On why Christ is the center of my theology, and why I do not need an inerrant Bible: Christ needs to be perfect for his sacrifice to be effective. The Bible does not need to be perfect to inform me of his sacrifice.
What's on my mind?
i told you there would be more. i just didn't think it would be so soon. i like the way dan wallace puts this:
OK, I admit it: this is shameless of me. It’s tactless, mercenary, and almost despicable. Nevertheless, I’m going forth with it because I believe that, in this case, the ends justify the means. Not that I’ve changed my ethical convictions, but rather than the ends are so vital that a “certain moral flexibility” (as Martin Blank said in his self-description in Grosse Point Blank) is tolerable. And if not tolerable, at least I can always ask for forgiveness (I’ll take that route over asking for permission any day! (;-)).i do hate emoticons though. anyway, to see what wallace is talking about, and if you want a cool posted AND to support the preservation of new testament manuscripts, head over to parchment & pen, or go directly to CSNTM.
if you like photography, head over to everybody loves everybody. since i've finally figured out how to more effectively utilize computer tools and my digital camera, my workflow from shot to blog post is much more efficient, and i should update far more often than the once a month i was doing before. i've love to hear what you think!
(why is this shameless plug #1? 'cause, friend, there will be many more)
bowling is stupid. basketball, now there's a sport...
you can take your taxes and your war and your "values." i'll take a president who can ball.
i'd recommend turning the audio off, though, as it's pretty annoying. i wrote half the paper, in case you're wondering. that's all for tonight though.
[via matthew yglesias]
is there any doubt that blogging is an addiction? i've got everything set up to where i get emails for comments, i can email in posts, i have my rss reader on my phone, etc., all to make my life more "efficient." all i end up doing is more efficiently wasting hundreds of hours, and giving myself about 17 more distractions than i need.
anyway, blogroll update time: (1) roger mugs, theologer, (2) vinny, you call this culture?, (3) henry neufeld, thoughts from henry's web ('cause one henry neufeld blog was one too few). oddly enough they're all right next to each other.
also, in my cool new tag cloud gadget/widget/doo-hickey, i just saw something that struck me funny: from left to right, and really blue to sorta blue is a really big "jim west" tag, a slightly smaller "josh mcmanaway" tag, and then in the smallest text of all, "karl barth." seems about right.
He always was better at summarizing than I was. Quote of the month?
My take is quite simple. I ask the question: Is it in the KJV? If the KJV was good enough for Paul and Jesus, then it’s good enough for me. And if Paul and Jesus read John 7:53-8:11 then I’ll read it too. Plus, we all saw The Passion of the Christ and that scene was in the movie, so it must be in the book, because we know that Mel Gibson got everything straight from the Bible. And I’ll leave it at that. Let those fancy shmancy textual critics go play with their manuscripts.Count me devastated.
Anyway, I do wish to respond to Doug and Roger's posts (and am formulating the obviously superior arguments in my head at this very moment!), but unfortunately, I have to, have to, HAVE TO work on my 1 John paper, which was due like a month ago. The end of the semester can't come fast enough.
(Of course, in another sense, it's coming entirely too fast; but whatevs.)
Three days ago, I worried that I'd hit a wall, and would soon crawl up into my no-blogging whole until the semester ended. The good news is that I managed not to do that, and managed to accomplish a lot of what I'd planned:
The Spurs beat the Phoenix Suns on Friday to take a 3-0 lead in their first round series, a lead which has never been overcome in NBA basketball. However, after their victory on Sunday, the Suns players had some choice words for the process that lead to their 3-1 deficit.
Said Steve Nash, "Listen, it's true enough that the Spurs lead right now, but we just won Game 4, which is a pretty important game to win. It's a series-changer. The Spurs might've won the first three games, but it looks like they just can't put us away. Why can't they close the deal?"
Shaquille O'Neal agreed with Nash, "There's only one team left in this series that can win four games straight, and that's us. The Spurs can't win four straight, in fact they can't beat us more than one more time. We're right where we want to be."
"Listen, scoring the most points is an important part of the process," Amare Stoudamire explained, "but the fact is the refs have a lot to do with it as well. And we're pretty confident that the refs recognize we're the better team."
Mike D'Antoni was the most negative about the unfair system the NBA uses to choose it's seeds, "If the NBA chose home court advantage based on the season series, we'd have had the first two games in Phoenix. If the NBA ranked according to efficiency differential, or road winning percentage, or points scored per game, we'd have this thing wrapped up."
Leandro Barbosa shared his teammates' and coach's frustration, pointing out, "If this were March Madness and we were going by Game 4, this thing would be over, and we'd already be waiting to take on Dallas or New Orleans."
[Related: The Clinton Campaign runs on a platform emphasizing hypotheticals.]
Recently, Dan Wallace gave an interview in Christianity Today regarding the discovery of New Testament manuscripts in Albania. In answering a question about what textual decisions the new manuscripts might affect, he mentions the infamous Pericope Adulterae, the story of Jesus and an adulterous woman found between John 7.52 and 8.12. Due to his bluntness about the erroneous text, Christianity Today ran a sidebar on the PA, as well as an older article by J. I. Packer about how to "reconcile [a] belief in the inerrancy of Scripture with comments in Bible translations that state that a particular verse is not 'in better manuscripts'." Though it's certainly not anything new (neither from Wallace nor within the scholarly community: as Bart Ehrman put it 20 years ago, the scholarly consensus on the story is that "the passage did not originally form part of the Fourth Gospel"), there are many who continue to argue in favor of its continued inclusion in our texts. I write today to (1) affirm that it is not original to the text of the New Testament, (2) that beyond that, it is not canonical in any sense of the word, or inspired by any meaningful measure, and therefore (3) that it ought to be removed from the main text of our modern translations, deserving inclusion at most as a footnote.
Is It Original?
I'll not spend too much time on this question, if only because the answer is overwhelmingly "no." The list of scholars who affirm its inauthenticity only begins with Wallace, Ehrman, and Metzger, who notes, "The evidence for the non–Johannine origin of the pericope of the adulteress is overwhelming....When one adds to this impressive and diversified list of external evidence the consideration that the style and vocabulary of the pericope differ noticeably from the rest of the Fourth Gospel (see any critical commentary), and that it interrupts the sequence of 7.52 and 8.12ff., the case against its being of Johannine authorship appears to be conclusive". Pick up virtually any commentary on the Gospel of John, any treatment of its literary qualities, any article on the PA particularly, and you will see, over and over again, scholars, exegetes, pastors, and others affirming that the text is not original to John. Those grounds alone should give pause to those who wish for its continued inclusion in the text. If we respect what the human authors of the books of the New Testament were attempting to do, what they were attempting to transmit, then we must respect what they originally wrote. One of the marks against the PA is how poorly it fits into John where it's ended up today--to the point that scribes would sometimes place it elsewhere in John or even in entirely different gospels (e.g., the end of Luke). No, the text is not original, and to place it randomly in John is to do violence to what John was attempting to accomplish literarily.
Is It Canonical?
What if we want to affirm its status as scripture even though it is not original to the text, and even though it doesn't necessarily fit into John. Well, I think that could be accomplished one of two ways: arguing either (1) the text is inspired, but not authentic, or (2) the text is canonical. The implications of the first statement are a bit troubling, and probably too broad for a blog post that is already getting too long, but let's take up a few of them. By what metric are we measuring inspiration here:
- That it's a nice story. Surely not.
- That it's edifying to the body of believers. Well, so were the Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache, yet they weren't recognized as being part of the New Testament.
- That it's historical. Can't be that either, lest we start preaching from portions of the Gospel of Thomas on Sunday mornings.
Let's move one step further, and posit for a moment that the various canon lists from the early centuries represent some sort of official recognition of the NT canon. We'll use Athanasius' 39th Festal Epistle of 367 CE as our example. When Athanasius declared the 27 books we recognize today canonical, what did that declaration mean? Was he saying that the 27 books in the exact form that he knew of them were canonical? In other words, when Athanasius says that John's Gospel is part of the recognized Christian canon, did he mean only the manuscript copy he had was canonical? Well, if he did, that's actually even worse for those who wish to include the PA in the text as he almost certainly was unaware of it. Other than Didymus, whose recognition of the PA is tenuous, no church father comments on the story until the 9th century. Not a single one. After that, there's not another mention of it until the 12th century. It's a late text that either the fathers didn't know about (probably not) or one that its iffy textual credentials drove them away (probably so). Going back to Athanasius: if he didn't mean that only the form of John he possessed was canonical, then what did he mean? In all likelihood, the various lists of the canon represent top level categorizations: John is a part of the canon, Luke is a part of the canon, Colossians is a part of the canon. We can see that being "canon" has nothing to do with whether or not a given variant is a part of scripture, and everything to do with whether a given book is part of scripture.
