Secret Festschrift for Douglas Moo Now Presented (Gupta)

Apparently yesterday (I was not there) at the Evangelical Theological Society Douglas Moo (Wheaton) was presented with a festschrift (honorific writing). The editors (Matt Harmon and Jay Smith) and contributors did a great job of keeping this secret because details are nowhere to be found on the internet! Moo is a good guy (with whom I disagree much!), and well-deserving of this honor.

From news on Facebook, here are some details I gathered.

Studies in the Pauline Epistles, ed. Harmon and Smith, published by Zondervan.

Contributors include:

GK Beale

Craig Blomberg

Ardel Caneday

D.A. Carson

James D.G. Dunn

Jonathan Moo (!)

Dane Ortlund

Thomas Schreiner

Mark Seifrid

Verlyn Verbrugge

Chris Vlachos

Stephen Westerholm

N.T. Wright

Robert Yarbrough

Come Engage with Ross Wagner on Friday at IBR/SBL on LXX and NT (Gupta)

I know there is a lot going on on Friday of SBL, but the group of the Institute for Biblical Research that I co-chair has invited Dr. Ross Wagner (Duke) to speak on the topic of the Septuagint and the New Testament. Wagner is one of the leading experts in this area and his paper is entitled: “Sanctified by the Body of Christ: Greek Scriptures in the Christian Bible.” We have two excellent respondents lined up: Dr. Robert Wall and Dr. Telford Work. We have left plenty of time after papers for discussion and engagement. This is such an important topic – come one, come all!

See below for meeting information

Institute for Biblical Research
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Room: Indigo Ballroom B (Level 2 (Indigo)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)

Theme: Research Group: The Relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament
This research group focuses on the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament. For further information contact Nijay Gupta ( and Creig Marlowe ( and see (click on Research Groups: The Relationship Between the Old Testament and New Testament).

Creig Marlowe, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Introduction (5 min)
J. Ross Wagner, Duke University (35 min)
Robert Wall, Seattle Pacific University, Respondent (15 min)
J. Ross Wagner, Duke University, Respondent (5 min)
Telford Work, Westmont College, Respondent (15 min)
J. Ross Wagner, Duke University, Respondent (5 min)
Discussion (20 min)
Business Meeting (20 min)

Johannine Characterization at SBL (Skinner)

If it seems that every time you click a link on social media this past week, you are hearing about the upcoming AAR/SBL meetings in San Diego, it’s probably because many of us are giddy about the opportunity to gather with friends, buy discounted books, eat at high end restaraunts, and oh yeah, present and listen to papers. What makes this whole scenario even better (at least here in the US) is that when we return home we go right into the Thanksgiving holiday. Thus, SBL is like a pre-holiday!

This year I will be giving a paper in the Johannine Literature Group in which the topic is “Characterization in the Gospel of John.” Here’s the lineup:

4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room 25 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)

Theme: Characterization in the Gospel of John

Ruben Zimmermann, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Presiding
Christopher W. Skinner, Mount Olive University
Toward a Theory of Character for Interpreting the Gospel of John (20 min)
Cornelis Bennema, Wales Evangelical School of Theology
The Scope and Limitations of Using a Uniform Approach to Character in the Gospel of John (20 min)
Alicia D. Myers, Campbell University Divinity School
Topographies of Person: Mapping Ancient Characterization in the Gospel of John (20 min)
Break (5 min)
Steven A. Hunt, Gordon College, Francois Tolmie, University of the Free State and Ruben Zimmermann, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel: Methods, Trends, Results (20 min)
Francis J. Moloney, Australian Catholic University
The Final Appearance: Characters in John 20 (and 21) (20 min)
James L. Resseguie, Winebrenner Theological Seminary
Character and Point of View: The Beloved Disciple as Test Case (20 min)
Discussion (25 min)

If you’re interested in the subject, we’d love to see you there. Everyone on the panel has written something of substance on the topic in recent years. I’m really looking forward to the interaction.

A Big Fall 2014 for Pauline Commentaries (Gupta)

It has proven to be a big fall for Pauline commentaries:

Gordon Fee’s acclaimed NICNT volume on 1 Corinthians has been revised. If you don’t already own it, this is a great reason to get it.

Mark Seifrid has written the Pillar volume of 2 Corinthians and it is out now.

Ralph Martin’s 2 Corinthians WBC has also seen a new edition, released in late October.

Hot off the press is Jeffrey Weima’s BEC commentary – this will be an exegetical force to be reckoned with – few scholars in the world have invested more time and energy in studying the Thessalonian correspondence than Weima. This will, no doubt, become the standard go-to work for evangelicals. (We also eagerly await the delayed release of Karl Donfried’s ICC volume on 1-2 Thessalonians; does anyone know what happened with that? Furthermore, we are anticipating a Hermeneia volume on these letters from the octogenarian Helmut Koester)

And I should also mention Christopher Seitz’s Colossians commentary just came out in the Brazos series.

