Friday, May 23, 2008

Xenophobic Attacks in SA

Please pray for us.
The violence in South Africa is now only 2km down the road from our community offices, and many of our people are fleeing the violence and uncertainty. I had to instruct our volunteer staff from the UK not to go into our townships today, as the tension escalated. Our building is now being used as a Safe-Haven for those seeking a hiding place. This could entail our building becoming a target for violence.
Please pray for us: we need wisdom and God's intervention.

Finally - Achtemeier!

Finally, after waiting nearly 16 weeks, Paul J. Achtemeier's commentary on 1 Peter has finally arrived on my desk... Even with the silly mistakes on the back of the commentary [it has recommendations for Attridge's commentary on Hebrews, instead of this commentary on 1 Peter] this will prove to be a valuable contribution to my studies.
Although I'm half way through 1 Peter already, I couldn't delay research/preaching any longer, this commentary will still prove to be useful. Perhaps I'll be able to blog more about it soon. But work here is keeping me thoroughly busy... take care, ciao

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I don't know how this happened. One minute it was a friendly discussion, the next I'm down to teach Daniel 4 at one of our largest churches. How did I, a New Testament geek, get asked to teach on Daniel 4? Of course, this perplexed status is no reflection of disbelief in the authority of the Hebrew testament, I just don't usually teach on it - so naturally, I'm terrified! Perhaps Daniel 7 could be done, [for then I could just teach on how the early Chritian writers appropriated this material] but Daniel 4?
So if anyone has any recommendations on commentaries or articles on Daniel that I should read, now would be the best time to make note of that! The stuff I've read already makes my head squirm with complex debates and discussions I know almost nothing about...
In other words: HELP!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Review of Green

Joel Green's commentary on 1 Peter is reviewed by Nijay Gupta, and I could not agree more with this review. Green has opened up the theological aspects of 1 Peter, and in so doing, has set a model for how theological exegesis should be done. I'm loving every page of this commentary, and would highly recommend it as one of the best ever written. Two quotes to stir your interest:

To read 1 Peter is to be told not how we might think about God, but what God thinks of us. Here in 1 Peter is an invitation to adopt God’s way of seeing things and to live accordingly; perhaps better, 1 Peter offers not so much an invitation as an exercise in formation in the character and ways of God. This entails allegiance to Jesus Christ, and not Caesar, as Lord.

Following the Christ who was crucified on a tree determines both internal and external relations; it is profoundly political and missiological act (external) and a commitment to indwelling a terrain determined by the sanctifying Spirit and intramural hospitality (internal). The homeless people of God comprise God’s household under construction, and a priesthood whose vocation it is to mediate God’s presence wherever they find themselves. As they journey through suffering in hope of eschatological honour, they bear witness in the present to the coming new age.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Review of Elliott's Commentary

Thanks to Bryan who notifies us of an online review of John H. Elliott's commentary on 1 Peter by none other than Paul Achtemeier. The link is to a formal review in the Biblical Theology Bulletin.
Achtemeier's review is favourable, and very worthwhile in seeing what are the major issues, and where these two giants agree and part ways.
Thanks Bryan!

