Tyndale Fellowship Conference July 6-9

The Tyndale Fellowship conference is close at hand (July 6-9) and I thought I would take a few moments to highlight some papers that will be given.  For those that don’t know, the fellowship conference involves the co-meeting of a number of ‘study groups’ that work within various disciplines: OT, philosophy of religion, doctrine, NT, archaeology, Biblical theology, etc…

The theme of the OT group is on the OT and Christian proclamation.  Presenters will include Hugh Williamson, Daniel Block, Walter Moberly, and Gordon Wenham.

As for the Christian Doctrine group, Howard Marshall will discuss ‘Biblical and Systematic Theology’, Desmond Alexander will address the interface of doctrine and biblical theology; Mike Bird will raise the question ‘What if Luther had read the Dead Sea scrolls?’

In the NT group, there will be a major panel discussion of Richard Burridge’s Imitating Jesus book on NT ethics with Burridge as a respondent, also with John Nolland, Michael Thompson, Mike Bird and John Drane.  One of the sessional papers will be given by your truly on Paul’s use of military metaphors and what relationship that has to his ethics.

In the Ethics and Social Theology group, Jonathan Moo will be the plenary speaker with the title: ”Continuity, discontinuity and hope: the contribution of New Testament eschatology to a distinctively Christian environmental ethic’.  On a personal note, I studied with Jonathan at Gordon-Conwell and I must say he has the qualities of being both academically brilliant and very humble – rarely does one find these two in one person!

I know that Paul Helm and Wayne Grudem will be giving major papers, but I am not sure of the titles.

Marks of Great NT Scholars #1 and #2

This is a new series I am doing that reflects on what makes great scholars ‘great’.  Disclaimer – this is subjective and you will be getting my opinion on who is great and why.

#1: An eye for detail

Many great NT scholars have the gift of having excellent skills in observation.  They can read a text – one that we all read all the time – and questions come to their minds that never occur in ours.  I have noticed this, for instance, in the work of Gordon Fee – especially in his commentaries.  He picks up on the way Paul crafts a phrase, or the way he quote Scripture.  Unfortunately these skills are not usually learned, though we can all try and enhance our own ability to make good observations by reading slowly (and reading the NT in Greek!).  It takes discipline to ask good questions of the text and see what is out of place, unusual, odd, etc…

#2: Master of the literature of the ancient world

While in the first scenario, it is usually an innate skill, this second one primarily comes from intense study of the literature.  Someone like Joseph Fitzmyer or F.F. Bruce comes to mind.  They can make connections and relate ideas and themes because of their wide and deep base of knowledge.  This marks a great scholar because they know their field and can make competent decisions about meaning based on the thought-world of the text.  They can discriminate also based on how to differentiate, for instance, Paul’s thoughts on something in comparison to Philo or 1 Enoch or Seneca.  This takes time, and some people’s mem0ries are better than others, but once in a while you find a person that can absorb information like a sponge.  These people can be propelled into the high ranks of scholarship quite rapidly with a careful crafting of this skill.  For the rest of us, it takes patience to just sit and read non-biblical literature.  On my reading list right now is Tacitus, Josephus, and Valerius Maximus.  I anticipate needing some coffee to work through some of the more tedious portions of these (though Valerius has some really interesting things to say!), but I believe it will pay off!

Wycliffe Hall looking for OT/Hebrew Tutor

Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
An international centre for evangelical and Anglican Christian life
and study in the University of Oxford.

An exciting post with the opportunity to be at the heart of a
biblical and spiritual training for gospel ministry.

* Main responsibility for teaching Old Testament in the Hall and University
*Mentoring and preparing students for ministry, college missions and preaching
* Lead tutor for Hebrew language teaching

Full details and application form are available from:
Helen Mitchell, Wycliffe Hall,
54 Banbury Road, Oxford  OX2 6PW.
E-mail:  helen.mitchell {AT] wycliffe.ox.ac.uk

Closing date for applications:
12 noon on Thursday 25 June 2009