Tuesday, February 27, 2007
After getting all of Pope Benedict's luggage loaded into the limo, (and he doesn't travel light), the driver notices that the Pope is still standing on the kerb. "Excuse me, Your Holiness," says the driver, "Would you please take your seat so we can leave?"
"Well, to tell you the truth," says the Pope, "they never let me drive at the Vatican, and I'd really like to drive today." "I'm sorry but I cannot let you do that. I'd lose my job! And what if something should happen?" protests the driver, wishing he'd never gone to work that morning.
"There might be something extra in it for you," says the Pope. Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 105 mph. "Please slow down, Your Holiness!!!" pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens. "Oh, dear God, I'm gonna lose my licence," moans the driver. The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches but the Cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio. "I need to talk to the Chief," he says to the dispatcher.
The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo going a hundred and five.
"So bust him," says the Chief.
"I don't think we want to do that, he's really important," said the cop. The Chief exclaimed, "All the more reason!"
"No, I mean really important," said the cop.
The Chief then asked, "Who ya got there, the Mayor?"
"Well," said the Chief, "Who is it?"
Cop: "I think it's God!"
Chief: "What makes you think it's God?"
Cop: "He's got the Pope as a chauffeur!!"
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
What is this story about? The obvious answer: it is about Jesus, who appears in almost every scene and is the subject of most of the verbs in Mark. One could also say: it is about the disciples, who are called in the first chapter and accompany Jesus and are taught by him throughout until they abandon him in chapters 14 and 15; they are the goal of the final revelation pointed to in 16:7. The real answer, however: the story is about God, who only rarely becomes an explicit character, but who is the hidden actor in the whole drama, whose reality spans its whole narrative world from creation to eschaton, and who is not an alternative or competitor to the view that regards Jesus as the principle subject. To tell the story of Jesus is to tell the self-defining story of God.[M. E. Boring, Mark: A Commentary (WJK, 2006), pg. 3]
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
L.T. Johnson remains critical of this view. Johnson notes that, “all the usual criteria for positing a late dating for New Testament writings are absent… On the face of it, everything in the letter suggests an early dating rather than a late one.” Also, Patrick Hartin has argued that:
If one wishes to explain the apparent contradiction of fors, it will be necessary to come to some type of a two-level hypothesis for the composition of the work. This same hypothesis may also explain some of the curious divergeneces in vocabulary, some of the conflict between the very good Greek in places and Semitisms in others, and some of the apparent disjointedness between topics in the epistle...
The first stage is a series of Jewish Christian homilies, sayings, and maxims, many of which would have been composed in Greek by a person who spoke Aramaic as his mother tongue, while others may have been translations. The second stage is the compilation of an epistle by editing these pieces together into a whole. (12)
An early date for this writing is required from the evidence noted..., namely, (1) the way the author refers to himself, expecting his hearers/readers to know his identity; (2) the closeness of the author to the heritage of Israel (he still sees himself as belonging to that world); (3) the use made of the Jesus traditions (prior to the appearance of the canonical gospels); (4) the closeness to the spirit and vision of Jesus; (5) the total lack of reference to the Gentiles in any form; and (6) the omission of any reference to the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem.Some of these reasons may be objected to, especially 5 & 6, but otherwise these are particularly apt. Ultimately though, for reasons not readily apparent, Hartin joins Davids, Martin and co in accepting that the letter of James was composed after James' death by an amanuensis or scribe in the mid 60's. My conjecture is that if James was edited by a later redactor, the traces of this redaction are extraordinarily hard to detect and one could postulate that what the redactor has done is perhaps remove narrative sections from the epistle so as to make it more useful in a wider context. This would explain the awkward genre of James and the abrupt ending that has puzzled scholars for some time. Or that the letter has undergone literary revision, as proposed by F. F. Bruce. The question I have is, are there any contemporary Jacobean scholars who argue [not merely assert] against a two stage composition, or for a single stage writing? (Other than L.T. Johnson) -> [If Jim Darlack knows the answer, could he please email me references so that I may acquire such arguments and assess them. Thanx!] This is a pivotal piece of my argument concerning James 5:6. Once I have resolved this, one may begin to fully lay out the arguments concerning that text.  L. T. Johnson “The Social World of James: Literary Analysis and Historical Reconstruction” in Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James (Eerdmans, 2004), pg. 110. Johnson notes the specific criteria as: “no institutional development, no sense of tradition as a deposit, no polemic against false teachers, no highly developed Christology, no delay of the parousia.”
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
If it's scholarship that one is doing, my feeling is that personal faith has no part to play, at least not in the way that one's arguments are constructed or in the evidence one adduces. In other words, I am interested in scholarly arguments based on publicly available evidence, arguments that make sense to an audience of scholars and students who may not share one's own faith perspective. As soon as my arguments only work for those who share my faith perspective, at best my arguments become apologetics and at worse my arguments run the risk of becoming weak and unscholarly. As soon as I begin to use evidence that is not in the public arena and that cannot be submitted to scholarly scrutiny by everyone, I am not engaging in academic scholarship. I do not expect my students to use their personal faith in their essays; how much more would I not expect professional scholarship to bring personal faith into their work.This is the kind of scholarship that we need. Add to that the legendary Craig Evans, who has done much to unveil the history the period in question, both Jewish, Gentile and Christian. I'm with Evans who notes that:
For me Christian faith makes investigation of Christian origins worth pursuing. This includes critical study of Christian Scripture, as well as related writings. It also means critical study of the early history and development of the Christian movement, from the historical Jesus, to the preaching, teaching, and activities of the first two or three generations that followed him. However, Christian faith, just as surely as agnosticism or atheism, can become a problem, if there are pre-conceived notions in place that prevent honest, critical study.This is what you'll hopefully find on this blog, if not - please offer critical comments!