Last November I interviewed Dr. Carl Sanders and Dr. Thomas Hudgins about their controversial paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. The paper argues that major shifts in thinking about how biblical languages are taught and what the goals of that instruction should be are long overdue. I was of course in agreement (I’m quoted in the conference paper).
The paper has now been published in an academic journal:
Carl Sanders, “Biblical language instruction by the book: Rethinking the status quaestionis,” Teaching Theology and Religion 20:3 (2017): 216-229
As with most journal articles, it is not publicly accessible online unless you subscribe to the journal, or have access to journal databases via an academic institution. Here’s the abstract:
Grammar-translation pedagogy is the standard for biblical language instruction. Second language acquisition scholars have argued that grammar-translation is ineffective and not empirically justified. Moreover, evidence suggests most seminary graduates do not use biblical languages effectively in ministry. Task-based instruction is an important alternative pedagogy which focuses on the tasks students will be using the language for and designs the curriculum around those tasks. A task-based approach de-emphasizes translation and memorization of forms. Instead, the emphasis from the beginning is on biblical interpretation and exposition. Available software based resources offer new possibilities for task-based teaching, as students can identify forms and vocabulary and have access to a library of resources. A task-based pedagogy using these tools enables students to quickly develop skills in biblical interpretation that are normally reserved for the third or fourth semester of study. Task-based pedagogy offers great promise for effective and efficient biblical language pedagogy.
I recently added this to my FAQ, but I thought I’d post it here as well.
Do you think Matthew 24:37-38 is a prophecy about the return of nephilim or has anything to do with Genesis 6:1-4?
The short answer to both is no. (I also don’t think it has anything to do with UFOs or aliens). Back around the year 2000 or so I suspected that was the case, but I know better now. It’s not a text-driven argument or position. I blogged about this (and Dan 2:43 as well) back in 2015. There are several problems with the idea, but I’ll summarize my thoughts here.
There are several reasons why Matt 24:37-38 does not connect back to Gen 6:1-4. The sons of God are mentioned nowhere in Matt 24. There isn’t a whiff of divine-human transgression. Their presence is assumed on the basis of the phrase “marrying and giving in marriage,” but that’s actually where the idea breaks down. If Matthew wanted readers to think about Genesis 6:1-4 in these comments, he’d use the Greek terms in the Septuagint of LXX for what the sons of God and mortal women were doing. Matthew doesn’t do that even once. The LXX reads ἔλαβον ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας ἀπὸ πασῶν, ὧν ἐξελέξαντο (lit: “they took for themselves women from all which they chose”). Matthew doesn’t use any of these terms. Matthew’s Greek for “marrying and giving in marriage” is γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες (lit: “marrying and giving in marriage”). Even if you can’t read Greek you can look at the words and know they aren’t the same as Gen 6 LXX.The other significant problem is that saying Matthew 24:37-38 is about a repeat of Genesis 6:1-4 requires you to ignore parts of what Matthew describes — or deliberately not see the disconnections with Genesis 6:1-4. Here is the full list of what Matthew says will be going on when Jesus returns that was going on in the days of Noah:
– eating and drinking
– marrying and giving in marriage
– not watching / being unaware
Only one of those (conceivably — but incorrectly) could be associated with Gen 6:1-4 — the “marrying and giving in marriage.” The others have no association whatsoever with the supernaturalist aspects of Gen 6:1-4. So why impose the supernaturalist character of Gen 6 onto what Matthew says? It’s an arbitrary decision, and one made incoherent and unsustainable by the lack of any connection to the LXX of Gen 6:1-4. When biblical writers want their readers to cross-reference an OT passage with what they are saying, they create connections. Matthew doesn’t do that even once.
I’m grateful to Frank Viola (the author, not the MLB pitcher!) for the time he invested into reading (studying, really) my book, The Unseen Realm. Frank is a best-selling author in the wider evangelical world, as well as a blogger and speaker. He gets the content of the book and is enthusiastic about it. He really understands what I’m trying to do, both in terms of what I write and the Naked Bible Podcast — exposing the non-specialist to biblical scholarship on the supernatural worldview of the Bible. From the post linked below:
I can’t say this about most authors today, but I owe a debt to Heiser for showing me aspects of the principalities and powers that I’ve never seen before nor read in any other scholar, theologian, or commentator.
