The Passing of Charles Cranfield (1915-2015) – A Fond Remembrance (Gupta)

Jennifer Guo:

See also this post by Ben Blackwell from 2008: Coffee with Charles Cranfield (HT John Byron)

Originally posted on Crux Sola:

CranfieldThe sad news was circulated today that Prof. Charles Cranfield (Emeritus, Durham) has passed away (1915-2015). It was about seven years ago that I sat in his home and had tea with him, while we talked about Romans, theology, getting old, and politics. I had a look back on my notes from my conversation with him and what strikes me is how warm and pastoral he was. He has left a great legacy in his written works. He wrote on many subjects, including excellent commentaries on Romans and Mark, but in more recent years I have become fond of his little book The Apostles’ Creed: A Faith to Live By. Something to check out if you haven’t read it yet.

I am re-posting here my notes from my time with Prof. Cranfield in 2008 as part of my fond remembrance.

1. Professor Cranfield, do you have any (new) thoughts…

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Biblical Studies Carnival – February 2015

Welcome to the February Carnival! This was an eventful month for biblical studies geeks, with the announcement that the Gospel of the Lots of Mary had been deciphered (exclusively covered by Jim West), that a new NT papyrus had been discovered, and that the entirety of Codex Vaticanus is now available online. February also contains our favorite holiday of the year, for which Abram KJ and William Ross both linked to previous posts on the LXX in honor of International Septuagint Day. William’s post also contains an interview with renowned NT scholar and septuagintalist Karen Jobes. Martin Shields celebrated the special day with a post looking at differences between the LXX and MT on Job’s wife.

Before we get to the real fun, I’d like to urge you to contact Phil Long (Twitter @Plong42, email plong42 [at] gmail [dot] com) if you’re interested in hosting a Carnival. Hosting a biblical studies carnival is a fun way to highlight the best of biblioblogging and connect with the community. Next month’s Carnival will be hosted by Jacob Prahlow (@prahlowjacob), April will be Jeff Carter, and May will be Claude Mariottini.


Hebrew Bible/OT Pseudepigrapha

Over at Remnants of Giants, Deane Galbraith notes that David Clines has made available a paper entitled “The Significance of the ‘Sons of God’ Episode (Genesis 6:1-4) in the Context of the ‘Primeval History’ (Genesis 1–11)”.

Simon Holloway (not to be confused with Paul Holloway!) posted about a paper he presented at Australian Association for Jewish Studies Conference entitled “Charmed, I’m Sure: Wizardry, Women and War in the book of Numbers.”

James Pate is continuing to blog his way through II Chronicles (Chapter 19; 20; 21; 22).

On Valentines Day Karen Keen asked, “Is Song of Songs about Sex?”

Jim Davila reveals that a new manuscript of the OT Pseudepigraphon Jannes and Jambres has been discovered in Ethiopia. Peter Head commented on this as well over at Evangelical Textual Criticism.


New Testament/Early Christianity

James Crossley offers three posts at The Jesus Blog on the possibility of Aramaic sources behind the Gospel tradition (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

At The Bible and Interpretation Michael Kok offered a piece on his specialty, the Gospel of Mark, looking at “the reasons why some later Christian intellectuals were hesitant to embrace Mark, especially highlighting their concerns that Mark could be read as amenable to the theological views of their opponents.”

BW3 mentioned (here and here) a new series on CNN beginning today entitled “Finding Jesus: Fact, Faith, or Forgery.”

Richard Goode posted a summary and Powerpoint slides of Steve Moyise’s lecture entitled “Was the Birth of Jesus According to Scripture?

Reading Acts has been living up to its name, as Phil Long is continuing to blog his way through Acts:

Whew! I know it sounds treasonous, but perhaps Phil is dethroning King James as most prodigious blogger! You know who to go after to avenge me if I end up dead.

