The (high) role of Mary in P.Oxy. 2 (P1)?, or Holy Protestant Heresy, Pope Peter!

Jones notes,

That early Christians continued to recognize Mary as the one who gave birth to Jesus is evidenced in a variety of early Christian texts and artifacts. One example is the ΧΜΓ symbol, probably signifying Χ(ριστὸς ὁ ἐκ) Μ(αρίας) Γ(εννηθείς) (“Christ, the one born of Mary”).

The Mysterious Flyleaf of P.Oxy. 2 (P1): An Odd Gospel Title – Brice C. Jones.

But why? Well… it proposes this as connected to the oldest version of the Gospel of Matthew.

So… if he is correct… then Jesus and the Gospel are connected to Mary… and Mary to the gospel story.

Holy Protestant Heresy, Pope Peter!

In the Mail: @DeGruyter_TRS “A Textual Study of Family 1 in the Gospel of John (Arbeiten Zur Neutestamentlichen)”

This textual study of the Gospel of John in seventeen Greek manuscripts offers a fresh investigation into the important textual group known as Family 1. The study, based on a full collation of the seventeen manuscripts, has re-defined the textual contours of Family 1, by establishing the existence of new core family manuscripts and subgroups. The study includes a reconstructed Family 1 text with critical apparatus for the Gospel of John.

And from here:

This is a textual study of seventeen Family 1 manuscripts in the Gospel of John: Gregory-Aland 1, 22, 118, 131, 205abs, 205, 209, 565, 872, 884, 1192, 1210, 1278, 1582, 2193, 2372, and 2713. Part 1 contains an analysis of a full collation of these manuscripts in John and concludes with a family stemma that expresses the relationships between the manuscripts and how they connect to the non-extant Family 1 archetype. Part 2 contains a reconstructed Family 1 text with critical apparatus for John. The results of this thesis confirm that 1 and 1582 are leading Family 1 manuscripts in John, but demonstrate that a new subgroup exists, represented by 565, 884 and 2193, that rivals the textual witness of 1 and 1582. This subgroup descends from the Family 1 archetype through a different intermediate ancestor to that shared by 1 and 1582. The discovery of this subgroup has broadened the textual contours of Family 1, leading to many new readings, both text and marginal, that should be considered Family 1 readings. The reconstructed text is based on the witness of this wider textual group and is offered as a replacement to Kirsopp Lake’s 1902 text of John.

Can’t wait to dig into this one.

You keep using that word, χλιαρός

fundamentalism word

The ‘lukewarmness’ of Laodicea is to be related to the local water-supply, as suggested by Rudwick and Green. Their interpretation of the term as denoting ineffectiveness rather than half-heartedness is to be accepted. Further study confirms their suggestion that ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ allude respectively to Hierapolis and Colossae. Some details of the background and its application remain obscure. 1

Hemer notes that the “moralistic speculations which cannot reasonably be sustained” in regards to the usual interpretations. This is important, because the use of “lukewarm” is often tossed around to indicate some sort of vile middle-ness.

Such as today. In response to a post I wrote, some pastors who should know better use this word as a way to dismiss the argument. He used it to such a squalid and tepid faith. Yet, this is not the case. Rather, biblical scholarship shows this letter has been misunderstood, greatly. Rather than a faith that is stuck in the middle, χλιαρός is meant to show a faith without God, without the need for God, and that is self-sufficient. Hemer goes on to show that the condemnation was not against the spirituality or faith itself of the Laodiceans but of the works.

Hemer draws a parallel: “In Arrian, Epict. 3.21, Epictetus, a native of Hierapolis who betrays little contact with Judaism or Christianity, likens unqualified persons who enter lightly upon lecturing or the mysteries successively to those of a weak stomach who throw up their food and to those who misuse eyesalves”2

Do you get this? The falseness, not the mildness, of the people are at question. It is not the wrongness, nor the misguided, but the falseness. For instance, those who hide their demons behind a cloak of a public show of Christian McCarthyism.

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  1. Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 208
  2. Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 191.

Working on my Dissertation – something I’ve murdered, for now

Image taken from page 97 of 'The Chinese as th...

Image taken from page 97 of ‘The Chinese as they are: their moral, social, and literary character. A new analysis of the language; with … views of their … arts and sciences’ (Photo credit: The British Library)

I had to remove some stuff from the prospectus when I turned it into chapter 1. I am studying under Dr. Francois Tolmie, at the University of the Free State, doing a literary analysis of the Fourth Gospel and its use of Deuteronomy. What I hope to do is to do a complete analysis of every way the author of the Fourth Gospel has used the Fifth Book of Moses to tell his tale. I will invest a heavy portion of the dissertation into quotations, allusions, and echoes — then, I hope, I will over something by way of the way “John” structures his book to look something like Deuteronomy. 

