Shared posts

21 Sep 20:28

Affirmations and Denials on Gender and Ministry in the Church

by Justin Taylor

This is a helpful set of affirmations and denials from The Village Church in Texas:

We affirm that both men and women have been created in the image of God and are entitled to the privileges and held accountable to the responsibilities that come with reflecting our Creator.

We deny that either gender has been given or is entitled to greater dignity in society, the home, the church or the kingdom of God.

We affirm that both men and women are needed and necessary for the health and ministry of the church. Godly men and women should be visible partners in the corporate life of the church, deploying their diverse gifts for the good of the body. Simply put, all Christians contribute to the ministry of the church.

We deny that the church can flourish without brotherly/ sisterly partnership. We deny that a church can exist in which the men flourish and the women do not, or vice versa.

We affirm that the role/function of elder is reserved for qualified men. Elders are distinctly responsible for overseeing the church (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:1–2) and preaching the Word (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:9).

We deny that the role of elder being withheld from women diminishes their importance or their influence in the church. The indispensable help women were created to give can and should be exercised in all manner of roles/offices in the church, excepting those reserved for qualified men.

We affirm that all members of the church should be in glad submission to the elder body, and that all should be in glad and sacrificial submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.

We deny that all women are subject to the leadership and authority of all men. Further, biblical submission is not indicative of subordination or inequality, as seen in the Son’s submission to the Father (Phil. 2:1–11).

We affirm that complementarianism, rightly practiced, will lead to the recognizable flourishing of both sexes.

We deny any version of complementarianism or theological position that leads to the subjugation, abuse or neglect of any man or woman. We strongly denounce any distorted view of Scripture that contributes to the belief that biblical manhood or womanhood includes or permits practices such as marginalization, subjugation, intimidation, neglect or any form of abuse.

We affirm that all men and women have been created in the image of God, whether single or married.

We deny that single men and women must be married to be meaningful participants in the corporate life of the church. We deny that single men possess any authority over single women. The way that they love and serve their sisters should not patronize, victimize or show force, but rather should be the fruit of brotherly love, and vice versa.

You can read online a short version or a long, detailed, exegetical version of their philosophy on the role of women in their church.

06 Sep 16:30

Willow Elder Response Team

by Scot McKnight
I post this from Jim Bedell. From Jim Bedell: As the curtain gets pulled back on Willow Creek Community Church, the practices of the church are beginning to be revealed as a collective effort to create a smooth running and flawless image. The tactics used can be understood as essentially repressive. In other words, information […]
20 Nov 21:49

Fair-Minded Criticism Is an Acquired Taste that Can Become One of Life’s Best Pleasures

by Justin Taylor

I love this article by David Powlison: “Does the Shoe Fit?” (Journal of Biblical Counseling [Spring 2002]: 2-14).

Here is how it begins:

Critics are God’s instruments. I don’t like to be criticized. You don’t like to be criticized. Nobody likes to be criticized.

But, critics keep us sane—or, by our reactions, prove us temporarily or permanently insane. Whether a critic’s manner is gracious or malicious, whether the timing is good or bad, whether the intention is constructive or destructive, whether the content is accurate, half-true, or utterly false, in any case the very experience of being criticized reveals you.

After looking at what criticism reveals about us, he also explores the great gift of fair-minded criticism:

Fair-minded criticism is one of life’s best pleasures, an acquired taste well worth the acquiring.

Someone who will take you seriously, understand you accurately, treat you charitably, and who then will lay it on the line is a messenger from God for your welfare (whether or not you end up completely agreeing).

There is nothing quite like being disagreed with intelligently, lovingly, and openly: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov. 27:6).

If I only listen to my allies, or to yes-men, clones, devotees, and fellow factionaries, then I might as well inject narcotics into my veins. The people of God are a large work in progress. To engage and to interact with critics is to further the process—in both of our lives. We ought to offer to others the kind of criticism that is such a pleasure to receive.

Whenever we disagree with others our goal ought to be fair-minded, knowledgeable, constructive criticism (tinged with mercy, attentive to perceived strengths as well as perceived failings, openly receptive to reciprocal criticism). We all know this when doing marriage counseling. Jesus’ log-and-speck analysis and His call to clear-seeing helpfulness dig to the roots of every marital conflict. But we often ignore the log-and-speck in other spheres of controversy—or when in the midst of our own marital conflicts! Whether we write, teach, or converse, we often either succeed or derail based on the manner in which we deliver the matter. May we do as we would like it done to us.

Critics, like governing authorities, are servants of God to you for good (Rom. 13:4). He who sees into hearts uses critics to help us see things in ourselves: outright failings of faith and practice, distorted emphases, blind spots, areas of neglect, attitudes and actions contradictory to stated commitments, and, yes, strengths and significant contributions. God uses critics to help us. Even if I think that a criticism is mistaken, I shouldn’t leap too quickly to the defense.

Is there something I am doing or saying (or not doing and not saying) that makes that particular misinterpretation plausible?

Am I too easily misunderstood?

Do I leave implicit or understated something that needs to be made explicit?

Does my attitude or tone or way of treating people send a mixed message?

Do I ride my hobby horses?

Am I not answering some important question that this person is asking?

Am I not addressing some important problem that this person cares about?

In my experience, the answer to these questions is usually Yes.

You can read the whole thing here.

20 Nov 15:42

Surviving and Thriving in Seminary: An Academic and Spiritual Handbook

by Andy Naselli

This new book is full of good advice from two young guys who recently completed doctoral degrees and are now full-time professors:

Danny Zacharias and Benjamin K. Forrest. Surviving and Thriving in Seminary: An Academic and Spiritual Handbook. Bellingham, WA: Lexham, 2017.

Also available from Logos Bible Software.

25 excerpts:

  1. This is a no-nonsense guide to success in seminary. We are not going to teach you theology or give you an introduction to biblical studies; that is what your courses will do. Instead, we want to talk to you about things that should be covered in every seminary orientation. (p. 1)
  2. Most students in other fields of study take in what they learn from their professors and textbooks with almost total openness. They can do this because what they learn doesn’t (usually) challenge them to think differently on a topic that is near and dear to their heart. But in seminary, you are studying things you have previously internalized: the Christian faith, the stories of the Bible, your personal theology, and your ministry future. (p. 8)
  3. Be willing to entertain another perspective, even if you do not ultimately agree. (p. 9)
  4. [on learning Hebrew and Greek] Imagine what it would be like to go from a thirteen-inch black-and-white television to a twenty-seven-inch color television, and then finally sit in a theater with 3-D glasses and watch a movie on the big screen. (p. 16)
  5. New students are often learning English grammar and learning the new grammar of Greek or Hebrew at the same time. (p. 19)
  6. Many students enter into a dry time in their seminary careers because they think their spiritual formation ought to revolve around their feelings; yet in seminary, they find that the typical approach by professors is to encourage their minds. (p. 26)
  7. Gossip, complaining, and grumbling are toxic to you and those around you. Instead, choose to learn what you can from your assignments, rather than complaining and wondering why you have to do them. Professors with many years of ministry and teaching experience have decided that these classes, these books, these assignments, and these papers are worth your time and will prepare you for a life of ministry. (p. 42)
  8. Your life will always be busy; just ask any pastor and they will probably pine for the stress-free days of seminary. (p. 47)
  9. [re the “I’ve got to study” card] This is a legitimate requirement in seminary, but if you are going to play this card (which you will need to do on a regular basis), make sure you are actually studying like a steward entrusted with the most precious commodity—time. (p. 52)
  10. In general, the people you surround yourself with have a great impact on your spiritual formation. Your peers in seminary should encourage you to become more committed, devotional, rigorous, and passionate. (p. 53)
  11. We and most seminary professors would rather you get a C in class than get a C in parenthood. (p. 57)
  12. The first step to taking responsibility is recognizing that if you are studying full time at a seminary, it is your job. Treat it that way. Don’t sleep in just because your class starts in the afternoon that day. Get up early every day and get to it! If you are not in class, you should be doing work at home or in the library. If you set aside time to work on your own, you’ll start to notice that your evenings will be free much more often. You will also find that while your fellow students are cramming, pulling all-nighters, or begging for extensions, you’ll be under far less stress because you managed your life well through the whole semester. Not only is it responsible to treat your studies like your full-time job, but it is also a necessity if you hope to have any semblance of life outside of study. (p. 68)
  13. A good rule of thumb is that at the graduate level, you should expect to put in three hours of work for every one hour in class. (p. 70)
  14. Your professors are busy. If you want to have a meeting with them, you need to take the initiative. This is doubly true if you are taking a directed study course or if you are a thesis student. Your professors have many students, are teaching numerous courses, are involved in their own research, and have administrative responsibilities. They are not in charge of your success—you are. So take charge and arrange meetings instead of waiting on your professors. (p. 72)
  15. By the end of your first week of class you should begin working on a major project, even if it is not due until the last day of class. So every day on your calendar there should be no wondering what to do—do your reading, then do your minor assignment(s), then do your major assignment(s). (p. 81)
  16. Commit yourself to a weekly routine that includes set-in-stone study blocks. Treating studies as your full-time job means not only committing yourself to being in class, but committing yourself to putting the time in outside of class. (p. 81)
  17. Are you working hard and being productive and efficient, or are you working for fifteen minutes, then checking Facebook, then reading for five minutes, then chatting for ten minutes, then texting someone, then working for fifteen minutes, and so on? (p. 82)
  18. Turn off all notifications (including email) on your computer. Same for your mobile device. (p. 86)
  19. Discipline in one domain often motivates discipline in another. Productive people are disciplined people, and that discipline should extend from school/work to our spiritual life, and also to how we treat our bodies. Establishing healthy habits of eating, sleeping, and exercising will not only help you excel in your studies but will make you the kind of person who influences others, and one who can effectively lead churches or ministries in the future. (p. 89)
  20. Your brain needs good food. (p. 90)
  21. Growing up, exercise may have been the means to the end of playing well, but today, exercise needs to become your actual end goal. … It gives us more energy. The analogy we like to use is that of a battery. We recharge our life battery through nourishing food, sleep, and exercise. People often mistakenly assume that exercise diminishes our energy, and it certainly feels that way when you are first attempting to get into an exercise routine. But over time, exercise actually energizes both your body and your mind. (pp. 91–92)
  22. A note on exercise and weight loss: While many people (particularly people who don’t exercise regularly) associate exercise with losing weight, the reality is that losing weight begins in the kitchen, not in the gym. In other words, exercise, even a quite strenuous routine, cannot counteract a high-calorie diet. If you want weight loss, a regular exercise routine will compound the effects of healthy eating, but it won’t usually erase the effects of poor eating. (p. 92n1)
  23. The saying that “a carpenter is only as good as his tools” is true in all of life. (p. 119)
  24. While you can find a lot online, particularly journal articles, books and book chapters still largely require a trip to the library. (p. 120)
  25. We failed miserably at the financial aspects of seminary! We are not, even now, free from our education debt. (p. 171)

Re #25, that’s a burden behind my school’s Serious Joy Scholarship—which every student receives.

26 Dec 17:26

Short Animated Videos That Summarize Each Book of the Bible

by Andy Naselli

The Bible Project is brilliant. Tim Mackie and Jon Collins creatively summarize the the message of each book of the Bible (and some themes in the Bible) remarkably well. I quibble with some minor aspects of the videos, but overall they’re ingenious. They are so accessible that I have watched all of them with my children, and they are so thoughtful that I show some of them to my graduate students in the classroom.

Here are the videos summarizing each book of the Bible:

Genesis (part 1 | part 2)

Exodus (part 1 | part 2)







1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1–2 Kings

1–2 Chronicles







Song of Songs

Isaiah (part 1 | part 2)



Ezekiel (part 1 | part 2)














Matthew (part 1 | part 2)


Luke (part 1 | part 2)

John (part 1 | part 2)

Acts (part 1 | part 2)

Romans (part 1 | part 2)

1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians





1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

1 Timothy

2 Timothy





1 Peter

2 Peter

1–3 John


Revelation (part 1 | part 2)

You can download a free image of each poster here.

Related: Read Books of the Bible in One Sitting

13 Dec 18:36

Never Seen Star Wars

If anyone calls you on any weird detail, just say it's from the Jedi Prince book series, which contains so much random incongruous stuff that even most Expanded Universe/Legends fans collectively agreed to forget about it decades ago.
29 Nov 20:39

Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene? Revisiting a Stubborn Conspiracy Theory

by Michael Kruger

When I was a kid, I always used to enjoy the “whack a mole” game at the local arcade (yes, we had to go to an “arcade” to play games).  You had be quick to win that game.  Each time you hit a mole, another would pop up, taking its place.

Of course, that is what made the game both fun and frustrating at the same time.  No matter how hard you worked, it always seemed that the moles just wouldn’t go away.

Sometimes it’s like that in the world of biblical scholarship.  Theories pop up, are quickly refuted by the academy, and then, just when you think they have gone away, they pop again.  Some theories just keep coming back.

In 2003, Dan Brown’s best-selling fictional book The Da Vinci Code raised (again) the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that this fact had been cleverly suppressed by the church for thousands of years. Apparently it took a fictional author to uncover the “real” truth.

Brown was not the first to make such a claim, of course, but his book gave it new life.  At least for a while.  But, after a chorus of scholars showed the claim to be (again) without merit, the chatter about Mary Magdalene died down a bit.

But this particular mole will not go away.  Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici wrote an article for the Huffington Post on this very topic entitled, “Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene is Fact, not Fiction.

Now, I am all for bold, catchy titles.  But, this one is pretty brash. If you go with a title like this, you had better have the facts to back it up.

But, not surprisingly, there are no new facts presented in Jacobovici’s article.  Instead it is a reheated version of the same old material used by Mary Magdalene advocates in prior generations.  There are half-truths, arguments from silence, and appeals to conspiracy theories.  In the end, it simply doesn’t hold up.

Here is a quick look at some of his arguments:

1. “The fact is that none of the four Gospels say that Jesus was celibate.”

This is a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand.  Yes, the Gospels do not explicitly say Jesus was celibate.  But, Jacobovici overlooks the bigger issue, namely that none of the Gospels, nor any other New Testament documents, nor any other early Christian sources, tell us Jesus was married. None.

Given that historical claims–such as the claim Jesus was married–require actual, positive evidence, this is a noteworthy fact.  This is why the best argument Jacobovici can muster is an argument from silence, namely that the Gospels do not state Jesus wasnt married.

2. “Rabbis, then as now, are married. If Jesus wasn’t married, someone would have noticed.”

This is simply a rehashed version of Dan Brown’s claim that Jewish men were expected to be married and that celibacy would have been unusual (Da Vinci Code, 245).  But, again the facts don’t fit.

Though Jesus was called “Rabbi” by his followers, there is no indication that he held the formal, official office.  His followers addressed him as such simply because he was their “teacher.” And we have a number of instances of Jewish men, teachers, and scribes who were single.  The Essene community at Qumran, for example, was a group of mostly single, celibate males who were waiting for the kingdom of God to come.

Moreover, there is no evidence that all rabbis were married.  On the contrary, it was not uncommon for rabbis dedicated to the special study of God’s word to remain single (see George F. Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era, 2:119-120).

3. “Had Jesus been celibate, Paul would certainly have invoked him as an example when arguing for celibacy. But he doesn’t. Never once does Paul argue that Christians should be celibate, because Jesus was celibate. Not once!”

This is another argument from silence.  We don’t know what Paul knew, nor do we know why Paul uses some examples and not others.  Arguments from silence are regarded fallacious for precisely this reason.

Moreover, Jacobovici doesn’t bother to mention that Paul rarely invokes Jesus as a moral example for any of his teachings. The fact is that Paul tells us very little about Jesus’ historical life.  That doesn’t mean he was unaware of it, but he simply doesn’t invoke many specific examples of Jesus’ behavior to back up his teachings.  Thus, his “silence” on Jesus’ celibacy is not noteworthy in the least.

4. “Mary the Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb to prepare his body for burial…Then and now, no woman would touch the naked body of a dead Rabbi, unless she was family. Jesus was whipped, beat and crucified. No woman would wash the blood and sweat off his private parts unless she was his wife.”

Again, this is utterly bogus. What historical evidence is there that only wives would care for a dead body?  Jacobovici cites none.

In addition, Jacobovici fails to mention that other women went with Mary to the tomb to care for the body (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:1).  Are we to think these other women were also married to Jesus? Is this now evidence for polygamy?  These arguments just don’t work.

5. “In 1947, in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, the Gnostics got their revenge. At that time, several of their Gospels were found hidden in jars. They all tell the same story — Jesus was married.”

This is patently false.  In fact, I am stunned that Jacobovici makes such a direct claim when there is no evidence to back it up.  None of the Nag Hammadi texts say Jesus was married. None.

The closest one comes is the Gospel of Philip where we are told, in a very fragmentary and hard-to-decipher text, that Jesus “kissed” Mary, but there is no indication it was sexual in nature. Indeed, even Harvard scholar Karen King argues this kiss is likely asexual in nature. It was a kiss of fellowship that Jesus offered to his closest followers.

But even if this text refers to a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary, the Gospel of Philip is of dubious historical value and is unlikely to tell us any reliable information about the historical Jesus.

6. “In 1980, in Talpiot, just outside of Jerusalem, archaeologists discovered a 2000-year-old burial tomb…”

Here Jacobovici appeals to the so-called tomb of Jesus which supposedly contains the famous James ossuary (with the inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”) and another ossuary that purportedly belong to Mary Magdalene (with the inscription “Mariamene”).

