Site Updates

For the past several weeks, I have been working on some reasonably substantial changes to the site that should make it more useful and beneficial. With these changes completed and my comprehensive exams on the horizon (in both a hermeneutical and a temporal sense), I hope to begin regularly posting again quite soon. For anyone who may be interested, the following are among the most significant of changes to the site:

  • The Bookshelf is now visual. Instead of an increasingly long list of text-only links for the publications mentioned on this site and other helpful works, the Bookshelf now uses book cover thumbnails with the author(s) or editor(s) names captioned below.
  • Complementing the new design for the bookshelf are the “In this post” sections that have been added. This section provides for each post a kind of quick reference bibliography that can be consulted more extensively if one so desires. This section allows any in-text references in the posts to be more abbreviated and, hence, less intrusive, while at the same time providing an additional means of informally facilitating content control and readerly review.
  • Links to have been implemented for the biblical and most of the apocryphal literature. It seems that there may still be some quirks with some of the apocryphal literature (e.g., the additions to Daniel and Esther); otherwise, things seem to work quite smoothly.
  • Added Widgets
    • Series of posts are now tagged, and the series names appear in a sidebar widget.
    • The “Current and Recent Reading” section from the Bookshelf has moved to a sidebar widget.
    • In addition, I have added added a widget that lists select new and forthcoming publications.
    • At the end of May, Google rolled out a blog “bundling” service, which I have used to create a bundle on the sidebar for this blog and the other blogs listed in the blogroll here. Google Reader Blog BundlesSubscribing to this bundle should automatically subscribe you to the New Testament Interpretation feed as well as all of the other feeds in the blogroll. Whether you use Google Reader or anther feed reader, if you already subscribe to one or more of the blogs listed on the blogroll here, the read/unread statuses of posts in the bundled feed should automatically synchronize with the unbundled feed and vice versa. Once you subscribe to the bundle, you can also customize the specific bundle feeds that you want to receive. At this point, as changes are made to the blogroll, individual bundle subscriptions will not automatically update. To update an individual, bundle subscription, you will need to resubscribe to the New Testament Interpretation bundle itself.
  • According to my records, the following blogs have been added to the blogroll since the last blogroll update:
  • A Student Resources page has been added as a parent page for the previously independent New Testament Greek, Other Websites, and Theological Writing pages. Links in older versions of the writing handout will be automatically redirected to the new Theological Writing page location.
  • The New Testament Greek page has been updated to revive what had apparently become dead links, add files that had previously been corrupted, add audio files for the optative mood, and add miscellaneous other files.
  • Finally, the site has a new theme and a new logo. The image is clipped and edited from a photograph of a leaf from Codex Sinaiticus online at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. Beginning on the seventh line from the top, is Luke 10:26, which, in the NA27/UBS4 text, reads: ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν· ἐν τῷ νόμῳ τί γέγραπται; πῶς ἀναγινώσκεις; (And he said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”).

Blogging and Biblical Studies: Thoughts from N. T. Wright and Thomas Kuhn

In his Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, N. T. Wright reflects:

It is really high time we developed a Christian ethic of blogging. Bad temper is bad temper even in the apparent privacy of your own hard drive, and harsh and unjust words, when released into the wild, rampage around and do real damage. . . . [T]he cyberspace equivalents of road rage don’t happen by accident. People who type vicious, angry, slanderous and inaccurate accusations do so because they feel their worldview to be under attack. Yes, I have a pastoral concern for such people. (And, for that matter, a pastoral concern for anyone who spends more than a few minutes a day taking part in blogsite discussions, especially when they all use code names: was it for this that the creator God made human beings?) (Wright 26–27; cf. Köstenberger, “Internet Ettiquette”; Köstenberger, “Internet Ettiquette, Part 2”).1

This bow shot at “(information) superhighway rage” is, of course, quite fitting, as is the recognition that, for all its usefulness in certain areas (e.g., facilitating information exchange), the internet itself often poorly facilitates other things (e.g., sustained content quality control; on a slightly different facet of the issue, see Goodacre, “April Fool’s Jokes”). Such things are clearly in the forefront of Wright’s mind in the quoted statements and may help to flesh out the role of biblioblogging in relation to presentations in more traditional media. For instance, consider the following quotation:

Today in the sciences, books are usually either texts or retrospective reflections upon one aspect or another of the scientific life. The scientist who writes one is more likely to find his professional reputation impaired than enhanced. Only in the earlier, pre-paradigm, stages of the development of the various sciences did the book ordinarily possess the same relation to professional achievement that it still retains in other creative fields. And only in those fields that still retain the book, with or without the article, as a vehicle for research communication are the lines of professionalization still so loosely drawn that the layman may hope to follow progress by reading the practitioners’ original reports (Kuhn 20; italics and bold added).

