“The Origin of ‘Alpha and Omega'”

David Lincicum has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “The Origin of “Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1.8; 21.6; 22.13): A Suggestion.” Lincicum takes his point of departure from the fact that

[Some] scholars have suggested that the title ‘Alpha and Omega’ in Revelation arose through reflection on the Greek form of the divine name, ΙΑΩ. This note takes up and extends that evidence to put forth the possibility that John ‘exegeted’ the divine name, in light of Isaiah 40–48 and emerging scribal practices of abbreviating the nomina sacra, as a reference to Jesus as the Alpha and Omega (Lincicum 128).

In particular, Lincicum concludes that

Steeped in the already considerable Christian tradition of identifying Yahweh’s predicates and actions with those of Jesus, often by means of the Greek translation of Yahweh as ‘Lord’ (κύριος), John wondered what it might mean to identify Jesus by means of that alternative rendering of the tetragrammaton into Greek, ΙΑΩ. He held ΙΑΩ in his mind while reading or hearing Isaiah 40–48 and the temporal merisms there applied to Yahweh, ‘the first and the last’ and ‘the beginning and the end’. Knowing by Christian conviction that ΙΑΩ ultimately was to be referred to Jesus, he was struck by the alphabetical merism, that is, the alpha and omega, included in the divine title, and with how well this might express and stand in continuity with the other two merisms derived from Isaiah. This left the initial iota unaccounted for; might this have been a divinely ordained reference to the initial letter of Jesus’ name? Thus: Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Lincicum 132–33).


In this post:

Peje Iesous

Christopher Skinner has begun blogging at Peje Iesous. Skinner’s blog synopsis says,

This blog seeks to explore the historical Jesus, the canonical and extracanonical gospels, narrative hermeneutics, and the implications these areas of study have for modern followers of Jesus Christ. The name “Peje Iesous” is an English transliteration of the Coptic phrase “Jesus said,” the introductory formula for most sayings in the Gospel of Thomas.

The first few posts and some of the other resources available there have some good information, and I look forward to seeing more to come in the future.

HT: Michael Bird

The Deliverance of God

Douglas Campbell
Douglas Campbell
Douglas Campbell’s new book, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul, has come to publication at Eerdmans. The publisher’s description reports that:

In this scholarly book Douglas Campbell pushes beyond both “Lutheran” and “New” perspectives on Paul to a noncontractual, “apocalyptic” reading of many of the apostle’s most famous-and most troublesome-texts.

Campbell holds that the intrusion of an alien, essentially modern, and theologically unhealthy theoretical construct into the interpretation of Paul has produced an individualistic and contractual construct that shares more with modern political traditions than with either orthodox theology or Paul’s first-century world. In order to counteract that influence, Campbell argues that it needs to be isolated and brought to the foreground before the interpretation of Paul’s texts begins. When that is done, readings free from this intrusive paradigm become possible and surprising new interpretations unfold.

For a list of other biblioblogs that have already picked up on the work, please see the Complete List of Biblioblogs Google search.

In the Biblioblogs

A few recent, noteworthy posts in the biblioblogs:

NIV Update Slated for 2011

The widely used New International Version is slated for an update in 2011, its first revision in 25 years. According to the press release:

“As time passes and English changes, the NIV we have at present is becoming increasingly dated. If we want a Bible that English speakers around the world can understand, we have to listen to, and respect, the vocabulary they are using today.” . . . “The new 2011 NIV is all about maintaining and enhancing the original values of the NIV for today’s readers.” . . . “We’re looking for a translation that is above all accurate – that says what the original authors said in the way they would have said it had they been speaking in English to the global English-speaking audience today. We’re looking for a translation that offers clarity – where understanding comes naturally and readers can quickly grasp the original authors’ ideas and the cadence of their language. We’re looking for a translation that is suitable both for in-depth study and for outreach – a translation that Christians can share with their neighbors without hindrance whether they are experienced Bible readers or interested newcomers.

The press release does not detail what revisions can be expected, but the homepage at www.nivbible2011.com features a question and comment form for those who may wish to inquire further before additional details become more widely available.

HT: Zondervan

2009 Carver-Barnes Lectures

This post is somewhat belated, but I have just recently been able to listen to this year’s Carver-Barnes Lectures. On March 25, Ken Myers delivered a lecture on the “Comprehensive Character of Christian Discipleship.” Ken followed on the 26th with a lecture on the “Counter-Cultural Imperative for Christian Disciplers.”

As much as a good many discussions of the relationship(s) between Christianity and culture lack a certain degree of care and nuance, Ken has a number of highly astute insights, not least on issues related to the anthropology of the modern, Western Christian community. In addition, Ken’s irenic disposition in these lectures and in the colloquium that followed made his observations and suggestions all the more engaging.