Friday, December 20, 2013

Reading Notes: Ernst Käsemann on the "'The Righteousness of God' in Paul"

I think about Ernst Käsemann each time I teach Romans and introduce different ways of understanding the "righteousness of God", but I confess that I never got around to reading Käsemann's 1961 essay until this week--shortly after encountering this statement by Leander Keck about the essay's significance: "In a time of massive monographs and multivolume commentaries on a single book, Käsemann redirected the study of Paul with an essay of a mere fourteen pages." (Keck, Paul and his Letters, 152-3).

The experience reminded me that actually reading seminal scholarship is a far richer experience than getting it second-hand. It also helps explain current debate. I thought, for instance, that I could detect traces of Käsemann in contemporary scholars who defend perspectives rather different from Käsemann and from each other. Needless to say I will introduce the topic more carefully and with greater precision next time.

A few excerpts:
Righteousness as activity: "The widely-held view that God's righteousness is simply a property of the divine nature can now be rejected as misleading." Instead, the "righteousness of God" in Romans 1:16 "is for Paul, as it is for the Old Testament and Judaism in general, a phrase expressing divine activity, treating not of the self-subsistent, but of the self-revealing God" (174). Käsemann grants that righteousness is also a gift (cf. 169), but...
You can't have the gift without the giver: "Paul knows no gift of God which does not convey both the obligation and the capacity to serve" (170). This is because "the gift which is being bestowed here [i.e., the "righteousness of God"] is never at any time separable from its Giver. It partakes of the character of power, in so far as God himself enters the arena and remains in the arena with it. Thus personal address, obligation and service are indissolubly bound up with the gift. When God enters the arena, our experience is, that he maintains his lordship even in his giving; indeed, it is his gifts which are the very means by which he subordinates us to his lordship and makes us responsible beings." (174) 
On justification and sanctification: "[E]very gift of God which has ceased to be seen as the presence of the Giver and has therefore lost its character as personal address, is grace misused and working to our destruction. Justification and sanctification must therefore coincide, provided that by justification we mean that Christ takes power over our life. But at the same time the understanding we have now gained excludes the possibility of righteousness by works and of boasting of one's own moral achievement. The same Lord who calls us to his service enables us for it and requires us to render it in such a way as to ensure that his gift is passed on. As an instrument of grace, one cannot reasonably go on talking of one's own achievements." (175) 
On historical method: "[T]he historical is not simply that which can be shown to be what actually happened, but the field on which the self-understanding of the interpreter is either confirmed or shattered, or else triumphs by violence. We ourselves are at risk here" (173 n. 4).

The whole essay is gold. Tolle lege.

Bibliography:
Käsemann, Ernst. “‘The Righteousness of God’ in Paul.” 1961. English translation: Pages 168–82 in New Testament Questions of Today. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969.
Keck, Leander E. Paul and His Letters. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.




Friday, December 13, 2013

50% off at Fortress Press

Fortress Press is currently offering a 50% discount on your first order when you sign up for email updates. This, it should be noted, is a better deal than the SBL/AAR conference discount. (If you are ordering from Canada, you will need to call in your order, but the discount still applies.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

SBL 2013: Initial Reflections on Baltimore

Washington Monument, Mount Vernon, Baltimore


George Peabody
This year's Society of Biblical Literature meetings had just about the right mix of good sessions and good conversations with friends and acquaintances new and old.

In the past, I would have included good new books as an essential component of any successful SBL, but this year I found that the sheer size and scope of the exhibit hall had a stultifying effect on my purchases, and that N.T. Wright's 1700 page Paul and the Faithfulness of God plugged a hole in my wallet: I wandered through the Fortress Press display several times, tempted by the sale on Wright's newest massive 2-volume tome, and thought to myself, "When will I ever have time to read that?" It turns out that the question is a useful one: It came to mind again when I encountered Francis Watson's newest important 500-page book on the Gospels, and Dale Allison's final book on Jesus. I would like to read both some day, but of the four important Watson volumes already in my possession, two are still unread, and I won't have time to read Allison—let alone Wright—during the next five months. This time around I wish that I had spent less time wandering through the exhibit hall and more time attending sessions.

In addition to stimulating papers and conversations, another highlight was my Monday morning hunt for the statue of George Peabody (pictured above) that figures in Knight's Castle, a 1950's era children's book I am reading to my daughter. (Remarkably, the book makes no mention of the statue of a much more famous George, right beside it.) When Shoshana saw the picture, she said we should take a family trip to Baltimore.

I hope to comment on individual sessions presently, but for now I leave you with a few lines from C.S. Lewis that I read the night before heading out to Baltimore:
"Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn't stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower—become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations." - C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, 81. 
Replace "artist" with "scholar", and you have it about right.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why Positive Psychology Needs Original Sin

A public service announcement for sojourners in Southern Saskatchewan:

On Friday, November 22 Dr. Charles Hackney will present a paper as part of the Briercrest College and Seminary Colloquium series entitled "Why Positive Psychology Needs Original Sin."

The colloquium will be held in room S113 @ 12:30 PM. We'd love to see you there if you can make it out.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Message of Romans in a Paragraph

Rembrandt "Peter and Paul"
(This picture has no connection to this post
except that pictures look nice.)
I asked my Romans students to read the letter and summarize its message in a paragraph. As this is the first time I assigned the exercise, I decided I should try my hand at it. Here is the result:

Paul writes to introduce himself to the Roman church and to prepare for his planned trip to Spain. He does this by demonstrating why the Good News is the solution to humanity’s problem. According to Paul, the Gospel is power for the salvation of believers because it reveals God’s right action in putting the world to rights in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Chapters 1:18-3:20 demonstrate, by a ‘shoe fits’ argument, that everyone without exception is under sin, and can do nothing to deliver themselves. Chapters 3:21-5:21 describe the solution: God is shown to be righteous by paradoxically acquitting the guilty. This acquittal is secured solely by trust not by anything we do. The results of this gift of acquittal is life—present and future—through participation in the Messiah. Romans 6:1-8:16 works out the implications of this transfer of realms, demonstrating in response to objections that right action or “righteousness” paradoxically comes as a result of freedom from the law. According to Paul, participation in the Messiah necessarily results in a new Spirit-empowered life of freedom from law, sin and death, on the one hand, and "freedom" (i.e., slavery) to righteousness, on the other. The rest of chapter 8 unfolds the cosmic implications of the Christ-event, and reflects on what it means to hope in the ‘not-yet’. Chapters 9-11 defend God’s freedom and faithfulness in light of the majority of Israel’s lack of faith, and explore the implications for Gentiles. Chapters 12-15, finally, describe what it means to live as righteous people in the new age, with special reference to problems affecting the church in Rome.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Greek Tense in a Teapot

