If you're looking for a pretty comprehensive list of presenters at SBL in New Orleans in November, Hebrew and Greek Reader has you covered. The list is arranged by date and time of presentation. Very impressive.
Thus, it is time for Christians to let go of the inaccurate, and to many, offensive BC and AD calendar labels and adopt the BCE/CE system. If using BC and AD to designate calendrical dates is the central identifier of a person as a Christian, then that person has bigger problems than an insistence upon a calendar. Likewise, adopting the BCE/CE system allays the discrepancies of the chronologies of Jesus’ life, while the archaic BC/AD system only highlights them. The BCE/CE system is the de facto dating system for the scientific community, joining the metric system as a standard that peoples of all nations and faiths can accept. This dating system is also the most widely used system outside of the scientific community. The BCE/CE system requires no conversions and no re-dating of historical events; only the renaming of BC to BCE and AD to CE is needed. And, as has been demonstrated above, because the AD/BC system is not actually based upon the birth of Jesus, but is rather off by approximately 7 years, there is no concern from non-Christian peoples to be suspicious of being surreptitiously forced into adopting a dating system based upon the life of Christ.
This is a fascinating discussion as I think it exposes much about one's thought of Christian influence on the culture, especially the "culture war" defense often imposed by Christians. Cargill takes the angle that Christians often are not aware of the problems, not only culturally but theologically as well, that are created by the BC/AD dating system. Interesting angle and well worth the read.
Personally, I whole heartedly embrace the BCE/CE dating system. No real reason, outside of the fact that it is becoming the standard nomenclature in the scholarly realm. While it may be an issue for some, it really has never become an issue for me.
The article did leave me with one question. If the nomenclature of a particular dating system is a threat to the faith, as it is often posited, what is this implying about our faith in the first place?
Love to hear your thoughts. Is this an issue worth fighting over?
It is very likely that there was not a Bible in the second temple period - that is, an accepted, defined, and closed corpus of authoritative texts - but there is no doubt that there were some books widely held to contain divine teaching. [p. 213]
It is important to remember that the production of texts and the canonization of authoritative texts was a long and complex process. The text of the scriptures, therefore, did not fall out of the sky, as it would seem, but took a process of being embraced as authoritative first, then moved on to a more canonical status. What we need to realize is that there were many more texts that were seen as authoritative, to varying degrees, than were ultimately placed in the canon. I think we also need to agree with VanderKam in the fact that the canon was not even closed within the time of the second temple period.
VanderKam also highlights, very succinctly, the impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls on our understanding of texts and canon:
One of the great contributions made by the Dead Sea Scrolls to our knowledge about biblical books is that they have documented the existence of divergent Hebrew texts of certain scriptural works. That is, there was not a single Hebrew text of each of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; in some cases, such as the book of Jeremiah, there were Hebrew copies that diverged widely from each other. There was a shorter, probably more original version and one that was longer by about one-eighth and that had some material, such as the oracles of the nations, in a different place (in the shorter version they follow 25:19; in the longer one they are chaps. 46-51). This shorter version of Jeremiah had been known from the Greek translation of the book; now it can be seen that the Greek was not a free reworking of the one Hebrew original but was a faithful rendition of a Hebrew base text that diverged considerable from the one found in the traditional Hebrew Bible (called the Masoretic Text)...
We have no evidence that anyone was concerned that the different copies failed to agree word-for-word, although from some of the Qumran commentaries it is apparent that the expositors were aware of variant readings. Rather than bemoaning these, they at times exploited them in their explanations. [pp.215-6]
The fact of the matter is that texts, even the canonical texts, had variant readings in the Second Temple Period and this fact does not seem to be an issue for the faithful of the day. On the contrary, they not only embraced textual variants, they employed them in their interpretive venture. Imagine what kind of chaos that would create today, especially with our fascination with inerrancy and such.
There might come a day when we need to reconsider the versions of our canonical texts, in light of these textual finds. Perhaps it has already begun.
A. I take issue with the word to a certain degree, so I make a distinction between a capital E and a small e. I was in the Caribbean in 2004, watching the election returns with a group of friends, and when Fox News, in a state of delirious joy, announced that evangelicals had helped sway the election, I realized this word has really been hijacked. I find the word troubling, because it has come in America to mean politically to the right, almost, at times, anti-intellectual. For many, the word has nothing to do with a spiritual context.
Q. OK, how would you describe what it is that you believe?
A. I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.
Now while one might agree or disagree with Rob's response to the final question, there's something larger going on here that we should not miss.
We live in an age where the term "evangelical" has indeed been corrupted to mean a myriad of things that perhaps were never a part of the original intent. I think a worthy question that needs to be asked is this, What does the term "evangelical" import today in this culture. Is what is often portrayed by the term "evangelical" something Jesus would attach himself to? [Could we "be taking the Lord's name in vain" by attaching the name "evangelical" to what we do?]
So what should the term "evangelical" mean today? Is it a term that still has importance?
Los Angeles Angels' Erick Aybar, right, and teammates celebrate with the jersey of deceased teammate Nick Adenhart after the Angels clinched the AL West title with an 11-0 win over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Sept. 28, 2009. Adenhart was killed in a car crash in Fullerton, Calif., in April. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
At a recent global premiere of The Age of Stupid, Thom Yorke performs an acoustic version of Reckoner. It's flat out amazing. The mark of a great song is to be able to alter the arrangement and still have something of substance and beauty. Enjoy.