Jan 18, 2020

Point of View: Acts 15:36-41

Robert Gonzalez Jr. discusses  the conflict between Barnabas and Paul narrated in Acts 15:36-41 here. one of his conclusions is that Luke is not taking a position on the dispute. But I am not so sure. Luke's point of view is revealed in several ways. Admittedly, it is subtle but consider the following.
  1. The first words of this incident portray Paul interested in ministry (v. 36) and Barnabas interested in John Mark (v. 37).
  2. The word (ἀφίστημι) used to describe John Mark’s actions is a very negative one (v. 38).
  3. Luke suggests that Barnabas and John Mark left first (v. 39).
  4. Paul’s new coworker (v. 40a) has received strong affirmation (see vv. 22, 32).
  5. Luke merely reports that Barnabas and John Mark left for Cyprus but does not state that they were committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord, as he does for Paul and Silas (v. 40b).
  6. Paul alone is credited in the narrative with “strengthening the churches,” that is completing the original mission (v. 41).
  7. Luke never mentions either Barnabas or John Mark in Acts again.

Jan 17, 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.

Samuel L. Bray and John F. Hobbins, Genesis 1–11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators
Reviewed by Jeffery M. Leonard

Mark Bredin, Jesus, Revolutionary of the Poor: Matthew’s Subversive Messiah
Reviewed by Vien V. Nguyen, SCJ

David K. Bryan and David W. Pao, eds., Ascent Into Heaven in Luke-Acts: New Explorations of Luke’s Narrative Hinge
Reviewed by Mark A. Matson

Roy E. Garton, Mirages in the Desert: The Tradition-Historical Developments of the Story of Massah-Meribah
Reviewed by Brandon R. Grafius

Christian Gers-Uphaus, Sterbliche Götter – göttliche Menschen: Psalm 82 und seine frühchristlichen Deutungen
Reviewed by Beat Weber

Zohar Hadromi-Allouche, ed., Fallen Animals: Art, Religion, Literature
Reviewed by Hannah Strømmen

Catherine Sider Hamilton, with Joel Willitts, eds., Writing the Gospels: A Dialogue with Francis Watson
Reviewed by Vernon K. Robbins

Will Kynes, An Obituary for “Wisdom Literature”: The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus
Reviewed by David G. Firth

Liv Ingeborg Lied and Marilena Maniaci, eds., Bible as Notepad: Tracing Annotations and Annotation Practices in Late Antique and Medieval Biblical Manuscripts
Reviewed by W. Andrew Smith

Rüdiger Lux; Angelika Berlejung and Raik Heckl, eds., Ein Baum des Lebens: Studien zur Weisheit und Theologie im Alten Testament
Reviewed by Markus Witte

Daniel Marguerat, L’historien de Dieu: Luc et les Actes des apôtres
Reviewed by Rebecca Dean

Pablo Ponce Rodriguez, El símbolo antropologico de los vestidos en el libro del Apocalipsis: Investigación exegético-teológica
Reviewed by Stephan Witetschek

Eileen Schuller and Marie-Theres Wacker, eds., Early Jewish Writings
Reviewed by Cynthia M. Baker

Meredith J. Stone, Empire and Gender in LXX Esther
Reviewed by Brian Charles DiPalma

Andrew J. Wilson, The Warning-Assurance Relationship in 1 Corinthians 

Reviewed by Victor Paul Furnish

Jan 15, 2020

The Corinthian Epistles During the Patristic Period

Michael Kok has a brief but helpful survey here of the reception history of 12 Corinthians during the Patristic period.

Jan 14, 2020

The Historical Reliability of the Old Testament

Most of my students are surprised and some are scandalized when I tell them that there is a great deal of skepticism in the scholarly community in reference to the historical reliability of the biblical record to describe the history of Israel. Andrew Tobolowsky helps illustrate this with the following observation.
Very few scholars suggest that biblical descriptions of the periods prior to the appearance of Israel in Canaan contain more than vague, distorted memories, and potentially nothing of historical value. Discussions of the pre-monarchical period have also been characterized in recent years primarily by a growing hesitance to make concrete assertions about the nature of ethnic realities prior to the monarchy. Few doubt that the Merneptah Stele is hard evidence that a group called Israel existed in the highlands of Canaan already by the beginning of the Iron I, but there is now nearly as universal an agreement that Israel was only one of many groups active in that region and time (Fleming 2012: 254; Mazar 2007a: 91; K. Sparks 1998: 11; Killebrew 2005). However, while for Fleming, Miller, and others, this and new ways of thinking about ethnicity generally mean that, in Miller’s words, a ‘pre-monarchic Israel’ is ‘simply too difficult to reconstruct with any confidence’ (J. Miller 2008: 176). For many others, this ‘proto-Israel’ is clearly related to monarchical Israel in crucial and foundational ways (Faust 2006: 173; R. Miller 2004: 63; Killebrew 2005) ("Israelite and Judahite History in Contemporary Theoretical Approaches," Currents in Biblical Research 17 [2018]: 39-40).
The rest of Tobolowsky's article is unfortunately equally pessimistic. My experiences in the academy and archaeology have confirmed this type of skepticism. Those of us who affirm biblical historicity are definitely in the minority.

Jan 13, 2020

Psalm 7 Links

I have been working on a commentary on the Psalms. I have decided to compile some of my favorite links that I discovered during my research. There is a mix of exegetical and sermonic links. Here is what I have for Psalm 7 (in no particular order). Feel free to mention any that you find helpful in the comments section.

Spokane Bible Church: http://www.spokanebiblechurch.com/books/psalm-7

Literary Analysis of Psalm 7: http://psalmsstudy.com/psalms-literary-analysis-by-chapter/literary-analysis-psalm-7

Analysis by C. J. Labuschagne: https://www.labuschagne.nl/ps007.pdf

William Barrick’s notes: https://drbarrick.org/files/studynotes/Psalms/Ps_007rev.pdf

Jan 12, 2020

A New Commentary on Ecclesiastes

Jim Hastings, one of the pastoral staff and teachers at our church gave me a copy of his latest book today. It is a new commentary on Ecclesiastes which continues a series begun by John Phillips who passed away in 2010. I have only had a chance to glance through it, but it looks pretty good. Like the rest of the volumes in this series, this one is highly alliterated.

You can check out an excerpt here.