Book Reviews

Thanks to Torrey Seland for alerting me to his book review on The Pentecostal Commentary on 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude by Rebecca Skaggs, Pilgrim, 2004pp. xiv + 176. This caused me to look for other book reviews on 1 Peter, since that is the focus of my attention these days. I found some good reviews, such as:
1 Peter: A Commentary on First Peter Achtemeier, Paul Fortress, 1996
Reviews: 1 Review by J. Ramsey Michaels
1 Peter Jobes, Karen H.Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005
Reviews: 1 Review by John Elliott, published 10/15/2006
Reviews: 1 Review by Timothy Wiarda, published 5/26/2007
Argument and Theology in 1 Peter: The Origins of Christian Paraenesis Thurén, Lauri Sheffield Academic Press, 1995
Reviews: 1 Review by M. Eugene Boring
Reviews: 1 Review by John H. Elliott, published 4/14/2007
Compositional Transitions in 1 Peter: An Analysis of the Letter-Opening Tite, Philip L. International Scholars Publications, 1997
Reviews: 1 Review by John L. White
First and Second Peter, James, and Jude Perkins, Pheme John Knox Press, 1995
Reviews: 1 Review by Andrew Chester
Following in His Steps: Suffering, Community, and Christology in 1 Peter Bechtler, Steven Scholars Press for the SBL, 1998
Reviews: 1 Review by Troy W. Martin
Reviews: 2 Reviews by Timothy Wiarda, published 10/16/2007
Patrick J. Hartin, published 3/8/2008
Honor, Shame and the Rhetoric of 1 Peter Campbell, Barth Scholars Press, 1998
Reviews: 1 Review by David De Silva, published 3/15/2000
However, one soon discovers that there are some significant books that have not been reviewed. None of John H. Elliott's books on 1 Peter have been reviewed. [The search results said "Try Again"]. Ok, so it's going to be tough to review a 956pg commentary, but someone out there should do it! Although Troy Martin has reviewed a book, see above, his book on 1 Peter remains un-reviewed. I find books reviews from this site generally very helpful, unless they're in a foreign language! So for those who love book reviewing, there's some openings here.
BTW, for some fortunate soul, there is Reading First Peter With New Eyes: Methodological Reassessments of the Letter of First Peter Webb, Robert and Betsy Bauman-Martin, editors T&T Clark, 2007 available for review. So get on to that, and when you're done with it, send it to me!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fee on Galatians

Apparently, Gordon Fee's commentary on Galatians is available.

Gordon D. Fee, Galatians: A Pentecostal commentary on Paul's Letter.
ISBN 978-1-905679-02-7

But I can't seem to find it anywhere, except here: Anyone got more info? Anyone know any more about the series, or read one of the commentaries?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Top 10 Influential Scholars

Following from Nijay Gupta, here is my list of influential scholars.
    • N. T. Wright. Jesus and the Victory of God awoke me from a deep ignorance concerning the historical Jesus, exegesis, and what good scholarship looks like. The New Testament and the People of God is a must read for every student of the NT. And, his work on the resurrection is WOW! Then add his Romans commentary, his work on Colossians, and his popular commentaries that my wife loves! Wright is the most influential person in my thinking.
    • Gordon Fee. I remember spending hours and hours as an undergrad reading his 1 Corinthians commentary and his popular hermeneutics book: How to Read the Bible for All it's Worth. Great commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, even if it was far too short. Excellent exegete, always fair, and never boring.
    • Richard Bauckham. Singlehandedly Bauckham has shifted the focus of NT studies in such diverse fields. His work on Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is stunning, 2 Peter and Jude, probably the best commentary on those letters. His stuff on James is great, and the theological reflection exceptionally helpful. The man is a legend, and a contender for the greatest NT scholar alive. Never following the trends, he carves the evidence and shows how things worked back then. Brilliant.
    • Craig Evans. Solid historian, opened my eyes to the backgrounds of the NT. Loved his book: Jesus and His Contemporaries, and his new work on Jesus and the Satan will be very good.
    • I. H. Marshall. The Dean of NT studies. I remember reading an article on predestination in the NT, which changed my whole understanding. His Luke commentary is still great, and it was published the year I was born! All his commentaries are worth consulting, and his NT Theology is very helpful and informative. Can't wait to read his commentary on John, and his work on Romans.
    • Ben Witherington. He's probably taught me more about rhetorical aspects of interpretation than anyone else. Very helpful commentaries that are always close to my research. Always makes me think about the context of the NT letters.
    • Wofhart Pannenberg. Proved to me that systematic theology wasn't an utter waste of time. His three volume Systematic Theology is the best systematic theology I've ever read, although Stanley Grenz come's a close 2nd. Pannenberg showed me how exegesis and theology can work together, and exegesis is the building blocks of Systematics.
    • Joel Green. I've not read too much of his stuff, but what I have read has shaped my thinking. His commentary on 1 Peter is the best I've read so far, and his commentary on Luke is also probably the best. His book on the atonement really helped me think through the issues.
    • Richard Hays. The Moral Vision of the New Testament and his The Faith of Jesus Chrst are exceptional offerings from a scholar who has a clear passion for Scripture and the Church. I'm always happy and challenged when I read his commentaries on Galatians and 1 Corinthians. Hays convinced me that the subjective genitive is the best solution to the Pistis Christou debate. Sorry Nijay!
    • C. K. Barrett. One of the best scholars ever. Barrett's commentary on John persuaded me that biblical studies was far better than systematics and philosophy. His commentaries on Paul's letters are all worth serious scrutiny, and his latest offering on Acts is kick ass good.
    • Greg Boyd. I first read Boyd's Cynic, Sage or Son of God, and thought it was a helpful response to the Seminar's mistakes. Then I read his popular book: Is God to Blame? which caused an intellectual conversion, and shaped my whole theology. It's one of the most influential books I've ever read.

