Wednesday, 26 May 2010

"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" RB Hays on 1 Cor 15:32

This poster on a Graffiti wall in Nijmegen made me think of a crucial text I am wrestling with for my PhD here at Radboud University. It is 1 Cor 15:32b which states:
                         If the dead do not rise, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
It is worth quoting Richard Hays on this text:
"If Paul's own apostolic labors provide a positive example of how one should live in light of the promise of resurrection, the behaviour of some of the Corinthians illustrate the opposite possibility (v. 32b). Paul suggests that their skepticism has led them to act like the frenzied inhabitants of Jerusalem who faced siege and anninilation at the hands of the Assyrians (Isa. 22:12-14): instead of facing their fate with repentance and weeping, they decided to  'party like there was no tomorrow', as the colloquial English expression has it. The slogan 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die' (quoted from Isa. 22:13) is a devastatingly apt characterization of these resurrection-denying Corinthians, whose own misbehavior has much to do with eating and drinking..." (First Corinthians, Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for for Teaching and Preaching, 268).

Saturday, 22 May 2010

And man made (artificial and synthetic) life - The Economist

       I'm not a biologist; I'm a student doing research on the resurrection of Jesus and believers in the future. But the recent events surrounding two American biologists who've made a bacterium that has an artificial genome - creating a living creature with no ancestors, has caught my eye. The technical stuff surrounding the whole project is quite difficult to comprehend, but one part of the project in particular intrigued me. It is claimed in The Economist that apart from all the positives this new technology can bring, there are also significant dangers. There is talk of the breading of malicious biological inventions, which could spell disaster for the integrity of species, including the human race, should the technology fall into the wrong hands. This made me think of some New Testament texts I am currently studying as part of my research. At least in the New Testament, God promises an awesome, holy, perfect resurrection body to all believers when Christ return. There is no danger of a malicious evil force that can ruin this plan of God (do you agree or disagree with me?). I share just to verses:

Jesus Christ will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Philippians 3:20-21).

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11).

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

CS Lewis: "Young ladies, put down your pens!"

Today, I had the privilege of listening to the amazing stories of Dr Martin Lloyd Jones' daughter here at Tyndale House, Cambridge. Lady Elizabeth Catherwood (as she is known) shared fond memories of her childhood and adult life, and the impact her father and others like CS Lewis had on her. I share some quotes I took down during the talk:

As mentor: "I'm glad he was my father in Christ and also my father in flesh".
What he would say about the Bible in academic study: "It's the Word of God, not just a textbook".
Why the 1904 Welsh Revival eventually failed: "People lived off the experience and stopped preaching".
How Mrs Lloyd Jones saw herself: "To keep him (ML Jones) in the pulpit".
One interesting fact about her studies under CS Lewis at Oxford:  Professor Lewis always said: "Young ladies, put down your pens!" when they wanted to make notes during lectures. Nobody was allowed to take any notes during his classes. He encouraged them to write down their memories after class at home. Lewis' Christian books had a profound impact on her life. Interestingly, she also told the story of how, after the publication of his first Christian book, Lewis became somewhat depressed, for the book did not do that well. Dr Lloyd Jones encouraged him to go on... as we today know that he did...

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The Authentic Gospels: New (exciting!) Evidence

I'm living in a country where the status quo (at least in some quarters) would have it that the New Testament Gospels are stacked with legends and later church embellishments. That's why I'm so excited about The Authentic Gospels: New Evidence conference to be held on 12 June 2010, at St Helen's Bishopsgate, London.
The speakers are three incredibly talented young scholars from Cambridge. Any person wanting to get to grips with the very latest archaelogical finds and cutting edge evidence with regards to the New Testament Gospels SHOULD be there! Register at:
The speakers:

Dr Simon Gathercole is Editor of the influential Journal for the Study of the New Testament and holds degrees from Cambridge and Durham, UK. He is Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Dirk Jongkind is a Dutch biblical scholar who finished his PhD at Cambridge on the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. He has done work for the British Library on the latter and is also Research Fellow in New Testament Text and Language at Tyndale House, Cambridge.

Dr Peter Williams is the youngest ever Warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge. He received his PhD at Cambridge studying ancient languages in the context of Old Testament texts. Before joining Tyndale House he taught at Cambridge University and the University of Aberdeen.

Friday, 14 May 2010

First ever world-class debate on the resurrection in South Africa?

A friend brought it to my attention that there was a significant debate held at the University of Pretoria on Wednesday 12 May 2010. The speakers where William Lane Craig and Mike Licona arguing for the authenticity of Jesus' bodily resurrection, over against Sakkie Spangenberg and Hansie Wolmarans arguing against it. Craig and Licona regard themselves as evangelical Christians, whereas Spangenberg and Wolmarans are part of the New Reformation Movement in South Africa, with links to the Jesus Seminar in the USA.

I wish I could've been there! Will be nice to get some feedback from folks who attended the debate. How many people attended? What were the main arguments? Who did best? Why?

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Papers presented at the Ethics in the Johannine Literature conference in Nijmegen

We had a fascinating conference! Have a look at the program below.

Monday 3 May

10.15-11.00 The place and use of the Bible in Christian ethics

Jean-Pierre Wils (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Facilitator: Jan van der Watt
11.30-12.15 Johannine ethics: an overview of the current state of research

Michael Labahn (University of Halle)

Facilitator: Ruben Zimmermann

12.15-13.00 What is “Ethics in John”? Ethical Devices in the Gospel of John

Ruben Zimmermann (University of Mainz)

Facilitator: Jan van der Watt

14.30-15.15 The Qumran background of Johannine Ethics

Erik Eynikel (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Facilitator: Reka Valentin

15.15-16.00 Wisdom literature as possible framework for Johannine ethics?

Andrew Glicksman (University of Dallas)

Facilitator: Erik Eynikel

Short papers:

16.15-16.35 Ethics by Using the Scripture with regard to John 2

Karl Weyer-Menkhoff (University of Mainz)

Facilitator: Susanne Luther

16.35-16.55 Ethics of Life in the Gospel of John

Mira Stare (University of Innsbruck)

Facilitator: Jörg Röder

Tuesday 4 May

9.00-9.45 Law and ethics in John’s Gospel

William Loader (Murdoch University)

Facilitator: Gilbert van Belle

9.45-10.30 Ergon, eleutheria and agathon – some underestimated norms for John’s Ethics

Hermut Löhr (University of Münster)

Facilitator: Gilbert van Belle

11.00-11.45 The flipside of ethics: The devil and ethics in John

Jan van der Watt (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Facilitator: Ulrich Busse

11.45-12.30 Semeia conveying ethics in John

Christos Karakolis (University of Athens)

Facilitator: Ulrich Busse

14.00-14.45 ‘Abide in Me’. The New Mode of Relationship between Jesus and His Followers as a Basis of Christian Ethics (John 15)

Chrys Caragounis (University of Lund)

Facilitator: Glen Lund

Wednesday 5 May

9.00-9.45 Die ethische Theologie des 1 Johannesbriefes

Udo Schnelle (University of Halle)

Facilitator: Ruben Zimmermann

9.45-10.30 Cain the Jew the AntiChrist: Collective Memory and the Johannine Ethics of Loving and Hating

Tom Thatcher (Christian University Cincinnati)

Facilitator: Ruben Zimmermann

11.00-11.45 Discernment-Oriented Leadership in the Johannine Situation— Abiding in the Truth versus Lesser Alternatives

Paul Anderson (George Fox University)

Facilitator: Maarten Menken