Weekly Random Links

Paul Holloway’s Rant Against N.T. Wright’s Honorary Doctorate

Paul Holloway has written what can only be called a nasty and intemperate rant as to why Wright should not have been awarded such an honor. He says things about Wright like:
“he is little more than a book-a-year apologist.” Yes, that Paul and the Faithfulness of God volume really was a rushed and low-brow piece of work.
“I know of no critical scholar in the field who trusts his work.” Yes, all those blurbs for his books by scholars at Oxford, Cambridge, Duke, and Tubingen must have been forged. Likewise his fourteen other honorary doctorates must have been purchased on some kind of fees for honorary degrees scheme. And no doubt all of those packed sessions that Wright speaks at at SBL were probably nothing more than rent-a-crowds hired by the publishers.

What ISIS Really Wants

What is the Islamic State?

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

Brief Bible thought: is there resurrection from the dead in the Old Testament?

Is there resurrection from the dead in the Old Testament?
No. Not really. Well, sort of. O.K., yes, but it depends on how you look at it.
Resurrection is pretty central to the New Testament, in case you haven’t noticed. Yet searching for that kind of resurrection it in the Old Testament makes you come up basically empty-handed.
We do have one lengthy passage, Daniel 12, which is an important text for understanding the development of Jewish faith later in the Second Temple period (in the second century BCE) when “resurrection” of individuals was in the air generally within Judaism (more below).

Judgment : Isn’t Judging Others Healthy? (Jeff Cook)

Judgment is an amazingly complicated topic, one I hope to post on a few times in the month to come. On one hand, understanding what the moral life looks like and encouraging others to embrace it can be a great good. On the other hand, Jesus made clear that judging others has no place in the life of his Kingdom (Mt 7). What then is the proper role of analyzing and assessing what is healthy and what is wicked?
Let me address a common misstep.
Fascinating to me is that Jesus’ favorite titles for the devil—both Diabolos and Satanas—mean “the accuser” or “the slanderer”. The Accuser, said Jesus, is the one who has come to steal, kill and destroy. But how? Apparently it is through accusations, through picking out faults and flaws and weaknesses. That is, demonic influence and identity at its most destructive materializes through moral criticism.

A Robust Kingdom

The way to avoid these reductions is to map the five elements of kingdom, which is the focus of Kingdom Conspiracy, and keep them all in play for each reference. Here are the five major elements of kingdom, though element two has two elements itself:

We need to work our way away from reductions to the more robust Bible’s vision of kingdom: king, rule, people, law, and land.