Sunday, March 22, 2015

Making sense of the Matthew and Luke genealogies of Jesus

Ben Witherington has a good article on the quite different genealogies of Jesus, which is as good as anything I've read, so far.

Here are a few pertinent bits:

While there are a few similarities between the two (e.g. they both mention that Jesus is the ‘so-called’ son of Joseph), they are mostly different, and they serve very different purposes. Some Bible students along the way have tried to suggest that we have Mary’s genealogy in Luke, and Joseph’s in Matthew, but this solution simply doesn’t work, since Joseph and his ancestry is referred to in both cases...

Luke’s, is an ascending genealogy (tracing Jesus all the way back to Adam, and thence to God) and focuses on Jesus’ human ancestry in general. The other, Matthew’s, is a descending genealogy and is a strictly Jewish genealogy that wants to establish that Jesus is a descendant of Abraham and of Moses and of David, and thus is the Jewish messiah. Neither genealogy attempts to be complete, but rather they are selective and stylized. In royal genealogies in antiquity often the skeletons would be left in the closet, and sometimes whole generations would be left out of account.The genealogy was intended to be illustrative of the ancestry, not an exhaustive account thereof. Furthermore, in the case of Matthew’s genealogy, there is an attempt to suggest that Jesus is the perfect descendant of Abraham, noticing the references to three sets of 14 generations, with seven being the number of perfection...

Because Matthew is trying to shoe horn Mary and Jesus into Joseph’s genealogy (a reasonable thing to do since if Joseph adopted or accepted Mary’s child, by Jewish tradition she was entitled to Joseph’s genealogy in the bargain), because of the virginal conception,many scholars have suggested that the odd references to various notable or notorious women in this otherwise all male genealogy is meant to prepare for the irregularity of mentioning Mary, the mother of Jesus (and his only physical parent) who came by her child in an irregular way. So we have Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah’s wife (i.e. Bathsheba), and what all these women share in common with Mary is ‘irregular unions’. In other words, God can use all kinds of irregularities his wonders to perform, even to produce his messiah, the final anointed king. 



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

John Woodhouse on Scripture

Andrew Moody, citing John Woodhouse on Scripture ... I think:

The Classic Reformed claims about Scripture are less about the abstract properties of a book and more about the fact that God is a good God who provides for his children through the Bible.
1. Inerrancy - the whole of Scripture can be trusted and should be viewed as truth from God.
2. Clarity - God will lead us into truth through his Word, no matter how smart we are.
3. Sufficiency - We don't need to go elsewhere, Scripture is the table at which God will bring us the food we need.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Musings on the Bible's trustworthiness

If you are a clever person, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is a challenge—not because it
is irrational, but because it makes your cleverness less important. If you are a creative
person, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy might annoy you—not because the inerrant Bible
is dull, but because your creativity is less significant. If you are a proud person, the
doctrine of biblical inerrancy will certainly be a problem. This doctrine says that this book is
not subject to your evaluation, it does not need your ingenuity, it does not bow to your
superiority as a sophisticated 21st century intellectual. This ancient book is for you to hear,
understand, and believe. Humbly.
– John Woodhouse

Weiyi Lou's video is well made and makes me think.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Have you discovered Alec Motyer?

If you haven't encountered Alec Motyer, the first thing to learn is that his surname is pronounced muh TEER.

Mr Motyer is 90 and has just published a newly-written book called A Christian's Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament.

He has specialised in making the Old Testament accessible. The first book he wrote, with which I am familiar is his book The Day of the Lion, on the Old Testament prophet Amos.

He has also written commentaries on Philippians and James.

This Amazon link gives a list of his books which Amazon currently has available.

If you'd like to see and hear him, you can access several of his talks at this UK website.

He has contributed articles to The New Bible Dictionary (on Amos, for example) and was one of the Old Testament editors of the New Bible Commentary.

He is a great treasure, and I am so pleased he is still writing and "bearing fruit in his old age."

Why Women Are Leaving Evangelical Churches

I'm posting this so that I can find this article again, if I need to read it.

Josie McSkimming says that one reason women leave the church is that it teaches that sexual expression should be limited to heterosexual marriage.

But isn't that what all churches have always taught, at least until recently?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Did Jesus Exist?

This article cites Tacitus and Josephus as extrabiblical evidence for the existence of Jesus. The author sensibly views part of one statement by Josephus as having been added to by later Christian forgers.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Then and Now

In 2008, Joan and I  went to the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre to hear Tatiana Kolesova, the second place winner in the Sydney International Piano Competition, perform a magnificent program of Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Haydn and Stravinsky.

One of her three encores intrigued us: Joan told me it was Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits, but this didn't satisfy me, because I was thinking of its opening and had forgotten its middle.

When we got home, I looked up the Dance of the Blessed Spirits and found Dominique and Valerie Kim, aged twelve and ten, playing it beautifully, and showing that the music we had heard was indeed the middle part of that work. (We later discovered that Ms Kolesova had performed Sgambati's Arrangement of a Melody from Orfeo.)

We then spent the next hour sampling some of the 68 videos Mr Kim of San Diego had put up of his talented daughters playing flute, violin and piano. There are a lot of child prodigies on Youtube, but not all of them play musically!

Joan and I kept going back to the site and listening to Valerie and Dominique's beautiful playing. 

Today Mr Kim sent out a link to part of Valerie's Juilliard recital. Wow!

Mr Kim's website has 5000 subscribers and has had 5 million views. Not because the girls wear revealing outfits or do fancy tricks, but because of their wonderful musicianship.

Here is 9 year old Valerie, playing part of the Bruch Violin Concerto.

And here she is, last week playing Kreisler's Tambourin Chinois