Saturday, October 31, 2009

Five Influential Books

Two years after Ken Brown began this "meme," Nick's list finally triggered my own list of books read during the last decade that rocked my intellectual world:
  1. Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (Yale: 1989): At an SBL panel discussion of Francis Watson's, Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith (Continuum: 2004), Hays quipped that Watson's was the most important book on Paul's use of Scripture since his own Echoes of Scripture. I read Echoes for fun in the fall of 1999, the first semester of my Ph.D. at McMaster University. Watson still sits on my shelf waiting to be read.
  2. John Barton, Oracles of God: Perceptions of Ancient Prophecy in Israel after the Exile (1986; repr. Oxford: 1988): I read Barton in Jerusalem in the fall of 2000, on the recommendation of Michael Stone. Barton combined with a number of other factors to severely jostle my conservative evangelical doctrine of Scripture. His insights into later Jewish perceptions of biblical prophecy are foundational to my own work on prophecy in early Judaism and Christianity. As evidence of its importance, a full issue of the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures was devoted to the book on its 20th anniversary. Fortunately, it is now back in print.
  3. John Goldingay, Models for Scripture (Eerdmans: 1994): If Barton inadvertently shattered my doctrine of Scripture, Goldingay (read 2001-2002) helped put the pieces back together. Richard Bauckham called it a "study of the doctrine of Scripture that moves us decisively beyond both the old defensive conservatism and the old rationalistic liberalism."
  4. Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906; trans. 1961): I read Schweitzer in 2003-2004 after hearing Dale Allison recommend it enthusiastically. Paradoxically, it was reading Schweitzer's confident presentation of the results of the historical-critical method that helped convince me of its limitations. See here and here for earlier references to Schweitzer on this blog.
  5. Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The 'Lutheran' Paul and His Critics (Eerdmans: 2004): I finished Perspectives in 2006. This is the one book on this list that I return to repeatedly (whenever I work on Paul). To quote Nick: "Besides being convincing on a great many points of contention in pauline scholarship, this book is a model of good writing and the use of humour."
Honourable mention: N.T. Wright. Since it has been a decisive influence on so many other evangelical scholars, I am embarrassed to admit I only read Jesus and the Victory of God (Fortress: 1996) in 2007. Wright's early influence on me was more direct: In my final year of college, Wright gave a series of lectures at a nearby seminary that left my head spinning for days. In a good way.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Twist

This fantastic Terry Taylor / Swirling Eddies song can only be considered a contemporary worship song in a very loose sense, but it is the best modern rock reflection on the death of Jesus that I know:

Here's another version with pictures and lyrics:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dead Air

Sometimes life is more important than blogging.

So there.

P.S. The last couple weeks were busy: Crafting a sermon on an unfamiliar passage takes time, especially when one is out of practice. The next month will be busy too. One month from today I present the SBL paper I have barely started writing. I do have a backlog of blogging ideas, though. Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Naked Truth about 2 Corinthians 5:3

A public service announcement for sojourners in Southern Saskatchewan:

Our 2009 Briercrest College and Seminary Bible and Theology Colloquium series kicks off tomorrow with a paper by Dr. Kevin Daugherty on "The Naked Truth about 2 Corinthians 5:3."

Please join us in room S115 @ 12:30 PM if you can make it out.

Gadamer on Teaching from Old Notes

In a certain sense interpretation probably is re-creation, but this is a re-creation not of the creative act but of the created work, which has to be brought to representation in accord with the meaning the interpreter finds in it. Thus, for example, historicizing presentations--e.g., of music played on old instruments --are not as faithful as they seem. Rather, they are an imitation of an imitation and are thus in danger "of standing at a third remove from the truth" (Plato). - Truth and Method (1960, repr. Continuum, 2004), 118.

Gadamer, of course, is talking primarily about drama as artistic representation, but I think there are analogies to teaching understood as performance.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keck on Faith in Paul

“Had Paul been interested in the power of faith, in the potency of our trusting, he might have organized ‘faith clinics’ in which he taught people how to ‘believe harder’ so that their faith would be more powerful. Then, of course, he would have said that God justifies the godly.”
- Leander E. Keck, Romans (ANTC; Nashville: Abingdon, 2005), 133.

Sunday, October 4, 2009