'Bruce Gholson - Teapot' photo (c) 2011, Samantha Henneke - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ Semi-technical post alert: Since the publication of Stanley Porter's gargantuan dissertation almost 25 years ago, scholars of biblical Greek have debated whether Greek tenses convey time in the indicative mood. Porter's claim that the Greek tense system conveys aspect* and never time has found a following in Rodney Decker, Constantine R. Campbell, and D.A. Carson, with support from K.L. McKay. But, to my mind, Buist Fanning (who is followed by Daniel Wallace), Albert Rijksbaron--and just about everyone else--have the better part of the argument: In the indicative mood, Greek tenses, as a rule, convey time as well as aspect.

When the dust settles, that leaves us more-or-less where we were almost a century ago, when H.P.V. Nunn published the following:
   It is somewhat unfortunate that we are compelled to use the name tense in connection with the forms of the Greek verb. It directs our attention too much to the time of the action of the verb, whereas it was the state of the action, rather than the time, that was most prominently before the mind of a Greek. The time of the action of the verb is often left to be inferred from the context, and cannot always be certainly told from the form of the verb. This is almost invariably the case with the moods other than the Indicative, and is sometimes the case in the Indicative mood itself.
   To the Greek mind the forms to which we give the names "Present" and "Imperfect" denoted duration, or repeated action. The forms to which we give the name "Perfect" or "Pluperfect" denoted action complete at the time of speaking, the results of which were regarded as still existing. The forms to which we give the name "Aorist" denoted a simple, indefinite action, and were always used where no stress was laid on the continuity, completion, or incompletion of the action denoted by the verb.
   As a rule the Indicative mood of the Aorist refers to an action in past time. The idea of time is however quite secondary, and does not enter at all into the meaning of the moods of the Aorist other than the Indicative, except in reported speech. With this exception the idea of Past time is only to be found in the forms of the verb which have an Augment, that is to say the Imperfect, the Pluperfect, and the Aorist Indicative.
   The Future tense in Greek, as in English, refers to future time in all its moods, and is thus an exception to the principle that the tenses of the moods other than the Indicative do not denote time in Greek.
   ... The use of the Aorist Indicative denotes that the action is regarded simply as an event without any account being taken of its progress or of the existence of its result. Even its time is not always distinctly contemplated; but, generally speaking, it is regarded as taking place in past time. The name Aorist means without boundaries or indefinite, and denotes that the action expressed by the verb is not defined with regard to its time, progress, or result. The Aorist Indicative is most frequently used to describe a past event or series of events, viewed as a whole, without any reference to the progress of the action, or the existence of its result.
- Henry Preston Vaughan Nunn, A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek (3rd ed. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1920), 66, 68.
To be sure, we would use different terminology today, but Nunn's summary still stands as an accurate thumb-nail sketch of the relationship between the Greek tense system, time, and what we now call aspect. While aspect theory has contributed significantly to our understanding of the Greek verbal system, the debate about time in the indicative mood has generated more heat than light. Time to move on.

For more along the same lines, see these excellent posts by Stephen Runge (here) and Mike Aubrey (herehere and here).

__________________
*A definition of aspect: The author or speaker’s decision to portray an action from a particular perspective or point of view—either as a process or as a whole

Friday, October 18, 2013

Where was Romans written?

Where did Paul write the letter to the Romans? After visiting the Isthmus of Corinth last spring, the normal answer--Corinth, of course!--is not completely satisfying because some of the evidence that is taken as evidence for a Corinthian provenance points instead to Cenchreae. While commentators routinely note that Cenchreae was one of the ports of Corinth, the two cities were actually about 8 miles apart--a fair distance for someone walking on foot:


View Larger Map
Acts 20:3 says only that Paul and company spent three months in Greece before travelling on to Jerusalem. The main evidence in support of Corinth as opposed to Cenchreae or some other place in Greece is found in Romans 16:23 where Paul passes along greetings from "Gaius, the host of me and of the whole church" and "Erastus the steward (oiknomos) of the city."

  • In 1 Cor 1:14 Paul mentions baptizing a Gaius who belonged to the Corinthian church. Gaius was a common name, but it is reasonable to infer that the Gaius of Rom 16:23 and 1 Cor 1:14 are the same.
  • The Erastus of Rom 16:23 may be the same Erastus who is mentioned in a Latin inscription near the theatre in Corinth:
  • Photo by David M. Miller

For those who don't read Latin, the inscription states: "Erastus, commissioner for public works, laid this pavement at his own expense" (Cranfield 2.807). Here is a close up:
Erastus Inscription, Corinth (Photo by David M. Miller) 
Paul refers to Erastus as the steward or "treasurer" of "the city." If the city in question is Corinth, it points to Corinth as the place of writing because "the city" most naturally refers to the city where Paul is living.

However, Paul begins his chapter full of greetings with a mini-letter of commendation for "our sister, Phoebe, a deacon of the church that is in Cenchreae" (Rom 16:1). Since Paul describes Phoebe as his benefactor (16:2), we might imagine Paul receiving support from Phoebe while residing in Cenchreae, the east-facing port from which Paul would depart on his trip to Jerusalem. This, at least, is what Leander Keck assumes in his commentary on Romans (27, 30, 369, 380). (Keck also concludes that although Paul's host, Gaius, was baptized in Corinth, he lived in Cenchreae and hosted the church of Cenchreae in his house there.) Paul may have needed to be at some remove from the rowdy church in Corinth to hammer out the argument of Romans.

Since Paul instructs the churches at Rome to receive Phoebe and provide for her needs (16:2), it appears that Phoebe and Paul's epistle to Rome were going to travel together--Phoebe was responsible to take the letter to the church at Rome. Evidence from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri apparently indicates that the letter-bearer would also be the designated letter-reader and letter-explainer. According to Arland Hultgren, this makes Phoebe "the first exegete of the Letter to the Romans" (Hultgren 3; cf. Jewett 90; Keck 27). To do this well, Phoebe would most likely have interacted with Paul about the contents of the letter. What better location to do this than in Phoebe's house in Cenchreae?

