2019 Volume 46

Issue 01 -- Spring 2019

 

The Literary Function of ψευδοπροφήτης in Jeremiah LXX: pp. 3–17

Nicholas R. Werse
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

The Jeremiah LXX selectively employs the term ψευδοπροφήτης in nine instances within the four conflict pericopes of Jer 33-36 (MT 26-29) and one oracle (6:13-15). Scholars struggle to explain the reason for this selective use in light of the vast number of instances in which the LXX presents a false prophet with the common term προφήτης. This article argues that by selectively employing ψευδοπροφήτης in these passages, the translator links the false prophets of the conflict pericopes (Jer 33-36 [MT 26-29]) with the condemnation of false prophets in Jer 6:13-15 for trivially responding to the destruction of the Lord’s people. This concern with the false prophets’ response unifies these five pericopes and distinguishes them from the broader condemnation of false prophets in Jeremiah LXX. This selective use of ψευδοπροφήτης fits within the broader theological concern of Jeremiah LXX over the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

The Use, Misuse, and Abuse of Archaeology in the Media: pp. 19–28

Tony W. Cartledge
Campbell University Divinity School
Buies Creek NC 27506

Media providers make use of archaeological finds for commercial, political, or religious purposes. Commercial users report or interpret finds in order to promote tourism at biblical/historical sites or to attract readers. These sometimes over-hype or misunderstand new finds but generally remain true to the archaeologists’ reports or interviews. Academic and some religious media tend to report stories responsibly. Unfortunately, many popular religion-based sites exaggerate and misuse archaeological finds, drawing unwarranted conclusions to promote Israeli nationalism and Zionist expansion into the West Bank, or to claim “proof” of biblical stories in support of fundamentalist Christian interpretations of scripture. This article reviews specific examples of such use in recent years and bemoans the rise of “fake news” in the reporting of archaeology.

 

Faith in the Commonplace: The Knight of Faith in Local Community: pp. 29–37

Casey Spinks
Beeson Divinity School
Birmingham AL 35229

Søren Kierkegaard is often misinterpreted as a proponent of alienating oneself from the community in order to become a true individual—an interpretation often arising from Fear and Trembling, which expounds Abraham’s transcendence of familial and ethical norms for the sake of faith. However, in this same work Kierkegaard first describes a different kind of ‘knight of faith’ who enjoys and invests in his community. Exposition of this sketch proves that Kierkegaard’s aim is not isolated faith but rather one in harmony with both the infinite and the finite. This harmony includes the community, and attention to it will therefore correct that popular and academic misinterpretation of Kierkegaard.

 

Capacitated for Living Baptismally: Martyrial Living, Liturgical Asceticism, and Quotidian Existence: pp. 39–54

Mark Medley
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
Georgetown KY 40324

This paper argues that the rite of baptism capacitates Christians to live baptismally. It also contends that living baptismally should be interpreted in a martyrial key. In order to substantiate creative patterns between baptism and martyrdom for thinking about Christian life, the paper first turns to Rowan Williams’ understanding of baptism, martyrdom, and quotidian existence. To explore further these connections the paper engages David Fagerberg’s concept of liturgical asceticism. The paper’s final section considers how the ascetical practice of prosoche may be liturgically cultivated to capacitate Christians to live baptismally.

 

Rethinking the Grammar of the Atonement: Forgiveness, Judgment, and Apocalyptic Recapitulation: pp. 55–77

Richard D. Crane
Messiah College
Mechanicsburg PA 17055

This essay offers a constructive proposal holding together two classical atonement motifs too often pried apart: the cross as deliverance from enslaving powers and as (non-penal) sacrifice through which Christ bears our sins. These themes are held together by situating atonement theology within a broader apocalyptic soteriology. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s lived theology, which embodied a “grammar of atonement” to be found in patterns of enemy love, judgment, truth-telling, accountability, and resistance to evil, all of which were ordered toward the ends of justice and reconciliation, will offer a lens for appropriating scripture and insights from both Irenaeus and Anselm.

