Dan Wallace’s Dispatches from Romania 2: “Oh, the Bible? I’ve Seen the Movie”

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

On their latest expedition, Dan Wallace and his team from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts discovered ten NT manuscripts in Greece and Romania. Dr. Wallace's second dispatch shows how travel through foreign cultures can reflect insight into our own.

After driving for over eight
hours from Bucharest to the northeastern region of Romania known as Moldova, we
came to the second largest city in the country—Iasi (pronounced “Yawsh”). I
have written about the road less traveled in another report, and will not go
into much detail here. Suffice it to say that we traveled an average of 31 mph,
yet in a few spots we were going over 85 mph. Very few spots.

We had booked a room at the
Hotel Unirea in the heart of the city. It was a three-star hotel which, in
Europe, normally means one or even two stars lower than in the States. We were
bracing ourselves.

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Lady Liberty, Patrick Henry & Herod the Great by Lynn H. Cohick

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

nothing captures the American imagination of freedom and liberty more than the
Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbor and immortalized by Emma Lazarus
in her poem of 1883.

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-side welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Lazarus, “The New Colossus” 1883

In this poem, Lazarus accurately describes the ancient focus on public fame and pomp. Lazarus also presents the United States’ highest ideals of freedom for everyone, regardless of their social status or ethnic background. Of course, the extent to which we achieve those goals is rightly a matter of debate. But the deeply
rooted myth that America stands for individual freedom – the opportunity to
participate in government and to develop one’s unique potential – this myth
still shapes our thoughts today.

In at least two ways, the ancient Roman world would not have understood our myth. First, the government’s job was not to protect the poor and help all people
self-actualize, but to keep the peace and keep themselves in power. Second, most Roman and Jewish historians were deeply suspicious of the “masses.” Instead, they believed that
the best form of government was either oligarchy, as represented in the Roman
Senate, or monarchy, as represented by imperial Rome and the Jewish monarchy of
the Hasmoneans that ruled from 164 to 63 B.C., and whose influence continued
into the first century A.D.

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Daniel B. Wallace’s Dispatches from Romania 1: The Road Less Traveled (For a Good Reason)

ZA Blog on 8 years ago.

On their latest expedition, Daniel B. Wallace and his team from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts discovered ten NT manuscripts in Greece and Romania. This post from Dr. Wallace reminds us that sometimes manuscript study will lead us way, way, way outside of the library.

On May 24, 2010, a four-man team from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts flew from Athens to Bucharest. We flew on a half-empty 737. There were manuscripts to shoot in two cities very far apart from each other—Craiova and Iasi (pronounced “Yawsh”). We needed to split up, so we rented two SUVs from the local car rental agency at the airport. One team went to Craiova, the other to Iasi.

We were a bit perplexed when our Google Maps indicated that each route, even though largely on national highways (the rough equivalent of the Interstate in the US), would take many more hours than we would have expected. For our route to Iasi, the 400 kilometers was to take 7–8 hours. That’s less than 250 miles. The estimate came to 35 mph with no traffic—at best. We soon found out why.

Within a few miles from the Bucharest airport, we hit road that was scraped down to the nubs. The top layer of asphalt was gone, ready to be poured again. We went on this bone-jolting road for about 5 km. Then, it smoothed out and we thought we were out of trouble.

We continued on national highways all the way to Iasi. Not one of the roads was a freeway. (We learned that our colleagues had a better time getting to Craiova, with good roads and a freeway for much of the distance.) Lots of stop lights punctuated the highway, slowing us to a crawl. There was no divider between two-way traffic. For the most part, it was a single lane with a wide shoulder in each direction. Oncoming traffic would regularly spill over into our lanes—at 140 km an hour—causing us to quickly slide over to the shoulder to avoid impact.

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Verbrugge on the “Dark Side of Christmas” by Mark Strauss

ZA Blog on 9 years ago.

