Sep 13, 2014

A. T. Robertson on the Purpose of Seminaries

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary blog recently had a nice post on A.T. Robertson here. The blog post focuses on Robertson views related to the purpose of seminaries. According to the authors, Robertson "rejected the idea that the purpose of the seminary was to make scholars." And that, "The question for him was: 'Does the college and seminary training tend to make better preachers?'” To which Robertson responds,

"If not, it is a failure. The German idea is to make scholars first and preachers incidentally. But ours is to make preachers, and scholars only as a means to that end. We have small need in the pulpit for men that can talk learnedly and obscurely about the tendencies of thought and the trend of philosophy, but do not know how to preach Christ and him crucified. The most essential thing to-day is not to know what German scholars think of the Bible, but to be able to tell men what the Bible says about themselves. And if our system of theological training fails to make preachers, it falls short of the object for which it was established. But if it does meet the object of its creation, it calls for hearty sympathy and support. … But my plea is for scholarship that helps men to preach. For after all, the great need of the world is the preaching of the gospel, not saying off a sermon, but preaching that stirs sinful hearts to repentance and godliness" (
Archibald Thomas Robertson, “Preaching and Scholarship” [Louisville: Baptist Book Concern, 1890], 9–10, 15–16).

Sep 12, 2014

The Primary Aim of Text-Criticism

Concerning text criticism, Michael V. Fox states,

“The primary aim of text criticism is representation of authorial intent. The recovery of intention is the essence of interpretation. A text, strictly speaking, doesn't mean; it transmits meaning. Again, the willingness to correct typos is proof that we all are ready to override what is written in favor of what was intended.”

“Text Criticism and Literary Criticism,” in Built by Wisdom, Established by Understanding: Essays on Biblical and Near Eastern Literature in Honor of Adele Berlin, ed. Maxine L. Grossman (Bethesda, Maryland: University Press of Maryland, 2013), 354.

Sep 11, 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. 

C. Clifton Black
The Rhetoric of the Gospel: Theological Artistry in the Gospels and Acts
Reviewed by Geert Van Oyen

Wally V. Cirafesi
Verbal Aspect in Synoptic Parallels: On the Method and Meaning of Divergent Tense-Form Usage in the Synoptic Passion Narratives
Reviewed by Steven E. Runge

David J. A. Clines
Job 38-42
Reviewed by Norman Habel

Katharine J. Dell
Job: Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?
Reviewed by Martin A. Shields

Craig A. Evans
Reviewed by Robert H. Gundry

Camilla Hélena von Heijne
The Messenger of the Lord in Early Jewish Interpretations of Genesis
Reviewed by Koog P. Hong

Daniel Keating
First and Second Peter, Jude
Reviewed by Abson Joseph

Steven T. Mann
Run, David, Run! An Investigation of the Theological Speech Acts of David's Departure and Return (2 Samuel 14–20)
Reviewed by David G. Firth

James M. Robinson
The Story of the Bodmer Papyri: From the First Monastery’s Library in Upper Egypt to Geneva and Dublin
Reviewed by Tommy Wasserman

Christopher W. Skinner and Kelly R. Iverson, eds.
Unity and Diversity in the Gospels and Paul: Essays in Honor of Frank J. Matera
Reviewed by James D. G. Dunn

Sep 9, 2014

Journal of Biblical Literature 133:3

The lasted volume of the Journal of Biblical Literature is now out. Here is a list of the articles with links to abstracts.

Aaron D. Hornkohl, "Her Word versus His: Establishing the Underlying Text in 1 Samuel 1:23"

Mika S. Pajunen ,"4QPsx: A Collective Interpretation of Psalm 89:20–38"

Hector Avalos, "Nebuchadnezzar’s Affliction: New Mesopotamian Parallels for Daniel 4"

Stuart A. Irvine, "Idols [ktbwnm]: A Note on Hosea 13:2a"

Jonathan M. Gibson, "Cutting Off “Kith and Kin,” “Er and Onan”? Interpreting an Obscure Phrase in Malachi 2:12"

Katell Berthelot, "Reclaiming the Land (1 Maccabees 15:28–36): Hasmonean Discourse between Biblical Tradition and Seleucid Rhetoric"

Tucker S. Ferda, "Matthew's Titulus and Psalm 2’s King on Mount Zion"

Adam Winn, "Resisting Honor: The Markan Secrecy Motif and Roman Political Ideology"

Toan Do, "[Monon] or [monon]? Reading 1 John 2:2c from the Editio Critica Maior" 

Blake E. Wassell and Stephen R. Llewelyn, “'Fishers of Humans,” the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor, and Conceptual Blending Theory"

Adele Reinhartz, "The JBL Forum, an Occasional Exchange"

Serge Frolov, "The Death of Moses and the Fate of Source Criticism"

