Saturday, 31 January 2009

SBL Rome: Final Call for Papers

Final call for papers for SBL International Meeting in Rome is today, January 31, 2009. The International Meeting will be held in conjunction with celebrating the Centenary of Pontifical Biblical Institute.

I managed to submit a paper proposal for the Paul and Pauline Literature Programme Unit. Let's wait and see whether my paper will be accepted.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Review of Biblical Literature Jan 27, 2009

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature:

Philip S. Alexander
The Targum of Lamentations: Translated, with a Critical Introduction, Apparatus, and Notes
Reviewed by Jan-Wim Wesselius

Margaret Barker
Temple Themes in Christian Worship
Reviewed by Mary L. Coloe

Paul C. Burns, ed.
Jesus in Twentieth Century Literature, Art, and Movies
Reviewed by Tsalampouni Ekaterini
Reviewed by Richard Walsh

Bruce Chilton
Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Reviewed by Marvin A. Sweeney

John Day, ed.
Temple and Worship in Biblical Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar
Reviewed by Aren M. Maeir

Timothy Edwards
Exegesis in the Targum of Psalms: The Old, the New, and the Rewritten
Reviewed by Joachim Vette

William A. Ford
God, Pharaoh and Moses: Explaining the Lord's Actions in the Exodus Plagues Narrative
Reviewed by Hee Suk Kim
Reviewed by Brian D. Russell

J. Harold Greenlee
The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition
Reviewed by J. K. Elliott

Robert H. Gundry
The Old Is Better: New Testament Essays in Support of Traditional Interpretations
Reviewed by Michael F. Bird

Thomas Krüger, Manfred Oeming, Konrad Schmid, and Christoph Uehlinger, eds.
Das Buch Hiob und seine Interpretationen: Beiträge zum Hiob-Symposium auf dem Monte Verità vom 14.-19. August 2005
Reviewed by Philippe Guillaume

Stuart S. Miller
Sages and Commoners in Late Antique 'Erez Israel: A Philological Inquiry into Local Traditions in Talmud Yerushalmi
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

Francis J. Moloney
The Living Voice of the Gospels
Reviewed by Stephan Witetschek

Risto Nurmela
The Mouth of the Lord Has Spoken: Inner-biblical Allusions in Second and Third Isaiah
Reviewed by Christophe Nihan

U. B. Schmid, with W. J. Elliott and D. C. Parker
The New Testament in Greek IV: The Gospel according to St. John: Volume 2: The Majuscules
Reviewed by Marcus Sigismund

Kenton L. Sparks
God's Word in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship
Reviewed by Arthur Boulet
Reviewed by Jeffrey A. Gibbs

Clinton Wahlen
Jesus and the Impurity of Spirits in the Synoptic Gospels
Reviewed by Mark D. Batluck

Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld
Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament
Reviewed by V. George Shillington

Thursday, 29 January 2009

SBL Executive Director Position Announcement

Society of Biblical Literature has announced the retirement of Kent Richards as Executive Director effective June 30, 2010. A Search Committee has been established to look for a new Executive Director, as reflected in the position announcement by Fernando F. Segovia, Chair, Search Committee.


The Society of Biblical Literature invites nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director, effective July 1, 2010. The premier scholarly and professional association of biblical scholars, the SBL has a current membership of more than 9000, a staff of 25, and an annual operating budget of about $3,000,000. It is a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies. The mission of the SBL is “to foster biblical scholarship,” a mission it carries out through opportunities for mutual support, intellectual growth, and professional development of its members; organizing congresses for scholarly exchange; facilitating broad and open discussion from a variety of perspectives; encouraging study of biblical literature and its cultural contexts; collaborating with educational institutions and other appropriate organizations to support biblical scholarship and teaching; developing resources for diverse audiences, including students, religious communities, and the general public; and publishing biblical scholarship.

