [Related: Toward an Evangelical Theology of Cussing]
When asked to explain his distaste for profanity, Dr. Mohler continued: “You see, I find the word ’sh*t’ offensive. The bible says to avoid unwholesome talk. I also dislike the words c*ck, f*ck, d*mn, a*sface, sh*thead, bi*ch, and as*hole.”
- Virginia Theological Seminary has made tuition free for any and all Black students (who are Episcopalians). Dr. Jim West asks what I think is a perfectly legitimate follow-up: Isn't that just racism?
But let’s turn it around a bit. What if VTS or any other school suddenly announced “We are giving all white students tuition.” Would that not strike non white students (and most white students) as terribly unfair and one sided?I think one of the problems with that perspective is the idea of some or another group being "worthy" of free tuition. VTS sees a certain group of students that, in their view, is under-represented at their seminary. To correct that, they're providing economic incentives to increase the representation of that group. It has nothing whatsoever to do with worthy- or unworthiness. [A number of Jim's commentators have made similar arguments]
I believe in pure equality and think that anything less is dishonorable. I know many will disagree- but I simply can’t escape the notion that any sort of favoritism- especially by a theological institution- is improper. If one group of students is worthy of free tuition, why aren’t all?
- I am incredibly jealous:
So, I’ve finally nailed down which courses I’m taking this semester at Duke Divinity. Here’s the lowdown:
Learning Theology with C.S. Lews (taught by Reinhard Huetter). This seminar course will allow us to most of Lewis’ corpus including the entire Chronicles of Narnia, many of his shorter books in a nifty one-volume set, his space trilogy, and many, many essays dealing with theology, literature & culture. We’ll also read Surprised by Joy and the Weight of Glory. These are all sure to be fodder for the blogging fire.
- I've been added to Biblioblogs! It does seem like I disagree with Jim a lot, doesn't it? Of course, one could argue that if he didn't keep posting things for me to disagree with, I wouldn't have much to say!
- April DeConick, back to blogging after an excursion to Jerusalem for the Talpiot Tomb Princeton University Conference. The conclusions?
We didn't take a vote, or anything like that. There seemed to me to be an enormous range of opinions, many of which were connected into theology and why theologically it can't be the tomb of Jesus and his family. There were some that said "No way" for other reasons. Most people I polled during the reception said that there wasn't enough evidence to make a positive identification (for various reasons), so they said they were "very skeptical" or "skeptical." A few people, however, did find it likely if not probable. There were a number of scholars who thought that this might be an early Christian tomb or what Professor Charlesworth called a "clan" tomb, rather than a "family" tomb.Maybe if somebody'd had some beads handy... [Also, high resolution photos of the Tchacos Codex, via Forbidden Gospels Blog]
- Christian Carnival CCVII: Renaissance Edition
- Lored Rosson of The Busybody responds to Doug Chaplin's challenge to present "a good argument for holding to it." Doug is unpersuaded.
- On the 'l' in TULIP.
- I have no problem with a few televangelists getting shaken down by Congress for years of excess and abuse. I do have a problem with the notion that "If they aren’t willing to cooperate, what have they got to hide?" The government has enough power as it is, if they want to issue some subpoenas or convene a grand jury, let them do so. Non-cooperation is not evidence of guilt, it's evidence of having lawyers smart enough to tell their clients to shut up sometimes.
- If it's got a comparison to LOST, it's good enough for me: Pat McCullough on apocalypticism in the early church.
- Nick Norelli wants to know:"Would anyone else suggest the same or do you think it would be better for me to hold out until I can get the 3rd edition?" I would strongly recommend against getting BAGD in place of BDAG. You're missing out on 25 years of scholarship in between the two editions. Plus, if possible, I would recommend acquiring an electronic edition.
- Bible.org got a make-over and there are a few new blogs to check out: W. Hall Harris for one, Chris Goodman for another.
- Renewed Theology on the importance of biblical historicity.
- As I've started reading more and more blogs, Faithfully Liberal has been one of my early favorites. And for the most part, I like the ideas behind their recent post "What If You Knew Nothing about Religion?" But this has got to be pointed out:
Next I would choose a religion, let’s say Christianity for ease, and go to a church to witness the faith officially. But does being in a church really tell you about religion? Chants, prayers, songs, and sermons are all great and do demonstrate something of religion, but they don’t display the complexities of faith. Two different faiths (and remember we are under the Christian umbrella now) could actually seem similar if only what happened inside the church walls was examined. The liberal church will espouse “love your neighbor” and the conservative church will do the same thing, of course how one loves his or her neighbor differs. One way could manifest in helping the homeless, or conversely could manifest in praying that a neighbors homosexuality is “cured.”If that's meant as a joke, it's a poorly executed one, and if not, come on. That's the best they could do for what might define a "conservative" church? Mischaracterizing those who don't agree with you is a poor way to either engage in the exchange of ideas or encourage community.