So, for those of you who have friends who are afraid to give the content of The Unseen Realm a serious read because they need a mainstream voice to encourage them, this interview will be a good resource. Check it out!
Trey and I have scheduled a Q & A episode for the podcast to take place after Part 3 is live (that will be August 5). This is just a reminder for those who hear about that on tomorrow’s podcast — please wait until after August 5 to submit questions to Trey (at firstname.lastname@example.org). The cut off for questions will be August 14.
This just in from Peter Gurry of the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog.
Readers will recall we interviewed Peter last year for the Naked Bible Podcast SBL interview series. Thanks for this update, Peter!
Win a signed copy of either The Façade or The Portent!
- Go to Amazon.com and review my book, The Unseen Realm. Right now there are 475 reviews. I want to push past 500. Once the reviews hit 525, the giveaway will end.
- I will randomly select 16 winners – I have eight copies of each book to give away. I will notify the winners after the giveaway closes by posting a comment under your review. That comment will say something like: “You’ve won a copy of one of Mike’s novels (The Façade, The Portent)! Send your mailing address to Mike at [XYZ email address] and tell him which book you want.”
- It will be up to you to check your review after we cross 525 to see if you won—and to send me your address. Just give it a day or two after we hit 525 for me to post the winner notification note. Please include your first name so I can personalize the signing. If you want the book signed for someone else, make that clear in the email.
- If I run out of the novel you want, sorry! I’ll send along whichever novel I have left.
- If you have previously reviewed The Unseen Realm, I’ll let you review it again, but I think Amazon requires a different email address (?) – not sure really. They may weed you out, but you can try!
Remember, once reviews hit 525 the giveaway is closed. That means fifty more reviews with 16 books to give away. You have roughly a 1-in-3 chance to win one!
The Jew and Gentile podcast has a connection to Ratio Christi, a well-known campus ministry. I’m grateful for the invitation, as campus ministry is so significant. Enjoy the episode!
I just wanted to put something on the blog (again) about my rejection of the idea that Revelation 12 has anything to do with the second coming or end times in general. I’ve been getting emails with links to YouTube videos like this one that use my thoughts about the astral signage being an indication of the birth of Jesus as proof that the (presumed) repetition of the signage signals the second coming, or some sort of revealing of fallen angels, Watchers, etc. September 23 is the new date for all this to happen “because the Bible tells us so.” Sigh.
As those who follow my work know, I don’t think the signs of Revelation 12 have anything to do with end times. There is no verse in the NT that tells us to look for a repetition of those signs in connection with the second coming. There is also no verse that links the signs to the “sign of the son of man” in the gospel eschatological discourses. The sign of the son of man could be several specific things, or nothing specific at all. We have ZERO scriptural reason to thing this way.
Revelation 12 is HINDSIGHT with respect to the messiah’s birth, not foresight. It is not a fulfillment of any OT prophecy. There is no OT prophecy that told readers to look for the signs given in the passage for the coming messiah of Israel. So let not your hearts be troubled. For those who remember my 2014 post on this issue, the “no one knows” answer Jesus gave to when his coming would be won’t be improved upon by astronomy software.
Anyway, just wanted to put this up. I can hardly wait until October! One more failure to predict the second coming or the associated events. But, true to form, the date-setters will have their excuses ready.
Yes, it can be soul-crushing for me to read / watch this sort of nonsense. But the real problem is that it is faith-destroying for many. That’s the harm.
June 23 … This is pretty cool. I’m glad to see churches have the courage to expose their people to the Bible in its own context. (Think about that statement).
David’s topic is: “The Divine Council: The Falling and Rising of the Sons of God.”
The event is scheduled for Friday, June 23, at 6:30 pm. The address is:
Mosaic Church Austin
12675 Research Blvd.
Austin, TX 78759
For more information, click this link to the event calendar.
It should go without saying that if you can make this event, please go. Churches who step up to give people content should be encouraged. And I know David would love to meet followers of the podcast and his own work!
This has been in the planning for a few months, and now it’s official:
I won’t be the tour guide, but I will be doing some teaching and commentary at significant sites on the tour. As the banner notes, Derek and Sharon Gilbert will be contributing in the same way as well. I don’t know how large the group will be, but it should go without saying that space will be limited.
Click here or on the banner for more details.