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Preview: A New Testament Student

A New Testament Student

και τοις αναγινωσκουσιν ο κυριοσ σωση παντας υμας αδελφοι αμην αμην και αμην

Updated: 2016-07-23T12:18:30.345-05:00


Goodbye, blogger.


I am making the move to Wordpress. My new blog can be found here.

John Anderson is a real Blogger now


Though no longer on, John Anderson is now a real blogger. He is this month's featured biblioblogger. Congrats!

Esteban's Covenantal Blessings Book Giveaway


In honor of his moving to Wordpress (something I'm contemplating myself...and would most undoubtedly do if I won this book give away...), Esteban is giving away a copy of Peter Flint's, "The Bible at Qumran: Text, Shape, and Interpretation". In order to be eligible for this, you have to follow his simple rules:

1. First, that you announce my change of address and this giveway on your own blog, and provide a link to your announcement in the comments to this post. (Note that WordPress blogs generate automatic pingbacks, and therefore you don’t need to provide if a link if you blog on WordPress.)

2. Second, that in your comment you provide your most creative theory regarding the identity of the Qumran community (if there was one, according to your theoretical construct). Obvious things like the Essenes and the Golbian Hasmonean fortress are out of the question. I, for instance, hold that Qumran housed the easternmost (and most learned) first-century outpost of the KISS Army.

I have already announced Esteban's move to Wordpress earlier, but I will remind you that his new link is in my blogroll and can also be found here:

As to the second requirement: contrary to the nonsense being propagated by so-called "Experts" on Qumran (with their fancy book-larnin') like Robert Cargill, I know very well that Qumran was originally Superman's summer Fortress of Solitude. Everyone knows Superman was wildly religious. In fact, I think Superman is probably the key to unlocking Daniel 7.

A Question about Ph.D Programs


Is it okay to apply to a Ph.D program at a school that isn't exactly well-known for your field to study with a professor who is very well known in your field? When one goes to apply for jobs, will it be, "He studied under...." or, "He went to X school"?

Another Blog goes to Wordpress


Indeed, Nick Norelli over at Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth announces that Esteban Vázquez has moved over to Wordpress. I'm really beginning to wonder if I should convert.

Here are Esteban's new digs:

Reading: Daniel Kirk's "Unlocking Romans"


I was surprised our library actually has his book, but lo and behold, ECU is redeemed. I'm really looking forward to reading through this over the next week.

"Saul who is also called Paul" - Michael Compton and the Patristic interpretation of "Paul"


I'm currently reading through different essays in "In Dominico Eloquio: In Lordly Eloquence: Essays on Patristic Exegesis in Honor of Robert Louis Wilken." Recently I read through Michael Compton's essay on the Patristic interpretation of the names of the Apostle Paul. He writes:

What is the relationship between these two names? To many Christians (and non-Christians as well), the answer to the question has been and continues to be quite obvious. For them there is, in fact, no problem at all: Saul the persecuting Pharisee received the name Paul when he converted to Christianity. I confess that this is the answer I was first taught, and I have met many who were taught likewise.

Indeed, this was something I had always assumed as well. Saul isn't used anywhere in the Epistles and when one reads Acts, Luke phases out using Saul in favor of using Paul. Thus, it was natural to assume some kind of a name change had occurred. Compton's article focuses on a few ancient interpreters who shared this view - Jerome, Augustine, etc. Though Origen had already stated that no name change had taken place. Compton focuses especially on Chrysostom, whom Compton believes is responding to the "triumphalist" view of Jerome. Essentially, Jerome's view was that because Sergius Paulus was Paul's first convert (Acts 13:7), Saul took Paul's name.(cf. De Viris Illustribus 5 (PL 23:615) quoted on pg 58). Kind of an odd interpretation, but there you have it.

The article also mentions G.A. Harrer who espoused the theory that Paul was "the Apostle's cognomen while 'Saul' was his signum."(pg 53) I wonder if anyone has anything to say about that, because it seems like a convincing theory to me.

