Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Joe M. Sprinkle on 2 Kings 3 - History or Historical Fiction?

The following article is now available on-line:

Joe M. Sprinkle, "2 Kings 3: History or Historical Fiction?" Bulletin for Biblical Research 9 (1999): 247-270.


It has become fashionable in recent decades for biblical scholars, sometimes termed “biblical minimalists,” to deny thoroughly the historicity of virtu­ally all biblical narratives. 2 Kings 3 has not escaped this trend to repudi­ate reconstructions that harmonize the biblical account with extrabiblical data, in this case with the Mesha Inscription (Moabite Stone). Rather, such minimalists label 2 Kings 3 “historical fiction” with the emphasis on fic­tion and see little genuine history in the chapter. This paper examines the arguments of biblical minimalists concerning 2 Kings 3 in comparison with the Mesha Inscription and presents what can be termed a “historical max­imalist” response for this story, evaluating the arguments of the minimal­ists while providing a positive historical reconstruction of this period on “maximalist” assumptions. It is concluded that a reconstruction that takes both 2 Kings 3 and the Mesha Inscription as essentially accurate history is possible, and that the objections raised by historical minimalists to such a reconstruction, though not without weight, are by no means conclusive. Hence, historical maximalism for 2 Kings 3 appears to be a viable option.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What Price Conversion to Christianity in the United Kingdom?

Earlier this week Channel 4's Dispatches programme "Unholy War" focused on a subject that is close to my heart - the fate of Muslims in the UK who convert to Christianity. It described in graphic terms the abuse converts received from their relatives and neighbours. From my own experience I know that many people are living in denial of the problem, but hopefully this programme will serve to raise awareness of it. Converts often complain that other Christians are not doing enough to help them and do not understand their situation. The Bishop of Rochester (Michael Nazir-Ali) warned that it was only a matter of time before someone lost their life in the UK for converting to Christianity.

Part 1 of 5

Part 2 of 5

Part 3 of 5

Part 4 of 5

Part 5 of 5

Craig Bartholomew on Babel and Derrida

The following article is now available on-line here:

Craig G. Bartholomew, "Babel and Derrida: Postmodernism, Language and Biblical Interpretation," Tyndale Bulletin 49.2 (1998): 305-328.


This article assesses the challenge postmodernism constitutes for biblical interpretation via an analysis of Derrida’s reading of the Tower of Babel narrative. Derrida’s setting of the text in play is found to be an unhelpful model for biblical interpretation, but his foregrounding of language in the narrative and the implications of philosophy of language for interpretation are useful. The contours of Derrida’s Babelian philosophy of language are explored and its insights noted. It is argued that the ultimate issues in philosophy of language are theological and that Christian scholars need to articulate a Christian view of language.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

George Eldon Ladd on Revelation and Jewish Apocalyptic

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

G.E. Ladd, "The Revelation and Jewish Apocalyptic," The Evangelical Quarterly 29.2 (1957): 94-100.

Despite my best efforts to track down the copyright holder of this article I was unsuccessful, so if you know who holds the rights, please contact me. I have a few more articles by Ladd from Evangelical Quarterly which will appear shortly.

This article provides a pithy summary of the differences between the book of Revelation and other contemporary works of Jewish Apocalyptic.

Craig D. Allert on Evangelicalism and Sola Scriptura

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Craig D. Allert, "What are we Trying to Conserve? Evangelicalism and Sola Scriptura," The Evangelical Quarterly 76.4 (2004): 327-348.

My thanks to Dr. Allert for his kind permission to reproduce this article.


At its heart Evangelicalism is a conservative movement. But the vari­ous streams of influence that converge in this movement have left Evangelicalism with a confused legacy - controlling influence. This legacy is readily apparent in Evangelicalism’s claim of anchoring itself in the Reformation and its insistence on biblical authority. The appeal to the ‘Reformation view’ is often made without understand­ing or indicating the contextual issues fundamental to understand­ing that very view. Thus the contemporary evangelical is often called to hold a version of sola scriptura that was not, in fact the version of Luther or Calvin. The contemporary version of sola scriptura, appar­ently based on Luther and Calvin, is then used as a reason to reject Tradition as a source for theology. It is here shown these Reformers did not reject Tradition in favor of the Bible alone. The slogan must be understood within its proper historical context. The dangers of a rejection of Tradition can be seen in the radicals Franck and Grebel. If appeal is made to ‘the reformers view’ of sola scriptura it is essential that we understand the context o£ that appeal if we are to offer it as the evangelical view.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

FAQ page now on-line

Life is still very hectic for myself and my family. In order to deal more efficiently with the number of questions I receive each week about the articles I upload and so give me more time to work on them I have created a FAQ page. I hope it proves of help.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Silent Revolution in Bookselling - 13 Digit ISBN's

From the 1st January 2007 the the 10-digit International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system began to be replaced with the new 13-digit system. For the first year the two systems have existed side by side - the 10 digit system was simply prefixed by 978, but from January 2008 the introduction on the 979 prefix will signal the end of the 10-digit system. You can read the press release about it here and a manual of instructions here.