So, who's your most influential scholars?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Redemption from the New Perspective?

N. T. Wright's article: Redemption from the New Perspective? Towards a Multi-Layered Pauline Theology of the Cross
Originally published in Redemption, ed. S. T. Davis, D. Kendall, G. O’Collins (Oxford: OUP) 2006, 69–100. is now available online.
Be sure to check it out...

1 Peter 1:1-2

I'm working my way through 1 Peter at the moment, and it's a real eye opener.

Πέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου Γαλατίας Καππαδοκίας Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνίας κατὰ πρόγνωσιν θεοῦ πατρός ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος εἰς ὑπακοὴν καὶ ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη

These opening verses have generated further discussion since the release of John H. Elliott, “A Home for the Homeless: A Social-Scientific Criticism of 1 Peter, Its Situation and Strategy”, 1990. (Wipf and Stock, 2005). {Keith Jagger provides a succinct review.} Basically, concerning the opening verses, Elliott argues that words like paroikoi (2:11), paroikia (1:17), and, parepidēmoi (1:1; 2:11) alert us to the social reality of the audience.
The latter (parepidēmoi ) has been translated as “exiles”[1], “sojourners”[2], “strangers in the world”[3], “foreigners”[4], “resident aliens”[5], “visiting strangers”[6] and “scattered people”[7]. Finding an adequate way of translating these terms is difficult for much debate and discussion has arisen due to their natural referents. The two important questions here are:
  1. Are these terms metaphors for the community, or are they legal terms suggesting a definite people group?
  2. Do they refer to people that held this status before becoming followers of Jesus, or as a result of following Jesus and becoming part of the Christian community?
  • And finally, does it have to be either/or or is it possible that writing to such a large group of people would probably entail a mixture of the above views?
Despite the concerns raised by some commentators, Elliott does not deny the metaphorical/religious sense of these terms (pg. 48-49). Apparently Torrey Seland's article "παροικoς καὶ παρεπιδήμος: Proselyte Characterizations in 1 Peter?" BBR 11 (2001): 239-68, is the article to read that offers criticisms of Elliott's view. But a trip to the library will have to wait until next week sometime [unless someone has a digital copy?].
For now it is enough to note that the opening verse of Peter are very important in understanding the entire ethos and message of 1 Peter, something I did not realise until closer inspection.
[1] NRSV
[2] Witherington, 1-2 Peter, pg. 63; Senior, “1 Peter”, pg. 25; Selwyn, The First Epistle of Peter, 118.
[3] NIV, Green, 1 Peter, pg. 14; Michaels, 1 Peter, pg. 3.
[4] Jobes, 1 Peter, pg. 58, Goppelt, A Commentary on 1 Peter, pg. 61
[5] Boring, 1 Peter, pg. 54
[6] Elliott, A Home for the Homeless, pg. 47
[7] Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, pg. 39.