I *think I see something I would like to explore, so we will see.

What follows is an unedited portion I removed.

3.4       Example of Quotations and Allusions

In looking for possible quotations and allusions, I will begin with Hans Hübner’s work, Evangelium Secundum Iohannem.[1] This portion of my work will attempt to show a Johannine appreciation of Deuteronomy as well as his use of quotes and allusions to alert his readers to his grander literary design based on Deuteronomy. As Labahn has demonstrated, the use of Deuteronomy as a quotable source is limited.[2] He points to John 8:17 as the only likely quote attributed to Deuteronomy (calling to his side two Deuteronomic witnesses, 17:6 and 19:15). We must eliminate Deuteronomy 17:15 given (with the methodology to be developed later), the passage around it does not give itself to acting as a mnemonic cue.

That leaves us with two contending passages for John’s source, either Numbers 35:30 or Deuteronomy 19:15. The passage in John presents a challenge to Jesus by the Jewish leaders who questioned his manner of truth if he could only offer testimony on his own behalf. The passage in Numbers 35:30, following the discussion on the murderer, relates the requirements to have two witnesses to put the criminal to death. Deuteronomy 19:15, on the other hand, speaks to the accusation against someone who has sinned. Deuteronomy declares the priests must judge the accusation while including a warning against the false accuser. John’s passage includes Pharisees, the Temple setting, and a passive proclamation that Jesus’s accusers are making false statements. It is much more likely John is quoting from Deuteronomy rather than Numbers.

I will now offer, based on a proposed allusion by Hübner, an example of the work I plan to accomplish.[3] He proposes a possible connection between Deuteronomy 16:2 and John 2:15 based on πρόβατα καὶ βόας.[4] Exodus 12:32 contains the exact word order found in John, πρόβατα καὶ τοὺς βόας, while the word order matching Deuteronomy 16:2 is found in Psalm 8:8. As to be discussed in the chapter on critical theory of allusions, for an allusion to work as an intentional ploy of the author, the allusion must serve as a cue to a larger intertextual frame. Neither Exodus 12:32 nor Psalm 8:8 give to John the needed imagery to allow us to consider this phrase an allusion. Only Deuteronomy does. Again, I must refer back to the imagery present to identify the likelihood of the allusive allowance. In John, Jesus is presenting his body as the Temple whereas in Deuteronomy, the Temple is in only view. This is not all. The Johannine passage takes place near the Passover (John 2:13) whereas Deuteronomy calls for the Passover to take place in the Temple (16:1). Both passages share the Passover and Temple imagery, as well as the ultimate Passover as an expected future event.[5] For Deuteronomy, it is the building of the Temple whereas for John, it is with the death of Jesus.

If we can find more allusions between Deuteronomy, using them to act as signs for larger intertextual frames, we will begin to see the larger role the Fifth Book of Moses plays in the Fourth Gospel. Such allusions, I contend, are replete, adding structure to John’s writing so that John should not be interpreted apart from Deuteronomy, but nestled in an almost inter-linear fashion. The search for allusions, rather than direct quotations will give us this possibility as well as allow us to examine what, if any, these additional recognized intertextual frames contribute to understanding an overall Johannine theology and intent.

3.5       Example of Neologism Work

The word dedicated to allusions will included a specialized section focused on examining the possibility of John’s use of the neologisms created by the septuagintal translator of Deuteronomy. There are two lists of neologisms, based on two different critical texts. The first is found in Wevers’ Notes on the Greek Text of Deuteronomy.[6] The second is in Göttingen Septuagint. The second list is found in Cécile Dogniez and Marguerite Harl’s work, based on Rahlfs’ critical edition.[7] What I intend to do here, briefly, is to show a positive end to the search of neologisms as a possible allusion in John as well as a negative.

Towards the negative boundary of exploration is the exploitation of the neologism that evolved into the name of the fifth book of the Torah, Δευτερονόμιον (Deut. 17:18). In several instances, we find John referring to an action of Jesus with δεύτερος.[8] While we may wish to see something in the passages relating to a second birth of sorts, nothing quite approaches an allowance to see δευτερονόμιον behind the various instances of δεύτερος in the Fourth Gospel.