There is not space to enter into the merits of these claims here, but Jacobovici’s reconstruction of the tomb is highly problematic and has not been received by modern scholars. Even this CNN article regards Jacobovici’s Jesus tomb claim as “a story that doesn’t hold together.”

7. “Our Lost Gospel states that Jesus and Mary had two children and it witnesses to the idea that, for their earliest followers, Jesus and his wife Mary were co-deities embroiled in the politics of their times.”

The last plea from Jacobovici centers on a so-called “Lost Gospel” that tells us Jesus is married.  But, the truth of the matter is that this “gospel” he refers to is not a gospel at all.  Nor is it new.

On the contrary, this “gospel” is a Syriac manuscript, dated to the 6th century AD, that contains a pseudepigraphical story entitled Joseph and Aseneth. That story has been well known to scholars for years. And, despite the claims of Jacobovivic, it has nothing to do with Jesus at all.  Indeed, the name of Jesus is never mentioned.

To read more about this last claim, see my prior article here.

In sum, this Huffington post article is an unfortunate exercise in “whack a mole.”  It is the some old conspiracy theory of prior generations, fed to a new audience that perhaps wouldn’t know any better.

And that is the sad part of this whole story.  The average person reading this article will probably accept it as fact.  But, despite the bold claims of the article’s title, there are few real facts to be found here.

24 Oct 19:16

10/24/16 PHD comic: 'A new method for reviews'

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "A new method for reviews" - originally published 10/24/2016

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

03 Oct 19:56

More Videos from the 2016 Memory Conference at St Mary’s—Chris Keith

by (Chris Keith)
More videos from the 2016 Memory Conference at St Mary's University, Twickenham are now available online.  For the sake of convenience, I'll post here also the links that I earlier posted.  Make sure to check out Crossley's especially, since this is where he reads the paper in his skull and crossbones shirt.  He's bound to break out a Misfits t-shirt for his forthcoming inaugural lecture.

Chris Keith (read by Steve Walton), "The Memory Approach and the Reception of Jesus"
Christine Jacobi, "The Reception of Jesus in Paul"
Discussion after Keith and Jacobi
Richard Bauckham, "The Psychology of Eyewitness Memory"
Helen Bond, "The Reception of Jesus in the Gospel of John"
Discussion after Bauckham and Bond
Jens Schroeter, "Memory and Theories of History"

Samuel Byrskog, "Memory and Narrative"
Sandra Huebenthal, "The Reception of Jesus in Mark's Gospel"
Discussion after Byrskog and Huebenthal
Alan Kirk, "Memory and Media"
Joan Taylor, "The Reception of Images of Jesus prior to Constantine"
Discussion after Kirk and Taylor
Ruben Zimmermann, "Memory and Jesus' Parables"
James Crossley, "The Reception of Jesus in Talmudic Literature"
Discussion after Zimmermann and Crossley

Unfortunately, we are still waiting for the videos of Rafael Rodriguez's and Anthony Le Donne's papers, and I'll update this list when they are ready.

29 Sep 01:53

Scripture Reverberating through the Gospels: pt. 2

by (Rafael)
In the opening post of my review of Richard Hays's Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels, I mentioned that each of Hays's four substantive chapters include five sections:
§1: the evangelist as interpreter of Scripture;
§2: the evangelist's use of Scripture to interpret and re-narrate the story of Israel;
§3: the evangelist's use of Scripture to interpret and narrate the story of Jesus;
§4: the evangelist's use of Scripture to shape and orient the story of the church;
§5: a summary discussion of the evangelist's distinctive hermeneutic.
The first chapter, entitled "The Gospel of Mark: Herald of Mystery," filters the shortest Gospel through these five sections. The first section ("'Take Heed What You Hear': Mark as Interpreter of Scripture") is less than one page long, which I find unfortunate. Even in this too-short discussion, however, Hays makes a critical point: Mark, who "rarely points explicitly to correspondences between Israel's Scripture and the story of Jesus" (p. 15), nevertheless exhibits a "deft but allusive use of Scripture" that "repeatedly gesture[s] toward wider contexts and implications that remain not quite overtly stated" (p. 16). This claim will be fleshed out in the ensuing discussion.

The second section, "Apocalyptic Judgment and Expectancy: Israel's Story in Mark's Narrative," provides significantly more substance. Hays explores Mark's portrayal of Israel's story according to "four narrative strands": "inbreaking judgment, eschatological restoration, the strange continuing resistance of Israel, and the shocking death of God's son" (p. 20). This section provides discussion of the first three of these narrative strands; the fourth is taken up in the next section (see below). Hays offers a robust discussion of the judgment of God against Israel's idolatry and unfaithfulness, inasmuch as "Israel has reached a moment of crisis" and now awaits the promised day of the LORD, which "should be heard not as a word of comfort but as a terrifying word of warning" (pp. 16, 18–19). The theme of judgment continues beyond the scriptural themes surrounding the introduction of the Baptist in Mark 1 and includes Jesus' ministry, especially in the prophetic action against the Temple in Mark 11 (pp. 26–29). This discussion, which continues on from earlier works (see, e.g., Watts, Marcus), is a marked improvement from remarks one still encounters from time to time that John came preaching the judgment of God but Jesus brought grace and forgiveness. Rather than disjoining God's judgment against ungodliness and injustice from the promise of restoration for his people, Hays keeps these two ideas intertwined: "the threat of judgment and destruction can never be sounded apart from the more fundamental promise of God's ultimate design to bring about Israel's deliverance and restoration" (p. 29). This, I think, exactly captures the textual dynamics in Mark (if not also the other Gospels) and his reading of the scriptural texts. The apocalyptic restoration of Israel resonates across multiples features of Mark's Gospel, from the Isaianic context of euangelion to the appointment of twelve disciples to Jesus' healing of the deaf and blind and others, all of which Hays reads in light of Mark 1.1–3, which "serve[s] as a sufficient indicator for the attentive reader" that God is restoring his people in and through Jesus' words and actions (pp. 32–33). However, despite Mark's portrayal of Jesus' ministry as one of fulfillment of prophetic promises, Hays describes Mark as "the most reticent about claims of fulfillment," which Hays uses to explain Mark's "remarkable decision not to narrate any resurrection appearances of Jesus" (33). The reader, just as the disciples at the end of Mark 13, are left in a fundamental posture of waiting and expectation. Finally, Hays discusses "the strange continuing resistance of Israel" in Mark in two passages: the parabolic theory in Mark 4.11–12 and the parable of the wicked tenants in Mark 12.1–12. Hays's discussion of Mark 3–4 // Isaiah 5–6 helpfully draws out parallel movements between the two texts, though his discussion of "the beloved son" in Mark 12 misses, I think, a striking implication of Jesus' parable. Given the heavy presence of "Israel" in the parable and its evocation of the Isaianic song of the vineyard in Isaiah 5, the significance of Jesus as God's "beloved son" can only be grasped in light of Israel's election to sonship. For example, God sends Moses to Pharaoh to send out "my first-born son, Israel" in Exod. 4.22, and of course Pharaoh refuses. In the parable, the Temple authorities, who are questioning Jesus about his authority, find themselves on the verge of becoming like Pharaoh, opposing the redemptive movement of God (see also Mark 3:22–30), and imminently to be the objects of God's wrath. This reading, I think, strengthens rather than undermines Hays's approach to Israel's resistance to Jesus.