I mentioned the Battle of the Dougs (Moo vs. Campbell) on Pauline justification that took place at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It might seem like something’s not quite wright….thankfully, N. T. Wright was not left out this month. Richard Goode posted a handout and audio to Steve Moyise’s lecture assessing Wright’s understanding of Paul’s use of Scripture in PFG.

Mike Bird commented on Paula Fredriksen’s article “Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the Ten Commandments, and Pagan ‘Justification by faith'” from the latest JBL. Mke also mentioned an article by Matthew Bates entitled “A Christology of Incarnation and Enthronement: Romans 1:3-4 as unified, Nonadoptionist, and Nonconciliatory.”

Matthew Montonini continued his series “Fridays with Fee” in which he is working through the recently revised version of Gordon Fee’s classic commentary (NICNT) on 1 Corinthians (Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Larry Hurtado offers a few comments on Hebrews 1:6 and angelic worship of Christ in response to David Allen’s Essay in the Festchrift in the former’s honor. Hurtado also responds to Bauckham’s essay and Mary Ann Beavis’s essay from the same volume.

At Old School Script, Kris Lyle looks at whether James 3:6 is about the tongue or the fire.

Daniel Gullotta continues his “The Great Schweitzer Reread” series with Chapter 2, Part 1 on Reimarus. Daniel also wrote on how different Paul and John are as well as F. C. Bauer and the Two-Mission Thesis.



At The Bible and Interpretation Holger Gzella wrote an article entitled “Aramaic, the English of the Levant in Antiquity.”

William Ross wrote a post explaining and justifying his work in LXX studies and lexicography.

Mike Aubrey pointed to a recently completed Ph.D. dissertation entitled “The loss of the genitive in the diachrony of Greek.”

Brian Davidson linked to a file that helps one learn the vocabulary of 1 John (words occurring 50 times or less in the NT).

I don’t know how this could be possible, but if any of you are not following Wayne Coppins’s blog German for Neutestamentler, you really need to. Go subscribe now and finish playing at the Carnival later. It’s an invaluable resource for resource for those working with German for NT studies. This month Coppins worked through a section of Jörg Frey’s Die johanneische Eschatologie in honor of his birthday.



Women Biblical Scholars linked to a series on biblical prophecy by Ellen F. Davis (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

James McGrath noted the free digital availability of two of his articles on monotheism.

Peter Head at Evangelical Textual Criticism announced that the Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV (P75) now has a new name. Brice Jones comments on P.Monts.Roca 4.59, part of a fragment recently published for the first time.

Nijay Gupta pointed to a video of Marianne Meye Thompson on “Christ and Human Flourishing.”

Daniel Gullotta wrote a post on circumcision and one on epispasm. He also pointed us to a video lecture on the Mandaeans by James McGrath.

Jim Davila points to and comments on a series of posts on Gnosticism.

Marg Mowczko wrote on Eusebius and letter writing in the early church.



Alan Brill interviewed chair in Talmud at Princeton University Moulie Vidas on Talmudic source criticism.

Ancient Jew Review interviewed Jodi Magness about her excavation of the Galilean Synagogue of Huqoq.

Women Biblical Scholars interviewed Karen Jobes, Kristine Garroway, Amy-Jill Levine, Ruthe Anne Reese, Mitzi J. Smith, and Lynn Cohick.

Old School Script started a new interview series called “Scholars in Press.” So far Mike Aubrey and Jacob Cerone have been interviewed. If you haven’t done so already, do give Jacob a hearty CONGRATULATIONS for successfully defending his thesis!

Daniel Gullotta linked to an interview of Claudia Setzer by Larry Hurtado, which includes some great advice at the end for aspiring Ph.D. students.


Reviews and More

Abram KJ reviewed Nahum Sarna’s JPS Torah Commentary on Exodus.

Lindsay Kennedy reviewed Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and coming of Israel’s King and also began a series on the Jewish Trinity, a Logos MobileEd course by Michael Heiser.