Biblical studies certainly “retain[s] the book” in such a fashion, and biblioblogs can have a similar function, even if how they fit among more traditional, academic activities is not always clear (cf. Goodacre, “Academic Blogging”; Carlson). Although internet access is not always free, subscriptions to blogs are as free as RSS readers, and as internet access and use of blog subscriptions continue becoming more common, the quantity of people interested in biblioblog material at its regular cost (i.e., free), should continue growing also. Consequently, this increase in the accessibility of material related to biblical studies could continue significantly widening at least the circle of listeners for biblical studies discussions (if not the circle of participants in these discussions also), but whether this increase in accessibility will be beneficial is entirely relative to the value of the content on the biblioblogs themselves. As biblioblog quality approaches the quality that has come to be expected in more traditional media, the blog medium itself becomes something quite different from the “blog as site for spuriousness” that Wright so correctly criticizes—it becomes something more akin to Thomas Kuhn’s “vehicle for research communication.” Since the sciences about which Kuhn was writing and the general humanities setting in which biblical studies and biblioblogging sit have different dissemination media and subject matter, however, several additional and potentially beneficial options emerge for forms that biblioblogs and their contents might take (see Köstenberger, “Genre of ‘Blog'”). How precisely to sustain this kind of interchange where it does exist and how to encourage it where it should exist are thorny questions indeed, and in some cases, behavioral regeneracy may be a necessary starting point (cf. Col 3:7–8).

Yet, in addition, might not self-consciously situating biblioblogging in some kind of “Great Conversation” among present students, past students, and the biblical literature itself provide a measure of guidance? With the current nature of the blog medium, this conversation will certainly be impersonal—a conversation among “gravatars” is certainly not the same as a conversation among “real” people present with each other at the same time (cf. Wright 27). Yet, on the other hand, the letters and signatures that have connected people for centuries are, for instance, at least in some ways, not so very different from blogs and gravatars.

The metaphor of biblioblogging, within a “Great Conversation,” as a “working group” is probably too formal and scholastic, but it does portray the activity as a collaboration that produces something beneficial. Thanks to resources like those that Brandon Wason and John Hobbins, Daniel and Tonya, and perhaps most particularly, the Biblioblog Top 50 (with its accompanying Google searches of all biblioblogs and all biblioblogs and related blogs), “beneficial somethings” on the biblioblogs are continuing to become easier to find by more people, once these “somethings” are added to the conversation in any given place. With the rise of resources like these ones and a push (whether from individual bibliobloggers or from a more organized, “peer review” format) to maintain good content quality, biblioblogging should be able to be a valuable activity for bloggers and readers. Indeed, not least for those of us in the Protestant tradition, whose first forebears regularly pushed to get more people more information with which to make more informed decisions about matters of biblical interpretation, the blog medium has, despite some of its deficiencies, the attractive potential to serve simultaneously both church and academy, as well as any others who “log on.”

1 Incidentally, InterVarsity has made the chapter from which this quote comes available in a PDFon their website.

In this post:

Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn

N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright

ΠΑΡΑΛΕΙΠΟΜΕΝΑ: From Page to Category

Over the past several weeks, I’ve become convinced that the Παραλειπόμενα page would be more serviceable as a post category. Below are the current παραλειπόμενα not also included in other posts; a complete selection of the παραλειπόμενα can be obtained by clicking the παραλειπόμενα category link.

  1. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· διὰ τοῦτο πᾶς γραμματεὺς μαθητευθεὶς τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ, ὅστις ἐκβάλλει ἐκ τοῦ θησαυροῦ αὐτοῦ καινὰ καὶ παλαιά (And he said to them, “Therefore, every scribe who has been taught for the kingdom of the heavens is like a man who is a master of a house, who brings forth from his storeroom new and old things”; Matt 13:52)
  2. “[I]t is better for [people] to find you [O God] and leave the question unanswered than to find the answer without finding you” (Augustine 1.6).
  3. “If you can’t imagine how anyone could hold the view you are attacking, you just don’t understand it yet” (Weston 6).
  4. “I have never been able to give myself the comfort which some devout believers seem to derive from a contemptuous attitude toward men on the other side of the great debate; I have never been able to dismiss the ‘higher critics’ en masse with a few words of summary condemnation” (J. Gresham Machen, quoted in Baird 352).
  5. עשות ספרים הרבה אין קץ ולהג הרבה יגעת בשר (Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study is the weariness of the bones; Eccl 12:12).
  6. “We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them. So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to ‘offer’ something when they are together with other people. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening. But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God. The death of the spiritual life starts here, and in the end there is nothing left but empty spiritual chatter and clerical condescension which chokes on pious words. Those who cannot listen long and patiently will always be talking past others, and finally no longer will even notice it. Those who think their time is too precious to spend listening will never really have time for God and others, but only for themselves and for their own words and plans” (Bonhoeffer 98).
  7. καὶ ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς (And wisdom is justified by her deeds; Matt 11:19).
  8. “The New Testament is concerned with proclamation. It is a Kerygma, the loud cry of a herald authorized by a king to proclaim his will and purpose to his subjects. It is Euangelion, good news, sent to those who are in distress with the promise of deliverance. It is the Word of the Lord—and in the East a word is no mere vibration in the atmosphere, it is a living power sent forth to accomplish that for which it is sent” (Neill and Wright 448–49; italics original).
  9. “[T]he hermeneutical task involves both distance, in which account is taken of the particularity of the text, and also a progress towards as close a fusion of horizons with the text as the relation between text and interpreter will allow” (Thiselton 440; emphasis original).
  10. ὁ ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ λαλῶν τὴν δόξαν τὴν ἰδίαν ζητεῖ (He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; John 7:18).