At over forty pages, the third section ("Jesus as the Crucified Messiah") is by far the heart of the chapter, entailing nearly half its content. This makes sense, of course; the Gospel of Mark is about Jesus even more fundamentally than it is about either Israel (§2) or the Church (§4). This section examines Mark's use of Scripture to define Jesus' identity under four headings: Jesus as Davidic king (pp. 46–57), Jesus as the glorified Son of Man (pp. 57–61), Jesus as the God of Israel? (question mark in the original; pp. 61–78), and Jesus as crucified Messiah (pp. 78–86). Hays also comments briefly on the total absence of references/allusions to Isaiah's Suffering Servant in his discussion of Jesus and Scripture in Mark (pp. 86–87): "In sum, it is very difficult to make a case that Isaiah's Suffering Servant texts play any signifiant role in Mark's account of Jesus' death—at least at the level of Mark's text-production" (87). Throughout §3, Hays emphasizes the metaleptic function of Mark's references and allusions to Scripture. Indeed, Mark instructs his readers to read Scripture metaleptically, as Hays overtly claims in his discussion of Psa. 22.1 and Jesus' final words:
[T]o read Jesus' cry from the cross in Mark 15:34 as an intertextual evocation of Psalm 22's promise of hope is not simply an exegetical cop-out, a failure of nerve that refuses to accept Mark's bleak portrait of Jesus' death at face value. Rather, it is a reading strategy that Mark himself has taught us through his repeated allusive references to snatches of Scripture that point beyond themselves to their own original narrative settings and lead the reader to reevaluate the surface sense of the Jesus story. (85; italics in the original)
I am completely sympathetic to this reading of Mark's resonance with Scripture; it would be peculiar even in Mark's account of the death of the son of God if Mark, after the three-fold prediction of Jesus' passion and resurrection (see Holly Carey, Jesus' Cry from the Cross, LNTS 398 [T&T Clark, 2009]), recounted Jesus' use of Psalm 22's first verse and didn't intend his readers to recall the psalmist's ultimate confidence in God's abiding presence. This section, 40+ pages in length, provides much that is helpful for thinking about Mark's use of Scripture in its portrayal of Jesus. Even so, there are weaknesses. For example, Hays presses his otherwise interesting discussion of the allusion to Job 9.8 LXX ("who alone stretched out heaven and walks upon the sea as upon dry ground") in Mark's account of Jesus walking on the sea in 6:45–52. Job 9 also uses the verb "pass by" (παρελθεῖν) in its praise of the One who walks upon the sea (see Job 9.11), which Hays links to the strange detail recounted in Mark 6:48: "Jesus comes to them [the disciples], walking upon the sea, and he wanted to pass them by" (ἤθελεν παρελθεῖν αὐτούς). So far so good. But then goes on: "To these observations should be added the insight that the verb παρελθεῖν almost surely alludes to Exodus 33:17–23 and 34:6, where God is said to 'pass by' Moses in order to reveal his glory indirectly" (72). This, however, seems an allusion plucked out of thin air, based on a single word—παρελθεῖν, "to pass by"—that occurs well over 100 times in the LXX and whose details do not fit the Markan text (except inasmuch as Hays wants to find Mark portraying Jesus as the God of Israel): Moses asks to see God; the disciples ask nothing of Jesus. Moses is bold in his request; the disciples cry out in terror. God places Moses in the cleft of a rock; the disciples are in a boat on the sea in a storm. While many (perhaps even most) of the allusions Hays identifies and explains are compelling or at least plausible, more than once he extends himself too far and imagines echoes where, to my ear at least, there is only silence.

Before we move on from §3, we should acknowledge that many readers will have problems with Hays's discussion of "Jesus as the God of Israel?" (pp. 61–78). The analysis in this section often rightly identifies places where Mark blurs the distinction between Jesus and the God of Israel, for example in the way Mark narrates Jesus coming on the "way of the Lord" that John prepared in the wilderness, or in the disciples' dismay that Jesus commands the wind and the waves and they obey. Hays is also careful to acknowledge that Mark also makes distinctions between Jesus and God (see pp. 76–78). Even so, as I read this section I could not help but think that Hays was betraying something of his original intention (to pay "particular attention to the ways in which the four Evangelists reread Israel's Scripture" [p. 7; original in italics]) and reading the Gospels through the lens of later Christological developments. To be sure, Hays draws a connection between Mark's reading of Scripture and later Christological reflection: "Mark's story already poses the riddles that the church's theologians later sought to solve in the christological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries" (78). All of this leaves me with the uneasy feeling that Hays is bent on justifying later orthodox Christological decisions via a reading of the Gospels. For example, his discussion of Mark 2.7 ("Who can forgive sins but God alone?"; pp. 64–66) jumps to the conclusion that Mark portrays Jesus as the embodiment of Israel's God without ever mentioning that God forgives the sins of the people through the temple cult in Jerusalem and its priestly personnel. If the traditional significance of the conflict between Jesus and the scribes centers on the means of atonement and forgiveness rather than on the identity of Jesus, Hays's discussion will have silenced Mark's echoic use of Scripture in this passage.

The fourth section, "Watchful Endurance: The Church's Suffering in Mark's Narrative," is much shorter, which again makes sense since Mark's focus is never on the community of Jesus' followers. Even so, this section struck me as unfocused; very little of these pages (87–97) focused specifically on the Church or Jesus' followers. Hays begins by tracing Mark's use of Scripture to frame Jesus' followers' experience of suffering and persecution, focusing especially on the allusions to Daniel in Mark 13. Strangely, he reads "councils and synagogues" in 13.9 as alluding to Jewish opposition and "governors and kings" [ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων] in terms of gentile opposition (p. 89), though in Judea and Galilee I'm not sure which gentile rulers had these titles (Pilate isn't referred to by title in Mark, and the only figures called "king" in Mark are Herod Antipas and Jesus, both ironically). Other than Hays's discussion of Jesus' persecuted followers, he discusses [Jesus'] "challenge to Caesar" and "the gospel for all nations." The first of these is relevant to this section only in the last paragraph, where Hays tacks on a reference to "the church's self-understanding as a community set apart from business as usual, a community that owes ultimate obedience to God, while rendering only the most provisional acknowledgement of Caesar's temporary grasp on power" (p. 94). This, I think, is not much of an advance on what we could have said about "the church" without paying attention to the echoes of Scripture in Mark. The second of these ("the gospel for all nations") is a little better, though it still has its problems. First, while Hays mentions relevant passages (Mark 11.17; 13.10; 7.24–30, 31–37 [too briefly], and 15.39), his discussion of most of these is too short to be helpful. Second, he never mentions the first possible allusion to the inclusion of gentiles in this section: the story of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5.1–20 (though see p. 93). Third, he strangely entertains the possibility that Mark's πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνησιν in Mark 11.17 may have appeared "anachronistic on the lips of the pre-Easter Jesus," even though these are words found in Isa 56.7! (p. 95; see also p. 389 n.150). Unfortunately, these weaknesses overpower any strengths in this ten-page section, and as a result Hays's discussion of the community of Jesus' followers—whether in Mark's narrative or in Mark's social context—is anemic and heft-less.

The fifth and final section, "'Hidden in Order to be Revealed': Mark's Scriptural Hermeneutics" (pp. 97–103) brings Chapter 1 to a close. Hays describes Mark's Scriptural hermeneutic as an allusive language through which Mark is able to disclose Jesus despite the inadequacy of human language. All of this is fine as far as theological reflection goes. I would hesitate, however, to seriously entertain the notion that Mark thinks about his approach to or reading of Scripture in quite the way Hays does. (This is not to demean either author's reading of Scripture; it is only to differentiate what I think are two rather different hermeneutics.) For Hays, Mark pushes his readers to become competent readers of Israel's Scriptures: "Mark for the most part works his narrative magic through hints and allusions, giving just enough clues to tease the reader into further exploration and reflection" (p. 98). I'm not so sure. I don't see in Mark any real prods to push his audiences to search the Scriptures, unless "let those who have ears hear" and/or "let the reader understand" are such prods. Rather than pushing Mark's audience to re/read the Scriptures again, I think Mark's use of Scripture reveals something about his envisioned audience. (Here is my response to Danny Yencich's question to my original post: "If Hays had interacted more with Foley, where do you think it would have led him?") Mark's written Gospel employs an idiomatic use of Scripture (so far, I am agreeing with Hays); that is, Scripture provides the language and imagery in which Mark perceives, interprets, and responds to events in his world. That he uses that language without taking the time to unpack its dense (Foley would say "metonymic") referentiality suggests that he imagines himself communicating with audiences who also speak the language of Scripture. Rather than pushing his audience to a deeper understanding of Israel's sacred traditions, Mark is taking advantage of their understanding, leading them as they ask appropriate questions of their Scriptures (e.g., Who is this that the wind and the sea obey him? or, What must I do to inherit eternal life?) and pursue appropriate answers (Truly this man was the son of God). The language of Scripture is part of how Mark continues the "tradition of reception" of the Jesus tradition among his readers as he translates the stories he tells about Jesus from one set of media (oral preaching, oral teaching, informal storytelling, etc.) into a new medium (written narrative). The uninitiated reader may be perfectly able to follow the surface-level narrative of Mark's Gospel without any real problem. But s/he will lack the requisite "ears to hear" the resonating echoes of Scripture that Mark expects will lead his readers as they fill in the inevitable gaps in the story.

None of these criticisms should mask my appreciation for what Hays has accomplished in this rather lengthy chapter. And we should probably add another criticism: as Chris Keith has already mentioned, "the main text is full of ideas but the footnotes are light." Yes. But, again, the main text is full of ideas. Hays's discussion of the echoes of Scripture in Mark's Gospel joins an already star-studded cast of voices (Rikki Watts, Joel Marcus, Thomas Hatina, et al.) who have explored this territory. Readers familiar with these other voices will find Hays's discussion a worthy addition to this cast. Newer readers unfamiliar with them will find Hays's discussion a helpful point of entry into an ongoing and vibrant discussion.

