Sprinkled from the dead

One of Paul’s arguments for the resurrection is baptism for the dead: “What will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). Paul is referring to Numbers 19, where those who are defiled by . . . . Continue Reading »

Child Catchers

Writing in The Nation , Melanie Mock summarizes the findings of Kathryn Joyce’s The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption . Mock writes: “Many secular adoption agencies have been implicated in corruption in the last decade and more. Joyce focuses on those . . . . Continue Reading »

Orgin, Agent, Destiny

N.T. Wright regularly points out how Paul inserts Jesus into the Shema in 1 Corinthians 8:6. “There is but one God, the Father,” he begins, and as a Jew there he would have ended. Instead, he adds, “and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” Hear, O Israel, the God is one, and the Lord is . . . . Continue Reading »

Political eschatology

In an essay challenging the widespread notion that Tyconius was a millennialist, Paula Fredriksen notes the connections between eschatology and politics in the early church: “Diving the signs of the End in a period of Imperial persecution gave many of the early commentaries a decidedly . . . . Continue Reading »

Age of Exiles

According to Pamela Bright ( The Book of Rules of Tyconius: Its Purpose and Inner Logic) , the late fourth century was the “Age of Exiles” in the Western church. The Council of Milan (355), convene to deal with the question of Athanasius’s orthodoxy, ended with the exile of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Seven heads, seven kings

Oecumenius ( Greek Commentaries on Revelation (Ancient Christian Texts) , 75) turns to more recent history to interpret the seven mountains-heads-kings of the beast of Revelation 17. The seven kings are not in order; rather they refer to the seven persecuting emperors of Rome: Nero, Domitian, . . . . Continue Reading »


The wounded and healed head of the beast (Revelation 13:1-3) represents, according to Oecumenius ( Greek Commentaries on Revelation (Ancient Christian Texts) , 58-9 ), “the death-bearing wound that the devil received on one of its heads . . . because of the reverent worship of Israel.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Jews and Greeks

What ought we say about the gospel and Hellenism? Many things, but this seems like a fruitful line of inquiry: The gospel is the fulfillment of Israel’s hope. The gospel therefore is known only by its similarity to and difference from the history and faith of the Jews. The gospel then enters . . . . Continue Reading »

Ephraim and Forgetfulness

Psalm 78 is a wisdom Psalm about Ephraim turning into his brother, Manasseh. Ephraim’s failure to come to Jephthah’s aid (Judges 12:1-6) initiates the Psalm’s review of Israel’s stubbornness and rebellion (Psalm 78:8-10). Ephraim refused to take up arms (v. 9), a sign that . . . . Continue Reading »