Sunday, 2 December 2007
Friday, 30 November 2007
There are some interesting courses lined up for 2008. Of major highlights are the course to be taught by Dr Peter O'Brien of Moore College, Australia, and the Special Travel Course Following the Footsteps of Paul. Check out these and other courses, and sign up!
If you are interested in our Theological Education by Extension (TEE) or would like further information on our TEE programmes, please click here.
Thursday, 29 November 2007
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt.: Studien zur Entstehung der alttestamentlichen Urgeschichte
Reviewed by Michaela Bauks
Reviewed by Konrad Schmid
Gary M. Beckman and Theodore J. Lewis, eds.
Text, Artifact, and Image: Revealing Ancient Israelite Religion
Reviewed by Diana Edelman
Barry Beitzel, ed.
Biblica The Bible Atlas: A Social and Historical Journey through the Lands of the Bible
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins
The Jewish Community of Rome: From the Second Century B.C. to the Third Century C.E.
Reviewed by Judith Lieu
Reviewed by Allen Kerkeslager
Die Kulttheologie des Hebräerbriefes: Eine exegetisch-religionsgeschichtliche Studie
Reviewed by Gabriella Gelardini
Bruce J. Malina and John J. Pilch
Social-Science Commentary on the Letters of Paul
Reviewed by Eduard Verhoef
The Gospel of John
Reviewed by Dirk van der Merwe
Richard P. Thompson
Keeping the Church in Its Place: The Church as Narrative Character in Acts
Reviewed by Steve Walton
David A. Warburton, Erik Hornung, and Rolf Krauss, eds.
Ancient Egyptian Chronology
Reviewed by Nicolas Grimal
Markus Witte, Konrad Schmid, Doris Prechel, Jan Christian Gertz, eds.
Die deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerke: Redaktions- und religionsgeschichtliche Perspektiven zur "Deuteronomismus"-Diskussion in Tora und Vorderen Propheten
Reviewed by Trent C. Butler
Reviewed by Jobst Bösenecker and Ulrike Sals
Friday, 23 November 2007
Thursday, 22 November 2007
I am going off topic in this post.
I am helping to promote a novel arts and craft venture by my sister. Together with two other friends, they have come out with some cool and neat ideas for Christmas gifts. Check out their blog, ARTSYC.
They are making their products available this week. Please visit their booth at Mont Kiara Bazaar. There are more products on display.
Details as follows:
- Mont Kiara Bazaar, Plaza Mont Kiara.
- For map to venue, please click here.
- Thursday, 22 November 2007 evening from 5pm to 10pm
- Sunday, 25 November 2007 from 11.30am to 6.00pm
If you drop by, just mention that you come to know about their booth in my blog, and I am pretty sure the ladies will give you a good deal. They will be very pleased of your support.
Articles may be submitted in the following areas:
- Old Testament and Cognate Studies. Including (but not limited to) critical studies in Hebrew Bible; Septuagint; Pseudepigrapha; Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture; Syro-Palestinian Archaeology.
- New Testament and Cognate Studies. Including (but not limited to) critical studies in New Testament; Early Christian Literature; Apocryphal Literature and Traditions; Classical Studies; Archaeology of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
- The Bible in Homiletics and Christian Education. Including theoretical and methodological studies dedicated to the practical applications of biblical scholarship to both preaching and pedagogy.
- Book Reviews. Submissions of critical reviews of books related to the field of biblical studies will be accepted and invited.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Yes, I have finally finished marking (American English: grading) all the papers and turned in the grades. The final semester for the current academic year ended about a month ago and I have been struggling to finish marking all the papers since then. It is a great relief for me, and I am very sure for the students as well who are anxiously waiting to know their grades. Well, I think I have less hair on my head now!
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
While I may not know the intention of the preacher for making this statement, I could not help but to wonder why theologians/biblical scholars have often received bad press in many sermons, particularly among the independent charismatic churches? This is not the first time that I hear such remark being made over the pulpit.