Scripture Reverberating through the Gospels: pt. 1
Scripture Reverberating through the Gospels: pt. 2
15 Aug 14:43

The Jesus Movement: A Look Back

by Scot McKnight
Unintended Consequences of the Jesus Movement: The Big Decision By Michelle Van Loon,, Earlier this year, I launched an occasional series on my blog looking back on the unintended consequences of the Jesus Movement. I’ve explored topics including our hand-clappin’ praise songs, the Rapture, our voting habits, and our worship services. Today, I’m picking up where [Read More...]
04 Aug 00:25

Metadata Analyst, Biblical Studies

by Anonymous
American Theological Library Association
Full Time or Part Time: 
Full Time
Library Type: 
37.5 hour week, M-F
Application Deadline: 
Date below
competitive and commensurate with qualifications
Application Note: 

ATLA is an equal opportunity employer located in downtown Chicago. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. ATLA offers an excellent benefits package.

To apply, please e-mail (1) a letter of application specifically addressing qualifications for the position, (2) a current resume, and (3) the names and contact information for three references to  Please include “Biblical Studies Metadata Analyst” in the subject line. No phone calls.

The American Theological Library Association (ATLA) is seeking a Metadata Analyst to support content enrichment of scholarly material in the area of religious and theological studies. Your current focus is the completion of enhanced indexing for journal content. You will be joining a team dedicated to providing the leading research tools supporting access to scholarly resources. For this role, you’ll need a master’s degree, MDiv, or at least two (2) years of graduate study in religious studies, theology, or a closely related field.

You’ll have:

    Demonstrated knowledge of biblical studies and related languages (esp., but not limited to, Hebrew or Greek).

And …

    Ability to read and work in at least one Western European language (German, French, Spanish or Italian) -- knowledge of additional languages a plus (e.g., Modern Hebrew, Scandinavian languages, etc.)

    Strong interpersonal and teamwork skills

    Critical thinking and process analysis

Bonus Points!

    Masters’ degree in Library Science (preferably with an emphasis on metadata mining)

    Knowledge of current metadata, including RDA, Dublin Core, EAD, DACS, MARCXML, MODS, METS, TEI, and other emerging data standards

    Demonstrated technical skills

Application Contact:
Apply To: 
American Theological Library Association
300 S. Wacker Drive, suite 2100
Chicago , IL 60606
See map: Google Maps
28 Jul 21:59

Head of Circulation Services

by Mattie Cook
River Grove Public Library District
Full Time or Part Time: 
Full Time
Library Type: 
Application Deadline: 
Open until filled
35 hours per week, including evening and weekend hours
Deadline Date: 
Thursday, July 28, 2016
To be decided

We’re looking for an enthusiastic person to take on the head of circulation role in River Grove, a west suburban town of about 10,000. The supervisor is responsible for the smooth operation of the circulation department, scheduling staff, running reports, and ordering materials. In addition, the head of circulation acts as a backup to the adult services coordinator, fills in on the circulation desk, and then there’s the all-encompassing “other duties as assigned.”

We offer a staff and patrons that are really nice to be around, the chance to be creative, the encouragement to try new things, and the opportunity to gain experience in a lot of areas. 


Excellent communication skills, commitment to superior customer service, ability to lift 25 lbs. Previous supervisory experience and a bachelor’s degree are preferred.

This position reports to the Executive Director.


Please submit cover letter, resume, and three references to

Application Contact: 
Jorge Perez
Apply To: 
River Grove Public Library District
8638 W. Grand Avenue
River Grove , IL 60171
Phone: 708-453-4484
See map: Google Maps
08 Jul 04:00

Gnome Ann

President Andrew Johnson once said, "If I am to be shot at, I want Gnome Ann to be in the way of the bullet."
04 Jul 02:27

Adult Services Assistant II - Indian Trails Public Library District

by Jennifer Wonsowicz
Indian Trails Public Library District
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Adult Services Assistant II
Part Time
Average Weekly Work Hours: 21
Hourly rate of $16.58.
Position Description: 

Are you a team player who excels at providing extraordinary customer service? Do you have an aptitude for digital technology from apps to 3D printers? Do you enjoy providing readers’ advisory and working in a collaborative work environment? If so, this opportunity may be for you!

The Indian Trails Public Library District (ITPLD) is seeking a part-time (21 hours per week) Adult Services Assistant with a positive demeanor and a customer centric focus to join our team.

Our team is committed to the library’s vision of inspiring individuals, engaging communities and enriching lives every day.

Some of the job duties include:

    • Staffing the Adult Services desk while providing outstanding customer service to our members.
    • Assisting individuals of all ages in finding information, locating and recommending materials.
    • Staying up-to-date with all appropriate physical and digital literature in order to provide skillful readers’ advisory.
    • Teaching technology classes and hosting programs.
    • Working shifts in our makerspace, helping our members experience technology from sewing machines to laser cutters.
    • Actively promote the library, its materials, and services through programs, events, displays, and handouts.
    • Generate and maintain reports and statistics as needed.
    • While desk work is the majority of the job, there may be additional programming responsibilities for teens and adults.

This opportunity requires:

    • Bachelor’s Degree or minimum 2 years relevant experience.
    • Excellent customer service, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
    • The ability to communicate effectively, work independently, work with interruptions, and as a team.
    • The knowledge and ability to use computers and relevant software and equipment including but not limited to Google Tools and Microsoft Office Technologies. Experience and interest in Makerspace or Studio recording equipment preferred.
    • Knowledge of and experience with user instruction focused on technology and a willingness to embrace and advance the library’s technology.
    • Fluency in a second language is desirable.
    • The flexibility to be able to work days, evenings, weekends, and holidays. The schedule will be primarily afternoons, evenings and Saturday/Sunday rotations.
    • Must have reliable transportation to arrive to work on time for scheduled shifts.

Hourly rate $16.58. This position is eligible for pro-rated vacation and sick time and IMRF participation. The library supports continued learning and professional growth.

To apply, send a cover letter and resume via e-mail to HR at hr [at] itpld [dot] org Please include the job title in the subject line. No phone calls please.

Application Deadline: 
Date below
Jul 20, 2016
For More Information:
01 Jul 14:45

Adult Services Librarian (20-25 hrs./wk.) - Zion-Benton Public Library District

by Carol Dolin
Zion-Benton Public Library District
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Adult Services Librarian (20-25 hrs./wk.)
Part Time
20-25 hours per week. Schedule may include days, evenings and weekends.
$19.50/hr. with MLS/MLIS, $16.50/hr. with BA/BS
Position Description: 

The Zion-Benton Public seeks a dynamic individual with a passion for libraries, technology, and the people who use them to join our Adult Services team. Applicants must pride themselves on providing gracious, friendly, and responsive services to people of all ages and skill levels in a highly diverse community. The person in this position is  a team player that loves books, movies, music, and people, keeps abreast of technology trends, and enjoys connecting with others who share these interests.

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Creating a welcoming environment
  • Staffing the Adult Services Desk
  • Assisting patrons with library computers and other equipment
  • Assisting with eReaders and other devices
  • Providing research assistance and readers advisory
  • Registering patrons for programs
  • Reserving meeting and study rooms
  • Locating and requesting materials in a variety of formats
  • Creating and maintaining displays of library materials
  • Collection development in assigned areas
  • Collaborating with others to create and post content to the library's social media, website, and online catalog to assist in keeping information current, accurate, and functional.
  • Contributing to library wide programming events to promote family learning and literacy activities
  • Occasional staffing of other public service desks as needed.


  • Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in popular culture, literature, music, and films
  • Ability and desire to provide friendly and gracious customer service
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Patience and ability to provide assistance that enables patrons at all levels to use library technologies, products, and services
  • Proficiency with social media, email, Internet searching, online registration applications and other similar services
  • Proficiency with Microsoft and Google Office suites
  • Knowledge of desktop publishing software
  • Prefer MLIS/MLS or equivalent combination of education and experience; BA/BS with complementary experience in a similar setting required.
  • Ability to speak, read, and write Spanish, a plus
Application Deadline: 
Open until job is filled
Application Contact: 
Debbie Evans
Apply To: 
Zion-Benton Public Library District
2400 Gabriel Ave.
Zion, IL 60099
Phone: 847-872-4680, ext. 126
Fax: 847-872-4942
See map: Google Maps
For More Information:
30 Jun 17:40

Every Kid’s a Preacher’s Kid

by Scot McKnight
By Jonathan Storment: A few weeks ago, during a sermon at Highland (the Church I serve), I told a story about something that happened last year with my (then) 6 year old daughter, Eden. It was, what I thought, a really cute story about her running onto the Arkansas Razorback field when she and I [Read More...]
30 Jun 17:40

When “gospel” meets “kingdom”

by Scot McKnight
By Charles Colton Allen, Biblical Studies Student and Student Fellow of the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement at Liberty University, Member of Reformed Episcopal Church. @CCAllen27 The gospel should never be reduced to simply a message of personal salvation. Doing so leaves us with a malnourished understanding of the gospel. It is much more [Read More...]
29 Jun 16:50

Library Assistant - Resurrection University

by Liesl Cottrell
Resurrection University
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Library Assistant
Part Time
35,000-45,000 depending on qualifications
Position Description: 
  • Assists university personnel in finding information in the library.
  • Responds to telephone, in-person or electronic requests for information as appropriate.
  • Assists users with library equipment use:  computers, printers, scanners, and photocopiers.
  • Refers questions/users to Director when appropriate.
  • Processes and delivers library requests to requestor in a timely manner.
  • Performs circulation functions: checking and out materials and understanding specific collection policies within the library.
  • Maintains catalog accuracy and order of all library materials under Director’s supervision.
  • Submits and tracks claims for items not returned at the end of every term.
  • Monitors all course reserve materials, ensuring that they are present and made available for all required courses.
  • May perform cataloging functions: labeling, typing, etc. tasks in processing of new materials.
  • Supervises and allocates daily work of Library Student Workers.
  • Monitors available supplies and places orders in a timely fashion.

