Saturday, 30 August 2008

Speaking at JB Wesley Family Camp in Desaru

This year, I will be celebrating the nation's 51st Merdeka in a slightly different manner.

In a matter of minutes, I will be leaving for Johor Bahru, the southern gateway of Peninsular Malaysia. From JB (as it is popularly known), I will be making my way to the popular east coast beach, Desaru.

The Johor Bahru Wesley Methodist Church has graciously invited me to be their family camp speaker to be held at Pulai Desaru Beach Resort from August 30-September 1, 2008. Based on the theme of "We Live By Faith and Not By Sight", I will be speaking on a series of 3 messages in the camp.

For my messages, I will be focusing on Paul's letters to the Corinthians. Paul uses a host of imageries borrowed from the Greco-Roman world of his time to drive home the point that he would like the churches to learn. In this family camp, I hope to explore 3 powerful imageries that Paul uses in his letters to the Corinthians to unpack what it means to “live by faith, and not by sight.”

Session 1: We live by faith, not by sight: Our relationships - Lessons from the temple imagery

Session 2: We live by faith, not by sight: Our Story - Lessons from ancient physiognomy and the imagery of Paul's body

Session 3: We live by faith, not by sight: Our Legacy - Lessons from the athlete imagery

It will be a very packed weekend, and I would appreciate that readers of this blog could offer a prayer for me. Thank you.

Friday, 29 August 2008

TEE Course: Parables of Jesus - Part 3: The Parable of An Inculpatory Servant and A Gracious Master

Since I will soon be teaching a course on the Parables of Jesus for our Theological Education by Extension programme, I thought that it might be good for me to attempt to write a parable as well.

The following parable is inspired by many personal encounters with believers who question God or others for the consequences of their actions. Sometimes it is sad that we refuse to take responsibilities for our mistakes, weaknesses, and failures; rather, we find it much easier and convenient to point our fingers at others.

Parable of An Inculpatory Servant and A Gracious Master

How then shall I describe our relationship with God or with one another? It is like a slave that works for a very wealthy master. One day, the master discovers that the slave has stolen some money from the safe, and he questions the slave about the theft. The slave denies any knowledge until the master produces the evidence as recorded in the CCTV. However, instead of dismissing the slave, the kind master graciously decides to give the slave a second chance to work for him, hoping that the slave would have an opportunity to repent from his serious mistake and would turn over a new leaf and become a better person instead.

A few weeks have passed, and the master discovers to his horror that the slave has once again stolen some money from the safe. The master confronts the slave, but as in the first instance, the slave denies any knowledge, refusing to admit his acts of dishonesty. When the evidence of his dishonest act as recorded in the CCTV is brought forward, the slave becomes very angry and upset at the master for exposing his deeds and for dismissing him from his job.

Not only does he not repent from his sins, the slave decides to engage a lawyer to sue the master for an amount of RM10 million for installing the CCTV with the purpose of surveillance in order to expose his shame. Now that his reputation has been seriously undermined and the prospect of finding a job elsewhere appears dim, the slave also demands another RM10 million in compensation from the master for potential loss of income.

What is the main point of this parable, taking into account the culture and custom of an Asian society than places emphasis on honour and shame?

How many of us, instead of taking responsibility, would blame God and our fellow brethren for our sins and the consequences of our actions?

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Joseph Komar Has His PhD!

We have just received news that my colleague, Joseph Komar, has passed his viva. He earned his PhD from South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies.

Congratulations! And we look forward to celebrating with you when you returned in September.

There is now an additional PhD in the faculty of STM.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

NT Position at Fuller Theological Seminary

I have just come across another NT position available. The recruitment notice is reproduced below.

Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Theology invites nominations and applications for a tenure-track faculty position in New Testament studies in support of the Seminary’s Center for the Study of Hispanic Church and Community, beginning Fall 2009. Rank is open.

The successful candidate will possess faith and lifestyle congruent with the mission of Fuller Theological Seminary as expressed in the Statement of Faith and other statements and standards of the Seminary, a completed PhD in New Testament studies or a cognate field, demonstrated competence or promise with regard to teaching and research/writing, the ability to teach in Spanish, and commitment to shaping pastoral leaders for ministry in the Latino/a community. Preference will be given to candidates with pastoral experience in the Latino/a community, who have experience teaching Latinos/as, and who have published in Spanish.

The normal course load is 6 courses/year, with 3-4 courses/year offered in Spanish.

Depending on qualifications and desire, mentoring of PhD and ThM students is possible.

The full position description (including directions for application) is available at

Send the requested materials via e-mail to
Dr. Howard Loewen,
Dean, School of Theology,
Fuller Theological Seminary,
135 N. Oakland Ave.,
Pasadena, CA 91182.

Electronic submission of application materials is preferred.

Application deadline: October 6, 2008.

The Passing of Dr David Scholer

After struggling with cancer for many years, Dr. David M. Scholer, who had served Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary as professor of New Testament, passed away on Friday, August 22, 2008. He was 70.