So which is it--Corinth...
Corinth Bema (photo by David M. Miller)
...or Cenchreae?
Cenchreae (photo by David M. Miller)
In favour of Cenchreae is the nice pastoral setting and the fact that Paul is about to embark on a trip east to Jerusalem. If it was up to aesthetic preference, I would choose Cenchreae*, but the description of Erastus as the steward of "the city" tips the balance slightly in favour of Corinth (in my view). (Corinth has the added advantage of being easier for modern English-speakers to pronounce.)

*Update: Here's an additional argument from silence: Assuming that Luke knew where Paul stayed in Greece, the fact that he doesn't specify a precise location may indicate that Paul was in the less well-known Cenchreae instead of Corinth.

Bibliography:
Cranfield, C. E. B. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. 2 vols. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1975, 1979.

Hultgren, Arland J. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.

Jewett, Robert. Romans: A Commentary. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007. 

Keck, Leander E. Romans. Nashville: Abingdon, 2005.

All photographs .

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Torah-Obedience and Early Christian Ethical Practices in the Writings of Justin Martyr

A public service announcement for sojourners in Southern Saskatchewan:

This year's Briercrest College and Seminary Colloquium series kicks off on Friday with a paper by Dr. Susan Wendel entitled "Torah-Obedience and Early Christian Ethical Practices in the Writings of Justin Martyr."

Please join us on Friday, October 18 in room S113 @ 12:30 PM if you can make it out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

John Barclay on Paul, grace and ancient patterns of gift-giving

In a talk that apparently previews the argument of a much larger book(s) on the subject, John Barclay draws on ancient practices of gift-giving to argue that God's χάρις ("grace" or "gift"), according to Paul, is unobligated (so Luther) but not without obligation (contrast Luther). Just as in the ancient world gift-giving always set up a complex system of reciprocity--much like a covenant--so too with God's "grace": God's gift of grace is given to unworthy sinners who have no claim on God's mercy, but those who receive the gift are obligated to respond appropriately.

This is not sunergism, it is not completing grace with works, or making subjectively true what is objectively true--because the gift changes everything. The gifts that is grace is life--a transfer of realms from the rule of sin and death to the realm of life--and anything we do is made possible in and through the resurrected Messiah. (Another way of saying this is that it is the Spirit that gives life.)

The Christian, then, is not simul iustus et peccator ("simultaneously righteous and a sinner")--to use Luther's language--but simul dead and alive. The body--dead because of sin but alive because of righteousness--is the site of a battle. Those who are made alive must experience mind-renewal, which is always exhibited in a transformation, a change in habitus, from one set of bodily practices to another. This is no individual struggle because the body, for Paul, is corporate, and the disciplines of the Christian life are lived out in community.

Note: I jotted down these notes on paper within a week or so of listening to Barclay's talk on a drive to Regina last summer. Since I can't vouch for their accuracy, I recommend listening to the lecture (online here), reading the conference proceedings (just released by Baylor University Press), or, if you are a visual learner, watching this video on a related topic.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Milestone

Pisidian Antioch
I am a newly-minted 40-year-old, embarking on my 10th year on faculty at Briercrest College & Seminary. 10 years is a long time by Caronport standards; it is also longer than I have ever lived in one place.

I wish I had the maturity that, 10 years ago, I would have thought came with such age and experience, but it turns out that maturity doesn't happen automatically, and I still have a (long) way to go.

Anyway, the teaching part of my 19th semester looks like this:

  • Mon/Wed 12:25-1:40 p.m. GRK300/700 (Second Year) Greek Syntax 
  • Tues/Thurs 12:25-1:40 p.m. HEB300/700 (Second Year) Hebrew Syntax & Exegesis I 
  • October 21-25 modular: BLST306/825 Romans
All courses are cross-listed between the college and the seminary. I have posted copies of the syllabi here.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bible Software Recommendations

In my second year Greek and Hebrew syllabi I recommend the following resources: 

The best computer programs for serious original-language study of the Bible are Accordance (Mac/Windows [coming soon]/Ipad), Bibleworks (Windows/Mac), and Logos (Windows/Mac/Ipad/Android).
Accordance 10 (http://www.accordancebible.com/). The Original Languages Collection includes the grammatically-tagged Hebrew Bible, Septuagint and Greek New Testament, several lexicons and English translations. Cost: $299.99 US.
Bibleworks 9 (http://www.bibleworks.com/). Includes the grammatically-tagged Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, Greek New Testament, Targumim, Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, Philo, and Greek Pseudepigrapha; as well as several lexicons, grammars, and many translations. Cost: $359 US. 

Logos Bible Software 5 (http://www.logos.com/). Ken Penner informs me that you can get basic Greek New Testament, LXX, and Hebrew Bible texts with parsing and translation for a $160 minimal crossgrade. If you want the standard Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, Rahlf's LXX and the BHS Hebrew Bible, you can choose the Bronze package, which includes the grammatically-tagged Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, Greek New Testament, and Targumim; as well as several lexicons, translations, and some new tools for syntactical analysis of the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Bible, as well as other resources. Cost: $629.95 US. If you purchase a major Logos package and you are a student or faculty member, be sure to apply for academic pricing: http://www.logos.com/academic/program.

_____________________________________
My 2 cents: In my view, Bibleworks gives you the most bang for your buck, though if I were to start over, I would probably go with Accordance. (I really like what they have included in their Original Languages Collection.) Logos has fantastic resources, but you pay a premium for them. For my earlier posts on Bibleworks and Logos see here and here. For another perspective, I recommend Mark V.G. Hoffman's blog Biblical Studies and Technological Tools.

I should add that all three programs are powerful and sophisticated tools. To get full value for your investment, you should plan to spend a minimum of 8-10 hours learning how the program works. No doubt it is because I have done this with Bibleworks, but not with Accordance or Logos that I find Bibleworks easiest to use--though not as user-friendly as Gramcord used to be.

Finally, my comments are geared toward students of Hebrew and Greek. If you don't know Hebrew or Greek, you are better off spending your time and money on learning a biblical language. Bible software power tools are no substitute for the ability to read the original.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Essentials of Biblical Hebrew Syntax

Technical post alert: I am interested in feedback from Hebrew-savy readers, and don't know where else to put my query.

As I began reading the Hebrew syntax textbook I assigned for this fall's "Hebrew Syntax and Exegesis I" course, it quickly became apparent to me that requiring students to read the whole thing carefully, or spending most of the semester talking about syntax as I have done in the past with Greek, would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Don't get me wrong, John C. Beckman's, Williams' Hebrew Syntax (3rd ed.; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007) is fine for what it does. As a "traditional, sentence-level syntax that concentrates on the meanings of morphological categories" rather than "discourse-level analysis," the book is a clear, succinct and remarkably comprehensive resource (although its 19 categories for the [non-existent] Hebrew genitive is dwarfed by Wallace's 33 categories for the Greek genitive case). But most of the book describes what can happen in Hebrew; its main value is in explaining difficult and unusual constructions and linking to reference grammars. As with most syntaxes, long lists of categories threaten to drown the reader in second-order linguistic jargon instead of helping them learn to follow the linguistic cues of Hebrew.

Rather than reading about all the different possibilities, it is better by far to read Hebrew, and discuss unusual constructions as they surface in the Biblical text (where one can draw on a syntax as a resource). After all, the whole point is to help students learn to love reading Hebrew over the long term, and to read it well.

As I finalize my syllabus, then, I need to decide which elements of Hebrew syntax are essential for second-year students to learn because they can transform the way we read the text or because they are debated--or as is normally the case, both. While we will spend most of our class time reading Hebrew, there are a few places where it is helpful to stop and talk syntax because of its potential exegetical pay-off. Here is my list:
  • Subjects, complements and adjuncts
  • Construct relationships - We don't need a gazillion categories; it does help to be aware of the possibilities.
  • Word order, topic and focus
  • Narrative sequence and discourse analysis
  • The tense vs. aspect debate in connection with the Hebrew verb system.
Questions: What else am I missing? What are the essentials of Greek syntax, and why is it so much easier to make a short list of the essentials of Hebrew syntax?


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Jew", "Judaean", and Christian anti-Semitism

As I was completing the final section of my article (very rough) draft last night, I returned to some remarks I gave at Briercrest's faculty retreat last fall--and I thought they were worth posting here:
________________________________________________________________________________
On the surface, the hot topic in Biblical Studies that I am trying to describe, evaluate and contribute to comes down to the question, Should the Greek word, Ioudaios, be translated ‘Jew’ or ‘Judaean’? This appears to be the kind of hair-splitting about minutiae that typifies scholarship at its “best” (like an academic conference on The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs). But if you are studying ancient ‘Judaism’ the question has a certain urgency to it because you have to call Jesus’ contemporaries something, and you don’t want to embarrass yourself by using a discredited label. The scholars themselves would protest that the debate is much more important than terminology. According to Philip Esler,
 [T]ranslating Ἰουδαῖοι [Ioudaioi] as ‘Jews’ is not only intellectually indefensible . . . but also morally questionable. To honor the memory of these first-century people it is necessary to call them by a name that accords with their own sense of identity. (Esler 2003: 68). 
By contrast, Amy-Jill Levine claims that switching from ‘Jew’ to ‘Judaean’ will do more harm than good:
The Jew is replaced with the Judean, and thus we have a …a text purified of Jews. Complementing this erasure, scholars then proclaim that Jesus is neither Jew nor even Judean, but Galilean. . . . Once Jesus is not a Jew or a Judean, but a Galilean, it is also an easy step to make him an Aryan. So much for the elimination of anti-Semitism by means of changing vocabulary (Levine 2006: 160, 165). 
The reference to anti-Semitism points to a deeper issue. Last week I had my Gospels students brainstorm answers to the questions: Why did Jesus die? What is the significance of his life? What is the connection between the two? When I asked, “humanly speaking, what got Jesus killed?”, the Pharisees kept coming up: They were jealous. They were bad. I was doing my best to smile and nod. Now I wish I had recorded the answers because I can’t remember whether the student who said that Jesus was sent to earth to show how “they” were wrong was speaking about the Pharisees or “the Jews”. But one gets the impression that they amount to the same thing. And who can blame them?

In Matthew 27, Jesus is on trial, accused by Pilate of being the “King of the Jews,” when “all the people” said, “his blood be on us and on our children!” (27.25). In John 8 Jesus is in conversation with the “Jews who believed in him” when he declares “You are from your father the devil” (8.44; cf. 31, 48). In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul tells the Thessalonian believers:
For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind …But wrath has come upon them at last! (1 Thess 2.14-16) 
These passages trouble me not* because I think the New Testament is anti-Semitic, but because of the role they have played in the tragic history of Christian anti-Semitism: Gentle St. Bernard of Clairvaux calling the Jews “a race who had not God for their father, but were of the devil” (source); Martin Luther who—if Wikipedia is to be believed—wrote, “"[w]e are at fault in not slaying them” ; Easter pogroms against the Jews in 19th century Europe, the holocaust, and my memory from junior high school of someone telling a Jewish classmate, “you killed Jesus.”

This is one place where the translation question comes in. According to the NET, Jesus is talking with “Judeans” not “Jews” when he says “your father” is “the devil” (John 8:31). In the NLT, where the truth is “made clear,” the Jews disappear altogether and are replaced with the benign “people.” The NLT and NET are following the advice of the standard lexicon of New Testament Greek, which says:
Incalculable harm has been caused by simply glossing Ἰουδαῖος with ‘Jew’, for many readers or auditors of Bible translations do not practice the historical judgment necessary to distinguish between circumstances and events of an ancient time and contemporary ethnic-religious-social realities, with the result that anti-Judaism in the modern sense of the term is needlessly fostered through biblical texts. 
I am with Amy-Jill Levine on this one: Leaving “Jews” out of our translations may make unsuspecting readings think Jesus was not a “Jew,” and deny to contemporary “Jews” their ancient heritage. I am also not convinced that the best way to atone for a troubling past is to sweep the issue under the carpet.

*Correction: 1 Thess 2:14-16 troubles me. Period.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Herding Cats and the Meaning of Ioudaios

"Determining the meaning of Ioudaios [Jew/Judaean] is a lot like ‘herding cats or participating in a greased pig contest.’"* So goes the first sentence of the conclusion to my final article on the meaning of Ioudaios. I still need to figure out what I will say in the rest of the conclusion, draft an appendix on how the term should be translated, and revise the whole thing. Meanwhile I leave you with this:

*The 'herding cats' quote is borrowed from George Nickelsburg's description of scholarship on Joseph and Aseneth in Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah (2nd ed.; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 337.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Using VUE as a free-form text editor - A Windows alternative to Scapple

Update (18 July): It turns out that OneNote already does what I wanted VUE and Freeplane to do. Oops. Back to my FreePlane & OneNote combination; still waiting for Scapple...

