Peter and Jeremiah

In a 1975 article in JBL, one Bruce Dahlberg suggests that the background to Matthew 16:13-23 is less Isaiah 22 (the “key” of Eliakim’s shoulder) than Jeremiah 1, the call of the prophet. Some of his arguments rely on extrabiblical associations of keys with the temple (this has a . . . . Continue Reading »

Second Blessing

In his study of Matthew’s five-discourse structure, BW Bacon mentions commentators who connect the miracles of Matt 8-9 with the ancient idea that there were 10 plagues, 10 miracles by the sea, and 10 miracles in the sanctuary. His main reasin for disputing this interpretation is that the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Use of Patristic Exegesis

Dale Allison notes that Matthew “stipulates that it be interpreted in the context of other texts. This means that it is, in a fundamental sense, an incomplete utterance, a book full of holes. Readers must make present what is absent; they must become actively engaged and bring to the gospel . . . . Continue Reading »

Jesus and his enemies

The Jewish scholar GC Montefiore wrote: “What one would have wished to find in the life-story of Jesus would be one single incident in which Jesus actually performed a loving deed to one of his Rabbinic antagonists or enemies. That would have been worth all the injunctions of the Sermon on . . . . Continue Reading »

Nyssa on perfection

Gregory of Nyssa writes in his Life of Moses: “one limit of perfection is the fact that it has no limit . . . .Why? Because no good has any limit.” And in his treatise on perfection, he’s more expansive: “one ought not to be distressed when one considers this tendency . . . . Continue Reading »

Justification and the Gentiles

It’s not a new insight with me, but it came home with particular force recently: Paul says in Romans 3:28 that “we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of Torah.” To suppoose the point, he asks two rhetorical questions, the first expecting a negative and . . . . Continue Reading »

David Grows Up

David’s house dies and rises again several times in 1-2 Kings: After Athaliah kills the royal seed, Joash rises from the temple; after Samaria falls, the Lord saves Judah from Assyria through Hezekiah’s prayer; after Nebuchadnezzar takes Judah into exile, Jehoiachin is taken from prison . . . . Continue Reading »

Truth

In his recent Simply Christian , NT Wright offers this clever retort to skeptical relativism: “Saying ‘It’s true for you’ sounds fine and tolerant. But it only works because it’s twisting the word ‘true’ to mean, not ‘a true revelation of the way . . . . Continue Reading »

What’s Church For?

According to an AOL report, Greg Boyd has lost 1000 members of his church because he has refused to promote conservative political causes. According to the report, “he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service . . . . Continue Reading »

Father of the Prodigal

The Pharisees are the surly elder brother in Jesus’ parable, and surely they expected that the father would be equally surly - greeting his returned son with harsh rebukes and scolding rather than with joy. How did they miss it? Israel’s whole history demonstrated the opposite. . . . . Continue Reading »