- mike on Thanksgiving 2013
- What’s a Bible? on Ken Schenck Reviews Five Views of Biblical Inerrancy
- On the whiteness of Al Mohler’s White Theology on Ken Schenck Reviews Five Views of Biblical Inerrancy
- 7 things @ 9 o’clock (11.11) on Fantastic Biblical Beasts and Where to Find Them
- WF on Bonhoeffer: Not a Conspirator After All?
Just sighted: interactive timelines for classical philosophy and early Christianity. Check out ClassicalTimeline. Although still in beta, it looks like it could be very cool.
Research by a leading British geneticist on some unidentified hair samples from the Himalayas suggests a possible answer to the mystery of the Yeti or “Abominable Snowman.” Bryan Sykes, a professor of genetics at Oxford University, found a 100% match with DNA recovered from the remains of a Norwegian polar bear dating back 40,000–120,000 years. Sykes says,
“But we can speculate on what the possible explanation might be. It could mean there is a subspecies of brown bear in the High Himalayas descended from the bear that was the ancestor of the polar bear. Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridization between the brown bear and the descendant of the ancient polar bear.”
This will, no doubt, come as a shock and a bit of a disappointment to Yeti and Bigfoot enthusiasts.
Tim Henderson relates (confesses?) that he is now only 51% convinced of the two-source hypothesis. Namely, that Matthew and Luke both used Mark and Q as sources for their Gospels. In a post at Earliest Christianity, he summarizes a portion of Francis Watson’s Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective dealing with the evidence from Papias for the early history of the Gospels.
Watson is the latest big name to argue in favor of the alternative Farrer hypothesis: Matthew used Mark as a source, Luke used both Mark and Matthew, and there was no Q.
At one point in his argument, Watson turns to the evidence from Papias and suggests that it may, in fact, point toward something like the “Farrer” theory. I will summarize his points briefly, hopefully not doing them a disservice in the process.
Luke implies in his prologue that previous gospels were not properly ordered, or at least that his gospel is more properly ordered than those of his predecessors.
Papias explicitly states that one of the inadequacies of Mark’s gospel is that it was not written “in order,” and that it is not “an ordered account.” Therefore, both Luke and Papias share the view that Mark’s account is not as orderly as it could have been.
It appears that Papias discusses Mark first, followed immediately by Matthew, since this is the order in which Eusebius mentions things.
When the topic shifts from Mark to Matthew, Papias introduces his commentary with the word “So” (Greek οὖν): “So Matthew set the sayings in order in the Hebrew language, and each person translated them as far as he was able.” This further suggests that, in Papias’ understanding, Matthew wrote after Mark.
Papias states that, in contrast to Mark’s disordered account, Matthew has written an orderly account and apparently improved upon Mark’s work.
Papias’ statement claims that other gospel writers used Matthew’s gospel as a source, translating (“interpreting”?) Matthew’s gospel for their own new gospels.
What if the only thing Papias gets wrong is the “Hebrew” language of Matthew? Watson suggests that this detail is apologetically motivated – it emphasizes the authenticity of Matthew’s version, since it preserves Jesus’ words in their original language. But once Matthew’s gospel is written in Hebrew, it would need to be translated into Greek by later gospel writers who used it as a source. If Watson is correct on this point, I think his reading of Papias is quite compelling in many ways.
Why does a “plain reading” work for some texts but not for others? David at the CBE Scroll explains why (most) complementarians should be pacifists.
Adam K-J has supplied a second Septuagint Studies Soirée, a substantial survey of scintillating Septuagintal scholarship. Splendid!
Scot McKnight provides a brief review of Preston Sprinkle’s Paul and Judaism Revisited: A Study of Divine and Human Agency in Salvation. Based on Scot’s questions, it sounds like an interesting book, at least one that is apt to generate some good discussions on the issue of Paul and his Jewish milieu.
PS: If you’re new to this issue you might need a quick cheat-sheet on the New Perspective on Paul.
Context determines which, as Joel Hoffmann explains:
Suzanne McCarthy brings up the issue, again, of whether the Greek word anthropos is exclusively masculine (“man”) or gender neutral (“person”).
The short answer is that it is both.
We’ve been through this before, but the Greek framework of gender really is difficult for speakers of languages like English to grasp in the abstract, so here are some English examples that will help make things clearer.
James Hannam explores the nature of the often reported but seldom documented age-old conflict between science and religion:
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of giving a talk at the Royal Society in London on medieval natural philosophy. During the course of my talk, I mentioned that the great conflict between science and religion is a myth. I also covered a few of the more egregious legends that feed the myth, such as the claim that medieval people thought that the Earth is flat. Afterwards, not expecting to hear anything more on the conflict myth, I took questions. But one of the first was about Roger Bacon and William of Ockham. Weren’t they examples of scientists persecuted by the Church?
That’s the strange thing about the conflict myth: much of the evidence for it is bogus. Most people are not only ignorant of the real history of science and religion, but what they think they know is actually untrue. My interrogator at the Royal Society was misinformed about Bacon and Ockham, but had accepted what he’d heard about them because it was consistent with his overall image of the medieval Church. It’s safe to say that, when properly investigated, almost none of the allegations behind the conflict myth stack up. That’s why we hear so much about the trial of Galileo. It’s the one unambiguous example of where the Church got it wrong (even if it was not the unambiguous attack on science by religion often supposed).
So I thought readers of Strange Notions might enjoy some of the weird and wonderful ways that non-believers have told me, with a straight face, that the Church held back science. I’ll also briefly debunk each of the myths just in case you hear them yourselves.