Latest JSNT includes Foster’s Critique of Pseudonymous Views of 2 Thessalonians

The Dec 2012 issue of JSNT is online and has some very interesting articles including one by Paul Foster where he calls for a re-evaluation of the scholarly tendency to treat 2 Thessalonians as pseudonymous. Essentially, Foster says, due to developments in research, the very outdated arguments for why 2 Thess was not written by Paul are no longer convincing. I think Foster is right about this, and this also applies (I would argue) to Colossians.

Gorman’s “Notes” on the Fourth Gospel

I recently discovered that Mike Gorman was the author of the Gospel of John study notes for the Wesley Study Bible (the study Bible I primarily use for personal reading and for classroom use). Wonderful notes! Also, recently, on his blog, he posted a series of “theses” on GJ that make up the outline for his final lecture in his seminary course on Johannine Literature. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these points – he capably summarizes the best of the consensus views on critical and pastoral matters related to this text.

Currently, in preparation for my Spring course on GJ, I am reading through Gail O’Day’s NIB commentary on John, and I would say it captures precisely the kind of reading of John that Mike endorses. [Have any of you read O'Day's commentary? What do you think?]

Check out Gorman’s notes here.

R.R. Reno Ranks Grad Programs in Theology for 2012

In First Things, RR Reno offers his third list of theology grad program rankings (first in 2006, then 2009, now 2012). Duke and Notre Dame top the list, and a thumbs up is given to Catholic University, Wycliffe College/Toronto School of Theology, Boston College, Princeton Seminary, Perkins School of Theology, Yale, Marquette, and Univ of Dayton.

Reno also mentions that, for evangelicals, he would recommend Wheaton and TEDS. Interestingly, he mentions that Princeton would be a good choice for evangelicals because it “claim[s] aspects of that heritage” – really??? Somebody explain this to me!

One should note that Reno especially appreciates schools where students do more than historical criticism. Thus, Duke is promoted because it flourishes with “a fresh, postliberal conviction that in today’s academic culture we need to focus on renewing and deepening the traditional and apostolic character of theology.”

So, it was sad for me to see that (again?) Reno did not include any institutions in the UK. For the same reasons Reno sends students to Duke, I encourage students to consider places like Durham and St. Andrews, where it is not only OK to be a Christian, but some faculty are actually ordained (or even former Bishops!).

Still, for a place to start, Reno’s list is noteworthy. I would have added Fuller and Emory, but I am thinking specifically of New Testament studies (and not “theology” more broadly conceived).

2013 Wheaton Theology Conference on “Christian Political Witness”

I just saw the announcement that the April 4-6, 2013 Wheaton Theology Conference will cover the topic “Christian Political Witness.” The theme has this description:

Our conference title is drawn from the words of Jesus to his disciples, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles” (Matt. 10:18). The 2013 Wheaton Theology Conference explores the biblical and theological contours of the complex relationship between Christian faith and political authority. The conference seeks to deepen the church’s understanding of the political implications of the Gospel that proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Special attention will be given to the competing claims of homage, obedience, loyalty and sacrifice.

Speakers include William Cavanaugh, Tim Gombis, David Gushee, George Kalantzis, Peter Leithart, Mark Noll, Scot McKnight, and Stanley Hauerwas – that looks like a pretty exciting list to me!

For more information, see here.

SBL Report – Chicago 2012

I am now finally unburying myself from “back to work” mess. I thought I might give a brief report on SBL this year.

Overall, most folks (myself included) were disappointed with the McCormick Place convention center – restaurants were few and far between, shuttling back and forth on buses was a pain, and the sessions were so spread out that the conference as a whole lacked the kind of energy we have seen in previous years. Oh well, perhaps Baltimore will be better.

Sessions – I will admit that I only managed to make it to a few sessions. On Friday I co-presided over a new research group of the Institute for Biblical Research that concentrates on the Relationship Between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Our theme this year was “the Use of the Old Testament in the Old Testament and its Implications for the New Testament.” We had about 60-70 folks turn up (twice the number I was expecting!) -I am sure the good turn out had something to do with the excellent set of presenters: Sheri Klouda, Peter Enns, Bruce Fisk, and Darrell Bock. Sheri gave a paper that set out some hermeneutical and methodological questions, and the others responded in turn. We had a good open discussion towards the end. I think the big messages from our session were (1) it is good to be looking at how the OT writers use the OT and (2) it is extremely complex and messy, so don’t jump into it naively or work it out in a sloppy way. Ok! Well, we have much more work to do next year as we will turn to some key case studies.

At “SBL,” I presented two papers. The Monday paper was my first-ever presentation in the “Johannine Literature” group. We had excellent presenters including Dorothy Lee, Ben Reynolds (with whom I went to seminary), and Susan Miller. It was a special privilege to have George Parsenios presiding. I got some helpful feedback from the attendees and I learned much from my co-presenters, so it was a success. I imagine at its largest, there were about 100 people there, but the room could have held 600!

My second paper was on Tuesday, in the Religious World of Late Antiquity group. It was a bit out of my comfort zone, since I am more of a theologian than a historian, and I am not as comfortable in late antiquity as the other presenters. Nevertheless, they were gracious and, again, the feedback was very useful.

Meals and Receptions 

I had the wonderful opportunity to stay with my buddy John Goodrich (along with fellow Durham grad Ben Blackwell) at his apartment, which saved me some money and gave us a chance to catch up. I attended the Durham reception, which seemed like a pretty hopping place. The Eerdmans reception was next door, and I presume we had folks wander in from that group. I happened to plan out just about every meal, so it was nice to spend time especially with Gordon-Conwell and Durham friends, but also new ones. Mike Bird – you were missed!

Books

This year, I saved up birthday money to buy some books – and buy I did! I will do a post later on about my book picks, but two new releases are especially important: both Eugene Boring and Donald Hagner published introductions to the New Testament. I have had a chance to dip a bit into Boring’s work and it is very good. I did not manage to buy Zondervan’s theologian trading cards, but now I regret it! :)

2013 Justice Conference Sponsored by Eastern U

The Justice Conference will be in Philadelphia this February and I am pleased to say that Eastern University is one of the major sponsors. This year, the speakers include Nicholas Wolterstorff, Eugene Cho, Brenda Salter McNeil, and John Perkins (among many others). I will definitely try and make it downtown to hear Wolterstorff.

I am proud of Eastern for being committed to the cause of justice! I am hoping to get a group of students and faculty to participate this year.