Books on the background to the Bible are all the rage these days. Christians have a real thirst for learning about the social, cultural and religious background of God's Word. Unfortunately, this demand has also produced a supply of inaccurate and sensationalistic material. Some authors, for example, draw on very late rabbinic material, anachronistically assuming it relates to the time of Jesus. Other stories seem to be created from whole cloth, like the supposed "needle's eye gate" in Jerusalem, which camels supposedly could pass through with only the greatest of effort (an attempt to explain away Matt. 19:24).


Most recently, I was sent a silly story from the Internet about how at meals rabbis supposedly folded their napkin carefully if they were planning…

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IBR Update

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under .

LongmanZondervan Academic team members attended the annual Institure for Biblical Research (IBR) meeting and reception after ETS ended on Friday. Dr. Tremper Longman III delivered an address entitled, "Of the Making of Commentaries, There is No End." Dr. Longman has written numerous commentaries and is also an editor of the Expositor's Bible Commentary series and the NIV Application Commentary series for Zondervan Academic. 

To learn more about IBR visit their homepage here.


It was a packed house! Standing room only.

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Gary Burge: On writing “The Bible and the Land”

ZA Blog on 9 years ago.

Burgeg The Bible and the Land is an attempt to explain how the geographical and cultural themes in the Bible provided vibrant metaphors for how the people of God could understand their faith. As the early church moved away from the original cultural setting of the Bible, Christians quickly lost touch with the ancient world of their scriptures. Cultural habits, the particulars of landscape, literary instincts, even the biblical languages themselves soon were unknown. And the cost was enormous: Christians began reading the Bible as foreigners, missing the original images and ideas.

After I explain how the Holy Land itself became a platform for forging faith, I explore how motifs such as the wilderness, the…

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Lynn Cohick: On God’s Peace and the Nobel Peace Prize

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Cohickl The news that President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace prize caused quite a stir among pundits and commentators. The announcement got me thinking about peace itself, God’s peace and the world’s view of peace. Whereas at the human level we seek to make peace, scripture indicates that God is peace. The difference is significant. In our world today, many make important efforts to curb aggression and violence, to seek reconciliation and justice, and create environments where hostilities cannot flourish. We rightly honor those who have laid the foundation for peaceful co-existence between groups, or who have rejected revenge for the sake of peace. These men and women are honored precisely because attaining peace is so difficult. But this takes us only so far.

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A Personal Note on the NIV 2011 by Bill Mounce

Bill Mounce on 9 years ago.

Monday With Mounce buttonI would like to take quick break from the normal function of this blog to share something on a personal nature with you. Integrity demands it, since it comes as a form of disclosure. But I am also concerned to stem any misunderstanding.

Many of you know that I was the New Testament chair of the ESV translation. This project has consumed thousands of hours, most of them enjoyable. I am happy with the ESV. As a formal equivalent translation done in the translation stream of the KJV / ASV / RSV, it has proven itself. And while the committee will be constantly looking at issues and questions submitted by people like you, my work on the ESV was largely done.

But a few weeks ago I received a most amazing email from my friend Mark Strauss (who I have been picking on lately in this blog).

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Douglas Estes – “Why Is the Bible Hard to Understand?”

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,,.


I am convinced the Bible is at times just plain hard to understand. When I was younger, I thought that most people who had a hard time understanding the Bible didn’t read it; I figured they just didn’t make time for it. When I encouraged people to read the Bible, often they came back to me saying they had a hard time understanding it, and I remember at times dismissing this as their unwillingness to ‘open their eyes and ears’. But is it really that simple?

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Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. – The Principlizing Method

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,.


In the coming weeks Zondervan will release Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology offered by Daniel M. Doriani, Kevin Vanhoozer, William Webb and me. We have each expressed our solutions as to how contemporary believers can find theological and ethical answers to issues that never surfaced in Biblical times. Each of us also critiqued each other, but mercifully we did not see what the others rejected until just prior to the book’s release.

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