The semester is in full force, and I'm sure I will be posting much less often very soon. But, as I was going through posts I've flagged to put together a "Notes" post, I realized that I'm marking more and more really good questions lately. Just a few for now...
From Things on Bryan's Mind:
Does anyone else ever read or dip into the higher academic/philosophical types of theology (through books or quotes) and upon seeing people praise it and proclaim how great and revolutionary it is immediately the words "Emperor's New Clothes" come to your mind?I can emphatically state that you are not the only one. While I haven't seen this quite as much in theology reading, it was rampant for film studies. It took me about three years to start to understand the myriad ways scholars would use 'hegemony.'
Am I the only one?
...I’m not prepared to jettison the Trinity. In my mind, the doctrine of the Trinity is a boundary line between Christian and not-Christian. The doctrine of the Trinity (or a less-defined precursor to it) has been believed by all Christians, everywhere, at all times. Instead it is causing me to go back to my presuppositions about scripture. If a doctrine is not Trinitarian (or if it leads to non-Trinitarianism), it’s not Christian.
But then here’s my question for all you non-inerrancy guys. If you reject the idea of inerrancy, are you on any better grounds than I to construct a doctrine of the Trinity?
From Pisteuomen (emphasis mine):
Creflo Dollar will be on Nightline Jan. 17th. He will be answering questions about the IRS inquiries into preachers of the Word of Faith/Prosperity movement. On the teaser, Dollar was shown saying, "Everybody says Jesus was poor...Why do we think that the Son of God would come to this earth and be poor?" I may blog on this tomorrow night after the segment, we'll see. Give Nightline a watch, though.
One of the first things I did when I got a mac was go out and get a copy of Accordance. I haven't looked back since. Today, Tommy Wasserman of Evangelical Textual Criticism posts on the digital version of Metzger's Textual Commentary, treating me to all sorts of cool new searches to play with.
From Faith and Theology:
“With horror I read [a] statement that I was the greatest theologian of the century. That really terrified me…. What does the term ‘greatest theologian’ actually mean? … As a theologian one can never be great, but at best one remains small in one’s own way…. Let me again remind you of the donkey I referred to [earlier]. A real donkey is mentioned in the Bible, or more specifically an ass…. It was permitted to carry Jesus to Jerusalem. If I have done anything in this life of mine, I have done it as a relative of the donkey that went its way carrying an important burden. The disciples had said to its owner: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ And so it seems to have pleased God to have used me at this time, just as I was, in spite of all the things, the disagreeable things, that quite rightly are and will be said about me. Thus I was used…. I just happened to be on the spot. A theology somewhat different from the current theology was apparently needed in our time, and I was permitted to be the donkey that carried this better theology for part of the way, or tried to carry it as best I could.”Click through for an excellent pictorial illustration.
—Karl Barth, “Karl Barth’s Speech on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday Celebrations,” in Fragments Grave and Gay (London: Collins, 1971), pp. 112-17.
1. Parker offers this analogy of Shakespeare and Mozart for the gospels, not for the whole NT corpus. It is not, in my view, a particularly good one. However, how does Wallace know that the author exercised no further control over a gospel once it was first written? The possibility of an afterthought epilogue to John, for example, with the idea that the gospel first ended with chapter 20 might well count as evidence for Parker’s contention.To which I would respond that (1) I don’t think John 20 and 21 would be the best example of continued authorial control. If there were some point at which John’s gospel ended at chapter 20, we should expect some manuscript today to end it at chapter 20 (i.e. we should expect some sort of evidence in the manuscript record). Without any evidence, we can conjecture all we want, but that’s all it would amount to: conjecture. On the other hand, one could argue that the pericope adulterae and the long ending of Mark’s gospel do serve as evidence for Parker’s hypothesis. But then that person would also have to argue that the PA and the long ending are original (which I use to mean “from the original author”), but not first editions.
2. Again, I see no evidence that “every book of the NT was something that was dispatched to a locale other than where the author was”. This is true of the epistles, but arguing that case for the gospels is a different matter entirely. It is possible they were largely written for the community in which the the author lived, and it is equally possible that they were written for a wide range of communities. In the first case the author still retains some control, in the second case the possibility of multiple copies and even more than one edition emerges.
3. I’m sure it is true that scribes had an interest in what the apostles and others had to say. That neither rules out accidental nor intentional (to “improve” it) emendation. It also fails to take account of the rewriting testified to by, say, Codex Bezae.
