Daily Gleanings: Recent Publications (18 July 2019)

In the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 62.2, Eckhard Schnabel discusses “Biblical Theology from a New Testament Perspective” (225–49). According to the abstract,

The history of writing comprehensive treatments of Old Testament theology, New Testament theology, and biblical theology shows that some authors pursue a historical reconstruction of theological traditions and proclamation, some authors present a systematic interpretation of content and themes, and some authors offer a combination of both. The outline and content of an Old Testament theology, a New Testament theology, or a biblical theology will be influenced by the personal interests of the author, by the intended readers, and, more mundanely, by word counts stipulated by publishers. At the same time, it can be argued that the character of God’s revelation as well as the character of the biblical writings themselves demand that the unity of the biblical message is explained in the context of the diversity and contingency of the biblical writings. The variegated theological truth of Scripture is best explained in the context of the historical realities of its authors and writings, taking into account relevant literary features, and paradigmatically spelling out the significance of the biblical texts for modern readers.

For the full essay, see JETS.

In what may sadly be his next-to-last post, Larry Hurtado discusses Craig Keener’s commentary on Galatians, commenting in part,

At xlvii + 848 pages, it is likely the largest commentary on this epistle.… The size of the commentary is not given over to blather.  In addition to the unhurried discussion of the text, as characteristic of Keener’s commentaries, this one too is full of references to primary texts (both early Christian sources and a wide panoply of others), and to a huge body of scholarly publications.

For further discussion, see Hurtado’s original post.

Daily Gleanings: Thoughts from Larry Hurtado (31 May 2019)

Larry Hurtado discusses early Christian investment in texts with helpful reference to the detailed work of Randolph Richards, Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection (InterVarsity Press, 2004).

Larry Hurtado also discusses the nature of “extant evidence” and inferences based on it, specifically in terms of early Christian texts.

Daily Gleanings (30 May 2019)

Roger Pearse discusses the King James Version and provides a good deal of interesting material about the translation principles and procedures behind it.

AWOL highlights the open access “Digital Biblical Studies” series:

The series aims to publish the latest research at the intersection of Digital Humanities and Biblical Studies, Ancient Judaism, and Early Christianity in order to demonstrate the transformation of research, teaching, cognition and the economy of knowledge in digital culture. In particular, DBS investigates and evaluates the practices and methodologies of Digital Humanities as applied to texts, inscriptions, archaeological data, and scholarship related to these fields.

To access the series, visit Brill’s website.

On volume 3 in the series, see also Larry Hurtado’s comments.

Daily Gleanings (20 May 2019)

Mike Aubrey points to a full set of video recordings of lectures from the recent SEBTS conference on linguistics and NT Greek. I’ve included this playlist below as well. The “hamburger” button in the upper left-hand corner will expand the playlist contents with a list of speakers and their topics.

Larry Hurtado reviews Michael Dormandy’s recent TC essay, “How the Books Became the Bible:  The Evidence for Canon Formation From Work-Combination in Manuscripts.”

Scholarship as Meritocracy

Larry Hurtado reflects on ill-supported views that sometimes get bandied about, not least on the Internet. In contrast, Hurtado comments:

In the world of scholarship, your opinion gets as much respect and attention as it deserves, based on your having demonstrated your knowledge of the data and ability to analyze and construct cogent inferences and interpretations–“demonstrated” in the judgment of other scholars competent to judge.  Scholarship isn’t a townhall meeting.  It’s a meritocracy in which opinions suffer informed critique, and those views that get accepted are the ones that are seen to be worthwhile by those competent to judge, who have themselves had to develop and demonstrate the “goods.”

Whether scholarship “is” or “should be” a meritocracy could perhaps be discussed, as well as what meritocracy might practically entail. But, even if and when scholarship falls short of meritocratic interaction, it would still seem beneficial to act as though it is a meritocracy and to remember that no one scholar has the ability to define where scholarship finds merit.

That is, if one’s views do not find a careful hearing, there remains work to be done to demonstrate why that hearing should be given. To play up the instances in which scholarship falls short of even-handed interaction with various positions would appear to allow space for an academic “victim mentality” to set in (Woe is me! Why are my arguments not heard?). George Ladd is perhaps a good example of what can happen as a result of one or the other view taking hold (though with excesses even on the better side; see John D’Elia, A Place at the Table).

In another light, to call scholarship, or the academy, a “meritocracy” highlights its status (although under another name) as a marketplace for ideas. Even in capitalist markets, some goods may be over- or under-valued, but the responsibility for showing the value of those goods still lies with the merchants, even when the market environment might be less than fully favorable toward them.

For the balance of Hurtado’s reflections, see his original blog post.