# Wednesday, January 25, 2006

For those interested, Publishers Weekly is running an interview with Bart Ehrman on his recent book Misquoting Jesus.

The interview is really short, so don't get your hopes up. FWIW, I blogged briefly on the book back in July when PW had a preview of the book.

books | links
Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:56:02 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Since Murray left a comment on the original post asking about the status, I thought I'd take a minute to blog an update.

The experiment is a go. Three people have contacted me with interest and I've sent them some materials to get started. At least one has started. I fully intend to do some copying, but haven't had a spare moment to get going yet. I figure four samples is enough to at least look at. As samples come in, and as I collate them, I'll keep y'all informed as to what's happening.

If you're interested in copying out, by hand, Second Timothy please let me know. More details here.

Update (2006-01-24): Just took a spare moment to get started and whipped out most of chapter 1. Hoo-boy is my MS hand bad. Well, my handwriting in my native language is bad, so I guess it is no surprise my Greek handwriting isn't the most legible. Collation should be a hoot!

Update II (2006-01-25): Wow, just got two more folks interested in playing the scribe. Sweet! Anybody else? Feel free to email me.

Update III (2006-01-26): Suzanne, one of this experiment's most enthusiastic participants, leaves a comment below with an update to her status. I appreciate Suzanne's contribution and I appreciate her blogging. Yep, she blogs for the Better Bibles Blog but also has her own unique corner of blogdom in Abecedaria (which I've recently listed in the blogroll at the right). If you like ancient language and are generally interested in writing systems, check out Abecedaria! And ... if I get my act together and swallow my pride, I may actually take a digital photo of a practice page I copied of the start of 2 Timothy and post it on the blog! So stay tuned.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 9:59:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, January 23, 2006

Loren Rosson is on a tear. He's now blogging Perelandra, my favorite of the C.S. Lewis space trilogy. Rosson writes:

Perelandra serves an evangelical purpose like anything else Lewis wrote, but it works for the secular reader as much the Christian, reading like mythology or science-fiction. It's a fascinating and intense examination of how a person from an unfallen world processes thought, and what she is capable of doing as she struggles to think for herself. Try and imagine it: a world where everything is good -- there aren't even words for "bad" or "evil" -- its (two) people so in touch with their deity that stepping outside his will is impossible to conceive, at least on their own.

Check it out. And read the book, too -- it is relatively short and shouldn't take to long to get through.

Perhaps I'll bust out my copy and give it a read to keep up with Loren as he goes.

Update (2006-01-24): Loren makes his first post. I'm already behind! But his post touches on why I so enjoy reading Perelandra: It makes me think about the depth which sin affects us. In our day-to-day comings and goings, things and perspectives we can't even fathom have been touched by the depraved nature we carry. The very idea that, as Loren puts it, "not all events are pleasing or welcome" is foreign to me. We live in a world where disappointment, deception and death are the norm. Yet in Perelandra, the Green Lady has little to none of this; or at least she doesn't see situations as disappointing. We'd say she's naive because she seems so innocent and unknowing; in reality it is an indictment on us and our sin that prevents us from experiencing the purity of the experience as the Green Lady does. If you have read Lewis' Screwtape Letters and enjoyed the dialogue of letters between Screwtape and Wormwood regarding their attempts to infiltrate the lives of humans for nefarious purposes, I'd say you'll enjoy Perelandra exponentially more because it deals, via dialogue (almost Socratic), with explaining concepts taken for granted in a sinful world to one who is innocent and pure. In so doing, it causes the reader to re-evaluate these concepts and even understand their influence in our lives to a greater degree.

Update II (2006-01-26): Loren's second installment is up. Go read it. He's walking through the progression of Weston's (who is devil-possessed) argument to the Green Lady; attempting to walk her mentally from obedience and reliance to disobedience. The argument is subtle yet powerful (one gets the sense that Wormwood or one of his cohorts could be at Weston's helm) with, as Loren describes, the idea that to disobey when obedience has no ground or common sense may actually be intended by the Maker. That is, when obedience to a given command makes no sense, Weston's/the devil's argument is that perhaps that command is meant to be broken, that the act of disobedience in that one nonsensical area is actually liberating — like tasting new fruit. Loren captures this fairly well when he writes:

There must, according to the devil, be a specific reason why God gave a commandment so different from his other commandments. In all other matters, obedience to God amounts to doing what seems good in one's own eyes (such as loving and not killing). But one cannot see the goodness in a prohibition against dwelling on the Fixed Land. The reason, he suggests, is that it is a commandment given for no other reason than to be broken — to empower God's creatures to think and act for themselves.

