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.

Bates, Abraham, and allegiance in the gospel

At the Logos Academic Blog, Tavis Bohlinger has part 4 in his interview series with Matthew Bates about Bates’s recently released Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017). Bates comments, in part,

My preference for “allegiance” springs from the conviction that the proclaimed gospel centered on Jesus the royal messiah, and this suggests that the “allegiance” portion of the range of meaning of pistis is in play in some crucial New Testament texts pertaining to salvation…. It is extremely unlikely that Paul felt that pistis was something that was ultimately in tension with or contradictory to embodied activity (i.e., good works as a general category). Paul’s complaint with works (of Law) lies elsewhere, as I explain in Ch. 5.

For the balance of the interview, see the original post at theLAB. Apparently, I’d overlooked part 3 of the series, which is, of course, also available at the LAB. So, for prior discussion of the volume, see also Bates at theLAB, part 2Other discussion of Bates, “Salvation by allegiance”Bates interview at theLAB, and Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Bowald, “Rendering the word” at theLAB

Bowald, "Rendering the word" coverFor the moment, visitors to the Logos Academic Blog site are being invited to subscribe via email. Email subscription unlocks a coupon code for a free copy of Mark Bowald’s Rendering the Word in Theological Hermeneutics: Mapping Divine and Human Agency (Lexham, 2015). According to the book’s blurb,

What is the relationship between divine and human agency in the interpretation of Scripture? Differing schools of thought often fail to address this key question, overemphasizing or ignoring one or the other. When the divine inspiration of Scripture is overemphasized, the varied roles of human authors tend to become muted in our approach the text. Conversely, when we think of the Bible almost entirely in terms of its human authorship, Scripture’s character as the word of God tends to play little role in our theological reasoning. The tendency is to choose either an academic or a spiritual approach to interpretation.

In Rendering the Word in Theological Hermeneutics, Mark Bowald asserts that this is a false dichotomy. We need not emphasize the human qualities of Scripture to the detriment of the divine, nor the other way around. We must rather approach Scripture as equally human and divine in origin and character, and we must read it with both critical rigor and openness to the leading of God’s Spirit now and in the historic life of the church.

From this perspective, Bowald also offers a fruitful analysis of the hermeneutical methods of George Lindbeck, Hans Frei, Kevin Vanhoozer, Francis Watson, Stephen Fowl, David Kelsey, Werner Jeanrond, Karl Barth, James K.A. Smith, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.

For more information about the volume, see it’s page on the Logos website. Or, see theLAB site to subscribe via email.

Biblical references in systematic theologies

At theLAB, Rick Brannan has an interesting post about the most frequently cited verses in a selection of systematic theologies. Especially by comparison with the size of the two testaments, New Testament references vastly outnumber Old Testament references (90% to 10% in the top 100 most frequently cited texts). As a supplement to the analysis, it might also be interesting to see a bibliography of the exact systematic theologies involved in the accounting would be interesting, as well as whether there would be some way of calculating whether the sample size is large enough to be statistically significant (e.g., within the publication date ranges represented).

Rick promises “a follow-up post that uses the same approach to Biblical Theologies.” That post is sure to provide some interesting results too. Meanwhile, see the full text of Rick’s current post at theLAB.

Bates at theLAB, part 2

Bates, Over at the Logos Academic Blog, Tavis Bohlinger now has up the second part of his interview with Matthew Bates about his Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017).  This interview portion focuses much more on Bates’s particular proposal in the volume.

For previous related discussion, see Other discussion of Bates, “Salvation by allegiance,”  Bates interview at theLAB, and Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Other discussion of Bates, “Salvation by allegiance”

In commenting about theLAB’s interview with Matthew Bates, I overlooked having saved a couple other recent interactions with his Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017):

  • Nijay Gupta provides a friendly, largely affirmative, and probing set of thoughts.
  • Thomas Schreiner expresses his appreciation for some of the volume’s core impulses but suggests that the proposals gains fail to outweigh the corresponding deficiencies that it creates.

For additional, related discussion, see Bates interview at theLAB and Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Bates interview at theLAB

At the Logos Academic Blog,  Tavis Bohlinger has the first part of an interview series with Matthew Bates. This first entry takes its main impetus from Bates’s Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017) but also ranges into other areas of personal background, research productivity, and spiritual formation.

For prior further discussion, see also Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Qumran Cave 12

Working under the auspices of Operation Scroll, archaeologists have discovered what is being numbered as the twelfth scroll cave in the vicinity of Khirbet Qumran.

New Qumran cave location
New Qumran cave location. Photo credit: Randall Pierce, via theLAB
Entrance to Qumran Cave 12
Fault cliff and cave 12 entrance on the left. Photo credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld, via Haaretz

Work in the new cave has produced no new texts, but both linen (characteristic of scroll wrappers found elsewhere) and blank parchment fragments suggest that texts probably were stored in the cave at some point. Since no [scroll-type] texts were found in this cave, as with cave 8, the new cave’s designation will likely be Q12 rather than 12Q. [Updated 15 February 2017. For explanation of this correction, please see Qumran Cave 12: Update 2.]

Remnant of scroll found in Cave 12. Photo credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld, via Haaretz
Blank, rolled parchment remnant found in Cave 12. Photo credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld, via Haaretz

At this point, the total contents of the cave seem to be:

  • Two mid-twentieth-century pickax heads (presumably from previous looters of the cave)
  • Remains of six jars of the same type as those containing scrolls in other caves
  • Linen fragments
  • Papyrus and parchment fragments
  • Connecting fragments
  • A leather strap and string consistent with those used with scrolls
  • Arrowheads and knives
  • A carnelian stamp seal

This new cave find and its contents are definitely interesting. But, for texts that have reached the market through Bedouins, the discovery—and apparent prior looting of the new cave—also opens new questions about the accuracy of standing assessments of the caves in which these texts were found.

At least one of the team that has excavated this twelfth cave, Randall Price, professor and museum curator at Liberty University, thinks he has a lead on a thirteenth cave with a currently-obscured entrance. Whether that lead will pan out is yet to be seen, but a twelfth cave’s discovery is certainly exciting in itself.

For further discussion and original reports digested here, see Craig Evans (Twitter, theLAB), Dan Wallace, Haaretz, Hebrew University of Jerusalemi24newsJerusalem Post, and Jim Davila. For well-put humor, see Ian N. Mills.