In this post:

Aurelius Augustine
Aurelius Augustine
William Baird
William Baird
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright
Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright
Anthony Thiselton
Anthony Thiselton
Anthony Weston
Anthony Weston

New to the Blogroll

The following entries have been added to the blogroll:

  • Biblical Studies and Technological Tools – A blog about technological resources available for biblical studies.
  • Biblical Theology – The blog of Stephen Dempster, Professor of Religious Studies at Atlantic Baptist University.
  • Conn-versation – A blog indebted to the legacy of Harvey Conn, a former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary.
  • Conversational Theology – The blog of Ros Clarke, a PhD candidate at Highland Theological College and Book Review Editor for Ecclesia Reformanda. Ros specializes in the Song of Songs and canonical criticism.
  • Evangelical Textual Criticism – A blog facilitated by Peter Head, New Testament Research Fellow at Tyndale House, and Tommy Wasserman, Post–doctoral Research Fellow at Lunds University. The blog seeks to serve evangelicals involved in academic study of textual criticism.
  • – The blog of Fried Putnam, a professor at Philadelphia Biblical University. Dr. Putnam specializes in Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament translation and interpretation.
  • Helm’s Deep – The blog of Paul Helm, Teaching Fellow at Regent College and Professor of Theology at Highland Theological College.
  • ̔Ελληνιστί – The blog of Alan Knox, Adjunct Instructor of New Testament Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Nerdlets – The blog of Tommy Keene, a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at Westminster Theological Seminary. Tommy specializes in the book of Hebrews and metaphor theory.
  • NT Discourse – The blog of Steven Runge, Scholar in Residence at Logos Bible Software. Dr. Runge sepecializes in discourse grammar.
  • Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians – The blog of Thomas, a graduate of Regent College, who specializes in Galatians.
  • Zotero – Zotero is a research assistance plugin for the Firefox browser.

Blogroll Updates

The blogroll has been updated and transferred from its own page to a sidebar widget. Also, Greek blog titles are now alphabetized according to the Greek alphabet rather than their transliteration. So, for example, titles beginning with (Greek) epsilon are alphabetized after titles beginning with (English) gee.

Look for several additions to appear in the coming days.

New Testament Greek Resources

A new page is now available that will eventually house several resources for learning New Testament Greek. Currently, the page features MP3 audio recordings of the basic verb and noun paradigms as well as some songs that have been translated into Greek. Repeatedly hearing these paradigms and the songs in which they are used can provide one more way of cementing New Testament Greek in memory.

Right now, the Greek resources page basically reflects my old faculty page at Faulkner University, but expect more material to become available and a more friendly organization to develop over the coming weeks.

The Interpretation of the New Testament, 1861–1986: Interaction

Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright
Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright
Neill’s stated purpose for his book was “to provide a narrative [about the interpretation of the New Testament] that can be read without too much trouble by the non-theologian who is anxious to know and is prepared to devote some time to the subject” (ix). This task he seems to have done masterfully well, with a comparatively frugal use of footnotes to set forth “the necessary apparatus of scholarship” (ix). While this history might have proved tedious, Neill has managed to produce a cogent narrative that, at times, may well carry the interested student into the situation or the time being described.

One of the work’s great strengths is the detail with which Neill and Wright investigate each character and movement included in the narrative. While the level of detail could prove cumbersome, it does provide a valuable opportunity to ‘meet’ some of the giants in the field. As a result, after this perusing this introduction, readers will probably find themselves much better prepared to read, critique, and make use of the positions investigated. Likewise valuable is the even-handed portrayal Neill and Wright give of the various theologians they cover, irrespective of whether they would personally support or object to these theologians’ assertions. For instance, although Neill and Wright are considerably more enthusiastic when writing about the Cambridge trio than when they write figures like Baur, even in this latter case, they do not villanize characters like Baur.

Finally, the book’s summary section tries to encourage continued study of the New Testament. As it says, “The New Testament is concerned with proclamation. It is a Kerygma, the loud cry of a herald authorized by a king to proclaim his will and purpose to his subjects. It is Euangelion, good news, sent to those who are in distress with the promise of deliverance. It is the Word of the Lord—and in the East a word is no mere vibration in the atmosphere, it is a living power sent forth to accomplish that for which it is sent” (448–49; italics original). Thus, the chronicle that Neill and Wright provide in this work moves, in their minds, toward establishing a better understanding of the New Testament’s message, which must be proclaimed and heard in all of creation.

In this post:

Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright
Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright