Richard B Hays is a Class Act – Let Me Tell You Why (Gupta)

I went to the SBL session reviewing Dr. Richard B Hays’ new book Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness (Baylor Press, 2014). It was one of my favorite sessions this conference and not just for content. While it was informative and entertaining to hear the creative responses by Francis Watson, Markus Bockmuehl, and Marianne Meye Thompson, what struck me was how Hays responded to criticism. He was gracious and thankful – he admitted minor mistakes in clarity in the book, for example.

To put this in perspective, I heard a response in an earlier session that was pompous, self-serving, and just plain mean. When a respondent behaves in such a heavy-handed way, it takes the fun out of the “dialogue” (there is no dialogue, really) and lessens the impact of the criticism, even if legitimate at some level.

But with Hays, he was genuinely engaged and humbly open to helpful feedback. This was not an “I am going to tell you why I am still right about everything” review session. It was a conversation, and no doubt Hays and the other panelists knew that we (the audience) were not just spectators, but learners, so they modeled the best of academic engagement.

Personally, I really struggled with handling feedback publicly on my papers in past years, and I still struggle with it. When we are put on display and people throw tomatoes at us, it is almost irresistible the temptation to pick up something to throw back. I am not saying we shouldn’t defend our views with evidence and clarify and explain our thoughts, but Hays reminded me that we (all of us in academia) are at the conference to learn. Even the senior scholars should model the spirit of a student.

Thank you Richard Hays! I look forward to reading your new book!

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).