St. Andrews “Son of God” Conference – June 6-8, 2016 (Gupta)

File this under “conferences that make me drool, but are just too far away for me to attend” – still, if you can free up your schedule and make it to St. Andrews, this looks pretty exciting!

The organisers of the St Andrews Symposium for Biblical and Early Christian Studies are happy to announce the theme of the next installation of this series taking place at the University of St Andrews 6-8 June 2016

Son of God: Divine Sonship in Jewish and Christian Antiquity.

Invited addresses will be given by Menahem Kister (Hebrew University), Reinhard Kratz (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), Jan Joosten (University of Oxford), Richard Bauckham (University of Cambridge), George Brooke (University of Manchester), N.T. Wright (University of St Andrews), Philip Alexander (University of Manchester), Madhavi Nevader (University of St Andrews), Michael Peppard (Fordham University), David Moffitt (University of St Andrews), William Tooman (University of St Andrews), and Matthew Novenson (University of Edinburgh)

Cost: Early bird (1 December 2015-29 February 2016) £50; Standard (1 March-1 May 2016) £75.

Please send short abstracts (250 words) engaging Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, Targumim, Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha, New Testament, Rabbinic Literature, or Early Christian Literature to Paul Sloan (ps343@st-andrews.ac.uk) by 15 February 2016 addressing the following questions

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Biggest 21st Century Autumn/Winter for Pauline Studies? (Gupta)

Of course this could be an exaggeration, but it does look like it is shaping up to be an epic Autumn/Winter 2015 for Pauline studies. I have probably mentioned all of these books before, but perhaps it is nice to see them all in one place at one time

1PGPaul and the Gift, John M.G. Barclay (Eerdmans, already released). This is a “tome” if ever the word was fitting, and the product of many years of the study of Paul and, more specifically, his theology of grace. I have this on my desk at home and I am eager to dive in. Barclay has been heavily invested in the “divine and human agency” discussions related to the New Testament and he is also very critical of the work of N.T. Wright and the so-called New Perspective on Paul. This is sure to be a discipline-shaping book, for good reason, but I am also hoping to hear good critical reviews from the likes of James D.G. Dunn, N.T. Wright, Morna Hooker, and others.

1PALPaul: The Apostle’s Life, Letters, and Thought, by E.P. Sanders (Fortress, Dec 2015). Sanders is a household name in NT studies, but hasn’t contributed much on Paul in recent years. This 600+ page book is certain to stir up conversation.

Paul and His Recent Interpreters, N.T. Wright (Fortress, Oct 2015). This is the 1NTWcompanion volume to Paul and the Faithfulness of God where Wright analyzes and critiques modern Pauline scholarship (and, apparently, all major interpreters “since the Enlightenment”). In many ways, I was more interested in this book than PFG. In reviews of PFG, Wright took a lot of hits from those who thought he too often caricaturized his opponents rather than representing opposing views fairly. I am curious to see reactions to this work.

1NTW2The Paul Debate: Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle, by NT Wright (Baylor, Oct 2015). This seems to be a distillation of his massive work in Paul and the Faithfulness of God and Paul and His Recent Interpreters. According to the book description, this book offers Wright’s answers to his critics. I do think we are getting close to NTW “overkill” with this book, but at the same time I think Wright “shines” in his shorter, more “popular” works than in the tomes.

The Epistle to the Romans, by Richard N. Longenecker (Eerdmans, Dec 2015). This too is a bookA1_Romans many years in the making and will, perhaps, bring a third voice (not NPP, not apocalyptic) to conversations about Romans and Pauline theology. Longenecker is such a mature, sensible, and spirited scholar.

1MWPaul: An Outline of His Theology, by Michael Wolter (English ed; Baylor, Nov 2015, trans. R. Brawley). I also look forward to the English translation of Paulus: Ein Grundriss seiner Theologie (2011). I am glad Baylor is working hard to bring some continental voices into anglophone scholarship – this one is definitely on my list to read ASAP!

Con Campbell’s Advances in the Study of Greek – Book Notice (Gupta)

ASGI’m going to level with you, I love teaching Greek, but real NT Greek buffs talk in such a strange technical language that I have nearly given up trying to follow the latest discussions. Thankfully – and mercifully – Constantine “Con” Campbell has come to the rescue with his new book Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament (Zondervan 2015).

Campbell introduces non-experts to the terminology and concepts that are debated and discussed in the study of NT Greek. For all intents and purposes, this is NT Greek Scholarship…For Dummies (like me). Campbell is the right person to write this because he is a great teacher and knows how to communicate things with helpful examples.

