Odds and Sods

In an attempt to break the silence:

The Hekhalot Rabbati, a weird and wonderful text central to the Merkabah mystical movement is now available in translation online.  Go here.  When I was in Oxford in the early 90's there was some considerable interest in these texts, the Merkabah tradition and the possibilty of influence and/or parallels with some New Testament material.  I remember a paper by Jarl Fossum at the research seminar, and Chris Rowland, Chris Morray-Jones and Paula Gooder were all working on this stuff.  There was even a short lived seminar in which we tried to read the texts in Hebrew.  Anyway, if you have't encountered this fascinating material before, go and have a read. (HT Jim Davila)

Mary Beard has some helpful advice for those who review books

An interview with Eugene Peterson on the pastoral vocation that should be essential reading for all of our students here and elsewhere. Part 1 and Part 2

Andy has a helpful review of the recent volume, Baptist Sacramentalism 2: he states that 'Suddenly we are all trinitarians, or so it would seem' wrote Colin
Gunton at the beginning of the preface to 2nd edition of his book The
Promise of Trinitarian Theology. It does not seem out of place to
suggest 'Suddenly all Baptists are sacramentalists, or so it would
seem'. … if only it were true Andy.

Mike Bird and Craig Keener's SBL Forum article on  the case for 'generalists' in NT Scholarship has caused something of a stir and not a little support.  See comments by Mark, Pat,  and Nijay .  As Mark notes, I had something to say about this a long time ago (it was one of my first ever blog posts, following on from one about the kind of tea that N. T. Wright likes to drink) and is now not available.  However, the point still seems to me to be pertinent, I guess the only additional comment I would make concerns the ways in which the political and commercial dimensions of academia extert huge pressure towards a state whereby people say more and more about less and less.  The kind of scholarship that Mark describes (that manages, via imaginative intellectual attention to the key texts and questions, to alter consensus or perceptions) may be enduring, but may also be long-time coming: is it the kind of research that generates research funding in adequate amounts?

Oliver O'Donovan's lecture on Scripture and the Church is well worth a read.

And finally, a parable from Ben.