Who is NT Wright’s Old Testament Alter Ego???

Apparently it is John Goldingay (Fuller Theological Seminary) who has been slated by WJK to produce the Old Testament counter-part to the popular Wright series The New Testament For Everyone.  I must say that I have been listening to Goldingay on itunes and he is absolutely the best choice for working on the OT series of this type.  His illustrations are reasonable and insightful and often humorous.  He has a warm and charitable way, similar to Wright.  He knows his history, but has a deep interest in theology, as Wright.  Marvelous!

As you might guess, the series will begin with Genesis, in two volumes (1-16, 17-50).  I get a sense from Goldingay’s lectures that he is more “cheekier” than Wright (in the good sense!).  One chapter from the forthcoming books is entitled: “Two Guys Who Need Their Heads Banged Together.”  That is vintage Goldingay.  I get a sense that we will be seeing this out in March/April 2010.


A Must-Have Pauline Resource (Pauline Parallels)

At the end of January, I am leading a church day-seminar on how to study the Bible in depth (at my brother-in-law’s church in Holland, Michigan).  One of my responsibilities is to equip laypeople to use Bible study resources that are not esoteric or that require knowledge of Biblical languages.  This is the first time I have had to use a reverse-interlinear and an ink-and-paper concordance (I have relied on Bibleworks for many years).

One resource I think that is invaluable is Walter Wilson’s new Pauline Parallels: A Comprehensive Guide (WJK, 2009).  Wilson offers a listing a parallels to Pauline texts in a number of categories.  First, for each passage (in canonical order), he lists intratextual parallels – within the same letter.  Then he offers inter-Pauline parallels – similar passages from other letters of the Pauline corpus.  Then, he gives canonical parallels – from the OT and NT apart from the letters of Paul.  Finally, he gives “noncanonical” parallels.  He only does this last one on occasion and usually it is from Jewish writings, but it is very useful and a handy quick-reference resource.

Computer programs can do word searches and find similar texts, but there is something special about one person thinking through the relationships and finding things that might not be picked up on in Bibleworks or Accordance.

For instance, in relation to Romans 5:6-11, Wilson offers in parallel Seneca’s comment: ‘Why, then, do I acquire a friend?  In order to have someone for whom I may die, in order to have someone I may follow into exile, someone against whose death I may pledge and stake my life.” (Moral Epistles, 9.10).  Wow!  How interesting!

You may not agree with every choice in this book, but the volume, as a whole, is very handy and he makes lots of significant links that I had not thought of before, especially between Paul and other parts of the NT.

This is a resource that will never become outdated (except that More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha will be published!).  It is very affordable for the value and I think every Paulinist (and New Testament researcher) should have it.  Also, of course, I am recommending it to pastors and laypeople as a way of connecting concepts and themes in the Bible and understanding Paul better in the process!

Interview with Gordon Fee on Galatians Commentary

Below you will find an interview I conducted with world-class biblical scholar Gordon Fee (emeritus, Regent College) with special regard to his recent Galatians commentary (DEO publishing).  For being a short commentary, it was very insightful and Fee is such an impressive reader of texts.  It was nice to have his perspective on various controversial issues that he is able to weigh in on.  I highly recommend it.

Without further ado.

Nijay: How has your previous research helped prepare you to write this commentary.  What have you learned from writing your other commentaries?

Gordon: I have taught Galatians in various settings for over 40 years.  All I did basically was to write up my very thorough class notes.  I learned from the (all positive) reviews of the Corinthians commentary to try to be fair to Paul, to say it precisely, and to think about how it might apply today.

Nijay: How did your Christology book stimulate your thoughts about Galatians?

Gordon: I don’t know that it did.  My guess is that I never once referred to the former in writing the latter.

Nijay: I noticed you make several exegetical conclusions based on the particular word-order of the Greek text (such as ‘grace and peace’ in the greeting).  Have you always given this much consideration to word order (in Greek)?

Gordon: In that particular case, yes; can one imagine anyone, and especially the Apostle Paul, putting them in any other order??

Nijay: You seem to show some appreciation for the New Perspective on Paul.

Gordon: I did so, because the major proponents are personal friendswith whom I have disagreed vigorously in person. But in the public arena I refuse to do so.

Nijay: Generally, what do you appreciate about the NPP and in what areas would you critique Wright, Sanders, or Dunn with regard to their articulation of Paul’s view of the law and works in Galatians?

Gordon: They are absolutely right that “works” does not mean trying to get God’s favor by “doing something”; at issue is what role the Jewish law plays in what believers “do.” And since the major issue, that got this whole thing started at all, was the one Paul most vigorously opposes (namely the circumcision of Gentile males), I still think most later Christians miss Paul by an arm’s length on this issue.

Nijay: If you had to recommend one commentary to seminary students on Galatians, what would it be and why?

Gordon: Is this a trick question?  I would have them read mine, of course; but if you meant another, Isuppose it would be Dunn or Bruce.

Nijay: On a different subject, would you be willing to share what writing projects you are working on for the future?

Gordon: I am now 75 and long of tooth.  I have recently finished a commentary on the Revelation; my last hurrah (hopefully) will be an updating of the 1 Corinthians commentary (I have changed my mind very little in the exegesis, but an interaction with 25 years of literature is needed.

Thank you, Gordon!  We look forward to your commentary work and thank you for your scholarship!