Philip Y. Yoo," The Place of Deuteronomy 34 and Source Criticism: A Response to Serge Frolov"

Shawna Dolansky, "Deuteronomy 34: The Death of Moses, Not of Source Criticism" 

Unified until Proven Disunified? Assumptions and Standards in Assessing the Literary Complexity of Ancient Biblical Texts
David M. Carr 

Sep 8, 2014

The Importance of Biblical Geography

I am a big proponent of the idea that geography is an important component of a well-rounded biblical understanding. I find it puzzling that the some who devote themselves to learning the biblical languages and Second Temple Judaism are relatively unconcerned with developing a competency in biblical geography. So I am always encouraged when I find a commentary that highlights the importance of geography. Here is a rather longish quote from an older commentary on Joshua by George C. M. Douglas. 
"In reading almost any book of the Old Testament, we have to take notice of geography if we are to appreciate fully what we read: but what is thus true in general attains its most emphatic exemplification in the book of Joshua. The study of the geography of the Holy Land is as old as the study of the Old Testament by Christians outside that country: and to this hour we are told by travellers that there is no better guide to their geographical studies than the book of Joshua. I have occasion often to mention the great contribution to sacred geography in the first Christian centuries, the Onomasticon, or list of names, written by the Greek bishop Eusebius, and edited half a century later by the great Hebrew scholar among the Latin fathers, Jerome. The Christian (not to speak of the Jewish) pilgrims before the Crusades, and during them, and after they were over collected a mass of traditions which have been laboriously sifted. From the dawn of modern times there have been intelligent travellers, who have accumulated stores of information for us: and in the latter part of last century, and in the early years of this one, these travellers went to work more scientifically and systematically than any of their predecessors, aided no doubt by the accurate and learned work Palæstina, by the Dutch scholar Reland. It is still some years under fifty, however, since a vast step in advance was made by the late Dr. Edward Robinson of New York, aided by his countrymen the missionaries at Beyrût, one of whom, Dr. Thomson, still living, has given much information in a popular form in his Land and the Book. It would be invidious to single out names of others, both dead and living, who have carried on a noble work. But there is no indelicacy in mentioning the labours of a society, that of the Palestine Exploration Fund, which has accomplished what individuals were not in circumstances to achieve, and whose labours have reached a climax in giving to the world in 1880 the map of a trigonometrical survey of Palestine west of the Jordan, on the scale of an inch to the mile, accompanied by memoirs which are in process of publication, and to be followed as quickly as possible by maps on a somewhat reduced scale (one just published, three-eighths of an inch to the mile, is admirable) with the ancient as well as the modern names, to suit them to the wants of the readers of the Old and of the New Testaments. We have had many good maps before, among which those of the Dutch traveller C. W. Van de Velde and of President Porter in Murray’s Handbook may be singled out: but it is no reproach to earlier labourers in this field to say that the Palestine Exploration maps must displace or essentially modify all earlier efforts, at least so soon as the part of Palestine east of the Jordan has also been surveyed and published. And among the workers on this survey, speaking of geographical research over the whole country, not of topographical research in Jerusalem, for instance, it is no disparagement to the others to single out Lieutenant Conder, R.E., because his duties have led him to take a specially prominent position. It has been no small labour to go over and digest all the information communicated in these publications, and in the quarterly statement of the Society; and after all, I fear that I have to admit that pages of this Handbook must be unspeakably dry, particularly in chapters 15–19, so that sometimes nothing better can be recommended than to pass them over. Yet I felt it impossible to publish the book without the summary of this information; and I am sure that there are those who will take the map and carefully trace the lists which seem so dry to others, and find them deeply interesting. I may say in a sentence, that the boundaries of the tribes are still in many cases doubtful; but that there is hardly room for doubt that in some cases very considerable modifications must be made of preconceived opinions, in the case of the group of Issachar and Western Manasseh and Ephraim, and in the group of Zebulun and Asher and Naphtali. When the Palestine Exploration Society have done for the country east of Jordan what they have accomplished for Canaan proper, the next great service to scriptural geography will be a careful survey of the Negeb and the desert of Et Tih, that is, of the southern extremity of Canaan from about Beersheba outwards to the great desert in which the children of Israel wandered. It is true that this will have less influence on the geography of the book of Joshua than their present labours: yet there are important points for it also. Especially it will settle how far south the limits of Judah and Simeon are to be extended; and this in connection with the very interesting question of the situation of Kadesh-barnea; see notes on 15:3. The Rev. H. A. Trumbull (Quarterly Paper, July 1881, pp. 208–212), while not committing himself finally, gives strong evidence from personal examination in favour of Rowlands’ view."

Preaching Philemon

David Allen highlights a book by O. S. Hawkins as a resource for preaching Philemon. You can access Allen's thoughts here.