Mike Bird reviewed Mark Strauss’s commentary on Mark (ZECNT).

Steve Walton reviewed Jesus is Lord, Caesar is Not at Reviews of Biblical and Early Christian Studies.

I did a three-part overview of the Festschrift presented to Douglas Moo at last year’s ETS Annual Meeting (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

Matthew Montonini noted that John Barcley’s Paul and the Gift is scheduled for release this October.

Nijay Gupta covered Galatians and Christian Theology, The Church According to Paul, Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek, Mark Seifrid’s commentary on 2 Corinthians (Pillar NTC), and Daniel L. Smith’s Into the World of the New Testament: Greco-Roman and Jewish Texts and Contexts.

Nick Norelli reviewed Logos’s Socio-Rhetorical Commetary series.

BW3 interacted at length with Richard Hays’s Reading Backwards this month (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6; Interview Part 1, Part 2,Part 3, Part 4 ).

Aaaaaaaand that’s all folks! If you want more fun, check out King James’s avignonian carnival.



Saturday Sillies

For chemistry peeps. This is one of the funniest images I’ve seen in a long time, from “Christian Memes” on Facebook. Please comment if you get it! I suspect there will only be a few.



Book Review – Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer from Depression (Zack Eswine)

Zack Eswine. Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer from Depression. Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2014. 144 pp. $9.99.

spurgeon's sorrowsI don’t think I’ve ever even hinted on this blog of my battle with depression, and I’m thankful that it’s now but a distant memory. The short version of the story is that depression captured me a few months after I became a Christian (almost 10 years ago) and quickly became all-consuming. From waking ’till sleeping I just wanted to die, and no amount of prayer, singing, reciting Scripture, preaching the gospel to myself, etc. gave me even momentary reprieve. I mostly kept my struggles a secret. Though I’m thankful for the love and prayers of a handful of people in my life that knew about my depression, I hated talking about it because I almost always ended up feeling worse. I received a lot of trite, unhelpful words and a few down-right harmful words. I don’t think my experience is unique; depression and mental health are issues that the Church doesn’t really talk about, which means sufferers feel like an anomalies and non-sufferers don’t know how to counsel or just “be there” for them. Platitudes are the norm, and untrue words implying presence of sin, lack of faith, the need to just “lighten up” are unfortunately common.

Though my struggle has ended (the Lord supernaturally and instantaneously delivered me from depression about a year and a half ago, but that’s another story for another day), I share it here because the subject matter of Spurgeon’s Sorrows was my constant reality for eight years. I therefore read this book with an eye toward two questions: 1) would this book have helped me and given me perspective back then (i.e. would those battling depression find this book helpful?); and 2) would this book help those who have never struggled with depression understand and provide support to those who do? Though I don’t often read Christian living books, I knew I had to read this book not just because of my own past struggle with depression, but also because 1) this struggle is more common in the Church than we realize and 2) the Church doesn’t address it nearly enough.

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Moo/Campbell Justification Debate

Earlier this month two giants in Pauline scholarship had a debate on Pauline justification at TEDS. Video and audio are now available on the Henry Center website.  Leading up to the debate Dr. Joshua Jipp wrote a series of blog posts to set the scene, and these posts serve as a great primer for those not as familiar with the topic.

Music Monday: The Brilliance – Brother

I love this band. If you’ve never heard of them be sure to check out their previous self-titled release as well (one of my favorite Christian albums of all time). Their new album “Brother” released last week. I was a bit disappointed that several of the tracks have been on previous albums, but I’m loving it nonetheless.

A Commentary on Exodus (Duane Garrett)

Duane A. Garrett. A Commentary on Exodus (Kregel Exegetical Library). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2014. 752 pp. $39.99.