In my last post I said that I had settled on Freeplane as a stop-gap measure until Scapple becomes available for Windows. This afternoon I switched to VUE because Freeplane is just not up to the job. 

Like Freeplane, VUE is a free open-source program, but it is geared toward concept mapping instead of mind-mapping (see here and here for a comparison). I might care about the difference eventually, but right now I am looking for something that neither program was designed for, but that VUE allows me to do: to type text anywhere on a limitless canvas and then move the bits and pieces around as I puzzle out the order in which my thoughts should go together. Freeplane supports multiple nodes, but it doesn't let you move them around; VUE supports text boxes that you can move around. The export options in VUE aren't great, but it does the job for now. Here is what I was working on this afternoon:

Samir Kurdi had this to say about an earlier version of VUE:
VUE offers a good balance between complexity and ease of use, and between offering the simple building blocks needed to create mind maps of all kinds, on the one hand, and sophisticated tagging, analytical, and presentation tools on the other.
Now back to the job that VUE is supposed to be helping me complete!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Scapple, Freeplane & Mind-Mapping Software for Pack Rat Thinkers

Source 
I had a productivity software episode a couple weeks ago, brought on by disappointment that Scapple is not available for Windows (yet). You see, I draft most everything I write--including this blog post--on scrap paper before entering it on the dreadfully blank, linear, and permanently ephemeral screen. As my thoughts don't come out in sequence, and I'm always afraid I'll lose something important, I end up brainstorming all over the page (like this).

Among the several disadvantages of this pack rat writing style are that I write slowly, my internal hamster tends to fall off its wheel when I run out of room on the page, and I eventually have to enter the bits and pieces worth saving into permanent storage on my computer. (I also go through a lot of scrap paper. I once accidentally printed 400 pp. from a colleague's book manuscript, which kept me supplied for a while. Since that stock ran out, I've taken to dumpster diving recycle bins around the school.)

Sometimes fountain pen and paper aren't good enough. Sometimes I want to keep my random thoughts in the more-or-less random form in which they emerge. I also wondered about saving time by brainstorming on screen rather than on paper. Enter Scapple:
"Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows. If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does."
Alas, Scapple is not currently available for Windows, so I looked around for alternatives. The short answer is that there are none. After reading about Blumind, TheBrain, and connectedtext, and trying xmind, Freemind, Coggle, CompendiumNG, I settled on Freeplane as a workable stop-gap with VUE as a runner-up [Update: I've switched to VUE; see below]:


Freeplane is a free, open source, powerful mind-mapping program that allows you--somewhat awkwardly--to click and type in different areas of the "page" (which, as far as I can tell, is limitless). [Update: Freeplane doesn't really work for unconnected notes because, as far as I can tell, you can't move text around freely. If you are stuck with Windows and it is a free-form text editor you are looking for, try VUE. (See this post for more detail.)] If  Perhaps because it is a mind-mapping program geared toward brainstorming related thoughts, it has not eliminated my perpetual need for scrap paper when I am working on a writing project, but I have begun to use it to store stray thoughts, and it works quite well for that purpose. One neat feature, which sets it apart from Vue, is that you can copy your mind-map and paste it into OneNote as an outline.

Give it a whirl!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Short Reflection on Theology and Biblical Studies

As I make my way through J. Christiaan Beker's excellent Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and Thought (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980), I've been wondering how anyone can be a New Testament scholar and disdain theology. Much as I dislike theology of the Erickson/Ryrie variety--the kind that tries to tie all the loose end together into a logical system--reactions against "theology" by Biblical Studies people (including myself), has impoverished the discipline.

The converse is also true, of course. Here is one of the quotes by Erasmus that I keep on hand for biblical language pep talks:

 "Therefore, dear Martin, out of my good will toward you, I will not stop encouraging you, as I have done before, at least to add the knowledge of Greek letters to your studies. . . . Believe me, if you add the summit of Greek letters to your very distinguished undertakings, I would dare to predict both to myself and others a great future for you and accomplishments not as yet equaled by any of the modern theologians. But if you hold the view that all human learning should be despised out of love for true piety, and that one arrives at this wisdom much more quickly through a certain transformation in Christ, and if it is your judgment that everything else worth learning can be seen more fully in the light of faith than in the books of men, I would gladly agree with your opinion. But if, as matters now stand, you promise yourself a true understanding of theology without a knowledge of languages and especially of that language in which the majority of the Divine Writings have been handed down, you have strayed far off the path." - From Erasmus's "Letter to Martin Dorp, May 1515." In Erasmus, Christian Humanism and the Reformation: Selected Writings of Erasmus with the Life of Erasmus by Beatus Rhenanus (Edited by John C. Olin. Rev. ed. 1965. Repr. New York: Fordham University Press, 1975), pp. 80-81.







Sunday, June 16, 2013

Romans Reading Recommendations

Chora Church, Istanbul (Photo by David M. Miller)
Update: See the addition below.

I get to teach an upper-level elective on the book of Romans every second year. Since my primary research focus is elsewhere, staying abreast of all the recent important scholarship on Romans is out of the question. My compromise is to try to read a few important books on Romans or Paul each time I ramp up to teach the course. (See this post for an earlier list.)

On my list this time are a couple seminal books on Paul from my bookshelf--which I acquired because they are important but never got around to reading--and a couple newish finds on Romans from the Archibald Library.

I will comment on the list below, but first let me say that I am interested in recommendations: What are some recent Romans and/or Paul 'must-reads' that I should not overlook?

Here is the list as it currently stands:

Beker, J. Christiaan. Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and Thought. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980.
  • Parts of this book were required reading for my comprehensive exams in early Christianity. I am now working my way through the whole thing. Jerry Sumney says the book was "[e]specially influential in shifting attention to the theology of other Pauline letters" aside from Romans. 
Watson, Francis. Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith. London: T&T Clark International, 2004.
  • I purchased Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith after hearing Richard Hays commend it as almost as important as his own monograph on Paul's use of scripture. Hopefully, I'll make it through all 500+ pages this summer before selling it on Amazon for $200. (Just kidding about the last part, but check out the link!)
Late addition: Keck, Leander E. Paul and His Letters. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.
  • Another unread volume from my bookshelf: Katherine Grieb says "Leander Keck's introduction to Paul's letters and his theology is the single most helpful resource I know for understanding the logic of Paul's thought at all levels of education" (p. 78 in Sumney below).
Grieb, A. Katherine. The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God’s Righteousness. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
  • I am considering this as a secondary textbook. At first glance, it appears very well-written and accessible.
Sumney, Jerry L., ed. Reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.
  • Looks like a nice collection of recent essays by fine scholars. I thought at first that it might work well as a secondary textbook, but decided to make my own selection of paired essays if I go that route.

