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Showing posts from July, 2012

The Deliverance of God: How Does Romans 2 Fit with the Rest of Romans?

At SBL in 2009 there was a session on the Deliverance of God. Michael Gorman objected to Campbell's construal of Romans 1-3, arguing that Keener, in his 2009 commentary on Romans, had shown decisively that Romans 2 is integral to the rest of Paul's argument in Romans and hence should not be assigned as a reductio of the Teacher's position.[1] This is a significant claim, and if correct, it severely weakens Campbell's case. It would give him exegetical problems on par with those he exposed in justification theory. In this post we'll assess the case.

Keener has two charts, one on page 45 and one on 47 which list the themes of Romans 2 that get developed elsewhere in Romans. I'm not going to go through them all, and I do believe some of them are not really relevant. Before we start looking at a couple of representative cases, I want to bring up one point. One should expect, even if Romans 2 is a reductio, to have some ties between Romans 2 and the rest of Romans.…

Doctor Who: Rose Tyler - Traitor?

The end of season four was very, very controversial. When I first saw it, I felt cheated. I was angry. The more I think about it, the more I think I see what Russell Davies was doing. He is too good of a writer and the show is too carefully crafted for him to screw up Rose's character and the end of a four season storyline. So while the ending isn't strictly part of our series, it is tangentially related, and I've agonized over that scene in Bad Wolf Bay so much that I have to write about it. :)

To briefly set things up, near the end of the final episode of season four, there is a meta-crisis, that results in a part human. part Time Lord Doctor being generated. He has all of the Doctor's memories, and thinks and acts like the Doctor. However, importantly, he only has one heart and cannot regenerate. He only has one life to live. The meta-crisis Doctor brought full resolution to the battle fought against the Daleks, and in the process, wiped them out. Thus, the real Doc…

Dr. Who: Rose Tyler - The Turning Points

In my last post, I opened with a photo of Rose from the season one episode Dalek. There we see Rose at the height of her compassion, demanding that the Doctor spare the Dalek. This screen capture comes from the end of season two, when she's laughing in the eyestalk of the Dalek about how she killed the Emporer of the Daleks. It seems like a different Rose.[1] I can't imagine that early season one Rose would have laughed about killing any being. How does Rose get from point A to point B?


After her first encounter with the Dalek, one has to assume that the Doctor fills her in on the Time War in more detail, especially detailing the evil of the Daleks. Rose experiences it firsthand when she gets caught by the transmat beam and placed into the game show in Bad Wolf.[2] Thus when she comes face to face with the Daleks she certainly will believe everything the Doctor told her about them and one believes she'll do anything to save humanity from them. Additionally, in the second p…

Doctor Who: Rose Tyler - Becoming Indispensable

Rose Tyler is by far my favorite character over the first four seasons. She's the one (not the Doctor) who got me hooked on the show. Perhaps the most startling element in the entire story arc of the first four seasons is Rose's appearance with a rather large gun at the end of season 4. I've never agonized over a fictional character the way I did with Rose. How did sweet and fun Rose become this? The answer is not short and will span three posts this week. We will begin today with a discussion of her development over the first two seasons. On Wednesday we will zero in on a few key events that largely shaped who she became and showed her evolution. On Friday we will delve into the controversial end of the fourth season, looking at why both the Doctor and Rose make the fateful decisions they make.


Rose undergoes a significant transformation during her time with the Doctor. Initially, she comes across as a very ordinary girl. There isn't much to set her apart from anyone e…

The Deliverance of God: Romans 1:-18-3:20

It's finally time to return to the Deliverance of God now that I've finished reading through the many many chapters laying out his understanding of Romans. In this post I will give an extremely brief overview of Campbell's approach to 1:18-3:20. In my next post on this book (probably not for about two weeks), I will take up the suggestion of Michael Gorman from SBL in 2009 and contrast Campbell's work on Romans 2 with that of Craig Keener's recent commentary.

