Apr 13, 2013

Critical Exegesis and Critical Exegetes

Tim Gombis has some helpful thoughts here on how one who has knows how to do critical exegesis keep from becoming a critical exegete. One thing that I would add is to remember that exegesis is a means not an end.

Apr 12, 2013


This is an interesting description of Lamentations.

“Lamentations is a reality show set among the carnage of a burned-out city. There is no sugarcoating, no holding back—and no happy ending. The grotesqueness of human suffering on display in the scroll’s five laments rivals the blood and gore of any blockbuster disaster movie, and places it outside the boundaries of general church audiences. Lamentations is adult-only material and way beyond the comfort zone of worshipers seeking breathing space from the tragedy of their own lives.”

Kandy Queen-Sutherland, “Teaching/Preaching the Theology of Lamentations,” Interpretation 67 (2013): 184.


Apr 11, 2013

Daniel Patte Is Retiring

You can read about Daniel Patte's retirement here. Patte might be best known for his work in structural criticism.

Apr 10, 2013

Interview with Sidney Greidanus

Watch this Eerdman's interview with Sidney Greidanus.

Apr 9, 2013

A Hashtag and Textual Criticism

One of the challenges of reading some ancient manuscripts is that the words can run together. This can create a problem when one tries to separate the individual words. In many cases making such divisions are not a problem but occasionally there can be some ambiguity. 

The problem has been commonly illustrated (I first seen it in Josh McDowell's Evidence Demands a Verdict) with the following example: 


Should this be read "God is nowhere" or "God is now here"? The major challenge to making such a decision is the lack of context. 

But a recent news story illustrates that sometimes there can be ambiguity even when you have a context. Yesterday, a trending Twitter hashtag disturbed some fans of the entertainer Cher. The hashtag read "#nowthatcherisdead." Instead of seeing  a reference to the death of the former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, some read it as an announcement of the death of Cher. I will refrain from making a snarky comment here. At least we now have a more up-to-date illustration of one of the challenges of reading ancient manuscripts and at least one reason to be thankful for Twitter.

More on the Gospel of Judas

Readers might recall that in 2006 a manuscript popularly called the Gospel of Judas created quite the buzz. I do not want to rehash all of that except to say that the document is not really a "gospel" and it has very little to teach us about the historical Jesus.In any case, LiveScience has an interesting article on the science behind dating and authenticating the manuscript.

Apr 8, 2013

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.

Edward Adams
Parallel Lives of Jesus: A Guide to the Four Gospels
Reviewed by Adam Winn

Lincoln H. Blumell
Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus
Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus

Miguel A. De La Torre
Reviewed by John E. Anderson

Yitzhaq Feder
Blood Expiation in Hittite and Biblical Ritual: Origins, Context, and Meaning
Reviewed by William L. Lyons

Donald H. Juel; Shane Berg and Matthew L. Skinner, eds.
Shaping the Scriptural Imagination: Truth, Meaning, and the Theological Interpretation of the Bible
Reviewed by Ernest van Eck

Bo H. Lim
The ‘Way of the LORD’ in the Book of Isaiah
Reviewed by Wilhelm J. Wessels

B. H. McLean
Biblical Interpretation and Philosophical Hermeneutics
Reviewed by Akio Ito

Francis J. Moloney
The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary
Reviewed by Timothy Gombis

Daniel Polz
Der Beginn des Neuen Reiches: Zur Vorgeschichte einer Zeitenwende
Reviewed by Roberto B. Gozzoli Stephen C. Russell

Images of Egypt in Early Biblical Literature: Cisjordan-Israelite, Transjordan-Israelite, and Judahite Portrayals
Reviewed by Christopher Hays