(2) I share Doug's skepticism of the statement “every book of the NT was something that was dispatched to a locale other than where the author was” (at least until Dr. Wallace sets me straight ;) ), so I’ll take up only his second case. If a gospel were written for a wide-range of communities, there would be, as Doug stated, either multiple editions (to the various communities) or multiple copies. Of the latter, an original still exists, presumably it would be the ‘original’ from which the other copies were made. Or, if following the model of the epistles, it would be sent from community to community, with a copy being made at each stop. Either way, there would still be an 'original' to get back to. If the former is the case, then we might expect there to be variants representing some sort of community bias (in a neutral sense), i.e. adding places or names that would be particularly meaningful to that community but not others for that community’s edition. However, we don’t see that kind of evidence in the manuscripts, and so the ‘multiple editions’ model continues to lack much in the way of actual evidence.
(3) Once again, I agree with Doug that nothing Dan noted rules out either intentional or unintentional corruption. But I would note that the very fact we can recognize re-writing in Bezae is evidence of the strong (and relatively uniform) preservation in other texts.
Paul, dictating to his scribe, says:I think it's fairly clear that what Paul spoke would be the original. Think of it another way: instead of Paul’s own personal secretary mistaking something from the mouth of Paul, we have a copyist much further down the line. This scribe introduces an unintentional error into the text (for the sake of example, let’s say he accidentally repeats a string of text of a few lines). A later scribe, copying either that manuscript or another generated from it, notes the error, and deletes the extra material from his copy. What is the original? We can see quite easily that the second scribe got it right, and the first one got it wrong, even though neither of them had anything more than the manuscript in front of them. In Doug's hypothetical, the error comes much closer than in mine (indeed, as close as it can come), but the outcome is much the same: eventually, the original is restored in the manuscript record.
Δικαιωθέντες οὖν ἐκ πίστεως εἰρήνην ἔχωμεν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (Therefore being justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Rom 5:1)
The scribe writes down something that sounds identical but is subtly different:
Δικαιωθέντες οὖν ἐκ πίστεως εἰρήνην ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ)
A later copyist corrects his copy (either accidentally misreading, or deliberately changing) back to what Paul said, but the original scribe failed to write, and puts “ἔχωμεν” back in.
Which is the original text?
if you cook a frozen pizza on one of those circular pizza cookie sheets, don't take it out of the oven and put it on something plastic. 'cause the plastic will definitely melt.
- Larknews: like the Onion, but Christian. No, it's actually funny! [Via DMN Religion Blog]
- A few more posts on submission: J. Matthew Barnes takes a linguistic tact in analyzing "1) The role of context in determining how we should translate ὑποτάσσω (hupatassō) in Ephesians 5; and 2) The danger of reading modern theological or social concerns back onto an ancient text." He offers a good summary of the discussion, pointing to these other blogs as well.
- The Pope doesn't like Harry Potter. He's one of the few. [Via religion news service]
- I don't yet know where I stand on the whole "emergent church" issue, but I can't read an article like this without immediately thinking "where can I download these sermons?"
- Pink and blue hermeneutics: interpreting scripture on women's roles in the church.
- Tynedale Tech continues to post all sorts of tidbits for Bible study. Yesterday was another post on unicode fonts. Today, they post on online lexicons and Bible studies.
- Nick Norelli gives more advice: now on reviewing books and getting copies from publishers. Jim West smacks him down (ever so lovingly).
- "More, higher, more highest" theology. This qualifies as the best thing I've read today.
- "Four Models of Emerging Churches" plus the Cliff's Notes. (That is not meant pejoratively, the Jesus Manifesto post was incredibly helpful.)
- There is some justice in the world.
- Yesterday's Better Bible Blog post on "false friends" was actually only part of this discussion, in which Doug Chaplin raises some fascinating questions (and elects not to answer them).
- More on Christians and voting. Lew A of The Pursuit relates this story from the previous election:
[F]our years ago I was walking down a street in Maine. Someone had trampled over all of the Bush signs and a few of the Kerry signs. Thinking that it was unfair, I started to fix all of the Bush signs and also the Kerry signs.If that's not an object lesson in the shrinking middle ground, I don't know what is.
As I was fixing the Bush signs, I had people honking at me, flipping me off, and cursing at me. As I was fixing the Kerry signs, I had the same. One guy even pulled over and told me that if I voted for Bush than I could expect to be out of a job. None of these people knew that I was just fixing all the signs, but they saw that I was fixing one candidate and decided that they hated me for it. I was not that into either candidate, I was just trying to be a nice guy. This caused strife and division between me and the world. The strife had nothing to do with the gospel.
