Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Received: Hosea - A Commentary based on Hosea in Codex Vaticanus

Today, I am excited to announce that I received my review copy of W. Edward Glenny's Hosea: A Commentary based on Hosea in Codex Vaticanus.

As I mentioned in one of my posts in Cambridge, I was present with Ed when he first saw the published version of his commentary.  It was a neat moment.  This commentary is part of Brill's Septuagint Commentary series, and is the first of twelve that Glenny is contracted to write; of course he is writing on the Minor Prophets (Amos is due out soon, with Micah to follow after).  

I look forward to reading this commentary and getting back to you all.  Ed's dissertation was great, and I hope you have read my brief review of it posted last week.  

Thanks, again, to Brill for this copy.

Scholarship to the Glory of God - From John Piper and Jonathan Edwards

I was reflecting earlier on my first season of PhD work, and here is unfortunately what I came up with:  I realized over the past six months, or so, I had been trusting in my own intellect when researching, and exploring the Scriptures as if they were not inspired by God. Both are blinders to actual progress and revelation. My prayer is that I will learn the Scriptures from the Lord in this process. I am recommitting.
So, I read Piper's thoughts on Jonathan Edwards' view of scholarship and the glory of God.  I quote this portion of Piper's God's Passion for His Glory, because it was encouraging and reorienting.  

Scholarship: Seeing and Savoring God
in Every Branch of Learning

Implication #13. The task of Christian scholarship is to study reality
as a manifestation of God’s glory, to speak about it with accuracy,
and to savor the beauty of God in it.
I think Edwards would
regard it as a massive abdication of scholarship that so many
Christians do academic work with so little reference to God. If all
the universe and everything in it exists by the design of an infinite,
personal God, to make his manifold glory known and loved, then
to treat any subject without reference to God’s glory is not scholarship
but insurrection.
Moreover, the demand is even higher: Christian scholarship
must be permeated by spiritual affections for the glory of God in
all things. Most scholars know that without the support of truth,
affections degenerate into groundless emotionalism. But not as many scholars recognize the converse: that without the awakening
of true spiritual affections, seeing the fullness of truth in all
things is impossible. Thus Edwards says, “Where there is a kind
of light without heat, a head stored with notions and speculations,
with a cold and unaffected heart, there can be nothing divine in
that light, that knowledge is no true spiritual knowledge of divine

One might object that the subject matter of psychology or sociology
or anthropology or history or physics or chemistry or
English or computer science is not “divine things” but “natural
things.” But that would miss the first point: to see reality in truth
we must see it in relation to God, who created it, and sustains it,
and gives it all the properties it has and all its relations and designs.
To see all these things in each discipline is to see the “divine
things”—and in the end, they are the main things. Therefore,
Edwards says, we cannot see them, and therefore we cannot do
Christian scholarship, if we have no spiritual sense or taste for
God—no capacity to apprehend his beauty in the things he has
This sense, Edwards says, is given by God through supernatural
new birth, effected by the Word of God. “The first effect of
the power of God in the heart in regeneration, is to give the heart
a divine taste or sense; to cause it to have a relish of the loveliness
and sweetness of the supreme excellency of the divine nature.”52
Therefore, to do Christian scholarship, a person must be born
again; that is, a person must not only see the effects of God’s work,
but also savor the beauty of God’s nature.
It is not in vain to do rational work, Edwards says, even
though everything hangs on God’s free gift of spiritual life and
sight. The reason is that “the more you have of a rational knowledge
of divine things, the more opportunity will there be, when the
Spirit shall be breathed into your heart, to see the excellency of
these things, and to taste the sweetness of them.”

It is evident here that what Edwards means by “rational
knowledge” is not to be confused with modern rationalism that
philosophically excludes “divine things.” Even more relevant for
the present issue of Christian scholarship is the fact that “rational
knowledge” for Edwards would also exclude a Christian methodological
imitation of rationalism in scholarly work. Edwards
would, I think, find some contemporary Christian scholarship
methodologically unintelligible because of the de facto exclusion
of God and his word from the thought processes. The motive of
such scholarship seems to be the obtaining of respect and acceptance
in the relevant guild. But the price is high. And Edwards
would, I think, question whether, in the long run, compromise will
weaken God-exalting, Christian influence, because the concession
to naturalism speaks more loudly than the goal of God’s
supremacy in all things. Not only that, the very nature of reality
will be distorted by a scholarship that adopts a methodology that
does not put a premium on the ground, the staying power, and the
goal of reality, namely, God. Where God is methodologically
neglected, faithful renderings of reality will be impossible.
How then is this view of Christian scholarship an outworking
of the truth that the exhibition of God’s glory and the deepest joy
of human souls are one thing? God exhibits his glory in the created
reality being studied by the scholar (Ps. 19:1; 104:31; Col.
1:16-17). Yet God’s end in this exhibition is not realized if the
scholar does not see it and savor it. Thus the savoring, relishing,
and delighting of the scholar in the beauty of God’s glory is an
occasion when the exhibition of the glory is completed. In that
moment, the two become one: the magnifying of God’s glory is in
and through the seeing and savoring of the scholar’s mind and
heart. When the echo of God’s glory echoes in the affections of
God’s scholar and resounds through his speaking and writing,
God’s aim for Christian scholarship is achieved.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tyndale House Ties - In Case You Missed It

