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.
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.
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.
Through his vast conquests, Alexander’s comparatively short life left several important marks on history:
Alexander’s conquests effected a substantial influx of Greeks into various areas around the known world, and these Greeks brought their distinctive culture with them (Ferguson 13). To be sure, the Greeks had already established several colonies outside the Balkan Peninsula by this time, but after Alexander’s conquests, the numbers of Greeks living in other lands and degree of their influence with these lands’ native peoples significantly increased (Ferguson 13; Schürer 1:11).
Alexander’s life allowed the culture that the Greek conquerors and settlers had carried with them to take hold more quickly and firmly in foreign soil than it might otherwise have done (Ferguson 14). This increased exposure to Greek culture was especially significant for the peoples of the Near East, including the Jews (Ferguson 14).
Alexander’s campaigns spread Attic-standard currency throughout the known world, and this distribution enhanced economic consistency also increased people’s economic interconnectedness (Ferguson 14; Wright 153).
The non-Greek world became vastly more acquainted with Greek philosophy and the use of it to describe a way of life (Ferguson 14; Wright 153).
The increased acquaintance with Greek philosophy entailed a general increase in the overall level of education (Ferguson 14). While this increase in education was certainly not evenly distributed throughout the empire (Schürer 1:11), more people were better educated and more literate than they had previously been, and this fact, combined with the use of Koine as a lingua franca for the Greek empire as a whole, increased communication among people from different cultures (Ferguson 14).
As Greek language and philosophy spread, so did Greek religion, though it too had begun to spread before Alexander’s time (Ferguson 14; cf. Schürer 1:11). In particular, Alexander’s conquests abroad significantly increased the adoption of Greek deities and the practice of identifying local deities with the members of the Greek pantheon (Ferguson 14; see Schürer 1:11–29).
The Alexandrian conquests effected greater urbanization in the lands they affected, tending to present the polis, rather than the countryside, village, or temple-state, as the fundamental backbone of societal structure (cf. Plato 414d–415e; see Ferguson 14).
Finally, despite the spread of things like similar language, philosophy, culture, and economics more broadly (Blass & Debrunner §2; Deissmann 59; Voelz 912, 931; Wallace 15, 17; Wright 153), Grecian conquest introduced greater opportunities for individualism as Greek conventions provided alternatives to traditional ones (Ferguson 14). In such an environment, perhaps contrary to what had gone before it, choices of individuals in the conquered lands could receive greater priority than the things that these individuals would have otherwise inherited from their communities of origin (Ferguson 14–15).
In large measure, therefore, Alexander’s conquests accelerated the development or increased the strength of Hellenic influences that were already beginning to creep toward many of the areas that he subjugated.
Although it certainly can be used otherwise, a progress tracking system like the one Paul Silvia suggests in his book How to Write a Lot seems to work best for writing that can be open ended: by following a regular writing schedule, projects can regularly and reliably come to completion. What happens, however, if one is working under a deadline (be it self-imposed or not) and, therefore, needs to develop a writing schedule backwards from this due date?
This spreadsheet is at least an elementary attempt to provide a tool for performing such a task. Yet, one obvious limitation of this spreadsheet method is that all the writing projects are arranged serially along the completion timeline rather than allowing for working on more than one project at once.
If anyone else should find this tool useful and has refinement suggestions, I would be very interested in seeing them. These formulae appear to work on Google Docs exactly as they do on Excel when that program is operated on a Windows platform, but to my understanding, Excel calculates dates differently on Mac OS than it does on Windows, so Mac users may need to adjust this spreadsheet’s formulae.