The Executive Director of the SBL is its chief executive officer, reports to the SBL Council, and carries a wide range or responsibilities, including providing strategic and tactical leadership in consultation with the SBL Council, overseeing day-to-day operations, financial management, supervision of staff, coordination of a wide-ranging cadre of volunteers, and strengthening relationships with other organizations, potential partners, and stakeholders. Qualifications include a PhD or equivalent terminal degree in biblical studies or a cognate field, a significant scholarly record, and a significant record of participation and leadership in the program work of the Society or comparable learned and professional society. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated expertise in administration and personnel management (including paid staff and volunteers), budget and finance, program interpretation and fund raising; as well as demonstrated leadership in strategic planning. Salary and benefits are competitive with executive positions in comparable learned societies and commensurate with experience.

Send nominations or applications (i.e., a letter of application, current cv, and the names of at least three references able to speak to your leadership, administrative abilities, and scholarly credentials) to F. F. Segovia, The Divinity School, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240, Review of applications will begin on March 31, 2009, and will continue until the position is filled. The SBL is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and maintains a policy of nondiscrimination with respect to all employees and applicants for employment.

We know that the best source for nominations lies with the membership itself, and thus I urge all of you to submit the names of colleagues whom you believe we should contact and/or to encourage colleagues whom you regard as excellent candidates to apply. Please send all nominations and applications by either regular or electronic mail to the respective addresses provided in the official Position Announcement.

On behalf of the Search Committee, I thank you for your kind attention to this matter, and I look forward to hearing from you in the days to come.

Fernando F. Segovia
Chair, Search Committee

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Nida School for Translation Studies: Call for Applications

The Nida School for Translation Studies (NSTS) is calling for application for its Nida 2009 School to be held at Misano adriatico (Rimini), Italy, from September 7-19, 2009. The theme of the 2009 session is “Translation and Culture.”

The NSTS is a program of the E.A.Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society. Its mission is "to support advanced training and research into translation studies (understood as inclusive of the history and practice of Bible translation)."

Supporting institutions for the NSTS include the Translation Center at UMass-Amherst, Istituto San Pellegrino, the Society of Biblical Literature, The United Bible Societies (UBS), and SIL International.

For 2009 session,NSTS will admit a globally representative class of 20 qualified associates. Successful candidates will hold a completed or nearly completed doctorate in a discipline related to translation studies or biblical studies as well as field and/or professional experience in translation. The NSTS will comprise lectures and seminars, tutorials and directed readings. Prior to arriving at the School, associates will be expected to submit a draft research paper, engaging with the theme of the School. After revising this draft in light of the presentations, associates will present and defend a second draft during the course of the School. An abstract (250-300 words) of the paper must be submitted with the application.

Associates will be responsible for their own airfare and local transportation to and from Misano. The NSTS will waive fees and cover the cost of room and board. Associates requiring visas to enter Italy are encouraged to begin the visa application process immediately upon acceptance into the School.

To apply, candidates must fill out the online application form and submit it along with a current CV and an abstract of a research paper to: Ms Dulce Alvarado ( 212-408 8752 ).

The deadline for application is March 31, 2009.

For further information on NSTS, please click here.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Reunion Dinners and Food

Over the past couple of days, I have been meeting up with relatives and friends for New Year celebration. I had Yee Sang for 3 meals in a row - and I think by now, I have had enough of Yee Sang already.

Anyway, it was great meeting up with relatives and friends over this season. I will go on diet soon!

Yee Sang at one of the cell groups on Friday night

Meeting up with TS and SJ for breakfast on Saturday morning at a coffee place before TS flew off to Dubai

Yee Sang and dinner wih my aunt, cousins and their family on Saturday night in a very nice traditional Chinese restaurant

Lunch with Desmond and some of my students on Sunday at a Korean BBQ Restaurant

Yee Sang again, and the traditional reunion dinner with my father's extended family in a local restaurant on Sunday, New Year's eve.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Happy New Year - Year of the Ox

Here's wishing all friends and readers of my blog a Happy Chinese New Year. The seminary shuts down for 3 days to enable students and staff to travel back to their respective hometowns to celebrate the New Year.