Last week, while I was studying at Tyndale House, I saw David Instone-Brewer wearing a fantastic bow-tie.  I am, of course, a big fan of bow-ties!  So, I commented on it.  He told me it was one of Tyndale House's new ties that they were making public that day! What a great stroke of luck, I thought, that I would be at TH when they released such a great item.

I announced the release of Tyndale House's bow and neck ties on this blog last week while documenting my journey.  Today, I will be wearing my bow-tie, and thought I would do my due diligence to make sure the announcement was not buried in my journey log.  So here it is: 

Tyndale House Tie Line can be found on this link.  Buy one!  It is a fun and stylish way to support a great academic ministry. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

For Sale: Old RGG Volumes on Amazon

These are the new RGG vols, not those for sale.  (the only pic I could find of the volumes)
Notice: I just listed my RGG (Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart) set for sale on Amzon here.  The set I am selling is complete and a neat set of old religion books.  The volumes are, of course, all in German.  Take a look!  If you are interested, though it is a good price for this set, I am willing to negotiate, if you really want 'em.

This is an informational blurb on the current RGG initiative.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: Finding Meaning in the Text: Translation Technique and Theology in the Septuagint of Amos

W. Edward Glenny, Finding Meaning in the Text: Translation Technique and Theology in the Septuagint of Amos, Supplements to Vetus Testamentum v. 126 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2009).  $149.00. 306pp.
              The Septuagint has always been a fascinating document, principally because it is the first of its kind; that is, it is the first large-scale translation of a religious document into another language.  Currently, however, the Septuagint is gaining much attention in scholarship, and is certainly reaching a high water mark in the past one-hundred years or more.  Especially of note concerning the new wave of Septuagintal study is that this new wave is not primarily focused on understanding the Septuagint as a text-critical tool to understanding the Masoretic Text, but rather this new generation of Septuagint scholars seeks to understand the Septuagint “on its own terms,” as a distinct religious document.  The study of the translation technique of the Septuagint is a study with this aim.  It looks at the unique ways that scribes translated into Greek the Hebrew Vorlage, or original hypothetical Hebrew text that stands behind the Septuagint; such study often times includes consideration of what is called Tendenz, or the instances where the historical background of a translator influenced the way they translated the text, primarily theologically.  At the heart of such a study one seeks to compare the LXX with the Vorlage that stands behind the Greek translation, with an emphasis on what may have influenced the differences observed between the two text traditions.  In Finding Meaning in the Text, Ed Glenny takes on a translation technique study of Amos, a book notable for its substantive variance in the LXX from the MT. 
                A few procedural, methodological notes:  First, Glenny uses the MT and Zeigler’s LXX text as his two bases for text comparison.  As for the Vorlage that stands behind either of these named texts, Glenny notes “There is general consensus that the Vorlage of the LXX-Minor Prophets was very close to the consonantal MT text and in many cases identical to it.” (2)  As a student of the LXX, I understand the difficulty of defining what one means by a Vorlage since it is such a slippery concept.  But I am also in a constant internal battle with the degree of definition that is adequate for studies that assume such an important source/text-critical question.   In the end, Glenny’s definition for Vorlage still would have to be categorized as quite hypothetical.  But he does do his due diligence by allotting a section to this question, demonstrating that all the differences between the LXX/Amos and the MT are not likely because of a different Vorlage. (14)
                For this study Glenny’s two major conversation partners are J. M. Dines’ 1991 University of London PhD. Dissertation, “The Septuagint of Amos: A Study in Interpretation,” and James Palmer’s 2004 Cambridge University dissertation, “‘Not Made with Tracing Paper’: Studies in the Septuagint of Zechariah.”  Glenny goes about his study first by a general introduction to issues concerning the LXX as a text and specific studies undertaken on the LXX/Amos, notably, of course, Dines’ study, Anthony Gelston’s study, “Some Hebrew Misreadings in the Septuagint of Amos (VT 52:4 [2002]: 493-500), which serves as a good example of Glenny’s foil, and even a previous article written by Glenny, himself, that is in response to Gelston, and is in many ways a precursor to Glenny’s present monograph (“Hebrew Misreadings or Free Translation in the Septuagint of Amos?” VT 57:4 [2007]: 524-547).  In chapter two, Glenny takes on the methodological question of literal and free translation.  He approaches this from the assessment of two views; James Barr and Emmanuel Tov.  In the end, Tov’s five categories of literalness of a translation, four that overlap with Barr’s categories, is preferred by Glenny for his understanding of the literalness of LXX translational pericopes.  Next in this chapter, Glenny covers studies of literalism, which includes computer assisted statistical analyses (by Tov and Benjamin Wright), and the “Finnish School” that is concerned to study the LXX as a “linguistic phenomenon,” with the goal “to trace the linguistic ‘fingerprint’ of the translator.” (39) Finally, he covers types of literalism projected to be found in the LXX/Amos.  The final six chapters of this book can be divided into two broad categories: First, a study of the translation of difficult words, idiom and syntax by the translator of the LXX/Amos (chs. 3-4), and second, the theology of the resulting translation of the LXX/Amos (chs. 5-8).  Glenny finishes with a workmanlike summary of his study.  Overall, it is very straightforward and to the point in execution. 