Having dispensed with the question of its canonicity, let's return to one last criterion for inspiration. Roger Mugs, in commenting on an earlier post, put it this way:
[The Gospel of Thomas is] weird. the teaching doesn't fall in line with the rest of the Scripture and therefore could not be canonized.In the first place, I'd ask if our standard for inspiration or canonization is really so low: is it really enough to make the PA scripture simply because it's not as weird as the Gospel of Thomas? Beyond which, while it's true enough that there's a lot of weird stuff in apocryphal texts, there's a lot of weird stuff in the New Testament, too. The mistake Christians make is in not separating ourselves from the familiarity we have with the biblical texts. I like a story that Mark Goodacre related about an exercise he runs in some of his classes (emphasis mine):
I gather together a series of quotations, some taken from the New Testament, some taken from Christian apocryphal texts, and I put them on a hand-out but do not give the source of the texts. I try to make sure that each quotation is a good paragraph or so. I then ask the students, in class, to study the sheets and to ask themselves whether they think the texts in question come from (a) the New Testament or (b) a non-canonical text. I then ask them to state their reasons. The results vary from group to group, but one of the most memorable experiences I had was of a student who guessed that the coin in the fish's mouth (Matt. 17.24-27) must be a non-canonical text because it was so weird. She was horrified to discover that it was in the Bible.He relates that story in response to one of Tony Chartrand-Burke's "Top Ten Faulty Arguments in Anti-Apocrypha Apologetics," the fault of characterizing apocryphal works as "bizarre." That something is weird is not enough to keep it out of scripture or out of the canon. That something is not weird is not enough to keep it in scripture or in the canon. Put another way, the character of a text, whether it's bizarre to modern ears or not, is not what determines its canonical or inspired status (though it may determine how often the text is preached from a pulpit!). And if it's not that, then I would continue to ask what it is about the PA that deserves acceptance over equally historical material from Thomas or elsewhere.
Should It Be in Our Texts?
No. It's time to relegate John 7.53–8.11 to the footnotes, or to the bins of the history books. One thing I've tried to dedicate myself to as a scholar (or, more accurately, as I attempt to be a scholar) is caution and charity. I don't want to be uncharitable to a particular viewpoint or person when I write. Not to pick on him, but Jim West gets a lot of hits by making bold pronouncements; I know that that style is certainly part of what draws me (and many others) to his blog, but that's not me. I don't like bold pronouncements; I don't like black and white worldviews and zero-sum situations (either I'm right and you're wrong, or it's the other way around). However, I have learned that when faced with the evidence, there are times that bold pronouncements and proclamations are exactly what's called for. And when faced with the evidence above, and the near-certainty that it does not belong in the text of the New Testament, why do we continue to debate the status of this story? What is it about the passage that we find so hard to let go of? Is Jesus any less loving without this passage? Is he any less forgiving? Do we somehow lose his compassion without this story? I register an emphatic "NO!" to these questions. Indeed, it would be far more troubling to me if we did lose something important due to the removal of non-canonical, uninspired text. Fortunately, we do not. The story of the woman caught in adultery is a lovely story, and it may even be a historical one. But it is not scripture. And we shouldn't treat it as such.
 Bart Ehrman, "Jesus and the Adulteress," NTS 34 (1988): 24.
 Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2d ed (Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 1994), 187ff.
 See again Ehrman, "Jesus and the Adulteress," NTS 34 (1988).
For those interested in diving further into the world of textual criticism and the PA:
Bart D. Ehrman, "Jesus and the Adulteress," NTS 34 (1988): 24–44; John Paul Heil, "The Story of Jesus and the Adulteress (John 7,53-8,11) Reconsidered," Biblica 72 (1991): 182-91; Heil, "A Rejoinder to "Reconsidering 'The Story of Jesus and the Adulteress Reconsidered'," Église et Théologie 25 (1994): 361–366; Daniel B. Wallace, "Reconsidering 'The Story of Jesus and the Adulteress Reconsidered'," NTS 39 (1993): 290–296.
It is my position that the texts we possess along with various tools of textual criticism allow us to get back to what is essentially the original text. I am attempting to defend that position in a series of posts for which this post will serve as an index.
The Question of Reliability and the 'Original Text'
SETTING THE STAGE
The Earliest Scribes
The Essential Doctrines, Ehrman's Admission, and Unknown Variants
The Uncertainty of the Single-Word/Opposite-Meaning Possibility
CONCLUSION (for now)
Probability and Certainty
The Concept of the "Inerrant Original"
'Original' Text Continued
Jeremiah Wright, America-hater, on Bill Moyers:
BILL MOYERS: So, what did you see and what did you think you had to do?
REVEREND WRIGHT: Well, actually a good friend of yours, I believe, and one of my professors, got me in the predicament I'm in today, Dr. Martin Marty, one of my professors at the University of Chicago--
BILL MOYERS: One of the great distinguished historians of religion in America.
REVEREND WRIGHT: He put a challenge to us in 1970, late '69, early '70, I'll never forget. He said, "You know, you come into the average church on a Sunday morning and you think you've stepped from the real world into a fantasy world. And what do I mean by that?" He said pick up the church bulletin. You leave a world, Vietnam, or today you leave a world, Iraq, over 4,000 dead, American boys and girls, 100,000, 200,000 depending on which count, Iraqi dead. Afghanistan, Darfur, rapes in the Congo, Katrina, Lower Ninth Ward, that's the world you leave. And you come in; you pick up your church bulletin. It says, there is a ladies tea on second Sunday. The children's choir will be doing. He said, "How come our bulletins, how come the faith preached in our churches does not relate to the world in which our church members leave at the benediction?" Well, it hit me. And it hit me several different ways. Number one, I know there's a church publication, the bulletin, the weekly bulletin. But what about the ministry? And what about the prophetic voice of the church that's not heard? We're talking about things that our members are wrestling with a whole bunch of other things. And the sermons and the ministries of the church don't touch those things.
Can you BELIEVE he would dare point out the state of the world we live in when we could be out drinking tea?!??!1?!?!?11/1?!?
[Via Open Left, which, despite having "left" in its title, you should still click through to read the whole thing]
For someone who wants absolute certainly before assenting to listen to the text, it's not going to come. Let's face it, human beings demonstrate nothing else if not the ability to ignore incontrovertible evidence. For every scientist who points out the disastrous effect the industrial revolution has brought upon our environment, there will be three people pimping the latest pseudo-science saying our environment is as strong as it's ever been. For every historian who notes the tragedy and travesty of the Holocaust, there will be some fool standing up and denying it.* How much more will this occur when the evidence itself is not incontrovertible? And in the case of the New Testament, it's not.
Once again, however, if we accept that probabilities are going to be our currency, then I would continue to argue that the text of the New Testament is far more likely to go back to the original than not. The transmission history we see attests to the stability of the copying. Most estimates put the growth of the New Testament at around 10%. That would mean the text grew at a rate of .65% per century. With the technology we have in hand now, we're at the cusp of being able to observe the transmission genealogically with significantly more confidence than ever before. Computer tools, digitalization of the manuscripts, OCR text recognition technology, and the continually growing pool of evidence all point in the direction of more confidence in the original text, not less. Redaction criticism, the synoptic problem, independent reconstructions of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, with an astounding amount of verbal parallel, all argue in favor of the fact that we do have in our midst the earliest form of the text. When two early manuscripts in a conservative tradition show remarkable consistencies, but the later of the two manuscripts actually contains the more primitive readings, then I say YES, we can get back to a text earlier even than the extant manuscripts (a point Parker made about other ancient documents). An analogy I used to describe the attitude of Ehrman and others who claim that the task of New Testament Textual Criticism is essentially accomplished (or, inversely, un-accomplishable) is that we're 200 feet away from the summit of Everest. And some of us are turning around and going back!
*For the record, I do not wish to compare those who don't think the New Testament text is reliable to Holocaust-deniers and global warming fanatics. To deny that the New Testament text is reliable is simply to affirm that you don't find the above probabilities convincing. To deny the Holocaust is to be full-blown crazy.