As for me, I will celebrate the New Year with family and friends in KL.

May the year of the Ox be an oxspicious year for all.

And may we be oxbedient to the Lord as well!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

JSNT Vol 31 No 3 Now Available

The latest issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament , Vol 31 No 3 (March 2009) is now available. The following articles are featured:

Exposing the Economic Middle: A Revised Economy Scale for the Study of Early Urban Christianity
Bruce W. Longenecker
Journal for the Study of the New Testament
2009;31 243-278

Named Letter-Carriers among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri
Peter M. Head
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2009;31 279-299

The Politics of Promise: Echoes of Isaiah 54 in Romans 4.19-21
Mark Forman
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2009;31 301-324

Revisiting the Euphemism in 1 Corinthians 7.1
Roy E. Ciampa
Journal for the Study of the New Testament
2009;31 325-338

After 70 and All That: A Response to Martin Goodman's Rome and Jerusalem
James Carleton Paget
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2009;31 339-365

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Reviews of Biblical Literature Jan 20, 2009

New Reviews of Biblical Literature have now been posted.

Dwayne H. Adams
The Sinner in Luke
Reviewed by Bruce Chilton
Reviewed by I. Howard Marshall

Barry Bandstra
Genesis 1-11: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text
Reviewed by Paul L. Chen

Diane Banks
Writing the History of Israel
Reviewed by Susanne Scholz

Wesley J. Bergen and Armin Siedlecki, eds.
Voyages in Uncharted Waters: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Biblical Interpretation in Honor of David Jobling
Reviewed by James West

William Sanger Campbell
The "We" Passages in the Acts of the Apostles: The Narrator as Narrative Character
Reviewed by Deborah Prince

Philip R. Davies
The Origins of Biblical Israel
Reviewed by K. L. Noll
Reviewed by Thomas L. Thompson

Wilfried Eckey
Das Lukasevangelium: Unter Berücksichtigung seiner Parallelen. Teilband I: 1,1-10,42; Teilband II: 11,1-24,53
Reviewed by Joel B. Green

Gershon Galil
The Lower Stratum Families in the Neo-Assyrian Period
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore

Katrin Keita
Gottes Land: Exegetische Studien zur Land-Thematik im Hoseabuch in kanonischer Perspektive
Reviewed by Marvin A. Sweeney

Clemens Leonhard
The Jewish Pesach and the Origins of the Christian Easter: Open Questions in Current Research
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Morrow

Victor H. Matthews
Studying the Ancient Israelites: A Guide to Sources and Methods
Reviewed by Trent Butler

Madeline Gay McClenney-Sadler
Recovering the Daughter's Nakedness: A Formal Analysis of Israelite Kinship Terminology and the Internal Logic of Leviticus 18
Reviewed by Deborah W. Rooke

Wayne A. Meeks and John T. Fitzgerald, eds.
The Writings of St. Paul: Annotated Texts, Reception and Criticism
Reviewed by V. George Shillington

Hyung Dae Park
Finding Herem? A Study of Luke-Acts in the Light of Herem
Reviewed by Darin H. Land

John Riches
Galatians through the Centuries
Reviewed by John Dunnill
Reviewed by Martin Meiser

Todd D. Still, ed.
Jesus and Paul Reconnected: Fresh Pathways into an Old Debate
Reviewed by Otis Coutsoumpos

Paul Trebilco
The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius
Reviewed by Markus Oehler

Friday, 23 January 2009

Cover of My Book - "The Sufferings of Christ are Abundant In Us"

I have just seen the cover of my book, 'The Sufferings of Christ are Abundant in Us (2 Cor 1:5): A Narrative Dynamics Investigation of Paul's Sufferings in 2 Corinthians," which will be published in May by T&T Clark.

The book is now available for pre-order. Amazon is retailing the book at US$81.80, after a 37% discount; while Dovebook is pricing it at US$95.99.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

41st Birthday Celebration!