                When I first read the subtitle, “Translation Technique and Theology in the Septuagint of Amos,” I instinctively asked, “but what about the rest of the Twelve Prophets?”  In years past, this question may not have been asked readily, or at all.  But we have entered a new stage of scholarship, at least in OT studies, where the Twelve prophets as one unified corpus is an assumable thing, and must be taken on if one does not agree with their unity.  In Glenny’s study, however his title may initially represent his views on the Twelve, he assumes its unified translation, but it appears he has simply needed to focus his study on one portion. (cf. 11)  Glenny’s study, therefore, often shares conclusions with Palmer’s study of Zechariah on translation technique, namely, “The translator of Amos, like the translator of Zechariah, seems to take the topics of context in the text he is working with and uses opportunities in it to express his own concerns and make his translations relevant for his audience;” (271) probably because they were one in the same person (as Glenny alludes earlier in his study, 262).
            I especially prized Glenny’s chapter “Gentiles, Eschatology, and Messianism in LXX-Amos.”  Glenny believes these interrelated theological topics reveal important aspects of the LXX/Amos translator’s theology; and I think he is correct.  The most salient example is the most well-known, Amos 9:11-12, which is most famous because of all the trouble it has caused NT theologians in their study of Acts 15.  In this section, many of the usual suspects, that is, typically covered textual issues are investigated; but three important points are noted.  First, overall, the primary and lasting difference between the MT and the LXX is the tone of each respective tradition in the context of this pericope going back to 9:9-10.  The MT[1], Glenny notes, is “a message of judgment,” but the LXX reads as a “confident oracle of salvation” (217; quoted from Dines, “Amos,” 289).  Secondly, Glenny gives special attention to “The Tent of David.”  Here he concludes that, against any reading that would see 9:11 to be nationalistic, the tent of David in the LXX/Amos should be seen as having “implications of royal Davidic messianism.” (224)  In his estimation, Glenny supposes that “the messianism would have been understood to be explicit by the readers of the LXX.” (224)[2]  Third, the act of God calling his name upon someone is, as Glenny notes, “theologically rich.” (227) This is especially applicable to the enigmatic phrase from Acts 15:14 (“…God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.”), before the Amos 9:11-12 quotation by James.  Glenny notes, the LXX contrasts the MT by the fact that the Gentiles seek the Lord in the LXX/Amos, but are the Gentiles are militarily conquered by Israel and made subject to the Lord in the MT.  The Gentiles in the LXX/Amos, Glenny deduces, are at the same time desiring to be in covenant relationship with the Lord, but also, by the sound of “called upon them,” being elected by the Lord to be a part of His chosen people.  This is the only place in the LXX/Amos that such a phrase is applied to Gentiles (Glenny is unclear here if he means Amos, the whole Twelve, or the entire OT.  It seems most likely the entire OT).  Therefore, Glenny points out, “the Gentiles do what Israel is commanded to do in 5:4 and 6; they seek the Lord.” (227)  Conclusions such as these are the pay-off to studying the Septuagint as a unique text with its own distinct theology.   
                In the end Glenny spells out his conclusions clearly in his “Summary” section.  But briefly, the character of the LXX/Amos according to Glenny’s study can be summed up as a translation that stayed close to the Hebrew witnessed in the MT, but also a translation was not afraid to be creative or innovative when attempting to convey a certain theological or exegetical concern. 
                Interestingly, and almost prophetically, Glenny notes an implication of such studies as his, Dines’, and Palmer’s, is that commentaries need to be written that comment on the Septuagint books on their own terms.  I agree.  And this is what the IOSCS and Brill are now pursuing.  Glenny, himself, is on Brill’s team, and has just recently released his first entry on Hosea, which I perused while at Tyndale House and will soon be reviewing, compliments of Brill; and soon his Amos and Micah studies will also be released. 
                Overall, Glenny’s study is a win.  I think he gave an instant classic on the LXX/Amos that will be in use for many generations. 
 My appreciation to Brill for the opportunity to review this book with the expectation of an objective review.