 

The Promise and Temptation of Covenant Ethics: pp. 79–94

Ryan Andrew Newson
Campbell University
Buies Creek NC 27506

This paper provides an appreciative critique of covenant ethics, which seeks to ameliorate social atomization by reclaiming the theological concept of covenant for public life. After agreeing that maintaining relationships of mutual reciprocity is vital in our context, in which exploitation and mutual distrust across ideological boundaries is rampant, I argue that it is important to keep the concept of covenant connected to Christian claims about God. Following Willie Jennings, I argue that retaining such theological specificity helps check the propensity among certain ethicists to engage others unreceptively and in the mode of an expert, rather than as a fellow learner.

Issue 02 -- Summer 2019

 

Editorial Introduction: pp. 121–33

Graham B. Walker
Mercer University
Atlanta GA 30341
With Richard Francis Wilson
Mercer University
Macon GA 31207

A Celebration of Theologically-Informed Preaching: pp. 135–62

Richard Francis Wilson
Mercer University
Macon GA 31207

The Festschrift opens with a literary symposium: “A Celebration of Theologically-Informed Preaching.” Frank Tupper is known as a challenging constructive theologian, a committed church person, and a challenging preacher whose sermons are steeped in theological focus and pastoral compassion. Six sermons are included, each written and delivered by Tupper students spanning his times at Southern Seminary and Wake Forest Divinity School (1972-2016), including M.Div. and Ph.D. students: John Carroll, Don Flowers, Gregory L. Hunt, Wm. Richard Kremer, Molly T. Marshall, and Richard Francis Wilson. The sermons reflect Tupper’s influential demands for theology that is home in the pulpit and extends to the daily experiences of people of faith. The introduction includes an invitation to others influenced by Tupper to contribute to an electronic collection of similar sermons.

Changing the Parameters of Providence: E. Frank Tupper and Susan Neiman on Evil and Suffering: pp. 163–77

Dan R. Stiver
Hardin-Simmons University
Abilene TX 79601

“God always does the most God can do,” is a recurring claim that runs throughout E. Frank Tupper’s two editions (1995 and 2013) of A Scandalous Providence. Dan Stiver explores the structure and development of Tupper’s theology as a unique contribution to contemporary theology that emerges from engagements with pastoral and philosophical theology. Stiver makes the case for Tupper’s understanding of providence as non-interventionist, yet a view of God as intimately engaged with creation as a participant with human suffering. He explicates the way Tupper understands divine self-limitation as a choice woven into creation that excludes episodic manipulations of so-called natural law and, then, makes room for divine compassion as model and source for human compassion. The essay concludes with comparison of Tupper’s theology of providence and the work of Susan Neiman, a contemporary philosopher who dismisses the possibility of a coherent sense of providence in the wakes of the rise of science and the moral failures of the last century, such as the holocaust and other campaigns of genocide. Stiver suggests that Tupper could be a viable conversation partner with the likes of Neiman because of his embrace of theistic ambiguity in the crucible of human suffering.

Theology at the Limits: Providence and the Place of Metaphysics in Schleiermacher’s Christian Faith: pp. 179–91

Corbin Boekhaus
Independent Scholar
Smyrna GA 30126

Against the backdrop of E. Frank Tupper’s A Scandalous Providence (1995 and 2013) constructive theology, Corbin Boekhaus revisits Friederich Schleiermacher’s The Christian Faith with attention to the method and scope of the issues of theodicy and providence in contemporary theology. He affirms the impetus of Schleiermacher’s central theme of Einfühlung, while parsing contemporary misunderstandings of feeling as mere emotional/psychological responses to experience. The essay deftly connects Tupper and Schleiermacher without locating them in the same rigid methodological framework. Taking Schleiermacher in his context, and Tupper in his, two centuries removed, Boekhaus defends the construction of each theologian as fruitful and provocative responses to the ever-changing theological contexts that appeal to the broad horizons of philosophical theology and the more-narrow horizons of pastoral/practical theology.

