A group I meet with on Thursday nights has been studying the Gospel of John, and as we’ve progressed I’ve been working my way through it in Greek, trying to do my own translation. What I’ve found is that I have great sympathy and empathy for Bible translators, who (among a multitude of other struggles) are so often forced to take all the nuanced options in original languages and reduce them to one. Or they have to take wordplays in one language and try to figure out solutions for making them work in translation (or not). Sometimes, however, I wonder “Why did they make that translation choice!?” because for one reason or other it just doesn’t make sense to me. One of those passages is John 15:1-4. Continue reading
There’s this piece gaining momentum on Facebook status updates that was written by Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council. In it, Perkins tells the story of one Tuscon pastor’s failed attempt to get aid to the unaccompanied and undocumented minors being held at the Nogales Placement Center in Arizona, and then uses this anecdotal story as evidence to accuse the US government (specifically, President Obama) of “banning” the church from helping. He says: Continue reading
Two scholars, Bart Ehrman and Craig Evans, are having a debate over Ehrman’s positioni in his recently released How Jesus Became God that Jesus’ body would not have been buried. Evans makes the case otherwise.
While I agree with Evan’s position that Jesus was, in fact, buried, Ehrman is a good scholar, and this post on his blog describing crucifixion is well written. Here is an important snippet:
There’s a lot going on with Pauline studies in the theological world (as if that’s anything new). It can really be difficult to keep up with in terms of reading. N.T. Wright’s latest work, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, has over 1700 pages! If you’re interested in a brief synopsis where things are concerning Pauline studies from Wright’s perspective, the attached video of Wright being interviewed by Michael J. Gorman is a good start. (Thanks to Kurt Willems for posting it).
Professor Lawrence Shiffman, in part three of a series on Schisms in Jewish History, has written a nice summary of some of the differing groups that would have been active near the lifetime of Jesus. Some of these, the Pharisees and Sadducees, are mentioned in the New Testament. What is often missed in our understanding of the first century Jewish world is the level of diversity present within it. Continue reading
Okay, so I have a lot of pet peeves.
One of them is when someone makes expert-like claims about this or that in the Bible as it’s related to Hebrew or Greek when it is obvious they have no knowledge of either language.
So today I’m responding to an article a friend shared on Facebook (I know, I know: people with pet peeves should never even get close to Facebook). The article was titled “Cain’s Wife—Who Was She?” and is apparently part 6 of a series by Ken Ham, a fairly well-known Christian apologist (you know, the one who debated Bill Nye). This article (though written in 2007) is apparently headlining the Answers in Genesis (Ham’s apologetics organization) homepage today.
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
(Matthew 27.57–61 NIV)
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27.50–54 ESV)
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.”And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”
(Matthew 27.46–49 ESV)
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
(Luke 23.39–43 ESV)