Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baptism at Ephesus?

There is now some scholarly consensus that 1 Timothy 6 alludes to baptism at Ephesus.

1Tim. 6:11 But as for you (Timothy), man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession [AORIST tense indicates a specific event--Timothy's baptism?] in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 

Here we have a possible allusion to Timothy's Baptism including confession and commitment. Since 1 Tim was written in Ephesus, we have here evidence of baptism at Ephesus maybe in the Baptistry of the Basilica of St John. The "presence of many witnesses" may include the congregation at Ephesus. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Erich Gruen April 10th "Christians & Jews in the Age of Nero" Live streamed

2014 Divinity-Classics Lecture

Erich S. Gruen, U.C., Berkeley
Introduction by John J. Collins
    Yale Divinity School
                      Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:00pm
                       Linsly Chittenden Hall, (LC-101), 63 High Street
This lecture is free and open to the public.
Reception to follow.
The lecture takes as its starting point the arrival of Paul in Rome. It attempts toreconstruct the atmosphere for Jews and Christians in Neronian Rome at that point, toconsider the attitude of the Roman government toward them, to discern their relationswith one another, and to ask what Paul might have anticipated when he chose to appealto the emperor and present his case before the imperial throne.
Erich S. Gruen is the Gladys Rehard Wood Professor Emeritus at U.C., Berkeley. His most recent books include,Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans (Harvard University Press) and Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (PrincetonUniversity Press). For more information about Professor Emeritus Gruen,
John J. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School.
The lecture will be livestreamed at http://new.livestream.com/yaledivinityschool
Sponsored by Yale University’s Divinity School,
Department of Classics, and Judaic Studies Program.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Inside & Out--Ordained Women Embodying the Paradox of Servanthood & Authority April 29th 1.30-3.00pm General Seminary

Talley and Bishop

Ordained Women Called to Servanthood and Authority: Embodying the Paradox Inside and Out
Tuesday, April 29, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
Optional lunch 12:30–1:30 p.m.
at The General Theological Seminary
440 West 21st Street
New York City
Lunch and Program: $20
Program Only: $10
Net proceeds will go to the Global Women’s Fund.
Jesus called his disciples to lead as one who serves, saying of himself, “I am among you as one who serves.” Yet Jesus taught as one having authority, and gave authority to his disciples to do works in his name and to “bear fruit, fruit that will last.”
How best can ordained women—indeed all those called to ordained ministry—find balance in embodying the paradox of being a servant-leader, while bearing fruit in an authentic way? Please join us for a theologically inspired discussion in which we will explore this vital topic, its invitation and challenges, and as women, discern ways to express our individual clerical style of authority and service, right down to the clothes we wear.
Join us as we discuss:
•  Women’s issues of balancing authority and servanthood at the altar, in church, in public
•  Discovering and expressing one’s individual clerical style
•  Best resources for women’s clergy-wear: from collars to blouses, dresses, albs, and chasubles
Leading off our discussion will be our distinguished guest, the Right Reverend Chilton R. Knudsen, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of New York.
Our panelists representing the neighboring dioceses and The General Theological Seminary:
•  Diocese of Long Island: The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon for Missional Vitality
•  Diocese of New Jersey: The Rev. Ophelia Laughlin, Rector of St. George’s by the River, Rumson, NJ
•  Diocese of Newark: The Rev. Lauren Ackland, Rector of Grace Church, Madison, NJ
•  Diocese of New York: The Rev. Deacon Denise LaVetty, Interim Director of Deacon Formation Program
•  The General Theological Seminary: The Rev. Dr. Amy Lamborn, Professor of Pastoral Theology
The Rev. Danielle Thompson, Chaplain, GTS, will be our moderator, and the Rev. Canon Jeanne Person, Canon for Pastoral Care, Diocese of New York, will also participate in the event.
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Prof Susannah Heschel: "The Aryan Jesus in Nazi Germany: The Bible and the Holocaust" at Creighton U, Omaha in Nebraska

An important and wonderful talk by Prof Susannah Heschel on “The Aryan Jesus in Nazi Germany: The Bible and the Holocaust,” The Kripke Center for the Study of Religion, Project Interfaith and the Institute for Holocaust Education, Creighton University, April 23, 2013.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Homeless Jesus?

