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That one time Jesus got the Bible wrong

It's so typical isn't it? You are preaching all day long, training your disciples, sparring with the Pharisees, encouraging the poor and down trodden, healing the sick and casting out demons, all day, day after day, and even when you go up a mountain to get a rest the crowds hunt you down and follow you up, and then the one time you get a bit muddled up with some of the details of a biblical text . . . that is the one they write down in the first gospel - verbatim. At least Matthew and Luke had the good sense to do some editing. But Mark, he always had his eye on giving the public the "historical Jesus" whoever that is supposed to be . . . warts and all. Thanks a lot Mark!

Some think I made the mistake on purpose, just to show the Pharisees up.

For some there is no mistake worth mentioning, only a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase.

Others think I am doing something tricky with Abiathar's name, getting him to figuratively stand in for the priesthood.

It really has…
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How to type Greek accent and breathing in Tyndale unicode keyboard

I love my free Tyndale unicode keyboard for biblical languages and use it for my work. But I have often found it difficult to type an accent and a breathing mark above the same letter. Often I give up and just copy and paste it from elsewhere. Perhaps I have sometimes done it but then I have later forgotten how. Anyway, today I worked it out and I'm writing a blog post to help me remember the trick. Maybe it will be of use to you also?


e.g. ὄνομα or ἔχω

For smooth breathing you hold down [right-Alt] and press [ ' ], if you also want an accent press [ / ] while [right-Alt] is still depressed, then release, then type your letter. 

e.g. ὅσπερ or ὕπαγε

For rough breath you hold down [right-Alt] and [Shift] together, press [ ' ] and then while Alt and Shift are still depressed press [ / ], then release, then type you letter.

NB. nothing will appear until you type the letter. 

It is not as fiddly as it sounds, once you get used to it, and if you can remember what to do when you need t…

Dale Martin does Mark

Dale Martin is an important and frequently controversial NT scholar. Those of us who can't make it to Yale to hear him teach can access some of his lectures, in fact his entire introduction to the NT course, through the magic of the internet.

Here he is holding forth on Mark . . .


Thor Ragnarok and Parihaka: Postcolonial Apocalypse

Thor: Ragnarok is a riot of colour, sound, violence, humour, sci-fi and fantasy. As a piece of entertainment it is the best Marvel has produced so far. As in many of Taika Waititi's films the plot often seems secondary to the humour and a number of quirky moments seemed only to serve for a quick giggle. I left the theatre overwhelmed by the sensory experience, but ultimately unimpressed by any deeper meaning.

It wasn't until the second morning after my trip to the movies that I woke to the realisation that the movie could function as a profound postcolonial metaphor (I do some of my best thinking while alseep, also it can take me a while for the penny to drop). Unfortunately a quick google showed me that I was neither the first, nor the second to have this thought.

[Spoiler Alert!]

It's easy to miss with all the other stuff going on but Thor undergoes a postcolonial awakening during the film as he slowly realises that his beloved Asgard and its dominion of the nine realms …

Richard Hays on Imagination and Identity

Richard Hays being interviewed,

The figural character of scriptural revelation can encourage and inspire us to think and preach and pray in a way that is boldly imaginative. The New Testament’s richly imaginative reception of Israel’s story should warn us against narrow literalism. The Bible is a complex symphony that invites us to a posture of grateful astonishment at its unexpected harmonic variations on the themes of God’s power and love. Our hermeneutical instructions are clear: “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you” (Mark 4:24).

. . . 

The public and personal reading of Scripture offers us, first of all, our true identity as a people. Scripture teaches us to know ourselves not as autonomous, self-inventing “consumers” driven aimlessly by market forces, but as God’s people, the body of Christ. We are given purpose and hope by the biblical story in which we are caught up. And we’re given one another, a …

1 Corinthians and Women's Silence

The discussion as to what Paul meant and whether he even wrote parts of 1 Corinthians continues.

Textual evidence that 1 Cor 14:34-35 is a later interpolation.

Which Larry Hurtado think is correct, but not news.

And in 1 Cor 11:3 "head" does not mean "leader" (HT)

Relatedly, Wayne Grudem continues to amaze us all with his warped theology and supreme lack of scholarly depth. Thankfully Beth Allison Barr puts him straight.

Let me know what you think :-)




Galbraith and Rauser - What's Wrong with Children's Bible Stories

Deane Galbraith takes justified aim at simplified and (semi) sanitised Children's versions of violent Bible stories. Although it is not just the incoherent violence but the theology of the book that worries me.



Is the suggestion here that if Goliath had asked God for help he might have won instead? This is not just a simplification, but an addition of a theme which is not present in the original and changes the meaning of the story altogether.

In a Trinities podcast Randal Rauser shares his shock at discovering the "Disney-fied" version of the Bible he grew up with and how much violence and sex the original contained (from the 23 minute mark).

It is a conundrum. Frequently people have given my children "Bible books" which are both Disney-fied and often theologically confused. Because they are generally rubbish compared to the high quality "secular" books also in the home, I don't worry too much, their attention soon wanders. The fact is the state o…