Note: If I could get my hands on an advance copy of N.T. Wright's Paul and the Faithfulness of God, it would be on my list.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013-2014 Course Line-up

I will be teaching second year Hebrew for the first time beginning this fall, and second year Greek for the first time in four years. I will also be teaching Romans as a combined college and seminar modular course (Oct 21-25). Although I have taught Romans several three times, I have never taught a mod before, so that will be another new experience. To fill out my seven course / year teaching assignment, I will be teaching Gospels and Jewish Backgrounds, along with the fourth semester of Hebrew and Greek next winter.

I mention this now because I am spending the day working on course design before the textbook order deadline at the end of this month, and I may post a question or two here presently.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Briercrest Turkey-Greece Study Tour Review

From my Twitter feed (@ntdmiller):
May 1: From our hotel on the Med. #BcrestStudyTour
http://twitpic.com/cngugm
May 2: Long but good day from Antalya to Pamukkale
May 2: Our hotel outside Hierapolis
http://twitpic.com/cnrg0b
May 3: Living it up in Laodicea, Hierapolis & Kusadasi
http://twitpic.com/co0b2p
May 4: Fun fact for the day: The Turkish word for lion is Aslan. #BcrestStudyTour #Narnia #C.S.Lewis
May 4: Artemis of the Ephesians
http://twitpic.com/coaz9l
May 9: The view from our hotel room in Thessaloniki
http://twitpic.com/cpf8pr
May 10: Our Greek guide reminds me of another They Might be Giants song, unfortunately.
May 10: Sure noticing a lot of Greek inscriptions here... http://twitpic.com/cppuxp
May 20: Saw lots of these in Turkey and Greece http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_whipsnake
May 29: 347 photos tagged; another 2250 or so to go #BcrestStudyTour

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Biblical Sites in Turkey and Greece in their Ancient Context

I don't remember when I realized that with a few exceptions the maps in the back of my NIV Bible only listed places mentioned in the Bible. Obviously there must have been other settlements, but for those who haven't studied ancient history, your average Study Bible map can convey the impression that Attalia and Perga were the only cities in ancient Lycia. That's why I try to set Biblical sites in the broader context of the ancient world by showing my students maps like this one (click on the map for a larger image):
(I created the map using David Barrett's powerful but slow Bible Mapper program.)

The first map, however, only gives part of the picture. Here is a screen shot of Asia Minor, courtesy of the Pelagios Project that is hosted by the Ancient History Encylopedia:
Whence comes my interest in Asia Minor? Two weeks from today, participants on Briercrest's "Following Paul in Turkey and Greece" Study Tour will arrive in Istanbul. We will fly from there to the modern-day counterpart to ancient Attalia, and visit the sites included on the map below:
Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Concerning the "Gate to Hell" in Hierapolis

Slow news day today: Reports are circulating about the discovery of a "Gate to Hell" in connection with the Temple to Apollo in Hierapolis: CTV news gushes "The mythical -- and, let's face it, horrifying -- "gate to hell" has finally been discovered in a cave in Turkey."  The source is, apparently, this Discovery Channel report, which has been picked up by the Huffington Post among others. Let it be known that I was there first, and reported on it back in 2007:
We were especially interested in the temple because the Blue Guide reports that "During the excavation, work was impeded considerably by noxious gas which seeped from the foundations. It was found that this gas originated in the Plutonium...a sanctuary dedicated to Pluto, the god of the underworld." The poisonous gas emanating from the Plutonium was well-known in antiquity. In the late 2nd or early 3rd century the Roman historian, Dio Cassius, "tested its lethal properties on birds" and "remarked also on the apparent immunity enjoyed by eunuchs" (Blue Guide 277). After what the guide books had to say, I imagined the Plutonium would be quite the tourist attraction, but the site is now overgrown with grass and is not exactly well-marked. The Lonely Guide comments that the gas "is still deadly poisonous. Before the grate was installed there were several fatalities among those with more curiosity than sense." Suitably warned, I took this picture using my camera's telephoto lens. 
For pictures, see the original post from my Turkey Travelogue.

Whether or not there is anything new to report, I'm really looking forward to returning to Hierapolis with the Briercrest Turkey/Greece study tour next month.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Echoes of Scripture in Matthew 24:30-35: Moses and the Prophets in Jesus' Consolation

A public service announcement for sojourners in Southern Saskatchewan: Professor Ken Guenter will be presenting a paper on Friday as part of this year's Briercrest College and Seminary Colloquium series. The paper is entitled "Echoes of Scripture in Matthew 24:30-35: Moses and the Prophets in Jesus’ Consolation." Here is Ken's abstract:
This article examines a portion of the Olivet Discourse to demonstrate the potential of an interpretive method that begins with Israel’s Scriptures as the primary context for a New Testament discourse. It becomes evident that within the chorus of echoes most originate in the Mosaic covenant and are subsequently developed by the Prophets. These precursor texts in both Moses and the Prophets look forward to Israel’s restoration. The harmony of these voices and ideas engenders confidence within the reader that Jesus is being heard, consoling his disciples from their Scriptures that, though their temple and city will surely be destroyed, Yahweh’s people Israel will never pass away.
This will be the last colloquium of the year, so please join us on Friday, March 15 in room S113 @ 12:30 PM if you can make it out.

Friday, March 8, 2013

N.T. Wright and Herod Pantipus

We are reading N.T. Wright's Lent for Everyone: Matthew during our family Bible time this year as a way of entering into Lent and preparing for Easter. (Why is it that there are all kinds of children's resources for Christmas, but not Easter?)

The picture on the left was the result of one of our deep theological discussions last week...after I accidentally mispronounced "Herod Antipas."

Overall, however, we are all benefiting from reading Matthew, and the accompanying text is vintage Wright, which is fine. At its best it fixes the text more firmly in mind and encourages devotional reflection. One also gets a succinct and accessible version of Wright's model of Jesus in his Jewish context.

Here, for example, I think Wright nails the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees without denigrating first-century Judaism too much:

"That was the real bone of contention between Jesus and the Pharisees. They were supporting a system which, at its best, was pointing forward to God's great desire to find a purified people for himself. Jesus was claiming that God was now doing this, through him. They were setting up signposts; he claimed to offer the reality which made the signposts redundant."

