Online Lectures


 

Another full course that is available online is a course on Biblical Theology by Dr. Gerard van Groningen. Though van Groningen is perhaps not a widely known name, he is a good scholar probably best known for his large work, The Messianic Revelation of the Old Testament, a work that I have interacted with a little, but plan on reading more of in the future. While van Groningen is much more “traditional” (you could probably read that as conservative or fundamentalist but I think traditional is a much less pejorative term) than myself, I benefited greatly from listening to this course for several reasons:

  1. van Groningen is a model Christian scholar. Listening to him lecture is like listening to an old man reflect on a life of faith, whether you agree with him or not, he is worth listening to with respect.
  2. He does attempt to do real pan-Biblical theology that traces through all of Scripture.
  3. His view of the central theme of Scripture as Kingdom, Covenant and Mediator is an interesting and helpful perspective.

 

Thus, I commend to you, his lectures on Biblical Theology available online and on iTunes.

Dr. Gerard van Groningen – OTS215 Biblical Theology (you will need to create a username and password)

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I am not a Pauline scholar nor the son of a Pauline scholar. I am, however, a Christian and a student of the Bible. This means I seek to understand the Bible as a whole, not just the parts I like. To that end, I find myself puzzled and perplexed with the new debates about Paul, specifically in regards to the so called “new perspective on Paul.” I make no claims to understand this debate. I have my own thoughts but I’ll keep them to myself.

Nevertheless, if you are interested in the New Perspective on Paul–and if you are interested in Paul and/or are a Christian then you should be–then this two part lecture by notable evangelical scholar D.A. Carson should interest you. D.A. Carson is one of the outspoken critics of the New Perspective. He is both very bright and a very engaging speaker (though he speaks very fast, try and keep up). While, sometimes I think he is over critical of the New Perspective, this two part lecture gives a helpful introduction to the issues from a non-New Perspective point of view. Whether you are well versed in this debate or have never heard of it, these lectures should interest you.

D.A. Carson – The New Perspective on Paul Part 1

D.A. Carson – The New Perspective on Paul Part 2

V. Philips Long is Professor of Old Testament at Regent College. But back when he taught at Covenant Theological Seminary he offered this course on Biblical History.

Long is, in my opinion, one of the best scholars on Biblical History. A good supplement to this online course would be his work with Iain Provan and Tremper Longman III, A Biblical History of Israel. This work is, again in my opinion, probably the best work on Biblical History (specifically of Israel, but their methodology is equally applicable to the NT).

Long is in the camp of Maximalists, which basically means that his view of the history of Israel is roughly that of the biblical testimony. This is in contrast to the minimalist view of Israelite history which argues that there is little historical information in the biblical witness. However, he is not a biblical maximalist in the fundamentalist frame which merely repeats the refrain, “the Bible said it so its true.” He is merely not a methodological skeptic. So for him, the Bible is innocent until proven guilty. In other words, he assumes the historical reliability of the Bible unless there are compelling reasons to believe otherwise. He furthermore does not believe in the myth that archaeological finds are somehow more fact than texts. I find his approach very helpful and his book worth reading. But, thankfully, you get a large gist of it from listening to this series of lectures.

This is a full seminary course so it’s pretty detailed, but its taught in such a way as to be both engaging and informative. I recommend it to anyone who would like to learn a little more about biblical history and about the ‘historical books’ of the OT. It is a fantastic resource.

V. Philips Long – OT230: Old Testament History at Covenant Theological Seminary

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

I find listening to lectures to be a great supplement to my education. I read a lot and I take a lot of classes but lectures are great because they can be listened to on the road or on the rare occasion that you find yourself in the gym or on a run. You can also listen to worthy lectures more than once. I listen to quite a few online lectures and the last post about Brueggemann’s lectures on preaching inspired me to start a quasi-regular series on lectures that are available online. 

In this first installment I want to mention a series of older lectures by N.T. Wright. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I am a fan of Wright and find many of his views on Jesus to be fantastic. This series of lectures given at an InterVarsity Press conference in 1999 were the impetus and the core of Wright’s book The Challenge of Jesus. I often tell people in church that if you’re going to read one book on Jesus, then Wright’s Challenge of Jesus should be it. And guess what? You don’t even have to read it. It’s available online!

Lecture 1 – Jesus and the Kingdom: In this lecture Wright talks about Jesus’ characteristic message of the Kingdom and what it would likely have meant in the first century.

Lecture 2 – Jesus and the Cross: Wright asks the question – why did Jesus die? He then attempts to provide both a historical and theological answer and to put those two together as the most meaningful way to talk about the cross.

Lecture 3 – Jesus and God: Here Wright tackles the big question of Jesus’ divinity. He uses the language of vocation in talking about Jesus’ call to do and be for Israel what only Israel’s covenant God could do and be for Israel. This to me is the highlight of these lectures.

Lecture 4 – Jesus and the World’s True Light: Here Wright takes the issue a step further than most biblical scholars and addresses how the thesis he has been arguing for impacts the church and how the church has to do and be for the world what Jesus did and was for Israel.

I have just finished listening to an excellent trilogy of lectures by the renowned Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann. Brueggemann is an interesting character to say the least and he is far from evangelical in much of his view about Scripture. Nevertheless (or perhaps especially because of this) he is an impassioned lover of the church and one of the most imaginative interpreters I have ever heard or read. His interpretations of Scripture are always interesting and challenging. Though one may not agree with all he says one cannot help but be challenged by Scripture in Brueggemann’s interpretations. For this reason he is well worth listening to.

His series of lectures from Truett Seminary focus on the art of preaching, using the book of Jeremiah as both the source for his mining of information and his paradigm for sermons. It is both an excellent study of Jeremiah and an excellent study on homiletics. Here is a brief synopsis of the lectures.

  • Lecture #1: The first lecture is on sermon introductions. I found most helpful his discussion of the sermon as a confluence of the Word of the Lord (‘thus saith the Lord’) and the words of the prophet, or in this case preacher.
  • Lecture #2: The second lecture is on sermon conclusions. Brueggemann examines the various possible conclusions to Jeremiah and argues that good sermon conclusions are multiform and point towards a future. They are multiform because we do not fully know what the future holds, and they a forward pointing because the Bible and Christian faith is defined by hope.
  • Lecture #3: The final lecture is on the stuff in the middle, the sections between the introduction and the conclusion. Here Brueggemann notes that in Jeremiah as in life it is in the very depths that God comes and works ‘wonders’ and that it is necessary to wait in those depths.

I was extremely challenged to take my preaching so much more seriously in the future. I was also challenged to be even more serious with the text and even more serious in my ‘imagination’ (which, if you know anything about Brueggemann you know that is a buzzword for him). It was a fantastic lecture and I recommend it highly.

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