Thursday, May 14, 2015

On Mission to Congo

Whew! After blazing through finals week, graduation, and submitting the grades for all my classes, I'm taking off on a two-week mission trip with North Park's missiology professor Paul DeNeui and a team of seminary students.
From Chicago to Congo:
North Park's 2015 Summer Mission Trip
The schedule is full... when I get back, I'll not only blog about my trip but I'll start making regular posts again after a short hiatus. Until then, blessings!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Intertextuality in the New Testament Interpretation Sessions for SBL-Atlanta 2015

After reading well over 40 or so proposals, the steering committee of the Intertextuality in the New Testament Interpretation Section (of which I am co-chair) for the Society of Biblical Literature finally made its decisions on which papers to accept for our three sessions in Atlanta this November 2015. 
We have two themed sessions: one on the Gospel of John, and the other on rhetorical criticism and the Pauline letters. The 3rd session was an open session. I'm presiding for the Paul presentations and am especially eager to hear the paper, among others, from Andrew Das of Elmherst College. I've read his work on Galatians and used select chapters to teach my classes with great appreciation for the quality of scholarship and insight (see, e.g., his Paul, Covenant and the Law and Paul and the Jews). And I just picked up his commentary on Galatians which is whopping 800+ pages. I might just bug him during our breaks and down-time about some of his work on Paul's view of the Torah and justification through faith.
   In any case, our three sessions are outlined below, subject to any last minute adjustments. Looking forward to hearing these!

Session 1: Intertextuality and the Gospel of John

Erik Waaler, Presiding

William M. Wright IV, Duquesne University
Illumining John’s Use of Multivalent Biblical Images through Patristic Reception History (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Sheldon Steen, Florida State University
Him Whom My Soul Loves: Song 3:1-5 as Narrative Framework for John's Resurrection Account (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Andrew Byers, St John's College, University of Durham
Jesus Prays the Shema as Ezekiel’s Prophesied King: A Reassessment of Johannine Oneness (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Chan Sok Park, College of Wooster
The Sapiential Traditions in the Fourth Gospel: Johannine Jesus as an Imitable Wisdom Incarnate (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Paul Korchin, Briar Cliff University
Pontius Pilate as Anti-Moses in the Gospel of John (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Session 2: Intertextuality, Rhetorical Criticism, and the Pauline Letters

Max Lee, North Park Theological Seminary, Presiding

A. Andrew Das, Elmhurst College
An Audience-Oriented Approach to Paul’s Use of Scripture in Galatians: Reader Competence and Differing Target Audiences (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Raymond Morehouse, University of St. Andrews
Diatribe and Deuteronomy: Romans 3.1-6 as Guided Reflection on Deuteronomy 32.4 (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Douglas C. Mohrmann, Cornerstone University
Paul’s Use of Scripture in Romans 9-11 as Palimpsest: Literature in the Second Degree (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Jason A. Myers, Asbury Theological Seminary
Paul and the Rhetoric of Obedience: A Rhetorical Reading Obedience (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

G. Brooke Lester, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
No, Seriously: a Unifying Theory of Allusion (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Session 3: Intertextuality in Mark, Matthew and Galatians

Alice Yafeh-Deigh, Azusa Pacific University, Presiding

Julie M. Smith, Independent Scholar
A Double Portion: An Intertextual Reading of Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2) and Mark's Greek Woman (Mark 7:24-30) (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Mateus de Campos, University of Cambridge
The ‘sign from heaven’ and the ‘bread from heaven’ - Echoes of the Manna Tradition in Mark 8:10-13 (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Gary A. Phillips, Wabash College
Eye for an I: Intertextuality, Lex Talionis, and the Call of Justice (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Gary Michael, University of Aberdeen
Divorce and Remarriage in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and Matthew 19:3-9 (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Gregory M. Barnhill, Baylor University
Reading Isaiah with Paul: Who are Mother Zion's Children? (20 min)

Discussion (10 min)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

He Is Risen! Blessings this Easter Sunday

It has been some time since I posted on the blog, but it has not been from lack of desire. My schedule has gotten a bit out-of-control these past few weeks. I might not be able to return to blogging regularly until after my trip to Congo in May. Until then, I do wish many who have visited this blog the Lord's blessings this Easter weekend! I shall return to blogging regularly. I simply need to get other tasks out of my queue before I can do this any time soon.
The Garden Tomb, the alternative location for the burial of Jesus
beyond the traditional site at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons © 2008
Hope you are having a glorious Easter and see you again in May! MJL

