Jul 14, 2012

Gaps in the Psalms

I have typically thought of gaps as it relates to narrative literature, but if Gordon Wenham is right (see below), then I need to also pay attention to the gaps in poetic literature. 

"Another technique that encourages the user of the psalms to adopt the psalmist's standpoint is the use of gaps. Gaps in narrative or poetry are points glided over by the author that the reader has to fill in from personal imagination to make sense of the passage. The terseness of poetry means that there are many gaps, which thereby force the reader to puzzle over the connection between  one line and the next. The frequent mood swings in the psalms have long perplexed commentators and require every reciter of them at least to think of a connection between apparently contradictory statements. But more positively, the absence of many details within the psalms give them a general validity that allows their sentiments to be appropriated by readers in a variety of circumstances."


Jul 13, 2012

Theology Proper in Ecclesiastes

I found this table from William Barrick's recent Ecclesiastes commentary interesting. It is a good reminder that the book may not be as secular as some propose.

Theological Topic
References in Ecclesiastes [Key texts in bold]
God’s Sovereign control over Man
1:13 (cf. 3:10); 2:26; 3:1, 11, 14, 18; 5:18-20; 6:1-2; 7:14, 26; 8:15; 9:1, 7
God’s Providential Grace
2:24-26; 3:13; 5:18-20; 8:15
God’s Eternality
3:11, 14; 12:5, 7
God’s Creatorship
3:11, 14; 7:29; 8:16-17; 11:5; 12:1, 7
God’s Perfection
3:14; 7:29; 8:16-17; 11:5; 12:1, 7
God’s Justice and Holiness
2:24-26; 3:17; 5:4, 6; 7:26, 29; 8:2, 12-13; 11:9; 12:14
God’s Abode
God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience
5:2, 6; 8:2, 16-17; 11:5; 12:14
God’s Omnipotence
7:13; 11:5
God’s Preservation of His Saints
7:26; 8:12-13
God Requires Reverential Fear
3:14; 5:7; 7:18; 8:12-13; 12:1, 13
God Requires Obedience before Sacrifice
5:1, 4, 7; 8:2; 12:1, 13
God’s Word

William D. Barrick, Ecclesiastes: The Philippians of the Old Testament, Focus on the Bible (Ross-shire: Christian Focus, 2011), 11. 

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below.
Stephen J. Bennett
Ecclesiastes/Lamentations: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition
Reviewed by Russell L. Meek
Michael F. Bird and Joseph R. Dodson, eds.
Paul and the Second Century
Reviewed by Joseph B. Tyson
Gary Alan Chamberlain
The Greek of the Septuagint: A Supplemental Lexicon
Reviewed by Peter Burton
Christian A. Eberhart, ed.
Ritual and Metaphor: Sacrifice in the Bible
Reviewed by Greg Carey
Reviewed by John Dunnill
Bruce W. Longenecker
Remember the Poor: Paul, Poverty, and the Greco-Roman World
Reviewed by Kathy Ehrensperger
Reviewed by L. L. Welborn
Alicia Suskin Ostriker
For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book
Reviewed by Barbara Green
Charles B. Puskas and C. Michael Robbins
An Introduction to the New Testament
Reviewed by J. Samuel Subramanian

Jul 12, 2012

Keeping as a Theme in Jude

In his discussion on theological themes in Jude, Daniel Keating notes two. The first theme is the call to contend for the faith. Concerning the second theme, Keating states, 

"A second motif is marked by the wordplay around the term 'keep.' The angels did not 'keep' the position appointed them, and so the Lord has 'kept' them in chains of punishment (1:6). Likewise, the gloom of darkness has been 'kept'  (NAB: 'reserved') for the false teachers forever (1:13). Jude assures the faithful that they are 'kept' safe by Jesus Christ (1:1), and yet paradoxically he calls them to 'keep' themselves in the love of God  (1:21). In the end however, , it is God who is able top 'keep' them from stumbling (1:24). The theme of 'keeping' reveals the mystery of divine-human interaction. It is God who fundamentally 'keeps' us, now and in eternity, but we too are called to 'keep' ourselves in the faith and the love of God, so that we do not lose our inheritance" (Daniel Keating, First and Second Peter, Catholic Commentary on Scared Scripture [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011], 194).

Keating later argues the genitive "love of God" refers to God's love for us and not our love for God (p. 215). Some would debate that. In any case, this is a good reminder in a time in which false teaching is so prevalent.

Jul 11, 2012

A Word on Faculty Meetings

Some of my academic friends, might enjoy Bruce Metzger's comment concerning faculty meetings, meetings "where it is customary to keep minutes and to waste hours!"

Bruce Manning Metzger, Reminiscences of an Octogenarian (Peabody, MA: Hendickson, 1997), 45.

Learning Greek

Check out Mark Stevens' nice article on learning Greek being touted around the blogosphere.

Jul 10, 2012

Altars in the Old Testament

The most frequently used term for altar in the Hebrew Bible is x;Bez>m. This term which is derived from a root meaning to“slaughter for sacrifice."[1] This term is used 401 times [2] primarily in the Pentateuch and historical books.[3] The term is also well attested in Northwest and South Semitic languages including Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Syriac, and Libyan.[4]

[1] Francis Brown, et al. The New Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon: With an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic (BDB), s.v. x;Bez>m, 257 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979).
[2] There are text-critical issues which might affect this count in Gen 33:20 2, Chr 28:2; and Ezra 7:17.
[3] x;Bez>m is used a little over fifty times in poetic and prophetic books.
[4] Richard E. Averbeck, “x;Bez>m ,” In New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDOTTE), ed. Willem A. VanGemeren. 5 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 2:889.

Jul 9, 2012

The Psalms in Jewish Liturgy

“William Holladay has calculated that out of the 150 psalms, 57 are regularly used in worship. He points out that the Jewish liturgy prefers the positive psalms, such as hymns, songs of confidence, wisdom psalms, and hymns of Yahweh’s kingship. Despite being the commonest type of psalm, few laments are used in Jewish worship. And none of the messianic psalms (Pss 2; 72; 110) is regularly used. But he points out that there is a strong tradition of reciting the whole Psalter privately on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.”

William Holladay, The Psalms through Three Thousand Years: Prayerbook of a Cloud of Witnesses (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993), 142–43 as summarized in Gordon J. Wenham, Psalms as Torah: Reading Biblical Songs Ethically, Studies in Theological Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 19. 

Choosing Books on the Old Testament

David Murray has a good post on "6 Tips for Choosing Books on the Old Testament" here.

Jul 8, 2012

John Edwards and Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

This day in 1741 John Edwards preached one of the most famous sermons in Christian history, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." You can read more about it here.