Theological Writing Handout 0.8.1, Beta

The Theological Writing Handout has been updated. The major change from 0.7 (beta) to 0.8 (beta) is the addition of example insets for each type of source that the handout mentions (see §32.11). The most recent version, 0.8.1 (beta), contains some minor, pagination changes in comparison with version 0.8. For fuller details on the changes made since version 0.7, please see the 0.7 to 0.8 and the 0.8 to 0.8.1 change logs.

You may view the latest version of the handout here or download it from Scribd.

RBL Newsletter (September 19, 2009)

The latest reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include the following:

New Testament and Cognate Studies


Other Fields

A Plea for Scholarly Engagement

Steve Runge has posted a fantastic essay on “The Bane of Dismissive Scholarship.” Among his most poignant statements are the following:

[T]he literature review and preparation for writing the paper. . . . is where I should be adding to my already profound arsenal of Knowledge, filling my cup til it runneth over. Realistically, I feel like many use this stage to fill their quiver with barbs that they will launch at other scholars. Why? Because some folks seem more interested in being right than in getting it right. . . . The specific issue that has got me in a tizzy is folks getting it mostly right, but being dismissed because of the portion that is lacking. To put it another way, instead of remodeling the missing element of the structure, they demo the whole thing so that THEY can be the builder, THEY can save the day. . . . It behooves me in writing my paper to stop and ask what my objective is: to be right or to get it right? If I am claiming something that no one else has ever claimed before, I have good reason to fear. If I am claiming something that represents the core idea the grammarians have expressed for over a century and I can build on or clarify that argument, there is a far greater chance of getting things right. It is a win-win: in getting it right, I get to be right (Runge, “Dismissive Scholarship”; italics and capitalization original).

The rest of the essay further presses home these points, and the post bears reading in its entirety. The whole post also reminds me of a very pithy sentence from Anthony Weston: “If you can’t imagine how anyone could hold the view you are attacking, you just don’t understand it yet” (Weston 6; cf. Gadamer 302; Machen, quoted in Baird 352).

In this post:

William Baird
William Baird
Hans Georg Gadamer
Hans Georg Gadamer
Anthony Weston
Anthony Weston

Free Resources from BAS

The Biblical Archaeology Society catalog arrived yesterday with a list of free resources in the back, most of which are relevant for New Testament and related studies. Among these works are:

  • Island Jewels: Understanding Ancient Cyprus and Crete. 2008. 66 pages. Contributors include Steven Feldman, David Soren, Hershel Shanks, Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, Nancy Serwint, Jeremy McInerney, and Joan G. Scheuer.
  • The Olympic Games: How They All Began. 2008. 61 pages. Contributors include Sarah Yeomans, Jenifer Neils, Michael B. Poliakoff, David Gilman Romano, Tony Perrottet, and Stephen G. Miller.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls—What They Really Say. 2007. 24 pages. By Hershel Shanks.
  • The Burial of Jesus. 2007. 63 pages. Contributors include Jodi Magness, Amos Kloner, Dan Bahat, Gabriel Barkay, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, Gabriel Barkay and Amos Kloner, and Richard J. Bauckham.
  • Real or Fake? A Special Report. 2007. 29 pages. By Hershel Shanks. Also available at this URL as a separate file is the abstracts appendix. 2007. 83 pages. Contributors include Shmuel Ahituv, Gabriel Barkay, Chaim Cohen, Aaron Demsky, David Noel Freedman, Edward Greenstein, Avi Hurwitz, Wolfgang Krumbein, André Lemaire, Alan Millard, Ronny Reich, Amnon Rosenfeld and Howard R. Feldman, Hershel Shanks, Andrew Vaughn, Ada Yardeni, Gerald B. Richards, and Gabriel Barkay.

All of these works are helpfully illustrated. To access these resources, you will need to submit your name and email address, and you will receive an email with download information.

N.B.: The current webpage for these and other, free BAS resources is; the URL listed in the catalog has yet to be redirected to this location.

Update: The link to listed in the BAS catalog now redirects automatically to

Online Papers and Lectures

Michael Bird comments that the papers for next week’s Louven conference, “New Perspectives on Paul and the Jews,” are available for download. Of the presenters listed in the program, only Anne-Marie Reijnen’s paper on “Kosmos and Creation in Paul’s Thought” is not currently available.