For further details on the legacy of Dr Scholer, click here.

Monday, 25 August 2008

BNTS Update: Paul Seminar

Finally, the details of the various seminar groups for the upcoming BNTS Conference at Durham is updated. Click here for the links to the papers to be presented in the various seminar groups.

For the Paul Seminar, I am particularly intrigued at the paper to be presented by Dr Paul Ellingworth (Aberdeen). The paper is entitled: '"Nobody Knows de Trouble I Seen": Hardship Lists in Paul and Elsewhere'. According to the abstract, this paper "surveys discussions of Paul's hardship lists from 1910 to 2007; analyzes the lists' distinctive vocabulary and discourse structure; and briefly comments on their christological implications."

I wish I could get hold of Ellingworth's paper as this sounds very similar (at least from the abstract) to Chapter 1 of my thesis submitted in March 2007, and now in the final stages of being revised for publication by T&T Clark.

Apart from the paper by Ellingworth, there is a very interesting joint session with the Acts Seminar on Paul's Damascus Road experience by Dr Barry Matlock (University of Sheffield) from the perspective of the Pauline letters, and Tim Churchill (London School of Theology) from the perspective of Acts. This is followed by a response by Prof Loveday Alexander (University of Sheffield).

The papers by Dr Matlock and Dr Churchill can be downloaded by clicking on the following links.

I wish I could be at Durham this year.....Perhaps my Principal would like to make a trip back to Durham too, his alma mater.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

NT Position at Xavier University

NT position at Xavier University:

Xavier University, Department of Theology, invites applications for a tenure-track position in New Testament beginning in August 2009.

Candidates should demonstrate a marked excellence in critically assessing the New Testament and early Christian documents within their historical contexts and developments. Candidates should have a facility with diverse interpretive methods and approaches to sacred texts as well as the ability to reflect on and communicate the theological and ethical implications of the early Christian traditions for an engagement with today’s pluralistic world. Ability to teach Second Temple Jewish literature is desirable. Ability to contribute to Jewish-Christian dialogue is an asset. Teaching load usually includes a course in Theological Foundations. The teaching of Biblical Languages as well as Masters level courses would be part of the possible teaching responsibilities. Ph.D. (or equivalent) or imminent receipt of doctoral degree is required. Some teaching experience is preferred.

Xavier University has a strong commitment to diversity and seeks a broad spectrum of candidates including women and minorities.

Xavier University is a Roman Catholic institution in the Jesuit tradition, committed to excellence in teaching, high quality scholarly activity, and creative and intelligent engagement with questions of interfaith dialogue, peace and justice.

The Theology Department currently consists of thirteen full-time, doctorally prepared professors.

The Department offers the Bachelor and Master of Arts in Theology degrees. Preliminary interviews of select, qualified applicants will be conducted at the SBL annual meeting in Boston in November.

Send application letter, curriculum vitae, graduate transcriptions, and three letters of recommendation to:

Professor Marie J. Giblin,
Department of Theology,
Xavier University,
3800 Victory Parkway,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-4442.

Application and letters of reference must be postmarked by October 3, 2008. Web page at Xavier University is an AA/EOE employer

Friday, 22 August 2008

TEE Course: Parables of Jesus - Part 2

I have been reviewing some of the resources that could be recommended to the students who will be taking my upcoming elective course on Teaching and Preaching the Parables of Jesus. One of the graded assignments for this module is the preparation of a lesson plan/sermon based on the student's choice of a parable of Jesus. To give some practical ideas in helping the students prepare for their lesson plan, I have been reviewing some of the resources available in the market.

One of the most useful resources that I have reviewed is Zondervan's The Parables of Jesus under the Deeper Connections DVD series.

This series contains a comprehensive study guide on six of the parables of Jesus:

  • Matthew 13:24-33: the coming of the Kingdom
  • Luke 7:36-50: the grace of the Kingdom
  • Luke 15:11-32: the God of the Kingdom
  • Matthew 13:44-46: the demand of the Kingdom
  • Matt 22:1-14: the mission of the Kingdom
  • Matt 25:31-46: the fulfillment of the Kingdom

Each of the studies above is taught by six well known and well respected NT scholars:

  • Gary Burge
  • David Garland
  • Mark Strauss
  • Michael Wilkins
  • Matt Williams
  • Ben Witherington III

In order to help the participants appreciate the impact of the message of the parables in the times of Jesus, each of the lesson plans consists of three components:

  • historical and cultural background
  • an engaging investigation of the biblical text and its meaning
  • challenging application of the message of the parable in contemporary context.

This DVD series is also accompanied by a Participant's Guide that helps the participants navigate through the teachings of the instructors. It also contains thought provoking questions for discussion. In addition, the Participant Guide also brings the application of the message of the parables further by providing five daily personal reflection studies that could be used as personal devotions.