Michael Halcomb of Pisteuomen posted a few days ago on a topic near and dear to my heart: the original wording/textual criticism of the NT (yeah, I have a pretty cold heart). His post and subsequent comments concentrate a lot on “process“:
It seems more likely to me that documents like the Gospels were composed over time, not in one sitting. In short, the production of the Gospels happened in a process. The authors were at liberty to add, take away, etc. They could have written the original, taken something out, replaced or added something to it or scribbled a note in the margins. Who knows? Who cares?While I would certainly agree that the Gospels were produced by a process (I'm not even sure how one would argue otherwise short of verbal dictation or God simply handing off a copy of each Gospel to its author), I'm not sure what bearing that has on the idea of the original text. At some point, regardless of the process that went into it, the Gospel was done. I can (and sometimes I even do) edit papers for my classes before I turn them in. I incorporate new research, rethink the presentation, add/delete whole sections depending on what I find, etc. But at some point I stop that process and turn in a final draft. At some point, the paper is finished. Why would we expect the gospels to be any different? At some point, they were completed, and moved from being an adjustable, editable text, to a text intended for the edification of the burgeoning Christian audience.
Michael then moves from speaking of the “process” to the question of the original autographs:
It is not always true, even from a text-critical standpoint, that earlier = better. In fact, it is very often the case (in very many things) that later = better. It is quite possible and plausible that the earliest manuscript was a rough draft. Maybe the author(s) went back later and read it and decided more needed to be said, or less. Maybe the first and earliest manuscript was written on a piece of papyrus that was too short or maybe they didn't have enough ink or even money to buy more materials. In other words, there are many reasons to shed the idea that earilest = best. If the texts were composed in a process, then, it is not the earliest that's most important at all but perhaps a late, finished manuscript--or even a copy created in the middle of the process that was best.Here, I would disagree that it is plausible that the earliest manuscript (presumably, the first copy intended for general consumption) would be a rough draft. Luke 1:1-4 is a good example: Luke went to great lengths in both of his volumes to note their careful research. What exactly makes it plausible that Luke would, putting careful time and research into the text, release a rough draft long before being finished? Once again, I think this fundamentally mistakes the process involved in the authoring and distribution of the gospels. There were undoubtedly more than a few hours time put into the writing of the gospels. If “the piece of papyrus was too short,“ why would we assume the author wouldn't simply wait until he had another piece of papyrus? If he ran out of ink, wouldn't he either get more or pick up the gospel another day? Fundamentally, these hypotheticals are unnecessary because they still ignore the larger truth: when it comes to writing, at some point you have a finished work. This isn't a play, with multiple productions yielding differing drafts (e.g. the Shakespearean model employed by Parker in his Living Text of the Gospels). It's not a journal or diary. What we are looking at is a finished product, not the rough draft notes.
As far as the concept of 'getting back to the original' goes, I am torn. While I do believe there is an original text (as illustrated above), I don't know how much more useful it is than the text we have now. The way I see it, we can affirm one of three positions: either (1) the text we have now is insufficient, it is highly variable in theologically critical areas, and it is of utmost important to make huge advances in textual criticism before we can have confidence in its integrity, (2) the text we have now is completely sufficient, it is slightly variable in only theologically insignificant areas, and we are at or near a place where further text critical work will be unnecessary, or (3) the truth lies somewhere in-between. The extremes of (1) and (2), while they might sell books and fill a few coffers, both miss the mark (and neither is supported by the manuscript record). (3) is both the least sexy position and, in all likelihood, the most accurate reflection of the current state of research. Because of that, it is still important to strive to get back to the original.
[Update: in the time it's taken me to write this post, C. Michael Patton of Parchment and Pen has posted (strangely, under Dan Wallace's blog moniker) on nearly this same topic. CORRECTION: while it was originally listed as by C. Michael Patton, it is indeed Dan Wallace who wrote the post.]
From the Columbia Journalism Review:
“The things they valued in journalism—management, not my colleagues—I do not value,” Simon says. “The things I valued in journalism, they did not have regard for.”Replace 'journalism' with 'police work' and dirty it up a bit, and that sounds a lot like Jimmy McNulty.
The first two episodes have now aired, and if you have HBO on-demand, you could have already watched the third. I'd like to think I'll post my thoughts on either this season or the show more generally some time soon, but I probably won't. I will say that so far, it has been extremely depressing. I re-watched the first three seasons as prelude to season 5 (I can't yet bring myself to watch season 4 again), and I'm trying to remember if I felt this same way the first time through each season. Happily ensconced in the knowledge of the outcome of each season, I could watch and enjoy without having to be invested in the characters (or at least with each blow being softened by foreknowledge). Without that safety net (and especially with McNulty circling down a death spiral), season 5 has been much tougher so far.
regarding harry potter at least. when book 7 came out, i read through the last 200 pages or so over and over again. yes, i am a 24-year-old seminary student. anyway, it looks like the only thing i have left to look forward to (the two remaining movies) might be even better than expected.