Yesterday, for any who missed it, over on the Oxford University Press Blog, Ed Gallagher and I posted The Origins of the Reformation Bible. As you may well guess, the origins and debates over the contents of the Bible during the Reformation period were long anticipated in the Patristic period. Of course, both sides of the divide appealed to canon lists from early Christianity. Follow the link to read a significant part of the story that is not often told.
Although I haven’t blogged here in a while, I have been busy. Phoenix Seminary has been trying to launch a blog, and I have contributed a couple of pieces to it over the last month:
- On The Biblical Canon Lists. My briefest attempt to define and describe them to date.
- On The Intellectual Life. A different kind of post from me in which I describe some of the more salient points on the life of the mind from the classic by A. G. Sertillanges.
I encourage readers to check out the blog as the seminary attempts to publish some good content in the new year. While on sabbatical this spring, my blogging here and elsewhere may be more sporadic, but I do hope to post even if infrequently. We will see how it goes.
In other news, The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis by Ed Gallagher and yours truly was released in the UK on November 2 and will be officially released in the USA on January 2, although my friends in the States tell me that they have received their pre-ordered copies already.
Also, I have been furiously and frantically compiling course notes for a class on the History of the Canon of Scripture that I’m scheduled to teach at Phoenix Seminary January 8–12. I am enjoying the preparation and hope the students will gain insight and new appreciation for the subject.
After teaching the course, I go on sabbatical to give my projects some much needed attention. I hope to have some big news about one of these projects later in the year.
Expectations for the New Year
As the New Year approaches, I look back on 2017 with a heart of thankfulness and gratitude. I completed five and half years of teaching at the seminary and have never been more content and satisfied in my vocation than I am currently. In 2017, nothing radical happened, and for the most part there weren’t any breakthroughs. I’d like to think that I and my work were ordinary, faithful. In 2018, I pray for more of the same: faithfulness to all God has called me as Christian, husband, father, and professor. May God establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17).
It’s hard to believe that we have been ministering and teaching at Phoenix Seminary for five and a half years already (since Fall 2012). Teaching fine students and working with wonderful colleagues has made these years some of the sweetest of our lives.
For the Spring 2018 semester, I will be on research sabbatical / writing leave from the seminary. My family and I will be moving to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to participate in their Visiting Scholar Program (read more about it here). We will be there from middle of January to early June so that we can participate in life at the seminary and, more specifically, so that I can work on some writing projects that need attention. Here are some specifics on the writing projects:
- Finalize some papers on OT Canon and NT Canon for publication.
- Finalize my dissertation on the Hexaplaric Fragments of Job 22-42 (finally!) for publication with Peeters.
- Continue research and writing a handbook on the sources of Origen’s Hexapla (a project I’m very excited about and will explain more fully later).
- Begin another project I’m not at liberty to speak about :-).
- Begin writing a lengthy chapter on OT Textual Criticism for an intermediate Hebrew language textbook.
We are super excited to be back on the East coast, even if for a little while. We homeschool our two oldest children and part of that includes Classical Conversations. We have already found a group in which to participate in NC so the kids’ schooling will continue on schedule in the Spring (we’re in the colonial America cycle so where better to be located than the East coast). Another exciting benefit is that Annie’s family lives near Charlotte, NC so for the first time in our married life we will be near them. Of course, we will miss our friends in Phoenix while we are away, but we look forward to the fun adventures we will have in NC. We hope to return well rested and rejuvenated to continue our ministry in Phoenix upon our return.
Here are some key dates for the upcoming months:
- Mid December: Meades of AZ drive from AZ to MA to spend Christmas with the Meades of MA.
- January 8-12: I return to Phoenix to teach a J-term intensive on the History of the Canon of Scripture at Phoenix Seminary.
- Immediately after teaching the course I begin writing leave at SEBTS.
- Beginning early June we plan to visit friends and family on the East Coast.
- We plan to return to Phoenix around beginning of August.