I will be using some of the lessons from this DVD series for my lectures and will engage the students to review critically the effectiveness of the teaching method and to consider how to contextualise this resource for the use in our local context.

Hopefully, this excellent series by Zondervan could help us reflect on how best we can creatively teach and preach the parables of Jesus so that the message of the parables can still be driven home in our contemporary context.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

NT Position: Fordham University

Another NT position is now being advertised, this time by a reputable Jesuit university in New York. I have reproduced the recruitment advertisement below.

The Department of Theology of Fordham University is seeking a scholar who is grounded in critical and theological approaches to the New Testament. Competence in other methodological approaches and/or the history of interpretation would also be welcome. The area of specialization is open; however, research interests in Gospels would complement the existing strengths of the Department.

Start date: Fall, 2009.
Rank: Assistant Professor.
Competitive salary.
Teaching load is ordinarily 3/2 (semesters).
Ph. D. required.

A complete application consists of a personal letter of application, resume, transcripts, three letters of reference, and a representative example of scholarly work (e.g., unpublished research paper, published article). No faxes or e-mail attachments, please.

Applications must be complete in the department by October 20, 2008. We anticipate conducting preliminary interviews on Monday, November 24, at the SBL Annual Meeting.

Please send all application materials to

Chair of the Search Committee,
Department of Theology,
Fordham University,
441 E. Fordham Road,
Bronx, NY 10458.

Fordham is an independent, Catholic university in the Jesuit tradition that welcomes applications from women and men of all backgrounds. Fordham is an EO/AA employer.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

TEE Course: Parables of Jesus - Part 1

I will be teaching a modular course for the seminary's Theological Education by Extension programme to be held at the Kuala Lumpur/Petaling Jaya centre (which happens to be my church) on the weekends of September 5-7 and 12-14.

The course, Teaching and Preaching the Parables of Jesus, is an elective course that offers an in-depth study of selected parables of Jesus, including a survey of the history of their interpretation, their role in Jesus' ministry, and reflection upon their challenge for NT theology and interpretation. Special attention will be paid in the use of parables in contemporary teaching and preaching ministry where students will attempt to understand the parables of Jesus in light of their First Century Jewish environment, and to bridge the gap between then and now in applying the parables to their present situations in life.

One of the requirements of the course is to create a 15-minute teaching/preaching presentation based on the student's choice of a parable of Jesus, in consultation with the instructor. The presentation should include the student's interpretation of the parable in the form of sermon, teaching lesson, drama, Sunday school material, bible study, movie clip, music, or any other creative form which demonstrates a clear indication of how the parable functioned in the ministry of Jesus and how the parable is relevant to the situation of the current audience of the student. This assignment will be evaluated based on originality, creativity, and clarity of the presentation and the effectiveness of conveying the message of the parable to the student's contemporary audience.

For registration of the course, please get in touch with Ms Sarah Yap, Director of TEE Programme at sarahyap at stm dot edu dot my.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Lectures by Ben Witherington at Gordon Conwell

Prof Ben Witherington, a Gordon-Conwell alum and noted New Testament scholar, recently presented a series of lectures on the theme "What Have They Done with Jesus?" at the Annual Cooley Lectures, hosted by The Robert C. Cooley Center for the Study of Early Christianity at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary campus in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The lectures are now available and can be listened and downloaded from Gordon-Conwell's website.


Monday, 18 August 2008

Reading Week But Work as Usual...

It's reading week for the seminary and there will be no lectures.

I will not be in my seminary office this week, as I have requested the roof leakage problem in my office to be fixed so as to minimise any disruption to my work. Let's hope this problem can be sorted out once and for all as I have been tolerating it for more than 1.5 years already.

Although I will not be in the seminary office this week, it is not a break for me. I will still need to get some work done in the church office in order to finalise the classes for our Adult Bible School scheduled for the next quarter. In addition, I hope to get the bulk of the editing for my manuscript done by the end of the week. Furthermore, I have another sermon to prepare for the weekend and a camp for the following weekend - so it is work as usual.

Practical Tip: Beware of the Socks You Wear to Chapel

I remember a wise retired minister once gave me a very practical tip as one aspiring to follow in his footsteps to be a minister. The cardinal rule, suggested by the wise minister, is that one should never wear a pair of socks with holes if we are invited to preach in another church. This is a very wise suggestion as in Malaysia, some churches practise the Asian tradition by taking off shoes as we enter the church sanctuary, just like we would take off shoes as we enter the homes. As such, it would be rather embarrassing if the church we visit happens to be one that practises taking off shoes, and for that particular occasion, we happen to be wearing socks that have holes!

In the seminary where I teach, we take off our shoes as we gather for chapel services. Occasionally, we do notice those coming to chapel wear socks with holes. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to notice someone doing just that!

Guess who this person is!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Reviews of Biblical Literature, August 15, 2008

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature. The highlight would be Dunn's review of Watson's book.