We may find a positive allusion to a Greek Deuteronomic neologism in John 19:5, referring to Deuteronomy 1:31.[9] The neologism created by the translator of Deuteronomy is τροφοφορέω, used twice in this verse. Likewise, it is used in 2 Maccabees 7:27. Both books are likely in John’s cognitive environment. Equally, both passages under review contain images likely to have influenced the author of the Fourth Gospel. However, whereas 2 Maccabees relates the natural course of the mother and the child, the passage in Deuteronomy contains the imagery of God who fights for Israel and, more importantly, εἴ τις τροφοφορήσει ἄνθρωπος τὸν υἱὸν. God is bearing Israel as a man bears his son. John uses this hapax legomenon to imagine Jesus φορῶν τὸν ἀκάνθινον στέφανον καὶ τὸ πορφυροῦν ἱμάτιον. Given the similarity in imagery, if only in theology, it is possible John uses for the only time in his Gospel a word to harken back to God bearing Israel as a man bears his son.We must admit, however, beyond the theological allusions, the use of a neologism in Deuteronomy with a similar hapax legomenon in the Fourth Gospel is not in of itself completely convincing.[10] It may be that we are seeing a Deuteronomic theological allusion in use by John because of a hyper-focus by the examiner; to remedy that, I will not insist on these as allusions, if the evidence is this flimsy, but seek to present them as echoes indicating some contextual verbal hints in John’s vocabulary.

Admittedly, this is a rather weak connection and while I will use one or two of these weak analogies to showcase the stronger ones, it is less likely such a exposed allusion will be used to prove any substantial connections between Deuteronomy and John. Of course, I will beg the reader to allow for echoes to abound in John’s vocabulary so that while choice may imply purpose, there are those choices in the author’s mind we cannot so well gauge as to remain confident as to their purpose, as if one purpose is more explicable than one accident.


[1] Hans Hübner, Antje Labahn, and Michael Labahn, Evangelium Secundum Iohannem 2003.

[2]Labahn in Menken and Moyise, 84.

[3]Hübner, Evangelium Secundum Iohannem, 59–60

[4] πρόβατα καὶ τοὺς βόας (John 2:15)

[5] See Michael A. Daise, Feasts in John: Jewish Festivals and the Jesus’ “Hour” in the Fourth Gospel (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007). Daise proposed the use of feasts to denote a narrative aspect of John. If his premise is correct, then we can see more easily an allusion to Deuteronomy 16 (as opposed to Exodus 12 or Psalm 8) due to this particular pass of Deuteronomy focusing on the proper celebration of the feasts.

[6] John William Wevers, Notes on the Greek Text of Deuteronomy (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 1995.)

[7] Cécile Dogniez and Marguerite Harl, La Bible d’Alexandrie LXX, Tome 5: Le Deuteronome (Paris: Le Cerf, 1992).

[8] John 3:4, 4:54, 9:24, 21:16

[9] The ultimate purpose of using this neologism is to first show the work under the soon-to-developed methodology and not argue convincingly for its determined purpose.

[10] There are natural arguments against the allowance of this as a intertextual allusion. The first is the use of the figurative language in the LXX, something John either ignores or misses as the Evangelist strips the word (as with the removal of τροφο) of the language needed to conjure the image of a caring, or nursing, person. Jesus is not the caring individual here, but in need of care. Second, there are the other New Testament usages, such as in Matthew 11:8 and 1 Corinthians 15:49. The answer to a possible weakness in this example is to beg allowance that John may simply use the word to call attention to the larger intertextual framework he may employ here while the answer to the second opposition is to suggest we examine vocabulary in John as Johannine rather than as New Testament.

Review of @BakerAcademic’s “Encountering John : The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective”

That this is a textbook is no secret; yet, it provides something to the autodicate as well. It is an introduction and commentary. Indeed, as far as textbooks go, this is a premier one and should be included in every Johannine scholar’s booklist. Written by Andreas J. Köstenberger, it provides a multi-perspective introduction to the Fourth Gospel.

The book, geared to students, is divided between 5 parts, including 2 appendices and 10 excursuses. Each chapter begins with “didactic material,” including a verse, an outline, objectives, and oftentimes, supplemental reading. At the end of each chapter are study questions and key words. In between the natural bookends, there are side boxes to give more detail about the examined chapter in John’s Gospel, such as “Jesus’s Display of Supernatural Knowledge.” (p58) Further, there are other helps as well. On p59, there is a box on the appearances of “the Son of Man” in the Fourth Gospel as well as a box on the seven signs of Jesus. The information in these boxes will aid the student in connecting the whole of the Gospel to what they are reading. I am not one given to an overly redacted Fourth Gospel, so to have these boxes acting almost like cross references connect the Gospel among its “various parts,” it helps to smother the need to dissect John unnaturally.

