Sunday, May 29, 2016

An Exegetical and Theological Study of the Healing of the Bent Woman (Luke 13:10-17)

As I promised, here's one of my papers from this semester. This one was from my Greek exegesis of Luke class. It's up on Academia.edu now. You can download it as a PDF if you wish. Or just read it there. You'll find it here.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Brief Update

This is a brief update on my life this summer.

1) I began German. German is difficult. This is probably due to the aptitude of my German teacher. Germans, frankly, think far differently than Anglophones. I think this is partially due to the very disparate syntax of the two peoples. We think in words and these words conform to a specific syntax, therefore our thoughts conform to a specific syntax. German explanations– like German sentences– are often long and hard to follow. But my German teacher's explanations are often short and make no logical connections. I'm not sure if this one is connected to her mother-language or her ability as a teacher.

2) I've read a lot. (Short) Reviews will be going up shortly. I'll have a couple up this weekend. I'm hoping to write my master's thesis on the characterization of the non-human characters (specifically demons and Satan) in Mark. I have a general thesis. My summer reading is all geared toward researching that general thesis. As far as I can tell, my thesis re: the characterization of the non-human in Mark are tenable. And boy are they interesting! Not only are they interesting, but they even have important implications for the human characters in Mark! I'm sure all you readers would love to read the end product. Let me go ahead and build up some anticipation for you since it won't be completed for another year. I will have sections done before the whole, though, so I'll probably put a couple of those on here to whet your appetites.

3) I do intend to post a few of my papers on here and on Academia.edu. Those will appear in a few days too. I don't want to overload you all with posts. I've got to dangle the carrot; I can't give you the whole thing at once. At least two of the three I plan to upload are decent. Not perfectly satisfied with any of them. Being pressed for time is never fun. It's also not very productive for paper writing.

4) Ich werde jetzt Deutsch zu lernen! 
(Don't know how great my syntax was, but that's basically my motto this summer.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Inerrancy: An Observation

It baffles me that anyone appeals to the autographs of Scripture for their claims to the inerrancy of Scripture. This does a few things, so it makes some sense. But, ultimately, it's a self defeating appeal. First, the claim that the "original writings" of Scripture, or the autographs of Scripture, are in some way superior to the present manuscripts such that the originals alone contain no errors is to say that the present writings do (or at least can) contain errors. Second, to acknowledge that the present writings in the form of the manuscripts we now possess may be errant defeats the purpose of the original claim. To claim that the manuscripts that we now have are (or may be) errant is to admit that the Bible (as we now have it and as, in all likelihood, we will have it forever) contains errors and is not, in the way that inerrantists often mean it, inerrant. If one admits that the only access we have to the Bible is through the present manuscripts and that these present manuscripts contain errors that were not contained in the originals, this one has, thus, admitted that the Bible is not inerrant and that the copyists who copied it were de-inspiring the Scriptures. This last point must be true for them because the concept of inerrancy doesn't arise from within the text. That is, if one evaluates the text it is not that they do not find errors. That is the whole point of the appeals to the "original writings." The concept of inerrancy arises from an attempt to ensure the validity of divine inspiration. In other words, God cannot lie. If the Bible is God's Word, then it cannot be errant. Since there are errors in the Bible and we admit that the Bible is in some sense divinely revelatory, it must be asserted that the original writings were inerrant, otherwise it would not be God's Word. The problem is that once one admits that 1) God's Word can't contain errors; 2) the Bible now contains errors, even though at one time it did not contain errors; 3) because the Bible now contains errors, it can no longer be God's Word.
An appeal to the autographs simply admits that the Bible in its present form isn't the Word of God on the basis of the very criteria they create for the Bible to be Word of God. These claims leave inspiration to be a by-gone event in the past. The Bible, for them, was inspired; it is no longer inspired. These kinds of claims are useless because they remove inspiration from the present text. In their attempt to preserve inspiration, they ultimately destroy any claims to it. These kinds of claims are popular in Reformed circles especially, it seems. One would expect them to cling to historic Reformed theology in this regard and claim that the Scriptures are self-authenticating. This has never meant that they are the most historically true of any book. What if a history book were 100% accurate? Would that make it divinely inspired? No, of course not. Why, then, are there so many appeals to historical veracity? It is its supernatural quality that leads people to decision that self-authenticates the divine origins of scripture. In other words, it is the very act of reading that authenticates Scripture's divine origins: one either rejects its message/content or accepts it. But the claims of the Bible themselves are not possibly validated by any external evidence. It is only by faith. And we all know the Bible's description of faith: the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Can this verse be reconciled with the inerrantist hope for a self-authenticating Scripture by means of historical and factual verification. Relying on a hope for completely historical veracity and inerrancy in original writings which we do not and never will possess is belief not driven by faith. It is a belief driven by science/evidence.
Anyway, there you have it. I find inerrancy troubling. I find it even more troubling when one appeals to original writings to try to retain it.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Summer Reading List