Kasemann on Discipleship and the Cross (Gupta)

N.T. Wright has said that if he had to take the works of only one Pauline interpreter to a deserted island – it would be Kaesemann. Not that Wright always agrees with Kaesemann, but he found him exegetically and theologically challenging and provocative in stimulating ways (see What Saint Paul Really Said, 11).

I agree with this statement wholeheartedly and I want to share this quote from Kaesemann on the cross and discipleship (Perspectives on Paul)

kaesemann_ernst-1986_300dpiThe church lives under the sign of the cross, that is to say, given over to death inwardly and outwardly, waiting longingly with the whole of creation for the liberty of the children of God and manifesting the imitation of Jesus through the bearing of the cross…The person who does not share in the carrying of the cross, leaving the things that lie behind, has no part in the church; nor has the man who does not stand in the no-man’s land before the gates of this world’s permanent camp, repeating Israel’s Exodus. He is in truth not a Christian at all, but a member of the old world, whose characteristic is enmity to the cross. No one can take on the likeness of Christ in the birth-pangs of the Messiah without having become a disciple of the one who was crucified (p. 67, 68).

Interview with Mark Strauss On New Zondervan Mark Commentary (Gupta)

Dr. Mark Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary StraussSan Diego, recently published a commentary on the Gospel of Mark for the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series (Zondervan, 2014). He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his work in an interview with me. Check his book out.

#1: Tell us about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series and what this series has to offer? What attracted you to this project?

MS: The ZEC Series is an exegetical commentary designed for pastors and teachers. It is especially helpful for those who have had a year or two Greek, and will help them refresh their use of the Greek.  It is thorough, yet not overly technical (all the Greek is followed by an English gloss). Every pericope contains a brief summary of (1) the literary context, (2) the “main idea” of the passage, (3) an original translation, (4) a graphical layout of the structure of the passage, (5) an exegetical outline, (6) a fairly detailed commentary or explanation of the text, and (7) a “Theology in Application” section discussing the theological implications of the passage.  There is little space devoted to composition history and historical critical issues, which are not particularly relevant to the concerns of the church.​

I was approached by Clint Arnold about joining the project as an associate editor for the narrative material of the New Testament. I got excited because the commentary is detailed yet accessible, precisely what a preacher or teacher is looking for when trying to do a thorough exegesis of a passage.

#2: Who are some of the Markan scholars that have influenced you most? If you had to work out an “essential reading on Mark” book list, what would you put on it and why?
MS: R. T. (Dick) France was a dear friend and a great biblical scholar. His volume on Mark in the NIGTC is a classic. ​In addition to Dick, there are almost too many important Markan scholars to name. I’ve been heavily influenced by the work of Cranfield, Hooker, Lane, Pesch, Guelich, Gundry, Stein, Marcus, Garland, Evans, Boring, Collins, and others. In additional to the many excellent commentaries and monographs, I would strongly recommend the classic narrative analysis of the Gospel in Mark as Story,by Rhoads, Dewey and Michie, and the introduction to new approaches found in Mark and Method (eds. Anderson and Moore),
#3: You have done work on Mark before (New Expositors, 2010). What jumped out to you about Mark’s interests and style this time around? 
MS: ​I’ve come to love not only Mark’s raw energy and intense and colorful narrative (which are often noted) but also his theological and narrative craftsmanship. Mark’s Gospel is far from a random collection​ of Jesus traditions, as the form critics sometimes claimed. It is a beautifully crafted narrative masterpiece.
#4: After working through Mark in such detail, what question marks are left? What Markan conundrums are left unresolved and unexplained? 
MS: Three stand out in particular: (1) The Olivet discourse, which is extremely difficult to untangle in terms of its reference to the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age; (2) the naked man in the Garden (although few think he’s Mark, no one seems to have much of a clue as to why Mark recounts this); and (3) the abrupt and puzzling ending.  It is still about a 50-50 split among scholars as to whether the ending was lost or whether Mark intended to end so abruptly.  That’s not much of a consensus!
#5: Part of the emphasis in the ZECNT is “theology in application” – What kinds of things does Mark teach that need to be heard loud and clear by the church today?
​MS: Mark is an urgent call to faithfulness to Jesus and the gospel in the face of an increasingly hostile world. It is a summons to take up our cross and follow him—even to death. That message is intensely ​relevant for many believers around the world, who are facing ostracism, persecution, suffering, and death.  It is becoming more relevant in our increasingly post-Christian culture.
#6: Can you tell us about other projects you are working on?
MS: I tend to veer back and forth between popular and more scholarly writing. I’m finishing a book on some of the hard sayings of Jesus, editing a teen study Bible, preparing supplemental resources​ for my Gospels textbook (Four Portraits, One Jesus), and I’m contracted to write a critical introduction to Mark. (And a few other things.)
Thanks for your time!