Yesterday, a group of students and friends organised a birthday celebration for me at my apartment. We had lots of food (as usual) and they prepared my favourite dish - salad!

Thanks to all who helped put this together. Your fellowship and friendship meant a lot to me. I greatly appreciate all that you all have done to make my 41st birthday memorable.

I will let the photos do the talking.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Pastoral Group - I am Taking a Chinese Speaking Group!

My pastoral group having breakfast together

This year, something rather "strange" happened to me in the seminary. In view of the surge in the number of students in the Chinese department, I have been asked to take a pastoral group comprising students from the Chinese department. I was a little bit apprehensive as my command of Chinese is terribly poor (for those interested in some history of my poor command of Chinese, please click here for a previous post). I could not even hold a decent conversation in Chinese, what more in taking a pastoral group comprising 100% Chinese speaking students.

As such, I asked that I be given bilingual students from the Chinese department - those who have a fairly good command of English, to be in my pastoral group. After some adjustments, I have the privilege of being allocated with a group of 9 students from the Chinese department.

After taking stock of how previous years of pastoral groups had been organised, I try to do something different this year. Instead of meeting as a group every Wednesday morning, I have made it a point to meet with all the students individually as well. Perhaps this is a good opportunity for me to get to know these students from the Chinese department better, going beyond just knowing their names, as I don't teach them (except for Perng Shyang, whose thesis I supervise). So what we will do is that once a month, we will have breakfast together. The other 2 weeks in a month, we will meet as a group for discussion or some form of group activities. As for the other remaining week, I will meet with one student individually so that we could get to know each other better.

Hopefully, this arrangement will help me get to know the students better, and also serve as a better platform to provide pastoral care for them. I also hope that this will make the pastoral group a more meaningful one. How this will eventually work out, only time will tell.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Life Begins at 41??

Does life begin at 41
does life head south at 41?

Whatever it is, I have learnt to count my blessings all these years. And I thank the Almighty for giving me breath for another day, and another year.

Note: I baked some muffins for myself....but not enough for my age count....

Monday, 19 January 2009

Review of Biblical Literature Jan 15 2009

Below are the Review of Biblical Literature published on January 15, 2009

James W. Aageson
Paul, the Pastoral Epistles, and the Early Church
Reviewed by David J. Downs

Reinhard Achenbach, Martin Arneth, and Eckart Otto
Tora in der Hebräischen Bibel: Studien zur Redaktionsgeschichte und synchronen Logik diachroner Transformationen
Reviewed by Kent Reynolds

Bruce Chilton, ed.
The Cambridge Companion to the Bible
Reviewed by Douglas Estes

Naomi G. Cohen
Philo's Scriptures: Citations from the Prophets and Writings: Evidence for a Haftarah Cycle in Second Temple Judaism
Reviewed by Torrey Seland

James D. G. Dunn
The New Perspective on Paul
Reviewed by J. R. Daniel Kirk

Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd
The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition
Reviewed by Ken Olson

Robert C. Hill, translation with introduction and commentary; Greek text revised by John F. Petruccione
Theodoret of Cyrus: The Questions of the Octateuch, Volume 1: On Genesis and Exodus
Reviewed by Randall L. McKinion

Robert C. Hill, translation with introduction and commentary; Greek text revised by John F. Petruccione
Theodoret of Cyrus: The Questions on the Octateuch, Volume 2: On Levitcus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth
Reviewed by Randall L. Mckinion

Tryggve N. D. Mettinger
The Eden Narrative: A Literary and Religio-historical Study of Genesis 2-3
Reviewed by Howard N. Wallace

Jerome Murphy-O'Connor
St. Paul's Ephesus: Texts and Archaeology
Reviewed by Jonathan L. Reed

Kuo-Wei Peng
Hate the Evil, Hold Fast to the Good: Structuring Romans 12.1-15.1
Reviewed by Carl N. Toney

Emerson B. Powery, Brian K. Blount, Cain Hope Felder, and Clarice J. Martin, eds.
True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary
Reviewed by Gosnell Yorke