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Post-Screening Discussion of A Polite Bribe at SBL 2014

A week ago, I received an email from Robert Orlando, the director and producer of the movie documentary Apostle Paul - A Polite Bribe, informing me that the post-screening discussion between him, Ben Witherington, and Larry Hurtado is up on vimeo for public viewing. At the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in San Diego, there was a showing of the film to the scholarly community (on the evening of Nov. 22nd, 2014). The dialogue which took place afterwards can be found below:

APB Post Screening SD from A Polite Bribe on Vimeo.

   I have not watched all of it yet, but it looks good at first glance. Both Hurtado and Witherington are very judicious and thoughtful scholars, and we also get a glimpse into the motivations and aspirations which spurred Orlando to pursue this project, for the benefit of many. 
   Here is also a link to my own blog review of the film. 
Book edition of the film (with notes!)
available for purchase at amazon
Lastly, in case anyone wished the film had footnotes for where its ideas were originating from, Orlando has published a book version of his thesis through Wipf & Stock Publishers. Click the link above to purchase it through amazon. Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Proposals, Panels, and Exams

The end of February through early March has been a tough dry spell from blogging. I have several half-finished posts in the queue but have been delayed with: 1) grading 35 undergraduate papers, 2) grading 35 undergraduate quizzes, 3) grading 30 seminary New Testament 2 midterms, 4) grading 30 seminary papers, 5) grading 20 Greek II midterms, and then 6) I flew away this weekend to sunny/rainy/humid Orlando, Florida to attend the Association of Theological Schools Roundtable events for Ethnic/Racial and Midcareer Faculty (Mar 5-8, 2015). The rountables, by the way, were fantastic. I participated in a panel on collaborative projects, but also learned much from colleagues in the area of post-tenure research, teaching, administrative service, and formation (more on this in future posts).
Screen capture of INTI paper proposal statistics (Click to enlarge)
   Now, I have to read through 34 paper proposals submitted to the the Intertextuality and New Testament Interpretation Section (I'm a co-chair) for the SBL meeting in Atlanta this November 2015. Wow! I think this year is the most proposals we have received since we first started as a consultation group back in 2008. 
   In other words, I have to finish reading the proposals and some full papers before I can get back to blogging again. Stay tuned!  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Notice: Paul and the Gift by John M.G. Barclay

It looks like Eerdmans is finally going to publish soon the long-awaited monograph by Prof. John Barclay, the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity for the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, with the official title: Paul and the Gift. You can read the initial description of the book directly from the Eerdmans website here, and its tentative release date is October 16, 2015 (although both Amazon and Barnes&Noble have the earlier date of August 13, 2015).
Tentative Release Date - Oct 16, 2015
If you recall, way back in May 2014, I blogged on the address given by Barclay for the inauguration of St. Mary's Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible. In the address, Barclay gives an epitome of the central thesis of his book. A little over a year later, the book will finally be available for the academic and wider reading audience. Can't wait! And yes, I do expect to give a detailed review of the book here on the Paul Redux blog.
    It also looks like the rumor that it would be 2 volumes, for now, is not true. But it is a whopping 688 pages and easily could have been two books instead of one large tome. Starting price tag: $62.50 at Amazon and Barnes.

HT to Nijay Gupta and Torrey Seland

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Review: The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE; 5 vols) by Moisés Silva