Oxford University Press is currently running its Celebrate Friends & Family Sale with 40% off and Free Shipping on most of its online bookstore. Now, you can preorder The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity at the amazing low price of $27.00 (retail $45.00), if you act fast. While you are at it, you may want to join OUP’s mailing list so you can hear about these kinds of offers throughout the year. Cheers.
There is still time to register for the Friday lecture at Phoenix Seminary or you can simply show up at the door at 10:00 AM this Friday. It is free and open to the public. You will also be able to tune in and watch the lecture on Friday morning at 10:00 AM Phoenix Time (= Pacific Standard Time) via Facebook Live at the Phoenix Seminary Facebook page. I hope to see you there!
We are about one week away from the UK release (Nov. 2) of The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis written by me and Ed Gallagher and published by Oxford. You can preview the book on Google Books. You can also pre-order the book on Amazon UK (£35.00) or Amazon USA ($45.00). It will also be available on Oxford’s tables at the SBL Annual Meeting next month. The book is scheduled to release in the USA on Jan. 2, 2018.
Ed has already provided a good overview of our book on his blog. I have a post scheduled to appear on the ETC blog next week that situates our book within canon studies generally and shows its significance to the field.
The reason we believe most will want to own the book is the four chapters devoted to all of the Jewish and Christian canon lists in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac with parallel English translations and notes up to around 400 CE. But there is more to this book than simply presenting canon lists and commenting on them.
These chapters are book ended by an Introduction, which defines what a canon list is and describes its significance to canon studies, and a major Appendix treating the important Antilegomena and Apocrypha. Chapter 1 is a substantial chapter on the Development of the Christian Biblical Canon. This chapter surveys the early periods of both the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the New Testament, and therefore, provides necessary context for interpreting the value and significance of the canon lists. The sixth and final chapter surveys select early manuscript contents in Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Hebrew up to around 1000 CE, again with the intention of providing more context for understanding the contents of canon lists. With these book ends, the reader should be in a good position to appreciate the canon lists in the middle of the book.
We think that scholars and students will want to refer to this book frequently when treating the biblical canon.
Over on the ETC blog, I wrote on some key ideas in chapter 7, “Manuscripts and Christian Book Production,” in Michael Kruger’s Canon Revisited. In this chapter, Kruger attempts to show what we can learn about New Testament canon formation from our earliest manuscripts. In the post, I interact with the following ideas: (1) What is the value of a relative large quantity of MSS for determining canon? (2) What is the significance of the codex for NT canon formation? Kruger believes both aspects are potentially significant, while I register a caution or two about these particular ideas.
The following article is reproduced from The Gospel Witness 65.6 (1986): 22 (102) with permission. The Gospel Witness is a publication of Jarvis St. Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario that would devote one issue per year to Toronto Baptist Seminary. Dr. Peter Gentry taught the biblical languages faithfully at Toronto Baptist Seminary from 1984–1999 and 2008–2017, and he still teaches at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Enjoy!
GREEK AND HEBREW—WHY BOTHER?
By Professor Peter Gentry
During the past fifteen to twenty years many Bible colleges and seminaries have reshaped their curricula and programmes, cutting content-oriented requirements like Biblical languages, church history, exegesis of the original text and systematic theology in favour of method-oriented requirements such as Christian education, counselling skills and psychology. Certainly a balance between content and method must be maintained, but the present trend tends toward highly skilled communicators and counsellors with nothing to say. Continue reading “Peter Gentry on the Biblical Languages”
The Biblical Studies Carnival for September has been posted at Reading Acts. Lots of links attesting much activity around the biblioblogosphere last month. Make sure to check it out.
Mark 1:13 with its clause, “and he (i.e. Jesus) was with the wild beasts,” has intrigued me over the years. Here are some thoughts on it. In brief, the references “he was with the wild beasts” and “the angels were ministering to him” are allusions to Old Testament texts that show (1) that Jesus obeyed the Father and consequently he was blessed and (2) that he dealt a fatal blow to Satan in the wilderness. Here is the text of Mark 1:13: Continue reading “Mark 1:13 and Allusions to the Old Testament”