[1] One area, though not completely germane to his thesis (hence, I comment on it in the footnotes), was his stance on Amos 9:11-15.  Many, of course, have believed this pericope to be a later addition.  I do not believe, as Glenny supposes, that this is still a majority view in the wake of the preference of canonical and final form(s) approaches (cf. House, Unity, where this view is not supported in view of his method).  If it is a majority view, it cannot stand much longer with the likelihood that the many forms of accepted unity in the Twelve now taking majority at SBL. 
[2] Of note, Glenny’s brief investigation of the rest of the Twelve and the other places in Second Temple Judaism where the Twelve is quoted was helpful and enlightening in better understanding the royal and messianic nature of the LXX/Amos.

Monday, April 22, 2013

In Bristol @ Trinity College - Day 4

Again, material just presents itself.
Today, I had the opportunity to eat lunch with Professor Gordon Wenham, and Lee Gatis, our post-graduate seminar speaker.  It is always an exciting time to have regular conversation with such intellectual and godly men as these, and simply discuss whatever comes up!

After lunch, Dr. Wenham took us to what I thought was simply Carter Lounge, the place where I hang out with the ordinands when I am not working.  Rather, he said, the significance of the room, or at least the site, is that that is where James Packer wrote many of his books, including his famous Knowing God.  Now I have a bit more of a profound respect for that space.  Can Reformed-protestants go on pilgrimages?

Lee Gatis then presented on Calvinism in the Anglican tradition (the Church of England).  His talk was called "We are all Calvinists now."  It is in recognition and meditation on the 450th year of the 39 Articles, that according to Lee are thoroughly Calvinist, and are ignored broadly in the C of E currently.  His case was that from its roots, the C of E was thoroughly Calvinist since the Reformation, though most history books do not represent it this way.  He contested that evangelicalism in the C of E began with Calvinism and continued through the dawning of the ministry of the Wesley's and Whitfield and now into the present, though in small numbers; again, not rather as most church history books that start evangelicalism with the Wesley/Whitfield ministries.  He even sites that the monarch on their day of the coronation, including the current Queen, Elizabeth, swears to defend "the Reformed and protestant faith."  His case was very good and thorough, even folding Wesley into this line; though of course Wesley leaves this line soon after.  

The best part is that I was sitting next to a wonderful professor from Clifton Baptist College, who is also a Methodist minister.  My neighbor's views paired with Lee's especially edgy way of presenting Calvinism, made for an exciting session.  Following the meeting, myself and my friend and fellow TC post-grad student, had a little 2 on 1, Calvinist vs. Wesleyan theological debate!  It's been about 6 years since a good Calvinism vs. Arminian debate for me, so I enjoyed the heck out of it!  It was deeply respectful and loving, but not without the required, uninformed, friendly jabs.  

Tonight, a pub visit consisting of a crash course in Barthian hermeneutics with Herr Dr. Justin Stratis.

TC, Bristol Day 4.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

In Bristol @ Trinity College - Day 3

Today, as I walked to to church, I imagined that I would get some rest, since the day is the Sabbath, and would not have much to report; but material sometimes just presents itself.

I attended St. Mary's this morning; just a stones throw from Trinity College.  It was a great service, but before the service the material broke.  While waiting, I overheard some interesting news and I followed-up with it when I was greeted as a visitor.  The greeter told me that Sherlock, the popular TV show on the BBC, would be filming all Wednesday at the door of St. Mary's.  I was pretty excited, because my wife and I watch the show (almost) religiously, but I was bummed because I would be leaving so early Wednesday morning that I would not get to pop over and see any of it.  Anyhow, I am glad for St. Mary's.  I think it will be a fun event for their church.

Tonight, I will be heading over there again for their evening service to hear Dr. Justin Stratis preach on the challenge of the Gospel in the beatitudes. 

Bristol, day 3. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

In Bristol @ Trinity College - Day 2

Today, after a good bit of reading and reflecting in the morning, I went on a walk with my friend Raggie.  He is a masters student from the Faroe Islands.  He is my Viking friend - no, seriously, his family is descended from Vikings.  It's awesome!

Anyhow, we walked a bit in Bristol (3.5 hours).  The destination of note was the John Wesley Chapel.  This chapel was erected in 1783, and is the oldest Methodist Church in the world.  Its actual name is "The New Room."