Paul J. Achtemeier
Jesus and the Miracle Tradition
Reviewed by Michael Labahn

Roland Boer, ed.
Bakhtin and Genre Theory in Biblical Studies
Reviewed by David W. Williams

Maria Brutti
The Development of the High Priesthood during the Pre-Hasmonean Period: History, Ideology, Theology
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Lester L. Grabbe
Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?
Reviewed by Brian B. Schmidt

Leslie Houlden, ed.
Decoding Early Christianity: Truth and Legend in the Early Church
Reviewed by Robert M. Bowman Jr.

Karen L. King
The Secret Revelation of John
Reviewed by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton

Sarianna Metso
The Serekh Texts
Reviewed by Eric F. Mason

Douglas E. Oakman
Jesus and the Peasants
Reviewed by Ernest van Eck

Richard Liong-Seng Phua
Idolatry and Authority: A Study of 1 Corinthians 8.1-11.1 in the Light of the Jewish Diaspora
Reviewed by Scott E. McClelland

Tom Thatcher, ed.
What We Have Heard from the Beginning: The Past, Present, and Future of Johannine Studies
Reviewed by Cornelis Bennema

Nancy M. Tischler
Thematic Guide to Biblical Literature
Reviewed by Gerbern Oegema

Valerie M. Warrior
Roman Religion
Reviewed by Honora Howell Chapman

Francis Watson
Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective
Reviewed by James D. G. Dunn

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Ashgate Summer Sale

Ashgate Publishing is now having its Summer Sale till September 30. With almost 1,000 titles covering a wide range of interests on sale, this is the time to pick some of the titles you have been waiting for. With a sale price of GBP20.00 per title (plus a further 10% discount if order online, making the books only GBP18.00), this is one sale not to be missed.

Click here for the pdf listing of all titles on sale.

Friday, 15 August 2008

"Careless Negligence or Intellectual Dishonesty?"

It's been a while since I last updated myself with book reviews published in journals. So I decided to take some time today catching up with the recent scholarship in the Corinthian correspondence.

I came across a review on Community, Conflict, and the Eucharist in Roman Corinth: The Social Setting of Paul's Letter by P. Coutsoumpos (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2006) published in a well-respected journal, Biblical Theology Bulletin.

To my utmost horror, I came across the following comments by the reviewer in reference to the author's work:

"Coutsoumpos does include a footnote to Fee's commentary, but a significant portion of the argument is taken verbatim and without any indication that the statement is a direct quotation from another source. The exceedingly careless notation continues when Coutsoumpos summarizes his own position: "The best solution to all these data is to view 8:10 and 10:1-22 as the basic problem to which Paul is responding throughout" (p. 67). Without footnote or quotation marks, the statement appears to be the author's own thoughts, but the sentence comes directly and completely from Fee (Corinthians, p. 359). Whether these examples are an indication of careless negligence or intellectual dishonesty is difficult to say, though it is quite certain that the handling of sources in this book does not befit a scholarly work."

This is perhaps the most embarrasing error that a scholar could ever make.

Source: Kelly R. Iverson "Community, Conflict, and the Eucharist in Roman Corinth: The Social Setting of Paul's Letter". Biblical Theology Bulletin. Summer 2007. Date accessed: 15 Aug. 2008.

NT Position: Penn State University

One more Early Christianity/New Testament position is now being advertised.

Penn State University seeks a tenure track appointment at the Assistant or Associate Professor level in the History of Early Christianity and the New Testament. The appointment will be housed in the Religious Studies Program and the Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies.

The successful candidate will present a well-established scholarly portfolio and research program, strong credentials in the relevant languages, and a commitment to excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching. Electronic submission of letter of application and curriculum vitae are preferred.

Please send to
Sandi Moyer,
Administrative Assistant,

If materials cannot be submitted electronically, please mail to:
Early Christianity Search,
Box S, 108 Weaver Building,
University Park, PA 16802.

Deadline for submission of applications is October 1, 2008.

For more information on the Program in Religious Studies go to

For more information on the Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies go to

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Westminster Theological Seminary: 4 Faculty Positions Available

Westminster Theological Seminary is currently seeking for candidates to fill four full-time, tenur-track, faculty positions in the Departments of New Testament, Old Testament, Systematic Theology, and Practical Theology.

For the Department of New Testament, WTS seeks to fill "a full-time, tenure-track position, effective July 1, 2009. The initial appointment is for three years. Responsibilities include teaching both M.Div. and M.A.R. courses and graduate-level (Th.M., Ph.D.) courses, mostly on the Philadelphia campus (14-16 semester hours per academic year). Applicants should have or be near to completing an earned doctorate in New Testament studies or a related discipline, and show strong evidence of potential for scholarly writing and effective teaching. Membership in a Reformed or Presbyterian denomination is required, and ordination or candidacy for ordination is highly desirable. The candidate's personal commitment to the Westminster Standards and to the Seminary's core values, as set out in its Mission Statement ( is required. Salary will be commensurate with rank."