An article in the Huffington Post relates that
This 'Homeless Jesus' statue has found a home after similar works were rejected from cathedrals in New York and Canada, but not all are welcoming it with open arms. The moving work by Timothy P. Schmalz has provoked diverse responses since being installed at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Davidson, N.C.
Rev. Doctor David E. Buck, the church rector, sees it as an evocative combination of beauty, art, and religion. "It's Jesus representing the most marginalized of society," he told NBC Charlotte. "We're reminded of what our ultimate calling is as Christians, as people of faith, to do what we can individually and systematically to eliminate homelessness. Part of a faith commitment is to care or the needy."
 The sculpture by Timothy Schmalz  is inspired by Matthew 25. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Women and public speaking by Mary Beard in LRB

Mary Beard, fellow of Newnham College Cambridge where she teaches Classics has an excellent piece on women and public speech in the LRB:

My aim here – and I acknowledge the irony of my being given the space to address the subject – is to take a long view, a very long view, on the culturally awkward relationship between the voice of women and the public sphere of speech-making, debate and comment: politics in its widest sense, from office committees to the floor of the House. I’m hoping that the long view will help us get beyond the simple diagnosis of ‘misogyny’ that we tend a bit lazily to fall back on. To be sure, ‘misogyny’ is one way of describing of what’s going on. (If you go on a television discussion programme and then receive a load of tweets comparing your genitalia to a variety of unpleasantly rotting vegetables, it’s hard to find a more apt word.) But if we want to understand – and do something about – the fact that women, even when they are not silenced, still have to pay a very high price for being heard, we have to recognise that it is a bit more complicated and that there’s a long back-story.

She says that there are only two exceptions: 1) Women are given speech as victims and martyrs (think of early Christian women, some of whom even "changed gender" at the point of public discourse) and 2) on occasions when women speak out "to defend their homes, children, husbands or interests of other women." Think here of the mother of the Maccabean martyrs. 

The issue is larger than this, however,

What I mean is that public speaking and oratory were not merely things that ancient women didn’t do: they were exclusive practices and skills that defined masculinity as a gender... Public speech was a – if not the– defining attribute of male-ness. A woman speaking in public was, in most circumstances, by definition not a woman. We find repeated stress throughout ancient literature on the authority of the deep male voice. As one ancient scientific treatise explicitly put it, a low-pitched voice indicated manly courage, a high-pitched voice female cowardice. Or as other classical writers insisted, the tone and timbre of women’s speech always threatened to subvert not just the voice of the male orator, but also the social and political stability, the health, of the whole state. So another second-century lecturer and guru, Dio Chrysostom, whose name, significantly, means Dio ‘the Golden Mouth’, asked his audience to imagine a situation where ‘an entire community was struck by the following strange affliction: all the men suddenly got female voices, and no male – child or adult – could say anything in a manly way. Would not that seem terrible and harder to bear than any plague? I’m sure they would send off to a sanctuary to consult the gods and try to propitiate the divine power with many gifts.’ He wasn’t joking.

and she concludes that we need to
raise bigger questions about the nature and purpose of speech, male or female. We should perhaps take our cue from this, and try to bring to the surface the kinds of question we tend to shelve about how we speak in public, why and whose voice fits. What we need is some old fashioned consciousness-raising about what we mean by the voice of authority and how we’ve come to construct it. 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

How Colm Toibin wrote The Testament of Mary

At 192 Books last week, a group of us went from the seminary to hear Colm Toibin read from several of his books. When one of our number asked him how he came to write The Testament of Mary, he explained that one Friday night whilst everyone was out dancing, he stayed at home and read the Introduction to E.V. Rieu's (1953) translation "The Four Gospels." Of John, the author of the fourth gospel, E.V. Rieu writes in the Introduction (p xxix), "It is not unlikely that he read Euripides and Plato." Deleting the words " not un(likely)," Toibin imagined that if John had indeed read Euripides and Plato, (at our event, he said "Aeschylus") then the world of Greek tragedy including tragic women opened John's gospel to his imagination and he considered how Mary (in John?) might be a figure like Antigone or Medea.

This makes sense of much of the book. Where a Jewish Mary once went to a synagogue, Toibin's Mary, living in Ephesus, at the end of the book goes with other women to the temple of Artemis. Her sensibilities are not those of the gospel writers who pester her to say things about Jesus. (Toibin says that on Mary the gospels were no help.) "They will thrive and prevail and I will die," she says. "If you want witnesses," she says to them, "then I am one and I can tell you now , when you say that he redeemed the world, I will say that it was not worth it. It was not worth it."