After a short overview of the history of Greek studies in the last 200 years (very insightful!), he covers subjects like linguistics, lexical semantics, deponency/middle voice, verbal aspect, idiolect/genre/register, discourse analysis, pronunciation, and methods and tips for teaching and learning Greek. The layout of the book is superb and Campbell offers just the right amount of information and then supplements with good bibliographies. This is not an intimidating book at all!

I am sure there are many like me who want to keep up with what is going on in Greek studies, but I often feel like the terminology is fuzzy and if I miss some of the core concepts, I simply can’t follow the debates and advances. So, I feel like I should bring Campbell’s book to SBL as a “cheat sheet”!

Definitely, all “armchair” Greek teachers like myself should have this book, and I note the added value that, in my scholarship, when I refer to Paul’s “idiolect,” I can turn back to Campbell’s book to make sure I am using the word/concept in a responsible way!

Several New Commentaries of Note in 2015 (Gupta)

Already Published

Joseph Hellerman, Philippians (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament, B&H) – This is more than just a grammar/syntax commentary; Hellerman is widely respected for his socio-historical knowledge of Roman Philippi. I can see seminary/grad-level exegesis courses putting this commentary to good use!

A1 LukeJames Edwards, The Gospel according to Luke (Pillar, Eerdmans) – Edwards has already written the Mark volume in the Pillar series. This is a well-researched and well-written commentary. Edwards has an interest in the early reception of Luke which comes out in this work.
A1_GalatiansMarion Soards and Darrell Pursiful, Galatians (Smyth & HelwysBC, Helwys) – This new commentary on Galatians offers a solid exposition of the text. Soards, apparently, wrote the main Comments, and Purisful wrote the Connections (i.e., contemporary theological reflections on the text). Soards does not engage the NPP or the Apocalyptic Paul views directly at length, but he favors the subjective reading of pistis Christou and hails the work of Martyn, which seems to clue one in on his leanings. As per the series, there are excellent visuals and sidebars.

–UPDATE– I forgot to mention the abridged version of Beale’s Revelation commentary, this one at ~500 pages and edited with the help of David H. Campbell. Beale, as some of you know, is especially attuned to the use of OT in Revelation.

Forthcoming
A1_ThessEugene Boring, 1 and 2 Thessalonians (NTL, WJK) – Gene’s commentary should be in bookstores by the end of the month. He was kind enough to share his work with me at the beginning of the summer as I prepare my own commentary on these letters. His work is impressive and, while we disagree on several interpretive matters, this is an excellent theological commentary.
A1_JohnMarianne Meye Thompson, John (NTL, WJK) – I will have more to say about this when it comes out later this fall, but Thompson has written a first-rate commentary that all serious Johanninists will want to read and consult. I have already read this one too and it is definitely going to make my list of best books of 2015!
A1_RomansRichard N. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans (NIGTC, Eerdmans) – This massive work is bound to draw the interest of Pauline scholars. Romans is one of those books where there is an over-saturation of commentaries, but of course a commentary by Longenecker is a special treat. I read his Introducing Romans a few years back and it was very helpful – if that is a sign of things to come, the big commentary will be well worth the wait (Dec 2015) and the length (1000+pp)!

Andrew Lincoln Honored with Festschrift at BNTS 2015 (Gupta)

ATLWhen I lived in England, it was always a highlight of my year to go to the British New Testament Society conference. This year, 2015, it is in Edinburgh and I saw today through Facebook that Prof. Andrew Lincoln was honored with a Festschrift  – and well-deserved!

Here are the details:

Conception, Reception, and the Spirit: Essays in Honor of Andrew T. Lincoln (ed. J. Gordon McConville and Lloyd K. Peterson; Cascade Books. Eugene, OR, 2015).

