Monthly Archives: July 2008

Interview with Tremper Longman III

Our latest Talks with Scholars interview is with leading Old Testament specialist Tremper Longman III. He talks about his recent writing activities notably the recently released Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings published by IVP. Professor Longman (PhD, Yale University) is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies and the chair of the religious studies department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. The interview is here.

Journals for Students

I thought I would step away from the political arena and provide some tips on obtaining journals. One of the most significant and common weaknesses in student papers is their lack of attention to theological journals. A big reason for this stems not from a refusal to use them but the difficulty in getting access. Fortunately, there are some solutions, while not perfect, will provide sufficient help in resolving this weakness. Read more »

The Prophet of Copenhagen

Yesterday, my wife, Pam, and I, returned from a 12 day cruise of the Baltic. As you might imagine, we’ve seen some amazing sights, from palaces and cathedrals in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the fairytale-like Tallin in Estonia. But the highlight of the trip for me, was to seek out anything relating to a thinker I’ve long admired, Soren Kierkegaard, who lived in Denmark in the 19th century. Last Sunday, 20th July, our ship docked in Copenhagen, Kierkegaard’s home town, and we set out to explore; I with great excitement clutching a list of the things I should see and Pam trying to look as interested as she possibly could. Read more »

Nader and Third Party Politics

Despite what you may think about the American Presidential campaign, there are more candidates than just Obama and McCain running for the office. One of the candidates is Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate crusader of the 1970s who worked successfully to improve vehicle safety.  Nader and other third party candidates have been shut out of the debates. Is this fair or better put, is it just?

I happen to like two party politics. It is simple. Contrary to the claims of the third party candidates, differences do exist between Democrats and Republicans. Granted those differences get frequently blurred, but they do exist.

The real question before us is whether it is fair to shut out other candidates for president from the presidential debate? How should debate committees decide who is allowed to participate? Should it be 1. is the candidate on the ballot in all 50 states? 2. the candidate has a certain level of support in the polls? or their party got a certain level of voter support in the last election?

The trouble is if you make the bar too high, you effectively stifle options. But if you set the bar too low you allow essentially any extreme group to gum up the works by raising issues that will never carry the day. It would be like the opinions of one student dominating the course of class discussion. The tyranny of the minority.

So I am interested in hearing what Europeans think of the matter? Other groups are welcome to pipe in too.

What’s so special about Faith?

One common refrain I get so sick of hearing is “so and so is a man of faith.”  Usually this vague platitude is espoused by a reporter or political spear catcher for the purpose of convincing voters that the candidate is “religious” (whatever that means).

Read more »

Brief Thoughts on the Contemporary English Version

The Contemporary English Version was published in full in 1995 by the American Bible Society. It aims to be reader friendly and was once given a Crystal Mark award from the Plain English Campaign for its accessibility and use of simple language. But as others have observed before, clear English does not guarantee accurate translation. Read more »