Book Reviews and Miscellaneous

On Learning Attic and Koine Greek, Classical Latin, and Biblical Hebrew

You would only want to learn these ancient languages if you are truly a serious student, and want to read the Scriptures and classics in their original language, and so you will not miss the word plays and puns that you can only catch in the original language. When reading epic poems of Homer and the Greek playwrights, or the Psalms in Old Testament, or the elegant works of Cicero, you can experience the rhymes and rhythms of the original language, as poetry can be incredibly difficult to translate. When we cut the video for a play by Aeschylus on the Battle of Salamis in the Persian Wars, the various translations we encountered were RADICALLY different. Personally, I am tempted not to read any more Greek plays until I learn how to read Attic Greek. […]

Greek and Roman History

Herodotus, Histories of Persia: Egypt and Scythia Before the Greco-Persian Wars

Why did Herodotus write his Histories? Herodotus tells us in his first paragraph, “so that human achievements may not be forgotten in time, and great and marvelous deeds, some displayed by Greeks, some by barbarians, may not be without their glory; and especially to show why the two peoples fought with each other.” Just as in the Iliad, the Greek soldiers and sailors in the Histories of Herodotus fight for cleos, or glory, and warriors in these warrior societies are immortalized by their great and marvelous deeds on the battlefield. Herodotus is interested in recording any mighty deeds of both the Greeks and the Persians, although the glory was earned mostly by the Greeks. […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus Blog 4, Views of Historical Jesus Scholars

We will not be talking about the Jesus of Meier because he respects the Tradition of the Church.  Witherington credits Meier’s work with “caution and careful, detailed argumentation.”  Unlike many other modern scholars, Meier does not dismiss the spiritual Gospel of John as a source of historical data about Jesus.  Like the other historical Jesus scholars, Meier uses criteria to sift through the Gospel material, but he does not use the criteria to discard material, and he uses the criteria more conservatively.  Most importantly, Meier sees the resurrection as a happening in the spiritual realm rather than the historical realm, but that this does not disprove the resurrection. It is still very real to the believer.  Like Johnson, he distinguishes between the historical Jesus and the real Jesus, the Jesus of faith, Jesus who is truly the Son of God. […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus, Blog 2, Modern Search for Historical Jesus

What is the theological agenda for this third historical Jesus movement? Opposition to fundamentalism. They do not want the fundamentalists to monopolize the airwaves, so they shamelessly promote their views so they fit in thirty second sound bites. They value radical academic independence, and denigrate subservience to tradition, and have no fear for ignoring Scripture they personally do not judge is historical, and for elevating newly discovered gnostic writings over Scripture in their quest for the historical Jesus. Witherington quotes Funk as saying, “methodology is not an indifferent net – it catches what it intends to catch.” […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus, Blog 1, Let us vote on what Jesus really said

Let us vote on each of the sayings on Jesus, a red bead for each truly authentic saying of Jesus, a pink bead when the saying sure sounds like Jesus, gray, maybe, a black bead for a saying Jesus could not have said, although centuries of biblical scholars thought and taught otherwise. Using this voting method, the self-appointed members of the Jesus Seminar in 1985 pronounced that only fifteen sayings were truly said by Jesus, while another seventy-five sayings were probably words of Jesus. […]