Archive for May, 2007
Pope Pius IX: Architect of the First Vatican Council
This week’s seminar is entitled the-resurgence-of-catholicism.ppt and charts the development of the Roman Catholic church from 1815 (the final defeat of Napoleon and the reshaping of Europe) to 1963 (the asassination of the first Catholic US President). Importantly, the period takes in the two VATICAN COUNCILS. A typical question for your Modern Church History final would be to compare the historical contexts and outcomes of the two councils.
A few thoughts from today’s seminar: During the first week of June you must now ready yourself for a ninety minute examination comprised of the following:
10 Short Answers questions (20%)
5 paragraph questions (50 %) on major theological themes., such as:
The character of Moses, the Abrahamic Covenant, sacrifice, priesthood,
law, tabernacle, plagues of Egypt
1 essay question (30%): Examples of essay questions: The Theology of one of the books of the Pentateuch; The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch; The Character of God in the Pentateuch
There are numerous resources for the study of the Pentateuch today. Apart from printed materials, there are a lot of resources in video format, CD’s, DVD’s, and the most accessible are the ones in the internet. As a caution, resources can also be overwhelming. We will try to indicate links that are relevant for our course. For a good online introduction to the Old Testament, click on this site of B. L. BANDSTRA.
For your ongoing study, I suggest the following books:
1) JEAN-LOUIS SKA, Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch (Eisenbrauns, 2006). , A general summary of this book can be found in Jean-Louis Ska, “The Pentateuch”, in The International Bible Commentary, pp. 335-343.
2) A. E.CAMPBELL AND M. O’BRIEN, Sources of the Pentateuch: Texts, Introductions, Annotations (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993).
3) JOSEPH BLENKINSOPP, The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible (AB Reference Library; New York: Doubleday, 1992). For an introduction to this book you can read the review of J.-L. Ska in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 58 (1996), pp. 100-102. A summary of this book is also found in Joseph Blenkinsopp, “Introduction to the Pentateuch,” in The New Interpreters Bible Volume 1, pp. 305-318.
4) ANTHONY R. CERESKO, Introduction to the Old Testament: A Liberation Perspective (revised and expanded edition;
Quezon City: Claretians, 2001).
5) JOHN J. COLLINS, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with CD-ROM (
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
6) GORDON WENHAM, Exploring the Old Testament Volume I: The Pentateuch
(London: SPCK, 2003).
Finally, here are a few links with this week’s seminar material in the Theology of Exodus. We considered exodus-as-drama.ppt. Here are the lecture notes: exodus.doc with a few extra ideas-for-exodus.doc. Hope that helps.
I guess you don’t remember this film? It’s rather a trivialised intro to a serious subject: Did Luke have a specific agenda -or at least a distinct perspective, in the way he transmitted the stories of Jesus’ miracles? For example, even the difference between the words used -semeia (John’s view of miracles as “signs”) and dunameis (the Synoptists referring to “acts of power”) -would suggest something of that perspective. I’ve been cobbling together some ideas, bibliography and web-sources in lukes-view-of-miracles.doc but I’d appreciate your input… (and forgive the picture… it was meant to attract your attention!)
The following article was featured on Yahoo! News last month. Creation science comments will be proffered in italicized font after each major point of the article.
LiveScience Staff Writer
Since the human-chimp split about 6 million years ago, chimpanzee genes can be said to have evolved more than human genes, a new study suggests.
No one today was alive six-million years ago. The figure of “six-million years” depends greatly upon errant trust in radio-carbon dating methods as well as a grand imagination to believe the molecules-to-man philosophy. And as always, the words “a new study suggests” plainly reveal the ever-changing word of science as opposed to the never-changing Word of God.
The church is the heir and fulfilment of Israel. The heart of Israel’s creed was given by Jesus to his church as its own: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:12f). Peter referred to Christians as the “elect… sojourners of the Dispersion” -an expression describing the old Israel- and then proceeded consistently to apply those descriptions of Israel to the church (1 Peter 1:1; 2:5-10). The writer to the Hebrews calls the new covenant in Jesus which brought the church into being, a covenant with the “house of Israel” (Heb 8:8). Paul called Christians “the true circumcision” (Phil 3:3), the “children of Abraham” (Rom 4:16-25), “the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph 2:12), and, explicitly, “the Israel of God” (Gal 6:6). (more…)
The mission of Jesus consists in bringing together the histories of the nations in the community of the history of Abraham, the history of Israel. His mission is unification, reconciliation, as the Letter to the Ephesians (2:18-22) will then present it. The history of Israel should become the history of all, Abraham’s sonship is to be extended to the “many”. (more…)
On April 26, Christian Newswire posted the article “Best-selling Author Will ‘Prove’ God’s Existence – ABC to Air LIVE Atheist Debate with Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort” by Mark Spence.
According to the article: “….best-selling author Ray Comfort contacted the network and offered to prove God’s existence, absolutely, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible or faith. He and Kirk Cameron (co-hosts of an award-winning Christian TV program) challenged the two originators of the “Blasphemy Challenge” to a debate on the existence of God. ….ABC loved the idea, and will host a debate in New York City on May 5, 2007. Moderated by Martin Bashir, the debate will be streamed LIVE on their website and will also be filmed for “Nightline.”
Check out the ABC Website to validate this article: Is God Real? The Nightline Face Off – Christians and Atheists to Debate the Existence of God:
Watch the Face Off Wednesday May 9 at 2 p.m. on ABC News Now, and on Nightline at 11:35 p.m.
Please watch the following video clip prior to getting too excited about this debate!:
After more than a century of the dominance of this theory in Old Testament studies, today there is no longer a consensus among scholars on the reliability and soundness of the theory.
Some scholars propose to cancel out this theory for good, others continue to defend it, some modify it, while still others suggest alternative models.
To say that there are separate stories that come from J (Yahwist source), E (Elohist source), P (Priestly source), and D (Deuteronomic source) which formed the so-called Pentateuch after the Babylonian exile (around 538-334 BC), as students were taught in the past, should now be stated with extra caution, not taking for granted the present serious criticisms aimed at this theory.
For reader-friendly introduction to this problem, see Jean-Louis Ska, “The Pentateuch”, in The International Bible Commentary, pp. 335-343 (especially p. 340).
Questions on the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the “documentary hypothesis” and the present state of scholarly analysis.
Questions on the character and flavour of each individual book: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
Questions on major themes: such as covenant, sacrifice, priesthood, sin, creation.
Hope that clarifies things a little. I will suggest further areas during the revision seminars mid-May and post additional material here such as the last two posts below.
For invaluable background reading please go to http://www.otgateway.com/pentateuch.htm for a wealth of material. Check out the whole site: it’s a whole library of generously donated resources on the Pentateuch and other OT subjects.