Kregel ExodusIn the latest volume of the Kregel Exegetical Library series, SBTS professor Duane Garrett provides a commentary on Exodus with distinctive features that fills a gap in the existing pool of fine commentaries on the book of Exodus. In his preface Garrett mentions six key approaches in this volume:

  1. provide a short, basic introduction to Egyptian history, culture, language, and geography in order to help readers appreciate the context of the biblical story
  2. convey the state of scholarly debate over the crucial historical questions in the book of Exodus in an even-handed way
  3. illustrate the importance of analyzing the biblical text on a clause-by-clause basis by translating every clause on a separate line
  4. demonstrate that Exodus contains a series of poems and show why it matters
  5. provide a useful commentary for pastors and teachers that still addresses technical issues by confining most of the technical discussion to footnotes
  6. exegete the text as a Christian theologian by connecting the book of Exodus to the New Testament as well as Christian doctrine.

Garrett’s commentary begins with a detailed 131-page introduction that addresses the sources and composition of Exodus, provides an overview of the text of Exodus including text-critical issues, and explains his translation procedure. Garrett then provides a fairly in-depth introduction (for a biblical commentary) to the history and culture of ancient Egypt covering the land, chronology and history, and language. Next Garrett spends considerable time on the date of the exodus, examining the biblical data and historical evidence for the Late Date and the Early Date, covering a few other related issues (the store cities of Raamses and Pithom, the archaeology of Canaan, Jericho, and Hazor), noting two eccentric theories from respected scholars that are instructive though implausible (the Speos Artemidos inscription and the Siversten Hypothesis), and briefly examining a few chronological conundrums related to the price of a slave, ruling pharaohs. The section on dating ends with a caveat on early biblical chronology (the numbers “are correct in asserting what they actually meant, and this is not necessarily the same as what we think they meant, p. 93) and a brief look at a “Very Early Date” and a “Very Late Date.” Next, Garrett addresses the historicity of the exodus. In summing up this lengthy section, Garrett contends that “The exodus, we may be sure, did happen as described in the Bible. On the other hand, we must be humble about our ability to assign it to a specific date” (101). Garrett then provides a lengthy discussion on the location of the Yam Suph and of Mt. Sinai, an outline of Exodus with a structure comprising seven major divisions, and finally, a discussion on the message of Exodus and its place in Old Testament theology.

The commentary proper goes passage by passage providing a few brief sentences by way of introduction, a translation with a clause per line, an outline and comments on the structure of the passage, verse-by-verse commentary, and theological summary of key points. As mentioned above, technical discussions are mainly in footnotes so that the preacher or teacher preparing a sermon or Bible study is able to get the main points about the text as well as key theological points without getting bogged down by overly technical details. This commentary on Exodus is a superb volume for evangelicals and is especially suited for ministry use.

Thanks to Kregel Academic for the review copy!

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Book Review: Romans 8-16 For You (Tim Keller)

Timothy Keller. Romans 8-16 For You. The Good Book Company, 2015. 224 pp. $22.99.

Rom 8-16The God’s Word For You series from The Good Book Company is one of the best biblical resources for the Church. Whether used by students and scholars for devotional reading, consulted by ministry leaders for preaching and teaching, or used as an expository guide into deeper Bible study for the person in the pew, this series consistently combines solid exposition with helpful quotes and illustrates in a way that deepens one’s knowledge of the biblical text, stirs one’s heart with biblical truths, and facilitates gospel-centered application and life-change. For the typical church-goer, the volumes in this series are excellent and must-have guides to the respective biblical books.

Ever since I read Tim Keller’s Romans 1-7 For You from this series (my review here) last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second installment. Romans has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible, and I never get tired of it. As I wrote in the introduction to my review of Romans 1-7 for you,

While all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, it’s hard to deny that in a sense there is something extra-special about the Epistle to the Romans. It is, as Luther wrote in his commentary on the book, the “purest gospel.” No other section of the Bible takes us to such devastating lows in confronting us with our depravity, and no other section of the Bible takes us to such soaring heights with the reality of our justification and union with Christ. And through the Spirit of God this marvelous book has been the explosive catalyst in the lives of giants in the faith like Augustine and Luther, whose effects are still felt in the Church today.