On other hand, the author’s almost outright refusal to introduce historical criticism to his students does leave me worried. While he marvelously deals with textual criticism (for instance, his discussion on John 1.18), Köstenberger refuses to allow a theological agenda uniquely Johannine. In discussing the “Johannine Pentecost,” Köstenberger rails against those who would see John has offering a view different than Luke of the beginning of the Church. He writes that the view “charges John with altering historical fact in order to accommodate his particular theological bent. And while this is a serious enough offence for you and me, it is infinitely more serious for a writer of inspired Scripture.” (p174) The author presupposes an unprovable, and still yet theological controversial tenet, that of inspiration. Further, he presumes an apparent monolithic orthodoxy at an early stage of Christianity, something not proven and in reality, the opposite of what we believe we know. His need to merge John with evangelical inspiration is made readily clearly when he runs into Johannine disagreements with the Synoptics (for instance, his discussion on the chronology of the passion, p133).

With an evangelical wind at this back, Köstenberger delivers a wonderful introductory textbook to facilitate deeper studies of the Fourth Gospel. While his exclusions of notable Johannine commentators, such as Rudolph Bultmann, is noticeable, his inclusion of relevant data such as Rabbinic sources and his use of literary criticism makes this book a welcomed addition to my library. Further, the ten execursuses, addressing topics ranging from the asides to the Aporias gives me pause to consider the deep majesty not just of the last canonical Gospel but of those who have take it in their hands and attempted to extract to the last full measure the supreme mystery buried in the Gospel According to St. John.

Some thoughts of the Lexham High Definition New Testament @logosacademic

I can’t tell you why, yet, but I’ve suddenly become interested in highlighting the High Definition series from Logos. This series builds upon the Discourse series, both by Steve Runge, the scholar in residence at Logos.

I want to briefly highlight, as a primer, the Lexham High Definition New Testament (based on the ESV) module available now from Logos.

Now for the first time, the nuances of discourse grammar are marked in your Logos Bible Software English Standard Version New Testament to expose the subtleties of the Greek text. Without formal Greek or Hebrew training, you can:

  • Enhance your understanding of the original authorial intent
  • Restore the subtleties of tone and stress “lost in translation
  • Learn to distinguish among backgrounded information, major and minor points in the text
  • Apply the proper emphasis in public reading and teaching of Scripture!

See the link above for a fuller explanation.

This is what it looks like on my iPad:

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I’ve split the screen to show Romans 1 in the hi-def NT as well as the glossary volume.

What is different about this, say from other versions attempting to show emphasis? It uses rhetoric as a basis. Notice that on the left of the image is a diagram showing the points of the structure. One of the errors of modern readers is to read Romans as if Paul is monotone. This helps to break that up. Let me show you some more from the inside:

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One of the neater things about Logos is that when I make a note on one translation, it carries it over to others. Here, I am commenting about Augustine’s use of this verse in the proper context.

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I work with the presupposition Paul is an accomplished rhetorician. Thus, when he makes dramatic shifts in his “speech” they are noteworthy. You miss that if you simply read it dry. Here, Runge is pointing out that SOMETHING HAS CHANGED SO TAKE NOTE, DEAR READER!

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I’ve highlighted a few of the particulars to show you what pops up.

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Notice verse 10. Here, there is a rejoinder to .10a. “There is none righteous!” the leader says. “No, no one” the congregation enjoins. And also with your spirit.

As you know, I have an issue in the way Romans is read because I believe Paul is writing in a certain style, a style detectable if one understands a specific rhetoric as well as acknowledge Paul’s context here. Having the High Definition New Testament is great because it calls us to step back and read it in such a way as to consider we, in fact, did not write it, but someone else — someone else with intentions, purpose, and a specific message — did.

One day, after phd work, I’d like to work on a specific monograph on Romans. This is going to start, and urge me on, in that process. Runge’s work, as much as Campbell and a select few others, is serving to show Paul’s intentional rhetoric and must not be missed if you really want to hear what the Apostle is saying.

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is this how you describe the “framework” of Romans? (HT: @ivpress)

English: page with text of Epistle to the Roma...

English: page with text of Epistle to the Romans 1:1-7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IVP Books recently published a book titled, Frameworks, How to Navigate the New Testament by Eric Larson.

Frameworks is a fresh, innovative and groundbreaking survey of the New Testament that combines compelling stories, brilliant images and simple illustrations (maps, charts) to create context (conceptual frameworks) that guide you through the Bible.

Presented in an attractive, less-is-more format with lots of refreshing white space, this book will help you navigate your way through the twists and turns of the New Testament by helping you answer ten questions for each of the 27 New Testament books…

On the IVP facebook, they released a photo of Romans (always the best book to highlight).

There is a lot of discussion (or maybe I just heard some at SBL) about the nature of Romans and Paul’s possible use of rhetoric. For those who engage/use rhetorical criticism of the New Testament, Romans is a rhetorical piece, although there are disagreements as to how much and to what type of rhetoric is used. Stanley Stowers sees it as a protreptic letter aimed at introducing Paul to a new audience. He sees a use of the rhetoric apostrophe as well. I, as I have posted before, agree with Stowers in a broad manner. I believe Paul is using the protreptic style to writer Romans, but so too the rhetorical προσωποποιία (prosopopoeia) to do so. Paul has written Romans is a dramatic fashion where he stands as the pro-Gentile Jew against the anti-Gentile Jew as well as the Jew (parent) who must remind the Gentile (child) of Israel’s place in God’s salvation history.

All of this is done to introduce Paul to a new audience and contains, I believe, every bit of Paul’s theology. However, it must be read the correct way, else we are left with theological positions Paul actually argued against.

I have not yet read Larson’s book, so I am simply going off the picture. I disagree, strongly, that chapters 9-11 are about our rejection of God, but rather are a reminder of God’s continued covenant with Israel. His chapter setting in 1-3 is also trouble, or rather, too broad. I do not think Paul is simply arguing we all need salvation, but rather, Paul argues that salvation is given to all, an argument reaching a zenith in chapter 5. To note, his categorization of chapters 12-16 are okay.

My point is, besides highlighting this book which looks great for small groups, is to suggest Romans needs a better framework. In private discussions with a reader of this blog, I’ve seen one. He has taken some of the work I put forth and went through Romans in such a way as to show a complete dialogue within the entire book. This is only the first step, as once you fully establish how to read Romans, then you will need to decipher what, if anything, this means to current discussions on justification, universalism, and covenants.

Jim is going to disagree, of course.

Also, be sure to check out Larson’s book.

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(Re)discovered Uncial Fragment of John’s Gospel (0323)

…yet exciting (re)discovery: a forgotten uncial fragment of John’s Gospel in one of the most famous manuscripts in the field of New Testament textual criticism, the Syrus Sinaiticus. The presence of some palimpsest leaves with a Greek Gospel text in this manuscript (Sinaiticus gr. 30, fol. 142, 144, 147 and 149) has been known to the scientific community for more than 100 years, but it always remained in the shadow of the Old Syriac text and apparently no one realized that it had gone unregistered in the GA list of New Testament manuscripts.

via A “New” Uncial Fragment of John’s Gospel (0323) | Marginalia.

In working on my dissertation, I am weary of the textual completeness of John. Not really sure, yet, how this will factor in, but it is always interesting!

Review: The Courageous Gospel: Resources for Teachers, Students, and Preachers of the Fourth Gospel

Robert Hill, Dean of the Chapel and Professor of New Testament and Pastoral Theology at Boston University School of Theology, has with everyone in mind written a marvelous introduction to not only the Gospel of John itself but so too to recent scholarship on the Fourth Gospel. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a balanced view and presentation of critical scholarship around the Gospel of John while maintaining what appears to be a faithful commitment to certain theological tenets. 

The book is clearly a designed to be a textbook, but one cleverly disguised as something infinitely more usable. It is divided into four parts. The first part serves as a theological introduction, introducing the book and the scope of the scholarship. In here, we find that while Hill has written the majority of the book, he has included essays from others. Part Two is a dual commentary and autobiographical attempt at marking Hill’s interaction with the Gospel of John. Here, we are introduced to lectures, sermons, and even presentations by such Johannine luminaries as Raymond Brown. Part Three tackles various scholarly issues as well as propositions presented by various scholars, such as the aforementioned Brown and J. Louis Martyn. We are also given a short brief on Hill’s thesis as to the course of John. The final part includes theological summaries as well as examinations for a graduate level Johannine class.

What started off as a “why do I need this book” quickly became “why wasn’t this book given to me before.” I am currently working  a Ph.D. in the Fourth Gospel. This book is a welcomed addition to that work. As a small group leader, this book is equally accessible to the lay reader and will serve as a fine addition in lesson planning. Finally, for preachers, it helps to connect the Church and the Academy is a fashion honoring both.