While we were in the UK, I had the privilege of sitting near Dr. Osvaldo Padilla at the Tyndale House when he was there on sabbatical. Osvaldo teaches NT at Beeson Divinity School (from which RTS-O just hosted Timothy George for our Spring lecture series). Our families go to know one another during their stay—their son was our daughters’ “boy-friend,” as they would say. We were sad to see them depart after their short stay.
In the newly-released October 2016 edition of Currents in Biblical Research, I have written a longish summary and analysis of the research done in the past century or so on the Parable of the Wicked Tenants.
This parable has fascinated me since my MDiv days, when I wrote a paper on it in my Gospels class dealing with the conclusion, where Jesus quotes from Psalm 118:22 (see here). The parable also forms the foundation of one of the chapters of my dissertation, so I have been hiking around in the vineyard for quite some time.
At long last, the dissertation is complete! It has morphed in seemingly innumerable ways since I began in 2013, such that it is completely unrecognizable with regard to the original research proposal I submitted to Cambridge aeons ago. But it is ready to mail in all its tree-killing glory.
A few months ago I posted some reflections on work I was doing on one of the earliest extant papyrus fragments of the NT (P.Oxy. 4404, or 𝕻104 in NT parlance). This endeavor eventually turned into an article dealing with whether this particular fragment supports the possibility that Matthew 21:44, which occurs at the end of the Parable of the Wicked Tenants, is original to Matthew or was “interpolated”by a scribe at some relatively early date from the same verse in Luke 20:18 (a process called scribal “assimilation”). The article also involves quantitative analysis I conducted in other “assimilations”/”interpolations” elsewhere in the Synoptic gospels as well as some discussion of the various arguments for or against the theory with respect to this verse.
Earlier this year, Dr. Wesley Hill (Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at the Trinity School for Ministry) published his Durham dissertation with Eerdmans, entitled Paul and the Trinity: Persons, Relations, and the Pauline Letters. It argues a straightforward thesis that, within Pauline studies, is fairly revolutionary (but which, within the Reformed circles in which Wes and I respectively run, is, of course, “no big deal”): namely, that trinitarian categories that are often seen by scholars to be late and post-Pauline—and, thus, should be excluded from the discussion—can and should be brought to the table in exegesis of Paul’s letters.
The most recent issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature (134/3) includes an article I wrote on a peculiar translation issue in the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek translation called the Septuagint (see my intro here). The passages in question contain a word (tsemach) that is usually translated in English Bibles (ESV, NIV, KJV, etc.) as “Righteous Branch” or just “Branch.” The Greek word used in the LXX translation of these passages (anatole) is rather peculiar and has generated a lot of debate. It also happens to play a major role in one of the chapters of my dissertation, so this article was a side-branch (pun intended) off the main line of my research as I explored the various issues related to this translation. I was pleased to have it accepted by JBL. Many thanks to Chris Fresch for providing comments on the draft of the article before submission.
Earlier this week there was quite a bit of buzz in the media regarding claims that a first century fragment of the gospel of Mark had been discovered among papyri used in Egyptian burial masks. There’s been much smoke with not so much light relating to this news item, as is helpfully summarized in a few places (1, 2, 3). At present it has become a “wait and see” kind of situation.
Today, however, I had the privilege of heading over to Oxford to have an up-close look at a different NT fragment that we’ve known about since the late 1990s and which is generally considered to be among the oldest so far discovered.
On Tuesday, December 2, I presented a paper (well, more like led a discussion) on Christology in the New Testament at our Cambridge NT graduate seminar.
“Christology” is a term used to describe how the Bible (or later Christian writings) portray the person, character, and significance of Jesus Christ.
It basically amounts to this:
All you need to know about NT Christology boiled down to one page! Pretty simple, huh?
On November 21, I presented a paper at the ETS national meeting entitled, “Metaphor in the New Testament: Catching Up to the Conversation on Contemporary Metaphor Theory.” This arises out some of my dissertation work, which deals with the theory of metaphor and how to interpret certain metaphors in the Gospel of Luke.
The paper discusses the four main theories of metaphor that have been prominent from the time of Aristotle to the present day, with a particular focus on the current “orthodoxy” within linguistics pertaining to Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Conceptual Blending. I then discussed a few examples, such as the “fishers of men” in Matt 4:19 (hence the header image above) and atonement metaphors in Paul’s letters and Hebrews.
The new academic year is upon us, and the schedule for the New Testament Seminar at Cambridge has just been posted. We will be hosting three visiting scholars as well as one of our own. The lineup is as follows: