May 30, 2020

Journal for the Study of the New Testament 42:4

The latest issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament is out. Here is a list of the articles and links to abstracts. 

"The Cost of Baptism? The Case for Paul’s Ritual Compensation"
Brigidda Bell

"1 John 3.12, Early Judaism and the Greek Life of Adam and Eve"

John R. Levison

"Paul’s Letter to Free(d) Casual Workers: Profiling the Thessalonians in Light of the Roman Economy"

Unchan jung

"The Reception of the Gospel of John in the Long Recension of Ignatius’s Letters 

Jonathan Lookadoo

"Sacrifice, Session and Intercession: The End of Christ’s Offering in Hebrews"

Nicholas J. Moore

"Jesus as Interceding High Priest and Sacrifice in Hebrews: A Response to Nicholas Moore"

David Moffitt 

Paul and Silas Appearance Before the Magistrates at Philippi

Carl Rasmussen has an interesting post here about the location of Paul and Silas' appearance before the magistrates and Philippi (Acts 16:19-21). I had always been taught that it was the bema but Rasmussen points out (and I think rightly) that this is probably incorrect. In sum he suggests that,
The magistrates (στρατηγὸς) of Philippi would have tried legal cases either in the Bouleuterion (Latin Curia) or the nearby Basilica—not at the bema, which was the “raised speaker’s platform.” 
By the way, if you are interested in biblical geography and history or just the Bible in general you should check out Rasmussen's website. He has a lot of good materials.

May 29, 2020

Andreas Köstenberger on the Gospel of John

Andreas Köstenberger has videos here of talks that he did on the Gospel of John during two yearly For The Church Workshops in 2019 and 2020 hosted by Midwestern Seminary.

May 28, 2020

Judean Pillar Figurines

One of the presentations made for the Temple Mount Sifting Project Symposium (see here) was by Aaron Greener on “The Characteristics of the Terracotta Figurines from the Temple Mount Soil.” Greener provided a good overview of these terracotta pillar figurines. When I was first exposed to these figurines, I was told without equivocation that these were fertility idols. And they very well may be. But some good work has been done on these figurines since then and rather than confirming this identification, more questions have been raised. Here is slightly modified version of bulleted information from Greener’s presentation.

  • Local Goddess (Ashtoreth, Asherah, Astarte)
  • A human female figure
  • Biblical “Teraphim” (idols or household gods)?
  • Religious/Cultic (in private homes, mostly by women) – As part of the official religion or as idol worship
  • For fertility and birth
  • Eroticism
  • Apotropaic talismans against the evil eye
  • Toys
Why are they found broken?
  • Broke Naturally
  • Were broken intentionally as part of the ritual
  • Were broken as part of the religious reforms of kings Hezekiah and Josiah (2 Kgs 23; 2 Chr 34)
Here is an article from Greener on this topic in 2016.

Here is a picture of two styles of figurines from the Biblical Archaeology Society. 

May 27, 2020

Ruth 4:5

Gary Rendsburg has a fairly technical explanation here of how he understands Ruth 4:5. Although the discussion is technical Rendsburg does a good job explaining things. I am not sure I agree with the conclusion but it is worth considering.

May 26, 2020

Ecclesiastes in a Syllogism

Shawn Lazar has a helpful short post on Ecclesiastes here. He gets bonus points for referencing Peter Kreeft's book, Three Philosophies of Life: Ecclesiastes, Life As Vanity; Job, Life As Suffering; Song of Songs, Life As Love.

May 25, 2020

Canaanite Prisoner Scene

There is an interesting article related to a find by a six year old child at Tel Jemmah/Gama near the Gaza border in The Times of Israel here. Supposedly, it is "3,500-year-old depiction of a naked, humiliated Canaanite prisoner and his victorious warden." The clay artifact found in March is mold-made, and measures 2.80 x 2.80 centimeter (1.1 inch square). It was apparently found in March.

3,500-year-old Canaanite clay piece found on Tel Gama (the Canaanite city of Yarza), March 2020. (Israel Antiquities Authority)

Psalm 21 Links

I have been working on a commentary on the Psalms. I have decided to compile some helpful links that I discovered during my research. It includes a mix of exegetical and sermonic links. Here is what I have for Psalm 21 (in no particular order). Feel free to mention any that you find helpful in the comments section.

