Category Archives: Research

My academic (I flatter myself!) inquiries into the biblical texts, the ANE, historical and literary criticism, and the social sciences.

A Wise and Understanding People

Under what terms of engagement should we as Christian researchers join the broader academy in this search for knowledge? In research, we stand on the shoulders of, and beside, other scholars in our fields. Besides the general imperative to conduct our research ethically—do the premises and aims of our research overlap with those of other convictions? Continue reading

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Love of Wisdom

This is the next in a series of pastoral reflections from 2020 about academic research: “Researching Christianly.” Read the first post, “It Must Not Be This Way Among You.” The terminal degree in most of our fields is doctor of … Continue reading

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It Must Not Be This Way Among You (Series: Researching Christian-ly)

These words in particular stand out to me: “…but it is not this way among you.” In our profession, more so than in others, projecting confidence and authority tends to be rewarded; we stand in front of our students and tell them truths that they need to remember and regurgitate in order for us to authorize them to continue on in their studies. But Jesus says that the authority among the community of his followers must be exercised differently. It requires humility, sacrifice, and service. Continue reading

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Science, Worship, and an “Epistemology of Love”

So far we have seen that a modern scientific worldview has difficulty accounting for the immaterial “essence” of human personhood, and therefore cannot meaningfully balance the risks of physical and spiritual harms. In this installment, we compare “scientific” ways of knowing (epistemology) with other means of knowing that are just as important for human life and purpose: knowing through love, and knowing through ritual. Knowing truth about God and ourselves by these means gives us purpose and hope. Continue reading

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Humanity, Danger, and “Knowing”: Ancient and Modern Worldviews

How do we know what we are, as humans? How do we know what we know? On whom or what do we rely in order to determine what is safe and what is dangerous? Continue reading

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Is Church an “Essential Service”?

If a 70-year-old man receives a cancer diagnosis with a six-month prognosis, but could extend his life possibly two years by chemotherapy that would make his life extremely painful—is it moral for him to refuse treatment? What about a 50-year-old man, offered a ten-year extension of unpleasant life through such a harsh six-month medical treatment? How should the costs of medical treatment, and the burden on family, factor into his decision? Who is fit to decide such things?
In the midst of a situation in which a serious communicable disease is present in the population, should it be permissible to hold religious gatherings? What about funerals or weddings? Extreme unction (“last rites”) in the case of someone dying from a disease that could be transmitted to the priest?
Is it moral to celebrate the Eucharist in the midst of a pandemic? How risky for the celebrant and the participants must it be, in order to be deemed too great a risk? How should the risk of transmitting the disease to others beyond the consenting participants be factored into the ethical calculation? How might it be acceptable to modify the structure of the celebration in order to reduce health risk? Continue reading

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Article on Technology, Worship and Deuteronomy Now Available

Under the terms of publication, I am now permitted to post my 2019 article, “Technologising of Word and Sacrament: Deuteronomy 14:24–26 and Intermediation in Worship” (European Journal of Theology 28.1 [2019]: 66–77). Continue reading

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Reading Scripture with the Chronicler

On March 3, 2021, I had the honor of presenting a talk to the faculty and students of Spurgeon’s College (London), as part of their weekly postgraduate seminar. (As is seemingly every academic event these days, the seminar was conducted via Zoom.) My presentation was entitled, “Scripture Reading Scripture: Can the Chronicler Teach Us How to Interpret and Apply the Bible?” Continue reading

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Joshua 22: Should We Believe the Transjordan Tribes?

Regarding Joshua 22, in which the Transjordan tribes (Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh—Gilead) return to their inheritance after helping the other tribes conquer their territory: on its face, the narrative presents a potentially explosive situation, that ends up resolved peacefully. But is that all that is going on, or is there more to it? Continue reading

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On In-Person Worship, Civil Authorities, and Christian Freedom

I’ve prepared an essay entitled, “Technologising of Worship Before and During Pandemic: Epistemology, Eschatology, and Presence,” which is under review with a journal. However, I wanted to share portions of it here before publication, for the benefit of anyone who might be interested. In his excerpt, I argue that Romans 13 and 1 Corinthians 8 cannot be used to justify Christian leaders’ acceptance of government orders to cease in-person worship, even during a pandemic. Continue reading

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