Saturday, 15 July 2017

Tyndale Bulletin 68, 1 (2017)

The latest issue of Tyndale Bulletin has arrived, containing the following collection of articles.

Kim Phillips
A New Codex from the Scribe behind the Leningrad Codex: L17
Samuel b. Jacob was the scribe responsible for the production of the so-called Leningrad Codex (Firkowich B19a), currently our earliest complete Masoretic Bible codex. This article demonstrates that another codex from the Firkowich Collection, containing the Former Prophets only, is also the work of Samuel b. Jacob, despite the lack of a colophon to this effect. The argument is based on a combination of eleven textual and para-textual features shared between these two manuscripts, and other manuscripts known to have been produced by the same scribe.

David B. Schreiner
‘We Really Should Stop Translating nir in Kings as “Light” Or “Lamp”’: A Response
This essay responds to Deuk-il Shin’s recently published ‘The Translation of the Hebrew Term NI?R: “David's Yoke”?’ I contend that Shin’s argument does not do enough to counteract Douglas Stuart’s call to stop translating nir in Kings as ‘light’ or ‘lamp’. Among other things, Shin does not consider important contributions to the discussion, which therefore renders his argumentation deficient. All things considered, Ehud Ben Zvi’s suggestion of territorial dominion is most appropriate.

John Makujina
‘Behold, There Were Twins in Her Womb’ (Gen. 25:24-26; 38:27-30): Medical Science and the Twin Births in Genesis
Eran Viezel claims that the book of Genesis is ignorant of the fundamentals of childbirth, particularly the presenting foetal member. While the head normally emerges first, Genesis mistakenly thinks that the hands present, as they do in livestock deliveries. Therefore, the veracity of the twin births in Genesis 25:24-26 and 38:27-30, where a hand exits the womb first (Jacob and Zerah), should be rejected. The present article, however, exposes significant inaccuracies and unsupported assumptions on Viezel’s part. Moreover, while maintaining that both births are anomalous, this article proposes medically realistic scenarios for the parturitions of the twins in Genesis.

Murray Vasser
Grant Slaves Equality: Re-Examining the Translation of Colossians 4:1
This essay offers a fresh challenge to the widely accepted translation of Colossians 4:1. Though isotes normally means ‘equality’, most scholars insist that in Colossians 4:1 the term must instead mean ‘fairness’, for the author evidently assumes the continuation of slavery in the Christian community. Thus English versions render the command ‘Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly’ (RSV). In support of this translation, scholars routinely cite a handful of texts that are purported to demonstrate that the term isotes could mean ‘fairness’ instead of ‘equality’. In this essay, I challenge such an interpretation of these texts. Furthermore, by demonstrating that a first-century moralist could exhort masters to treat their slaves as equals without thereby recommending the abolition of slavery, I challenge the assertion that the context of Colossians 4:1 requires a meaning of isotes other than the one well attested in the extant Greek literature. I conclude that Colossians 4:1 should be rendered as follows: ‘Masters, grant slaves justice and equality.’ This conclusion has important implications not only for Bible translators, but also for scholars attempting to reconstruct the situation at Colossae or describe early Christian attitudes towards slavery.

Jermo van Nes and Harro Koning
Motif-Semantic Differences in Paul?: A Question to Advocates of the Pastorals’ Plural Authorship in Dialogue with Michaela Engelmann
New Testament scholarship is witnessing a growing number of studies advocating the plural authorship of the Pastoral Epistles (PE) on the basis of their mutual differences. Among them is the recent study by Michaela Engelmann highlighting ‘motif-semantic’ differences between the PE in terms of their Christology/soteriology, ecclesiology, heresiology, and image of Paul. While Engelmann and others challenging the common authorship of the PE offer significant contributions to the study of the PE’s origins, their overall approach also raises methodological questions. By way of illustration, 1 Thessalonians and Philippians are studied in a way similar to that of Engelmann. Both letters are shown to exhibit a good number of motif-semantic differences, which might bring into question their explanatory power.

Daniel Hill
The State and Marriage: Cut the Connection
I argue that the connection between the state and the institution of marriage should be cut. More precisely, I argue that the state should not (i) solemnise or purport to solemnise any marriages, (ii) register any marriages and (iii) make any laws, civil or criminal, respecting marriage. I advance several arguments for this thesis, and then respond to many possible objections. I do not argue for any change in any of the typical Western laws respecting sexual intercourse; in particular, I do not argue for any change in the laws regarding rape, the age of consent to intercourse or intercourse with a minor.

Julian Rivers
Could Marriage Be Disestablished?
In this paper, I respond to Dr Daniel Hill’s argument that English law should cease to recognise marriage. Rather than focusing on general arguments of political theory for and against such a proposal I consider practical arguments based on the development of the law in response to injustice in family relations. A law of marriage of some sort seems inevitable. This conclusion is reinforced by the arguments of libertarian and feminist writers who seek to ‘abolish’ marriage. Looked at more closely, they do nothing of the sort; they redefine it. Finally, I discuss the problem of unregistered marriages among British Muslims as an already existing example of marriage without the state. I conclude that law has to respond to existing social forms according to an idea of justice in domestic relations, and for that reason marriage cannot simply be ‘disestablished’.

Dissertation Summaries

Sookgoo Shin
Ethics in the Gospel of John: Discipleship as Moral Progress
This study seeks to challenge the dominant scholarly view of John’s ethics as an ineffective and unhelpful companion for moral formation. The Gospel of John has been an unwelcome outsider when it comes to the discussion of ethics since it has been accused of being morally bankrupt, not ethical enough to be included in New Testament ethics, and a puzzling book – indeed, a major challenge – for ethical enquiry. No one has been, however, more sceptical about the value of John’s ethics than Wayne Meeks, whose criticisms have contributed significantly to this negative view. In order to demonstrate the inadequacy of such claims, this study aims to identify the undergirding ethical dynamic that shapes John’s moral structure by bringing out the implicit ethical elements that are embedded throughout John’s narratives, and thus suggests a way to read the whole Gospel ethically and appreciatively of its literary characteristics.

Peter Malik
Studies in P.Beatty III (P47): The Codex, Its Scribe, and Its Text
The importance of papyri in NT textual criticism, if properly understood, is difficult to overestimate. Despite their state of preservation, they allowed the critics to move beyond the fourth-century ‘barrier’ of the Constantinian period, in which the earliest ‘Great majuscules’ were produced. The early papyri thus provided a venue for revisiting previous theories concerning transmission history and even some of the ‘canons’ of textual criticism. And perhaps of equal significance is the fact that the early papyri have provided the historians with valuable evidence of early Christian material culture and worship. Although to varying degrees this applies to all the papyri from the pre-Constantinian time, it is particularly true of those from Chester Beatty (P45-47) and Bodmer (P66, 72, 75) collections.

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