Monday, March 4, 2013

March comes in like a lion

We woke up this morning to at least a foot of new, wet snow:
 Massive drifts (on top of all the snow we already had):
 And beautiful wind sculptures:
Before the latest edition, we could walk up the drift, over our back fence, and onto the prairie. Now the there is a 6 foot wide (at least) platform on top of the drift:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Logos 5: Is an upgrade worth it?

Technical, first-world problem alert: This post assumes familiarity with the major Bible software programs (Logos, Bibleworks and Accordance), and an interest in electronic resources for the study of Greek and Hebrew.

Despite the incessant advertising, I haven't been able to convince myself that shelling out 100's of $ for an upgrade from Logos 3 (Gold) to Logos 5 is worth it. Special upgrade prices expired last month, but I have an offer of academic pricing at 50% off until mid-May, so I can still think about it. What am I missing?

Let me explain my situation in a bit more detail, and then I'll look forward to suggestions:
  • I use Bibleworks all the time. It is always open on my desktop. I consult it regularly in preparation for teaching, in general Bible reading, and in research. Bibleworks comes standard with morphologically tagged Greek texts of the New Testament, LXX, Apostolic Fathers, Philo and Josephus, as well as a morphologically tagged Hebrew Bible and morphologically tagged Aramaic Targumim. It also has more translations in more languages than you can shake a stick at. The best Greek and Hebrew dictionaries and Marty Abegg's tagged sectarian DSS (to name a few of interest to me), are available as add-on modules. I hesitate to pay good money to duplicate what I already have. 
  • I do not require a library of commentaries or other resources on the whole Bible since I teach and research in a more limited area. When I start to teach a new biblical book, I will build up my library accordingly. No doubt a complete set of good commentaries would come in handy from time-to-time, but not often enough to justify paying for a set that will sit mostly unused on my virtual shelves.
  • I am interested in more sophisticated ways to analyse and perform original-language grammatical searches on the Bible and related literature.
Questions about Logos 5:
  • A minimal cross-grade would give me access to a few new Lexham tagged texts and reverse interlinears, some pictures, and a few new datasets that would allow me to search by phrases instead of words. I'm just not sure I would do this kind of search enough to make it worth $130. (The Logos sales rep I talked to actually said the cross-grade isn't worth it. What I should really do, he said, is shell out $1,000+ for one of the larger packages.)
  • The Biblical Languages Upgrade looks more up my alley, except that I already have at least one morphologically-tagged database of everything in the package. What is the value of having multiple tagged texts of the same corpus? What is the benefit of reverse interlinears when any searches I do would be in the original language? I am open to being persuaded here. I'm just not seeing it. (If they threw in Moulton-Howard-Turner or the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament Bundle as part of the package, it would suddenly look a lot more attractive.)
  • Which of these modules is worth the asking price?
How about independent resources: The Göttingen Septuagint, for example, is very tempting, and--as far as I know--not available on any other platform. If you were to purchase specialized resources geared towards work in the original languages, what would you recommend?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Turkey and Greece Study Tour Reading List


From an email I sent out to participants on this spring's Briercrest Study Tour of Turkey and Greece:

I compiled this list of readings for the academic course that goes along with the “Following Paul” study tour. Since I know from past experience that advance preparation pays off in a richer experience on the trip itself and more enduring memories afterward, I am sending it along to all of you. Don’t feel bad if you are not able to do all the readings; I encourage you to do as much as you can.

An Introduction to the History and Culture of Turkey and Greece

For most of us, the trip’s main attraction is its potential to help us understand the New Testament world better. Yet we cannot really return to the past. Our only access to ancient Greece and “Asia Minor” is through the twenty-first-century countries of Greece and Turkey. Focusing on only one small slice of the region’s history will actually distort our perspective on the period in which we are most interested. And, of course, there is a great deal that we can learn from the fascinating contemporary world that we will experience together. For these reasons, I encourage everyone to read about contemporary Turkey and Greece before we leave.

Students who take the study tour as a credit course will be required to read the “Understand Turkey” and “Understand Greece” chapters from the latest edition of the Lonely Planet Guides to Turkey and Greece. There may be better options, but these are short, engaging, and available on-line. The section on Greece is currently available from the Lonely Planet website as a free download. The section on Turkey will put you out $3.46 for the 90 page pdf. Here are the details:

·         Turkey: Bainbridge, James, et al. “Understand Turkey.” Pages 620-666 in Lonely Planet: Turkey (12th ed.), 2011. Chapter available online for $3.46: http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/turkey/turkey-travel-guide/turkey-understanding-turkey-and-survival-guide-chapter-12/.
·         Greece: Miller, Korina, et al. “Understand Greece.” Pages 710-758 in Lonely Planet: Greece (10th ed.), 2012. Chapter available online here: http://media.lonelyplanet.com/shop/pdfs/greece-10-understand-survival.pdf.

(You can purchase the entire guide books in print form if you like. Note, however, that the Lonely Planet series is geared primarily toward do-it-yourself travelers.)

The World of the New Testament

Students who take the study tour as a credit course will be required to read James S. Jeffers, The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999) before the tour begins. Based on my initial sampling, the book appears to be an excellent, well-written introduction to the social world of the earliest Christians. I think you will find that it brings to life the bare ruins we will visit. Recommended for everyone! The book will soon be available at the Briercrest Bookstore (http://www.briercrest.ca/bookstore); you can also order it through your favourite online retailer.

We are looking forward to the expert teaching of Dr. Mark Wilson during most of our time in Turkey. Students who take the study tour as a credit course will be required to read three of Dr. Wilson’s essays that deal with aspects of Paul’s missionary journeys and/or cultural life in Asia Minor:

Wilson, Mark. “The Rise of Christian Oracles in the Shadow of the Apollo Cults.” Ekklesiastikos Pharos 90 (2008): 162–175.
________. “The Role of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s Ministry Journeys.” Ekklesiastikos Pharos 87 (2005): 76–95.
________. “The Route of Paul’s First Journey to Pisidian Antioch.” New Testament Studies 55 (2009): 471–483.

Please email me if you would like a copy.

Ancient Sites

Student who take the study tour as a credit course will be required to read the relevant sections of Clyde E. Fant and Mitchell G. Reddish, A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). The book will soon be available at the Briercrest Bookstore (http://www.briercrest.ca/bookstore); you can also order it through your favourite online retailer.