Here is a note from their page:

It was built and used by John Wesley and the early Methodists as a meeting and preaching place and the centre for helping and educating the needy members of the community.
The chapel itself is on the ground floor (where there is also a shop) and is accessible from either the Broadmead or Horsefair courtyards. Upstairs, are the Preachers’ Rooms where the MLA accredited museum is located. This contains a unique collection of papers and artifacts and tells the story of John and Charles Wesley and their life and work in Bristol.

What was the most fascinating to me was the pulpit.  The only way to access it was by going upstairs and coming down about five stairs to the pulpit.  From and seat in the chapel, the pulpit was visible.  I have included a couple pics.  

At the front of the chapel was a bronze statue of John Wesley on horseback, where he spent a great deal of his life.  And at the back was a bronze statue of Charles Wesley.  Upstairs in the common rooms and bedrooms were many artifacts of John Wesley's life.  The most interesting there was his stand-up study desk.  He did not think it was healthy to sit too long, so he built a standing desk off a windowsill so that he could stand and study.  He was short, only 5'3", so I could have sit at the desk.  

Day 2 - in Bristol

Friday, April 19, 2013

In Bristol @ Trinity College - Day 1

Today I left Cambridge, sadly, at 8am.  The train ride was nice, and I arrived in Bristol, Trinity College specifically, at 1pm.  

Unfortunately, not much to report.  I do love the train ride.  One of the most beautiful parts of the ride is the leg just before Bristol through Bath.   It was made a city in 1590 by Elizabeth I, but is best known for its rich bathing locations.  It was established by the Romans in 60AD, just 20 years after their arrival in Britain (approx. 43 AD).    The Romans called it "the waters of Sulis" (Aquae Sulis) because of its spa-like baths.  The Romans even built a temple upon the nearby mountains.  One king of England (Edgar) was crowned at Bath Abbey in 973.  I simply love the old buildings on either side of the tracks.  

Of course, a great part of Bath is also Bath Ales, brewed in Bath.  

I recommend their mainstay brew, Gem.
I am very excited to be in Bristol to meet with my friends and professors.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

@ Tyndale House - Day 4 (Final Day)

Today is my final day in Cambridge and thus as Tyndale House.  It has been a rewarding visit, mostly because of the time that I have had to connect with fellow-Christians and scholars.  Also of note, Tyndale House just released ties on their site.  They have neck ties and bow ties.  If you know me, you know how much I loved the bow ties, and how quickly I purchased one.  Here's me modeling one (just kidding, that was not a TH tie).

As for things I have done today: I really only made it to one site today on my walk.  I made my way to the Wren Library.  This library was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and was complete in 1695 under the Mastership of Isaac Barrow.  Housed in the library is: an eighth century copy of the Epistles of St Paul likely written by a Scottish Monk, John Milton's shorter poems in his own handwriting and the original manuscript of Winnie-the-Pooh.  Also, on display way were many of Isaac Newton's possession: his walking stick (which was surprisingly short); his note book; a pocket watch; and strangely, a lock of his hair.  

In the end, I have missed my family A LOT, but the Lord blessed my week in many ways, and I look forward to my next visit to TH.

A Statistical Study of OT in the New by Logos

One problem.  The Minor Prophets, or known by the NT authors and their contemporaries as The Book of the Twelve Prophets (Cf. Sir 49:10 also), are counted individually by this statistical study done by Logos.  Should they rather be counted as one book, as the NT author likely counted these books?  Maybe my dissertation will alter they was this is perceived. 

Stats are not always as objective as they seem.  A method is behind at least my observation in Logos' study, one that at least implicitly endorses the older literary and/or historical-critical hermeneutic of interpreting the Twelve that prefers to see them as individual books, rather than distinct prophets within a unified book. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

@ Tyndale House - Day 3

Today, I met my lower word limit for my upgrade VIVA in June.  I am now at about 6 thousand +/- words.  I have been writing on the sequence of the Twelve Prophets (the Minor Prophets), and what the differing sequences between the Hebrew Old Testament (according to the MT) and the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) can tell us about the different theological emphases of each respective tradition.  

SEE!  You did not want to know all that!  You just want to hear about all the cool things I am seeing in Cambridge!  

So, today, I first made my way to Tyndale House for a morning of study, but the luxury of my walk consists of walking past Magdalene College, where C.S. Lewis ended his career teaching, and Rowan Williams is now Master, then through King's College and taking in the vistas of 500+ years of architecture, then over the centuries old bridge over the River Cam (below), and finally through Selwyn College courtyard (right).  

After lunch, I took my afternoon walk and made my way to Corpus Cristi College, but took a detour through Queen's College and sat for a moment in the chapel.  I was heading to Corpus Cristi College to visit their library.  They posses the Italian produced Latin Bible of St. Augustine of Canterbury, the missionary and first Archbishop of Canterbury sent from Rome on the Gregorian Mission by Saint Gregory the Great in 595AD to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons (what's changed?  I kid.).  This Bible is the one that each Archbishop of Canterbury is "sworn in on"  (I am unsure of the correct lingo).  Also I was given a tour of the upper library that contains all the rare books, many of which were personal Bibles and prayer books of the Archbishops of Canterbury. 

Finally, after taking a mile long wrong turn (ergh!), I visited the King's College Chapel.  This chapel was breath-taking (picture on the right, but doesn't do it justice).  It is regarded as one of the best examples of late Gothic architecture.  The building of the chapel was begun by Henry IV at the age of 19 in 1441, and finished after much travail by Henry VIII in the late 16th century.  The vaulting of the roof cost a staggering five thousand GBP (about 75 hundred American).  The visit was amazing, but not as great as the other chapel visits since silence was not required as in Trinity College, Queen's college, and Selwyn collge.  There were many tours occurring (I think in French, German and English), and this made for a less reflective visit.  I ended my visit with a quick peek into King's College library.  It was very interesting with all it's little book nooks and study nooks.  

I finished my day with a cup of coffee and a chat with David Instone-Brewer.  And then dinner with the Ed Glenny and his wife Jackie, both professors at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN.

And it was good.  Day 3. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

@ Tyndale House - Day 2

Today was more about production.  I laid down a good 1,000 words this morning; good or not, its 1,000 words!

The two highlights today have been again at the University Library.  

First, I visited the Manuscripts Room.  Here, I was able to read my adviser's, John Nolland, doctoral dissertation completed at Clare College, University of Cambridge in 1977.  His dissertation is unpublished and is thus hard to find a copy of.  I was the ninth individual to read it since 1979 (since the first reader).  Cambridge has each reader sign the inside cover of each thesis when it is requested and read.  There were no other names that I recognized off the top of my head signed in on his book.

Directly after I left the Manuscript Room I went two floors down to the Rare Books Room.  Here I met the director who took me into his office and unveiled the Gutenberg Bible.  The history of GB is well known, but some details about the particular one the Cambridge UL owns was especially fascinating.  The most interesting was that it has special markings in pencil throughout the volume indicating that it was used later on for another printer to use as an exemplar print of the Bible.  The volume owned by the UL is a two-volume edition.  The illumination in the book was also hand painted and much of it included gold leaf (see the first page that I observed today to the left).  The UL Gutenberg Bible was first owned by a mysterious man in Germany, then an Earl in Scotland that I cannot recall at the moment, then bought by a Trinity College alum, and then donated by this alum to the Cambridge UL.

There are now about 150 or so Gutenberg Bibles still in extant.  The tricky thing is that the originals have generally been parsed up, so some exist in just leafs, and other in multiple volumes that once were one tome, other collections simply owning individual volumes of a larger original GB.  This is also true for the Cambridge UL version.  Before it was donated by a Trinity College alum, it was rebound into two beautiful, yet unoriginal, volumes.  Cambridge UL possess both volumes, thus the GB in  its entirety.  In the end, being in the personal presence of such a culturally and historically significant book (?), object (?), icon (?), was quite overwhelming.   

In just moments I will be leaving to attend Evensong at Trinity College.  I look forward to worshiping with the people of God.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

@ Tyndale House - Day 1

Last night at about 8:30pm I arrived at Link House, Cambridge.

After a night of so-so sleep, I made my 1.4 mile trek to Tyndale House.  It is exciting to be in an environment of such devoted, capable, and Jesus and Scripture-centered scholars --- not to mention a bit intimidating.

Today may have likely rivaled my 'dream day'.

First, I was a witness to my friend and fellow scholar Dr. Ed Glenny receiving his newly published Hosea Commentary in the Septuagint Commentary series.  A commentary like this has been sorely needed for a long time and now a few publishers are answering that call.  Glenny's work on translation technique and theology in Amos has thus far been an enlightening read, and I look forward to his Hosea Commentary to come in the mail, compliments of Brill.    It was a special moment to personally see one's labors come to fruition in such a way.

Next, I was invited to tour the chambers of the Bible Society in the Cambridge University Library by my, now, friend Onesimus.  Here is what I saw and held and leafed through:

The first edition of Erasmus' 1514 Polyglot Bible.

The first edition of a 1611 KJV

The printing of the "Wicked Bible" --- This edition of the KJV excluded the "not" in the commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

An original printing of the 1560 Geneva Bible

The first ever printed Bible at Cambridge University Press

The first ever printed Bible outside the West; a 1612 Malay Bible.  The story behind this Bible is that recently the Muslims in Malaysia claimed to have full rights to the title "Allah."  The Malay Christians objected by pointing to this Bible, noting that it existed before Islam.  The Bible Society at Cambridge UL copied out of their holding the proof for this claim.

A first edition (eighth edition - that is, the edition that included his crystallized studies) Tishendorf Novum Testamentum Graece. 

Tomorrow, I will return to the University Library (UL) to request an original Gutenberg Bible to observe.

I observed many other notable Bibles, but these are the salient in my mind.

Another great day in the UK.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

London Weekend in Review: A NT Scholar and Reformed Theoologian's Fantasy

This weekend I spent in London.  Yesterday would have to have been by anyone's estimation a dream day for one in the field I am in.

We (myself and my Pastor, Dave Schutter, who is studying for his ThM at London Theological Seminary) visited the British Library.  While in the BL we observed the Codex Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus.   Upon the CS we observed first hand the correctors noted in Nestle Aland and I was able to discuss with Dave the nomina sacra.  The nomina sacra are abbreviations for divine words (God, Jesus, Christ, etc.), or words with divine attribution (son, when referring to Jesus, and spirit, when in reference to the Holy Spirit, etc.).  I could have owned my very own Codex Sinaiticus facsimile for an inexpensive 489 GBP (almost $1000).  I passed, since as you will see it is fully online with amazing tools that the facsimile does not come with, though impressive!

After this, Dave and I went to the British Museum.  Dr. C. John Collins had promised our Prophets class at Covenant Seminary (many times!) a free tour of the British Museum if we would just pay his way.  What an offer!  We never took him up on it, however.  But yesterday I was able to witness the great collection artifacts from the the times of Isaiah and the prophets of the OT; artifacts from Assyria and the rest of the Middle East from the 9th to the 6th centuries BC.  It was amazing to think that these very artifacts could have been the guardian tigers that the Exiles saw before entering the great cities of the Middle East.  

Next, Dave and I attended Evensong at Westminster Abbey.  It was a beautiful service of worship.  The choir and the organ were breathtaking, and the historical and amazing worship space only added to the splendor. 

After the Evensong, Dave and I spoke with the Dean (I believe).  Through our conversation he found that we are Presbyterian ministers and the we have a vested interest in Westminster.  He offered to take us into the Jerusalem Chamber.   Of course, such an offer is rare and should stay on the 'down low', but I could not resist sharing!  He told us that outside the writing of the Westminster Confession, two other notable historical events occur in that room.  The first is that King Henry the IV had seen a vision saying he would die in Jerusalem, but soon after this vision he died in the Jerusalem Chamber of the house of the Abbot of Westminster in 1413 right next to the fire place. His son King Henry V became king in the same room.  Second, many KJV translating committees met in that room for discussion and work.  

Being in the chamber was quite an experience.  The feeling of history was thick, and considering my theological background, I felt the Westminster Divines walking about.  The room was a bit smaller than I had imagined.  I own a poster of the famous painting of the Westminster Assembly; and now putting my feet in the room gives the painting a whole new meaning!

Finally, this morning as we headed off to the morning service at St. Helen's we took the Underground to the stop. In no way able to outshine yesterday, but just to make the weekend better, Christopher Wright was riding our train.  

A great day(s) in London!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tischendorf LXX - First Edition

Yesterday, I received my long-awaited first edition Tischendorf's Vetus Testamentum Graece (1850).  This is an epic book buy for me as I build my library.  It is a very rarely found book.

As many know, Daniel Wallace possess a notable theological library filled with antique and collectable theological books.  He was very helpful in our conversations concerning this volume, and thus in my search for the volume and nailing down the right price for the volume. 

Lobegott Friedrich Constantin von Tischendorf is most known for the Indiana Jones-esque discovery and recovery of the famed and early manuscript (4th century AD) Codex Sinaiticus which he found in Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai.  His best known published work is his, 1849, Novum Testamentum Graece; and the "great edition" of this work that appeared from 1869-72. He was the noted decipher-er of the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (5th century AD).  Additionally, his rules for critical textual study are now well-know, though not always agreed with:

Basic rule: "The text is only to be sought from ancient evidence, and especially from Greek manuscripts, but without neglecting the testimonies of versions and fathers."

  1. "A reading altogether peculiar to one or another ancient document is suspicious; as also is any, even if supported by a class of documents, which seems to evince that it has originated in the revision of a learned man."
  2. "Readings, however well supported by evidence, are to be rejected, when it is manifest (or very probable) that they have proceeded from the errors of copyists."
  3. "In parallel passages, whether of the New or Old Testament, especially in the Synoptic Gospels, which ancient copyists continually brought into increased accordance, those testimonies are preferable, in which precise accordance of such parallel passages is not found; unless, indeed, there are important reasons to the contrary."
  4. "In discrepant readings, that should be preferred which may have given occasion to the rest, or which appears to comprise the elements of the others."
  5. "Those readings must be maintained which accord with New Testament Greek, or with the particular style of each individual writer."
His Septuagint is not one of his works that stood the test of time, though valuable for reference and study - and its just pretty!  Unlike his Greek NT, his Vetus Testamentum Graece did not receive many improvements over subsequent years.  Here is an electronic version of his LXX for reference.

Since I have received it, I have noticed a few interesting characteristics about this LXX edition:

1) It has NT references in the inside margin.  I am forgetting at the moment if Rahlfs LXX does this.  I assume it does, but it is always interesting to see how textual critics identify these citations in their respective editions (cf. photo of Joel three, above right).

2) Tischendorf also lists the alternate verse and chapter numberings between the MT and the LXX.  See the Joel 3 photo again to see how Tischendorf even titles Joel 3 as III (IV).  The form of this numbering is interesting to me how it is edited into the text block. 

3) Additionally, Tischendorf or the printer decided that at the end of preposition that began a verb the terminal sigma  would be used.  This is not a normal thing to observe in any printed Greek volume (cf. the pic to the left: prosopou, middle of the page [pardon my sketchy transliterations, but hopefully they communicate]).

4) Finally, there are two volumes that this one book consists of, but even at the beginning they were bound together; only later were they divided.  Which leads to the question, why two volumes?

This entry is not, of course, and intro of this edition of the LXX, but these were some interesting notes thus far in my study of it.  

For more on Tischendorf, here is a reasonably short intro to his life and works that I have found to be reliable. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Story of God and All of Us Review - For Serious this Time!

So, the History Channel has caused quite a stir with their series,  The Bible.  In two conversations this week I was asked if I had watched it when I told the person that I was a PhD student in the area of New Testament.  It has almost reached a level of required watching.  Now there's a book!  Ok, we've known about the book, even satired a review of it.  But here is a serious take on the series and the book that follows.

Paul N. Henderson, Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, writes a two-part review on the book that is based on the History Channel's Bible Series, A Story God and All of Us.

Here is part one.

Here is part two.

Here is his conclusion:

Overall, the History Channel’s series on The Bible will have made an important contribution to modern and postmodern culture—informing the biblically illiterate and challenging Bible readers to greater text-based faithfulness. It does not claim to be “history-as-such,” as each episode begins with the disclaimer that it is an “an adaptation of bible stories.” And yet, trusting viewers may fail to distinguish dramatic narration from the fact of literary presentations in the biblical text—displacing the former uncritically with the latter. Then again, such is the challenge of all historical narrative—biblical and otherwise—as later editors and writers seek to preserve reports of what had happened in the past, through the filter of their own understandings and interests, as means of addressing the needs of later audiences. In that sense, the tension between the text and the film might also help us appreciate more fully what the biblical writers themselves were also seeking to do, perhaps helping us appreciate more authentically the grand story of God’s redemptive work in human history as preserved and rendered so powerfully in the Bible.

Indeed, one of the most incisive lines of The Bible miniseries is the ironic (though fictive) declaration of Pilate: “He’s not the first Jew I’ve killed; he’ll be forgotten in a week!” The popularity of this series (and any film that engages meaningfully biblical texts and narratives—despite its overdone violence and gore, c.f., for instance, The Passion of the Christ) shows how wrong Pilate was. With my students, I still think I prefer the book over the movie, but I hope the miniseries will point people back to the Bible in ways that might speak to the present generation both now and in the future. If that happens, it will indeed have been a worthy venture; only time will tell.
Paul N. Anderson

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Received: The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church

I was looking back at my books I am to review in the coming weeks and realized I had left out an important one!

Wipf and Stock generously sent me Roger Beckwith's The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament ChurchAnd Its Background in Early Judaism.  This edition put out by W&S seems to be simply a reprint of the earlier edition originally published by Eerdmans (1986).

I was first recommended this classic by Jack Collins of Covenant Seminary once he knew my area of scholarly interest.  Since then I have not had the time to read this book.  I look forward to digging into it soon with a review to follow soon after!

Many thanks, Wipf and Stock!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Received: A Greek = Hebrew/Aramaic Two-way Index to the LXX

I just received in the mail T. Muraoka's A Greek = Hebrew/Aramaic Two-way Index to the LXX from Peeters.  

I am excited to receive this volume and have the opportunity to review it.  I own Muraoka's A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint and use it often. This will hopefully prove to be a worthy companion to his lexicon, and is likely a needed update/companion to the now dated, yet classic, Hatch and Redpath concordance.

A general rule about Muraoka's publications that I have developed:  If you are studying an area of language or biblical studies that he has written something on, even in a peripheral manner, you serve your self best to read his work and consider it.  

Thanks to Peeters for allowing me to review this copy.