So what about Ehrman's single word bogey-man (to be pejorative). That single word or phrase which changes the character of a entire passage or even book. Like many objections to the reliability of the text, it's a possibility, but that sort of massive change in argument due to a few altered words is incredibly rare. Beyond which, on the rare occasions that it does occur, it's usually quite easy to tell what's going on. The sense of a passage and the cohesiveness of an argument is usually good enough to alert a reader to when something has gone wrong with the text. Isaiah 49:5 is a good example of this. The MT reads “in order to restore Jacob to himself, and not gather Israel.” These lines are in parallel, and its fairly obvious that the MT has been corrupted, as it is making completely opposite claims in parallel lines (and they are not in antithetical parallel). What has happened is that the presence of a holem-waw has been corrupted to holem-aleph. Instead of reading “in order to restore Jacob to himself, and gather Israel to him” the text becomes corrupted to its opposite meaning. It's one word, and it affects the meaning of the verse. And it's also eminently noticeable.
The other half to this question would be to say "where?" When bringing up this objection, did Ehrman offer one example of where such a drastic alteration might have occurred? Part of the vagary of the question of the reliability of the New Testament text is that because we are dealing without the benefit of the originals, there will always be objections. There will always be more "what ifs?"
Mark Roberts(emphasis mine):
But Ehrman has the attention of the secular media (like NPR), and he's an engaging writer (for a scholar). So God's Problem will surely sell plenty of copies.Next Roberts'll be telling people what a great personality Ehrman has...
[Via Ben Witherington]
The Essential Doctrines, Ehrman's Admission, and Unknown Variants
One thing that's said often in defense of the original text or its reliability is that no major doctrine is affected by any viable variant. Indeed, affirming this (and getting Ehrman to do the same) was one of Wallace's stated goals for the Greer-Heard forum, what he called the "main thing I wanted to press for at the Greer-Heard." Was he successful? Wallace seems to think so. Vinny quotes Ehrman's response, and disagrees...
Let’s look at what Ehrman actually said on the subject:I bring this up for two reasons. First of all, because I think Wallace is completely correct to say that Ehrman agrees with him, and on more than simply a technicality. Ehrman is at the forum, arguing that the text of the NT is unreliable, or that we can't know whether or not it's reliable, depending on how far you think he takes his argument. Of course he is not going to cheerfully acquiesce to what Wallace viewed as one of the main points in his favor. That he attempts to qualify his agreement is to be expected, and does not take away the fact that he does indeed agree that textual variants do not affect major doctrines. Once again, I'd argue that if he'd wanted to disagree with the statement, he had ample opportunities to do so. He didn't.My view of changing theology is that it’s very hard to change people’s theology. I’ve found this over the last twenty-five years with Dan. It doesn’t matter whether you interpret one passage one way, he’ll find another passage that says what he wants it to say. If you argue about that passage, there’s always another passage. You can get rid of three or four passages and you can still come up with a doctrine.Is the doctrine of the Trinity explicitly taught in the New Testament? No! Does that stop people from believing it? No! Well what if you take out the Great Commission in Matthew 28? People will still believe in the rinity. What if you take out some of the references in 1st Thessalonians to the Father, Son and the Spirit? People will still believe in the Trinity.Doctrine is not affected by textual variants because generally doctrine isn’t affected by these things. People have doctrines for other reasons and it’s very hard to change people’s doctrines. So I agree that yes these textual variants don’t effect doctrines for the most part. That’s not though the criterion of what is significant and what is insignificant.Does anyone really think Ehrman and Wallace’s views are even remotely similar here? Nevertheless, Wallace brought up the fact that he and Ehrman “agreed” on this several times during his exchange with me.
Secondly, this argument (and Ehrman's points) bring up something important to recognize in the discussion of the reliability of the NT text: part of that reliability comes not from external evidence, or principles of textual criticism, or the existence of manuscripts, but from the built-in redundancy of the text itself. In one of his earlier posts, Vinny set out the rationale for what "reliability" actually means in the case of the New Testament. He rightly observed that the NT needs to be much more reliable than other texts because of what it's being used for. But another part of that argument is to recognize that the New Testament text IS particularly reliable in the doctrines that it affirms over and over again, in different place, stories, genres, and authors. That's the significance of talking about the "essential doctrines" and of using that as the standard for reliability. The fact that a given doctrine, say the deity of Christ, isn't affected by a random variant here or a single verse there testifies to the importance and reliability of that particular doctrine; it certainly does not detract from the doctrine that it's difficult to undermine! The fact that textual variants also do not happen to affect these doctrines in particular places is simply the cherry on top of the essential-doctrine-flavored sundae (and yes, I'm pushing that analogy too far).
Finally, let's go back to what Vinny viewed as one of Wallace's failures at the debate: the unknown variants...
One of the things I would have liked to seen better developed is the distinction between the known variants in the manuscripts we have and the unknown variants that arose during that first century after composition for which we have so little evidence. When Wallace asserts that none of the variants affect essential Christian doctrines he is only talking about the known variants. Regarding the unknown variants, he can only say that he thinks it is probable that they would not affect any essential Christian doctrines. For me, the implication of the existence of unknown variants is the crux of the problem and I don’t think that Wallace addressed it.Well, in some ways this is absolutely correct, and in others, not so much. Yes the state of variants we don't know about wasn't addressed much, in fact I don't think it was addressed at all outside of Holmes' session, but I could be mistaken. However, our earlier point about the "essential" doctrines still stands: part of what makes the essential doctrines essential is their repetition and redundancy. As Ehrman pointed out himself, doctrine is unlikely to be affected by variants in the first place. That no major doctrines are effected by known variants is a happy coincidence, but even if it weren't the case, even if there were unknown variants that affected the text here and there, it still wouldn't take away from those essentials. To conclude otherwise is to exhibit the kind of wholesale skepticism that Wallace did critique very early on in his presentation.
 I would further argue that the inconsistency of Ehrman's qualifications here is evidence in favor of the fact that he really does agree with Wallace on substance here, but is trying to weaken the strength of that point. For example, one of Ehrman's qualifications for the statement is that "it's very hard to change people's doctrines." True enough. But, it's also very hard to change people's view of what is and what isn't original in the text. The pericope adulterae is not original to the text of the New Testament. People have a hard time dealing with it, to the point that they disagree, and affirm anyway the basic idea that "it should be in our Bibles." And yet, Ehrman has no problem simply declaring that they are wrong, because the PA isn't original. If he really believed that textual variants do affect major doctrines, wouldn't he say so, and simply also say that people are wrong not to recognize that in the same way he does so with the PA?
[This post serves two functions. It is first and foremost the beginning of a response to Vinny as we continue our discussion of the recent Greer-Heard forum. However, after working on it, I've realized that it may as well also be included in a series I attempted to start two weeks ago, but was unable to post on again until now.]
The Earliest Scribes
While it's true enough to say that the earliest copyists were not professional scribes, I don't think that makes as much difference as one might think. Copying the text was only part of the job of a professional scribe. They were also adding Eusebian Canon markers to the text, adding illustrations at the beginning of books, and generally catering to the aesthetic experience of reading a text. The copying itself was likely the easiest part of the job for the professional scribe, and the part most likely to have been reproduced accurately by non-professionals. Professional scribes undoubtedly had strategies for dealing with fatigue and generally keeping the accuracy of their copies high, but that is not to say that non-professionals couldn't have gotten the job done as well.
As far as the canonical nature of the text, and how that would have changed the way the texts were handled by early copyists, we need to recognize a few things. In the first place, we cannot argue both that the early scribes didn't understand what they were reading and that they would adjust things they didn't like (or things that needed "improving"). If they didn't understand what was going on in the text, there would be no need to adjust what they were copying for theological reasons (an assertion Bart Ehrman would have quite a problem with, by the by). If they were adjusting for theological reasons, than they did understand what was going on in the text, and they would be less likely to alter it freely. In the second place, though they may not have been conscious of copying canonical texts per se, they were certainly conscious of the importance of their work. David Parker pointed out that relatively soon after the creation of the texts they were put into collections. Early Christians, whether they recognized these collections as canonical or not, would have recognized their importance. These were letters from Paul, the man who brought them to Christ, who began their church, writing to them for the purpose of instruction. This was Peter, or John, disciples who had known Jesus intimately, writing to them to pass on their knowledge of Christ, and their instructions for how to live with the knowledge of his death and resurrecion. There were gospels, recounting the ministry and life of Jesus Christ, written so that his name might be spread throughout the world. Additionally, these were people who were being persecuted violently by the Roman Empire for their beliefs; their copying was not undertaken lightly. It strikes me as relatively unlikely that they would "feel free to make changes." The fact that the early copyists were Christians themselves, and not professionals without a vested interest in the preservation of the texts, appears to be an argument in favor of their work, their care, and their accuracy, not against it.
The Essential Doctrines, Ehrman's Admission, and Unknown Variants
that's what happens when you get a bunch of USC students together. (yes, that was the USC campus.)