Applicants should send a copy of their curriculum vitae, including names of two references, to

Dr. Carl R. Trueman,
Vice President for Academic Affairs,
Westminster Theological Seminary,
P.O. Box 27009,
Philadelphia, PA 19118

by December 1, 2008

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Washington University in St Louis: NT Position

Another NT position is now being advertised:

Washington University in St. Louis seeks an assistant professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions/Early Christianity. This position, which will begin in August 2009, will be held jointly between the Department of Classics and the Program in Religious Studies.

While the precise area of research specialization is open, we would be most interested in a promising and productive scholar who is engaged in interdisciplinary study of Christian literature (canonical and extra-canonical), history, exegesis, or theology in the context of the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Teaching duties will include courses in Greek and Latin at all levels, as well as courses in early Christianity and in Greco-Roman religions. The ability to teach an introductory course in the New Testament would be particularly welcome. The teaching load is two courses each semester.

Applicants should have a Ph.D. either in Classics or Religious Studies (in hand by time of appointment), a well-developed research agenda for the future, and experience in the classroom.

Please submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, and a sample of scholarly writing to:

Ancient Mediterranean Religions Search,
Religious Studies Program,
Campus Box 1065,
Washington University in St. Louis,
One Brookings Drive,
St. Louis, MO 63130.

Consideration of applicants will begin on October 25, 2008 and continue until the position is filled; preliminary interviews will be held at the AAR meeting in Chicago in November and the APA/AIA meetings in Philadelphia in early January.

Washington University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Women, minority candidates and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

T&T Clark/Continuum Sale Till August 15

The T&T Clark/Continuum online sale is on till August 15.

Don't miss out this oppotunity to acquire those books on offers that would otherwise be beyond the reach for most of us. There are some really good deals. I know Perng Shyang would beat me to it this time! Perhaps Pearlie too!!

Another Embarrassing Blunder By the Evangelicals?

NECF Malaysia recently launched its annual 40-day Fast and Prayer movement, leading up to the National Prayer Conference and the nation's Independence Day celebration. This year, the theme is based on "The Lord Revives."

As one who belongs to a church that holds membership in NECF Malaysia, I would occasionally follow the 40-day Fast and Pray booklet for my personal spiritual development.

Last week, I picked up the booklet and read through the short introductory reading on revival during the Reformation. I almost choked when I read the following:

"Luther was outlawed by the Pope in 1520, and then by Emperor Charles V in 1521. He spent the next 20 years expounding basic principles of the Protestant Reformation which, among others, were the Authority of the Scripture, Justification by Faith and Priesthood
of All Believers."

"The Luther’s movement gave rise to the churches known as Protestants with the emergence of three main traditions: Lutheran (in Germany and Scandinavia), Zwinglian and Calvinist (in Switzerland, France, Holland and Scotland); and the Church of England."

It is almost inconceivable for me to even imagine that the umbrella body of the evangelical churches in Malaysia could make such a serious blunder containing glaring errors in the description of the history of the Church. I wonder how my Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican friends would say when they read the above.

This is not the first time that such embarrassing blunder has been made by NECF or its representatives. I have highlighted in a previous post on the problematic statements that appears to be theological incorrect made by its then Secretary-General (now Executive Adviser) on the church being apolitical. Has it become a trait among the evangelicals that all we are concerned is our spiritual development and not being historically correct and theologically informed about our Christian heritage and existence?

I wonder whether I have to write in to NECF once again.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Tyndale Tech: Searching Ancient Greek Literature

Dr David Instone-Brewer of Tyndale House, Cambridge, has just released another issue of Tyndale Tech. This time, he provides excellent tips to help us search for ancient Greek literature. I take the liberty to reproduce the latest Tyndale Tech below:
Searching Ancient Greek Literature

The bread and butter of New Testament studies is finding out how a word is used elsewhere. Usually this means looking it up in a good lexicon, but a real scholar does a word search. This has recently got a whole lot easier. TLG and Perseus are still the best sources, but now there are new ways to use them, including instant lexical help which isn't restricted to the speed of the web. Whether you want to do word searches throughout all Greek literature, or you just want to quickly look up a Greek word now and then, read on.

I also want your help adding to the ultimate list of 5000 early Greek texts and translations.
1) TLG - 'All' of Greek literature, in Greek
2) Perseus - the earliest Greek literature, with English
3) Electronic lexicons for Greek - quicker and better than paper
4) Diogenese - the key to reading untranslated Greek
5) Fonts - the easiest Unicode for Mac & PC
6) Finding translations on the web

1) TLG - 'All' of Greek literature. In Greek.
TLG - ie Thesaurus Linguae Graecae contains 'all' of Greek literature by thousands of authors, including 122 from the 1st C AD and 167 from the 2nd C AD. It contains all Greek literature from earliest times till AD 600, and most literature up to 1450. It is still growing, though I fear it will never catch up with itself. As far as Biblical Studies and early church history is concerned, it is complete.

