October 2009

For PDF copies of Migne’s PG, I’ve been using Documenta Catholica Omnia, which has image scans of the actual pages.

The Patrologia Kleida site seems to have been down for a while, but a renewed version of its texts have been put on another site:

Listed by Volumes: http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/pgm/index.htm
Listed by Author: http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/pgm/PG_Migne/

The texts here only have the Greek, but it is searchable.  Some have noted bits that are missing but another great online resource if you just want to check something quickly.

HT: Roger Pearse


Council tax is one of the primary local sources of funds for police, fire, etc.  International students and their spouses are exempt (if both are internationals), even if both work.  You just have to provide evidence that you are a student, and they will regularly send new bills each Autumn saying you owe money.  It doesn’t help that the university can be slow about sending lists of international students to the council so they will automatically consider you exempt.  A letter from your college and/or the Student Planning and Assessment office at Durham usually satisfies the council for the student.  You will have to pay for the time that you were resident before term starts your first year, this turned out to be about £80 for us for the 2 months we were here.

The harder problem is with spouses.  I don’t know if the Durham city finance office has a complete turnover every year in staff, but each year a number of international students regularly get council tax bills for their spouses and you have to haggle sometimes to get them to understand that spouses are exempt.  See the bottom of the first page of this helpful form from UKCISA about Council Tax.  The main criterion is that you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, which I’m pretty sure almost all US student visas have stamped on them.  Just show them this and they should back down about anything.

It is convenient not having to pay and a nice gesture given by the UK gov’t to international students, but one might wish that the council would share this knowledge more widely with their employees.  Council Tax bills are good for something…they are just about universally accepted as a proof of address for banks, etc.

See here for another good patristics carnival.

I just bumbled across this website devoted to Josephus at the Project on Ancient Cultural Engagement.  The bibliography seems to be updated with fairly recent stuff.

In honour of Prof Watson’s paper (‘Rethinking Gospel Origins’) at the NT seminar on Monday about the ‘canonical decision’ that occured some time in the second century to decide on just the 4 gospels, I’m passing along a link to a chart that shows the different canons for several traditions: What’s in Your Bible?

HT: Ben Byerly

12 October, Prof Francis Watson: “Rethinking Gospel Origins”

19 October, Dr Jutta Leonhardt-Balzer: “Philo and the Septuagint”

26 October, Dr Lutz Doering: tbc

2 November, Prof John Riches: “What is ‘precritical interpretation’?”

9 November, Dr Tony Cummins: “Gospel Narrative and Cultural Criticism: Reading the Gospel of John in a Secular World”

16 November, Prof Larry Hurtado: “Jesus and God in the New Testament”

23 November, No Seminar

30 November, Dr Wendy Sproston: tbc

7 December, Dr Stephen Barton: “Eschatology and the Emotions in Early

14 December, Dr Bill Telford: “Mark’s Portrait of Jesus”

I’m doing a short series on BibleWorks 8. Here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3.

As a quick wrap-up of my review of BW8, I’ll summarise the key strengths and needs for improvement. While the front-end isn’t much different, BW continues to improve its usability, especially with the additional tabs in the Analysis window. Another big help is the easier organisation of texts by language and using multiple columns so you can see them all at one time. The main textual upgrades include the Greek OTP, the Church Fathers, and (I think I failed to mention this before) English translations of the Targumim. In addition to new primary texts, BW8 has new resources, such as grammars (Wallace, Waltke-O’Connor, Joüon-Muraoka, and an Aramaic grammar) and links to a plethora of other resources through Ermie (External Resource Manager).

There’s always room from improvement as well. I’ll note first that I’ve found BW people
good people to work with.  I’ve sent in a few ideas and have always gotten personal replies.  I think they should explore solutions to the Word copy/paste issue. Also, I’m a big fan of semantic diagramming (see Duvall and Guthrie’s Biblical Greek Exegesis), since I was trained in Greek by Duvall.

My biggest plea is that they don’t go down the route of ‘help files’ for primary texts (i.e., the Church Fathers, etc.). (By help files I mean hyper-text files that are not integrated into the normal database structure as with bibles, Philo, etc.) By going this route they severely limit the search functionality that is the core of the software. It’s imperative to be able to use the boolean operators (and, or, etc.) and to be able to scroll through a list of references. For secondary material like reference works help files are great, and I think it’s actually better to not integrate them into the list of primary texts.

If you’ve got BW7, I’d say it is worth the money to upgrade. If you don’t have any Bible software, I can’t compare BW to Logos or Accordance, but it’s definitely a good value for money, so check it out.

Deification and Grace

Deification and Grace

Review of Daniel A. Keating, Deification and Grace. Introductions to Catholic Doctrine (Naples, FL: Sapiential Press, 2007).

While I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for about 6 months, I haven’t taken the time to read through it until now.  I would say this is the best introduction to deification/theosis around.  It’s relatively short–124 pages of text–but it deftly covers both biblical and historical bases for this theology.  In fact, I was quite impressed with the balanced presentation of biblical, patristic, catholic, orthodox, and protestant sources.  This methodology works well to support his 3 theses: 1) deification is biblically grounded (i.e., it grew out of interpretation of biblical texts), 2) deification arose of patristic roots with branches in both the east and the west, and 3) deification is embedded with many other doctrines so that it should not be ignored nor should it trump other doctrines. 

I think his interaction with key biblical texts was helpful and enlightening.  In particular, he helped show the organic connection between key texts and later patristic interpretations, focusing on key themes like image, adoption, Second Adam, exchange, conformity to Christ, etc. 

While this work is a volume in the Introductions to Catholic Doctrine series, Keating also did a good job of eliminating the polemics that can show up between catholics, othrodox and protestants.  In fact, he shows that different traditions emphasise different aspects but that they maintain several key points.  That is not to say that everyone teaches deification in the west, but that there are central catholic and protestant figures that use the terminology and they offer avenues for interaction for those in both traditions.  Accordingly, he reclaims the significance for the west while critiquing some aspects.

Particularly important for his case are the rebuttals of particular charicatures of deification.  These rebuttals are situated throughout the book, but he summarises them on page 122: deification is just an adoption of Greek philosophical ideas; deification is just based on Christ’s incarnation without proper emphasis on the cross,  resurrection and ascension; and deification confuses the Creator and the created.

While he alludes to the anthropological effects that constitute deification (e.g., sanctification, 50-56 and cruciformity, 84-87), I thought this aspect of his discussion was quite thin with the only specific discussion (that I noted) on pages 111-13.  To me the description of what actually happens, puts flesh on the bones and makes it clear what participation in the divine attributes really entails.  Without this kind of discussion, it becomes a bit etherial, in my humble opinion.  It can feel like semantic word games.  I was surprised to see hardly any sustained discussion of the participation in immortality and incorruption.  In my exposure to patristic texts, participation in these is the sine qua non of being deified. 

In spite of this ommission, this text still serves as an excellent introduction for all faith traditions, and we would do well to consider his three main conclusions.

I got an interesting email from a publisher. It started out with a discussion of stress vs burnout before it tried to hawk its books. It was actually nice to see an interest in the personal side of things. Seeing as how I’ve been struggling lately with a few deadlines pushing on me, I was glad to find that I am only stressed and not burned out.

1. Characterized by over engagement
2. Emotions are over reactive
3. Produces urgency and hyperactivity
4. Loss of energy
5. Leads to anxiety disorders
6. Primary damage is physical
7. May kill you prematurely

1. Characterized by disengagement
2. Emotions are blunted
3. Produces helplessness and hopelessness
4. Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
5. Leads to detachment and depression
6. Primary damage is emotional
7. May make life seem not worth living