Literary analysis of Psalm 21:

Analysis by C. J. Labuschagne:

William Barrick’s notes:

Explaining the Book: 

Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David:

May 23, 2020

The Latest Issue of the Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Shelley L. Birdsong, The Last King(s) of Judah: Zedekiah and Sedekias in the Hebrew and Old Greek Versions of Jeremiah 37(44):1–40(47):6
Reviewed by Jennifer Matheny

Anca Dan and Étienne Nodet, Cœlé-Syrie: Palestine, Judée, Pérée
Reviewed by Michaël Girardin

Philip A. Davis Jr., The Place of Paideia in Hebrews’ Moral Thought
Reviewed by Brian C. Small

Shawn W. Flynn, A Story of YHWH: Cultural Translation and Subversive Reception in Israelite History
Reviewed by Michael J. Stahl

David Frankfurter, Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic
Reviewed by Laura Nasrallah

Lester L. Grabbe, ed., “Even God Cannot Change the Past”: Reflections on Seventeen Years of the European Seminar in Historical Methodology
Reviewed by John W. Herbst

H. A. G. Houghton, C. M. Kreinecker, R. F. Maclachlan, and C. J. Smith, eds., The Principal Pauline Epistles: A Collation of Latin Witnesses
Reviewed by Daniel King

Ethan C. Jones, ed., The Unfolding of Your Words Gives Light: Studies on Biblical Hebrew in Honor of George L. Klein
Reviewed by Jeremy M. Hutton

Dirk Jongkind, An Introduction to the Greek New Testament: Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge
Reviewed by Douglas Burleson

Jan Joosten, Daniel Machiela, and Jean-Sébastien Rey, eds., The Reconfiguration of Hebrew in the Hellenistic Period: Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira at Strasbourg University, June 2014
Reviewed by Ethan C. Jones

Anne-Françoise Loiseau, L’influence de l’araméen sur les traducteurs de la LXX principalement, sue les traducteurs grecs postérieurs, ainsi que sur les scribes de la Vorlage de la LXX
Reviewed by David Sigrist

David K. Pettegrew, The Isthmus of Corinth: Crossroads of the Mediterranean World
Reviewed by D. Clint Burnett

Terri Moore, The Mysteries, Resurrection, and 1 Corinthians 15
Reviewed by Gudrun Nassauer

Jeremy M. Schott, Eusebius of Caesarea, The History of the Church: A New Translation
Reviewed by Michael Hollerich

Ben Witherington III, Biblical Theology: The Convergence of the Canon
Reviewed by John Goldingay

May 22, 2020

The Authorship of Ecclesiastes

John Byl argues for Solomonic authorship of Ecclesiastes here. I lean towards this view myself but a bit less dogmatically.

May 21, 2020

Bar-Ilan University Archaeology Lectures

The academic staff of the Dept. of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University are Zooming a series of eight lectures (schedule below) related to the history and archaeology of the Land of Israel. Three of the talks were recorded and can be found using these links. 

Dr. Nira Alperson-Afil – The Prehistoric Humans of the Hulah Valley

Shawn Zelig Aster – Shiloh and the Earliest Israelites in the Land of Israel

Aren Maeir – Excavations at Tell es-Safi, Biblical Gath of the Philistines, home of Goliath

May 20, 2020

Differences in Manasseh’s Genealogies

Aaron Demsky offers an interesting take on the change in Manasseh’s Genealogies between Numbers, Joshua, and Chronicles here.

May 19, 2020

A Fourrée and Matthew 7:21–23

I acquired a fourrée some time ago (see below). For all the non-numismatists, this is an ancient counterfeit coin that was typically made of a base metal and then overlaid with a thin sheet of silver or gold. So, from the outside, the coin looked to be solid silver or gold but in reality, it was ancient chump change. 

My coin reminds me of Jesus’ sobering words in Matthew 7:21–23. 

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” 

I wonder how many spiritual fourrées there are among us. Do you know that you know the Lord Jesus?

This is a silver fourrée of an Augustus denarius. By the way, this particular type of denarius is a less well-known candidate for the coin mentioned in Matthew 22:15–22.