“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).

Paradigms and Rules

Assuming a paradigm’s community desires consistency, their general paradigm will dictate specific rules for the community’s research (i.e., means for investigation and standards for evaluation; Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions 43, 48, 94; cf. Achinstein 413; Thiselton 711). Yet, these rules do not themselves provide coherence to a given tradition of normal science (Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions 44). Rather, these rules are interpretations of an antecedent paradigm that causes a given, normal-scientific tradition to cohere (Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions 43–44, 46).1

Yet, Kuhn elsewhere argues that “[e]xplicit rules, when they exist, are usually common to a very broad scientific group, but paradigms need not be” (Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions 49; italics added), which might seem to suggest a different derivational order than the one just mentioned. Still, Kuhn makes the assertion just quoted explicitly to support his contention that paradigms logically precede rules (Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions 49). The rules common to broad, scientific groups, therefore, appear to be rules dictated by the more general “macro-paradigm” to which “science” and “scientists” hold, although these categories themselves contain substantial variegation. For instance, as currently practiced, “modern science” generally presupposes as valuable things like “accuracy, consistency, scope, simplicity, fruitfulness, explanatory power, and plausibility” (Achinstein 413; cf. Kuhn, Essential Tension 321–22). Consequently, when Kuhn speaks of rules that characterize a broader group than do paradigms, he apparently intends to designate slightly different referents for these key terms than he does at other points in his argument. That is, the more globally acknowledged rules derive from the broader scientific community’s shared (macro-)paradigm, which Kuhn leaves in silent opposition to the narrower paradigms, which he explicitly mentions, and which characterize individual, normal-scientific communities.


1 Upon receiving numerous critiques about apparent imprecision in his use of the term “paradigm,” Kuhn subsequently clarifies the concept’s nuances in precisely this fashion. No one, exhaustive paradigm exists. Rather, the scientific community as a whole shares a certain paradigm with a minimal set of characteristics, and various scientific sub-communities hold paradigms that contain additional characteristics and that compete with the paradigms of other groups (Kuhn, Essential Tension 294).

In this post:

Science Rules
Peter Achinstein
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thiselton on Hermeneutics
Anthony Thiselton

“Normal” Science

Within a given, normal-scientific tradition, the reigning paradigm directs research by suggesting which experiments and data are relevant to resolving a given problem and which are irrelevant (Kuhn 18, 24, 34). The paradigm also guides new and more specific theory articulation, and the paradigm permits practitioners in a given field to dispense with rearticulating the field’s foundations in each new work they produce (Kuhn 18–20, 23, 34). Thus, a paradigm entails promises about problems that it will resolve and new achievements that it will enable, and normal science, the process in which most scientists work for most of their careers, demonstrates how these promises actually operate (Kuhn 23–24, 30, 35–42). In all cases, however, the paradigm of a given, normal-scientific tradition definitively determines the research that is performed within that paradigm—“to desert the paradigm is to cease practicing the science it defines” (Kuhn 34, 46). Yet, a paradigm is susceptible to various articulations as long as these diversions self-confessedly work from and toward what the paradigm’s community considers to be sufficient common ground (Kuhn 46–47, 73; cf. Hung 62–70; see also Carson 88–89).


In this post:

D. A. Carson
D. A. Carson
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Beyond Kuhn
Edwin Hung

“Heavenly Mindedness and Earthly Good”

Craig Keener has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “Heavenly Mindedness and Earthly Good: Contemplating Matters Above in Colossians 3.1–2.”

This article traces in turn ancient philosophy’s contemplation of heavenly matters; evocations of such language in other early Jewish and Christian sources; the significance of our author’s christocentric [sic] focus in his adaptation of the language in 3.1; the behavioral implications the author draws from this christocentric [sic] focus; the intelligibility of those implications in light of ancient philosophy; and how the immediate context shapes eschatological implications in the author’s evocation of heaven. [The] focus and primary contribution [is] elaborating how ancient hearers would have received the passage, especially in view of ancient philosophy. [That is, f]or philosophers, the pure and heavenly deity was abstract and transcendent; for Colossians, the heavenly focus is Christ, fitting the christocentric [sic] emphasis of this letter. For Colossians, contemplating Christ also leads naturally to Christlike character, in contrast to the pursuit of earthly passions (175, 190).

Journal of Biblical Literature 128.4

The winter issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature includes:

New Testament and Cognate Fields

Jewish Scripture and Cognate Fields

RBL Newsletter (December 24, 2009)

The latest, Christmas Eve, reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include the following:

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Hermeneutics and Cognate Fields

Jewish Scripture and Cognate Fields