New Blogs added to the Blogroll


Neither blog is "new", but new to my blogroll. One is John Anderson's "Hesed we 'emet" (which I believe is: steadfast love/loyalty and faithfulness). John is a Ph.D student at Baylor working in Biblical studies, focusing on Hebrew Bible. His "blog" (though he has just switched to Wordpress*) is very interesting.

The other blog is by my friend, Danny Garland. Danny is a recent graduate from Franciscan University of Steubenville with an MA in Theology (2008). He teaches theology at a Catholic high school up North. Danny and I lived together when I was up north. He's an exceptionally nice guy and was actually my sponsor when I came into the Church (being a convert himself). His blog is "Irish Catholic and Dangerous" - he is both.

*I've seen several people lately make the switch to Wordpress. Should I? Is there something amazing about Wordpress that I'm missing out on?

A bit of trivia


Who wrote in their journal, "quippe dormire nefas videbatur" after studying a very important manuscript through the night?

Brandon Wason returns to blogging


After closing down his blog Novum Testamentum, he has finally returned to blogging. Go see his new site here.

Friday is for funny words - οἰνοβαρείων


This week's funny word comes to us from Homer. Every other week I attend an "Ancient Greek Reading Group" and we're working our way through Book IX of Homer's Odyssey (one of my favorite parts). Our word this week is: οἰνοβαρείων - to be "wine heavy" or drunk. This word is used to describe the Cyclops after Odysseus has gotten the Cyclops drunk off of the wine on his ship. Immediately thereafter, Odysseus and crew shove a red-hot log into the Cyclops' eye.

At any rate, because I'm taking Latin all summer, I'm giving you a double-whammy. Not only is οἰνοβαρείων interesting/funny in its own right, but the Latin equivalent is: crapulatus.

My Latin textbook makes no sense


I realize that writing a new grammar for a language that has been taught for thousands of years requires a bit of confidence. It says, "The other ways in which this language is taught are not good enough, but my ideas are the bee's knees."

However, the grammar I'm using (Latin for Reading) makes no sense when it comes to listing the cases of nouns and adjectives. Instead of the standard Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Ablative, and perhaps the Vocative, this text lists them as: Nominative, Accusative, Ablative, Dative, Genitive.

So, if I memorize the paradigm for a noun using this order, I'm imagining that I'll run into problems if I continue studying Latin elsewhere and they use a different grammar. It won't be that much of an inconvenience, but it seems like such an arbitrary change that has no benefits.

A quick note on criticism


In my Archaeology of the New Testament World class we had a final paper due at the end of the semester. My paper, titled, "Even the coins will cry out: Numismatic Explanations for the Jewish War" received a good grade (an A), but it also received some constructive criticism....lots of it.

I wasn't sure how to handle it. It was almost as if the grade didn't matter because I felt like my paper must be bad if it had so many notes. After about 30 minutes of feeling really puzzled I realized that I absolutely must get used to this if I'm going to go on and do graduate work. The fact that the paper received high marks should make me realize I have a good argument that after being refined could be a great argument. In fact, I'm considering rewriting it over the summer with the notes and sources that the professor provided.

Friday is for funny words


I've seen quite a few "Friday is for..." series and I wanted to start my own. I don't have any friends, so Scot McKnight's idea wouldn't work. However, I do like odd Greek words that I run across in my readings. Thus...Friday is for funny words.

This week's word is "εγγαστρίμῦθος": Belly-Myther.

