I was interviewed for a piece on the rise of Christian Domestic Discipline. Here is a part of it:
Right. But where does CDD fit in here? Is CDD a particularly Fundamentalist thing? “Not all Fundamentalists use CDD,” says Watts. “I would wager that many would never think of CDD as legitimately Christian, and yet, I would also wager that if you took the tenants of CDD – such as the wives that submit to their husbands, providing sex on demand – without naming it as such, many Fundamentalists would agree to them as something ‘Biblical’.”
This is due to my dissertation which at some point may be completed or even, one day, started on. This is more of an exercise to put some words down on paper.
The use of the scapegoat image is prevalent in describing Paul’s intention in Galatians 3.10–14; however, to do so leaves us open to the possibility of a God who has sinned, or at the very least, a God who has previously offered a sacrifice for himself before he offered Jesus as the scapegoat.
By using this linguistic pattern the early Christian who formulated the confession quoted in 2 Corinthians 5:21 expressed two convictions: (a) sin is something that can be transferred from one person to another; (b) God transferred our sin to Christ, thus freeing us from its effect.1
Before I tackle this statement outright, let me draw your attention to Leviticus 16.6:
He must offer the bull reserved for his purification-offering and make expiation for himself and his household. (REB)
The “he” in this first is the Aaronic priest. Notice, the priest requires a sacrifice himself to atone for his sins. This is not akin to baptism or any other act we find in the Gospels attributed to Jesus. Or, rather, there is no act recorded in the New Testament whereby Jesus first atoned for his sins before offering himself as a sacrifice. Indeed, there is some contention as to whether Paul thought Jesus sinless (Romans 8.3). But, this doesn’t matter so much as what it would require of God. If Jesus is the sacrifice offered by God, then to have Jesus as a scapegoat would require God to have previously atoned for his own sins.
Unless, of course, we ignore that part because God is sinless. But can we? The priest atoned for his sins in order to transfer the sins to the scapegoat. He could act only as a conduit for a short time because he would soon be sinless. The scapegoat would then take away the sins of all of Israel, including the priest. It was all inclusive. Added to this, Jesus is referred to as our high priest in Hebrews, not God. In John, Jesus is the lamb that removes the sins of the world. But, I’m getting canonical here.
Is there something better to explain the language of Galatians 3.13?
Christ bought us freedom from the curse of the law by coming under the curse for our sake; for scripture says, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a gibbet.’ (REB)
I don’t think we can get the idea of transference here. If we go outside Galatians, even in incorporating 2 Co 5.21, there is plenty of other language to prevent the idea that God transferred our sins (acting as a high priest) to Christ. Yes, Christ took our sins, but he became a curse. He did it.
I don’t think there is one particular image of the death of Christ in Paul, although they all revolve around a sacrifice. I’m not saying that scapegoat (if by this we mean a transference-then-sacrifice) is not one of them. I think we can clearly see that 2 Co. 5.21 is a perfect example of this. However, I don’t think it is what is intended here.
J. Louis Martyn, Galatians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (vol. 33A; Anchor Yale Bible; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 318. ↩
First of all, Joel told me that I should post here because no one reads my blog. And that’s not very nice. But, he’s probably right. And, once I changed his blog’s tagline to “Where Joel incessantly brain vomits nonsense into cyberspace” for an entire day without him noticing while letting everyone else in on the gag. So I suppose we’re even.
At any rate, I’m cross posting. I’ve written a post on my personal blog about what I’ve been up to for the past year, namely working on the new case-frames feature in Logos 6. Here’s a teaser and you can read the rest HERE:
Case-frames provide a new way of exploring meaning within Logos 6. It may not be apparent on first glance how they do this. Here I will work from an English example to an original language example to demonstrate how this works.
Consider an English verb like “return.” This verb can have several different meanings as in the following sentences:
He returned home.
He returned the donkey to its pen.
In the first case, we might paraphrase “return” as “go back”: “He went back home.” In the second, we might somewhat poorly paraphrase as “bring back” (perhaps this isn’t the only possible interpretation, but this is only an example): “He brought the donkey back to its pen.”