If you have room in your luggage, you may want to purchase and bring along one or more of the following specialized guide books, which complement the general treatment in Fant and Reddish:

Ancient Sites in Turkey
·         Hemer, Colin J. The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001. (It reads like the dry doctoral dissertation it is, but the content—essentially a geographical commentary on Revelation 2-3—is fascinating and illuminating.)
·         McDonagh, Bernard. Blue Guide Turkey. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. (I found McDonagh’s Blue Guide to be an invaluable resource on a previous trip to Turkey, and also, remarkably, a lot of fun to read.)
·         Wilson, Mark. Biblical Turkey: A Guide to Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor. Istanbul: Ege Yayinlari, 2010. (Lavishly illustrated in full colour, Mark Wilson’s guide is an excellent introduction to biblical sites in Turkey. As it is rather heavy, you may want to read it before you leave to whet your appetite for the trip itself.)

Ancient Sites in Greece – Both of the following books come highly recommended on Amazon. Take your pick:
·         Marker, Sherry, and James Pettifer. Blue Guide Greece: The Mainland. 7th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006.
·         Mee, Christopher, and Tony Spawforth. Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide. Oxford University Press, 2001.

The Bible

Last, but not least, you will want to read Paul’s epistles, Revelation 1-3 and the relevant sections of Acts as you prepare for and participate on the tour. Here is a reading schedule for the tour itself, along with our final itinerary:

April 29, Monday Arrive Istanbul
·         Meet our Tutku Tour guide and transfer to the Grand Hotel Halic (www.grandhalic.com) in Istanbul. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Istanbul. 

April 30, Tuesday Istanbul
·         On our first full day in Turkey we will sample some of the stunning sites in Istanbul, including the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Archaeological Museum, the Underground Cistern and the Grand Bazaar. Overnight in Istanbul at the Grand Hotel Halic.

May 1, Wednesday Morning Flight to Antalya; Perga - Attalia
·         After our arrival in Antalya, we will visit the Greco-Roman city of Perga (Acts 13:13-14; 14:25) and the Antalya Museum before taking a walking tour of Attalia that concludes at the Asia Minor Research Center. Overnight in Antalya at the Dedeman Antalya Hotel (http://www.dedeman.com/hotel-antalya/dedeman-antalya.aspx).
       Bible Reading: Acts 13-14; Galatians

May 2, Thursday Pisidian Antioch - Colossae
·         This morning we will drive to Yalvaç to visit Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14) and Yalvaç Museum. We will then drive west past ancient Apollonia and Apamea, with a brief stop at the unexcavated site of Colossae. Overnight in Pamukkale at the Lycus River Thermal Hotel (http://www.lycusriver.com/). 
·         Bible Reading: Colossians

May 3, Friday Hierapolis - Laodicea - Aphrodisias - Kuşadasi
·         Today we will visit the biblical cities of Hierapolis (Col 4:13) and Laodicea, and stop in Aphrodisias. Overnight Kuşadasi at the Grand Onder Hotel (http://www.onderotel.com/index.php). 
·         Bible Reading: Revelation 1-3

May 4, Saturday Ephesus
·         We will spend the day touring the ancient site of Ephesus, including terrace houses and the temple of Artemis, as well as St. John's Basilica and the museum in Selçuk. Overnight Kuşadasi at the Grand Onder Hotel. 
·         Bible Reading: Acts 18:18-20:1; Ephesians; 1 Timothy

May 5, Sunday Miletus - Didyma - Priene - Izmir
·         Today we will visit Miletus (Acts 20:15, 17), the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, and the Hellenistic city of Priene. Overnight Izmir at the Karaca Hotel (http://www.otelkaraca.com.tr/eng/).
·         Bible Reading: Acts 20

May 6, Monday Smyrna, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Thyatira - Bergama
·         Today we will concentrate on the cities mentioned in Revelation 2-3, with visits to Smyrna, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Thyatira. Overnight Bergama at the Berksoy Hotel (http://www.berksoyhotel.com/indexeng.htm). 
·         Bible Reading: Revelation 2-3

May 7, Tuesday Pergamum - Assos
·         We will spend most of the day visiting the extensive cite of Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17), including the acropolis, the Red Basilica, and the Asclepium. We will then drive past the port city of Adramyttium mentioned in Acts 27:2. Overnight Assos at the Grand Assos Hotel (http://www.grandassoshotel.com/). 
·         Bible Reading: Revelation 2:12-17; 27:2

May 8, Wednesday Assos - Troas - Troy - Transfer to Greece
·         After an early breakfast, we will tour the site of Assos (Acts 20:13-14), and then travel to Greece with stops along the way in Troas and Troy. Overnight Kavala at the Esperia Hotel (http://www.esperiakavala.gr/). 
·         Bible Reading: Acts 20:1-18

May 9, Friday. Neapolis - Philippi - Amphipolis
·         We will begin our day in Neapolis and then follow the route of Paul's second missionary journey with visits to Neapolis, Philippi and Amphipolis, and a final drive to Thessalonica. Overnight Thessaloniki at the Metropolitan Hotel (http://www.metropolitan.gr/en/). 
·         Bible Reading: Acts 16; Philippians

May 10, Saturday Thessalonica - Berea - Vergina
·         After visiting ancient Thessalonica, we will drive to Berea (Acts 17), and then visit the royal tombs of Macedonia at Vergina. Overnight Delphi at the Pythia Art Hotel (http://delphi-hotels.com/en/). 
·         Bible Reading: Acts 17:1-15; 1-2 Thessalonians

May 11, Sunday Delphi
·         We will spend the day at the beautiful ancient Greek city of Delphi. Overnight Corinth at the Kalamaki Beach Hotel (http://www.kalamakibeach.gr/).

May 12, Monday Corinth - Cenchrae
·         We will spend the day in the famous city of Corinth and the port of Cenchrae. Overnight Athens at the Jason Inn Hotel (http://www.douros-hotels.com/view_hotels.asp?hotel_id=1). 
·         Bible Reading: Acts 18:1-17; 1-2 Corinthians

May 13, Tuesday Athens the acropolis and agora; Mars hill.
·         On our final day, we will visit the acropolis of Athens, the extensive agora, and Mars hill. We will also tour the Parthenon museum. Overnight Athens. 
·         Bible Reading: Acts 17:16-18:1

May 14, Wednesday Transfer to Athens Airport

Happy Reading!