The following poem, “Epi-strauss-ium,” by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861) playfully draws attention to D. F. Strauss’s then recently published Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet (Life of Jesus Critically Examined; NAEL 2:1452 n. 1).

Matthew and Mark and Luke and holy John
Evanished all and gone!
Yea, he that erst, his dusky curtains quitting,
Through Eastern pictured panes his level beams transmitting,
With gorgeous portraits blent,
On them his glories intercepted spent,
Southwestering now, through windows plainly glassed,
On the inside face his radiance keen hath cast,
And in the luster lost, invisible, and gone,
Are, say you, Matthew, Mark, and Luke and holy John?
Lost, is it? lost, to be recovered never?
The place of worship the meantime with light
Is, if less richly, more sincerely bright,
And in blue skies the Orb is manifest to sight.

This assessment generally seems quite apropos and its language quite arresting, though one might well be grateful for how more recent scholarship has arguably provided some means for brightening the “place of worship” both “[more] richly” and “more sincerely” (e.g., Bauckham; Dunn; Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God; Wright, Resurrection of the Son of God).

In this post:

Norton Anthology of English Literature (7th ed; Volume 2)
M. H. Abrams et al.
Richard Bauckham
Richard Bauckham
James Dunn
James Dunn

N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright

“Blessed Be the Ties that Bind”

Cynthia Westfall has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “Blessed Be the Ties that Bind: Semantic Domains and Cohesive Chains in Hebrews 1.1–2.4 and 12.5–8.” Based on her investigation, Westfall concludes,

[A]n analysis of semantic domains provides a vital lens through which we can view every text. At times, it seems that the [Louw-Nida] lexicon does not do enough, and it is easy to find what appear to be shortcomings in the failure to place some words in certain semantic domains. For instance, the truncated classification of προφήτης under ‘Religious Activities’ does not remotely begin to describe the features that ‘prophet’ shares with other lexical items. In this case, the authors did not follow one of their guiding principles that a derivative (e.g. προφήτης) should be placed as close as possible to its semantic basis (e.g. προφητεύω). However, when the theory is understood, the reader realizes that the entries and glosses are suggestive, and the referential (meaning) range of any lexical unit can only be determined by a careful and, above all, a coherent reading of the surrounding context (216).

RBL Newsletter (December 31, 2009)

The latest, New Year’s Eve, reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include the following:

New Testament and Cognate Fields

Hermeneutics and Translation

Jewish Scripture and Cognate Fields

Normal Science and Rules

While normal science does not necessarily require a full set of rules to function (Kuhn 44), normal scientific investigation can continue without rules “only so long as the relevant scientific community accepts without question the particular problem-solutions already achieved. Rules . . . therefore become important and the characteristic unconcern about them . . . vanish[es] whenever paradigms or models are felt to be insecure” (Kuhn 47). Debates about rules frequently occur in the pre-paradigm period, but they also typically recur when reigning paradigms come under attack from suggested inadequacies and proposed changes (Kuhn 47–48). When a paradigm reigns unchallenged, however, the scientific community that it constitutes need not attempt to rationalize the paradigm (Kuhn 49). Moreover, any apparent difficulties with the paradigm that cannot be resolved are typically held to result from the inadequacy of the research conducted rather than the inadequacy of the paradigm that suggests the difficulties (Kuhn 80).

In this post:

Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn

Independent Biblioblog Ranking Compilation (December 2009)

With the Biblioblog Top 50 moving to a semi-annual cycle, Joseph Kelly over at כל־האדם has independently compiled a chart of December’s individual Alexa rankings to finish out 2009. Jim West (a.k.a. Zwinglius Redivivus) continues to fill the top slot, and the big movers among the top 50 this month include John Hobbins (Ancient Hebrew Poetry, up 15 spaces to number 16); Jason (εις δοξαν, up 18 spaces to number 40); Michael Barber, Brant Pitre, and John Bergsma (The Sacred Page, up 25 spaces to number 48); and Joel Hoffman (God Didn’t Say That: Bible Translations and Mistranslations, up 33 spaces to number 49). New Testament Interpretation stands this month at number 213.

“Understanding ΚΛΗΣΙΣ in the New Testament”

Lois Dow has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “Understanding κλῆσις in the New Testament.” In this article, Dow argues that:

First, the meaning position or condition in the sense of life situation or occupation for κλῆσις in the New Testament is unwarranted. Secondly, the meaning often includes the result of the call as well as the action of calling. It can mean a status of being a called person, with its concomitant responsibilities, privileges and expectations. In this use it is linked through passages about being called (named) by new appellations or designations to the idea of having a new identity or name (198; italics original).