This document represents the major duties, responsibilities, and authorities of this job, and is not intended to be a complete list of all tasks and functions.  Other duties may be assigned.

Education and/or Experience                                                             

  • Bachelor’s degree with some library experience with face-to-face service functions or LTA certificate. 
  • Familiar with interlibrary loan procedures, state policies, and copyright laws.
  • Must be able to meet shifting deadlines and manage changing priorities with professional, courteous demeanor.
  • Preferred experience information management systems (Docline and OCLC WorldShare), internet, and generic office hardware.
  • Familiar with EBSCO and Ovid database formats and medical terminology.

Language and Computer Skills

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills and the ability to present complex information to varying levels of individuals throughout the organization.
  • Must be computer literate and Microsoft Word and Excel experienced with data input and read typical English language in digital and physical books, databases, etc.
Application Deadline: 
Date below
Aug 1, 2016
Application Contact: 
Submit a cover letter, Curriculum Vitae, or resume to Daphanee Lewis to be considered for the position.
Apply To: 
Chicago, IL 60622
See map: Google Maps
18 Jun 17:34

Head of Circulation - Lake Forest College/Donnelley and Lee Library

by Cory Stevens
Lake Forest College/Donnelley and Lee Library
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Head of Circulation
Full Time
37.5 a week
Position Description: 

This position will report to the Head of Public Services and will participate in a variety of circulation and public service activities including supervising and training part-time circulation staff and student workers, supervising the Interlibrary Loan manager, assisting patrons, overseeing circulation functions at the Library, staffing an active and central service desk, maintenance and management of stacks, processing of course reserves, hiring and payroll of library’s student staff, and shared processing of interlibrary loan items.  The successful candidate must enjoy working with and managing students and be able to multi-task effectively.

ALA-accredited MLS degree preferred.  Candidates with a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience will also be considered.  Previous library experience required; experience in public services (circulation or reference) strongly preferred.  Experience with Endeavor’s Voyager circulation module strongly desired.  Demonstrated supervisory experience and ability to work in a busy, fast-paced environment and experience with and understanding of the needs of undergraduate liberal arts communities and libraries strongly preferred.  A commitment to effective service in a diverse setting is essential.

Please include names and contact information for three professional references.

Lake Forest College is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Lake Forest College embraces diversity and encourages applications from women, members of historically underrepresented groups, veterans, and individuals with disabilities

Application Deadline: 
Open until job is filled
Application Contact: 
Ms. Cory Stevens
For More Information:
10 Jun 19:29

An Early Emergent “Canonical Consciousness”?

by larryhurtado

diplae sacrae notations

In researching for my current project (an analysis of NT papyrus P45 as an early Christian artefact), I’ve come across Charles Hill’s doughty case that the artefactual data reflects “the presence of a ‘canonical consciousness’ among Christian scribes from at least the late second century”:  “A Four-Gospel Canon the Second Century?  Artifact and Arti-fiction,” Early Christianity 4 (2013):  310-334.

The three claims that Hill sets out to challenge are these: (1) that extra-canonical gospels were as popular (or even more so) than the four that became canonical, at least till the early 3rd century; (2) that in the pre-Constantinian period we cannot distinguish NT manuscripts from “apocryphal” ones; and (3) that, therefore, categories such as “apocryphal” and “NT” or “canonical” and “non-canonical” are anachronistic, prejudicial and inappropriate for this early period.

In response, Hill first notes that the term “apocrypha/apocryphal” actually derives from a term used by the authors of certain writings, such as the “the secret [apocryphal] revelatory discourse which Jesus spoke to Judas” (Gospel of Judas), and several other such writings.  That is, these texts quite openly affirm that they are “apocryphal” or secret, esoteric writings.  There is no indication that they were composed to form part of some early Christian canon.

Then Hill counts the numbers of extant copies of various texts from the first three centuries.  Granting that there are noteworthy variations among these texts (e.g., only one sure copy of GMark), he cites some 36 manuscripts of one or another of the four canonical Gospels, whereas he finds only 10 extant copies of other gospel writings.

Hill also notes the physical features of the copies of the various texts, citing the early Christian preference for the codex, especially for copies of texts used as scriptures.  It is noteworthy that a number of copies of non-canonical texts (“apocryphal” and others) are bookrolls (scrolls), which suggests that these texts weren’t regarded as scripture.  There is no copy of any of the canonical Gospels in a bookroll format (noting, however, the one copy of GJohn on a re-used roll).

And when we look at other physical features, such as codex size, use of “nomina sacra,” the nature of the handwriting, and use of “readers’ aids,” we also seem some interesting distinctions.  For example, some of our copies of apocryphal writings are miniatures, private copies not intended to be read in corporate settings.

As a final feature, Hill cites the curious use of marks that he calls “diplae sacrae.”  These are arrow-shaped marks in the margins of some manuscripts (>>) that seem to flag quotations of other texts cited as scripture.  Hill cites examples of pre-Constantinian manuscripts that use these marks, and it is interesting that we have examples of citations of NT texts that are marked this way, suggesting that the copyist regarded the NT text as scripture.

For those seriously interested in the question, I heartily recommend Hill’s data-rich and tightly argued article.


04 Jun 18:38

Paul and His Recent Interpreters, NTW, Part 3 (Gupta)

by Nijay Gupta

Wright PRIThis is a multi-part review of NT Wright’s Paul and His Recent Interpreters (Fortress). Today we will look at chapters 3-5 on the New Perspective on Paul.

In chapter 3 (“The New Perspective on Paul”) Wright does a bit of pre-history and notes that the NPP path was already being paved by GF Moore, as well as Schweitzer and Davies to some degree. Interestingly, Wright makes the case that Ed Sanders’ work got a good hearing because it inadvertently  resonated with Reformed theology (i.e., a unification of Old and New Testaments; see p. 67).

One point that Wright underscores over and over again throughout these chapters on the NPP is that Wright, Dunn, and Sanders have a few common causes, but they also have disagreed on quite a lot. For example, Wright never fully took on board Sanders’ idea of “covenantal nomism” (CN). Rather, Wright wanted to see more of a story-dimension, thus Wright here introduces the terminology of “covenantal narrative” that would include many of the features of Sanders’ CN, but add the centrality of worldview and metanarrative – a hallmark of NTW’s approach to ancient and early Judaism and early Christianity (see 71).Thus, NTW faults Sanders for talking about “covenant” without making reference to key story-shaped texts like Deut 27-30 (p. 75).

Also, NTW points out that he never really agreed with Sanders on the latter’s argument of “solution-to-plight.” Yes, there is some way in which Paul was shocked and surprised by the divine redemptive solution in the crucified/risen Jesus Christ, but indeed Jews knew there was a “problem” all along.

Not, to be sure, Martin Luther’s personal problem, but the national problem of Jews under Roman rule, with scripture unfulfilled, Israel unredeemed, and, not least, Israel’s God still not returning in glory as had been promised. (79)

A final key critique NTW makes of Sander’s Paul and Palestinian Judaism is Sanders’ narrow focus on “religion.” This effects how Sanders closes in a discussion of “getting in” and “staying in.” This makes it seem like Jews operated with a conversionistic framework, which most of them did not (see p 80).

Chapter 4: Life After Sanders

In chapter 4, NTW surveys the positive swell of interest in NPP “after Sanders.” He starts out by giving attention to Dunn, but doesn’t praise or critique Dunn too strongly: “My own view is that he has made a great many good points, but that his synthesis still lacks some of the dimensions necessary for a full account” (91). In NTW’s discussion of Dunn’s view on pistis Christou, I was surprised that NTW said this: “The [pistis Christou debate] might seem like a small exegetical either/or. But a good deal hangs on it, which is no doubt why the debate has run on in public, private and print” (97). I disagree – I think most scholars feel that it is more of a fun hobby than a serious theological matter, because both subjective and objective theological points can be true (and recognizable in Paul) whether or not Pistis Christou is interpreted as “this” or “that.” Funny comment in a footnote: at a public debate at SBL between Dunn and Hays on this, someone in the crowd called for a vote on Pistis Christou. The chair, Lee Keck, quickly killed the idea: “Nope. This ain’t the Jesus Seminar” (97n. 30).

