Does anyone out there have experience of using Pages '08 with right to left Hebrew in Unicode? Does it work? If so, I might move over from Word and try and persuade RefWorks to write a Macro that will work with Pages.
I heard today that Larry Norman had died. I haven't thought about Larry Norman for many years, save to laugh at those times when I and others like me used to sit up late on summer nights under canvas, somewhere in Cornwall or Dorset scaring ourselves witless by listening to "I Wish We'd All Been Ready". But the news of his death brought memories back, of songs and people who used to be friends and seeing him in concert at a celebration called "The Banquet" in 1980something at Wembly Arena. And then in evening prayers tonight the leader played "I Am a Servant" and I remember sitting in my room, singing, praying those words at the age of, I don't know, 16 or something.
Well my life is filled with songs
But I just could not get along without my friends
And I'm happy now, but when this good life ends
I know a better life begins ...
And someone died for all your friends
But even better yet, he lives again.
And if this song does not make sense to you,
I hope His spirit slips on through, He loves you.
This is a bit of free publicity for Luther King House: a summary of various things taking place here over the next few months.
First Tuesday 4 March The Whitley Lecture - Rev Dr Craig Gardiner speaking on, “How shall we sing the Lord's Song? Worship in and out of Church.” All are welcome to attend. Gather at 7.00 for a 7.30 start. Admission free. Further details at www.lutherkinghouse.org.uk
2008 Open Day Saturday 19th April. All are welcome at our academic open day this year is held Saturday 19th April from 2.00 p.m. until 4.00 p.m. All are welcome to come and find out more about our courses.
Pastoral Care Summer School The Luther King House Summer School from 30th June to 4th July 2008 provides an opportunity to work with Revd Dr Jan Berry and other participants on the theme of Pastoral Liturgy.
This course looks at the way in which our liturgy can respond to human story in a way that is pastorally sensitive, and set it in the framework of faith and liturgy. It will draw on participants’ own experience in creating liturgy, and encourage discussion of case studies and scenarios from their pastoral practice.
Fee levels have been deliberately tied at a price to make this course as accessible to as many people as possible. Residential £275 Non-Residential £180 (includes lunch)
Degree programmes at Luther King House We offer a full range of degree programmes from a part time Foundation Degree in Mission and Ministry or Community Work right through to work at PhD level. Our web pages have been recently updated with more information and the 2008 price schedule. Courses are open to people simply wanting to study in a supportive Christian environment as well as to those, sponsored by their denominations, who are undertaking training for ordained ministry.
Late Booking Deals Late Booking Deals available on Weekend Retreats during May 2008 please enquire on 0161 249 2539 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Tomorrow I am off to attend the Baptist Union Residential Selection Conference. This is a 3 day process for those who are seeking accreditation as ministers or youth specialists within BUGB, but who have not trained at a Baptist College in the usual way. I am there as the Assessor for Theological Development and Teachability. I have set two books for them to read in advance: N. T. Wright's Paul: Fresh Perspectives and James K. A. Smith's Who's Afraid of Postmodernism.
There is also some other work to be fitted in to the gaps in the programme. I have an finished article to proofread, and also have to begin some work on 4 Easter biblical reflections for the Baptist Times. The overall theme is 'Not the Passion of the Christ' and each week there will be reflection on a section of John's Passion Narrative. Broadly speaking:
Not the Last Supper: John 13 Not the Agony of Gethsemane: John 18 Not the Passion of the Christ: John 19 Not the Great Commission: John 20
Not sure if there will be internet access where we are staying, so back on Thursday.
I am posting this not least because I am aware that there are a few Manchester based people who read this blog. On Monday March 17th (Monday of Holy Week), we are holding a showing of the Martin Doblemeier's documentary film about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The location is Didsbury Baptist Church, Manchester. Time 8.00 p.m. start. Please contact me for more details.
...was the title of a little book by Fred Bruce (Paternoster, 1968) picking up the language of Acts 2.16. The book was about the ways in which the NT writers read themselves and their story into the story of the OT. The process continues: the NT invites us to read ourselves into its story - and to take all of our questions, challenges, struggles and issues with us as we go.
So, here is Doug Chaplin, re-telling the story of Acts 15 (or rather 'uncovering' a long lost letter from James to Paul). It is a nice insight into what might have been happening then, but is also a powerful commentary on what is happening now. As Peter might have said ... "This is that"!
On Mark 14.26-31: "Mark is offering a pedagogy of hope based on the initial failure of the most famous followers of Jesus and a second chance for them", Death of the Messiah, Volume 1, 141.
