Watkin, “Derrida”

Forthcoming this fall in P&R’s “Great Thinkers” series is Christopher Watkin’s volume on Jacques Derrida. According to the book’s blurb,

Christian thinkers and writers who address Jacques Derrida’s philosophy face two potential pitfalls. One is to recast Christianity in an ill-fitting Derridean mold; the other is to ascribe to Derrida objectionable positions that bear little relation to his writing.

To avoid these hazards, Christopher Watkin, a scholar of French literature and philosophy, walks in Derrida’s shoes through the landscape of recent thought and culture, seeking to understand the rationale for Derrida’s philosophical moves in light of his assumptions and commitments in philosophy, literature, ethics, and politics. He then sets these assumptions in the wider context of God’s nature and purposes in history, providing biblical critique.

Learn why Derrida says what he does and how Christians can receive and respond to his writing in a balanced, biblical way that is truly beneficial.

The latest P&R catalog also sports an enthusiastic endorsement from Kevin Vanhoozer:

Chris Watkin has done what I thought was impossible. He has explained Derrida’s deconstruction with lucidity, brevity, and charity. Not only that: he has imagined what it would be like for Cornelius Van Til to go toe-to-toe with Derrida in a discussion about language, logic, and the logos made flesh, all of which figure prominently in John 1:1–14. And, if that were not enough, he has done it in less than a hundred pages. Readers who want to know what all the fuss over postmodernity is about would do well to consult this book. This is an excellent beginning to this new Great Thinker series.

The volume is due for release at the end of November. It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and elsewhere.

Prefix keys for Microsoft Word

In Dan Gookin’s Word 2016 for Dummies (Wiley, 2016), he provides a good deal of helpful guidance for beginning Word users. One particularly helpful resource that may be of interest more broadly is his nicely condensed presentation of prefix keys for producing diacritical marks (pg. 256, reproduced below).

Table of prefix keys for Word 2016

As the name suggests, the prefix key combination gets typed first, then the letter to which the diacritic should attach, and voila—the appropriate combined character is produced.

A primer for Barth’s “Church Dogmatics”

At the Logos Academic Blog,  Charles Helmer offers five areas of suggestions to help ease readers’ paths into Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. As an overarching suggestion, Helmer recommends,

Armed with the following tips and a healthy dose of Spirit-inspired courage, the theologian can do no better than to sit down with one of Barth’s volumes, crack it open, and get to the hard yet rewarding work of reading.

For Helmer’s full discussion, see his original post at theLAB.

Sinaiticus’s B scribe(s)

On Academia.edu, Dan Batovici has posted an uncorrected proof of his essay “Two B Scribes in Codex Sinaiticus?” BASP 54 (2017). According to the abstract,

The history of scribal hand identification in Codex Sinaiticus is a fairly complicated one. The most recent identification, splitting the work of Tischendorf’s scribe B in B1 and B2, was attempted by Amy Myshrall in a 2015 contribution, as a result of the work on the Codex Sinaiticus digitizing project completed in 2009. This article will assess the argument proposed by Amy Myshrall for distinguishing the two new scribes, and it argues that there is not enough reason to adopt the newly proposed distinction.

HT: Peter Gurry

Zotero 5.0

The next major release of the Zotero bibliographic management system is now available. Zotero should update automatically for most users, but anyone wanting to go ahead and get the latest version can download it from Zotero’s site to install over a prior version. For discussion of what’s new in this version, see:

For other discussion of Zotero, see these posts.

Sorensen on Luther

One of our current PhD students in Humanities, Rob Sorensen, has been featured on Baylor’s “Research on Religion” podcast. The discussion mostly revolves around Rob’s reflections on and in his Martin Luther and the German Reformation (Anthem Perspectives in History, Anthem Press, 2016).

For more about Rob, see his faculty page at the Bear Creek School. For more about Faulkner University’s PhD in Humanities, see the university website.

Word 2016 introduction for Mac users?

The “for dummies” series has a couple good introductions to Microsoft Word (for all and specifically “for professionals”). But, these texts seem to concentrate on Word as it appears in Windows, which is sometimes surprisingly inconsistent with how ostensibly the same version of Word appears in Mac OS.

The similarly themed “idiot’s guides” series also doesn’t appear to have a text that addresses the current version for Mac users. The Shelly Cashman series text also seems to leave Mac users with less helpful guidance than those running Windows.

Is anyone aware of something that would fit this bill? General introductions to Microsoft Office tend not to have enough detail on Word. So, something specifically geared toward Word 2016 would be ideal.

Loving one’s neighbor in JETS

As I mentioned earlier, the current issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (60.2) contains Henry Kelly’s essay on “Love of Neighbor as Great Commandment in the Time of Jesus: Grasping at Straws in the Hebrew Scriptures” (265–81). According to the abstract,

One’s “neighbor,” generously interpreted to include everyone else in the world, even personal and impersonal enemies, looms large in the NT, especially in the form of the second great commandment, and in various expressions of the Golden Rule. The NT also contains expansive claims that neighbors have a similar importance in the OT. The main basis that commentators cite for these claims is a half-verse in the middle of Leviticus (“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” 19:18b), as fully justifying these claims, supported by other isolated verses, notably, Exod 23:45, on rescuing the ass of one’s enemy. Relying on these verses has the appearance of grasping at straws in order to justify the words of Jesus, but it seems clear that in the time of Jesus they had indeed been searched out and elevated to new significance. John Meier has recently argued that it was Jesus himself who gave the Levitical neighbor his high standing, but because the Gospels present the notion as already known, this article suggests that it had achieved a consensus status by this time.

For JETS subscribers, the essay doesn’t currently seem to appear on the current issue’s webpage, but doubtless that absence will be remedied at some point in the near future.

Loving one’s neighbor in JBL and elsewhere

The most recent issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature carries Matthew Goldstone’s essay “Rebuke, Lending, and Love: An Early Exegetical Tradition on Leviticus 19:17–18” (307–21). According to the abstract,

In this article I posit the presence of an early Jewish exegesis of Lev 19:17–18 preserved in the Tannaitic midrash known as Sifra, which is inverted and amplified in Did. 1:3–5, Q 6:27–35, Luke 6:27–35, and Matt 5:38–44. Identifying shared terminology and a sequence of themes in these passages, I argue that these commonalities testify to the existence of a shared exegetical tradition. By analyzing the later rabbinic material I delineate the contours of this Second Temple period interpretation and augment our understanding of the construction of these early Christian pericopae. In commenting on Lev 19:17, Sifra articulates three permissible modes of rebuke: cursing, hitting, and slapping. In its gloss on the subsequent verse, Sifra exemplifies the biblical injunction against vengeance and bearing a grudge through the case of lending and borrowing from one’s neighbor. The Didache, Matthew, and Luke invert the first interpretation by presenting Jesus as recommending a passive response to being cursed or slapped, and they amplify the second interpretation by commanding one to give and lend freely to all who ask. The similar juxtaposition of these two ideas and the shared terminology between Sifra and these New Testament period texts suggest a common source. By reading these early Christian sources in light of this later rabbinic work I advance our understanding of the formation of these well-known passages and illustrate the advantages of cautiously employing rabbinic material for reading earlier Christian works.

In addition, I hadn’t been aware of it, but Goldstone’s n37 refers to John Piper’s SNTSMS publication of a revised version of his dissertation. This volume was republished by Crossway with an additional preface in 2012. As tends to be the case with a very few exceptions, this latest edition of the volume is available as a free PDF via the DesiringGod website.

The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society‘s current issue has an essay on the command to love one’s neighbor that I haven’t yet read but looks quite interesting too.