Sin and Impurity

Milgrom says that the “purification offering” deals with impurity and not with sin. Kiuchi says that it deals also with sin, suggesting that the “problem of terminology arises from the fact that the cultic law distinguishes between physical uncleanness and . . . (sin), whereas . . . . . . Continue Reading »

Made sin

John Kleinig suggests in his commentary on Leviticus that 2 Cor 5:21 refers to Jesus’ fulfillment of the rites of Leviticus 4-5: “Even though Jesus was singless, God offered Jesus as the ‘sin offering’ for human sin. In this case Paul employs the term HAMARTIA alone, which . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon outline

INTRODUCTION Ephesians is about the formation of Christian culture, or, in Paul’s terminology, a corporate Christian “walk.” Once, we walked, zombie-like, in death and sin (2:1), but God raised us in Christ to walk in good works (2:10). We are called to walk in a manner worthy of . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology and the Political

Duke University Press has just come out with a collection of essays edited by Creston Davis, John Milbank and Slavoj Zizek on political theology. As one might expect from the list of contributors (Milbank, Pickstock, Ward, Conor Cunningham, Kenneth Surin, Terry Eagleton and others) it’s a . . . . Continue Reading »

Fundamentalist Athens

There are still, surprisingly, some classical scholars who minimize the influence of religion on Athenian democracy. Hugh Bowden’s recent Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle is a direct assault on this secular vision. As summarized by Joy Connolly in the TLS, “Dismissing studies of . . . . Continue Reading »


Lloyd P Gerson has just published a book entitled Aristotle and Other Platonists , an effort to show that the two great philosophical opponents of ancient Greece are not opposed at all. He points to the “Neoplatonic” writers of antiquity, who attempted to harmonize the two philosophers. . . . . Continue Reading »

Bellow’s Bible

James Wood (TLS August 5) explores the Englishness of Saul Bellow, and particularly his indebtedness to the rhythms and sounds of the Authorized Version. Some of his suggestions are quite a stretch (“By the factory walls the grimy weeds grew” is quite distantly related to Psalm 137:1 - . . . . Continue Reading »

Covenant and Consent

How does God’s covenant with Israel bind generations that did not consent to the covenant? asked Isaac Abravanel in his 15th-century Commentary on the Pentateuch . This problem was raised in particular by a rabbinic claim that “A person can be benefited without being present, but cannot . . . . Continue Reading »

Music and communion

Ian McEwan’s Saturday is from one angle a novelization of Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” which also figures prominently (if improbably) into the plot. The book begins with neurosurgeon Henry Perowne looking out a window early on a February morning on a world where ignorant armies . . . . Continue Reading »

Covenant Idea

I recently came across the work of Daniel Judah Elazar, a political scientist at Temple University who has devoted much of his working life to tracing the impact of biblical ideas of covenant on the development of Western politics. This comes out most fully in a four-volume work on the covenant . . . . Continue Reading »