Engaging the Chaos . . . Together: pp. 193–205

Graham B. Walker
Mercer University
Atlanta GA 30341

Graham B. Walker introduces an oppositional starting point for the doctrine of providence. The first position assumes that God is located high above the world of chaos in the valley below. God intervenes as God deems appropriate. Questions of inordinate suffering challenge this starting point. A second notion begins in the chaotic valley below and asks: where God is in all of this? E. Frank Tupper begins in this valley and describes “the God of love (who) always does the most God can do.” In Tupper’s Scandalous Providence (2013) he identifies the ecological crisis as a significant factor in the chaos of human history. Walker amplifies Tupper’s concern by introducing ecologist Rob Nixon’s critique of the Western addiction to global consumption and Edward O. Wilson’s appeal for the religious community and the scientific community to work together for the love of the earth. Looking for theological responses that unite both science and faith with a love for God’s world Walker dialogues with Ian McFarland and Sallie McFague. Though McFarland and McFague start from divergent theological positions they arrive at a similar conclusion: the self-limitation of human acquisitive desire for the love of God’s world. 

A White Politics of Providence on this Bloody Little Planet: pp. 207–14

Keith A. Menhinick
Emory University
Atlanta GA 30322

Many conversations about race lead to white people asking, “What can I do,” which evades interrogation of white privilege at the habitual level and re-centers the white, agential subject. In A Scandalous Providence, E. Frank Tupper analyzes the lawyer who questions Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”) as essentially asking the same question. Tupper’s reading of this story flows into a reformulation of providence, which stresses how a theology and politic fuse in the life of the Jesus-follower as new embodied habit orientations. Applied to habits of whiteness and privilege, Tupper’s theology relocates the problem of whiteness and reformulates the doctrine of providence in such a way that cultivates what can be called a white politics of providence—one entailing dialectic orientations of confrontation and compassion.

God, Faith, and Politics: Palestinian Christians: pp. 215–30

Paul Parker
Elmhurst College
Elmhurst IL 60126

E. Frank Tupper is influenced, at least, by Narrative Theology (see Hans Frei’s Eclipse of the Biblical Narrative and the works of Roland Mushat Frye, Frank Kermode and Robert Alter, and James McClendon). Paul Parker develops an essay around the narratives of Palestinian-Christians against the historical contexts of the confused politico-historical narrative of the establishment of contemporary Israel, with its attendant strife that emerges from efforts to secure an Israeli hegemony at the expense of Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians in the region. The essay also develops Tupper’s sense of political theology—as articulated, especially in the 2013 revision of A Scandalous Providence—in conversation with the works of Naim Ateek and Mitri Raheb.

 

Issue 03 -- Fall 2019

The Ancient Novel’s Form and Content: A Brief Introduction: pp. 237–248

Edmund P. Cueva
University of Houston-Downtown
Houston TX 77002

Significant Names in Two Greek Novels and Matthew’s Gospel: pp. 249–268

John Genter
Baylor University
Waco TX 76706

Soliloquy in Chariton and Luke: pp. 269–284

Amanda Brobst-Renaud
Valparaiso University
Valparaiso IN 46383

This article engages the role of soliloquy in characterization and explores this rhetorical technique in the novel Chaereas et Callirhoe and in two Lukan parables: the parable of the rich farmer and the parable of the shrewd steward. Though divergent in genre, Chaereas et Callirhoe and the Lukan parables offer insights to expected behaviors of various characters. These narratives also reveal the ways soliloquy reveals greater nuance in characters and their characterization than is often recognized. Finally, this article compares and contrasts the soliloquies and behaviors of the rich man in Luke 12:13–21 and the steward in Luke 16:1–9. While both men behave in ways that would be expected of their respective situations, the steward illustrates the desired behavior of placing wealth in the service of securing one’s welcome rather than storing it up for oneself.

