N.T.WRONG

Official Blog of the Bishop of Durham

Archive for December, 2008

Noah’s Ark Animation

Posted by NT Wrong on December 27, 2008

Kal the Animator is a funny man.

“Shit! This is going to take me 120 years!!” – Noah

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Posted in Humour, Pentateuch | Comments Off on Noah’s Ark Animation

La Bible: Le vrai et la légende – Finkelstein Interview

Posted by NT Wrong on December 26, 2008

Finkelstein Interview in Sciences et Avenir, December 2008. Extracts here.

bible
Pourquoi alors ce mythe de la monarchie unifiée ?

Israël Finkelstein. Pour le royaume de Juda, la récupération des terres qui avaient été occupées par les Assyriens est fondamentale. Jérusalem considère que les terres du nord, c’est-à-dire les ex-territoires de l’ancien royaume d’Israël, lui appartiennent. C’est à ce moment-là qu’émerge l’idée du pan israélisme territorial et cette volonté farouche de vouloir créer un grand royaume unifié, en particulier après le retrait assyrien. Afin de donner à ces aspirations territoriales une légitimité, il fallait les lier idéologiquement aux grands rois David et Salomon… C’est alors que s’est faite la collecte des traditions orales, des histoires populaires, des prophéties, des chants épiques et des textes de propagande royale et que les traditions des deux royaumes du sud et du nord ont été combinées en une seule source écrite.

En quelques années à peine, les fouilles archéologiques nous montrent que la surface de Jérusalem passe de six à plus de soixante hectares ! Que les villages du royaume de Juda multiplient leur superficie par cinq ou six et que leur nombre s’accroît fortement. C’est très spectaculaire. Seule l’archéologie pouvait montrer l’ampleur de cette soudaine expansion! Confirmant une fois de plus que c’est seulement à partir de la fin du VIIIe siècle avant J.-C. que la Jérusalem prospère a existé, et pas dans des temps mythiques antérieurs.

Posted in Archaeology, Historiography | Comments Off on La Bible: Le vrai et la légende – Finkelstein Interview

Creation Science 101 – A Song by Roy Zimmerman

Posted by NT Wrong on December 26, 2008

Posted in Fundamentalism, Humour, Music, Science | 1 Comment »

PrayerMAX 5000™ – Unlimited Riches Are Yours Today!

Posted by NT Wrong on December 25, 2008

Posted in Humour | Comments Off on PrayerMAX 5000™ – Unlimited Riches Are Yours Today!

Reason No. 33: Galatians 3.22 – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

Posted by NT Wrong on December 23, 2008

pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


Reason No. 33: Galatians 3.22

In Galatians 3.22, Paul refers to ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (”by faith[/fulness] in [/of] Jesus Christ”). He refers to this phrase in the context of his discussion of how the law had imprisoned all things under the power of sin.

Paul’s argument in Galatians 3.22 continues into chapter 5, and is explored in his intervening analogy concerning Abraham and his seed.

Morna Hooker argues that the passage demonstrates that the promise to Abraham came to the Gentiles by their incorporation into Christ, the faithful one (1989:327-331). Her argument is that believers are the descendants of Abraham (3.6-9), yet as Christ is the only seed of Abraham (3.15-16), and faith came in Christ who shared Abraham’s faith (3.22-25), the promise must therefore be given to those who have faith through participating in Christ’s faith (3.22).

But Dunn queries why, if this was really Paul’s argument, Paul did not bring it out more clearly, by explicitly stating that Christ believed as Abraham believed (1991: 738). Dunn has more regard to the context of Paul’s argument, the central concern of which is how non-Jews could be considered Abraham’s children by sharing Abraham’s faith. As argued in Reason No. 81, Gal 3.8 refers to the faith of believers, and this is so right through to Gal 3.14, where the promise of the Spirit is declared to be received through faith, recalling the believers’ receipt of the Spirit through “believing what [they] heard” in 3.2 & 5. In Gal 3.15ff, Paul introduces a further argument, from the premise that Christ is the sole seed of Abraham in whom the promise was fulfilled. And as a result of this argument, the faith that justifies in 3.6-9 is understood in 3.22 as faith in Jesus Christ. Dunn rightly concludes that Hooker has “merged the two strands of Paul’s argument [3.5-14 and 3.15-25], and her thesis arises from the resulting confusion” (191: 738).

