Articles in TynBul 67.1 (May 2016)

An Unpublished Fragment of Deuteronomy: Chester Beatty Papyrus VI, Folio 105, Fragment 2, Recto
An Unpublished Fragment of Deuteronomy: Chester Beatty Papyrus VI, Folio 105, Fragment 2, Recto
Matthew Hamilton (Sydney, Australia)

A previously unpublished transcript and reconstruction of Chester Beatty Papyrus VI folio 105 fragment 2 recto column 1 as Deuteronomy 32:5-11.

The Translation of the Hebrew Term Nir: 'David's Yoke?'
Deuk-il Shin (Kosin University)

The purpose of this article is to query the viability of Douglas K. Stuart's recent suggestion that the Hebrew form nir 'lamp' should be translated as etymologically related to the Akkadian niru 'yoke, domination' on the basis of Paul D. Hanson's statement. The study is particularly interested in the phrase 'lamp of David'. The author insists that the traditional interpretation of the Hebrew nir as 'lamp' be maintained, thus rejecting the relevance of the Akkadian niru 'yoke'.

The Curious Incident of the Boys and the Bears: 2 Kings 2 and the Prophetic Authority of Elisha
Brian P. Irwin (Knox College, University of Toronto)

A view of 2 Kings 2 that is commonly encountered regards the cursing of the children of Bethel as a meaningless act that is beneath the dignity of the prophet. This paper argues that the curse uttered by Elisha in 2 Kings 2:24 is a covenant curse based on Leviticus 26:22 and is intended to warn Israel of what lies in store if it disregards the prophetic word. In this it complements the story of the healing of the waters of Jericho (2 Kings 2:19-22) which establishes the corollary principle. The events of 2 Kings 3–8 then illustrate this principle in a variety of contexts both nationally and internationally.  

Nahum's Prophetic Name
Gregory Cook (West Virginia)

While Nahum commentators correctly acknowledge that the prophet Nahum's name derives from the Hebrew root for 'comfort', they incorrectly interpret the significance of his name for the prophecy. Commentators usually argue that the name does not fit Nahum's violent vision or they state that the name fits precisely, as YHWH's vengeance brings comfort to his afflicted people. This article contends that the first two verses of Nahum allude to Isaiah 1:24, which indicates that YHWH receives comfort by being avenged. Therefore, Nahum's name indicates that the primary purpose of the book is to bring comfort to YHWH, not his adulterous people.

The Word of God Has Not Failed: God's Faithfulness and Israel's Salvation in Tobit 14:3-7 and Romans 9–11
John K. Goodrich (Moody Bible Institute)

Tobit 14:3-7 and Romans 9–11 share several striking verbal and conceptual parallels that invite detailed comparison. Most notably, both Tobit and Paul (1) deny the failure of God's word (Tob. 14:4a; Rom. 9:6a); (2) proceed to unveil a three-phase redemptive history for Israel (exile => partial restoration => full restoration); and (3) utilise their respective storylines to assure their readers in phase 2 that God will bring phase 3 to completion. These and other parallels show not only that Tobit and Paul share a common eschatological perspective, but that they deploy and develop almost identical thesis statements, thereby further demonstrating the proximity of Paul's discourse to contemporary Jewish modes of thought and argumentation.       

The Erasure of Distinction: Paul and the Politics of Dishonour
J. R. Harrison (Sydney College of Divinity)

The article investigates the deliberate erasure of inscriptional honours of two individuals in the first century: Augustus's 'friend', the infamous Gaius Cornelius Gallus, and the famous orator of Isthmia, Nikias. The public dishonouring of rivals by their enemies was common in antiquity. The author explores how this phenomenon illuminates Paul's conception of glory in Romans and his attack on boasting in oratorical performance in the Corinthian epistles. Paul sets forth a different understanding of honour based on the shame of the cross, God's election of the socially despised, and the elevation of the dishonoured in the Body of Christ.   

Spiritual Warfare and the Church's Mission According to Ephesians 6:10-17
Mark D. Owens (Cedarville University)

Ephesians 6:10-17 is typically understood as either a call to engage in spiritual warfare with the 'powers' or as a plea for ethical living. While these two interpretations are not necessarily incorrect, they are likely incomplete. More specifically, they do not account for the author's use of Isaiah in verses 14-15 and 17 and how this text summarises the whole of Ephesians. When one considers these two factors, it becomes reasonable to conclude that this text portrays the church as a community of 'divine-warriors' who continue Christ's mission by extending the new creation inaugurated by His sacrificial death and resurrection.     