Additionally, in the developing list of audio and video resources over at Evangelical Textual Criticism:

  • Tommy Wasserman mentions some audio and video material from Dan Wallace.
  • Mark Francois notes the availability of the video recordings of Stanley Porter’s 2008 Hayward Lectures. In addition, the Hayward Lectures webpage includes “[t]he majority of the [other] Hayward Lectures from 1981 to the present” as hosted by

Little Bunny Fufu Meets the Maccabees

Sometimes, a bit of humor or oddity can be pedagogically advantageous. In this connection, I have tried to fit the chief, Maccabean figures into the chorus from “Little Bunny Fufu” (who may apparently appear, at least occasionally, as “Little Rabbit Fufu” in the UK) (midi audio, lyrics).

There is, of course, a little fudging in this adaptation:

  • The first mention of a John Hyrcanus and an Aristobulus should naturally be taken as implying “the first” in their denominations, just as the second mention should be taken as implying “the second.” Creativity failed me, however, when trying to think of a tune where these additional epithets could be included without making nuisances of themselves.
  • Two slightly different pronunciations of Aristobulus appear (see Tomasino 330).
  • At the end of the ditty, little bunny Fufu ends up having to pick up the field mice and bop them on the head once more in order to squeeze in Antigonus Mattathias.

Still, even with these caveats, a ditty like this one could prove to be a useful tool for helping students learn a basic framework for the Maccabean period’s chief figures. Those who are interested can download or listen to the recording in mp3 format.

In this post:

Anthony Tomasino
Anthony Tomasino

Gems from Justin

While reading around Justin Martyr’s First Apology this morning, I came across a few interesting points.

In discussing the injustice of Christians’ condemnation, Justin says,

By the mere application of a name, nothing is decided, either good or evil, apart from the actions implied in the name; and indeed, so far at least as one may judge from the name we are accused of, we are most excellent people. But as we do not think it just to beg to be acquitted on account of the name, if we be convicted as evil-doers, so, on the other hand, if we be found to have committed no offence, either in the matter of thus naming ourselves, or of our conduct as citizens, it is your part very earnestly to guard against incurring just punishment, by unjustly punishing those who are not convicted. For from a name neither praise nor punishment could reasonably spring, unless something excellent or base in action be proved. And those among yourselves who are accused you do not punish before they are convicted; but in our case you receive the name as proof against us, and this although, so far as the name goes, you ought rather to punish our accusers. For we are accused of being Christians, and to hate what is excellent (Chrestian) is unjust (Justin, 1 Apol. 4; emphasis added).

In this section, Justin makes rhetorical use of the identification of Christians as followers of Chrestus (see Suetonius, Claud. 25; χρήστος ≈ “excellent, worthy, good”) in order to establish his two-fold claim that: (1) Christians should be judged by their works rather than by their name and (2) even if they are judged by their name, they should receive approval.

Justin reports that, when a congregation gathered to share the Eucharist, the “president of the brethren” would offer “prayers and thanksgivings,”

And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the pople present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γένοιτο” (Justin, 1 Apol. 65; emphasis added).

BDAG, of course, already contains this reference in the entry for ἀμήν, yet another anecdotal reason to read whole lexical entries.

Continuing in his description of the Eucharist, Justin explains that

And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn (Justin, 1 Apol. 66).

To these remarks, the Ante-Nicene Fathers edition subjoins the intriguing comment from Gelasius, the fifth-century, Roman bishop, that “[b]y the sacraments we are made partakers of the divine nature, and yet the substance and nature of the bread and wine do not cease to be in them” (Justin, 1 Apol. 66 n. 6). Others may have more astute perspectives, but surprisingly, to my perception, given Gelasius’s Roman ties, Gelasius’s seems to favor something more akin to consubstantiation (or something like it) than transubstantiatition. Of course, even on this reading, the extent to which Gelasius reflects well what Justin was intending to communicate remains debatable (see Justin, 1 Apol. 66 n. 6; Joseph Pohle, “The Real Presence of Christ”).

In this post:

Walter Bauer, Frederick Danker, William Arndt, and Wilbur Gingrich
Walter Bauer, Frederick Danker, William Arndt, and Wilbur Gingrich
Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Cox
Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Cox