April 2009


 

Eddy and Boyd’s defense of the historicity of the Synoptic tradition is essentially a dialogue with a group of scholars who hold to what Eddy and Boyd call the “Jesus legend” thesis. They group in this definition any scholar who holds that the Jesus of the gospels is a “fictional legend” to any degree (13). They argue that most of these scholars come to the gospels with their own presuppositions and allow their presuppositions to rule their decisions. Eddy and Boyd admit their own presuppositions up front, they are largely within the evangelical camp. But they argue that if we follow their model which they call an “open historical-critical model” we will be able to conclude that “the Synoptic portrait of Jesus is quite historically plausible–in fact, that it is the most historically probable representation of the actual Jesus of history” (14).

Eddy and Boyd begin by defending their methodology which they refer to as an “open historical-critical” method. This is their way of reacting against the extreme skepticism that has dominated much of NT studies. They argue that the extreme skepticism of ‘miracles’ or supernatural events is actually a worldview that is limited to Western academia. for, they argue, “present human experience on a global scale is saturated with reported experiences of the supernatural” (67). The extreme critical view which unquestionably denies any possibility of the supernatural has “not been critical enough” (78) for it is not critical of its own presuppositions. Once we move beyond this extreme skepticism, and allow for the possibility of the supernatural we are at a much more appropriate place to study the NT.

In the second chapter the authors examine the often held claim that the high christology of the NT only develops as the early church “syncretistically mixed with Hellenistic philosophical and/or religious ideas” (92). After surveying the options both for and against, Eddy and Boyd find that “there is no compelling reason to suppose that first-century Jews as a whole–including Gallilean Jews–were open to a revision of their basic religious convictions via pagan ideas” (131). They thus conclude (more…)

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Apparently I have now been blogging for over a year. My first post was March 21, 2008 and here it is April 21, 2009. So I’m a month late. Anyway, I thought it was worth noting that I have lasted a year in the blogging world. I have not been as regular a poster as I wanted, nor have I made as many significant posts as I originally intended, nor have I carried on my Septuagintal Saturdays which I enjoyed so much. But all in all, this has been a positive experience.

I have intentionally kept a low profile in the blogging world, most of the people who read this blog are family, friends, or the occasional person who wanders over this way from some bizarre google search. I hope that I can continue my moderate posts on this blog as Sarah and I look forward to moving overseas to this new point in our life. It may be that this blog takes a more family oriented tone, as we use it to let our family and friends keep tabs on us in England, or it may be that it takes a more academic tone as I use it to disseminate my doctoral studies, only time will tell. 

Anyway, thanks to all who have read this blog and encouraged me along the way.

Sadly, more often than I would like to admit, this is my life:


Check out www.phdcomics.com for more from my new favorite comic strip. If you are a graduate student, I guarantee you there is a strip that describes your life.

The last two online lectures I have posted about have been multiple lecture series. This lecture is a stand alone. It is also a fantastic introduction to the complexities of the Septuagint by the Dean of all Septuagintal studies, John W. Wevers. 

John W. Wevers has contributed more to Septuagintal studies than any other living scholar. Most notably we owe him for the Göttingen critical edition of the LXX of the entire Pentateuch! I can’t exaggerate how massive of a task that is. He also wrote a series of commentary notes on each of those books.

This lecture, part of a great online collection of lectures from Calvin Seminary, is something akin to an old man’s recollection of a lifetime of work on the Septuagint. It is a great introduction to everything from the Letter of Aristeas to the daughter translations to the doctrinal importance of the Septuagint. And if you don’t know, what I’m referring to you should probably take an hour of your time and listen to this lecture.

John W. Wevers – The Study of the Septuagint as a Theological Discipline

So I originally intended to write book reviews on this blog for all of the books that I read in order to 1) force myself to summarize the content of the book after reading it, 2) to have a place where I can keep my summaries and 3) to allow others to benefit from my take on my readings. However, I have turned out to be a less than regular blogger and I haven’t been diligent in my book reviews. I am currently way behind in my book reviews but I intend to catch up. Below is a list of books that I have read recently and hope to have reviews of soon. This is my way of committing myself to finishing these reviews.

  • Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd, The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition
  • James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered
  • Michael Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel
  • R.W.L. Moberly, The Old Testament of the Old Testament: Patriarchal Narratives and Mosaic Yahwism
  • Kenton L. Sparks, God’s Words in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship
  • Jennifer M. Dines, The Septuagint
  • Martin Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture

I have recently read Michael Heiser’s interactions with John Hobbins ‘thoughts about canon’ posts here, here and here. I have found this discussion very interesting and helpful. The topic of the canon, especially the canon of the OT has interested me for some time, and I might even say, troubled me for some time. This question is intrinsically linked to the problem of inerrancy, which I have discussed earlier

There are several problems with the concept of canon, as it is narrowly defined. The first is the problem that different churches accept different canons. The famous example being the inclusion of much of the ‘so called’ apocrypha by the Orthodox and Catholic churches, and the rejection of those books by Protestant churches. But the other problem, in my mind, is the Septuagint, which is still recognized as the Old Testament by Orthodox churches today, though both Protestant and Catholic churches have accepted the Hebrew Masoretic Text.  The Septuagint represents a different list of cannon, including such books as Maccabees, 1 Esdras, Judith, Tobit, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch and new parts of Daniel. 

The major difficulty that the Septuagint poses is the fact that it seems that it was the accepted canon of the earliest church. It stayed accepted until Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, which was based on the MT much to Augustine’s chagrin, won the day as the accepted Scripture of the church. So the earliest church accepted the LXX but the later church accepted the MT, we have some discontinuity in our church history. I have no clear solution to this problem, but having just finished Martin Hengel’s excellent book, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, I’ll just offer this quote as something to think about:

Does the church still need a clearly demarcated, strictly closed Old Testament canon, since the New Testament is, after all, the ‘conclusion’, the goal and the fulfillment of the Old? (M. Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture [Grand Rapids, BakerAcademic, 2002], 125-26).

 I have officially accepted an offer of a place in the PhD program in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham. I will be studying under the renowned scholar Professor Walter Moberly  (he is most known for his work in theological interpretation of scripture). My area of research will be the Hebrew and Greek versions of 1 Sam. 16-18 and its implication for understanding the Old Testament as Christian Scripture. 

Needless to say, Sarah and I are very excited and we will be moving to Durham, England sometime in the late summer or early fall. I will continue to post about our saga across the pond. All I can say at this point is that were it not for the Lord putting me here, this would not have happened.