Friday, November 30, 2012

The Problem of Enoch

List of articles/books/sources
Manuscript from Lecture
Video from lecture 
     - Q&A Portion

I wrote this essay last year for my NT Canon class. Since then, I have continued to grow in my understanding of this issue, which means that there is much more to say and a few things to change. I don't believe I concentrate on Jude as much as I do in my lecture, and I no longer am focusing on just NT Canon, as this is a question of the OT Canon. Lord willing, I do plan on revamping this in the future, and I do encourage all the feedback you can give: )
 The Problem of Enoch:
a challenge to the current model of canon theology

       According to scholars the Book of Enoch was authoritative in the first few centuries of the church. RH Charles, whose translation of the Book of Enoch many still use, made this startling claim:
“Nearly all the writers of the New Testament were familiar with it [The Book of Enoch], and were more or less influenced by it in thought and diction. It is quoted as a genuine production of Enoch by St. Jude, and as Scripture by St. Barnabas. The authors of the Book of Jubilees, the Apocalypse of Baruch, and 4 Ezra, laid it under contribution. With the earlier Fathers and Apologists it had all the weight of a canonical book” (Charles ix).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Problem of Enoch: Lecture Manuscript

Main Enoch Post

At the time when Barnabas wrote, Enoch was held to be an inspired book; it retained this reputation more or less throughout the second century, and from that date onwards was more or less emphatically condemned.

This is a statement from Charles Bigg, who wrote on Jude in the highly-acclaimed International Critical Commentary of the New Testament of 1901. Charles, an expert on Old Testament Psuedepigrapha in the early 1900’s, agreed and added, “With the earlier Fathers and Apologists it had all the weight of a canonical book.” A much more modern scholar, James VanderKam, also gives his assent, “Enoch's writings were a legitimate source of authority for some time [among early Christians].” 

This claim is enormous. These scholars, along with many others, are declaring that a book was at one point considered authoritative but then later fell out of favor. If this is true, the implications would be quite massive, not only for how we view the early church in general, but also for how we view our canon and what is authoritative for us as Christians today.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Dangers of Gnosticism according to Irenaeus and Hippolytus

What are the dangers of Gnosticism according to Hippolytus and Irenaeus? What is so unorthodox about it?

             I had the fine pleasure of reading Hippolytus and Irenaeus on the subject of defending the faith against the heretics-Gnostics.[1] Both authors went to great lengths to explain, and then refute, the claims of their adversaries. Hippolytus and Irenaeus seem to have different strategies in how they went about doing so however, and it seems only Irenaeus offers a clear answer to what exactly is heretical about the doctrine of the Gnostics. It appears that to the bishop of Lyons the biggest danger presented by the Gnostics is their blasphemy of the Creator; their claim that there was a god higher than Yahweh. I will first survey Hippolytus of Rome, for his thesis does deserve attention, though he doesn’t speak much to the question posed. The majority of the paper will be devoted  to the views of Irenaeus of Lyons, the missionary-theologian who not only described the various systems considered outside of orthodoxy, but devoted three of his five books to pure refutation and correction, setting out the true doctrine of the church in the process. [2]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

BibleWorks Review: Overall

For the more in-depth articles see:                                                 This article is also found here.

BibleWorks describes itself as “the premier original languages Bible software program for Biblical exegesis and research.”1  As you can tell, that is quite specific when compared to most of the bible programs on the market today. The majority of Bible software exists for all types of research and most focus on commentaries, books, and maps. Bibleworks, on the other hand, is focused exclusively on exegeting the original text and providing the raw tools to help like lexicons, Greek/Hebrew grammars, and textual notes. This means that BibleWorks does not truly compete with software like Logos. Rather, they are counterparts to one another.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gnosticism: Nag Hammadi

I am currently taking an amazing class entitled Early Christian Thought. It's taught Oxford tutorial style. The main focus is the reading. There are three (kind of four) of us in class, and we each are assigned a time period to read all the original sources on. We read about 300 pages a week for three weeks, and then write an essay responding to a question the teacher proposes based on the reading. We then present the essay to the rest of the class. My classmates will grill me and we will discuss my topic. My first assignment was Gnosticism. So I had the privilege of reading the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, which also included the Gospel of Judas.  

Gnosticism is dark. One of the main characteristics is that Yahweh is not the highest god, but either ignorant of the fact or maliciously trying to wipe out the truth. That idea can really play with people and shake their faith. I know it did mine. I think it would be wise to give a cautionary note before students read, just letting them know what they are in for and to stay close to God.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

BibleWorks Review: Searching

What sets BibleWorks apart from all other Bible software is their search engine. Because BibleWorks never intended to be a theological library, they seemed to have been freed up to put everything into their search engine. It is quick enough to instantly search all the greek lexicons, church fathers, grammars, critical apparatus', and manuscript images (!) as you simply mouse over each verse. It doesn’t bog down the system, but effortlessly displays the information like so:

Notice the two panes to the right? Those are the ones that instantly update every time I move the cursor over the next verse. Every resource is tagged by verse as well, so if you download some additional church fathers or perhaps Grudem's Systematic Theology, those also will be included in the right panes to be instantly searched every time you place your cursor over a verse.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BibleWorks Review: How-to Videos

I was so excited when BibleWorks shipped out their software. I checked the tracking page every day, wanting to see where BibleWorks was on the route. When I received it, I immediately loaded it onto my computer. After it was loaded, I eagerly ran the program, expecting dazzling colors and bright lights. What I saw brought me down a bit from my high. Let me warn you, BibleWorks will not win any awards for aesthetics (see the screenshot at the end of the post). So don’t expect it.

I next started doing what I usually do when I get new software; I just start clicking things, trying to figure it out myself. With BibleWorks, this isn’t such a great idea. I wasn’t finding things easily and quickly became bored and exited the program. I didn’t really come back to it until a month or so later, and that was only because I needed to write the review.