Monday, August 25, 2008

Transition Time

Greetings Friends. Please pardon my silence but study has kept me preoccupied. That, and I've just changed jobs, churches and have some big plans in the pipe line. So this doesn't really allow me enough time to blog all the things I want to. But I'm hoping within the next couple of weeks things will settle and my research into 1 Peter can continue.
Take care, sean D.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Church in Early Christianity

As a pastor and New Testament student these two worlds often collide. Nowhere is this more evident at the moment than with many who are now engaged in what is quickly being labelled “A churchless faith”. Frank Viola and George Barna’s Pagan Christianity has advanced this view into a more popular arena. Ben Witherington has offered thoughts on the matter, even adding Howard Snyder’s review of Pagan Christianity to his blog.
Witherington recommends James Burtchaell's important monograph From Synagogue to Church. Public Services and Offices in the Earliest Christian Communities (Cambridge U. Press, 1992), which I’ve now ordered and will devour soon. I’m sure Robert Banks’ book Paul’s Idea of Community would be helpful, and so I’ve added that to the list. Does anyone know of any other books on this topic? I’m specifically looking for the impossible, you know, books on characteristics of early Christian gatherings, the various ingredients that made up their gatherings. I’m also not wishing to confine this research to the New Testament documents alone, so I’m very interested in the Didache and other literature of early Christianity that may shed light on this topic. Can anyone recommend any helpful commentaries on The Didache? I’m caught between Kurt Niederwimmer and Aaron Milavec. Milavec looks to be exhaustive, having 1000pgs of comments and discussion. But the Niederwimmer is in a respected series. Anyone have any thoughts on either of these?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Reflections on SBL 7-11 July 2008

Well, SBL International 2008 was fantastic. The academic environment was superb, and the bookshop – especially BRILL- made the experience fantastic. The highlight for me was probably hanging out with Warren Carter, and then Bruce Winter. Both men were friendly and very forthcoming with helpful ideas and critiques of my suggested research areas. Carter alerted me to some material he had written on 1 Peter, and then invited me to respond to him. I’ll be distilling my thoughts and then blog my response. Bruce Winter was so kind and helpful, a stunning example of scholarship and piety. Winter has done quite a bit of work on 1 Peter, but hasn’t published much of it. As my interests are now focussed on 1 Peter, he offered to review some of the stuff I’d be working on.
The best session for me was the Symposium on Bob Jewett’s Roman’s commentary. Doug Campbell, Paul Trebilco and Jewett’s response were outstanding. Eddie and I walked out thinking “do we know anything?” The level of discussion was just superb. Jewett even made his way over to us to find out what we were studying, how we found the session and what our thoughts were. WOW! My friends have now graciously agreed to buy me this commentary for my B-day. I love my friends…
The bookshop was quite helpful, especially the Brill titles that were heavily discounted. My semi-embarrassing moment came when I began to chat to a guy about Reinhard Feldmeier’s newly translated commentary on 1 Peter (which I’m hoping to review soon). This guy was quite persistent that this was one of the best commentaries on 1 Peter. I was a bit hesitant, and I’m quite happy that Achtemeier and Green are the best commentaries on 1 Peter, with Elliott a close second. The banter when back and forth for a while and then we parted ways. Later on, I was told that the person I was talking to was Carey C. Newman, who is down to write a commentary on 1 Peter for the Smyth & Helwys series! Next time I’ll be more careful before I just start blabbing… PS: I still think I’m right about Achtemeier and Green. Feldmeier is helpful, but nowhere near as helpful or insightful as the former two.
After SBL, I had lunch with my former mentor Mark Keown, lecturer in New Testament at Bible College of New Zealand. Mark had just come back from the Tyndale fellowship where he presented a paper on gospel proclamation in 1 Peter. I’m hoping to interact with Mark’s paper in a forthcoming blog.