Liddel-Scott has it listed as "ventriloquist" and someone who "prophecies from the belly." The most famous "belly-myther" is the Belly-Myther of Endor 1 Samuel 28 (1 Kingdoms 28 in the LXX). As Margaret Mitchell has pointed out, she's neither a witch in Hebrew or Greek. In fact, Mitchell has written an excellent book along with Rowan Greer on interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in antiquity. A few of the passages from Patristic authors who discuss the "belly-myther" are bellow:

Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho105
καὶ ὅτι μένουσιν αἱ ψυχαὶ ἀπεδειξα ὑμῖν ἐχ τοῦ καὶ τὴν Σαμουὴλ ψυχὴν χληθῆναι ὑπὸ τῆς ἐγγαστριμύθου, ὡς ἠξίωσεν ό Σαούλ.
And I have proved to you that souls survive on the basis of the fact that even Samuel's soul was summoned by the belly-myther, as Saul requested.

The Martyrdom of Pionius
ἔστι δὲ γεγραμμένον ὅτι ὁ Σαοὺλ ἐπηρώτησεν τὴν ἐγγαστρίμυθον καὶ εἶπεν τῇ γυναιχὶ τῇ οὕτω μαντευομένῃ, "ἀνάγαγέ μοι τὸν Σαμουὴλ."
It is written that Saul asked the belly-myther and that he said to the woman who was divining through this means, 'Bring up for me Samuel the prophet'.

And, of course, you should read Origen's homily on 1 Kingdoms 28. I suggest picking up Mitchell and Greer's book where you can read it.

Luther on Origen


An interesting quote by Luther on Origen (as quoted in the essay by Judith Kovacs in the book mentioned below):

In toto Origene non est verbum unum de Christo.

"In all of Origen there is not one word of Christ."

Reading this semester


I've been very busy lately with exams, finishing papers, etc. It has been a great semester. I have about a week off and then I'm jumping into a summer-long Latin class. This Fall I'll be applying to graduate programs and I realize that with the economy the way it is programs that are already very competitive will become even more so. So, I've been reading books suggested to me by professors at various schools as well as working my way through U of Chicago's "History of Christianity" reading list.Some great books and articles I've read (both on and off these lists) lately are:Elizabeth A. Clark, "The Origenist Controversy: The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate." - This book is fantastic. Though I originally was disinterested in some of the methods she uses from other fields, I found myself really enjoying the explanations they afforded. Dr. Clark's book put into perspective the social dimension of a debate between early Christians and it really helped to see why particular people held out in particular camps."In Eloquio Dominico: In Lordly Eloquence: Essays on Patristic Exegesis in Honor of Robert Louis Wilken." - This book has essays by people like John Cavadini, Brian Daley, Judith Kovacs, etc. Wilken is one of my favorite scholars of patristic exegesis. His "The Christians as the Romans Saw Them" was the first book I read by him and I was hooked immediately. This book is a gold mine of essays that highlight the many valuable things Patristics can teach modern Biblical scholars. I particularly enjoyed Gary Anderson's article on Adam and Eve; John Cavadini's essay on the aqedah in Philo, Origen, and Ambrose; Michael Compton's insightful essay on the significance of the names Saul and Paul; and Judith Kovacs' essay on Origen's homilies on 1 Corinthians.Brant Pitre, "Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement." I had promised a chapter-by-chapter review of the book, but I can't find it in myself to sit down and write a short review of each chapter. The whole book is too good. I've said it earlier, but I feel like this book could cause some major paradigm shifts in historical Jesus research.A book that doesn't deal with the early Church, but was written by a professor here at ECU is "The War Against Catholicism: Liberalism and the Anti-Catholic Imagination in Nineteenth -Century Germany". Michael B. Gross is one of our history professors here and this is an edited version of his dissertation done at Brown. Though the anti-Semitic movement in Europe is well-documented, Dr. Gross describes the anti-Catholic sentiment that played out in various facets of German political and social life.Ben Witherington III, "New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament" - I really like most of what Dr. Witherington writes and this book is no exception. He was only a few feet away from me when I bought this at SBL but I was too nervous to ask him to sign snooze, you lose. At any rate, I found this a great introductory book and would probably suggest this to someone before having them read George A. Kennedy's, "Comparative Rhetoric."A.J. Levine, "The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus." I don't necessarily always agree with Levine, but when she's right, she's very right. Her assessment of modern academics not drinking deeply enough from the well of ancient texts is spot on.One of my really odd interests is in the Ladder Day Saints (or Mormons). Ever since I was about 17 I've really enjoyed reading LDS literature. One particular issue that I find interesting is their idea of b[...]

