C. Hassell Bullock, Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College, has offered a very interesting study of the canonical relationship between “Wisdom” (ketuvim?) and Torah (“Wisdom, the ‘Amen’ of Torah,” JETS 52/1 [2009]: 5-18). Bullock’s thesis is that wisdom literature functions as “the ‘amen’ of Torah” (p. 5). What he means by this is that wisdom literature functions in a dialogical relationship to Torah that affirms the major tenets of Israelite faith from the Torah. 

He examines three Pentateuchal themes that “wisdom” affirms: 1) the creator God, 2) monotheism, and 3) the theme of the “fear of the Lord/God.” In each section he examines texts from Psalms, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes to show how they affirm these Pentateuchal themes to varying degrees of success. 

For the most part I enjoy these kinds of intertextual and pan-biblical studies. However, (more…)

I just received my copy of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume 52, No. 1 in the mail today. I must say that usually I read a couple of articles in each volume and the book reviews of books that I am interested in. However, in this volume I find myself interested in every single article. The theme, which I do not think JETS often has, appears to be the canon and textual criticism. There looks to be some fascinating essays by some first rate evangelical scholars:

C. Hassell Bullock, “Wisdom, the ‘Amen’ of Torah”

Peter J. Gentry, “The Text of the Old Testament”

Stephen Dempster, “Canons on the Right and Canons on the Left: Finding a Resolution in the Canon Debate”

Daniel B. Wallace, “Challenges in New Testament Textual Criticism for the Twenty-First Century”

C.E. Hill, “The New Testament Canon: Deconstructio ad Absurdum?”

This may very well be the first time I am tempted to read my copy of JETS from cover to cover. Since my thoughts have been turning to canon anyway I may use this issue of JETS as a jumping off point for a discussion of the Christian canon. Stay tuned.

This is a little bit of old news. I found this out a few weeks ago, but I just got the schedule for the NW Regional Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and was reminded that my paper on Judges 13 was accepted. Below is the title and abstract:

Paper Title: What do Jacob, Joseph, Jesus and Samson Have in Common? A Study of Judges 13 as a Biblical Type-Scene


Jacob, Joseph, Jesus and Samson, and also Isaac, Samuel, John the Baptist, and possibly an unnamed boy in Kings are very different characters, and are appraised very differently by the biblical authors. However, their births are very and perhaps troublingly similar. Is Luke trying to tell us that John the Baptist is the new Samson? I hope not. This paper seeks to show that if we understand the biblical convention of literary type-scenes then not only are we in a better place to understand why these similarities or repetitions occur but we are also in a better place to understand how the biblical authors are portraying each character. This paper will focus on Samson’s birth story in Judges 13 as an example of how this type-scene analysis can illumine the meaning of a text.

Last Saturday I attended and presented at my first ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) Meeting. The meeting was fun, the plenary session was on decision making and the will of God, i.e., can we know God’s will for our lives? I heard an afternoon paper on how the synoptics use Lev. 19 and Deut. 6 in stating the two greatest commandments and a paper on ‘Love your neighbor and the imprecatory Psalms.’ All in all it was well worth the price of admission. I also won three books: Waltke’s Old Testament Theology, Walton’s Ancient Near Eastern Thought, and Seitz’s Prophecy and Hermeneutic. All in all, it was well worth the price of admission. I look forward to reading all of these. 

As to the presentation. I found it to be very enjoyable. I really enjoyed giving the paper, and it seemed well received. When it came to the questions (the part I was really worried about) I met with some disagreement among those who were at my session. But I found the conversation helped clarify my own thinking on my topic even if I didn’t dissuade those who disagreed with me (when you’re a graduate student arguing with a seminary professor you’re probably not going to win).

They say that presenting a paper is one of those things that you are supposed to do in Academics and that it looks good to schools you may want to apply to. That is probably true but the thing I found most beneficial was the affirmation that I enjoyed this type of academic activity and the stimulating conversation about a topic I had done quite a bit of studying on. All in all, it was a great time. I highly recommend it.