Ulrich Schmidt
"Nicht vergeblich empfangen"! Eine Untersuchung zum Zweiten Korintherbrief als Beitrag zur Frage nach der paulinischen Einschätzung des Handelns
Reviewed by Günter Röhser

Leonard J. Swidler
Jesus Was a Feminist: What the Gospels Reveal about His Revolutionary Perspective
Reviewed by Eve-Marie Becker
Reviewed by Kathleen E. Corley

Anthony C. Thiselton
Hermeneutics of Doctrine
Reviewed by Dirk J. Smit

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Room With A View

I took this photo on my mobile phone a few mornings ago. This is the view from my room in the staff apartment, overlooking the dining hall.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Back to Darulnaim for the Weekend

This afternoon, I will be flying back to my hometown Kota Bharu to sort out some personal matters. This will most likely be my last trip "home" for a long time as my parents have already moved in to stay with me in KL.

I think I will be enjoying some of the delicacies of Kelantan that I really miss such as budu, nasi dagang, ayam percik, akok, nasi kerabu, laksa kelantan, pulut kacang, and ..... Counting calories will NOT be in my vocabulary for the weekend.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Romans Class Begins

Classes officially begins this week, and I had my first lecture on Exegesis of Romans to a group of 26 students yesterday. I tried to do things a little bit different this semester, and this is reflected in the course requirement for the course on Romans. In addition to the usual exegesis paper, I gave the class an option of taking the final exam or coming out with a creative project capturing the theme/themes of Romans.

In the course outline, I state the following:

Devise a creative project based on your understanding of the major theme/themes found in Romans. It could take the form of a teaching lesson, drama, Sunday school material, bible study, movie clip, music, sculpture, painting, or any other creative form which demonstrates a clear indication of your understanding of the major theme/themes of Romans and how this particular theme/themes can be demonstrated in a relevant manner to your current audience. You will be evaluated on your creativity, clarity, and the effectiveness of conveying the message of Romans to your contemporary audience.

I wonder how successful this creative project will be - only time will tell, and I do hope some of the students will take up this option. It would be interesting to see how one interprets the theme/themes of Romans in a contemporary fashion.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Part-Time NT Position at Sheffield

I have just received the following announcement through the BNTS list yesterday. Please note the closing date:

Lecturer (Part-time, Fixed-term)
Department of Biblical Studies
Ref: R06973
Closing Date: 19/01/09
Grade: 8
Salary: £36,532 per annum pro rata.

The postholder will design, prepare and deliver teaching programmes including preparing and supervising different modes of assessment for the following modules;
· Level 1 Decoding the Bible: New Testament
· Level 1 The Biblical World (co-taught)
· Level 2 Paul and his World
· MA New Testament Language and Texts

Candidates will be able to demonstrate appropriate experience in teaching all levels of undergraduate and MA Students. At level 3, supervision of a number of undergraduate dissertations on New Testament Topics will also be expected. The successful candidate will also adopt a pastoral role for a number of tutees and will undertake all relevant administration and assessment of modules taught and contribute as appropriate to departmental administration.

Candidates should possess or be working towards a PhD in a relevant subject area (or have equivalent experience).

The post is available 20 hours per week with a start date of 2 February 2009 and an end date of 30 June 2009.

For full details and information on how to apply please visit
Tel: 0114 222 1631 (24 hrs).
Please quote reference in all enquiries.

Back from Gopeng

It was a very tiring weekend but a fulfilled one indeed. Spending the weekend with a bunch of college students who are eager to learn more about the New Testament is very encouraging for me. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was given 5 hours to do NT Survey - and needless to say, I only managed to cover NT background and a little bit of the Gospel of Mark. I decided to spend some time covering the Jewish and Greco-Roman background of the NT world as this is one area that many are least familiar with.

I did not manage to do a survey of the life of Paul - how can a Pauline scholar fail to do this? I better repent...