References:

  • Morna D. Hooker, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” New Testament Studies 35 (1989): 321-42.
  • James D. G. Dunn, “Once More, ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers, 1991: 730-44.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | Comments Off on Reason No. 33: Galatians 3.22 – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Reason No. 81: Salvation by faith not law in Galatians 2-3 – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 23, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 81: Salvation by faith not law in Galatians 2-3

    Paul makes an argument for salvation by faith versus law by utilising the example of Abraham in Gal 3.6ff. But before he does this, Paul makes an initial argument for salvation by faith not law from the Galatians’ receipt of the Spirit in 3.2-5.

    This initial argument from the receipt of the Spirit is bracketed by two clear contrasts of (i) human works of the law and (ii) human faith through hearing:

    – Gal 3.2: “Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?”
    – Gal 3.5: “does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”

    The ensuing example of Abraham’s justification by faith in Gal 3.6ff is introduced as something the Galatians know (Γινώσκετε) as a result of (ἄρα) Paul’s prior words. So the justification ἐκ πίστεως in this section (Gal 3.8), which is also contrasted with works of the law, would likewise refer to the faith of believers.

    So we have two successive and related sections in which Paul contrasts human faith and human works of the Law. So how should we read the earlier section in Gal 2.16.20, which makes the same contrast?

    The shared context of these three connected passages strongly suggests that πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ and πίστει … τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ in Gal 2.20 concerns human faith.

    Thus πίστις Χριστοῦ is an objective genitive: the faith of humans in Christ.

    Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | Comments Off on Reason No. 81: Salvation by faith not law in Galatians 2-3 – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Reason No. 76: Faith versus Works – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 22, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 76: Faith versus Works

    Proponents of the objective genitive have pointed out that πίστις Χριστοῦ is used in contexts where works are being contrasted with faith. As the natural contrast to human works is human faith, this supports the objective genitive translation. The interpretation is also supported by other similar passages such as Rom 9.30—10.8 and Phil 3.2-11 (Schreiner 2001: 213-14).

    However, it is countered by Cousar (1996: 130) that it makes more sense to read Paul as pitting a human activity (works) against a divine activity (Christ’s faithful obedience). This rather misses the point of the passages. While Cousar’s suggestion may indeed be a “more powerful contrast” (Matera 1992), the question remains: is it the actual contrast being made in the text? Probably not. This contrast is not in fact Paul’s own contrast.

    Matlock (2000: 12) provides an argument showing that this is not a good interpretation of Paul’s contrast. He points out that, if Paul’s antithesis were focused on divine versus human actions, it is unusual that Paul does not directly contrast ἔργα νόμου and ἔργα Χριστοῦ.

    Accepting the governing context of Paul’s contrast between human faith and works, and between Abraham’s faith (Gen 15) and Abraham’s observance of God’s command (Gen 17), Paul’s antithetical worldview is a significant piece of evidence in favour of the objective genitive interpretation.

    Hays’ theological objection that this places human faith at the basis of the promise (2002: 150-151) would only be true if human faith were the ultimate basis in any of these passages. But it is never is. Human faith is always made possible by the grace of God through Christ, and functions merely as the explanation of how humans are to appropriate this gift.

    References:

  • Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3.1—4.11. Rev. Ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
  • C. B. Cousar, The Letters of Paul. Interpreting Biblical Texts. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.
  • R. Barry Matlock, “Detheologizing the ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Debate: Cautionary Remarks from a Lexical Semantic Perspective.” Novum Testamentum 42.1 (2000): 1-23.
  • Frank J. Matera, Galatians. Sacra Pagina 9. Collegeville: Liturgical, 1992.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 4 Comments »

    Reason No. 64: P46 Reads Paul that way – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 22, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 64: P46 Reads Paul that way

    A plausible further early witness to the objective genitive intepretation is provided by the scribe of P46, who altered the text of Galatians 3.26 from διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ to διὰ τῆς πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (Matlock 2003).

    P46 removes the ambiguity of the majority reading, and brings it in line with Gal 2.16 and 3.22, and is thus the less difficult and later variant (Matlock 2003: 435). So, the manuscript provides an early example of a scribe who made an interpretive amendment of Paul. Matlock argues that it can reasonably be assumed that the scribe made the change because he incorrectly read πίστεως and ἐν Χριστῷ together and, knowing the phrase appeared nowhere else in Paul’s letters, sought to substitute an equivalent Pauline expression for “faith in Christ”, thereby demonstrating that the scribe considered Paul’s phrase πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ to have an objective genitive meaning (2003: 437).