I may not have all the answers to the above questions. But this I know. After all, isn't it Karl Barth, when asked about his Christian faith, responded by saying, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so"? I think this is a very sober reminder from a great theologian to all of us about how we understand and read the Bible - whether we are theologian or not!
Monday, 19 November 2007
- From the lowest recruits of 26 in the year 2002, there has been a steady increase over a period of 4 years to 44 applicants .
- The average of men entering priesthood is now 28, the youngest it has been in years.
- A disproportionate number of the new seminarians at the Westminster archdiocese's seminary at Allen Hall are coming into the priesthood through the “ecclesiastical movements” that proliferated after the Second Vatican Council. These groups are officially recognised organisations that follow a particular founder and are usually led by the laity. They often take the model of the early Church as their example, meeting as small communities to pray and study scripture.
Read the rest of the article here.
It is also interesting to compare some of these figures to my seminary's new intake for the coming 2008 academic year. While we are encouraged by some of the recent developments, it seems to me that the latest statistics also reveal some concerns and trends that both the church and seminary need to consider seriously. More of this later.
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Friday, 16 November 2007
Thursday, 15 November 2007
"Happy the One who Meditates on Wisdom" (Sir. 14,20): Collected Essays on the Book of Ben Sira
Reviewed by Benjamin G. Wright III
Mark J. Boda, Daniel K. Falk, and Rodney A. Werline, eds.
Seeking the Favor of God: Volume 1: The Origins of Penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism
Reviewed by Albert L. A. Hogeterp
Kurt Erlemann, Karl Leo Noethlichs, Klaus Scherberich, and Jürgen Zangenberg, eds.
Neues Testament und Antike Kultur (4 vols.)
Band 1: Prolegomena; Quellen; Geschichte
Band 2: Familie; Gesellschaft; Wirtschaft
Band 3: Weltauffassung; Kult; Ethos
Band 4: Karten, Abbildungen, Register
Reviewed by Joseph Verheyden
Die Aussetzungsgeschichte des Mose: Literar- und traditionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zu einem Schlüsseltext des nichtpriesterschriftlichen Tetrateuch
Reviewed by Eckart Otto
Graeme GoldsworthyGospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation
Reviewed by Erwin Ochsenmeier
Hermann Gunkel; trans. by K. William Whitney Jr.
Creation and Chaos in the Primeval Era and the Eschaton: A Religio-Historical Study of Genesis 1 and Revelation 12
Reviewed by Pieter G. R. de Villiers
Reviewed by John Nolland
Umstrittener Monotheismus: Wahre und falsche Apotheose im lukanischen Doppelwerk
Reviewed by Loveday Alexander
Y. V. Koh
Royal Autobiography in the Book of Qoheleth
Reviewed by Stefan Fischer
Josep Rius-Camps and Jenny Read-Heimerdinger
The Message of Acts in Codex Bezae: A Comparison with the Alexandrian Tradition; Volume 2: Acts 6:1-12:25: From Judea and Samaria to the Church in Antioch
Reviewed by Jacob M. Caldwell
Dorothee Soelle; trans. by Nancy Lukens-Rumscheidt and Martin Lukens-RumscheidtThe Mystery of Death
Reviewed by Cornel W. du Toit
Das fünfte Buch Mose (Deuteronomium): Kapitel 1,1-16,17
Reviewed by Christoph Levin
D. H. Williams, ed.Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Monday, 12 November 2007
So I decided to try out the blog readability test to determine once and for all the answer to this question. Here's the verdict:
All I can say is this: "Huh? Really ah? Can I trust the test?" So, what do the readers say?
