Thursday, May 29, 2008

Themelios to Become a Free on-line Journal

Last March Michael Pahl broke the news that the Gospel Coalition has reached an agreement with the UK's Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) to take over the publication of the student journal Themelios. Under the editorship of D.A. Carson it is hoped that the majority* of previously published articles and all new articles will be available on-line free of charge. Although we still await an official announcement to this effect (please correct me if I missed it) I am delighted by this news. For several years now my site has been in the somewhat odd position of hosting the only on-line source of information about Themelios. Accordingly I have ceased placing new articles on my site and am looking forward to be able to link to the rest as they appear. When I hear officially from the Gospel Coalition, I will announce it here.
* Some have since been reprinted elsewhere and cannot be reprinted without another publishers permission

J. Daryl Charles on The Use of Tradition-Material in the Epistle of Jude

The following article is now available online in PDF:

J. Daryl Charles, "The Use of Tradition-Material in the Epistle of Jude," Bulletin for Biblical Research 4 (1994): 1-14.

I have always been fascinated by Jude's use of extra-biblical material in his letter, yet (as the author notes) it has rarely been adequately addressed by scholars. I am very pleased, therefore, to be able to make this article available, with the kind permission of the journal editor and publisher.

The history of the interpretation of Jude, broadly speaking, is one of omis­sion or misunderstanding. Most commentary on the epistle over the last hundred years, while being highly derivative in nature, has lacked thought­ful inquiry. One factor that has discouraged serious study is the writer’s use of OT and extrabiblical tradition-material. Surviving Jewish literature from the last two centuries B.C. and first century A.D. is decisive in helping to explain the religious thought-world reflected in the NT This is particu­larly the case in Jude. The use of Jewish tradition-material in the epistle invites the reader to give attention to the writer’s exegetical methodology—a methodology owing to a distinctly Palestinian Jewish-Christian cultural milieu. In Jude, significant theological truth is wrapped in literary argu­ments of the day. Literary sources, all part of a well-calculated literary strategy, are marshalled for the purpose of addressing urgent pastoral need. Lessons from the past bear forcefully on the present as a means of admonishing the Christian community.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

F.F. Bruce on St Luke's portrait of St Paul

The following article is now online in PDF:

F.F. Bruce, "St Luke's portrait of St Paul," George Dion. Dragas, General editor., Aksum - Thyateira. A Festschrift for Archbishop Methodios of Thyateira and Great Britian. London: Thyateira House, 1985. pp.181-191.

I found this a particularly interesting study. I would guess that, given its somewhat obscure source, that very few people would have read it before. One of my favourite parts is Bruce's suggested answer to the question why Luke seems reluctant to mention Paul's collection for the poor of Jerusalem in Acts:
The reason, I suggest, was apologetic. When the time came for Paul’s accusers to formulate their charges against him at the hearing of his appeal before the imperial tribunal, the Jerusalem relief fund could well have been misrepresented as an inter­ference with the collection and delivery of the annual half-shekel tax to the temple authorities in Jerusalem. The organization and conveyance of this tax enjoyed the express protection of Roman law. But the half-shekel tax was exacted from Jews; Paul’s relief fund was contributed by Gentiles. Even so, it could have been argued that the Gentile contributors were po­tential proselytes to Judaism, whom Paul had enticed away from the synagogue into an association of his own, and that the relief fund represented an improper diversion of money which, but for Paul’s activity, would have gone ultimately to swell the temple re­venue. The accusation that Paul had violated the sanctity of the temple by bringing Gentiles within pro­hibited bounds (Acts 21:28; 24:6) could not be su­stained since no witnesses could be produced; but here was a more subtle attempt to convict Paul of infringing the temple privileges, and one which a skilled advocate could present in a persuasive way. In former times it was argued by more than one scholar that Luke’s narrative was written to provide Paul’s counsel for the defence with factual material to be used at his trial before Caesar; if this thesis can no longer be sustained in its earlier form, it may still be argued that a document prepared for this purpose served Luke as one of his sources for this part of his narrative. (Why could such a document not have been prepared by Luke himself?) The issue of the relief fund would in that case have been too delicate to be treated in detail; Luke, or the author of his source, judged that Paul’s reference to “alms and offerings” in his defence before Felix was as much as it was politic to say on this subject. If the “alms and offerings” are said to have been designed for Paul’s “nation”, this should not be dismissed as a suggestio falsi: Paul himself hints here and there in his letters that he envisaged the relief fund not only as a gift to the church of Jerusalem but also as a witness to the whole Jewish nation at the centre of its life.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Donald J. Wiseman on Archaeology and Scripture

The following article is now available online in PDF:

Donald J. Wiseman, "Archaeology and Scripture," Westminster Theological Journal 33.2 (May 1971): 133-152.

Professor Wiseman concludes:
Extrabiblical sources provide an insight into the background of the biblical text, literature, religious beliefs, and history. They indicate the contemporary thought and methodologies but cannot of themselves directly relate to the biblical doctrines of revelation and inspiration. They provide evidence of care with which traditional texts were copied and transmitted, indicating that the textual errors of our “textus receptus” (MT) are of a minor nature common to all ancient copyists which, in the case of the Scriptures, do not affect our understanding of any major doctrine or detract from an obvious and vital interpretation of the narrative. In this, textual criticism of the Old approaches that of the New Testament. At the same time these studies highlight the problems caused by divergent interpretation of the text, an important subject which lies outside the brief of this lecture. Nothing presented here need or should, I submit, detract from the view of Scripture which holds it to be the Word of God trustworthily, accurately, clearly, and uniquely transmitted to us.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

F.F. Bruce on the Two Sons of Abraham - a Study in Pauline Hermeneutics

The following article is now available in PDF:

F.F. Bruce, "Abraham had two Sons: A Study in Pauline Hermeneutics," Huber L. Drumwright, & Curtis Vaughan, eds., New Testament Studies: Essays in Honor of Ray Summers in His Sixty-Fifth Year. Waco, TX: Markham Press Fund, Baylor University Press, 1975. Hbk. pp.71-84.

I am extremely pleased to be able to make this available, thanks to the kind permission of Baylor University Press. As far as I can determine, no copy of this book exists in the United Kingdom Library system and few copies are available for sale, so this may well be a very rare article.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

F.F. Bruce on Paul in Rome (Part 1 of 5)

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

F.F. Bruce, "St. Paul in Rome, Part 1," Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 46.2 (March 1964): 326-45.

This is part one in a series of five which will be appearing over the nexr few weeks. This is F.F. Bruce at his best, insightful and in full command of the relevant secondary sources, an excellent article. My thanks to the John Rylands Library for their kind permission.