    References:

  • R. Barry Matlock, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ in Galatians 3.26: Neglected Evidence for ‘Faith in Christ’?” New Testament Studies 49 (2003): 433-439
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | Comments Off on Reason No. 64: P46 Reads Paul that way – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Hayes Carll – She Left Me For Jesus

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 21, 2008

    Satirical country music … this is funny stuff:

    “I bet he’s a Commie,
    Or even worse, yet, a Jew.”

    Posted in Humour, Music | 4 Comments »

    Reason No. 94: Exchanging a Lutheran Paul for a Calvinistic Paul – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 21, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 94: Exchanging a Lutheran Paul for a Calvinistic Paul

    Many writers within the movement now known as ‘the Wrong Turn on Paul’ (sometimes known as ‘the New Perspective on Paul’) consider that they have escaped the Lutheran bias which overemphasised so-called (Jewish) legalism. Such a view of Paul is considered to overemphasize the importance of Paul’s contrast between justification by faith and justification by law, and also to reflect an unrealistic and polemical sixteenth-century view of Judaism. However, in giving up the ‘Lutheran Paul’, those writers who have accepted the Wrong Turn on Paul have not turned to the words of Paul himself. If they had, they might well have discarded the polemics concerning Jewish ‘legalism’, and had more regard to the importance of Paul’s emphasis on justification by faith (versus law), by being-in-Christ (versus being-Jewish).

    But the New Perspective has exchanged a Lutheran conception of Paul for a Calvinistic conception of Paul. Or, if you like, their views now resemble that of an Über-Luther. They discard an overemphasis on Law for an overemphasis on the sovereignty of God and complete and utter insufficiency of human works. Proponents of the subjective genitive interpretation have argued that such an interpretation shifts the emphasis in Paul’s theology to the role of God’s grace over that of humanity’s faith, and overcomes the post-Lutheran tendency to consider human belief a work in itself, rather than only a response to God’s grace. For them, the shift of emphasis triggered by a subjective genitive interpretation makes conversion less of a human summoning up of boldness and courage to make a decision for Christ, than a response to a call made already by God.

    It is interesting how pervasive this Reformed (non-Pauline) way of thinking can be. Even Dunn, who defends the objective genitive, finds the theological implications of the subjective genitive attractive, and “wholly compatible” with Paul’s theology. Although Dunn correctly notes that the real question to be addressed is ‘what did Paul in fact intend?’, he has a sympathy with the theology Paul did not intend — to the extent that he finds it “wholly compatible” with Paul’s theology!

    Dunn’s question is correct, but raises a dilemma for him and those with a Reformed bias. For, if the subjective genitive intepretation increases the emphasis on God’s sovereignty and the necessity of grace beyond Paul’s intended meaning, and this occurs in Paul’s key passages summarising the Gospel – can the result still be “wholly compatible” with Paul’s theology?

    A shift in emphasis in these key, theologically compact passages is inevitably also a shift away from Paul’s theology. And given the direction of the emphasis, the shift is more “wholly compatible” with the Augustinian-Calvinist-Barthian emphasis on monergistic faith, than Paul’s own theological emphasis. And that is most probably why such a theology is perceived as “attractive” — not because it correctly interprets Paul.

    The proponents of the subjective genitive appear to have more concern to deny works and affirm grace than Paul himself does, who, more in tune with the Judaism of his day, allows more place for the paradox and tension of human versus divine will, rather than insisting on monergistic grace.

    Matlock, who seems to have commented on everything concerning this topic, identifies the modern interpretation as “a sort of hyper-Protestantism” (2002: 312).

    Paul, like most Jews, was to some extent a synergist. So his theology should not be artificially aligned with some modern theology, and certainly not with Calvinistic-Reformed-Barthian theology. But this realignment of Paul’s thought is exactly the tendency amongst proponents of the subjective genitive and the New Perspective in general.

    References:

  • R. Barry Matlock, “’Even the Demons Believe’: Paul and ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 49.3 (2002): 300-318.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 1 Comment »