Preserving idioms in translation...

2009-04-27T09:50:43.234-05:00 difficult. I had to translate some lines in Sophocles' Antigone and write a short commentary. Kreon, the newly-crowned tyrannical king, states that:

οὐδὲν γὰρ ἀνθρώποισιν οἷον ἄργυρος κακὸν νόμισμ' ἔβλαστε.

The play on words here is difficult to keep in translation. Kreon is making a pun on νόμισμα and I'm not quite sure how to maintain it.

How would you translate it?

Saint Fidelis and Calvinists


Thanks to Taylor Marshall of Canterbury Tales for pointing out this interesting story.

Roger Pearse on Attis and Jesus


An interesting survey of the sources from antiquity concerning Attis and the lack of parallels with Jesus (despite the often made claims).

Mark on Mark


Mark Goodacre has brought up a good discussion on Mark 15:39 and the soldier's statement:

37. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀφεὶς φωνὴν μεγάλην ἐξέπνευσεν. 38. Καὶ τὸ καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ ἐσχίσθη εἰς δύο ἀπ' ἄνωθεν ἕως κάτω. 39 Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ κεντυρίων ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐξ ἐναντίας αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὕτως ἐξέπνευσεν εἶπεν, Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος υἱὸς θεοῦ ἦν.

Dr. Goodacre has asked the question: is this really a confession or is it a sarcastic remark on the soldier's part? His commenters have already noted several instances of ironic and sarcastic remarks throughout the passion narrative (as have I here). The question posed by some has been whether it's either sarcastic or confessional and I want to say that it's both.

If Mark is written as "Gospel" and these gospels were inherently liturgical from the get-go, then I think it has a double meaning. Irony only works in favor of the reader/hearer, not against them. It brings the reader closer to the author's/text's viewpoint, even if it's against the person who spoke the words. The readers/hearers have the 'inside scoop'. So, even if the soldier's remark is sarcastic, when the text was read aloud in the liturgy and heard by the people, they knew that "surely this man was (is) the son of God".

Working as an Assistant


This semester I've had the pleasure of working as an assistant for our Intro to New Testament class. This experience has taught me a lot. While I'm preparing for my study session tomorrow night (the class has their final next week), I'm having to answer for myself the question: What do you do when you disagree with the professor teaching the class? Of course, in a class that's very broad and basic, I agree on most things. But, for instance, Markan priority has been assumed with Matthean priority not really addressed. I think Ehrman (the author of our textbook) is fundamentally mistaken on what "Apocalypticism" was in the 1st Century and a lot of the questions asked of the students have Ehrman's stance as their underlying premise.

I have a list of potential essay questions for the exam and there are a few that I think could be more nuanced. With some of them I disagree with the premise of the question entirely. So, what to do? Naturally, I want these kids to make good grades, but is it appropriate to note where I disagree and give them my reasons why?

Tertullian and Eschatology


Considering a lot of modern Christians' view on eschatology, I found this quote by Tertullian interesting.

"We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation." (Apology 39)

Tertullian is being accused of treason by the Romans and he replies as such. What's interesting to me is praying for the "delay of the final consummation." I'm not going to try and explain Tertullian's eschatological viewpoint here, but I do find it interesting how often modern Christians are at odds with the ancients. For instance, a lot of American Christians seem to think the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem would fulfill God's promises, but the ancients thought that its destruction was a fulfillment of God's promises (which is why Julian tried to rebuild it). I have a lot of modern Evangelical friends who pray that Christ will return and bring about a "final consummation", and Tertullian discusses here asking God to delay it.