Hey, folks.

Here's my (tentative) reading list for the summer. It's pretty ambitious. Typically less than 500 pages a week, but I'll be doing German and improving my Hebrew skills. Plus planning a wedding with my lovely and wonderful fiancée. So I fully expect to get through all of these and I'm looking forward to it. But if there's a couple I don't get through, I won't be terribly surprised. Reviews for probably half will surface on the blog. Anyway, this is what we're looking at:

1.     Week 1 (May 8-14)
a.     Hays- Echoes in Paul
b.     Strump- Elements of Style
2.     Week 2 (May 15-21)
a.     Gupta- PhD in New Testament
b.     Powell- Chasing the Eastern Star
3.     Week 3 (May 22-28)
a.     Skinner- Character Studies and Mark
b.     Garret- Demise of the Devil
4.     Week 4 (May 29-June 4)
a.     Kerr- “Work on Oneself”
5.     Week 5 (June 5-11)
a.     Betz- The Magical Papyri
b.     Malbon- In the Company of Jesus
6.     Week 6 (June 12-18)
a.     Malbon- Mark’s Jesus
7.     Week 7 (June 19-25)
a.     Hays- Echoes in the Gospels
8.     Week 8 (June 26-July 2)
a.     Rowe- World Upside Down
9.     Week 9 (July 3-9)
a.     Malbon- Between Author and Audience
b.     Skinner- Characters & Characterization in John
10.  Week 10 (July 10-16)
a.     Skinner- Characters & Characterization in John
b.     Darr- Herod the Fox
11.  Week 11 (July 17-23)
a.     Wittgenstein- Brown and Blue Books
b.     Danove- Rhetoric of Characterization
12.  Week 12 (July 24-30)
a.     Hays- Moral Vision
b.     Moloney- Resurrection of the Messiah
13.  Week 13 (July 31-August 6)
a.     Moloney- Resurrection of the Messiah
b.     Pagels- Origin of Satan
14.  Week 14 (August 7-13)
a.     Brandon- Satanic Conflict and the Plot of Matthew
b.     Garrett- Temptations of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel
15.  Week 15 (August 14-20)
a.     Charette- Restoring Presence
b.     Dowling- Taking away the Pound
16.  Week 16 (August 21-27)

a.     Tolkien- The Hobbit

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Apology

I just realized I haven't posted since October. This year has been busy, folks. I'm sorry, readers. I've been reading a lot. I've been learning a lot. I've been growing a lot. Since I last blogged, I started dating someone, got engaged, finished two semesters' worth of course work at Duke, and have begun research on what I intend to write my thesis on. All that plus volunteering at church, teaching multiple classes of Sunday school. Guys, it's been busy. I'll try to blog more this summer. Perhaps I'll put a couple papers up here if I reread them and determine they're worth anyone's time. Who knows? But there will be book reviews, random thoughts, and nothing about politics (yay!).
Anyway, this is just a little update on my life.

Thanks for reading.

Χάρις ὑμῖν πάντι καὶ εἰρήνη.
Grace to you all and peace,

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