Theology Podcasts I Follow (Gupta)

Podcasting

So, this year my commute time to work is longer because I am teaching a class at the Newberg campus twice a week (~45 min away). My friend and dean, Roger Nam, recommended that I check out some good theology podcasts. To be honest, I never much listened to podcasts before, but I am really enjoying it. The following are a mix of older podcasts and newer ones, but all of them are worth checking out.

OnScript – for me, this is the current premier biblical studies podcast. Recently, I have enjoyed episodes with Cynthia Westfall, Susan Eastman, and Scot McKnight. But also check out older episodes with lots of fascinating scholars and topics.

Seminary Dropout -this one offers a mix of theology, ministry, culture, and life; great variety of guests, academic and professional. (I was interviewed a while back, but I am not nearly as interesting as most of their other guests!). A good couple of recent episodes are with AJ Swoboda (“Subversive Sabbath”) and another with Dominique Gilliard (“On How the Church Can Rethink Incarceration and Advocate for Justice that Restores”).

Kingdom Roots – This is Scot McKnight’s theology and ministry podcast. He does a good job weaving together academia and real ministry interests and concerns. A good recent episode interviews my buddy Dennis Edwards (pastor and professor) on 1 Peter.

Weird Religion – OK, this is a brand new podcast show. And—even better—it is hosted by my wonderful colleagues Leah Payne and Brian Doak (George Fox profs). This quirky, interesting, and fun podcast covers religion and pop culture. Payne and Doak are great thinkers, but also just a lot of fun. Also, protip, they use excellent microphone and sound systems, so the sound quality is outstanding.

 

An Innovative Greek Reader Textbook-Part 2 (Gupta)

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Why Galatians

We built our intermediate Greek reader on Galatians. I have used many different kinds of Greek reader textbooks in the past, and even though having different types of texts was pedagogically helpful, it felt very choppy. Most reader walk you through short snippets of biblical and non-biblical texts. There is something especially satisfying for me in reading a whole text from beginning to end. So, we chose to build our textbook with a bulk of reading in a complete text.

But why Galatians in particular?

There are many advantages to strengthening your Greek by reading Galatians. It is relatively easy Greek. Most of the time the syntax is straightforward. Also, it is not too long. Six chapters is digestible in a semester. Thirdly, it happens to be one of the most important pieces of literature in all history. Galatians touches upon lots of important NT concepts foundational to Christian theology. Fourth, within Galatians you have different types of discourses; it begins very narrative heavy (chs 1-2); then you get more argumentation (chs 3-4), and it ends with paraenesis and more concentrated “epistle-y” material (chs 5-6). Lastly, it was especially helpful that Galatians contains numerous interactions with the Septuagint. (More on that in the next post)

To be honest, though, I chose Galatians as the main text of the reader because I love it. I am writing a commentary on Galatians and this project gave me a chance to dig deep into the Greek text with the help of my students. I have the luxury of setting up classroom experiences where I get to learn from my students and then utilize those insights in my research and writing.

An Innovative Greek Reader Textbook—Part 1 (Gupta)

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Since Thursday, the new intermediate Greek textbook I co-edited (with a group of my students) has now been downloaded almost 1000 times. I have received words of appreciation and positive feedback from students and Greek nerds in places such as New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Ethiopia, England, Scotland, India, Canada, Japan, and Brazil. Why? Not because I am famous or anything like that. I believe this textbook is getting attention and recognition because it is a high quality product that fits a major need, and because it is an open access textbook it is available to anyone in the world for free. That is pretty exciting.

In further posts in this series I will talk about why this book is special, but right now I want to talk a bit about how this book came to be. We at Portland Seminary wanted to re-envision how seminary can serve students beyond the old confines of traditional papers and exams. We had a why not attitude. Why not prod our students to dream big? Why not teach our students how to be creative and make something beautiful, excellent, practical, and affordable?

So we did.

When took intermediate Greek in seminary on the east coast, we read a textbook and did quizzes and tests. Fine. But boring.

I wondered—what if we work together to create something we can be proud of, something we can give away. Now, with GoogleDocs, we had the technology to work together from a distance and collaborate. The students (8 in all) worked week by week, reading through Wallace and Mathewson/Emig, and studying Galatians (more on that in a later post). They translated and parsed everything in Galatians, and then created study notes to help others. It’s pretty simple—learn by doing. And knowing it would be published put some pressure on them that they can’t be sloppy, they had to check, double-check, and triple-check their work (and check each other’s work). They felt like professionals. We had a team of librarians, Greek editors, design folks, copyeditors, and consultants help to produce this book.

We (the students and I) distinctly recognized our privileged position – American grad students with the money, time, and luxury of graduate theological education. And we recognized the great need in the world for good, affordable resources. So it makes me proud that the students left the course with the empowered feeling of using their privilege, education, and energy to give away a resource for free. Not a cheap, crappy, “clickbait” resource, but something that took over 1000 combined hours, involved numerous professionals with advanced degrees, all the while meeting program and course objectives and helping prepare these students for lifelong study of Greek.

So now that this book has been live for about a week, the next question is: how can we do this kind of thing again, and again?

My Free Greek Reader Textbook Now Available (Gupta)

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I am excited to announce the publication of Intermediate Biblical Greek Reader: Galatians and Related Texts. This book is an open-access textbook, which means that it is free to download and read through the George Fox digital commons. In the academic year 2017-2018, I taught an advanced Greek seminar with 8 students. Their main project was writing this Greek reader (via GoogleDocs). This textbook is designed for students who have already learned the basics of Biblical Greek grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. IBGR offers guidance for reading through the entire text of Galatians. Then, it guides the student through “related” Greek texts, such as the wider context of LXX passages that Paul quotes in Galatians, the faith/works section of James 2, and a reading from John Chrysostom’s homilies on Galatians. There are also chapters on the basics of textual criticism with examples in Galatians, and the book concludes with a short discussion of Marcion’s redaction of Galatians.

This textbook is designed for both group study (there are discussion questions in each chapter) and independent study. In each chapter, the Greek text is given, followed by study notes that include grammar and syntax helps and reminders, vocab for rare words, and other helpful textual notes. There are several lengthy theological “word studies” of important terms in Galatians such as faith, works of the law, and gospel.

This textbook was funded by the George Fox University library as well as the Open Textbook Network/Library. It is free to everyone forever. I am proud of Portland Seminary and GFU’s commitment to affordable education and the free sharing of knowledge. Please pass this book information on to teachers and students of Greek!