Monday, September 6, 2010

Last Supper Chronology

The Gospel of John offers a different chronology of the Last Supper than Mark and the other synoptic gospels.  For Mark, the setting for the supper is Passover (see Mark 14).  For John, the supper is clearly not a Passover meal.  And for John, there are no words of institution.  The central focus is not the sacraments (there are none), but the act of foot washing.  For John, the act of remembering Jesus is not accomplished by breaking bread and drinking wine as ritual, but by serving others (see John 13).

For a comparison of the two chronologies, see the chart below.

Days of Awe

This week begin the Days of Awe (or Days of Repentance) for the Jewish community.  This period spans ten days, starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur.  It is a time of introspection and of seeking reconciliation with people you have wronged.  See more at Judaism 101.
  • Rosh Hashandah - 9/9/2010
  • Yom Kippur - 9/23/2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Historically-Conditioned Scriptures

How are extreme liberals and extreme fundamentalists alike?  Larry Hurtado suggest both theological positions ignore the historically-conditioned nature of scripture as divine revelation.  To read his thoughts on the mater, click here.

Jews for . . . ?

Here are two sites that are polar opposites:  Jews for Jesus and Jews for Judaism.

Examine how both use scripture to support their belief that:
  • Jesus is the messiah (Jews for Jesus)
  • Jesus is not the messiah (Jews for Judaism)
 The purpose of Jews for Jesus to convert Jews to Christianity and the response of Jews for Judaism to these Christian missionaries, illustrates the problematic nature of Christian evangelism in a pluralistic age. 

And it specifically calls our attention the concept of "covenant" and asks us to consider what being faithful to God means, whether Christian or Jew.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Robert Kysar - John, the Maverick Gospel

In a recent post, I mentioned Robert Kysar's book John, The Maverick Gospel.  First published in 1976, it is now in an expanded third edition in paperback format.  Let me be direct.  Buy it.

This is one of the best introductions to the Gospel of John that I know.  But it is not the typical introduction that spends all its time on authorship, date, audience, etc.  Rather, Kysar wants to introduce us to the thought world and symbolism of this  literary/theological work in a non-technical fashion.  His hope is to accomplish three objectives:
  1. to stress the uniqueness of the Fourth Gospel among the literature of the early Christian movement
  2. to set the thought and symbolism in the broader context of the universal religious quest of humanity
  3. to keep the reader engaged in the text of the gospel itself
It is the latter objective that initially attracted me to this book.  It is structured almost as a self-study course with various reading assignments, called Reader's Preparation, scattered frequently throughout the text.  As you might guess, this is not a linear approach to the gospel, but topical and conceptual.  The four major chapters of the book are:

Chapter 1:  The Father's Son - Johannine Christology
Chapter 2:  Two Different Worlds - Johannine Dualism
Chapter 3:  Seeing Is Believing - Johannine concepts of Faith
Chapter 4:  Eternity Is Now - Johannine Eschatology

Each time I begin a new study of the John's Gospel, the first book to come off the shelf is John, The Maverick Gospel.  That's why I've got at my desk right now.  It clearly has the revJohn Seal of Approval.

Dale Allison - Constructing Jesus

 Mark November 10 on your calendar.  That's the publication date of Dale Allison's highly anticipated new book on Jesus entitled Construction Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History.  I'm really looking forward to the book's release.  Check out the information below.  I think you will be excited too.

Below is the Baker Academic's biography of Dale, publicity blurb, and  table of content.  For more at the Baker site, go here.  And for the Amazon listing, go here.
Dale C. Allison Jr. (PhD, Duke University) is the Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. His recent books include Resurrecting Jesus, Studies in Matthew, and The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus. He is also the author (with W. D. Davies) of the three-volume work on Matthew in the International Critical Commentary series.

What did Jesus think of himself? How did he face death? What were his expectations of the future? And can we answer questions like these on the basis of the Gospels? In Constructing Jesus, internationally renowned Jesus scholar Dale Allison addresses such perennially fascinating questions about Jesus.
Presenting the fruit of several decades of research, Allison contends that the standard criteria most scholars have employed and continue to employ for constructing the historical Jesus are of little value. His pioneering alternative applies recent findings from cognitive science about human memory to our reading of the Gospels in order to "construct Jesus" more soundly.
All scholars and students of New Testament and Jesus studies will want to interact with the data and conclusions of this significant work.

1. The General and the Particular: Memories of Jesus
2. More Than a Sage: The Eschatology of Jesus
     Excursus 1: The Kingdom of God and the World to Come
     Excursus 2: The Continuity between John the Baptist and Jesus
3. More Than a Prophet: The Christology of Jesus
4. More Than an Aphorist: The Discourses of Jesus
5. Death and Memory: The Passion of Jesus
6. Memory and Invention: How Much History?

Stan The Man

Gene.  Roy. The Duke.  Mr. Dillon.  My heroes all.  But the truth be told, my heroes have not always been cowboys.

Mother of revJohn:  Who's your favorite ball player?
revJohn (before the rev):  Stan Musial.

ESPN calls him the most underrated athlete ever

Bob Gibson called him "the nicest man I ever met in baseball."

  • Stan had 3,630 hits in his career; 1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road.  That's consistency.
  • Stan never struck out 50 times in a season. That's amazing.
  • Stan was NEVER thrown out of a major league game and he played from 1941 to 1963.  That's almost unbelievable!
Now Joe Posnanski, for my money, the best sports writer in the business, has written a fantastic piece for Sports Illustrated on Musial.  Do yourself a favor.  Click here and read about a great athlete and a great person.

"Whaddya say!  Whaddya say!  Whaddya say!  

I say Stan is still a hero to me.