January 2009

Wright gave some lectures in Chicago at the end of last month for InterVarsity’s Human Flourishing conference (27-31 Dec 08).  In his second talk about Col 1.27 ‘the hope of glory, Christ in you’.  In it he talks about glory from a Jewish perspective as 1) the presence of God in the Temple which subsequently departed and 2) the hope of human restoration as described in Qumran as ‘all the glory of Adam’.  Then he turned to the Pauline hope of glorification where the presence of God is restored to humanity such that they share in his life.  He calls this process of humansreaching their fullness through the presence of God theosis and divinisation two or three times over the course of the talk. 

He and I haven’t talked about that aspect of my research in a while, but regular readers here will have noted my previous interest in glory as an primary way into discussions of theosis.  I suppose a little of that has rubbed off on the bishop.  Since he’s forgotten more than I’ll ever know, this will probably be one of the only places that I’ll see my research reflected in his writing/speaking.

See Wright’s ‘second talk’ from the audio posted Jan 7.


This weekend Heather and I attended our first ever Burns Supper at the home of Bill Telford and his gracious wife Andrena.  The supper is a time to remember the work of the Scottish bard, Robert Burns (known for poems and songs like ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘O my love’s like a red, red rose’), and that it involves haggis and lots of toasts (that each of us present gave).  This is a quite traditional Scottish experience, which seems to be a mixture of the US Fourth of July for its nationalism, Thanksgiving for its prescribed meal, a wedding reception for its toasts, and the Dead Poet Society for the interest in reading poetry.   

The meal begins with the piping in of the haggis (i.e., carrying it in with bag pipes playing) and an address to the haggis, which serves as the central item of dinner along with neeps and tatties (turnips/swede and potatoes, both mashed).  You may be asking yourself, what is a haggis?  According to a book from Dr. Telford:

The haggis as Burns knew it and as we know it today is a tribute to the Scottish gift of making something of excellence out of cheap materials. Its ingredients are heart, lights and liver, beef-suet, oatmeal and onions minced together and sewn into a large stomach bag of a sheep.

— Johnnie Walker’s Burns Supper Companion

I confess that I was quite scared of it, but it ended up having a similar consistency to black beans and rice, and tasted pretty good.  After dinner, Dr. Telford gave the keynote address–the Immortal Memory, in which he shared the highpoints of Burn’s life and work.  We each had a toast to contribute.  Mine was Tae the Lassies, which follows in Burn’s path of love for women.  It’s partly a roast of women but then concludes with things we find more positive.  The sticking point is that it is supposed to be one of the more humourous toasts.  Fortunately, mine seemed to come off well, along with the others that were given.

After the toasts, a few people shared other random poems, of which Shel Silverstein was a favourite.  Dr. Telford gave a quite dramatic reading of Burn’s Tam O’Shanter, supported with a slide show, which was helpful since most of Burn’s poetry is in broad Scots–a variation of English but with local vocabulary and a bit of Scottish-phonetic spelling. 

It was a great experience and are very grateful for the opportunity to share it with the Drs. Telford and a few other Durham postgrads.  As it was the 250th aniversary of his birth, this was a special one to have as our first.

Epictetus in Discourses 2.9 (c. 100 CE) speaks of Jews and baptism.  In the context of the need of consistency between doing and thinking:

When we see a man trimming between two faiths we are wont to say, ‘He is no Jew, but is acting a part’, but when he adopts the attitude of mind of him who is baptized and has made his choice, then he is not only called a Jew but is a Jew indeed.  So we also are but conterfeit ‘baptists’, Jews in name only, but really something else, with no feeling for reason, far from acting on the principles we talk of, though we pride ourselves on them as though we knew them.

See hyperekperissou for the latest installment.

For those of you interested in moving to somewhere in England or Wales, you can see the crime rates here for various areas.  In larger metro areas like London, you can get more detailed results, whereas with Durham it covers a larger area.  However, it is good to know that Durham has a below average crime rate.

19 January: Professor John Barclay (Durham): ‘Security and self-sufficiency: a comparison of Paul and Epictetus’

26 January: to be announced

2 February: Dr Lionel North (Durham): ‘1 Corinthians 8.6: From Confession to Paul to Creed to Paul’

9 February: Professor James Dunn (Durham): ‘Re-appreciating the Oral Jesus Tradition’

16 February: Two short papers on ‘research in progress’: (i) Mr Aaron Sherwood, “Worship and the Unification of Israel and the Nations in Romans 15:7 –13: An Invitation to Further Study”; (ii) Mark Mathews, ‘Name Calling at Qumran and in the Book of Revelation: Identifying Phases of Sectarian Development Through Labels and Sobriquets.’

23 February: Dr Bruce Longenecker (St Andrews): ”They added nothing’: Galatians 2:6-10 and the Poor in Early Christian Mission’

2 March: Professor Francis Watson, ‘On the Authorship of the “Secret Gospel of Mark”’

9 March: Three short papers on ‘research in progress’: (1) Jason Maston, “Paul’s Critique of the Two-Ways Scheme in Romans 7.7-25”, (ii) Laurie Wheeler, “Paul’s Gospel as Prophetic Word in 1 Thessalonians”, (iii) Jonathan Worthington, title to come

Different Routes to Heaven and Hell

Different Routes to Heaven and Hell

HT: Wes

In honour of Epiphany yesterday, I thought I might point out a couple of references to the Magi in Cicero that I came across: De Divinatione 1.23.46 and De Finibus 5.87, where he specifically mentions Magi from Persia.  This is at least a century before Matthew mentions them.  I’m sure if I looked up the magi at Wikipedia, I would find that several others do as well, but I was surprised to find such an early reference to them.

The good Bishop Tom had an Epiphany party last night.  Good food, good conversation, and a compline service to end the night.  As we left we even had a live camel to pet.

See here: Double Imputation Scale

I wonder if it is important what kind of feather is used?