François Bovon on the Sermon on the Plain

In his 2002 Hermeneia commentary, François Bovon pauses to offer reflective comments on the beatitudes and woes in Luke 6:20–26. He recognizes his current position of privilege and feels the present tension of the message of Jesus. Prior to his … Continue reading

Book Notice: Johannine Theology: The Gospel, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse by Paul A. Rainbow

Paul A. Rainbow. Johannine Theology: The Gospel, the Epistles and the Apocalypse. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014. Pp. 496. ISBN: 978-0-8308-4056-4. $40.00 [Hardback]. *     *     *     *     * Paul Rainbow—Professor of New … Continue reading

Chris Keith, Jesus Against the Scribal Elite, and Historical Jesus Scholarship

Chris Keith (blog; teaching post) is a writing machine and he is asking very insightful question in Historical Jesus Scholarship. Each year I ask, what is coming out this year by Keith? His texts are, for historical Jesus scholarship, ones that need to be frequently referenced for he is slowly influencing a field prime for change.

Here are group of videos Baker Academic Press posted about his new book Jesus Against the Scribal Elite (see here). This brief video will hopefully give you glimpse at the question he is asking and how it is a unique question. Continue reading

Irenaeus on the Gospels

Here is a following excerpt from Irenaeus on the four canonical Gospels.

We have learned the plan of our salvation from no one else than the ones through whom the gospel has come down to use. At first, they proclaimed it in public, but later on, in accordance with Go’d will, they handed it down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. It is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed ‘complete knowledge’, as the heretics dare to say, who boast that they have improved on the apostles. After our Lord rose from the dead, the apostles received power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down upon them, were filled with all gifts, and thus received complete knowledge. They departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things sent from God to us, and proclaiming the peace of heaven toward humankind. They all equally and individually possessed the gospel of God. Matthew produced a written gospel for the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, laying the foundations of the church there. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, handed down to us in writing what Peter had preached. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the gospel Paul preached. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who had leaned upon his breast, also published a gospel while he was living at Ephesus. (Against Heresies, 3.1.1)

Here are some thoughts on the composition of the Gospels according to Irenaeus.

  1. Matthew’s Gospel is originally composed in Hebrew
  2. Mark wrote his gospel after Peter and Paul left Rome
  3. Mark composed Peter’s preaching (Mark 1.1?)
  4. Luke composed the “gospel Paul preached”
  5. John wrote his Gospel while in Ephesus

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Initial Thoughts on Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity

I’m currently reviewing Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity edited by Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne. Thus far, I have been thoroughly impressed by their clear call to revisit and possibly jettison traditional criteria all the while making cogent, informed, and careful argumentation. This book is a compilation of multiple authors involved in Gospel and Historical Jesus related studies.

I have been studying Historical Jesus research for some time now (even my careless, ad hominem, atrociously edited thesis was on the overall movement). So, for the past number of years I’ve had an interest in Historical Jesus research and have tried keeping up on the plethora of sources. How Keith and Le Donne’s book escaped my attention, I have no idea!

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Mark as a Literary and Theological Document: Mark 3:22–30 test case

I’m currently reviewing Elizabeth Shively’s Apocalyptic Imagination in the Gospel of Mark, and have been impressed with a number of her hermeneutical abilities and presuppositions.  Her clarity in thought is exemplary as tension and anticipation await each turn of the page.

One beneficial aspect of her project is her “close reading” of the text. As she analyzes Mark 3:22–30 (Beelzebul pericope), she utilizes narrative critical tools. Unlike other Markan resources, Shively demonstrates how this pericope is a “first of firsts.” This is the first lengthy discourse in the Gospel by Jesus. This is the first time Jesus is said to be speaking in parables. This is the first solemn declaration being introduced with ἀμήν. Moreover through an historical reading, Mark places this pericope in different place in his Gospel, distinct from Matthew’s and Luke’s placement. Mark exclusively identifies this discourse as a παραβολή. Finally, Mark places this parable at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, unlike Matthew or Luke. With this empirical data, Shively concludes Mark 3:22–30 demonstrates the “program for the whole Gospel. Specifically, Mark 3:22–30 constructs a symbolic world that shapes the literary and theological logic of the rest of the narrative.”[1] (Please wait until the book review is complete for a fuller analysis of her thesis).
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