Sunday, 11 November 2007
Saturday, 10 November 2007
David E. Aune
Apocalypticism, Prophecy and Magic in Early Christianity: Collected Essays
Reviewed by Lorenzo DiTommaso
Samuel E. Balentine
Reviewed by Willem A. M. Beuken
M. Daniel Carroll R. and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, eds.
Character Ethics and the Old Testament: Moral Dimensions of Scripture
Reviewed by Eckart Otto
Byron G. Curtis
Up the Steep and Stony Road: The Book of Zechariah in Social Location Trajectory Analysis
Reviewed by Ehud Ben Zvi
James D. G. Dunn
The Partings of the Ways: Between Christianity and Judaism and Their Significance for the Character of Christianity
Reviewed by Peter Carrell
A New Understanding of the Verbal System of Classical Hebrew: An Attempt to Distinguish Between Semantic and Pragmatic Factors
Reviewed by John Kaltner
Ancient Letters and the New Testament: A Guide to Context and Exegesis
Reviewed by Pieter J. J. Botha
Derek Krueger, ed.
Reviewed by Peter-Ben Smit
"Juda wird aufsteigen!": Untersuchungen zum ersten Kapitel des Richterbuches
Reviewed by Christoph Levin
Hershel Shanks, ed.
Where Christianity Was Born: A Collection from the Biblical Archaeology Society
Reviewed by Jonathan Reed
Cynthia Long Westfall
A Discourse Analysis of the Letter to the Hebrews: The Relationship between Form and Meaning
Reviewed by Gabriella Gelardini
Alexa F. Wilke
Kronerben der Weisheit: Gott, König und Frommer in der didaktischen Literatur Ägyptens und Israels
Reviewed by Stefan Fischer
Friday, 9 November 2007
Brad A. Greenberg
Since a new principal took over last year at Wycliffe Hall, one of seven private Christian schools at the University of Oxford, more than half of its faculty ha resigned. Critics charge new head Richard Turnbull with an abrasive management style and a narrowing of the college's theological vision.
Adding to the school's troubles is a university panel review, released in September, which concluded that Wycliffe and Oxford's other Christian halls were not providing a liberal education in line with Oxford's values. The report recommended that Oxford regulate the curriculum of its permanent private halls. Teaching that squelches "the spirit of free and critical enquiry and debate" could cause a hall to lose its license.
The Church of England has moved its 2009 inspection of Wycliffe up by a year, to next October. While the college's ability to enroll undergraduate students for Oxford degrees is expected to survive, the bigger question is whether its administration will gain the support of faculty members.
"If the turbulence that is currently going on does settle down … [then] this may be seen as a turning point at which Wycliffe went from one approach of evangelicalism to another approach that is just as well," said Justin Thacker, head of theology for the U.K.'s Evangelical Alliance. "When Paul and Barnabas split over the issue of John Mark … there were two missions instead of just one. There have been divisions—and they have been painful divisions—but I hope that at the end of the day, each group that splits off goes to do so in the service of Jesus Christ."
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
One highlight is the inauguration of the a brand new commentary series: Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament, published by Baker Academic. The first volume in this series, Ephesians and Colossians by Charles H. Talbert, will soon be released in time for the conferences.
With the proliferation of commentaries, is there a justification for another new series? What then is the distinction of the Paideia series?
According to the editors of the series, Mikeal C. Parsons and Charles H. Talbert, Paideia aims itself to be "a series that sets out to comment on the final form of the New Testament text in a way that pays due attention both to the cultural, literary, and theological settings in which the text took form and also to the interests of the contemporary readers to whom the commentaries are addressed." (emphasis mine)
Who then is this series targeted at?
"This series is aimed squarely at students—including MA students in religious and theological studies programs, seminarians, and upper-divisional undergraduates—who have theological interests in the biblical text." (emphasis mine)
"Thus, the didactic aim of the series is to enable students to understand each book of the New Testament as a literary whole rooted in a particular ancient setting and related to its context within the New Testament."
How then would Paideia aim to achieve this? How would the commentaries in this series look like? What is the approach used?