Tyndale House used one of the original Ibycus computers built especially for TLG, with right-to-left Hebrew on the screen together with Greek and English. It was purpose-built and extremely fast, even by today's standards.
Then it was converted to CDs for other computers, with a variety of software, before it moved to the web where it has its own fairly good & fast search engine. But now things are getting faster again, in some ways, thanks to Diogenes (see below). See more history.
TLG is not free, but most institutions with Classics or Bible departments subscribe online. If you aren't near one, an individual licence is about $100 pa.

Hints for using the
online TLG:
  • At the opening screen, start by clicking on "Institution " or "Individual " (middle left)
  • Use the Unicode fonts. These work without installing and copy & paste into your documents.
  • To search for a word: Click on "Full Corpus.. Advanced"
  • Before you search, highlight the centuries you want (click on the first, hold Shift, and click on the last), and tick "varia" because this includes the Septuagint, then click on "Search", then "Search All".
  • lick on the typewriter symbol to type Greek letters. Type the word and click on "Word Index".
  • Tick the verbal forms you want and click on "Selected Words".
  • Select "Tufts" in "Perseus links" (top left) to get morphology and lexicons (this is now much faster)
  • If the lexicon lookup isn't fast enough, use Diogenes instead (see below)

2) Perseus - the earliest Greek literature, with English.

Perseus specialises in ancient Greek sources and is not as complete as TLG, but it covers all the main texts, and most of them have English translations available. It also includes papyri, which are NOT covered by TLG (but searching is broken at present). It is hosted at various sites, the best of which is Tufts who now have a new version 4. If you want to host your own, you can download the texts and programs, but you'll need a good Java programmer to install them, and a fast server to host them.

The Perseus Site has many hard-to-find treasures - - use the Tyndale map

Hints for using online Perseus

  • Find your text in the list, open it, then hold Shift and click on "English", then resize the windows so you have the Greek and English both visible (see below)
  • Click on a Greek word for morphology & lexicon, and put that window to the side.
  • Click "Configure display" (at top) and select "Unicode with pre-combined accents"

3) Electronic lexicons for Greek - quicker and better than paper

Electronic lexicons are now MUCH faster than English ones, both for looking up and searching. For Greek literature, the best lexicon is Liddell, Scott and Jones, 9th ed, which you can search at:
  • - 2LetterLookup. com
  • - click on 2 Greek letters then pick your word. Uses ZHubert & Perseus- Perseus - type in the start of the word without accents and "h" for harsh breathing, eg "huos"
  • - Diogenes (see below) which installs the whole lexicon onto your hard drive for instant access
  • - the Tyndale Toolbar which gives instant access to these and many other lexicons on PC & Macs

4) Diogenes - the key to reading untranslated Greek

Diogenes is a free program for PC & Macs which reads TLG and other texts in Beta code

This will also read the PHI7 CD containing the Duke Databank of Papyri and Greek inscriptions
There have been and are many other programs which do this but Diogenes has one great advantage
- it now includes the full LSJ Greek lexicon as part of the installation, for instant lookups, plus Perseus' Greek morphology (and Latin facilities for the PHI5 CD of Latin inscriptions)
You can use the Lexicon and morphology facilities without the data CDs.

The big problem is how to get hold of the TLG and PHI7 CDs. TLG themselves used to supply them, and they might still do so, but most subscriptions are now online.There are now extra texts available online, but they are later and of little interest to Biblical scholars. So far as I know, you can legally continue to use the old CDs so long as you have an online subscription.

If you have access to the CDs, AND you have an online subscription to TLG, do the following:
  • - copy the CDs into folders on your network, making them read--only and prevent copying
  • - tell users to click on 'Settings' in Diogenes and paste in the network addresses for the 3 CDs (see the instructions for the electronic facilities available at Tyndale House, under "TLG")
Of course, you could just come to Tyndale House and use the facilities here!

Hints for using Diogenes
Download Diogenes for Mac ( instructions) or for PC ( instructions).
Click on "Edit: Preferences" - set "How to present Perseus data" to "Pop up"
Set "Greek Input" to Unicode (see Fonts below) or BETA transliteration
Change to Unicode when typing a Greek word, otherwise it will look up Latin words.
You don't need the CDs to use the Lexicon or morphology parsing.
If you have the CDs, searching for a word is slower than online, but reading is faster, because the words are linked to instant parsing and full lexicon help, and any reference you click on in the lexicon takes you to the full text of that example.

5) Fonts - the easiest Unicode for Mac & PC

All of the above work best with Unicode fonts. Your computer already has rudimentary Unicode Greek but lacks accents and breathing. Install the Tyndale Unicode Kit - free, easy, fully configurable, and now with added help.
This gives you the wonderful Cardo font, with academic Greek, Hebrew and Transliteration.