For most this news will be of little interest, apart from those who are directly involved in either publishing or bookselling. Unless, like me, you are also an Amazon Associate and have product links to Amazon on your website that are based on 10-digit ISBN's. I was therefore somewhat surprised when I contacted the Amazon Associates helpdesk to find that they have no information at all about when the old system will cease and what effect this will have on Amazon product links - though they said that they would get back to me when they had further information.

So it would seem that Amazon Associates should be prepared to change to the new system at short notice. If, like me, you have a large number of Amazon product links on your sites (I have around 15,000) this will keep you busy towards the end of the year!

If anyone knows more about Amazon's policy on this please feel free to leave a comment.

Craig Bartholomew on Anthony Thiselton's Hermeneutic Proposals

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Craig G. Bartholomew, "Three Horizons: Hermeneutics from the Other End - An Evaluation of Anthony Thiselton's Hermeneutic Proposals," European Journal of Theology 5.2 (1996): 121-136.

If I admit that I find Anthony Thiselton's works on hermeneutics difficult to understand I am certain that I am not alone. For that reason it is good to be able to make available an article that seeks to make them more comprehensible to non-philosophers.

Update 26/09/07:

The two missing footnotes have been supplied by Dr Bartholomew and are now on-line.

Monday, September 10, 2007

H.L.Ellison on Typology

The following article is now available in PDF:

H.L. Ellison, "Typology," The Evangelical Quarterly 25.3 (1953): 158-166.

Typology is an important, but much misunderstood element of hermeneutics. Here Dr. Ellison provides a useful overview of the subject.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Stephen S. Smalley on the Eschatology of Ephesians

The following article is available in PDF:

Stephen S. Smalley, "The Eschatology of Ephesians," The Evangelical Quarterly 28.3 (1956): 152-157.

My thanks to Dr Smalley for his kind permission to reproduce this article.

H.L. Ellison on Biblical Inspiration

The following article is now online in PDF:

H.L. Ellison, "Some Thoughts on Inspiration," The Evangelical Quarterly 26.4 (1954): 210-217.

This is my favourite quote [p.214}:

If we are prepared to say that the Scrip­tures contain, are and become the Word of God, we occupy a position which seems to cover all the facts of revelation and spiritual experience.

We are not, as some might think, making mere empty dis­tinctions. To call the Bible the Word of God without some such qualifications, spoken or understood, suggests that the work of inspiration ended with the finishing of the record, and that the Bible now functions by virtue of some inherent power, so that anything that man may infer from it is necessarily legitimate. We would do well to widen our conception of inspiration. The writing of the Scriptures was only the half-way house in the process of inspiration; it only reaches its goal and conclusion as God is revealed through them to the reader or hearer. In other words, the inbreathing of the Holy Spirit into the reader is as essential for the right understanding of the Scriptures as it was in the original writers for their right production of them.

[1] This is the view adopted in The New Bible Handbook (I.V.F., 1947), p. 10.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

G.R. Beasley-Murray on the Second Coming in the Book of Revelation

The following article is now available in PDF:

George R. Beasley-Murray, "The Second Coming in the Book of Revelation," The Evangelical Quarterly 23.1 (1951): 40-45.

My thanks to Mrs Beasley-Murray and the Revd Paul Beasley-Murray for their kind permission to reproduce, not only this article, but also all other articles by Dr G.R. Beasley-Murray published in The Evangelical Quarterly.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Help Requested with Eternity Magazine

Between 1950 and 1988 the Moody Bible Institute published Eternity magazine. These are extremely rare nowadays - I am yet to locate a set in a UK Bible College Library. I am interested in producing an on-line Table of Contents for the journal and putting some of the articles on-line. Contributors included George Eldon Ladd and F.F. Bruce. If anyone can help with photocopies of the Table of Contents, please let me know. Moody Bible Institute are unable to help with this.

Paul Merkley on the Historicity of the Gospels

The following article is now available on-line in PDF:

Paul Merkley, "The Gospels as Historical Testimony," The Evangelical Quarterly 58.4 (1986): 319-336.

Dr Merkley contrasts the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels with the event of Caesar crossing the Rubicon.

Monday, September 03, 2007

R.K. Harrison on the Mandrake in the Ancient World

The following article is now available in PDF:

R.K. Harrison, "The Mandrake and the Ancient World," The Evangelical Quarterly 28.2 (1956): 87-92.

This is an interesting study that provides some fascinating background information about this unusual plant.

All reasonable efforts have been made to contact the current copyright holder of this article without success. If you hold the rights, please contact me.