[Via Andrew Sullivan]
From Shakespeare's Sister (if strong language offends you, don't click through):
Barack Obama would, if nominated and elected, be the first Illinois legislator to occupy the White House since Abraham Lincoln.Pretty cool...
i've reached that point where i have a number of things i want to do here, but they're bottle-necking and instead of simply trying to do them one at a time, i want to give up and close up shop for a week or so.
- i need to comment on vinny's well-thought out response to my comments
- i want to finally get around to putting up a page for text-critical resources
- i should probably explain why it is i'm so against the pericope adulterae
- i need to figure out how to run aperture, and whether or not i can start a wordpress photoblog with any cool plug-ins between the two
- i'd like to put up a cool list of films like drew, nick, and bryan, but like the book thing, i probably never will.
i think every single sentence i wrote for this post had "i" as the subject. i'd say more, but i wouldn't want to break the pattern.
You can't keep Bart Ehrman down. Right now he's taking place in a "blogalogue" at Beliefnet. The topic is theodicy, and "blogalogue" partner is N.T. Wright. Let the games begin.
[Via Exploring Our Matrix / N.T. Wrong]
Was I parked in the wrong lot? Yes. Was it at all necessary to give me a ticket at 9:00 in the morning, when the officer must have literally ran over to my car the moment I walked into the library to run a quick errand, on a Monday morning, which is not even an official class day, when there were three other cars in the lot? No. Thanks, seminary!
One of the nice thing about the Greer-Heard posts is that it brought a lot of new readers to the blog. Of course, this would be hard not to do, considering the fact that I had about 15 readers before that--and I'm not entirely sure if I wasn't actually three of those on different browsers. Anyway, one of the new readers, Vinny, was kind enough to leave a few comments (though his comments were not taken as kindly on other blogs).
Regardless, Vinny has been going through the GH forum at his blog "You Call This Culture?". I've been meaning to take a look at some of the posts, and some of the interaction at Parchment and Pen, but of course school has intervened (last two weeks of the semester and all). Nevertheless, his latest post caught my attention, and while I was at first just going to leave a comment, I realized quickly that it was much too long (and if Nick Norelli has taught me one thing, it's not to leave long comments). So, on to the post, and some of Vinny's objections to Wallace's argumentation:
I wanted to quote the post in its (almost) entirety so as not to miss any context, but I'll take up the arguments one at a time (emphases all mine):
The basic apologetic strategy for defending textual reliability is to set the bar low enough to make the New Testament look good by comparison. You simply compare the New Testament to something that is much worse. Dan Wallace used the following comparisons in his debate with Bart Ehrman at the recent Greer-Heard Forum to demonstrate that we could imagine barriers even higher than the ones Ehrman identified:
- The Telephone Game: Even though no one ever claimed that the first and second century transmission of the New Testament texts was anything like the telephone game, Wallace seems to thinks the fact that it wasn't should make Bible believers feel better.
- The Transmission of the Koran: Even though no one ever claimed that the transmission of the New Testament texts was anything like the Koran, Wallace apparently thinks believers can feel good that is wasn't.
- Earlier Copies than Other Ancient Manuscripts: Even though Ehrman argued that we could never be sure of what Plato actually wrote either, Wallace thinks believers can be comforted that we have earlier manuscripts of the New Testament than we have of other ancient works.
- Manuscripts Within 300 Years of Originals: Even though conservative scholar Michael W. Holmes said that we know next to nothing about the shape of manuscripts within 100 years of the originals and that this is the crucial time period for alterations and disruptions, Wallace thinks believers can be comforted by the fact that there are lots of manuscripts within 300 years.
- Degree of Uncertainty: Even though Ehrman never claimed absolute skepticism about the text of the New Testament, Wallace thinks believers can be happy that the uncertainty is not wholesale.
- Conspiracies: Even though Ehrman did not claim that scribes conspired with one another, Wallace comforts believers with the thought the orthodox corruption of scripture was not as pernicious, sinister, and conspiratorial as believers might think after reading Misquoting Jesus.
The Telephone Game: Even though no one ever claimed that the first and second century transmission of the New Testament texts was anything like the telephone game, Wallace seems to thinks the fact that it wasn't should make Bible believers feel better.When Ehrman goes on about "copies, of copies, of copies, of copies" etc., is it a surprise that the telephone game comes to mind? If Ehrman really wasn't trying to lead the audience in that direction, why not simply refute the example? Wallace mentioned it several times, giving Ehrman ample opportunities to correct him. I think the reason Ehrman doesn't refute such an example goes to the heart to Ehrman's argument. Wallace pointed out with his use of the telephone game that it was actually Ehrman who was trying to manipulate an audience, by sewing much more doubt than is necessary about the NT text. The irony is that it was Ehrman who accused Wallace of simply coming up with a really smart-sounding pacifier for the Christians in the audience. The argument isn't a straw man to the extent that Ehrman continued throughout the weekend to rely on the "copies of copies of copies" line, which is a gross over-simplification of the scribal process, and an inaccurate one at that.
The Transmission of the Koran: Even though no one ever claimed that the transmission of the New Testament texts was anything like the Koran, Wallace apparently thinks believers can feel good that is wasn't.The point about the Koran was simple: the type of tight control of the text and destruction of manuscripts so as to preserve the facade of 'no variants, perfect transmission', postulated by Ehrman in Orthodox Corruption among other works, is much more indicative of Islam and the Koran than Christianity and the Bible. Is the point a bit off topic? Sure. But it wasn't Wallace's central argument either; it was an aside aimed at demonstrating that Ehrman's conception of early Christianity (as indicated in his written works) does not appear to adhere very strongly to what evidence we do have.
Earlier Copies than Other Ancient Manuscripts: Even though Ehrman argued that we could never be sure of what Plato actually wrote either, Wallace thinks believers can be comforted that we have earlier manuscripts of the New Testament than we have of other ancient works.As far as other ancient works go, Wallace isn't attempting to set the bar low. The point is not, "awesome! the NT beats out other documents we don't care about!" The point is instead that the New Testament is held implicitly to a much higher standard than the usual critical-historical standard, and that it meets that higher standard.
Manuscripts Within 300 Years of Originals: Even though conservative scholar Michael W. Holmes said that we know next to nothing about the shape of manuscripts within 100 years of the originals and that this is the crucial time period for alterations and disruptions, Wallace thinks believers can be comforted by the fact that there are lots of manuscripts within 300 years.I think Vinny's taking Holmes' point a bit out of context here. His entire paper was aimed at demonstrating the fallacy of three textual critics (Aland and two others I can't remember) regarding whether or not we possess all variants and readings (the fallacies exist at either extreme of the spectrum, i.e., we possess all readings to we possess very few readings). Holmes' broader point, however, was that based on the evidence we do possess (Holmes concentrated on the transmission between the 2nd and 4th centuries, I believe), it looks like the text we have is a pretty good representation of the original. There are a couple salient points to make here. First of all, its true, as Ehrman pointed out, that what works from the 2nd to 4th century does not need be extrapolated from the 2nd into the 1st. On the other hand, this highlights the crux and (in my view) chief problem with Ehrman's view, or anyone else's that does not think the text of the NT is reliable (or that we simply can't know). Such a view requires holding to two assertions: (1) that we simply don't have any evidence of the 1st century text, so we can't know anything about it, and (2) whatever evidence we do have must be ignored because, well, see (1). The evidence we do have, from admittedly later centuries, argues strongly in favor of conservative scribal activity designed to transmit the text, not create a new one. To believe that something other than that conservation was happening in the 1st century is to ignore all available evidence in favor of an argument from silence (again, the dearth of 1st and 2nd century manuscripts). Plus there's the added bonus that the argument can't be upended unless someone actually discovers a 1st century manuscript (which almost certainly won't happen).
Degree of Uncertainty: Even though Ehrman never claimed absolute skepticism about the text of the New Testament, Wallace thinks believers can be happy that the uncertainty is not wholesale.Again, I think Vinny misconstrues Wallace here. In his initial presentation he pointed out Ehrman's inconsistencies in his various published works, and noted explicitly that one of his objectives at the dialogue was to find out where Ehrman really stood. I don't think it would be intellectual dishonesty to note that Ehrman does display an extremely high degree of skepticism about the NT text in something like Misquoting Jesus.