Stated bluntly to a Christian who understands that one is either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness, this seems a bit absurd. We obey because we are His, not because we happen to agree with His commands at a particular point. But Lewis' progression of the argument in Perelandra is an incredible thing to behold; at times one finds himself reacting similar to the Green Lady: It sounds all wrong but strangely makes sense. How to counter? That's up next for Loren to examine.

Update III (2006-01-27): Loren's third installment is up. He even cites and links me in his discussion (cheers for that, Loren). Ransom's response to the sorties of Weston/the devil is similar to mine above (and I haven't re-read the book yet — that's comforting). Loren quotes Ransom on this:

It's true that the commandment against living on the Fixed Land is different from other commandments, but this isn't because God secretly wants it to be broken. It's because there must be one commandment obeyed for the sake of obedience alone, in order to taste the joy of obeying. Obedience must amount to more than doing what seems good anyway. (101)

The counter to this argument offered by Weston/the devil is one of pragmatism; to say that the goodness and blessings of Christ — cherished, loved and valued by Christians — would never have happened had man not disobeyed. This, of course, is true; but it presupposes that salvation in Christ (which I cherish deeply; praise and glory to God for His goodness!) is better than if man had not sinned.

Stepping away from the context of Perelandra for a moment, this is the crux of the issue for me: Who is God? Is God? Or am I? If I am sovereign and in control, then obedience to a rule about fixed land (or which tree not to eat from) is silly. I make the choice. If, however, God is God, then obedience to his commands, whether they seem silly on the surface or not, is to be done. Christians largely realize that obedience requires effort and that our obedience cannot be perfect. Our goal is no less, we run the race with no less vigor, but our ability cannot reach the goal. Thus the need for Christ, our Mediator and Savior.

Stepping back into the context of Perelandra, we can see some of what Lewis is doing: He's causing us to think about the issue of obedience from the perspective of the Green Lady; the one who knows nothing other than obedience to His will. We see that she is innocent and rational, capable of learning and assimilating new ideas and concepts. She is offered a choice between Ransom and Weston. Weston says that freedom for the Green Lady and her children lies in, as Loren puts it, "truly awakening" by transgressing the command of God? Ransom says that's rubbish; that "... there must be one commandment obeyed for the sake of obedience alone, in order to taste the joy of obeying". (101)

Loren, thanks for blogging about this; it is good for me to remember the book (which I still need to re-read) and to consider these issues. I'm looking forward to your next post.

Update IV (2006-01-30): Loren's fourth installment (apparently in a series of five posts plus introductory post) is up. Go check it out. I won't be able to comment further on his post as time is tight right now. Perhaps later.

Update V (2006-01-31): Loren's fifth and concluding installment in the series is up. Again, not much time to interact with Loren's stuff. And, since I have not seen and am not familiar the the movie Pleasantville which he references, I don't know how much I should comment. From Loren's description, it sounds like Pleasantville isn't all that pleasant or perfect — but I wouldn't expect a proper and true conception of edenic paradise to come from the mind of anyone, C.S. Lewis included. None of our conceptions of a perfect, sinless world/land/state will be adequate — though Lewis' portrayal of Eden-on-Venus in Perelandra is likely as close as we'll get.

Post Author: rico
Monday, January 23, 2006 10:35:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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Several others have mentioned this, but it bears mentioning. The Call for Submissions to the next Biblical Studies Carnival has been made by Tyler Williams of Codex Blogspot.

For the uninitiated, the idea of a 'Carnival' style post is to grab a bunch of good/quality/representative/whatever posts for a given time frame (usually a month or bi-weekly) and post links and a short narrative describing them. It is a pretty neat way to highlight good posts and — for bloggers — to do a little shameless self promotion (one of the secrets to any successful blog!).

So please check out Tyler's post, and please take a few minutes to nominate a few of the better posts you've read recently. It just takes sending an email to the carnival address. And, of course, feel free to nominate anything I've written recently. (See how easy shameless self promotion is? Go ahead, try it yourself!)

