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Showing posts from May, 2017

Mike Bird on Mark's Account of Jesus Baptism: Not Adoptionist!

Mike Bird has a short article over at Christian Origins no doubt timed to help him sell some of his new book, and why not? In the comments though he is lured into addressing the Markan Baptism scene.

He writes:
I left out Mark’s baptism due to brevity.
First, I think Michael Peppard has shown that it is possible to read Mk 1.9-11 in an adoptionist sense, esp. if one regards eudokesa as meaning “chosen” and in light of Roman adoption practices. But I’m just not convinced that that is what Mark is trying to convey or how it was received by its initial readers.
Second, I don’t think Mark’s Gospel as a whole lends itself to adoptionism, since the demons somehow fear that Jesus is the Son who has “come” to destroy them (Mk 1.24; 5.7) and the Son belongs to a heavenly triad of Father, Son, and angels (Mk 13.32).
Third, if a divine voice calling Jesus “Son” marks out an adoption, then Jesus gets adopted three times at his baptism, transfiguration, and crucifixion. If one wanted to pick an adopt…

SBL Abbreviations Made Easy

Nothing makes using an abbreviation system easier than actually knowing what it is! Online, Roy Ciampa's impressive resources for NT Exegesis webpage has them all on one page. But keeping that open in my browser window for quick access is a pain, so I have made a printable word doc version of that page (it makes 6 A4 pages), so now you can print it out and stick it on your wall next to your picture of a dog on a bicycle. Never again will you wonder how to abbreviate Ezra's Greek Apocalypse or wonder what the heck b. Bic 3b is and why it keeps coming up in conversations about the right way to make a fruit salad.

You're very welcome.

DeConick and the relationship between Christology and Soteriology

April DeConick in a provocative book chapter makes a compelling argument for how Christological developments could fuel soteriological development. Without fully accepting her assumptions or conclusions, I think her point is very well made, who Jesus is understood to be is bound to have an effect on how this Jesus is understood to save us. DeConick sketches the following paradigms.

Christology --> Soterology
Righteous One/Human, became divine at resurrection --> Behavioural/Imitative
Pre-existent Spirit/Angel, created divine, became human --> Atonement/Sacrificial
Precosmogonic/Hypostatic, uncreated divine took on flesh --> Transmutative/Ingestive/Theosis


See further (she kindly makes it available for all on her website), April DeConick, "How We Talk About Christology Matters," in Capes, DeConick, Bond, (eds)  Israel's God and Rebecca's Children. (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2007), 1-23.

In this chapter DeConick does not deal in depth with Mark'…

Evil Angels?

Really enjoying reading a brilliant article by the magisterial Dale Martin, like all good scholarship familiar texts are revealed to hold surprising and unsettling possibilities!

Angels populated Paul's world in a lively way. Contrary to modern popular assumptions, angels for Paul were not always good. They could be evil and malicious or simply morally ambiguous. There certainly are "good" angels in Paul's world (2 Cor 11:14; Gal 1:8; 4:14), and certainly also "bad" angels. 1 Corinthians 6:3 mentions that "we" (presumably Paul and other followers of Jesus) will "judge" angels, implying that there are angels who are criminal. If Paul's reference to the "thorn in the flesh" that tortures him is to an "angel of Satan" (2 Cor 12:7), which I take to be the case, and not just a metaphorical "messenger of Satan," we would have here a satanic angel as Paul's tormentor.

Some scholars believe that the phrase &…

A Preexistent Christ in Mark?

Just been reading a fun little article with an approach to Jesus' preexistence in Mark's Gospel that I haven't come across before. I think there are some holes in it, but on the other hand it is quite refreshing to see the usual arguments and texts turned on their heads!

The fact that Mark begins his Gospel with the baptism scene has often been taken to indicate his espousal of adoptionist christology which excludes any attribution of intrinsic divinity. On the whole, this proves to be untenable. Mark specifically identifies John’s baptism as the beginning of the gospel, not of Jesus; there is no denial of Jesus’ personal preexistence, a necessary corollary of divinity. On the contrary, even though the ascription of sonship in 1.11 is phrased in terms of Ps. 2.7, the specifically adoptionist element of that verse is omitted. Instead of ‘this day I have begotten you’, we read, ’with you I am well pleased.' The aorist probably indicates that God’s pleasure in Jesus is al…