The difference in these two meanings of “return” is reflected in the number of “arguments” that the verb takes in each example …
You’ll just have to deal with me for a minute. I am not a sales rep nor do I participate in the Logos Affiliate program. More power to those bloggers who do. I would rather not, so that at least in appearance, I can presume to give you unbiased advice. I say this because I am biased to serious bible study and I believe you can actually get serious through Logos.
For instance, there is a textual variant in Mark 9.49 that I like to play around with from time to time. I believe it points to a time of rehabilitation after….well, I’ll leave it there for the moment.
First, I start with the Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible. This is a commentary on the entire bible and the textual variants found therein. Rick Brannon, one of my favorite people and one of the editors/authors of this volume, writes,
The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible (LTNB) cover both the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and New Testament with over 2,000 notes. These notes are situated somewhere between what is found in footnotes in modern English Bibles and the sort of material covered by Bruce Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. But the discussion in LTNB is geared toward readers with little to no text-critical knowledge. The goal is to provide English translations of several important variation units and some brief non-technical but relevant information about the unit.
In the LTNB, I go to Mark 9.49:
The Hebrew is the text used for the OT, although briefing scanning the document I see references to the LXX. The LXX is used to help in examining Hebrew readings.
As you can see, there is a difference, although some may argue against it being that much of a difference. I mean, unless you want to argue for purgatory or something…
After this, because I’m not satisfied, I go to the Ancient Literature Database. When this first started, the references were something like 60,000 but now, it racing past 180,000 entries. So, what do I come up with?
The Testament of Levi reads,
And of all thy first-fruits and of wine offer the first, as a sacrifice to the Lord God; and every sacrifice thou shalt salt with salt.
If I wanted to go further, I could commentaries, but these two things helps to make a reasonably informed decision.
The teaching versatility of the software has taken a gigantic leap. Not only are their visual tools like Canon Comparison and character charters (you’ll see), but visualizers that help you see the meaning of the verse, etc… Likewise, you can now make slides out of verses or other short passages you find in your books. This is going to be great for pastors and teachers who make use of multimedia in your preaching/classrooms
The ancient text database is going to be a must for all of those researching literary sources and developments of the text. I can see two people using this. One, those who are researching where texts come from and two, how a text was preserved or modified. Quite simply, this tool is going to cut work in half for those of us in these peoples. If you are looking at how a verse was used in the Church Fathers, you are going to be amazed at the level you uncover.
So yes, maybe the exponent sign (^) is really what they should have used.
Informative essays that address a wide variety of topics relating to Judaism’s use and interpretation of the Bible throughout the ages
Section and book introductions that deliver insights into the background, structure, and meaning of the text
Running commentary beside the biblical text that provides in-depth theological interpretation
Features the Jewish Publication Society TANAKH translation
Full-color Oxford Bible maps
Verse and chapter differences between the Hebrew text and many English translations
Table of Scriptural readings for synagogue use
Glossary of technical terms
First published in 2004, The Jewish Study Bible is a landmark, one-volume resource tailored especially for the needs of students of the Hebrew Bible. It has won acclaim from readers in all religious traditions.
The Jewish Study Bible combines the entire Hebrew Bible–in the celebrated Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation–with explanatory notes, introductory materials, and essays by leading biblical scholars on virtually every aspect of the text, the world in which it was written, its interpretation, and its role in Jewish life. The quality of scholarship, easy-to-navigate format, and vibrant supplementary features bring the ancient text to life.
This second edition includes revised annotations for nearly the entire Bible, as well as forty new and updated essays on many of the issues in Jewish interpretation, Jewish worship in the biblical and post-biblical periods, and the influence of the Hebrew Bible in the ancient world.
The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition, is an essential resource for anyone interested in the Hebrew Bible.