Introduction | xiii
—J. Gordon McConville and Lloyd K. Pietersen
Part I: Exegesis
1 Figures in Isaiah 7:14 | 3
—J. G. McConville
2 Rival Group Identities in the Matthean Gospel: Evidence
from Matthew 1–2 and 23 | 19
—Philip F. Esler
3 Let John be John (2) | 36
—James D. G. Dunn
4 Worlds of Judgment: John 9 | 48
—L. Ann Jervis
5 Another Look at “Lifting Up” in the Gospel of John | 58
—Catrin H. Williams
6 John, Jesus, and “The Ruler of This World”: Demonic
Politics in the Fourth Gospel? | 71
—N. T. Wright, with J. P. Davies
7 Land, Idolatry, and Justice in Romans | 90
—Sylvia C. Keesmaat
8 A New Translation of Philippians 2:5 and Its Significance for
Paul’s Theology and Spirituality | 104
—Michael J. Gorman
9 Wine, Debauchery, and the Spirit
(Ephesians 5:18–19) | 123
—Lloyd K. Pietersen
10 The Metaphor of the Face in Paul | 136
—Stephen C. Barton
Part II: Theological Interpretation
11 Born of a Virgin? The Conversation Continues | 157
—David R. Catchpole
12 Historical Criticism, Theological Interpretation, and the
Ends of the Christian Life | 173
—Stephen Fowl
13 What Makes New Testament Theology “Theology”? | 187
—Robert Morgan
14 Who and What is Theological Interpretation For? | 210
—Angus Paddison
15 The Use of the Old Testament in the Work and Preaching
of F. W. Robertson of Brighton | 224
—John W. Rogerson
16 ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν πὸ θεοῦ
ἄνθρωποι: On the Inspiration of Holy Scripture | 236
—John Webster
Part III: Theology and Embodiment
17 Good Sex, Bad Sex: Reflections on Sexuality
and the Bible | 253
—Loveday Alexander
18 Spirituality, Ethics, and Memory | 274
—John Goldingay
19 Pacing the Cage: Biblical Resonance
and Embodied Testimony | 289
—Brian J. Walsh

Sept 2015 JSNT on Old in the New (Gupta)

The Sept 2015 issue of Journal for the Study of the New Testament is on one of my favorite themes – the use of the OT in the NT. Contributors to this issue include Leroy Huizenga, Craig Evans, Gert Steyn, Rikki Watts, Timothy H. Lim, and Susan Docherty. Also, Paul Foster offers a strong critique of those attracted to Richard Hays’ approach to intertextuality – Foster is wary of the detection of echoes and allusions of OT texts in the NT, wondering whether much of it is modern creative theological interpretation (which he thinks is fine if recognized as such) rather than something that can be methodologically linked back to the mind and intentions of the original author. Despite my deep appreciation of Hays’ work (and general agreement with it), I sympathize with Foster’s concerns, even if he exaggerates the weaknesses of the ‘Haysian method’. This is worth a read.

My New Article on Women in Scripture and Ministry (Gupta)

My article with Priscilla Papers was published this summer:

“Teach Us, Mary: The Authority of Women Teachers in the Church in Light of the Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55)”

PP_default (1)When it comes to hierarchalists urging that women do not have teaching authority in the church, the go-to passage tends to be 1 Tim 2:11-15. In fact, when I contacted a pastor once to see what their church thought about women in ministry, he simply told me to read 1 Tim 2 to understand his position.

Now I believe 1 Tim 2 is less “straightforward” than it can appear in English, but that is not the approach I take in this article. Instead, I consider the fact that voices of women are encoded within Scripture and, by virtue of this “inscripturation” their voices become the living voice of God. This is a canonical approach to re-considering the authority of female teaching. The case study I use is the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). This is one of the most important texts in the whole of the Bible and is perhaps one of the most lucid and powerful articulations of the gospel. What are the implications of the fact that Mary speaks these words? Here is how I conclude the article:

In a hierarchical church where no women preachers are allowed, what happens on [the Sunday when the male pastor preaches from Luke 1:46b-55]? How is it possible that the male pastor who says, God has simply not seen it fit to allow women to exercise teaching authority over men in the church, must sit down in his pastoral study on this particular week and spend hours upon hours poring over the words of young Mary that also happen to be the life-changing, world-shattering, church-guiding Word of God? What happens when, at that same church, the people of God stand to hear the reading of Scripture, to hear the Spirit of God move among the people as Mary’s soul, once again, magnifies the Lord with an echo that rings though millions of chapels and sanctuaries each year? How could the supposed non-authoritative female-genderization of this text not be deconstructed as the Word of Christ dwells richly among the people of God? One wonders if anyone has ever walked out on the reading of scripture on the Fourth Sunday of Advent [where the lectionary reading is Luke 1:46b-55]! (p. 13)

Check out the article for more information.

Another note: I dedicated this article to Catherine Kroeger, Christians for Biblical Equality founder who passed away in 2011. I had the privilege of serving as her research assistant for a couple of years at Gordon-Conwell. She was a wonderful teacher, scholar, and advocate for the marginalized. I hope this article pays a small tribute to her important legacy.