Month: December 2015

books* read in 2015

Since I’m not likely to finish reading a new book before the end of the year, I’m posting this early.

This year’s reading was a bit different, and intentionally so. Unlike the previous annual posts, this year’s list includes those writings read for pleasure and for academic purposes–the latter including books and articles and essays. (Hence, “books” with an *). Here’s this year’s list (in order of reading, according to category):

Pleasure reading:

  • Robert Ludlum, The Matlock Paper
  • Robert Ludlum, The Scarlatti Inheritance
  • PG Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
  • Lemony Snicket, The Unauthorized Autobiography
  • Robert Ludlum, The Cry of the Halidon
  • Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Brian Moore, The Black Robe
  • Beowulf
  • Heinz Schaeffer, U-Boat 977
  • William F. Buckley Jr., See You Later, Alligator
  • James Cobb, The Arctic Event (Robert Ludlum’s Covert One Series)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, vol. 1 (i.e. Study in Scarlet; Sign of the Four; Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes; Hound of the Baskervilles)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Holcroft Covenant
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, vol. 2 (i.e. Return of Sherlock Holmes, Valley of Fear, Last Bow, Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes)
  • John Grisham, Sycamore Row
  • Robert Ludlum, The Osterman Weekend

Academic reading (books):

  • Martin Hengel, Crucifixion
  • Kelly Kapic, A Little Book for New Theologians
  • Charles Quarles, Illustrated Life of Paul (see my review of it here)
  • Howard Clark Kee, What Can We Know About Jesus?
  • Arthur Pink, The Doctrine of Election
  • Michael Halcomb, Paul the Change Agent
  • John Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil, and the Middle East Crisis
    (though I hesitate to include Walvoord’s book in the “academic” category, for it is hardly worth that label)
  • Mark Howell, Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians (see my [lengthy] review here)
  • R. Philip Roberts, Mormonism Unmasked
  • Vern Poythress, Christian Interpretations to Genesis 1
  • Charles A. Briggs, Biblical History
  • Cornelius Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy
  • Charles G. Trumbull, The Life Story of C.I. Scofield
  • J.J. Ross, Some Facts and More Facts about the Self-Styled “Pastor” Charles T. Russell
  • Charles A. Shook, American Anthropology Disproving the Book of Mormon
  • F.S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr. as a Translator. An Inquiry Conducted
  • Michael Bird, Introducing Paul
  • Frank Matera, What Are They Saying About Mark?
  • I. Howard Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles (NT Guides)
  • Bruce Metzger, The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions
  • Kató Lomb, Polyglot: How I Learned Languages
  • Albertus Pieters, A Candid Examination of the Scofield Bible
  • Constantine Campbell, Keep Your Greek
  • Charles Halton, ed., Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?
  • David Bosworth, The Millennium and Related Events
  • Stephen Travis, Starting with the New Testament
  • Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Academic reading (articles, essays):