For the best web experience, set your browser to Cardo.

  • eg for IE7: Press Alt; Tools; Options; Fonts; Latin based = Cardoor
  • for Firefox: Tools; Options; Content; Default font = Cardo

6) Finding translations on the web

Even when Diogenes gives you instant morphology and lexical help, an unknown Greek text is difficult to read. The key to faster working is to find a good translation to guide you. The following are good lists of online translations:

  • Perseus - a wide variety of translated texts, with Greek originals too
  • Greek Authors on the Web - collects links from all over. Some are dead.
  • Internet Classics Archive - a well-organised collection.
  • TLG - I've created a list from TLG of all 5079 Greek texts up to 4th C CE, with links to 451 online translations (incl. 16% of all texts before 2nd C CE)
Please help to grow this list!

There are lots more texts 'out there' which aren't listed, and Google is the best help for finding them.

Hint: Search for proper names which occur in the text, or rare words.
If you find that a link to a translation no longer goes anywhere, don't panic.
Paste the link into the WayBackMachine at and it is often there. When you find one please tell me which text it is on the list, and I'll add it.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Recently, a good friend gave me a rather generous love gift, saying that it is for me to buy some books. This is one gift that I will not refuse. Without any delay, I ordered some books from my Amazon wishlist. The order arrived last week, just in time for me to interact with some of these materials for my manuscript that I hope to get to T&T Clark, the publisher, by the middle of next month.

I am a happy man! (Someone once said that I am very easy to please...)

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Seattle University: Asst Prof of NT and Christian Origins

I have just come across the following announcement:


Department of Theology & Religious Studies invites applicants for an Assistant Professor, tenure-track position in New Testament & Christian Origins, beginning Fall 2009. Ph.D. required.

Primary teaching responsibilities will be undergraduate courses, including the Gospel of Jesus Christ, John, Paul, Synoptic Gospels, Women & the New Testament, and Apocalyptic Literature, as well as occasional “special topics” offerings. A grounding in Roman Catholic biblical scholarship and evidence of teaching and scholarly excellence are required.

We are particularly interested in applicants with expertise in liberation, feminist, African-American, Latino/a or Asian hermeneutics.

Please send letter of application, curriculum vitae, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation to:

Dr. Karen A. Barta,
Search Committee Chair,
Department of Theology & Religious Studies,
Seattle University,
901 12th Avenue,
P. O. Box 222000,
Seattle, WA 98122-1090.

For full consideration, all materials should be submitted by October 15, 2008. Applications will be accepted until position is filled. Preliminary interviews will be held at the 2008 SBL Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

Seattle University, founded in 1891, continues a more than 450-year tradition of Jesuit Catholic higher education. The University’s Jesuit Catholic ideals underscore its commitment to the centrality of teaching, learning and scholarship, of values-based education grounded in the Jesuit and Catholic traditions of service and social justice, of lifelong learning, and of educating the whole person. Located in the heart of dynamic Seattle, the University enrolls approximately 7200 undergraduate and graduate students in eight colleges and schools. Students enjoy a university ethos characterized by small classes, individualized faculty attention, a strong sense of community, a commitment to diversity, and an outstanding faculty. Seattle University is an equal opportunity employer.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Review of Biblical Literature August 6, 2008

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature on August 6, 2008. Some excellent books are reviewed:

Efrain AgostoServant Leadership: Jesus and Paul
Reviewed by Stephan Joubert

L. William Countryman
Dirt, Greed, and Sex: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today
Reviewed by Will Deming

April D. DeConick
The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says
Reviewed by Arie W. Zwiep

William Loader
Enoch, Levi, and Jubilees on Sexuality: Attitudes towards Sexuality in the Early Enoch Literature, the Aramaic Levi Document, and the Book of Jubilees
Reviewed by Jessica Tinklenberg deVega

Meir Lubetski, ed.
New Seals and Inscriptions, Hebrew, Idumean and Cuneiform
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Jill Middlemas
The Templeless Age: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the Exile
Reviewed by Lester L. Grabbe

Joy A. Schroeder
Dinah's Lament: The Biblical Legacy of Sexual Violence in Christian Interpretation
Reviewed by Yael Shemesh
Reviewed by Ron Clark

Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik, eds.Jewish Believers in Jesus
Reviewed by Elizabeth Boddens Hosang and Bart J. Koet

Kimberly B. Stratton
Naming the Witch: Magic, Ideology, and Stereotype in the Ancient World
Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Position: University of Michigan

The Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position in Christianity in Late Antiquity, to begin September 2009.

The appointment will be at the Assistant Professor level and requires significant teaching experience and a well-developed research agenda.

Applicants should hold a PhD in either Classics, Near Eastern Studies, History, Religion, or another relevant discipline, and should have mastery of Greek (classical and koinÄ“) and Latin, and preferably also proficiency in either Hebrew, Aramaic or Syriac. Candidates may be specialists in Christian literature, social history, religious doctrine, ritual, or another relevant area in the study of Antiquity, but at the same time hold a wide grasp of Christian phenomena that will allow them to contribute annually to large-enrollment, undergraduate courses on “World Religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” and “Introduction to Christianity.” They should be also prepared to take an active role in the teaching and training of graduate students in our program on Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World.

For additional information please visit

Salary for this ‘university year’ appointment will be commensurate with training and experience.

Please send curriculum vitae, recent writing sample, no more than three current letters of reference, teaching evaluations and other evidence of teaching excellence, a statement of teaching philosophy and experience, and a statement of current and future research plans to:

Christianity in Late Antiquity Search Committee,
Department of Near Eastern Studies,
University of Michigan,
202 South Thayer,
Suite 4111,
Ann Arbor,
MI 48104-1608.

For questions and inquiries, please contact the chair of the search committee, Prof. Yaron Eliav at

The deadline for submission is October 1, 2008.

Interviews will be conducted at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Boston.

The University of Michigan is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply. The University is supportive of the needs of dual career couples.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

"Going For Vacation Again?" A Matter of Perspective!

Something rather amusing and puzzling occurred earlier on. I was reading the Beijing Olympic news in the newspaper and suddenly one of my colleagues walked straight to me and remarked, "Going for holiday again?"

I was rather puzzled how can one possibly equate reading Olympic news in the newspaper as going for a vacation or holiday? Then it dawned on me that perhaps from a distance away, the full colour page that I was reading did look like some photographs of some exotic destination.

A good lesson on perspective. What you think or perceive may not necessary be right unless you see it from the other perspective!

Koinonia - Zondervan Academic's New Blog

Not wishing to be left behind, Zondervan Academic decides to join other publishers who have in recent months set up blogs as a medium of communication with the wider audience. Zondervan's new blog, Koinonia, was launched on August 2.

In its opening post, Zondervan spells out the aims of the blog: "we want to build real koinonia, community by intimate participation. We think the conversations here, though digital, will impact the community of Christ. They will be appropriate for the academy, church, and coffeehouse."

In order to achieve its objectives, Zondervan has gathered together "some of the most important voices in today’s biblical-theological conversations" as contributors to the blog.

The first installment by my Greek and NT Professor, Dr William Mounce, has already been posted on Monday, August 4 with his insights on the use of genitive in Romans 1:5. Bill Mounce will be a regular on every Monday with a weekly series that focuses on biblical Greek, translation, exegesis, and related issues. Zondervan also promises that Craig Blomberg will be contributing later in the week.

In addition to these conversations, Zondervan is also planning a series of posts that will take potential authors through the entire academic book process, from conception to publication. Hopefully, this will serve as a good introductory guide for authors wannabe like me out there.

So make sure you check out Koinonia. I think I am going to love this blog, and I have already added it to my blogroll.

Monday, 4 August 2008

I Feel Good...

I feel good!! No, I am not talking about the Feel Good Channel.

I started jogging Sunday evening after a 2.5-month break. And I really felt good for being able to really sweat it out, not to mention I really needed to shed some pounds too!

I sprained my ankle while I was visiting Corinth during our recent Greece Trip following the footsteps of St Paul.

Thank God that Dr Agnes, an orthopedic specialist and also wife of Dr Alex, was with the team. She treated my swollen ankle, and told me I would be out of action for at least 2-3 months. I was really glad that with the help of a sports ankle support, I was finally able to jog without pain now.

Here's to a slightly more active and healthy lifestyle now! By the way, with the 2.5 month break, I realised I have lost some of my stamina.....

Bible College of New Zealand Changes Name

On August 2, Bible College of New Zealand is officially known as Laidlaw College after the merger with Masters Institute. Thanks to CW for highlighting this to me.

The new website is still under construction, but promises to be launched in the next few days.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Position: Research Fellow at University of Birmingham

The following announcement came through the BNTS list:

Job Opportunity: Research Fellow (Vetus Latina Iohannes)

A vacancy is now being advertised for a Research Fellow to assist in the preparation and publication of an edition of the Old Latin versions of the Gospel according to John.

The Vetus Latina Iohannes project has been running at the University of Birmingham for a number of years, and has already made available an electronic edition of the surviving Old Latin manuscripts of Johnat .

The main duties of the Fellow will include assisting in the compilation of an electronic database of gospel citations in Church Fathers, the analysis of this material, and the preparation of a printed edition to be published in the 'Vetus Latina' series.

Applicants must have a PhD in a relevant subject, an excellent knowledge of Latin, the ability to learn relevant IT skills quickly, and the ability to work effectively as a member of a team. A good working knowledge of Greek, experience of database design and maintenance, and experience of working on a research project are desirable.

The post-holder will be a member of the University's Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Prof. D.C. Parker( and Dr P.H. Burton (

The advertisement for the position may be found here.

The starting salary is £25,888 - £28,290 a year.

Applications close on 8th August 2008.