Conspiracies: Even though Ehrman did not claim that scribes conspired with one another, Wallace comforts believers with the thought the orthodox corruption of scripture was not as pernicious, sinister, and conspiratorial as believers might think after reading Misquoting Jesus.Well, once again, I think Vinny's selling Wallace's argument short. Wallace's point is that the kind of theological corruption Ehrman points out has been recognized from almost the beginning of the transmission of the texts (e.g., church fathers commenting on this reading or that being altered for doctrinal concerns). What Ehrman pushes much further than others is the pervasiveness of the theological alteration. Even within that argument, however, Ehrman is presupposing the ability to reconstruct the originally, theologically neutral text. So yes, Misquoting Jesus does manage to leave a much strong impression than is actually the case, and so yes, of course Wallace is going to try and take that down.
Ladies and gentleman, Hillary Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe!
[Via Talking Points Memo]
In a recent post, Dave Berri, one of the new basketball stats guys, demonstrated one of the fundamental problems people have with the "stat geeks": appearing to favor statistical analysis over what actually happens throughout the game as a whole, and subsequently taking them too far. For example:
The playoffs are believed to identify the best NBA team. But as noted, the regular season is a better sample than the playoffs. And when we look at the regular season we already know the identity of the best team in the NBA. And that team is the Boston Celtics.Now, the Celtics may well be the best team in the NBA, but it won't be because of their regular season performance. It will be because of playoff success, as that is the way the NBA chooses its champion, its "best team."
Berri says that the regular season is a "better sample" than the playoffs. The question is, better sample for what? I would argue that we need to make sure the sample and our conclusions match up. The regular season is a better sample than playoff basketball in terms of making conclusions about regular season basketball. By any measure, the intensity, the quality of the teams, and the pressures, risks, and rewards involved in playoff basketball are significantly higher than we find during the regular season. Therefore, comparing efficiency differential, or any other metric, between the regular season and playoffs is a relatively useless endeavor (unless your goal is simply to quantify the difference between the regular season and the playoffs).
Beyond which, there's quite a difference between saying something like "the playoffs are believed to identify the best NBA team" and something like "the playoffs are defined and designed to identify the best NBA team." If the NBA announced that it would cease having playoffs, and determine its yearly championship instead based on, for example, efficiency differential, than basketball organizations would design their teams significantly differently, and coaches would coach the regular season and players would play the regular season significantly differently. It's because the playoffs are the method by which the NBA chooses its champion that playoff basketball is that much more important (and treated more importantly) than regular season basketball.
It's that time of year that I upload as many of my assignments as possible. Herewith, my definition of God.
Of God, I affirm that he is one God; revealed to us in name as Elohim, Adonai, YHWH, the “I am”, kurios, and theos; expressed to us in three persons, distinct from each other yet mutually relating, separated yet unified. That distinct-and-yet-not dynamic works itself out in a unity of the three, the Trinity. Each member of this Trinity displays the attributes associated with God in the Holy Scriptures, both incommunicable and communicable.
Of the incommunicable attributes, I affirm that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. He is both separated from and intimately interwoven in his creation, eternal and everlasting, simple and unknowable.
Of the communicable attributes, I affirm that God is loving and jealous, merciful and just, gracious and righteous, kind and wrathful, patient and longsuffering, faithful and trustworthy. He is holy, with all these attributes in balance, perfectly proportioned.
Of both classes of attributes (and as an expansion upon the earlier affirmation of God’s “unknowable”-ness), I affirm that while we know of them and of him, we can never know them or know him. Put in other words, we know what God wishes us to know of him; we know enough to participate in relationship with him. But certain aspects shall remain a mystery, and a full elucidation of God is yet (and possibly never for his creatures) to come.
Of God the Father, I affirm that he is the uncreated Creator, the sustainer of creation, and Spirit greater than any other thing imaginable. Though he depends on nothing, all creation depends on him for existence. He is free to act in the manner in which he chooses, and sovereign to carry out those actions without contingency, should he choose to. He has revealed himself to humanity, which he created in his image, and in so doing has opened humanity up to a personal relationship with him. His revelation (his acts in human history) is recorded in Holy Scripture, testifying to his attributes and witnessing to his glory.
Of God the Son, I affirm that he is the Word through which creation was made, without which nothing that is would be, uncreated and eternally co-existent with the Father, begotten of the father, and subordinate yet not inferior to the Father. I affirm that the Son took on the form of a man, Jesus Christ, and in so doing compromised neither his deity nor his humanity. He took on this form in order to carry out the will of his Father, providing for the salvation of humanity, and the ultimate glorification of the Father.
Of God the Spirit, I affirm that he is the mediating agent of creation, carrying out the will of the Father, expressed through the Son. He is the sustainer of life, proceeding from the Father and the Son, eternally co-existent with the Father and the Son, and is our personal advocate.
 Dt 6.4; Isa 43.10; 1Co 8.4; 1Ti 2.5; Jas 2.19. The oneness of God is consistently affirmed in both testaments, but obviously, with the advent of Christ, is affirmed in a different way between the two. The Old Testament more consistently concentrates on the oneness, but particularly in passages like Dt 6.4, confirms the possibility of plurality through the use of terminology like אֶחָד. Ryrie put the dynamic thus: “”God is one in number and uniqueness” (Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1995), 44).
 There are many arguments that can be made from reason regarding the attributes and existence of God, however each of these pales in comparison to his revelation to humanity, both generally through creation, and specially through his word. Indeed, it is taken as an a priori assumption in this paper that it is through God’s revelation that we may know, think, and reason regarding him. Any other form of knowledge or truth is insufficient to introduce us to him.
 For the various names of God used throughout the OT specifically, see Rose, “Names of God in the OT,” ABD, 3:1008.
 According to HALOT (s.v. אֱלֹהִים), this term is the most oft-used term for God in the OT. Though not always referring the One True God, the term itself is used over 2,200 times. Cf. Gen 1.1–2.3.
 Gen 18.3; Judg 16.28; Ps 8.2, 10. אָדוֹן is used over 400 times in the OT (HALOT, s.v. אָדוֹן).
 The tetragrammaton was used as early as Gen 2.4, but appears to have its roots in God’s statement to Moses in Ex 3.14. Its consonants were pronounced with the vowels of adonai so as to keep from disgracing the name of God.
 The “I am” or εγω ειμι passages in John (cf. John 6.51, 8.12, 8.23, 10.9, 10.11, 10.36, 11.25, 14.6, 15.1, 19.2) are generally acknowledged to be references by Jesus back to that same Ex 3.14 passage, associating himself with the One True God of the Old Testament.
 Greek term for “Lord.”
 Greek term for “God.”
 Expressed as perichoresis, the doctrine’s support is evident in Matt 28.19; John 14.16–17, 15.26. For McGrath, “The concept of perichoresis allows for the individuality of the persons to be maintained, while insisting that each person shares in the life of the other two“ (Christian Theology: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2001), 325).
 John 10.38.
 Tri-unity, being three God and being one God.
 The incommunicable attributes of God are those that he does not share with any being other than himself, Father, Son, and Spirit. These are the attributes we understand through abstracts and extrapolation, rather than through personal experience with them and their effects.
 Acts 17.25.
 Deut 33.27.
 Ps 90.2; Rev 1.8.
 Unknowable in the sense that we cannot know everything about God, not in the sense that we cannot know anything about God. Cf. Isa 55.8; Rom 11.33
 Or “moral” attributes. These attributes (as opposed to the incommunicable attributes, see note above) are those that, while we do not possess them fully and perfectly, in unity, as God does, we are able to experience pieces of them, and in so doing understand both the heart of God, and the manner and extent to which we are created “in his image” (Gen 1.27).
 Lev 20.7; 1 Pet 1.16.
 Matt 5.48.
 On God and aspects of his redemptive plan as ‘mystery’ see 1 Cor 2.7–8; Eph 3.3–4; Rom 16.25; Col 1.26–27, 4.3.
 Gen 1.1.
 John 4.24.
 Ps 95.3.
 Acts 17.24–28.
 Imago dei is the traditional terminology for this doctrine, stemming from Gen 1.27.
 λογος. John’s Gospel (particularly ch. 1) and the epistles of John most clearly annunciate Jesus as λογος.
 John 1.1-4.
 John 3.16.
 Phil 2.1-11.
 Gen 1.2.
 John 14.16, 26; 15.26; 16.7; 1 John 2.1.
