August 24, 2012 by Jason Hood
Exposure to biblical scholarship and its conclusions often shocks laity and pastors. But one sometimes encounters shocking scholarly errors that plague evangelical pews as well.
Few things are more shocking in the academy than the dismissal (or more subtly, the downplaying) of Paul’s belief that Jesus was the Messiah. Craig Blomberg addresses the tendency to treat Christ as more or less Jesus’ last name, a problem that looms as large at the scholarly level as it is in local congregations: “There is no unambiguous evidence to demonstrate that ‘Christ’ in any of its 531 New Testament uses ever ‘degenerated’ into a mere second name for Jesus.”
John Collins observes that, thanks to the ecumenical movement and politically correct approaches to scholarship, “. . . we have the astonishing claim that Paul, the earliest Christian writer, did not regard Jesus as the Messiah . . . Jesus is called Christos, anointed, the Greek equivalent of messiah, 270 times in the Pauline corpus. If this is not ample testimony that Paul regarded Jesus as messiah, then words have no meaning.” Collins acknowledges that there is room for debate on the significance of Jesus’ Messiahship for Paul, but the basic idea should never have been in doubt.
In his summary of recent decades of scholarship on Paul in the English language, N. T. Wright similarly pushes back: “Jesus’ Messiahship has been a sleeping element in Pauline studies so long that many scholars seem not to know what to do with it if it was proved. But proved it can be, and major revolutions must follow.”
In a footnote to that sentence Wright cites the newly published dissertation (via Oxford University Press) of my friend Matt Novenson, who was recently appointed Lecturer in New Testament and Christian Origins at the University of Edinburgh. My dissertation is about the same price; Matt’s is far more important and truly worth some attention.
 “The Messiah in the NT,” in Israel’s Messiah in the Bible and the DSS, ed. Richard Hess and M. Daniel Carroll R (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 141, emphasis original.
 The Scepter and the Star, 2, emphasis mine.
 ExpT 123.8 (2012), 374.
September 14, 2011 by Jason Hood
We all make mistakes, but biblical scholarship produces some truly freakish passages. Edwin D. Freed, The Stories of Jesus’ Birth: a Critical Introduction, The Biblical Seminar 72 (Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), 20-21, produced one of the worst paragraphs I can remember reading:
Except for a few passages in the Gospels, Jesus as a descendant of David (as in the genealogies) was never an important belief for New Testament writers.
Unless one counts passages like the inclusion of Jesus’ davidic identity in Paul’s definition of the gospel (Rom 1:1-4). Of course, many evangelicals overlook this definition of the gospel as well. Perhaps we should give Freed a pass?
The author of Hebrews writes that Christ was the Son of God and eternal high priest. He was “without fahter, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.”
Freed does not notice that the “he” who is the subject of the sentence in question (Heb 7:3) is Melchizedek, not Jesus.
But according to the author of Hebrews, Christ was not descended from the priests: “He does not have their genealogy” (Heb 7:6). The important thing in Hebrews is that, as with Aaron, Christ was called by God.
Hebrews never says anything like, “The really important thing is that Jesus was called by God.”
We might question whether the author of Hebrews was actually trying to negate the tradition about Jesus preserved in the genealogy, if not the stories of Jesus’ birth altogether.
Just eight verses later, Heb 7:14 explicitly notes Jesus’ origin from the royal tribe of Judah and states that it is “it is obvious,” or well-known.
Finally, note that Freed is throwing around “Christ” in the same paragraph in which he downplays Jesus’ davidic identity. What does that word mean? Is it Jesus’ last name? Or the Davidic Messiah, Israel’s King? (Same goes for “God’s Son,” a royal reference if ever there was one; 2 Sam 7:14; Psalm 2; Matt 16:16, etc.)5 Comments
August 30, 2011 by Jason Hood
It’s an ode in three parts: epistolary, poetry, and a testimonial narrative.
If anyone thinks they’ve got reason to love their PC, well, I had more. I was of the nation of PCs, of the tribe of laptop; as to the web, an Explorer. As to operating systems, of the eighth generation of Windows (Vista, XP, or whatever was after Windows 7).
But I didn’t consider my PC-ness as righteousness, and I became a Mac user, that I may be found with an Apple, not having computer greatness of my own, but having my own macrighteousness. Still, even though I’m a Mac user, I don’t consider myself to have “made it”. I press on, working to reach that for which I purchased a Mac, forgetting my PC ways and striving to reach what lies ahead. (I bought my wife a Macbook.)
Aiming for Apple like William Tell
Went online and found it tax-free for sale
Now I’m ruling the web like Mac-iavelli
I’ve said goodbye to my PC and even my telly.
A testimonial narrative
No, seriously. I’m now so cool that I went outside and fall started. My habits of driving old Grand Marquise (or whatever the plural is of Grand Marquis) and taking very early lunch were once regarded by an unnamed friend as “old man” style. But because I have a Mac, they are now hip as can be. The local dealerships have sold out of Grand Marquis and even other similar cars, like Crown Vics. All the lunch joints are packed at 10:45.
And no one calls me “sir” around town anymore. No, they call me “Dude”. Thank you, Steve Jobs. Thank you for making me cool.3 Comments
August 5, 2011 by Jason Hood
Now available at Amazon. It’s really only affordable if you are an academic library, so tell all your library friends. Otherwise check with your broker before making this sort of investment. On the other hand, this book may hold its value better than USA currency…0 Comments
December 11, 2010 by Jason Hood
In one chapter of my dissertation I briefly make the claim that in Genesis Judah is transformed from a royal failure to a royal figure who will lead his brothers. (The same is true for Jechoniah; more on him some other time.) The messianic promises for Judah’s line in 49:8-12 are the culmination of this transformation: his descendant will receive kingship; his (11?) brothers will worship him; and the nations will obey him.
This messianic promise in Gen 49 is one of the three most important messianic passages in and around the 1st century. Matthew 1:2, “Judah and his brothers,” is best understood as a hint at this royal role. I suggest that Matthew sees the messianic promise in Gen 49 fulfilled in Matt 28:16-20, where Jesus receives comprehensive kingship, his eleven “brothers” (28:10, 16-17) worship him, and he tells them to teach the nations to obey him.
The Great Commission is the fulfillment of the Great Messianic Mission, the promised destiny of Judah.