Pillars

Why so much attention to the pillars of Solomon’s temple in 2 Kings 25? It is likely that these were the last major items left. Ahaz had already dismantled the bronze sea and the water chariots. King after king plundered the temple for bribe money. When Nebuchadnezzar came, not much was left. . . . . Continue Reading »

American empire

Fred Anderson and Andrew Clayton suggest a revisionist, imperial reading of American history: “At least from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present, American wars have either expressed a certain kind of imperial ambition or have resulted directly from successes in previous . . . . Continue Reading »

Harnack on Marcion

Harnack described Marcion’s main impulses as follows: “The innovations of Marcion are unmistakable. The way in which he attempted to sever Christianity from the Old Testament was a bold stroke which demanded the sacrifice of the dearest possession of Christianity as a religion, viz., . . . . Continue Reading »

Marcion and Biblical Studies

Peter Jones writes, “In spite of Marcion’s massive rejection of early Christian orthodoxy, and his denunciation and excommunication by the second century Church, the great nineteenth century Liberal historian and theologian, Adolf von Harnack, called Marcion ‘the first . . . . Continue Reading »

Non-monetary value

Georg Simmel wrote, “Money, with all its colorlessness and indifference, becomes the common denominator of all values; irreparably it hollows out the core of things, their individuality, their specific value, and their incomparability. All things float with equal specific gravity in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Uncleanness and the body

In his recent commentary on Leviticus (Baker), Allen Ross suggests that genital discharges were defiling because “The nature of God is so different from our human condition that the two conflict. The law made it clear that bodily functions prevent people from entering the presence of God - . . . . Continue Reading »

Beds and Altars

The woman of Shunem sets Elisha up with a table, a chair, a menorah - and a bed. The first three are clearly linked with temple furniture, but a bed? I submit that the bed is an altar, and hence the boy laid on the bed and revived is a new Isaac, Elisha a new Abraham who is father of the remnant, . . . . Continue Reading »

God’s War

Israel’s calling was to be the focal point of Yahweh’s battle against sin. This is evident from the context of Abraham’s call in Gen. 12. Yahweh promised earlier He would no longer flood the earth. After Babel the nations have been scattered and He will no longer deal with them . . . . Continue Reading »

Grace and evil

As posed by what Jurgen Moltmann has called “protest atheism,” the problem of evil is usually framed as a contradiction within theism, particularly biblical theism. Evil exists: God is either good but impotent to stop evil, or He is omnipotent but malign, such that evil expresses some . . . . Continue Reading »

Music and Hermeneutics

Bach’s little Minuet in G ends, not surprisingly, on G, while the bass plays a descending series of notes that are part of the G-major chord: G, D, and G. With the G, and the fragments of the chord, the Minuet comes to rest. The next to last note in the melody of the hymn “Come Thou . . . . Continue Reading »