Aug 8, 2014

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. 

Jody A. Barnard
The Mysticism of Hebrews: Exploring the Role of Jewish Apocalyptic Mysticism in the Epistle to the Hebrews
Reviewed by Carl Mosser

Jeremy Corley
Reviewed by Oda Wischmeyer

Volkmar Fritz
The Emergence of Israel in the Twelfth and Eleventh Centuries B.C.E.
Reviewed by Pekka Pitkanen

Florentino García Martínez; Hindy Najman and Eibert Tigchelaar, eds.
Between Philology and Theology: Contributions to the Study of Ancient Jewish Interpretation
Reviewed by George J. Brooke

Alison M. Jack
The Bible and Literature
Reviewed by Bradford A. Anderson

Robin Jarrell
Fallen Angels and Fallen Women: The Mother of the Son of Man
Reviewed by Jack Collins

Matthew V. Johnson, James A. Noel, and Demetrius K. Williams, eds.
Onesimus Our Brother: Reading Religion, Race, and Culture in Philemon
Reviewed by Abson Joseph

Jason T. LeCureux
The Thematic Unity of the Book of the Twelve
Reviewed by James M. Bos

Thomas R. Schreiner
The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments
Reviewed by David M. Maas

Alan F. Segal
Sinning in the Hebrew Bible: How The Worst Stories Speak for Its Truth
Reviewed by Joseph Lam

Aug 7, 2014

Does a Futurist Interpretation of Revelation Rob the Book of Its Original Revelance?

Recently, I have been reading through a commentary on Revelation. The author implies that a futurist reading of Revelation would rob the book of its relevance to the original audience. This is a fairly common argument. But is this valid?

I think not. If it were so, then there could be no far future prophecies in the Bible, because all books in the Bible had a contemporary audience. Using this argument, no passage in the Old Testament could prophesy of the First or Second Advent since both would have been far future to the original audience! Such an argument seems to confuse a futurist reading with a futurist application. Let me illustrate. Suppose 1,000 years from now, an archaeologist discovers a book dated to the early twenty-first century. The book apparently made certain predictions about some phenomena called “global warming.” Would the archaeologist be correct in assuming that the book could not have been referring to far future events because it would then not have had any contemporary relevance?

In the Bible, predictive prophecy with near or far fulfillment, always has relevance to the original audience. Indeed, it is the scoffer who denies contemporary relevance in the midst of apparent delayed fulfillment (see 2 Peter 3:1-13). So while there might be good reasons for rejecting a futurist reading of Revelation, this is not one of them.

Aug 6, 2014

The Seal of Hezekiah

Claude Mariottini has a nice post on the Seal of Hezekiah here.

Aug 4, 2014

Simon the Tanner's House in Joppa

Many tours to the Holy Land do not spend much time exploring Joppa for the simple fact that there is not as much to see in comparison to other sites. However, for Christians, one stop in Joppa is the so-called house of Simon the Tanner, a house mentioned in Acts 9:43 and 10:6. Whether the current location is authentic is unknown. Also, most visitors are not allowed to enter the house. This was not always so as can be seen in the following account from the late 1800s.

"Under the conduct of our guide, we first visited the traditional site of the house of Simon the
tanner, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.*[Acts 9:43; 10:6] The house, in part at least, is a modern structure, built, like the surrounding dwellings, of stone, with a flat roof, having a little low dome in the centre. Upon entering it, we found a large stone trough in the lower story, at one end of which was a well, with an old axle having four arms by which it was turned in drawing water. This well, it is alleged, was anciently used by Simon in his trade, but now seems to be used only for the ordinary purposes of a household. The property is in the possession of the Mohammedans, who have set apart one room as a place of prayer. This room was small and poorly lighted, dingy and altogether uninviting.

"From this point we ascended to the roof by an ancient flight of stone steps, which may indeed, with the foundations of the building, have come down from the times of the apostles. From the roof we enjoyed a very fine view of the surrounding buildings, and the yet turbulent sea breaking upon the ragged edges of the reef, where we had so lately made our dangerous passage."

Van Horne, David, Tent and Saddle Life in the Holy Land, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1886), 14-15.

Here is a more current picture of Simon the Tanner's house at night.