  • J. Daryl Charles, “Angels, Sonship and Birthright in the Letter to the Hebrews.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 33.2 (1990): 171-78.
  • James R. White, “Is Your Modern Translation Corrupt? Answering the Allegations of KJV Only Advocates.” CRI Journal 18.3 (1996): 20-27.
  • Walter Kaiser, Jr., “What Commentaries Can (and Can’t) Do.” Christianity Today 24 (1981): 24-27.
  • David G. Horrell, “Who Are ‘The Dead’ and When was the Gospel Preached to Them? The Interpretation of 1 Pet 4.6.” New Testament Studies 49.1 (2003): 70-89.
  • Benjamin Edsall & Jennifer Strawbridge, “The Songs We Used to Sing? Hymn Traditions and Reception in Pauline Letters.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 39.3 (2015): 290-311.
  • Calvin Roetzel, “The Judgment Form in Paul’s Letters.” Journal of Biblical Literature 88.3 (1969): 305-132
  • Abraham Malherbe, “The Holy Spirit in Athenagoras.” Journal of Theological Studies 20.2 (1969): 538-42.
  • William J. Deane, “The Growth of the Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body Among the Jews.” The Expositor (2) 7.3 (1884): 190-204.
  • A.P. Salom, “The New English Bible Translation of 1 Thessalonians.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 1 (1963): 91-104
  • Sydney Allen, “On Schedl’s Attempt to Count the Days of Daniel.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 4.2 (1966): 105-06.
  • Tremper Longman III, “What I Mean by Historical-Grammatical Exegesis–Why I Am Not a Literalist.” Grace Theological Journal 11.2 (1990): 137-55.
  • Loren Stuckenbruck, ” ‘One like a Son of Man as the Ancient of Days’ in the Old Greek Recension of Daniel 7,13: Scribal Error or Theological Translation?” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 86 (1995): 268-76.
  • H.J. Cadbury, “Gospel Study and Our Image of Early Christianity.” Journal of Biblical Literature 83.2 (1964): 139-45.
  • Norman R. Gulley, “Progressive Dispensationalism: A Review of a Recent Publication.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 32.1 (1994): 41-46.
  • Hans K. LaRondelle, “Paul’s Prophetic Outline in 2 Thessalonians 2.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 21.1 (1983): 61-69.
  • Sakae Kubo, “Review Article: The New Revised Standard Version.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 29.1 (1991): 61-69.
  • Kenneth Strand, “The Two Witnesses of Rev 11:3-12.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 19.2 (1981): 127-35.
  • Gerhard Hasel, “The Book of Daniel: Evidences Relating to Persons and Chronology.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 19.1 (1981): 37-49.
  • Gerhard Hasel, “The Book of Daniel and Matters of Language: Evidences Relating to Names, Words, and the Aramaic Language.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 19.3 (1981): 211-25.
  • Jacques Doukhan, “The Seventy Weeks of Dan 9: An Exegetical Study.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 17.1 (1979): 1-22.
  • Abraham Malherbe, “A Physical Description of Paul.” Harvard Theological Review 79.1-3 (1986): 170-75.
  • W.D. Davies, “Reflections on the Mormon ‘Canon’.” Harvard Theological Review 79.1-3 (1986): 44-66.
  • John L. White, “Saint Paul and the Apostolic Letter Tradition.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 45 (1983): 433-44.
  • I.I. du Plessis, “Once More: The Purpose of Luke’s Prologue (Lk 1.1-4).” Novum Testamentum 16.4 (1974): 259-71.
  • Gordon H. Clark, “Wisdom in First Corinthians.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 15.4 (1972): 197-206.
  • Kenneth A. Kitchen, “The Chronology of Ancient Egypt.” World Archaeology 23.2 (1991): 201-08.
  • John Lyons, “The Fourth Wave and the Approaching Millennium. Some Problems with Charismatic Hermeneutics.” Anvil 15 (1998): 169-80.
  • Mark Sidwell, ” ‘Come Apart and Rest a While’: The Origin of the Bible Conference Movement in America.” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 15 (2010): 75-98.
  • Joseph Plevnik, “1 Thessalonians 4,17: The Bringing in of the Lord or the Bringing in of the Faithful?” Biblica 80.4 (1999): 537-546.
  • E. Calvin Beisner, “Does Acts 2:38 Teach Baptismal Remission?” Christian Research Journal 28.2 (2004): 50-51.
  • Andrew Lincoln, “The Promise and the Failure: Mark 16:7, 8.” Journal of Biblical Literature 108.2 (1989): 283-300.
  • Paul Raabe, “Daniel 7: Its Structure and Role in the Book.” Hebrew Annual Review 9 (1985): 267-75.
  • Vern Poythress, “Comments on Mark Strauss’s Response.” Westminster Theological Journal 74 (2012): 133-48.
  • Vern Poythress, “2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillennialism.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 37.4 (1995): 529-38.
  • Vern Poythress, “Genre and Hermeneutics in Revelation 20:1-6.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 36 (1993): 41-54.
  • J.C. Coetzee, “Christ and the Prince of this World in the Gospel and the Epistles of St John.” Neotestamentica 2 (1968): 104-21.

This refers to those items where I willingly subjected myself to mental torture.

jabs with bad analogies

For the past couple of weeks I’ve seen more and more people (or groups) taking pot-shots at Christians, trying to make it look silly or inept. It might be because we’re a few days away from Christmas and that’s what normally happens. But it appears as though, because there is not a huge show-stopping crapumentary on the Discovery Channel or H2 or whatever about Jesus, the attempts have been reduced to quick jabs–or sucker punches, if we’re honest–given for a cheap thrill or an easy laugh.

Earlier this month, Conan O’Brien gave this little quip (about 5:28 in):

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A few days later, I saw these images floating around, the first slightly more subtle than the second:

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(Whether people stole it from Conan and rejigged it or Conan got it from these images is not really my concern. Frankly, I don’t care).

There are two initial problems with these kinds of claims. First, they are not fair to the discourse that needs to happen concerning the refugee crisis. In fact, these types of claims not only politicize the crisis, which is insulting those who truly need refugee, but also reveal that at least one side of the debate is happily wearing its “ideological blinders”.* The other side might be, but they are not as expressive or honest about it.

Second, these sorts of political jabs are uncalled for, primarily because they operate on a faulty premise and a crap analogy. For those who have done their homework, it will be obvious that the image of Mary and Joseph frantically looking for housing in Bethlehem only to be turned away repeatedly until some gruff inn-keeper’s wife Gibbs-slaps him and make him offer the barn; that is nothing but sensationalized tradition. The historical and textual evidence about the birth narrative does not support such view.

Moreover, there is nothing to suggest that Mary and Joseph situation was anything comparable to the refugee crisis. Mary and Joseph were not trying to flee their home country and find safe harbor in another. They were simply traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the purposes of taxation. If we wanted to say anything (admittedly in dramatic terms), we could say they were being “hunted down” in the same way that the IRS wants our money each April. But they were not under threat for their lives because of the ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs, etc. To say otherwise betrays a lack of understanding about the data and an inability to make an appropriate analogy.

The refugee crisis is admittedly an awful situation, one that has created a rather heated debate with varying and often conflicting responses. It is a situation that needs to be taken seriously and it is one that deserves conscientious and respectful discussion and action. It is one where all sides of the debate need to come together and shut up and listen openly and fairly. And it is a situation that most certainly deserves more respect than being used as one side of a crappy analogy for the purposes of taking cheap-shots at Christians. Such one-lines are good for a laugh and caricaturing a group of people, but they do nothing for moving the discussion forward. It’s school-yard antics. It’s weak. It’s empty. And it’s hypocritical.

* Taken from “West Wing”.