Hour 1: Translation and Syntactical Analysis (Barn 1.1–3)
Hour 2: Translation and Syntactical Analysis (Barn 1.4–6)
Hour 3: Translation and Syntactical Analysis (Barn 1.7–8)
Hour 4: Translation and Syntactical Analysis (Barn 2.1–4)
Hour 5: Translation (Barn 2.5–9)
Hour 6: Translation (Barn 2.10–3.3)
2:10 ἡμῖν οὖν οὕτως λέγει· Θυσία τῷ θεῷ καρδία συντετριμμένη, ὀσμὴ εὐωδίας τῷ κυρίῳ καρδία δοξάζουσα τὸν πεπλακότα αὐτήν. ἀκριβεύεσθαι οὖν ὀφείλομεν, ἀδελφοί, περὶ τῆς σωτηρίας ἡμῶν, ἵνα μὴ ὁ πονηρὸς παρείσδυσιν πλάνης ποιήσας ἐν ἡμῖν ἐκσφενδονήσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς ζωῆς ἡμῶν.
Trans: Therefore, in the same way, he said to us, "A breaking heart is a sacrifice to God, the heart which glorifies his form is a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord." Therefore, we must pay attention, brothers, to our salvation, in order that the evil one does not make an error slip in among us and hurl us away from our life.
3:1 Λέγει οὖν πάλιν περὶ τούτων πρὸς αὐτούς· Ἵνα τί μοι νηστεύετε, λέγει κύριος, ὡς σήμερον ἀκουσθῆναι ἐν κραυγῇ τὴν φωνὴν ὑμῶν; οὐ ταύτην τὴν νηστείαν ἐξελεξάμην, λέγει κύριος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπον ταπεινοῦντα τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ·
Trans: Therefore, concerning these things, he said to them again, "'Why do you fast for me' the Lord said, 'as your voice is heard crying out today? I did not choose this fast,' the Lord said, 'nor a man humiliating his soul.'"
3:2 οὐδ᾿ ἂν κάμψητε ὡς κρίκον τὸν τράχηλον ὑμῶν καὶ σάκκον ἐνδύσησθε καὶ σποδὸν ὑποστρώσητε, οὐδ᾿ οὕτως καλέσετε νηστείαν δεκτήν.
Trans: "'Nor twisting your neck like a circle, and put on sackcloth and spread out ashes, not if you call a fast acceptable.'"
3:3 πρὸς ἡμᾶς δὲ λέγει· Ἰδοὺ αὕτη ἡ νηστεία ἣν ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην, λέγει κύριος· λῦε πᾶν σύνδεσμον ἀδικίας, διάλυε στραγγαλιὰς βιαίων συναλλαγμάτων, ἀπόστελλε τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει, καὶ πᾶσαν ἄδικον συγγραφὴν διάσπα. διάθρυπτε πεινῶσιν τὸν ἄρτον σου, καὶ γυμνὸν ἐὰν ἴδῃς περίβαλε· ἀστέγους εἴσαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου, καὶ ἐὰν ἴδῃς ταπεινόν, οὐχ ὑπερόψῃ αὐτόν, οὐδὲ ἀπὸ τῶν οἰκείων τοῦ σπέρματός σου.
Trans: But he said to us, "'Behold, this is a fast which I chose,' said the Lord, 'Break every unrighteous bond, untie the knots of forced covenants, send the oppresed to release, and tear apart every unjust document. Break your bread with the hungry, and if you see someone naked, put clothing on them. Bring the unprotected into your house, and if you see one who is humble, do not disregard him, nor let those from your house or your seed.
2:5 τί μοι πλῆθος τῶν θυσιῶν ὑμῶν; λέγει κύριος. πλήρης εἰμὶ ὁλοκαυτωμάτων, καὶ στέαρ ἀρνῶν καὶ αἷμα ταύρων καὶ τράγων οὐ βούλομαι, οὐδ᾿ ἂν ἔρχησθε ὀφθῆναί μοι. τίς γὰρ ἐξεζήτησεν ταῦτα ἐκ τῶν χειρῶν ὑμῶν; πατεῖν μου τὴν αὐλὴν οὐ προσθήσεσθε. ἐὰν φέρητε σεμίδαλιν, μάταιον· θυμίαμα βδέλυγμά μοί ἐστιν· τὰς νεομηνίας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ σάββατα οὐκ ἀνέχομαι.
Trans: "What is the multitude of your sacrifices to me?" said the Lord. "I am full of whole burnt offerings, and I don't want the fat of lambs or the blood of bulls and goats, and neither should you come to see me. For who sought these things from you hands? Do not again trample my court. If you bring fine flour, it is in vain. Incense is detestable to me. I won't put up with your new moons and Sabbaths."
2:6 ταῦτα οὖν κατήργησεν, ἵνα ὁ καινὸς νόμος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἄνευ ζυγοῦ ἀνάγκης ὤν, μὴ ἀνθρωποποίητον ἔχῃ τὴν προσφοράν.
Trans: Therefore, he abolished these things, in order that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, being without the yoke of necessity, should have the offering not made by man.
2:7 λέγει δὲ πάλιν πρὸς αὐτούς· μὴ ἐγὼ ἐνετειλάμην τοῖς πατράσιν ὑμῶν ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου, προσενέγκαι μοι ὁλοκαυτώματα καὶ θυσίας;
Trans: Now he said to them again, "I did not command your fathers, when they were coming out of Egypt, to offer up to me whole burnt offerings or sacrifices."
2:8 ἀλλ᾿ ἢ τοῦτο ἐνετειλάμην αὐτοῖς· Ἕκαστος ὑμῶν κατὰ τοῦ πλησίον ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ κακίαν μὴ μνησικακείτω, καὶ ὅρκον ψευδῆ μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε.
Trans: "But rather, I commanded to them, 'Let none of you bear an evil grudge in his heart against his neighbor, and do not love a false oath.'"
2:9 αἰσθάνεσθαι οὖν ὀφείλομεν, μὴ ὄντες ἀσύνετοι, τὴν γνώμην τῆς ἀγαθωσύνης τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἡμῖν λέγει, θέλων ἡμᾶς μὴ ὁμοίως πλανωμένους ἐκείνοις ζητεῖν πῶς προσάγωμεν αὐτῷ.
Trans: Therefore, we are obligated to recognize, being that we are not without understanding, the generous mindset of our father, because he said to us, he wants us to seek how we should approach him, unlike those who were deceived.
Obama drops PA to clinton, and the spurs are down early to the suns. It's not shaping up to be my night.
mile world record
[also, don't get the chariots of fire music stuck in your head]
This post is not about me wanting to start another Mac vs. PC war. The biblioblogosphere is divided enough. Instead, I'm simply affirming that I've decided to stick with blogspot for now. I like my new template, and the only thing I'd change if I could would be to have more permanent pages (i.e., more than...none) and to add another column on the left side. But those two things aren't big enough for me to go through the headache of trying to archive all the blogspot posts to wordpress.
Also, I wish I could figure out how to put a picture in my header that would fill it no matter how big the browser window gets.
"I had a dream last night that we were on a train heading to Philadelphia to catch a plane to London. We were going to get married. Also, I think it was 1925." - Me, in a text message sent this morning.
2:1 Ἡμερῶν οὖν οὐσῶν πονηρῶν καὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἐνεργοῦντος ἔχοντος τὴν ἐξουσίαν, ὀφείλομεν ἑαυτοῖς προσέχοντες ἐκζητεῖν τὰ δικαιώματα κυρίου.
Trans: Therefore, while the days are evil and the worker himself has authority, we must seek out the Lord's requirements at the same time that we are on our guard.
οὐσῶν - part, circumstantial, gen abs, gram ind
ἐκζητεῖν - inf, comp inf, rel to ὀφείλομεν
προσέχοντες - part, circum, temp-contemporaneous, rel to ὀφείλομεν (though this could be a complementary participle, it doesn't make very good sense to switch between a comp inf and comp part, so we thought it best to take it as something else)
2:2 τῆς οὖν πίστεως ἡμῶν εἰσὶν βοηθοὶ φόβος καὶ ὑπομονή, τὰ δὲ συνμαχοῦντα ἡμῖν μακροθυμία καὶ ἐγκράτεια.
Trans: Therefore, our faith's helpers are reverence and endurance, and our allies are patience and self-control.
φόβος - nom, PN in S-PN constr, rel to βοηθοὶ
συνμαχοῦντα - part, adj-subst, nom, subj in S-PN constr
2:3 τούτων μενόντων τὰ πρὸς κύριον ἁγνῶς, συνευφραίνονται αὐτοῖς σοφία, σύνεσις, ἐπιστήμη, γνῶσις.
Trans: When these things remain pure with respect to the things concerning the Lord, wisdom, intelligence, understanding, and knowledge rejoice with them.