"Two steps forward and one step backwards..." is not new dance move but my succinct way of reviewing the 2nd edition of the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology andExegesis (henceforth NIDNTTE). Revised by Moisés Silva (click for an interview with him on the lexicon over at Matthew Montonini's NT Perspective blog), this 2014 five-volume update published by Zondervan is, in many ways, a marked improvement of its previous 1975-78 four-volume predecessor edited by Colin Brown.
The impressive 5 vol. NIDNTTE by Moisés Silva
   Let me comment on the two advances which the NIDNTTE makes. First, in terms of its lexical information, it is a thorough revision of how a particular word is used in its Greek, Jewish, and New Testament literary and historical contexts. In fact, each entry (alphabetized according to the Greek) begins with the history of early Greek meanings and ends with how a word is deployed in the secular discourse of the Roman period. Then the entry defines the unique uses of a word in the Greek Old Testament or Septuagint as it translates the Hebrew. Finally, the entry describes how the New Testament writers, given the range of meanings for a particular word, often depend on the Septuagint for its definitions. 
    The second advance is the dependency of NIDNTTE upon the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, and other Jewish literature to draw out the meanings for New Testament words. This is biblical theology at its best. Silva demonstrates a linguistic savvy when he traces the theological continuity between the Old Testament and the New without committing the mistake of confusing Gundbegriff (or the larger concept to which a word points) with its basic definition (what the word means) in context. 
     I do wish, however, the dictionary would explore more thoroughly how the everyday use of Greek words contributes to the vocabulary of the New Testament. When, for example, Paul talks about hilastērion in Romans 3:25, the dictionary unsurprisingly defines the term as "atonement" in parallel with the Old Testament use of the Hebrew kippur as an "expiation" or "covering over" of sin. But hilastērion in Greco-Roman discourse can also mean "propitiate." Defined in this way, New Testament writers could be employing the word hilastērion to help explain how the death of Christ propitiates or satisfies the justice of God. To be fair, the NIDNTTE does describe the Koiné or common uses of hilastērion in its entry, but I fault the dictionary for not drawing out the theological implications of such usage. For a theological dictionary aimed at aiding exegesis and interpretation, the dictionary, at times, demonstrates too narrow a focus on Jewish backgrounds without due consideration to how Greek discourse might also inform the lexical choices of the New Testament authors.
    But my largest criticism concerns the format of the dictionary. The decision to partially abandon the original organization of the entries by semantic field in favor of an alphabetized listing is a step backward in my opinion. It is also a lost opportunity. 
    Take, for example, the concept of power
The older NIDNT by Colin Brown (1975-78)
Notice that the dictionary is organized by concept, with a very short beginning
paragraph describing how the different words in a semantic field relate before
giving a detailed definition/discussion of each word as with βία and its cognates
In the older edition (above), the dictionary listed out the definitions of kratos ("might"), ischys ("strength" or "power"), bia ("force"), and other lexemes all under the category: Strength, Force, Horn, Violence, Power (see above). This format immediately informs the reader that no one word can encompass an entire concept. One needs to identify an entire constellation of words and their meanings (what linguists call a "semantic field"), and then examine the discourse in which these words are found, to provide a comprehensive treatment of how New Testament authors understood the concept of power. A study on just a single word would leave out too much information and be misleading. Yet the new edition reverts back to single word, alphabetized entries. 
    Silva does provide a concise list of concepts at the beginning of the first volume (below), but it is a poor substitute for a more technical treatment of semantic fields. 
The new NIDNTTE by Moisés Silva (2014)
A list of concepts with English glosses
is given in the beginning of vol. 1
but missing is an needed analysis on
how the words relate in a semantic field
Let me explain. The older edition provided little discussion on how the different words in a semantic field relate to each other. What is the difference between kratos ("might"), for example, and ischys ("strength")? I have my suspicions on how to answer this question, but I would like to have seen the new edition provide an updated analysis. To date, we only have one lexicon that does this in any systemic way: that is, Louw's and Nida's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains. This new NIDNTTE edition could have taken the material of the older dictionary, incorporated the contributions made from Louw and Nida, and created a lexicon based on semantic fields that surpassed any of its predecessors or competitors. But alas, it does not. 
    So, at the end of the day, I would strongly recommend pastors, seminary students, and theologically trained leaders alike to purchase the NIDNTTE. I can imagine someone preparing for a sermon or Bible study, reading about a particular Greek word of importance that is highlighted by a commentary, and wanting to learn more about the word, then turn to the NIDNTTE to look up more information. I would suggest to also check the list of concepts with English glosses to see what other words belong to the same semantic field. As a lexicion, it is an excellent resource. 
    While I myself will likely refer to the NIDNTTE on a regular basis, and undoubtedly learn much from its volumous pages, a part of me also laments at what it could have been. I can only hope that a future third edition might dare explore the still uncharted territory of semantic field lexicography.

Postscript: the above review will be published in the next edition of the Covenant Quarterly