Left for Dead: Scheintod in the Greco-Roman Novels and Acts of the Apostles: pp. 285–306

Daniel B. Glover
Baylor University
Waco TX 76706

Scholars long have recognized the existence of the Scheintod (“apparent death”) motif in the Greco-Roman novels, in which a main character experiences a violent or fatal trauma and is presumed dead. However, as the story progresses, we discover that this character is actually alive. We also find a similar phenomenon in Acts 14, where Paul is stoned in Lystra. I suggest that Acts’s second century readers would have understood this scene as a Scheintod. Through an analysis of Scheintod’s role in characterization and plot development, I argue that Paul and other victims of Scheintod are connected so closely with the divine that the boundaries between human and divine begin to become blurred.

The Dynamism of Blackness in An Ethiopian Story and Acts: pp. 307–326

Marcus Jerkins
Baylor University
Waco TX 76706

An Ethiopian Story explores an ethnically complex tale about a white-skinned Ethiopian princess.  She, because of her white skin, is raised in the white, Greek world but is destined to return and rule over the black, Ethiopian world.  In the narrative, her white skin allows her to live and become successful in both worlds, the Greek and Ethiopian.  Black-skinned individuals, however, fit most comfortably in the world of black skin in the novel.  Black skin lacks the social dynamism that white skin has.  This dynamism is seen not only in the white Ethiopian princess, Chariklea, but also in other white characters in the novel.  This essay probes the reasoning behind such a characterization of white and black skin and compares the degree of dynamism afforded to black skin in the novel to that of the black-skinned Ethiopian eunuch and Simeon Niger in Acts of the Apostles. 

Discrepant Awareness in Joseph and Aseneth: pp. 327–342

Tyler Smith
Universität Salzburg
Salzburg Austria

Much of the plot development in Joseph and Aseneth unfolds on the cognitive plane of the narrative and is driven by the creation, maintenance, and resolution of discrepant awareness, a cognitive narratological device attested in ancient Greek novels and other literary successors to Athenian drama. After surveying the functions of discrepant awareness in the Greek novels with reference to Aristotle’s treatment of plot in the Poetics, this essay discusses the role of discrepant awareness in the first and second parts of Joseph and Aseneth, illuminating a previously-overlooked aspect of the novel’s representation of divine providence.

Issue 04 -- Winter 2019

Editorial Introduction: Engaging Pedagogy for the Religion Classroom: pp. 371–72

Christine Jones
Carson-Newman University
Jefferson City TN 37760

“Teaching as Community Property”: New Complications and Remedies: pp. 373–381

Eileen R. Campbell-Reed
Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Nashville TN 37212

Teaching is big work. There is no formula or manual to solve all the issues of teaching or to enlighten fully our understanding about how learning happens. As a practice, teaching is learned best in community, yet teaching in higher education remains the work of lone rangers in far too many universities and seminaries. More than a quarter century ago, educational psychologist and long-time president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education (1997-2008), Lee Shulman, called for an end to pedagogical solitude. He also gave concrete steps to shift the values and ethos of teaching in higher education toward one of “community property.” Part I of this essay explores the problem of teaching in isolation and describes additional complications to the problem of pedagogical isolation that have mushroomed since the early 1990s. Part II of essay recounts Shulman’s remedies for the problem, followed with examples from my own teaching as a gesture toward communal accountability, concluding with several wide-ranging questions about the metaphor of “community property.”

Transgressive Pedagogy in Christian Higher Education: pp. 383–391

Courtney Pace
Memphis Theological Seminary
Memphis TN 38104

Valuing Users of Non-Privileged Varieties of English: Clarifying and Re-Centering Norms for Student Writing: pp. 393–402

Dalen C. Jackson
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
Georgetown KY 40324

The careful maintenance of a sacrosanct “standard” English in academia has frequently represented a heritage of devaluing non-white persons.  By reassessing common norms for academic writing with regard for diverse cultural traditions of English usage, we can encourage effective and expressive communication that values the experience of African-Americans and other diverse communities in our academic institutions.  To bring change, we must be intentional to acknowledge the privilege attendant in our exclusive use of “standard” English, and we must commit ourselves to specific practices, policies, and strategies that foster an understanding of writing competence grounded in a concern for human dignity.