μενόντων - part, circum-gen abs
μενόντων - see BDAG, s.v. μένω 1b
τὰ - substantivizing the prepositional phrase
πρὸς - see BDAG, s.v. πρὸς 3eα, for the reference use
αὐτοῖς - dat, dat of association, rel to συνευφραίνονται
2:4 πεφανέρωκεν γὰρ ἡμῖν διὰ πάντων τῶν προφητῶν ὅτι οὔτε θυσιῶν οὔτε ὁλοκαυτωμάτων οὔτε προσφορῶν χρῄζει, λέγων ὁτὲ μέν·
Trans: For he makes known to us through all the prophets that neither sacrifices nor whole burnt offerings nor regular offerings does he need, saying at one point...
θυσιῶν, ὁλοκαυτωμάτων, προσφορῶν - it's unclear why these are genitive, as χρῄζω does not take a genitive direct object according to BDAG. Perhaps the idea is "he needs not of..."
χρῄζει - pres, gnom pres
Josh McManaway has posed a pretty cool question in his post "If you could design your own graduate degree":
...what classes would you include and what books would you use for those courses? I'm thinking specifically along the lines of an MA in New Testament, or Christian Origins, or Patristics.One of my classes was actually about designing a master's program in another country, so I've worked on some of this before. My ideal program would first of all be two years, or possibly three years (rather than the gargantuan 4-year program I'm working on now). It would be geared toward the languages, illustrating grammar, syntax, genre, etc., through actual work in the text. I think a nice program would also teach theology while going through the actual test, rather than splitting it into its own department. Basically, I don't like the way most modern institutions bifurcate themselves the NT department over here, which has nothing to do with the Systematic department, which is unrelated to the Historical Theology department, which has nothing to do with the Preaching department, etc.
May 18, 1997: Duncan wills the ping-pong balls to bless San Antonio with the #1 pick. Years of prayers from Avery Johnson and David Robinson are finally answered.
May 1999: Despite having the superior season, Duncan loses the MVP to Karl Malone, who bested Duncan only in the fact that he was older, slower, and better at losing (apparently qualifications that were high on the minds of MVP voters that year). It would be the last time Duncan would let the Mailman win anything.
June 1999: In only his second year in the league, Duncan leads the Spurs to their first World Championship. In ecstasy over the victory, the city of San Antonio sees a population boom of about 12,000 children. One of those children goes on to cure cancer.
April 2000: Jason Kidd and the Phoenix Suns take advantage of the fact that Duncan has to sit out their first-round series (he was attempting to free Tibet at the time) to beat the Spurs in 4. It would be the last time Duncan would let the Suns win anything.
2001-02: Legendary performances by Shaq and Kobe are the only thing that can keep Duncan from re-asserting himself as Champion. Like both Moses and Jesus, Duncan uses this time in the wilderness to become even stronger.
June 2003: Duncan coldly destroys the budding Lakers dynasty before dispatching the Nets in 6 in the finals, capping his dominance with a 20, 20, 10, and 8 performance for the ages. Most people forget this, but this is true end to the Shaq-Kobe mini-dynasty. Kobe Bryant CRIED, people! This loss caused them to go out and get the 1997-98 All-Stars to try and beat Duncan.
May 13, 2004: With the Spurs–Lakers rematch tied at 2 games a piece, and down by one with Game 5 nearing the end of regulation, Duncan miraculously squares his shoulders at the top of the key, and drains a long jumper right in Shaq's face. The dumbest clock manager in the world fails to let the clock run out, stopping it at 0.4 seconds. 1,000 demons conspire to let Derek Fisher's prayer of a jump shot fall through the net. It is only by Duncan's grace that that clock manager is alive today.
June 2005: After dominating the regular season, the reigning champion Pistons find out what it's like to face a real team in the Finals (rather than Shaq, Kobe, and the '97-'98 All Stars). The one hit wonders get tossed aside as Duncan wins his third Finals MVP, and third championship. Duncan ponders retiring from basketball to bring about world peace, but opts to stick with the Spurs. His decision is generally acknowledged as the right one.
May 2006: With Dallas on the brink of elimination, and the Spurs on the brink of their easiest trip yet to the Finals (old Shaq, young Wade, and blood-thirsty, toss-you-under-a-bus, no-honor Riley), Manu Ginobili stupidly fouls Dirk Nowitzki. The German nails the free throw in what would be his last act as a man before his de-ballification (it's a complicated basketball term...you wouldn't understand). It is only by Duncan's grace that Ginobili is alive today.
June 2007: Duncan and the Spurs are denied their revenge against the Mavericks when Dirk turns into a woman, and the 67-win Mavs fail to take care of the 42-win Warriors. Instead, the Spurs take it out on the Suns, winning their third NBA title in five years, and their fourth in nine. Some say there were actually two more rounds of basketball played after this series, but in all likelihood the remaining rounds were merely a figment of our collective imaginations. This is corroborated by the preposterous contention that Tony Parker could be an NBA Finals MVP on a team featuring the greatest power forward of all time.
April 19, 2008: Duncan, amused by the Suns sysiphean persistence, decides to win Game 1 of their first round series from behind the arc. Men gasp at his audacity, women swoon, and Dirk Nowitzki can't decide what to do (other than, of course, lose to the Hornets).
*Not his real middle name. His real middle name is, of course, Danger.
1:7 ἐγνώρισεν γὰρ ἡμῖν ὁ δεσπότης διὰ τῶν προφητῶν τὰ παρεληλυθότα καὶ τὰ ἐνεστῶτα, καὶ τῶν μελλόντων δοὺς ἀπαρχὰς ἡμῖν γεύσεως. ὧν τὰ καθ᾿ ἕκαστα βλέποντες ἐνεργούμενα, καθὼς ἐλάλησεν, ὀφείλομεν πλουσιώτερον καὶ ὑψηλότερον προσάγειν τῷ φόβῳ αὐτοῦ.
Trans: For the master made known through the prophets that which is past and that which is present, and gave us a taste of the first fruits that are about to come, which, when we see each of them worked out just as he said, we are obligated to bring the rich and the proud to revere him.
δοὺς - part, circum, atten circum, rel to ἐγνώρισεν
τὰ - substantivizing the prep phrase
καθ᾿ ἕκαστα - 1st attrib adj position
ἐνεργούμενα - substantival participle, rel to βλέποντες
αὐτοῦ - obj gen, rel to φόβῳ
1:8 ἐγὼ δέ, οὐχ ὡς διδάσκαλος ἀλλ᾿ ὡς εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν, ὑποδείξω ὀλίγα δι᾿ ὧν ἐν τοῖς παροῦσιν εὐφρανθήσεσθε.
Trans: Now, I, not as a teacher but as one of you, will point out a few things through which you will rejoice under your present circumstances.
ἐγὼ - pronoun for emphasis, rel to ὑποδείξω
ἐν τοῖς παροῦσιν - BDAG glosses as "under your present circumstances."
well, first of all, obviously this a bit more than an hour later. i got distracted.
1:4 πεπεισμένος οὖν τοῦτο καὶ συνειδὼς ἐμαυτῷ, ὅτι ἐν ὑμῖν λαλήσας πολλὰ ἐπίσταμαι, ὅτι ἐμοὶ συνώδευσεν ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης κύριος, καὶ πάντως ἀναγκάζομαι κἀγὼ εἰς τοῦτο, ἀγαπᾶν ὑμᾶς ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν μου, ὅτι μεγάλη πίστις καὶ ἀγάπη ἐγκατοικεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αὐτοῦ.
Trans: Therefore, being convinced of this and aware myself that I said many things among you, I know that the Lord traveled with me on the road of righteousness. I am compelled to this point to, by all means, love you over my soul, because great faith and love dwell among you because of the hope of his life.
πεπεισμένος - part, circum, contemporaneous, perfect tense, perfect with present force, rel to ἐπίσταμαι
συνειδὼς - part, circum, contemporaneous, perfect tense, perfect with present force, rel to ἐπίσταμαι
ἐλπίδι - dat, dat of cause, rel to ἐγκατοικεῖ
ζωῆς - gen, obj gen, rel to ἐλπίδι
1:5 λογισάμενος οὖν τοῦτο, ὅτι ἐὰν μελήσῃ μοι περὶ ὑμῶν τοῦ μέρος τι μεταδοῦναι ἀφ᾿ οὗ ἔλαβον, ὅτι ἔσται μοι τοιούτοις πνεύμασιν ὑπηρετήσαντι εἰς μισθόν, ἐσπούδασα κατὰ μικρὸν ὑμῖν πέμπειν, ἵνα μετὰ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν τελείαν ἔχητε τὴν γνῶσιν.