Imitatio Christianorum: The Function of Believers as Examples in Philippians
Paul S. Cable (Wheaton College, Illinois)

In Philippians, Paul has pastoral, paraenetic aims: the Philippians are to adopt a Christian phronesis – a way of thought and life determined by their relationship to the crucified, humiliated, and risen Christ consisting specifically, in Philippians, of (1) an others-focused mindset; and (2) an attendant boldness and willingness to accept suffering and the burdens of others on behalf of the progress of the gospel. These paraenetic emphases are then embodied and illustrated by multiple examples: Christ is the ultimate exemplar and the source of the content of the exhortation. Paul himself is also one who embodies these qualities, though imperfectly. Timothy especially exemplifies others-focus, and Epaphroditus the willingness to suffer in the service of Christ. Euodia and Syntyche, finally, serve Christ boldly but lack the others-focus and unity that Paul exhorts. We conclude, then, that Paul understands the provision of such Christ-like examples and the imitation of those examples by those in Christ within Christian communities to be an important means by which the community progresses in holiness, that is, to be increasingly conformed to Christ.

Better Than the Blood of Abel?: Some Remarks on Abel in Hebrews 12:24
Kyu Seop Kim (Daeshin University and Chongshin University)

The sudden mention of Abel in Hebrews 12:24 has elicited a multiplicity of interpretations, but despite its significance, the meaning of 'Abel'  has not attracted the careful attention that it deserves. This study argues that 'Abel' in Hebrews 12:24 refers to Abel as an example who speaks to us through his right observation of the cult. Accordingly, Hebrews 12:24b means that Christ's cult is superior to the Jewish ritual. This interpretation fits exactly with the adjacent context contrasting Sinai and Zion symbols.

The Translation of Ho Proagoon in 2 John 9
Terry Griffith (Spurgeon's College, London)

A little known Old Latin variant of 2 John 9 ('qui recedit' for ho proagoon) provides an interpretive clue that has been overlooked in the translation and exegesis of this verse. After a survey of modern translations (which tend to over-interpret this verb) and a look at ancient variants, new lexical evidence is adduced to show how ho proagoon functions in the Elder's statement. Finally, a more neutral translation is offered: 'Anyone who goes forth [or leaves] and who does not remain in the teaching of the Messiah does not possess God.'

Ancient Rome's Daily News Publication with Some Likely Implications for Early Christian Studies
Brian J. Wright (Ridley College, Melbourne)

A detailed study on ancient Rome's daily news publication is currently absent in early Christian studies. This article seeks to begin filling this lacuna by surveying the history of this Roman news bulletin and highlighting the sorts of data that must be taken into account in order to determine the publication's subject matter, scope of distribution, and possible relevance for early Christian studies.


Articles in TynBul 66.1 (November 2015)

Did Paul Invent Justification by Faith?
Hanna Stettler (Tübingen University)

Many researchers consider Paul’s doctrine of justification a unique teaching, which he developed comparatively late, in his debate with judaising opponents of his Gentile mission. This article seeks to show that justification by faith without works can already be found in Paul’s early writings and that Paul is by no means the first to teach it. Jesus, in his parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector found in Luke 18:9-14, taught it long before Paul, albeit in the shape of a story. The sentences Paul quotes in Galatians 2:16 and Romans 3:28 are not random remarks, but carefully phrased slogans which were handed down to Paul by those who were Christians before him. These sentences show an amazing verbal and conceptual congruity with the parable in Luke 18 and may well have been formulated on the basis of that parable. This seems all the more likely if we take into account that the parable was originally formulated in Aramaic and has a strong claim to authenticity.

What about the Gibeonites?
William Ford (Belfast Bible College)
This article considers the story of the Gibeonites in Joshua 9–10 in the context of modern theological questions about the conquest of Canaan. It looks at the portrayal and perspectives of the four main groups in the story (kings, Gibeonites, Israel, and Yhwh) and argues that reading Joshua 9 and 10 together shows that the Gibeonites were exempted from ḥerem (destruction) because of their response to Yhwh and Israel. Combined with the story of Rahab, this story suggests that the Canaanites as a whole are not doomed to destruction, but that their response to Yhwh makes a difference.

The Rubrication of the Psalms in Codex Sinaiticus
Mark Randall James (University of Virginia)

This article examines the use of red ink (‘rubrication’) in the Psalms of Codex Sinaiticus. Building on Dirk Jongkind’s important study, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus, I offer an overview of the ancient practice of rubrication, a careful description of the scribal habits displayed in the rubrication in the Psalms of Sinaiticus, and a catalogue of probable scribal errors that occur in the rubrication. I offer three corrections or additions to Jongkind’s study: 1) scribe D’s omission of ΕΙΣ TO ΤΕΛΟΣ in the title of Psalm 87 was probably not a copying error, despite being a singular reading; 2) scribe A squeezed three lines of the text of the title to Psalm 100 into two because he forgot that he had left himself a third line at the bottom of the previous column; and 3) the ΔΙΑΨΑΛΜΑ at Psalm 139:9 was probably omitted by scribe A and added by a later hand, perhaps scribe D. This implies that A’s rubrication was checked and corrected.

