May 2009

I’ve been poking around recently in Greco-Roman philosophy and found this website as a quick resource for looking up stuff: The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  While it’s not much more detailed than wikipedia, it is ‘professionally peer-reviewed’ (at least it says it is).


Since we celebrated the ascension liturgically last week, here’s a quote from Leo the Great in Sermon 2 on the Ascension (5th c.) relating its significance. A friend here, Mark Mathews, said that it was inculcated into him from Darrell Bock that the ascension is quite important for NT theology but often neglected. I would agree that it is neglected, but I haven’t spent enough time in the Gospels and Acts to see its full significance there.

The Lord’s ascension increases the disciples’ faith because

the evidence of their eyes no longer held back their mental vision from contemplating this truth, that the Son descended from his Father without leaving him, and ascended from his disciples without departing from them. For the Son of man, dearly beloved, was revealed more perfectly and more solemnly as the Son of God once he had returned to the glory of his Father’s majesty, and in a mysterious way he began to be more present to them in his godhead once he had become more distant in his humanity. Then faith gained deeper understanding and by a leap of the mind began to reach out to the Son as equal of the Father. It no longer needed contact with Christ’s bodily substance, by which he is less than the Father. For though the glorified body remained a body, the faith of believers was being drawn to touch, not with the hand of the flesh but with the understanding of the spirit, the only-begotten Son, the equal of his Father.

Professor Loren Stuckenbruck gave an interesting paper this week on the area of the apocrypha and its interaction with Jewish and Christian canons. He didn’t mention the council at Jamnia so I asked about its role in the debate. I got an odd look from him, and he responded in a gracious manner saying that it is highly debatable that that ever happened. Doh! So I asked him to clarify. He didn’t go into detail but said a process of standardization occured but mostly in the 2nd century and that the process was retrojected back into the first century. So, for those of you like me that were fed the Jamnia story, learn your lesson from my experience and hold your tongue in public discussions.

I think this issue of canon is quite interesting since a significant chunk of the ‘Bible’ was removed with the reformation. Not that there weren’t some good reasons, but protestants have shunned them to the extent that when I was in high school I almost got the feeling that the catholics made up these books. And why would they choose names like Bel and the Dragon? Students need more interaction with these sources to open their eyes to NT backgrounds.

[Update: It’s good to know wikipedia has it more correct than the educators that I’ve had in the past on this issue: Jamnia]

Inhabiting the Cruciform God

Mike Gorman, of Cross Talk,  has recently produced an excellent new work on Pauline soteriology called Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul’s Narrative Soteriology (Eerdmans, 2009).  In it he challenges traditional readings of Paul by exploring, among other things, co-crucifixion, theosis, and non-violence.  For a three part summary over at his blog, see here: part 1, part 2, part 3.

Since one of his primary topics is theosis in Paul, this work should be of definite interest to readers of this blog.  Mike’s graciously offered to do a blog interview with me that will come out over the next few weeks.  If you have any burning questions, let me know and I’ll see if we can fit them into the interview.

Another good carnival over at Hyperekperissou: Patristics Carnival XXII

I got a question about which degree would make you more employable the other day, and it made me think of a new angle to compare the two systems.  Usually, when I think about the 2 systems, I just think what kind of job would I get at the end of 3 yrs (UK) vs 6 yrs (US).  However, a more equitable comparison would be 3 yrs UK + 3 yrs teaching in comparison to 6 yrs US.  In those terms, even if you end up teaching at a lower than desired university for your first 3 years, that experience gives you two advantages: 1) good teaching experience to enhance your CV and 2) 3 years of full time pay, so that when you are at the end of the 6 yrs, you would definitely be in an equivalent position of a 6 yr program if not better.  Obviously, these aren’t the only factors, but it does shine a different light on things.

Note: I hear the top tier US universities and UK universities have roughly similar in-program teaching opportunities as preceptors (US) or seminar leaders (UK).  For each, someone else lectures and the phd student leads seminars focusing on group discussion throughout the term.  With a longer program one gets more experience doing that in the US, but on the whole the experience isn’t substantively different.  At the same time, full lecturing opportunities may come along in either system.  E.g., here in Durham people periodically get full course teaching opportunities with St. John’s college in their ministerial training programme. 

Here are my old posts:
1: US vs UK
2: US vs UK, redivivus
3: SBL Forum: US vs UK

I want to remind all the guys out there that Sunday is Mother’s Day, so remind your wife to do all the housework on Saturday so she can relax on her special day. She deserves it!