“Keeping the Power of Wisdom Accessible”:  Religion Departments in Church-Related Colleges in our Time: pp. 403–15

Patricia O’Connell-Killen
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma WA 98447

In this historical moment, religion departments in church-related colleges and universities are distinctively situated to help students encounter historic faith traditions as sources of insight and schools of wisdom. The odds of students encountering heritage in this way increase when faculty adopt an intentional practice of conversation among themselves. And, when faculty incorporate into their pedagogy the regular practice of reflection—slowing down the leap from event to judgment or text to interpretation.  These two fundamental practices contribute to faculty deepening a shared understanding of identity and the educational project that flows from it.  And, contribute to strengthening the department as a context for student learning and growth and as a context that supports its members over the arc of career.

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor: A Review Essay: pp. 417–420

Cynthia Curtis
Belmont University
Nashville TN 37212

Much of the plot development in Joseph and Aseneth unfolds on the cognitive plane of the narrative and is driven by the creation, maintenance, and resolution of discrepant awareness, a cognitive narratological device attested in ancient Greek novels and other literary successors to Athenian drama. After surveying the functions of discrepant awareness in the Greek novels with reference to Aristotle’s treatment of plot in the Poetics, this essay discusses the role of discrepant awareness in the first and second parts of Joseph and Aseneth, illuminating a previously-overlooked aspect of the novel’s representation of divine providence.

“Reavers ain't men [sic]—or they forgot how to be”: Teaching Religion in Science Fiction: pp. 421–430

Adam DJ Brett
Syracuse University
Syracuse NY 13244

This article explores several aspects of teaching science fiction in religious studies. I focus on my junior/senior level course. My goals for the course were: first, for students to critically engage the intersections between religion, media, and culture through careful attention to the case study of science fiction; second, to examine the challenges and limitations of depicting religion in various science fiction mediums, such as literature, graphic novels, film, and television; and third, to pay attention to the form and structure of each medium and the way that their limitations create new narrative possibilities for studying religion. Each week we examined the ways in which form, style, aesthetics, and affect impacted the way that students interfaced with the course materials, and how these elements enhanced their understanding of the study of religion.  

“Curiouser and Curiouser”: Adapting K–12 Literature Circles for the Undergraduate Biblical Studies Classroom to Motivate Student Inquiry: pp. 431–440

K. W. Bodenhamer
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Belton TX 76513

A collaborative, student-centered discussion group approach, literature circles have been used in American classrooms for at least thirty years in K–12 education. The following essay contends that the literature circle is a useful tool for the higher education classroom as well. The essay discusses the origin and rationale for literature circles and presents several methods for implementing the K–12 teaching in both introductory and advanced courses. As one part of an “inquiry-based classroom,” literature circles can aid students in becoming reflective and critical readers of texts and the broader world.

Tiered, Skills-Based Assessment: pp. 441–448

Robert Wallace and James Halverson
Mclean Baptist Church
Mclean VA 22101
and Judson University
Elgin IL 60123

After changes at their institution created classroom challenges, the authors developed a tier-based assessment system which allowed students to work to their ability. The system uses elements from video game theory that allows students to “level up” and “save their progress.” The grading system allows lower achieving students the opportunity to succeed while simultaneously providing opportunity for higher achieving students to demonstrate their abilities. Adapted versions of the tiered assessment system has worked for courses in business, science, art, history, and religion at small and large institutions.

Teaching on the Streets: Engaged Pedagogy after an Execution: pp. 449–456

Melissa Browning
Columbia Theological Seminary
Decatur GA 30030