Learning and church structures: a stimulating book by Claire S. Smith

This book addresses a really important topic, the ‘learning’ nature of the Pauline communities (especially in Corinth, Ephesus and Crete)—although the title is technical rather than inviting—and it’s stimulated me to write about a particular point arising from it. In general, I’ve enjoyed reading Claire Smith’s book and a full review (I wrote almost 2500 words) will appear on the excellent Review of Biblical Literature in due course (I’ll post here when the time comes). The particular point that I want to note here is Continue reading →

Judy Redman on the parable of the wheat and weeds (tares)

Here’s a great piece by Judy Redman from her blog about the parable of the wheat and weeds (tares) in Matthew 13:24-30—well worth reading. I’m particularly struck by the way she uses her training in agriculture to inform her reading of this parable and to show how much sense it makes in the first century, where agricultural practices were different to day. I love the fact that there was a law against people spreading darnel seed among wheat seed, which suggests that Jesus’ scenario in Continue reading →

A very helpful resource for reading the Greek New Testament

Michael H. Burer & Jeffrey E. Miller, A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2008; ISBN 978-0825420092; £23.99 (list price). I’m a bit behind in discovering this book, but now that I have, I recommend it warmly to friends who have learned Greek in the past and are puzzling over ‘keeping it up’. The New Reader’s Lexicon gives you the meanings of Greek words found less than 50 times in the New Testament, verse by verse through the whole NT. There are just over 300 Greek Continue reading →

A fun book: thanks, Ben Witherington III!

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading this little (158 pages) book  by Ben Witherington III over the last few days. It’s a novel in which he tells the story of a week in the city of Corinth, but it’s no ordinary week. The story features a former slave, Nicanor, who has returned from Roma after a business trip for his ex-owner, now friend, Erastos. Nicanor meets various people, and finds himself in the midst of political intrigue, for Erastos is standing for the office of aedile in Continue reading →

Two scintillating links

Here are two scintillatingly good links to pieces I’ve really enjoyed watching (the video) and reading (Joel Green’s article). The video is a short (12 mins) talk by Ian McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary, one of the most interesting books of recent times. McGilchrist is a neuroscientist who reflects seriously, and non-superficially, about the relation of the two hemispheres of the brain, and rejects the popular ‘left brain = rational, right brain = creative’ approach. He draws fascinating implications for the dominance of Continue reading →