Oct 18, 2014

St. Luke's Day

In some church traditions, October 18 is designated a feast day for St. Luke. I am not sure exactly how to celebrate the author of Luke-Acts but spending time in one or both books would seem appropriate. After all, Luke probably wrote more of the New Testament (by content) than anyone else.

Oct 17, 2014

Avoiding Parallelomania and Parallelophobia

I have just started looking through Aaron Chalmer's Exploring the Religion of Ancient Israel.In his introductory discussion of ancient Near Eastern texts, he notes two terms which represent ends of a spectrum. The first, parallelomania, has been used in biblical studies since the early sixties (I believe). It is usually attributed to Samuel Sandmel, who attributed it to a French source from 1830 (“Parallelomania,” Journal of Biblical Literature 81 [1962]: 1). The second term, parallelophobia, is as far as I can tell, of a more recent origin. In any case, one encounters both phobias in biblical studies and I think that Chalmer's offers some sound advice concerning the application of ANE texts to the Hebrew Bible. Chalmer's writes,

“When approaching this potential source of evidence, however, we need to walk a path between parallelomania (widespread, uncritical comparison of texts from one society to another), on the one hand, and parallelophobia (general refusal to compare texts from one society with another), on the other. Both approaches can be problematic. Parallelomania often fails to realize that texts must be understood within the original context in which they were produced as surface similarities may, in fact mask deeper differences. Parallelophobia, in contrast, fails to recognize that various people groups of the ANE shared broadly similar intellectual and conceptual world-view, and thus texts may shed light on realities which extended beyond the borders of the society that produced them. Potential problems can be minimized by ensuring that texts are interpreted contextually and that any comparisons that are made are with societies that are as chronologically and geographically close to ancient Israel as possible. When approached responsibly, the use of comparative texts is a very valuable exercise” (Aaron Chalmers, Exploring the Religion of Ancient Israel: Prophet, Priest, Sage and People [Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012], 9-10).

Oct 16, 2014

Mark Seifrid's 2 Corinthians Commentary

Eerdmans is offering a three-day sale on Mark Seifrid's brand new 2 Corinthians commentary. You get it at 40% off and free shipping to boot. You have to email Eerdmans directly at sales@eerdmans.com with "3 Day Sale: The Pillar 2 Corinthians Commentary" in the subject line. The sale ends this Saturday, October 18.

Oct 15, 2014

A Glimpse into the life of Ph.D. Students

Tavis Bohlinger provides an interesting glimpse into the life of Ph.D. students here. My own approach was not as regimented as many here but maybe that is why it took me longer than some. In any case, this post does give a good idea of the kind of commitment that is necessary to do a Ph.D. 

Oct 14, 2014

Surveys on the Gospel of Mark

Peter Head has posted a helpful compilation of scholarly survey studies related to the Gospel of Mark here.

Oct 13, 2014

The Bible Reader's Joke Book

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bible-Readers-Joke-Book/dp/1502741202/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412993571&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Bible+Reader%27s+Joke+BookAccomplished preachers, teachers, and speakers, know the value of using humor. My good friend Dr. Stephen Bramer has finally published his collection of over 2,000 biblically related jokes, puns, funny stories, and sayings. What makes this collection particularly useful is that they are arranged bu Bible book and verse. So you can look up a passage and see what is available for that book/chapter/verse. You can check out and purchase The Bible Reader's Joke Book using this link.

Oct 12, 2014

New Mark Commentary

Mark Strauss's new commentary on Mark in the Zondervan exegetical Commentary series is out now. Although I have not obtained a copy yet, I have used the authors Four Portraits, One Jesus and my experience with the ZECNT series has been generally positive. You can access a PDF excerpt here.