Just finished: Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views



While at Southeastern I was fortunate enough to get to attend a conference on the last twelve verses in Mark. Speakers included Daniel Wallace, David Alan Black, Maurice Robinson, J.K. Elliott, and Darrell Bock as the "moderator". Fortunately, B&H Academic has published their papers in a short book titled Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views.

I won't go into great detail about the papers, but I will say that I find a great deal of Elliott's argument very persuasive as well as Dr. Black's and Dr. Robinson's. That is to say, I suppose, the only argument I didn't find persuasive is Dr. Wallace's. Dr Wallace argues that the ending at 16:8 with the postpositive γαρ is original. Elliot notes that if this were some kind of clever device on Mark's part, a cliff-hanger, then it was entirely too clever for Mark's immediate audience. Already by Justin Martyr's time the longer ending seems to be known. Robinson also cites Larry Hurtado who shares the belief that if Mark ended with a γαρ it was so clever that nobody got it until modern scholarship came along.

I think a conglomeration of the three views I find persuasive could work. One thing I'm thinking about is Elliott's proposal that a leaf was lost (a leaf perhaps containg Mk 1:1-3 as well, though Elliott admits the leaves could have been lost at different times). Lets say that Mark published a Gospel that did not end at 16:8 and then due to either scribal error (which Elliott finds unlikely) or due to a leaf being lost, the LE found its way into the manuscript witness. It would have to have happened extremely early, I think, in order for both Justin Martyr and Origen to know of the LE. The manuscript(s) containing the LE would have had to have found their way, or served as exemplars for manuscripts which found their way, into both Judea (where Justin was) and Alexandria (where Origen was) within a very short amount of time.

Another issue I thought about is the Patristic witness of the LE. Unless one of the Fathers wrote a commentary or worked their way through a lectionary, how would you know that a Church Father only knew up to 16:8?

So, I've sold out


Since about 2007 my particular interests have shifted away from doing work strictly in New Testament and have moved more towards New Testament and Early Christianity (both its history and theology). I've even considered changing the name of the blog or starting an entirely different blog all together, though I don't think that's necessary. I'm still deeply interested in New Testament scholarship and I think that interest is pertinent to my interests in the early Church. However, I think that studying Early Christian History (or Patristics or whatever title is given to it) allows me to have my cake and eat it too. It allows me to explore my interests in philosophy, history, textual criticism, New Testament, etc. It's a field in which I think I could do well and one in which I would feel entirely comfortable.

This fall I will be applying to graduate programs that reflect my more current interests. I'm most interested in Duke's Early Christian History program for a variety of reasons. I'd love to study Coptic with Zlatko Plese at UNC, do textual criticism with Ehrman, learn Syriac with Lukas Van Rompay, learn about Origen with Liz Clark, learn about Gregory of Nyssa with Smith, and - certainly not a minor reason - I would love to study with Duke's outstanding NT faculty. An interest I have never been able to shake is the Synoptic problem and though I realize Mark Goodacre is a multi-faceted scholar, to study that with him would be amazing.

Other places I'm looking at are, of course, Notre Dame (Brian Daley's work is very interesting and they have amazing funding), Yale (but, for some reason, I think I have no chance there...ever), UVA (Though Wilken is retiring, the work that Kovacs and Gamble are doing is very interesting), and a few others.

I'm going to be applying to both Ph.D programs and Masters programs. If you read this blog, you know there's no reason I should go straight into a Ph.D program, but perhaps I can hoodwink an admissions committee into thinking I'm smart enough. So, for the next few months, on top of little ideas I have, I'm going to be blogging about preparation for applications and such. If any of you have wisdom to bestow, let me have it.

Traduttore Traditore


Quite the funny quote:

Translators have long been an undervalued race: one of them remarked bitterly
that with the exception of the wages of sin the wages of translation are the worst in the whole market.

E. R. Dodds, Missing Persons: An Autobiography (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1977), 174.