According to Campbell, 1:18-32 functions as a case of speech-in-character, meaning Paul here writes in another's voice. Rather than being the authentic voice of Paul, it's the voice of the Teacher. Here Paul has worked up a speech conversant of Wisdom of Solomon that presents part of the Teacher's opening salvo. Paul does this, so that he can pick it apart, and show its inconsistency with other portions of the Teacher's teaching.

Starting in 2:1 Paul begins the attack. In fact, 2:1 overtly sig…

Book Review: Hermeneutics: An Introduction

Anthony Thiselton is the leading conservative voice in the field of hermeneutics, having written several major books and countess articles on the topic. Additionally, he has written a major commentary on 1 CorinthiansHermeneutics: An Introduction comes to us as his attempt to write an introductory text for the student and general reader.

The book begins in the first two chapters by laying a brief theoretical foundation for further discussion. Hermeneutics, according to Thiselton, is focused on the entire event of communication, encompassing author, text, and reader. Thiselton advocates a philosophical hermeneutics built off of Speech Act Theory and this is clear from the beginning. He also presses home Grant Osborne's notion of a hermeneutical spiral, the need for us to be aware of what we bring to the text both in terms of perspective and pre-understanding.

The third chapter covers Jesus' parables. Thiselton placed it in the book as a case study to try to give readers an i…

Doctor Who: Martha Jones - The Doctor's Soldier

Over the past three months or so, I've become obsessed with Dr. Who, watching the first four seasons of the modern version (2005-2008) plus the 2009 specials, bringing me through the end of the David Tennant era. I find it fascinating on a lot of levels, and you'll probably see several Dr. Who related posts in the upcoming months. The show deals with some of the major questions that the West is struggling through, particularly ethical questions related to justice. Today I thought I'd start by asking and attempting an answer that the show asks repeatedly. More than one villain  asks what happens to his companion(s) that she/they become soldiers.[1] This does not happen to all of the Doctor's female companions. Donna Noble certainly wasn't a soldier after her time with the Doctor, and even had the end of her time with the Doctor not resulted in her losing all memory of contact with him, there were no signs that she was on the way to becoming one.[2]

Both Martha Jone…

Is the Song of Songs Ironic?

We once again meet our refrain warning the daughters of Jerusalem. If you've read my comments closely you should be able to determine two opinions that I have. One is that the couple is not married in any of the scenes discussed so far. The second is that I believe they have been sexually active in some way shape or form.[1] While we should not assume that Israelite culture was anywhere near as "conservative" as the legal portions of the Torah might suggest, it would be surprising to find a work in the Old Testament unabashedly extolling sexual love between two unmarried people. And allegorical interpretation wouldn't solve that problem. Even if it did, most scholars hold that allegorical interpretation arose because of the Song was in the canon, not the other way around. How did it get there?


Perhaps the Song is ironic. Perhaps the Song is a warning against what it seems to be celebrating. Specifically, it could be a well crafted warning to women to be careful not to…

Faith According to Douglas Campbell

Soon you will have more posts from me on the Deliverance of God. I'm just about done reading the section on Romans and thus will soon be ready to work my way through it in detail. In the meantime, I thought I'd leave you with a key summary of Campbell's understanding of faith.

The notion of "faith" emerging from my reading of Romans 1-4 is essentially participatory. That is, "Christian faith"  which seems to embrace several related aspects from right beliefs about God, through trust, to steadfast fidelity over time, is isomorphic with Christ's own "faith." Moreover, Christ's "faith" is a metonymic motif that evokes the broader phenomenon of his passion, and in particular the downward trajectory of his martyrdom - that he was "obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:8b). So the motif of faith is best located in a set of key narratives; Christian faith, like Christ's faith, functions withi…

Thiselton on Luther on the Clarity of Scripture

"By arguing for the clarity of Scripture, Luther did not imply that commentaries were unnecessary, as we can see from his work. He was replying, in effect, to the claims of Erasmus that Scripture was so complex, and its arguments so many-sided, that we could never be committed to much more than exploration. Luther regarded this as amounting to a form of skepticism. The Bible, he insisted, is clear enough for action (Hermeneutics: An Introduction p. 129 - emphasis original).