Anyway, it was not all work for me. I managed to have half a day off for myself just to enjoy the camp site and to rest.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Heading Off North: Step-Up Programme

This weekend, I will be heading north to Gopeng as one of the speakers for my church's vacation bible school, Step-Up Programme, designed for school leavers. I have been assigned to cover New Testament Survey in 5 hours - and I am still struggling how to do that within the time allocated.

I hope to have a good time with a group of 16 young people and trust that something good will come out of this training programme. May their intellectual mind be challenged, passion and zeal for the gospel renewed, and love for the Lord deepened.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Sandakan Trip - Photos

I promised to post some photos taken during my recent Sandakan trip. Let me start with what Malaysia is famous for!
This was our Welcoming lunch, hosted by Clarence, one of the graduates of the seminary, who is now a priest at one of the Anglican Churches in the Diocese of Sabah - Seafood bah kut teh. See the amount of food, and we finished them all.

Dinner at Lan Yin's place

Look at the crab! Guess who ate all those crab? Hint: It was not Joel

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Moving to a New Place ... Part 2

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have moved to the staff apartment beginning this year. Apparently, this particular unit that I am currently staying in is well-known to be the best feng sui unit for singles in the seminary.

Let's look at the history of the tenancy in this apartment. The first tenant moved in as a single and stayed there for 6 years before moving out after getting married. The second tenant stayed there for 2 years before doing the same. So how long would the third tenant need?

So speculation is running high the the budding NT scholar might just need 6 months before he moves out of the apartment. My principal Dr Ezra Kok, who is now on 6-month sabbatical leave, has already offered his services when he returns to work, and it would be just in time.

Will the good feng sui repeat itself this time? Only time will tell.....Again, it seems to work for the ladies who stayed there, but a guy??? I think it takes a real miracle for this to happen.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Orientation Week Begins

We had our first chapel service this morning for the orientation week, and I had the privilege of addressing the new students. It was a real joy to see all the new students, and I wish them well in their studies.

Later on this week on Jan 8, all the seniors will be back, and the campus will be alive with activities, lectures, and of course, laughter!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Moving to a New Place

For the past 2 years, I have been staying off-campus, and this year, I have decided to move into the staff apartment on campus. Hopefully, with this move, I would be a little closer to the students and able to get to know them better. This is in line with my philosophy of education - that a seminary education is not simply about impartation of knowledge; it is about sharing life together and building relationships; it is about iron sharpens iron; and it is about journeying together as we discover God's calling for our lives in serving him and the church.

However, I will still continue to commute between Seremban and my family house in Kuala Lumpur, dividing my time between responsibilities in the seminary (Tuesdays to Fridays) and my home church in Petaling Jaya (weekends).

New Students Arrive at the Seminary

A group of 30 students arrived at the seminary yesterday to begin their journey of being equipped for Christian ministry.
Jan 5 marked the beginning of the 4-day orientation for them. This evening, together with the new students and faculty, we had an informal steamboat dinner.

I look forward to getting to know the students better in the coming days.

Pray for the new students as they adjust to life in the seminary, and for thier studies as well.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Gordon Conwell Invites Adjuncts from Majority World

I have just received the following notice which may be of interest.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, is interested in involving faculty from majority world evangelical institutions as adjuncts when they are available in the United States for longer or shorter periods of time (even as one-session guest lecturers). Our students and faculty are eager to benefit from qualified national and missionary professors in any theological and ministry discipline.

Communication about interest and availability can be sent to the dean's office at the Charlotte campus via

Friday, 2 January 2009

Back from Vacation....Back to Work

It was with a little sadness that I boarded the flight from Sandakan back to KL. That marked the end of a great vacation with friends and students (I will post some photos later). And now, it is back to the seminary, and a faculty meeting is due to start soon.

In the next couple of days, more than 30 new students will be arriving at the seminary, beginning their journey of being equipped for Christian vocation. This will be followed by the orientation, and the annual retreat. It will be a busy semeser ahead for me.