I must confess that I’m much more familiar with the first half of Romans than the second (save for, perhaps, chapters 9-11). This is probably due to my Reformational understanding of the gospel – for in the first half of the letter is where we find the heart of the doctrine of justification by faith. The second half of Romans is more practical, focusing on how the gospel changes us in real life. Romans 8-16 is classic Tim Keller – sound, gospel-centered exposition of Scripture that’s at the same time winsome and relevant, with both rich theological quotes (e.g. Owen, Lloyd-Jones, etc.) as well as helpful illustrations and real-life stories. Because the second half of Romans contains some texts that are controversial in the evangelical world (e.g. Romans 9-11 and the topics of election as well as Israel and the Church, Romans 13 and the topic of how Christians relate to the state), in these chapters of Romans 8-16 for You readers may find themselves disagreeing with Keller’s perspective. These topics are outside the scope of an expository guide to cover in depth; but thankfully, Keller does address election and the sovereignty of God in an appendix.

I highly recommend both Keller’s two-volume set on Romans from the God’s Word for You series. It’s especially valuable for laypeople as a guide to studying the book of Romans, but is also a helpful aid (alongside technical commentaries) for those preparing to teach or preach from Romans.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

I’m not sure how long this price will last, but on the publisher’s website the two-volume set is a bit cheaper than buying them individually.

I received a free copy from the publisher via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.



Freebie Alert: Dr. Constantine Campbell’s “Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People” (Logos)

Up until March 9, you can get this Logos book for free by signing up for the Logos email list.

Book Review – The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate (Michael Kruger)

Michael J. Kruger. The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2013. 256 pp. $24.00.

Kruger CanonDr. Michael Kruger, President and NT professor at Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte, is a leading expert in Christian origins, early Christianity, and the development of the NT canon. In The Question of Canon, Kruger focuses on the question of why we have a New Testament canon at all (which comparatively has received very little attention) rather than the overworked questions of when and how these twenty-seven books came to be regarded as canon. The status quo, the dominant view in regards to why we have a canon that is challenged in this book, is what Kruger calls the extrinsic model – that the New Testament canon is “a later ecclesiastical development imposed on books originally written for another purpose” (7). The alternative that Kruger proposes and defends in this book is what he calls an intrinsic model – “that the idea of canon is not something imposed from the outside but develops more organically from within the early Christian religion itself. The earliest Christian communities had certain characteristics and also held a number of theological beliefs that, especially when taken in tandem, would have made a new collection of sacred books (what we would call a ‘canon’) a more natural development” (21).

The goal of The Question of Canon is not to prove the intrinsic model, but to demonstrate that the extrinsic model is problematic and thereby raise serious questions about its viability, paving the way for scholarly consideration of and further research with the intrinsic model. Each chapter addresses one of the five major tenets of the extrinsic model. Chapter 1 addresses the first – that we must make a sharp distinction between Scripture and canon. While acknowledging the strengths of the exclusive definition of canon (e.g. it rightly expresses the canon’s fluid boundaries prior to the fourth century), Kruger points out that “on those terms we still do not have a closed canon” (32 emphasis original) and that “the abrupt change in terminology gives the impression that these books bore some lesser status prior to this point; it communicates that Christians only had Scripture and not a canon” (33 emphasis original). Kruger then defines and gives strengths and weaknesses of the functional definition of canon (whereby canon is determined by function instead of presence in a closed list) before proposing the ontological definition as best: “The ontological definition focuses on what the canon is in and of itself, namely the authoritative books that God gave his corporate church…Books do not become canonical – they are canonical because they are the books God has given as a permanent guide for his church” (4o emphasis original). Kruger finally demonstrates the strength of all three definitions of canon being used together in an integrative and multidimensional approach.

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