Robert H. Stein has written a very specific book on a very particular chapter in the Gospel According to Saint Mark. Taking only chapter 13 (although he does provide a lead-in by exploring its place in the book itself), Stein goes virtually line-by-line through the chapter, offering the ‘why’ of his interpretation. He does so by relying on conservative scholarship as well as canonical support. His reliance upon these things, including Q and other unidentified oral sayings, is mixed with his acceptance and use of critical scholarship as well. Indeed, given his locus, his conclusions are that much more outstanding. All of this — locus, avenues of investigation — would normally give me pause when considering his conclusions; however, I find little fault in them. While I do not agree with his conclusion regarding the arrival of the Son of Man, his treatment of the first half of Mark 13 and his conclusion thereof is spot on. The book is divided into 8 chapters. The first lays out his thesis statement and his actual goal. The second chapter tackles various issues in reading this chapter, such as placement in Mark. Chapters 3-7 each discuss a specific, and successive, pericope wherein the chapter itself is given a critical and theological account. The final chapter includes the author’s own translation, making use of cues inside the text. Again, he uses intracanonical support as well as (a hope of) oral tradition. Unfortunately, this is the lowpoint (although admittedly, his lowpoint is still well above the highpoints of many) of Stein’s work. In the end, he allows that the first part of Mark speaks to the destruction of the Temple while the second half alerts the readers to an unknown date of the arrival of the Son of Man. He bases this on the inclusio he sees in 13.5 and 13.23. Rather than an inclusio, I believe Mark is using a chiastic structure. But, this is my view point, not my book. In all, while Stein uses avenues I would not, he arrives at a solution I believe is tenable. Jesus, the Temple and the Coming Son of Man is an important book, especially in these times of heightened expectation. It is at once academic and theological, allowing the reader to place Mark 13 within the context of the entire Gospel as well as seeing how it works without a canonical context.
English: The destruction of the Temple foretold. Caspar Luyken. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 3904. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section R. predictions and warnings. Mark 13:1-37. http://pdfcast.org/pdf/an-illustrated-commentary-by-phillip-medhurst-on-the-gospel-of-mark-section-q-to-r (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am tired of using secular terminology to describe viewpoints in the Church. Yes, all terms are really open and have a fair use, but given the highly charged atmosphere in the United States, perhaps would could use terms not associated with the two political parties.
Progressive really isn’t. Progressive usually means moving forward but with the Progressives I’ve dealt with, they are moving left, into the secular realm, even into deism and agnosticism. Conservative means to conserve and yet many conservatives want to move us to congregationalism and away from traditional Wesleyan values. We aren’t really called to be either (although, to be honest, I’m sure I could make a better argument for traditional progressive Christianity than I could for conservative). Then you have all sorts of other labels people just don’t get. Liberal. Confessing. Evangelical/evangelical.
Our binary language of good/bad; conservative/liberal; etc… is not helpful when discussing something so vital. It doesn’t allow for those who may stand somewhere in middle. Of course, can draw the binary of flesh/spirit or freedom/matter, but the former is biblical and the latter is shown to not encompass all that there is given the former. So, forgive me if I am forced to, in this instance, use a binary to state my case.
I would like to propose some new terms. This terms will help in discerning our view on church government and orthodoxy, not on inclusion and exclusion. I do not like binaries, because the world is not binary. Yet, in observing the UMC as of late, there is developing a binary of sorts — based not on homosexuality and inclusion, but on the role and limit of church governance.
1.) Free Church — those who want to divorce themselves from a traditional view of orthodoxy, residing on something of a congregational or confederation basis with a “Jesus-only” attempt at Christian spirituality (either passively or aggressively). This has happened before:
By the mid-nineteenth century, Methodism was clearly evolving from a movement within the Church of England to a separate church. By the end of the century, partly under Hugh Price Hughes’s leadership, Methodism as a whole had become identified with the Free Churches. Official Methodist statements, such as The Nature of the Christian Church (1937), resisted any suggestion that the Methodist societies had broken away from the Church of England: they were never properly part of the Established Church. The Methodist Church was guilty of no schism, for it was ‘compelled’ to become a distinct religious community (pp. 25f.).1
Further, they view “love” as “inclusion” and righteousness as “justice.” This alone is the bound of Christian orthodoxy. Activism is their mission.
2.) Creedal — essentially, those who want to maintain the connexion with each other through the Book of Discipline as something unbreakable (not unchangeable) as well as believe the connection to the tradition of the Church is not something to be lost. “Love” is defined through a traditional understanding of the atoning work of Christ, redeeming people from sin. Love, then, is not necessarily exclusion but redemption.
In the end, this is really what it comes down to: our view of church governance and orthodoxy. This is why you have many who argue for inclusion but likewise argue for the BoD and orthodoxy.
Paul Avis, Anglicanism and the Christian Church: Theological Resources in Historical Perspective (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2002), 161. ↩