NTW also adds the work of Hays in this chapter – not sure why. Hays has definitely supported a NPP reading, but not sure how his intertextuality work is directly related? (see 97-102). Next, NTW talks about Francis Watson – an important voice in the discussion. I wonder, though, why someone like Terence Donaldson was not included here. Or my colleague Kent Yinger.

Chapter 5: “The Old is Better”

Here NTW addresses the many and multi-faceted negative reactions to the NPP. Wright gives attention to Bob Gundry, DA Carson et al, Simon Gathercole, Seyoon Kim, and Martin Hengel. Wright considers the work of Friedrich Avemarie to be one of the stronger pushbacks. Here, NTW reaffirms that there was good resistance to Sanders’ “covenantal nomism” (repeating NTW’s move towards covenantal narrative; p. 111).

In this chapter Wright also responds to critiques of his own approach to Paul on “justification” (116-117; I have still not come around to Wright’s way of viewing this terminology). NTW also addresses the OPP defense of “imputation” of Christ’s righteousness. It is not that NTW does not believe in “imputation,” rather he thinks the evidence points to imputation of the “death and resurrection of the Messiah” – thus, Wright wants to push imputation more towards participation and away from substitution. I think Wright is correct about this, but I am not a fan of using the old-timey language of “imputation” (120-121).

In the latter part of this chapter Wright takes on Westerholm – and he has strong words indeed. Wright feels that he has been very much misrepresented and caricatured by Westerholm. But Wright himself has some potent words: “Simon Gathercole may be right, in his blurb, to say that Westerholm is ‘head and shoulders above almost everyone else’, but not ‘as an interpreter of Paul'” (128). Ouch!

I will stop there. I did a very quick run through various threads that NTW picked up in these chapters, but my little tour does not capture the outstanding analysis of Wright – again, this kind of “reading of the signs of times” is a speciality of Wright, so it makes for excellent reading. Next up – “Apocalyptic”

04 Jun 18:37

Creeds and Confessions in the New Testament

by Michael F. Bird
The other week I had the pleasure of having coffee (i.e. coke) with Keith Stanglin from Austin Graduate School of Theology where he kindly gave me a copy of their journal Christian Studies which had several nice pieces, including one by Jeffrey Peterson on “Confessions of Faith in the New Testament.” There Peterson briefly discusses texts [Read More...]
03 Jun 13:28

7 Things I Wish Christians Knew About the Bible

by Michael F. Bird
As a follow up from John Pavlovitz’s 5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit about the Bible, I’ve included my own list of 7 Things I wish Christians knew. 1. The Bible did not fall out of the sky, bound in leather, written in English. The Bible is not a single book, but more of [Read More...]
01 Jun 18:55

Paraprofessional II - Glenview Public Library

by Diane Comen
Glenview Public Library
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Paraprofessional II
Part Time
Approximately 16/hours per week; must be flexible; mornings, afternoons and evenings and weekend rotation. Desired hours: Mondays 1-5, Wednesdays 1-5, Thursdays 12-4, Fridays 9-1.
Begins at $19.15/hour - DOQ.
Position Description: 

The Glenview Public Library has a part-time opening for a Paraprofessional II in the Reference Services Department. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: helping patrons with informational and directional questions, in person and over the phone; instructing patrons in the use of the online databases and catalog system; teaching computer classes; and various duties within the department, which may include coordinating displays and selecting print materials in assigned area.

Applicants should enjoy working with the public, be proficient in the use of technology, be able to work within a team environment and demonstrate familiarity with a nonfiction collection. Excellence in customer service in patron and staff interactions and strong communication skills are required. 

BA or BS degree from an accredited college or university, and a minimum of two years related experience in a public library setting. LTA certificate also preferred. 

Application Deadline: 
Open until job is filled
Application Contact: 
E-mail or fax cover letter and resume to Diane Comen, Head of Reference Services, Glenview Public Library, 1930 Glenview Road, Glenview, IL 60025. Fax: 847-729-7558; or email: Applications accepted until position is filled. No phone calls, please.
Apply To: 
Glenview Public Library
1930 Glenview Road
Glenview, IL 60025
See map: Google Maps
31 May 22:26

Circulation Desk Coordinator - Erikson Institute, Edward Neisser Library

by Karen Janke
Erikson Institute, Edward Neisser Library
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Circulation Desk Coordinator
Full Time
35 hours/week, typically M-F, some nights and weekends may be required
Position Description: 

Erikson Institute, a graduate school for child development, early childhood education, and social work located in downtown Chicago, is seeking to hire a circulation desk coordinator for the Edward Neisser Library.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Edward Neisser Library houses a unique collection of approximately 20,000 volumes that support the family and social services, child development and early childhood education curricula at the Institute. We seek an energetic and tech-savvy Circulation Desk Coordinator to join our small and collaborative staff to coordinate the activities at the main service desk in the library. Duties include hiring, training, and scheduling student library employees, collection maintenance, and operating the circulation, security, and inventory systems at use in the library. Reporting to the Library Director, the Circulation Desk Coordinator will also coordinate the processing of required course materials and copyright payments, and assist in processing interlibrary loan requests. Other duties as assigned; some evenings and weekends may be required.

• Evidence of strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
• Flexibility appropriate for a dynamic, collaborative work setting
• Enthusiasm for working with diverse groups of people in a user-focused library setting
• Associate's degree or equivalent

• Subject background in Education, Psychology, Human Development, or Social Work.
• 2 or more years of related experience in a higher education or library setting
• Supervisory experience

About Erikson
Founded in 1966, Erikson Institute is one of the nation's leading graduate schools in child development and early childhood education. It is a private, independent, HLC-accredited graduate school offering master's degrees, a Ph.D., graduate certificates, and professional development courses in child development, early childhood education, and social work. Erikson provides a variety of employee benefits, including excellent health and dental plans, life/disability insurance, transit stipend, matching retirement contributions, and more. To learn more, visit our Web site at

Erikson Institute is an equal opportunity employer. We consider all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, marital or parental status, sexual orientation including gender identity, gender expression, military discharge status, physical or mental disability, or any other status or characteristic protected by law. In addition, Erikson Institute provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and applicable state and local laws (including during the application or hiring process).

To Apply:
Please email cover letter and resume to:
Erikson Institute
Attn: Library Search
451 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654
email: librarysearch [at] erikson [dot] edu
Absolutely NO phone inquiries accepted.

Application Deadline: 
Open until job is filled
Application Contact: 
Karen Janke
Apply To: 
Erikson Institute Neisser Library
Chicago, IL 60654
See map: Google Maps
24 May 19:06

10 Issues I Frequently Mark When Grading Theology Papers

by Andy Naselli

1. Omit needless words, and be clear.

2. Cite sources in footnotes and the bibliography correctly.

Follow The SBL Handbook of Style (2nd ed.).

  • For names and places of presses, see pp. 76–82.
    • Wrong: Wheaton: Crossway Publishers, 2016
    • Right: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016
  • Consult the “Student Supplement.”
  • Use the author’s published name. If the book’s title page lists the author as D. A. Carson, then don’t write Donald A. Carson or Don Carson.

3. Use the hyphen (-), en dash (–), and em dash (—) correctly.

  • Hyphens: half-baked idea; one-third
  • En dashes
    • References: Rom 1:16–17 (not Rom 1:16-17)
    • Pages: 113–14 (not 113-14)
    • Dates: 1980–2016 (not 1980-2016)
  • Em dashes: “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Rom 2:3).

4. Use only one space between sentences.

The two-space rule accommodated manual typewriters.

5. Capitalize words correctly.

For theological words follow The SBL Handbook of Style (pp. 37–52). For example,

  • biblical (not Biblical)
  • covenant (not Covenant)
  • Gospel (not gospel) when it refers to the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John
  • gospel (not Gospel) when it refers to good news
  • kingdom of God (not Kingdom of God)
  • Messiah (not messiah)
  • messianic (not Messianic)
  • temple (not Temple)

And don’t capitalize pronouns referring to deity.

6. Abbreviate correctly.

Follow ch. 8 in The SBL Handbook of Style (pp. 117–260), especially for books of the Bible (pp. 124–25). For example,

  • Gen 3:16 (not Gen. 3:16 or Genesis 3:16)
  • Rom 3 (not Rom. 3 or Romans 3)

Two exceptions: Spell out the book name if (1) a chapter (or chapter and verse) does not follow it or (2) it comes first in the sentence. For example,

  • Right: Paul wrote Romans in about AD 57.
  • Wrong: Paul wrote Rom in about AD 57.
  • Right: Romans 3:21–26 is the most important paragraph in the Bible.
  • Wrong: Rom 3:21–26 is the most important paragraph in the Bible.
  • Right: First Corinthians 13 is about love.
  • Wrong: 1 Cor 13 is about love.