More substantially, here is Brown on the overall force of the Markan (and Matthean) passion narratives: "...the passion is a descent into an abyss during which Jesus himself will hesitate as he finds himself with no human support. He will be betrayed, abandoned, denied, and cursed by his disciples; he will be calumniated in the presence of the chief authorities of his people, who are determined to use every artifice to put him to death; he will be sentenced to crucifixion cynically by the representative of Roman justice, who knows he was handed over out of envy. As Jesus hangs on the cross for six hours ..., all will mock him; nature will be plunged into darkness; and his only words on the cross, wrenched from the depth of his soul, will be greeted with contemptuous skepticism." (p.140)
Do you think there is a chance that, when he wasn't reading Freire, Brown might have preached every now and again?
For those in the UK, Eden Bookshop is currently offering a 3 for the price of 2 deal on New Testament Commentaries. This includes major works (New Interpreters; Hermeneia; NICNT; NIGNT; ICC - paperback; some SNTS monographs etc) Order more than £50 and I think that postage might be free. Go here to look at the list.
Mark Goodacre has argued in a recent article (based I think on a seminar that he gave a few years back to the Erhardt seminar here in Manchester) that the starkly alternative approaches to the use of the OT in the gospel passion narratives, made famous by Dominic Crossan, fail to do justice to the evidence. Briefly stated, Crossan suggests that many scholars work on the model that sees the passion traditions as 'history remembered' (and he includes Raymond Brown in such a group). Rejecting this model, Crossan argues instead for the tradition as 'prophecy historicized'. Mark argues (I am remembering what he says here, because the article itself is not to hand) that instead we should imagine a more complex process by means of which the tradition undergoes 'scripturalization'.
A small example of this occurs in the transitional verse Mark 14.26/Matt. 26.30/Luke 22.39/John 18.1.
Mark reads: Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν ἐλαιῶν and is followed by Matthew exactly. The verse seems to me to be a basic geographical description, necessary to the plot, and rooted in the pre-Markan tradition that has the last supper narrative followed immediately by the Gethsemane scene. Luke expands and breaks the movement down into a general statement Καὶ ἐξελθὼν followed by more specific christology and discipleship focussed description: ἐπορεύθη κατὰ τὸ ἔθος εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν ἐλαιῶν, ἠκολούθησαν δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ οἱ μαθηταί.
John, in what I take to be an independent tradition (i.e. this is not a redaction of Mark or Luke in my view) moves the action on by using the same basic descriptive verb ἐξῆλθεν σὺν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ but adds the following detail: πέραν τοῦ χειμάρρου τοῦ Κεδρὼν ὅπου ἦν κῆπος.
As Brown argues in Death of the Messiah, the extra Johannine detail is informed by Scripture: in this case LXX of 2 Samuel 15.16 and 23, which gives us: καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ βασιλεὺς καὶ πᾶς ὁ οἶκος αὐτοῦ τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτῶν ... καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς διέβη τὸν χειμάρρουν Κεδρων
This sets up a clear Jesus/David parallel in which the surrounding themes of betrayal and weeping on the Mount of Olives are obviously relevant. What intrigues me, however, is that, while Mark and //'s focus on the weeping later in their narrative, they do not allude to the 2 Samuel text at this point, whereas John, who does make the allusion, is christologically unable to include the Gethsemane scene in what follows. In other words, there is evidence here of an ongoing 'back and forth' between the basic data of the passion tradition, scriptural texts and provide that data with an interpretive framework, and a renewed 'telling' of the data in the light of that framework.
See further: Mark Goodacre, “Scripturalization in Mark’s Crucifixion Narrative” in Geert van Oyen and Tom Shepherd (eds.), The Passion of Mark (Leuven: Peeters, 2006): 33-47
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother."
Those few verses from Matthew, when refracted through the fertile mind of Oscar Wilde and the musical genius of Richard Strauss, become "Salome". I went to hear the BBC Philharmonic give a concert performance at the Bridgewater Hall tonight, and am still recovering. No time to summarize the plot, or analyse the themes of the work, although what struck me was how the disordered and misdirected desire that shapes the characterization of everyone on stage: from the opening 'How beautiful is Princess Salome tonight' through to the final "I have kissed your mouth Jochanaan", is only confronted from beyond the narrative by the repeated references to Jesus.
But what a performance. Wonderful, powerful, headache-inducing playing from the orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda, with a great Herod in Peter Bronder (whom I would love to hear sing Mime). But the star turn was Salome in the person of Nicola Beller Carbone. I haven't heard such a strong vocal performance for ages (ignoring the early entry in the middle of the chaos, effectively dealt with by Noseda's hand). She was amazing.