According to the editors, "each commentary deals with the text in terms of larger rhetorical units; these are not verse-by-verse commentaries. This series thus stands within the stream of recent commentaries that attend to the final form of the text. Such reader-centered literary approaches are inherently more accessible to liberal arts students without extensive linguistic and historical-critical preparation than older exegetical approaches, but within the reader-centered world the sanest practitioners have paid careful attention to the extratext of the original readers, including not only these readers’ knowledge of the geography, history, and other context elements reflected in the text but also to their ability to respond correctly to the literary and rhetorical conventions used in the text. Paideia commentaries pay deliberate attention to this extratextual repertoire in order to highlight the ways in which the text is designed to persuade and move its readers." (emphasis mine)
"Each rhetorical unit is explored from three angles:
(1) introductory matters;
(2) tracing the train of thought or narrative flow of the argument; and
(3) theological issues raised by the text that are of interest to the contemporary Christian.
"Thus, the primary focus remains on the text and not its historical context or its interpretation in the secondary literature." (emphasis mine)
It is worthwhile to note that contributors to this series comprise scholars of international reputation. Apart from the first installment by Charles H. Talbert on Ephesians and Colossians, forthcoming volumes in the Paideia series include: James W. Thompson on Hebrews (Fall 2008), Mikeal C. Parsons on Acts (Fall 2008), Frank J. Matera on Romans, Pheme Perkins on First Corinthians, and Raymond F. Collins on Second Corinthians.
Thus far, this series appears to be interesting enough to capture my attention. I would be very interested to see as to how the above aims and objectives will be achieved in the first installment of this series, Ephesians and Colossians, that will be released soon. If successful, this series will be helpful not only for theological students but also for anyone who is interested in the final form and theological interests in the New Testament. It may also prove to be useful for lay teachers and preachers in the church. While this series is aimed at students, it is hope that seasoned scholars will also find this series engaging enough to be able to satisfy one's hunger for scholarly investigation of the biblical texts. Having said that, judging solely from the description of the series, it seems that those who are primarily interested in the historical-critical approaches to the biblical texts may have to look elsewhere.
I look forward to be a proud owner of the first volume in the Paideia series.
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
Monday, 5 November 2007
Toward a Teleology of Peace: Contesting Matthew's Violent Eschatology
A Note on asphalelia (Luke 1.4)
The Rhetoric of pistis in Paul: Galatians 2.16, 3.22, Romans 3.22, and Philippians 3.9
The Year of the Four Emperors and the Revelation of John: The `pro-Neronian' Emperors Otho and Vitellius, and the Images and Colossus of Nero in Rome
Male pastoi in Revelation 1.13
Sunday, 4 November 2007
- User Notes Note-Taking Strategies
- Using the User Notes in the Classroom
- Creating Student Handouts.
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Thursday, 1 November 2007
What about us - do we dare to confront our own weaknesses in the way we do church, admit it, then do the necessary and rightful thing? What happen to the "age old spiritual disciplines of prayer, bible reading and relationships...(that) do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage"?
Why the most influential church in America now says "We made a mistake."
Not long ago Willow released its findings from a multiple year qualitative study of its ministry. Basically, they wanted to know what programs and activities of the church were actually helping people mature spiritually and which were not. The results were published in a book, Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek. Hybels called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking,” and “mind blowing.”
If you’d like to get a synopsis of the research you can watch a video with Greg Hawkins here. And Bill Hybels’ reactions, recorded at last summer’s Leadership Summit, can be seen here. Both videos are worth watching in their entirety, but below are few highlights.
In the Hawkins’ video he says, “Participation is a big deal. We believe the more people participating in these sets of activities, with higher levels of frequency, it will produce disciples of Christ.” This has been Willow’s philosophy of ministry in a nutshell. The church creates programs/activities. People participate in these activities. The outcome is spiritual maturity. In a moment of stinging honesty Hawkins says, “I know it might sound crazy but that’s how we do it in churches. We measure levels of participation.”
Having put all of their eggs into the program-driven church basket you can understand their shock when the research revealed that “Increasing levels of participation in these sets of activities does NOT predict whether someone’s becoming more of a disciple of Christ. It does NOT predict whether they love God more or they love people more.”
Speaking at the Leadership Summit, Hybels summarized the findings this way:
"Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for."
Having spent thirty years creating and promoting a multi-million dollar organization driven by programs and measuring participation, and convincing other church leaders to do the same, you can see why Hybels called this research “the wake up call” of his adult life.
"We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own."
In other words, spiritual growth doesn’t happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage.
Does this mark the end of Willow’s thirty years of influence over the American church? Not according to Hawkins:
"Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet."
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
- How do I find time to study?
- How do I adjust to study life again since I have left school/college/university some years ago?
- Is theological studies very difficult?
- Will theological studies result in spiritual dryness since there is so much emphasis on the academic requirements?
Who Owns the Bible?: Toward the Recovery of a Christian Hermeneutic
Reviewed by J. R. Daniel Kirk
The Blemished Body: Deformity and Disability in the Qumran Scrolls
Reviewed by Jeremy Schipper
Richard Horsley, editor
Oral Performance, Popular Tradition, and Hidden Transcript in Q
Reviewed by Joseph Verheyden
Bridging the Gap: Ritual and Ritual Texts in the Bible
Reviewed by Wes Bergen
Jerusalem: Ein Handbuch und Studienreiseführer zur Heiligen Stadt
Reviewed by Gabriele Fassbeck
A People Tall and Smooth-Skinned: The Rhetoric of Isaiah 18
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer
Nocturnal Ciphers: The Allusive Language of Dreams in the Ancient Near East
Reviewed by Robert Gnuse
Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers
Reviewed by Mark Reasoner
Daniel N. Schowalter and Steven J. Friesen, editors
Urban Religion in Roman Corinth: Interdisciplinary Approaches
Reviewed by Jonathan Reed
Gregory of Nyssa: The Letters: Introduction, Translation and Commentary
Reviewed by Ilaria Ramelli
Libraries, Translations, and 'Canonic' Texts: The Septuagint, Aquilla and Ben Sira in the Jewish and Christian Traditions
Reviewed by Pancratius Beentjes
John H. Walton
Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Alan Lenzi
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Words of Appreciation
1) David Gunaratnam: Quiet Leadership
Wong Fong Yang
2) Spirituality: Some Thoughts on Culture, Context and History
Biblical Perspectives: Leadership, Spirituality and the Corinthian Correspondences
3) No Mission Without Holiness
4) The Servant of the Lord and Mission Leadership: Reflections from Isaiah 49:1-7
5) Mission and Spirituality: Lessons from 1 Corinthians
6) Is There A Place For Suffering In Mission? Perspectives from Paul’s Sufferings in 2 Corinthians
Lim Kar Yong
7) Trying to Preach in Context – Some Reflections from 2 Corinthians
Historical Perspectives: Past Models and Present Challenges
8) The Moravians: A Model of Spirituality and Mission for the Asian Church
9) Revitalization, Renewal and Missions: A Case Study on Sidang Injil Borneo
10) Mongolians: Their Journey of Faith
Kwai Lin Stephens
11) Robert Morrison – The Trailblazer and Beyond: Following One Trail of Christian Medical Service in China
James H. Taylor III
12) D. E. Hoste: The Spirituality of a Servant Leader
13) The Spirituality of Wang Mingdao
Programmatic Proposals for the Future of East Asian Church and Mission
14) The Multicultural Congregation: A Critical Model for the Future of Asian Christianity
15) Leadership or Servanthood?
16) Transforming Conversion: From Conversion to Transformation of Culture
17) Rethinking the Meaning of the Cross for Christian Discipleship
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
I find some very helpful and interesting ideas for teaching Paul's missionary journeys in the book edited by Mark Roncace and Patrick Gray, Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction, Resources for Biblical Study 49 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature 2005) as highlighted in a previous post on Classroom Ideas for Teaching the Bible.
With some modifications to suit a younger and non-academic audience, and together with two other "partners-in-crime", we hope to try out the idea of "Paul and the Amazing Race" in one of the meetings of the College and University Group in my church in November.
Sunday, 21 October 2007
To all our graduands, congratulations. May the Lord's richest blessings continue to rest on you as you go forth to serve him.