7. Punctuate correctly.

For example,

  • Add a comma before a coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses.
  • Use the Oxford comma. (Yes, I just linked to Wikipedia. It’s not all bad.)
  • Don’t place footnote numbers before punctuation such as a comma, semicolon, or period.
  • Add quotation marks after a period or comma.
    • Right: I answered, “Chipotle.”
    • Wrong: I answered, “Chipotle”.
  • Add a comma after the abbreviations “e.g.” (for example) and “i.e.” (that is) but not for “cf.” (confer or compare).
  • Add commas around nonrestrictive or nonessential clauses (e.g., The apostle Paul, who wrote thirteen letters, was prolific) but not around restrictive or essential clauses (e.g., The author who wrote Romans was prolific).
  • Don’t put “ff.” after verse references (e.g., Rom 3:21ff.). Specify the precise range (e.g., Rom 3:21–26).
  • Jesus’s (not Jesus’). Moses’s (not Moses’).

8. Footnote what translation you are using the first time you quote Scripture.

For papers (and journal articles), say something like this: “Scripture quotations are from the ESV.” Or “Scripture quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise noted.” (I know—the previous sentence has both a nominalization and a passive. It’s legit rule-breaking.)

Anecdote: In my first PhD seminar with Don Carson at Trinity, a student was defending his paper before the class, and Don asked him something like this: “Why do you use your own rigidly form-based translation in your paper? That is a very MDiv-ish thing to do. Why not simply use one of the standard translations like the NIV or ESV and then diverge from that when you think helpful?”

9. Evaluate others fairly.

Critique a book or article on its own terms. Don’t criticize an author merely because they didn’t write the book you wish they would have written; critique a book or article based on what its author intended it to be. Here’s a good diagnostic question to ask yourself: Would you critique an author differently if they were in the room listening to you evaluate them?

Related: Aaron Armstrong, “How to Write a Great Book Review.”

10. Be above reproach about plagiarizing.

Don’t present specific arguments that aren’t original to you as if they are. Usually when seminarians plagiarize material to some degree, they don’t intend to. Understand what plagiarism is so that you don’t do it.


  1. How to Write a Theology Essay
  2. Ten Things You Should Never Do in a Theological Research Paper
  3. Should Seminaries Require Students to Write So Many Academic Research Papers? John Frame Says No (The comments after the article are thoughtful.)
  4. This is the rubric I use for grading papers (based on a 10-point scale where 90–100 = A, 80–89 = B, etc.):


20 May 00:19

Library Assistant Coordinator (ILL) full-time - Oak Lawn Public Library

by Judy Texter
Oak Lawn Public Library
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Library Assistant Coordinator (ILL) full-time
Full Time
37.5 hr per week
$31,102.32 to $44,786.68 per year
Position Description: 

The Customer Services Department, Interlibrary Loan Unit, has a position opening for a full-time Library Assistant Coordinator, Grade VI.  This is a 37.5 hour per week "non-exempt" position with a full benefits package, per the current Personnel Policy.  Benefits include: Vacation, sick, and personal business allowance, health, dental, and vision insurance, IMRF pension plan and life insurance.  The position reports to the Customer Services Department Head. Work schedule includes days, with evening and weekend work as required. The current salary range is $31,102.32 to $44,786.68 per year.  

Minimum Qualifications: High School diploma required; some college or special library training desirable, including knowledge of Sirsi-Dynix, Integrated Library systems (ILS) and experience using OCLC's WorldCat a plus. Two year's experience as Library Assistant or its equivalent is preferred. Supervisory and related work experience is highly desirable. Must have ability to meet and work with people of diverse backgrounds and to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Must be able to organize work efficiently.

Regular duties include assisting in supervision, evaluation, training, and assignment of work to library assistant; coordinating and processing of workflow, and other functions of the interlibrary loan services; placing holds and checking materials in and out; answering directional questions; assiting patrons in the use of the library collections, equipment, and outreach services while providing excellent customer service. Some other duties include: reviewing and updating processes and procedures; processing reserve requests, placing and filling interlibrary loan requests; maintaining statistics and preparing reports; cross-training for ILL/Circulation, and Outreach job duties; attend relevant workshops and keep up to date with changes in SWAN; and other duties as assigned. For detailed KRA:  

To apply to this position, please submit your application or resume, cover letter, and three reference to Olpljobs [at] olpl [dot] org by May 27, 2016.

Application Deadline: 
Date below
May 27, 2016
Application Contact: 
Judy Texter, Human Resources Coordinator
Apply To: 
Oak Lawn Public Library
9427 S Raymond Ave
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Phone: (708) 422-4990
See map: Google Maps
19 May 19:11

Circulation Services Coordinator, Full-time - Oak Lawn Public Library

by Judy Texter
Oak Lawn Public Library
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Circulation Services Coordinator, Full-time
Full Time
37.5 hrs per week
$36,277.44 to $52,081.92
Position Description: 

The Customer Services Department Circulation/ILL/Outreach unit, has a position opening for a full-time Circulation Services Coordinator, Grade VIII. This is a 37.5 hour per week "exempt" position with a full benefits package, per the current Personnel Policy. Benefits include: Vacation, sick, birthday holiday, personal leave allowance, health, dental, and vision insurance, IMRF pension plan and life insurance. The position reports to the Customer Services Department Head. Work schedule includes daytime, evening, and weekend hours, as required. The current salary range is $36,277.44 to $52,081.92 per year.

The major functions of this position is to supervise the effecient operation of the Circulation Service Desk involving the direct circulation of library materials to the public while providing excellent customer service. Some regular duties include: supervising, training, scheduling, and assigning work to staff; interpreting and enforcing library policies; creating manuals and tutorials for Customer Service staff training; facilitating internal communication within the department; assisting in the planning, coordination, and implementation of projects and services within and between departments; maintaining circulation records and patron databases; processing notices and maintaining procedures to ensure the appropriate handling of bills, fines, and receipt of revenues associated with the circulation and return of library materials.

College, specialized library training, or related library experience is highly desirable, including knowledge of Sirsi-Dynix, integrated library systems (ILS) and Microsoft Office products is a plus. Supervisory and related work experience is required.

Must have ability to work effectively with people and to organize time efficiently. Must have ability to comprehend and relate to changes as they occur in applicable computer software and to train library staff to utilize software effectively. Must be able to work with library's IT Department on user related problems related to the network, circulation and interlibrary loan equipment. Ability to work well with people of diverse backgrounds (adults and children) and to exercise tact and discretion in handling public service difficulties is essential.For detailed KRA:

If interested in applying for this position, please submit your cover letter, application or resume, and three references to Olpljobs [at] olpl [dot] org by May 27, 2016.

Application Deadline: 
Date below
May 27, 2016
Application Contact: 
Judy Texter, Human Resources Coordinator
Apply To: 
Oak Lawn Public Library
9427 S Raymond Ave
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Phone: (708) 422-4990
See map: Google Maps
09 May 15:47

Page & Volunteer Coordinator - FullTime - Highland Park Public Library

by Pamela Siegel
Highland Park Public Library
Library Type: 
Job Title: 
Page & Volunteer Coordinator - FullTime
Full Time
40 hours per week, includes evening and weekend hours. This is a year-round position.
$17.67 per hour, depending upon qualifications.
Position Description: 

Are you a logistical thinker who likes to get things organized? Do you believe that many hands make light work? Then being the Coordinator of the Highland Park Public Library Page Pool and Volunteer Work Force might be just the job for you! Join the library’s team – contribute ideas for future projects, coach and mentor people who love putting everything in place, maximize the library’s potential for service!
Duties: Hire, train, supervise, schedule, and evaluate page staff. Select and assign talented volunteers throughout the library. Oversee shelving and collection maintenance. Coordinate volunteer projects. 
-Two years of college and library or supervisory experience.
-Problem solving, communication, and interpersonal skills.
-Ability to develop procedures to optimize collection access and staff efficiency.
-Flexibility when considering supervisory work as well as the work of the Library in order to forecast future service demands.
-Knowledge of alphabetic and Dewey Decimal filing systems.
-Bilingual Spanish/English is desirable.

Apply by submitting an application (available online at to:
Robin Smith, Membership Services Manager
Highland Park Public Library
494 Laurel Avenue
Highland Park, IL  60035 (847/432-0216)
rsmith [at] hplibrary [dot] org (rsmith [at] hplibrary [dot] org)                    


Application Deadline: 
Date below
May 27, 2016
Application Contact: 
Robin Smith, Membership Services Manager
Apply To: 
Highland Park Public Library
494 Laurel Avenue
Highland Park, IL 60035
Phone: 847-432-0216
Fax: 847-681-7027
See map: Google Maps
For More Information: