Converted Jerusalem Revisited

A number of readers have been skeptical about my earlier post on converted Jerusalem. Several have noted that Rodney Stark’s population statistics for Jerusalem don’t fit well with information we get from Josephus, who claims that the population of Jerusalem was much larger than 20,000. . . . . Continue Reading »

Converted Jerusalem

In his fascinating Rise of Christianity , Rodney Stark cites estimates that there were between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants of Jerusalem in the first century. Stark uses this to falsify Luke’s claims that there were 5000 Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 4:4) and “many thousands” of . . . . Continue Reading »

Hebraic hermeneutics

One Rhonda Wauhkonen discusses Nicholas of Lyra’s “Hebraic” semiotics and hermeneutics in a 1992 article on Chaucer. She begins by contrasting Augustine’s signum/res distinction to Lyra’s Hebraic viewpoint: “In the Hebrew system as evidenced in Scripture and as . . . . Continue Reading »

Last and first

Nicholas of Lyra is known for his notion of a “double literal” sense to Scripture. For him, interpretation ad litteram includes both the historical and the doctrinal/christological senses, and he suggests that the ancient Hebrews could well have seen the Messianic sense as the literal . . . . Continue Reading »

Nicholas of Lyra’s afterlife

In Book 3 of Gargantua and Pantagruel, Rabelais attributes an odd opinion to the 14th-century exegete, Nicholas of Lyra: “Pantagruel, having wholly subdued the land of Dipsody, transported thereunto a colony of Utopians, to the number of 9,876,543,210 men, besides the women and little . . . . Continue Reading »

Thomas on the Parable of the Workers

Steinmetz summarizes Thomas’s remarkably “NTWrightian” commentary on Matthew 20:1-16. While acknowledging an Origenist tradition that sees the hours as moments of an individual life, Thomas is more interested in the Irenaean tradition that interprets the parable in terms of . . . . Continue Reading »

Intention and sense

Does the intention of the author determine the sense? There are problems with saying Yes, particularly when “intention” is assumed to be the mental state of the author, which is unrecoverable. There are also problems with saying No, because that seems to introduce (as ED Hirsch argues) . . . . Continue Reading »

Tragic hermeneutics

In an article in Theology Today (1980), David Steinmetz quotes Benjamin’s Jowett’s essay on the interpretation of Scripture (1859), which insists on a single meaning in a text - the meaning intended by the author and understood by the original audience. Steinmetz admits that critical . . . . Continue Reading »

Victorious righteousness

Dahood takes “righteous” in Psalm 118:15, 19 as “victory.” The joyful shouting is heard from the tents of the victorious, and the gates are the gates of victory. He cites Isaiah 41:2 and 49:24 as other texts where this nuance of ZDK comes to the fore. The meaning could be: . . . . Continue Reading »

More notes on Psalm 118

More notes, taken from or inspired by Michael Dahood’s Anchor Bible commentary. 1) Dahood makes good sense of the entire Psalm by assuming that it moves from a place of battle and victory (vv. 5-14), to the victory celebration in the tents of the war camp (vv. 15-18), and then the army . . . . Continue Reading »