The “Occasional” Nature of the New Testament Documents

Donald Juel, in Messianic Exegesis: Christological Interpretation of the Old Testament in Early Christianity, points out that the New Testament documents were written in response to various situations and needs.  Those for whom the documents were written already had significant knowledge of Jesus and how the Old Testament spoke of Him, and therefore there is a lot of important information about Jesus that is assumed in the documents rather than explicitly stated.  Here is part of how he opens his second chapter:

The NT contains not a single essay on Christology, not one christological commentary on an OT book or even a portion of a book. It includes narratives, letters, and an apocalypse; even the earliest of these was composed well after most of the basic exegesis of the OT had been completed. Paul’s letters give evidence of a wealth of interpretive traditions, only a small portion of which he chooses to quote or comment on explicitly. The notable absence of christological exegesis in his letters reveals less a lack of interest in the topic than a general approval of the formulations he inherited from the tradition. There may well be OT passages that were foundational to the development of exegetical constructions that are never cited, either because their presence could be taken for granted or because their major function was to provide links with other, more readily applicable portions of the Scriptures.

If we want to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all the truth about Jesus, we have to acknowledge rightly the form in which some of that truth comes to us.

Did Jesus Exist? Shattering the Christ Myth (JP Holding) Part 2 of 2 – YouTube

J. P. Holding deals with the cults of Mithra, Orisis, and others in this clip and how they are falsely utilized by “Jesus Mythicists.”  Here’s the YouTube description of the clip.

Craig Johnson interviews JP Holding on the existence of Jesus. Holding has written a more comprehensive and scholarly book on the existence of Jesus (author of “Shattering the Christ Myth” [1]) than Bart Ehrman (author of “Did Jesus Exist?” [2]), although Ehrman (who is NOT a Christian) would agree with Holding that a historical Jesus existed. Unfortunately, the Internet is filled with conspiracy theories about Jesus’ existence. Some radical atheists actually believe that Jesus did not exist.

via Did Jesus Exist? Shattering the Christ Myth (JP Holding) – YouTube (26:40).

See first installment on this subject by J. P. Holding at this post.

Did Jesus Exist? The Christ Myth Thesis (JP Holding) Part 1 of 2 – YouTube

Here’s the YouTube description:

Craig Johnson interviews JP Holding on the existence of Jesus. Holding has written a more comprehensive and scholarly book on the existence of Jesus (author of “Shattering the Christ Myth” [1]) than Bart Ehrman (author of “Did Jesus Exist?” [2]), although Ehrman (who is NOT a Christian) would agree with Holding that a historical Jesus existed. Unfortunately, the Internet is filled with conspiracy theories about Jesus’ existence. Some radical atheists actually believe that Jesus did not exist.

via Did Jesus Exist? The Christ Myth Thesis (JP Holding) – YouTube (26:57).

You can find more on the Bart Ehrman book briefly referred to above at this post.

Why Do Sectarians Bother to Read the Scripture?

If we subscribe to a given school of thought – whether it be Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Evangelicalism, Roman Catholocism, or any other “ism” – and will only consider as valid interpretations of Scripture that coincide with the subscribed school of thought, what is the point of reading Scripture?

Textual Variant in Jude: Who Saved the People Out of Egypt: Ιησους or κυριος | Diglotting

Kevin Brown begins:

Out of the several textual variants present in Jude 5, there is one which stands out as a significant variant with quite a significant impact on the text. I am, of course, talking about whether the subject of απωλεσεν is κυριος or Ιησους.

For the entire post see Who Saved the People Out of Egypt: Ιησους or κυριος | Diglotting.

Here are some of the scholars referenced in the text and footnotes:  Jarl Fossum, Richard Bauckham, Bruce Metzger, and Bart Ehrman.

Richard Carrier Is Not a Historian – He’s an Anti-Historian

I just wrote this comment to Richard on his blog:

Richard,

It’s really inappropriate for anyone to call you a historian. A historian seeks to tell us what happened. You seek to tell us what probably didn’t happen, what couldn’t have happened, and all the other possible things that might have happened instead of a broad consensus of professional historians and scholars have written happened. Therefore, you are an anti-historian.

Richard is a very smart guy.  And he’s a very educated guy.  But he’s on a mission, and that mission is not to establish history.  Rather, he’s intent on erasing it.

Jesus of Nazareth lived perhaps the most historically-attested life of all time…in spite of the fact that He died penniless, without a visible supporter, and certainly without the acclaim that historians normally seek to document.  In fact, if He hadn’t been raised from the dead, none of us would have any idea who He was.

None of this, however, dissuades Richard from his mission to erase Jesus from the annals of antiquity.  In fact, Richard is perhaps the most voluble person I have ever known.  He’s indefatigable is producing clouds of words, which is why J. P. Holding described Richard’s antagonists as simply worn out (though, thankfully, J.P. keeps rising to the task, and even Bart Erhman weighed in to try to stop the madness).

Richard uses the language of historians to overturn what historians do.  More than an anti-historian, though, he’s an anti-Christ.  That is, Richard is against Christ.  The good news for Richard is that, in spite of this, Christ is for Richard.  (See Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

 


Larry Hurtado Comments on Roger Bagnell’s “Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman World”

Larry Hurtado is a student of texts in the time when Christianity originated.  Here’s an excerpt of his post which gives a brief view of “Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman World” by Roger Bagnall:

The broad import of the book is to caution us still more about simplistic views of the Graeco-Roman world as one in which texts and writing were the exclusive domain of a few elite. A few of his summarizing judgments will suffice here:

“The ubiquity and pervasiveness of everyday writing in Greek is clearly visible; that in the other great metropolitan written languages, Aramaic and Latin, is less well documented but starting to come into focus as well” (141);

“Even in a world where many people could not read or write, the use of written languages was not something restricted to a small, high-status group. Writing was everywhere, and a very wide range of people participated in the use of writing in some fashion” (142);

whereas some have claimed that writing was restricted to “a small class of literate mediators,” in fact “writing was far more pervasive and important than that; it was used all the time for private, informal, spontaneous, and ephemeral communications, writing for which one would not wish to spend the time and money to go to a professional scribe” (142).

See the entire post at Larry Hurtado’s Blog.

Jew, Judeans, and Commas | Storied Theology

New Testament scholar Daniel Kirk helps us better understand what to think when we see the word “Jew” in the Bible.  Here’s how it starts…

A conversation that has been going on for some time now in the study of early Judaism and Christianity is how we should translate the Greek word Ioudaioi.

In your Bible, this will almost invariably be translated “Jew.” For most of us, this word homes in on the religious identity of the people being discussed.

But it may be that the ancients were more likely thinking of the more literal rendering of the word: Judean. I.e., it refers to those who share a common geographically determined heritage.

via Jew, Judeans, and Commas | Storied Theology.