Friday, September 19, 2008

Breaking the Silence... with a quiz

He lives!

And by "he" I mean me, not Jesus. Though he lives, too.

Anyway, I always say I'd like to blog here more, and I really would, I just can never seem to squeeze it in among all my myriad commitments. Not that I really have many readers anyway - if Sitemeter is telling me the truth, I rarely get even ten hits in a week here. Which is probably just as well - if I posted more, God knows what kind of crazy stuff would come out.

Anyway, I just took a short quiz on my view of the use of the Old Testament by New Testament authors. Here are the results.

NT Use of the OT -- Test Your View!
Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents view You seem to be most closely aligned with the Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents view, a view defended by Darrell L. Bock in the book “Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” (edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, Nov. 2008). This view affirms the singular nature of the meanings intended by the OT and NT authors when OT texts are cited in the NT. In spite of this essential unity in meaning, however, the words of the OT authors frequently take on new dimensions of significance and are found to apply appropriately to new referents and new situations as God’s purposes unfold in the larger canonical context. Often, these referents were not in the minds of the OT authors when they penned their texts. For more info, see the book, or attend a special session devoted to the topic at the ETS Annual Meeting in Providence, RI (Nov. 2008); Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns will all present their views.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

Courtesy of the Koinonia blog.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Faith, Works, and Baggage

Please pardon any incoherence in what follows - it's late, and I'm getting sleepy, but I wanted to get this down while it's fresh, and figured that cyberspace was as good a way to do it as any. I welcome any and all comments.

I was just reading Romans 1, and read for the gazillionth time a certain little verse that gets quoted so often, verse 17: "For the righteousness of God is revealed in it [the gospel, cf. v.16] from faith into faith, just as it is written, 'The righteous one shall live by faith.'"

Now, if I recall correctly, this verse was the center point of Luther's epiphany (note: I haven't actually read Luther on this point, and I probably should), and has often been cited in discussions of faith and works in the writings of Paul. The common interpretation is, or seems to me to be, that the one who seeks to be righteous attains life by means of faith, rather than by means of works.

It strikes me now, reading it for the gazillionth time, that that's not what's going on. What Paul (and Habakkuk, from whom the verse is quoted - Habakkuk 2:4) seems to be saying is that the righteous person lives in a manner consistent with faith. That is, the righteous person lives faithfully. The righteous person will conduct his or her life in a certain way because of his or her faith in God.

Luther's interpretation, though, well suits the context in which he was reading. The faith-works contrast that much of Protestantism has seen in the writings of Paul and in the gospels is reflective of their experience of medieval Roman Catholicism. How reflective it actually is of Paul's thought, or of Jesus', is up for debate. In this case, though, I think that understanding "the righteous shall live by faith" to mean that we achieve life through faith and not works is not what Paul (or, again, Habakkuk) had in mind.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

I just read an interesting news story on MSNBC about a group of forensic dentists who are attempting to make a computerized database of bite mark characteristics. Apparently, bite mark evidence is fairly controversial among attorneys and forensic specialists, because of how skin may or may not distort a bite pattern. The end result being that sometimes you get experts testifying in court who have reached different conclusions from the same evidence. What intrigued me, though, about the article - and what prompted the post - was this quote by one of the people in the bite-evidence-is-bad camp:

"If the discipline lends itself to opposing experts, it's not science," said Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project, which works to free wrongfully convicted inmates.

The question I have is, what the heck science journals is this guy reading, anyway? I'll grant I'm not a scientist, but I know enough about the sciences in general to know that there are debates in the scientific community, just as there are debates in every academic field.

What's significant about this, to my mind, is the way it's reflective of the popular conception of "Science" (capitalized on purpose) as the final arbiter of truth, and the assumption that Science is something that can be done with pure objectivity, therefore leaving no room for debate. This latter position, of course, is often used to characterize one's opponents as having some sort of underhanded agenda: they disagree with the Science, and since the Science can't be wrong, they must be trying to pull something.

There's more there that I could tease out, and is certainly worthy of discussion, but that will have to wait for another time.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Surely it is the case that the sacred books, whether we look at the words alone or the concepts they convey, are frequently and in many places veiled by a deep obscurity - and this is easily demonstrated, for one thing it is self-evident and for another a host of useless exegetical works proclaims it."
-Johann Philip Gabler

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Aussie Bible

The Aussie Bible

This looks like a lot of fun. I can't mimic an Australian accent nearly well enough to get the full force of it (I can do a decent Scottish or Irish, but not so much Aussie), but what I've read is pretty awesome.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

"[I]t is enough to know that in everything the call of the Lord is the foundation and beginning of right action. He who does not act in reference to it will never, in the discharge of duty, keep the right path. He will sometimes be able, perhaps, to give the semblance of something laudable, but whatever it may be in the sight of man, it will be rejected before the throne of God; and besides, there will be no harmony in the different parts of his life."
-John Calvin, Institutes of Religion III.10.6

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So I've been really trying to get my language proficiency up to speed (i.e., with Greek and Hebrew), so as to manage basic reading comprehension. Well, tonight I've got a Bible study with some other guys from church, and the passage we're looking at is Genesis 6. The funny thing is, I started out reading the chapter in English, and actually found myself feeling as though I were cheating by not reading it in Hebrew. I'd call that progress, I think. (It helps that most of the book of Genesis is fairly straightforward narrative text, and thus fairly easy Hebrew.)

Unfortunately, my vocab isn't quite up to snuff - I need to take an afternoon and set up some sort of programmatic system for refreshing it. I.e., figure out which words I know, and which I need flash cards for, basically. The short-term goal would be to learn every word (in each language) that appears ten times or more.

The other part of my plan is to start working systematically through each testament, so as to improve my reading knowledge, and to reduce my dependence on the translation notes I usually make for myself as I work. Here's hoping.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New name...

Well, I know people rarely visit this blog, but as I'm going to try and post more often on it, hopefully that'll change... or hopefully not: if what I say turns out to be dumb, then it might be better if fewer people see it!

At any rate, I've changed the name. The old name, "Aslan's How" was originally the URL that I wanted, but was already taken (in every possible variation). So I went with the current URL, but kept the original name. I've never been happy with that, though, but could never think of anything to switch to. I finally came up with "Dragon Island," which is where Eustace gets himself turned into a dragon, and then Aslan changes him back in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I've often said that for all that I'd like to say I identify more with with Peter, or Caspian, or even Edmund, if I'm honest with myself, I'm really much more like Eustace, so it seemed appropriate.

The quote under the title (for those who don't know) is from one of the slave traders who capture Caspian, et al. on the Lone Islands. Reepicheep the Mouse (my absolute favorite character) is insulting the slavers viciously and challenging them to combat, but they just chuckle and treat him like a trained circus animal, which makes him even madder.

Anyway, having said that I'm going to post more often, I now have to sign off and do some actual school work, since I've got a book to finish, a review to write on said book, and a presentation to prepare, all before Tuesday. No rest for the weary, eh?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Random Thought

It occurs to me to wonder whether, in all the debates over whether or not Moses wrote the Torah, much has been done with the fact that the references to Moses are all in the third person. That is to say, how likely is it that an author making a historical record of events in which he himself was not only a direct participant, but indeed a key player, would refer to himself in the third person, rather than the first? If, as Judeo-Christian tradition has long held, Moses was the divinely inspired author of the Torah, would we not expect a first-person narrative from Exodus to Deuteronomy? For myself, I tend to think that we would.