Trans: For this reason, I conclude that if it is my concern to share part of what I have received with you, then it will be with a reward for me to have served such spirits. I hasten to send you a little, in order that with your faith you might have complete knowledge.
ὅτι - conj, subst, content, rel to λογισάμενος
μελήσῃ - subjunctive in 3rd class condition, rel to ἐὰν
πέμπειν - inf, comp inf, rel to ἐσπούδασα
1:6 Τρία οὖν δόγματά ἐστιν κυρίου· ζωῆς ἐλπίς, ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος πίστεως ἡμῶν· καὶ δικαιοσύνη, κρίσεως ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος· ἀγάπη εὐφροσύνης καὶ ἀγαλλιάσεως, ἔργων ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ μαρτυρία
Trans: Therefore, there are three decrees of the Lord: (1) the hope of life, which is the beginning and end of our faith, (2) righteousness, which is the beginning and end of judgment, and (3) love filled with joy and gladness, which is the testimony of righteous works.
δόγματά - nom, PN in S-PN constr, rel to ἐστιν
ἀρχὴ - nom, nom in simple app, rel to ἐλπίς
εὐφροσύνης - gen, gen of content, rel to ἀγάπη
"Bruce Bowen wears you like a suit. If he's guarding you, it's like another layer of clothing."
Thanks for explaining that Dr. Jack.
you know what i'm excited about? i'm excited that it's that time of year again when basketball announcers feel the need to explain every single little thing about nba rules, in small words, slowly.
[Text copied from the Accordance Apostolic Fathers module (AF), which was taken from Michael W. Holmes text. Translation accompanies the original. Syntactical Analysis completed on a verse-by-verse basis. Most likely possibilities listed, syntactical decisions in bold.]
Barn. 1:1 Χαίρετε, υἱοὶ καὶ θυγατέρες, ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντος ἡμᾶς, ἐν εἰρήνῃ.
Translation: Greetings, sons and daughters, in the name of the Lord who has loved us, in peace.
Χαίρετε - imperative, impv as a stereotyped greeting.
1:2 μεγάλων μὲν ὄντων καὶ πλουσίων τῶν τοῦ θεοῦ δικαιωμάτων εἰς ὑμᾶς, ὑπέρ τι καὶ καθ᾿ ὑπερβολὴν ὑπερευφραίνομαι ἐπὶ τοῖς μακαρίοις καὶ ἐνδόξοις ὑμῶν πνεύμασιν· οὕτως ἔμφυτον τῆς δωρεὰς πνευματικῆς χάριν εἰλήφατε.
Trans: God's righteous acts toward you are great and rich, all the more, I rejoice to excess over your blessed and glorious spirits, in the same way, you have received the implanted grace of bountiful spirit.
ὄντων - Part, Gen Abs, rel to δικαιωμάτων.
δικαιωμάτων - BDAG: (1) regulation, requirement, commandment / (2) righteous deed / (3) to clear someone of violation.
πνευματικῆς - gen, attributive genitive or attributed genitive, Rel to χάριν.
1:3 διὸ καὶ μᾶλλον συγχαίρω ἐμαυτῷ ἐλπίζων σωθῆναι, ὅτι ἀληθῶς βλέπω ἐν ὑμῖν ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ τοῦ πλουσίου τῆς πηγῆς κυρίου πνεῦμα ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς. οὕτω με ἐξέπληξεν ἐπὶ ὑμῶν ἡ ἐπιποθήτη ὄψις ὑμῶν.
Trans: Therefore, I (I am also hoping to be saved) congratulate myself all the more because I truly see among you the Spirit being poured out upon you from the rich spring of the Lord. In the same way, concerning you, your longed-for face overwhelmed me.
ἐμαυτῷ - Dative, Dat of Interest (Advantage), rel to συγχαίρω.
τοῦ πλουσίου - Gen, object of the preposition, rel to ἀπὸ.
τῆς πηγῆς - Gen, Attributed Genitive, rel to τοῦ πλουσίου.
Should I eat at waterburger or sonic this afternoon? Somewhere else?
One of my assignments this semester is to spend 4 hours translating through the Apostolic Fathers, and 2 hours working on syntactical analysis. I've been assigned Barnabas, but it was due on Wednesday, and I'm still having trouble working up the motivation to do it. So, what I've decided to do is post my translation and analysis here, one post for every hour I spend on it.
Also, I'll be watching the Spurs game. So I may be a bit distracted. Go, Spurs, GO!
RE: "Independent filmmakers challenge Hollywood's attitude toward evangelicals," J&T 4.9 (Spring 2008), by Carol Frugé, M.A./MC
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing in response to the most recent issue of the Jot & Tittle and its front page article "Independent filmmakers challenge Hollywood's attitude toward evangelicals." It was unclear to me whether this article represented a news article, an editorial, or an advertisement for the upcoming film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. If it had been an adverstisement, I would expect it to be demarcated as such, yet there were so such signs. If it had been an editorial, I would expect it to appear in the "Voices" section of the paper, yet it was not. Left to conclude that it was indeed a news article, I couldn't help but notice language that seemed very out of place. Commentary and opinion such as "the dark master Darwin," "so why can't we talk about [intelligent design]?" and "this engaging, excellent film" has no place in a news article. Indeed, the explicit recommendation at the end of the article to "[s]ee the movie Expelled. Go the weekend it opens nationwide when the numbers mean the most to those who make business decisions about movies," belongs only perhaps in a review of the film, certainly not in an article meant to inform the DTS population.
Please know, however, that I am not writing to pick nits with the author of the article or the newspaper itself. Rather, I think it's important to be vigilant about the impressions we, as Christians and as seminary students, leave in the culture at large. Recently, The Wittenburg Door wrote about the private DTS screening of Expelled, noting in passing that DTS was "better known as the fundamentalist Vatican." Now, to be sure, The Wittenburg Door is a satirical publication, and was going for a laugh rather than attempting to reflect reality 100%. Nonetheless, the barb stung; but not nearly as much as it stung when reading the J&T article, and recognizing the kernel of truth in such a joke through the unmarked endorsement of a film that, for any number of reasons, Christians should be a bit more hesitant in embracing so fully.
I recognize the Jot & Tittle's right in publishing this article, but I would ask that the writers and editors of the Jot & Tittle recognize that not all students share a viewpoint that would characterize Darwin as "the dark master" or embrace a film that connects, however tenuously, the scientific theory of evolution and the Holocaust. I would also ask that next time more consideration is given to whether a given article is up to par for a news article, or would better serve its purpose in another section of the paper.
Th.M./Academic, New Testament Studies
Of course, that's not just any slo-mo shot. that's a 2000 frames per second camera. For comparison, most film is shot at 24 frames per second, video at 30 frames per second.
[Via Andrew Sullivan/Wired]
my hatred for spam comments is vastly out of proportion to the number of them i receive. nonetheless, LEAVE ME ALONE, ROBOTS! you'll rule the world one day anyway, just stop commenting on my blog until then.
If you're reading your Bible in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, but you're pathetically translating to your native tongue in your head instead of simply recognizing the meaning from the original language, why don't you just put the Bible down and go dig some ditches. And if you're one of those terrible lay people, who haven't even put in the time to learn the original (and, of course, superior) languages...well, I would say God help you, but he won't, 'cause he doesn't know who you are.
I could've just excerpted the whole thing, but I had to leave something for you to click through to.
LINCOLN: Ahem, I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect slavery will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you love America this much (extending fingers), this much (extending hands slightly), or thiiiiiis much (extending hands broadly)?
LINCOLN: I think we covered this…
GIBSON: If I may interrupt…
GIBSON: I noticed, Mr. Lincoln, that your American flag pin was upside down…
LINCOLN: Yes, the wind caught it. Now, as I was saying...
GIBSON: We get questions about this all the time over at Powerline and on Hannity’s talk show. Mr. Douglas has said this is a major vulnerability for you in the fall. So I’ll ask again – do you love America?
LINCOLN: (scowling with a forced smile). Yes.
GIBSON: If your love for America were ice cream, what flavor would it be?
LINCOLN: (pausing with disgust and turning back to camera) Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South.
DOUGLAS: He didn’t answer the question Charlie. This fall, that question is going to be on the minds of the American public. I’ve proudly stated that my love for America is Very Berry Strawberry.
In four minutes, he touched on the ludicracy* of last night's "debate," Hillary Clinton's negative campaign tactics, the real issues that got missed at the debate, and a vision for a better, more open presidency, and a better, more open politics.
*it's a word now. derivation: ludicrous and idiocy. not to be confused with lunacy or ludacris, both of which can be sublime.
[YouTube via Faithfully Liberal]