Any other children of the 80's out there have an insatiable urge to call it "Biblical Studies Carnival II: Electric Boogaloo"?

Update (2006-01-24): It's official. ricoblog will be hosting Biblical Studies Carnival III. So after you're done feeding Tyler all of your awesome-wicked-cool Biblical Studies blog permalinks (you can even use a groovy submission form!) keep an eye out in February for cool stuff to send my way for the March carnival. FWIW, the list of forthcoming carnival hosts is up at the Biblical Studies Carnival page. [Blogging newbies note: This is an excellent opportunity for more shameless self promotion! See, you get a link out of the deal from the carnival page (which Tyler has done an excellent job setting up); and even better you'll get a bunch of links and traffic when the carnival you host runs, introducing all sorts of folks to your corner of biblical-studies-blogdom. All for the price of a little blog-trawling (which you're likely doing anyway) and some clever prose to wrap it all up in one post. How cool is that?]

Post Author: rico
Monday, January 23, 2006 5:10:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, January 20, 2006

I'm sure this is not a new insight, but I just realized that μαθητής is only found in the Gospels and Acts; and not in any other NT book (at least, not the NA/UBS text). It also isn't found in the LXX. It does occur a few times in the Ignatian epistles, three times in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, and a few times in the Epistle to Diognetus (which purports to be from "μαθητής", so it is to be expected there, isn't it?).

The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (EDNT) has the following snippet, among other items:

The noun μαθητής appears 261 times in the NT. It is found only in the Gospels and Acts (Matthew has 72 occurrences, Mark has 46, Luke has 37, John has 78, and Acts has 28). The vb. μαθητεύω appears 4 times (Mt 13.52; Mt 27.57; Mt 28.19; Acts 14.21).

Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (vol. 2, p. 372). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.

I've poked through a few articles (EDNT as well as glimpsing at TDNT) but haven't found a nice, short summary or even a reference to a book dealing specifically with the subject. I can't look into it anytime soon, but it just seems weird to me that the term just stops being used. After all, Jesus said to "make disciples" in his name (Mt 28.19) — why don't the epistles report this using that term?

Thoughts/comments/references/whatever appreciated; feel free to use comments or to send email my way using the address on the sidebar.


Post Author: rico
Friday, January 20, 2006 4:55:29 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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It's true, Logos Bible Software (my employer) has placed three new titles into its "pre-publication" system. These are things that we'll work on given enough interest to cover costs. These titles are:

If you're unfamiliar with the Logos Prepublication System, there is more info on the Logos web site.

Post Author: rico
Friday, January 20, 2006 8:40:04 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Others have posted, but to make sure Google indexes this baby high, I figure it's my duty to post a link to Michael Bird's email interview/chat with Stanley Porter. Be sure to read the comments, and also to read Michael Turton's reaction.

If I'm reading Porter's comments correctly, I'd guess he thinks Reuben Swanson, with his New Testament Greek Manuscripts (more on that here), is on to something. Michael Bird dabbled a post (actually, two posts) on the topic of commentaries based on NT Manuscripts; I interacted a bit with the idea as well.

Lastly, to Michael Bird, congrats on the book!

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:16:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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I've happened across a PDF facsimile (one file per NT book) of Benjamin Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott, published originally in 1864. It is an interlinear Greek New Testament.

Normally I wouldn't note this, but — if I understand the title correctly — this is the only online source I know of representing Griesbach's edition of the Greek New Testament.

Here's the full title:

The Emphatic Diaglott: Containing the Original Greek Text of what is commonly styled the New Testament, (According to the Recension of Dr. J.J. Griesbach,) with an Interlineary Word for Word English Translation; A New Emphatic Version, Based on the Interlineary Translation, on the Renderings of Eminent Critics, and on the Various Readings of The Vatican Manuscript, No. 1209 in the Vatican Library. Together with Illustrative and Explanatory Foot Notes, and a Copious Selection of References, to the whole of which is added, A Valuable Alphabetical Appendix.

Phew. That's a title. So the Greek text on the page is Griesbach's, but the Greek text of the running translation in the outside margin is based on Wilson's own textual work? Seems weird to not have the two aligned to the same vorlage. Anyway, here's a capture of a portion representing 1Ti 2.3-6:

If you're interested in downloading it, you can do that from here.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 8:30:28 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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