Interpreting Scripture with Satan?: The Devil’s Use of Scripture in Luke’s Temptation Narrative
David B. Sloan (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

This article considers Luke’s evaluation of the devil’s interpretation of Psalm 91 in Luke 4:9-11 and offers four lessons regarding Biblical interpretation that can be drawn out of the text: 1) context is key; 2) the dawn of the messianic era enables a greater experience of the Scriptures than was previously the case; 3) the promises of Scripture should not be taken to mean that every experience on earth will match the promise made; and 4) if we use the locutionary meaning of Scripture to produce perlocutionary acts that oppose the intended perlocution of the text, we misuse the text.

Does Πίστις Mean ‘Faith(Fulness)’ in Paul?
Kevin W. McFadden (Cairn University)

This article argues that ‘faith’ and ‘faithfulness’ are two distinct meanings of πίστις in Paul. Many Pauline scholars write as if πίστις means ‘faith’ and ‘faithfulness’ at the same time, using glosses like ‘faith(fulness)’ and ‘faith/faithfulness’. But I argue that a distinction between the active meaning of πίστις (faith) and its passive meaning (faithfulness) is evident in Paul. The main pieces of evidence supporting this distinction are contexts in which Paul uses πίστις interchangeably or in parallel with the verb πιστεύω and contexts in which Paul uses πίστις with an object of faith indicated by a prepositional phrase. I conclude that Pauline scholars should not use the gloss ‘faith(fulness)’ for the word πίστις.

Infant Baptism in the First-Century Presupposition Pool
Steven A. Nicoletti (Faith Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, WA)

The debate over infant baptism in the apostolic church was classically captured in the exchanges between Joachim Jeremias and Kurt Aland. Most debates have focussed on ‘reading between the lines’ of first-century Christian texts, and have yielded little resolution of the New Testament’s silence. Such studies often fail to address the significance of the silence itself, within its original context. In this paper I examine the practices of first-century Judaism and Graeco-Roman religions regarding infant initiation and participation in their parents’ religion, including the Graeco-Roman practice of the dies lustricus and the involvement of children in Graeco-Roman worship. Using Theo Vennemann’s concept of presupposition pools, I will ask how the early church’s silence should be interpreted in light of the original audiences’ presuppositions. I will argue that since the New Testament and other surviving works of the early church do not address their audiences’ presupposition that their infants would be initiated into their religion, it indicates that they shared rather than challenged this widely held assumption. The New Testament’s silence is therefore best interpreted as indicating the practice of infant baptism.

Triune Beauty and the Ugly Cross: Towards a Theological Aesthetic
John-Mark Hart (Christ Community Church, Oklahoma City)

God’s triune beauty is most fully revealed in the ugly spectacle of the cross, and the close connection between the concepts of beauty and glory in scripture reveals how a cruciform theological aesthetic can illuminate our understanding of God, humanity, and salvation. Moreover, Christian discipleship calls for counter-cultural ways of seeing beauty and being beautiful in the midst of a broken world. This cruciform aesthetic also informs the limited but powerful role that the arts may play in the human vocation to behold, delight in, and reflect the beauty of God by the power of the Spirit.

Dissertation Summaries: 

Covenant Continuity and Fidelity: Inner-Biblical Allusion and Exegesis in Malachi
Jonathan Gibson (Girton College, University of Cambridge)

This thesis investigates how Malachi’s inner-biblical interpretation of ear¬lier source texts in the Hebrew Bible informs and shapes his central theme of covenant. While scholars generally acknowledge the im¬portance of covenant in Malachi, to date, only a few studies have been de¬voted to this theme in the book. This study seeks to redress the im¬balance in Malachian scholarship, by contributing a comprehensive ana¬lysis of covenant throughout the prophetic oracle. The core of Ma¬lachi’s covenantal imagination is shaped by his reflection on an authoritative collection of texts. The mention of people, nations and places, Deuteronomic terminology, and rare words and unique word/ root combinations exclusive to Malachi and only a few other texts encourages the book to be read in the context of received biblical texts. 

Private Confession of Sin in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Nicola Wilkes (Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge)
In the thesis I argue that private confession of sin plays a significant role in Bonhoeffer’s theology from his earliest writings onwards and that it is the vehicle through which he envisages the reinvigoration of the church. On Bonhoeffer’s account, private confession of sin is a moment of concrete encounter with the present Christ in which the one who confesses comes out of self and into Christ and thereby into the church-community; namely, into Christ existing as church-community. In so doing the confessant displaces self as the pseudo-creator, and stands before Christ in order both to speak out truth and to hear truth; that is, she comes out of self in order to be addressed by Christ.