Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Passing of Charles E. B. Cranfield (1915-2015)

The world of New Testament studies is mourning the passing of another important scholar.

Word is spreading that professor Charles E. B. Cranfield has passed away. I am not sure of his exact birth date, but he either was or was very close to 100 years old.

Cranfield was professor of New Testament at Durham University. He is probably best known for his commentaries on Paul's Letter to the Romans and the Gospel of Mark.

I only met Cranfield once during my time at Durham. Unfortunately I didn't have an opportunity to have much of a conversation with him. But others who followed me at Durham did have the chance to sit down and have coffee with him. You can read about the experiences of Ben Blackwell and Nijay Gupta.

I wish I had known he liked coffee!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Mystery and Message of Revelation

Each year I offer a public lecture at Ashland Theological Seminary. This year I chose to present on the book of Revelation. Below is the video of that lecture.

Just by way of orientation, a majority of the audience is made up of people from the community, so this is not a "scholarly presentation." Rather, it is an attempt to put good biblical scholarship in the hands of people who are in the church.

Give the audio a chance. It's a bit muffled for the first few minutes, but clears up before I begin speaking.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Passing of Marcus Borg (March 11, 1942 - January 21, 2015)

The news about Marcus Borg's death is spreading. Borg was a recognized New Testament scholar who became associated with the Jesus Seminar in the 1980s and 90s. 

Among his many books were some like Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time and Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Faith of Modern Faith. Both reflect his many attempts to bring New Testament scholarship to a non-scholarly audience. 

Although there were any number of things one could about disagree with Borg, he was always a gentleman. His desire to make the New Testament accessible and useful for those living in the modern age will not only be one of his hallmarks, it will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Notice: The Good Shepherd by Kenneth Bailey

Over the years I have been very appreciative of Kenneth Bailey's work in the New Testament. Among those that I have benefited form most are his books on the parables, Jesus and Paul. Bailey's experiences growing up and ministering in places like Egypt and Lebanon have helped him to bring a Middle Eastern perspective to reading and interpreting the Bible.

So I was pleased when his latest book arrived in my mailbox today: The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament (IVP, 2014). 

This time Bailey turns his eyes onto Psalm 23 and the theme of the good shepherd. Beginning with psalm and moving through the rest of Scripture, Bailey discusses the way that the biblical writers used the shepherd theme to describe both good and bad shepherds. Here's the blurb.
“The Lord is my shepherd." Thus begins the most beloved of all Psalms—and thus begins a thousand-year journey through the Bible. Prophets, apostles and Jesus himself took up this image from David, reshaping it, developing it and applying it to their own situations and needs. Kenneth Bailey uses his celebrated insights into Middle Eastern culture and especially his familiarity with Middle Eastern shepherding customs to bring new light and life to our understanding of this central image of the Christian faith. With each of nine major Old and New Testament passages, Bailey reveals the literary artistry of the Biblical writers and summarizes their key theological features. His work is also enriched by his unique access to very early Middle Eastern commentaries on these passages, bringing fresh understanding from within the mindset of these ancient worlds. The Good Shepherd invites us to experience a rich, biblical feast of ethical, theological and artistic delights.
I look forward to reading it. It is scheduled to be released on December 7th, but you can pre-order it now. Many thanks to the kind folks at IVP for sending me a copy. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Advice to my students

Zondervan has been producing a series of videos titled "Advice to My Students." This series provides a short interview with various seminary professors who explain what advice they routinely give to their students. Below is my contribution to the series.

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Obligation of Thanks (2 Thessalonians 1:1-4)

For those who are interested, the below video is of the sermon I gave on Sunday at Linden Road Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, Ohio. The message is based on the work in my new commentary.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recent Research on Revelation: Book Notice

My friend and colleague, Dr. Russell S. Morton, professional fellow at Ashland Seminary, has published a new book. It is part of the Sheffield Phoenix "Recent Research" series and promises to be a useful resource for those doing serious study in the Apocalypse of John. Here's the blurb.

Perhaps no other biblical book has been the source of as much consternation to its readers as the Revelation of John of Patmos. Their distress has been accentuated by popular approaches, which often advance sensationalist visions of the future. But did John’s vision focus on the distant future, or was it directed to concerns of his own day? If it was directed to his own situation in Roman Asia Minor, what lasting significance, if any, does it have for people two thousand years after the composition of the work?
Recent Research on Revelation is an ambitious attempt to comprehend the great range of scholarly views on the Apocalypse. Avoiding popular and sensational readings of Revelation, this book outlines how scholars of various stripes grapple with John’s dramatic and often disturbing book. Beginning with a historical survey of scholarly opinion, the book examines the question of what form of literature Revelation is. It then offers an overview of various methods used to interpret the Apocalypse, ranging from traditional historical-critical analysis to feminist and postcolonial criticisms.
The Apocalypse continues to evoke strong reactions in its readers, both positive and negative, from comfort to perplexity to revulsion. At the very least, it stimulates readers’ interest to an extent not surpassed by any other New Testament book. We cannot shut our eyes to John’s vision, for it has had too much impact on who we are, whether Christian or not.

You can see the full table of contents here
Congratulations, Russell!