The Weekly Roundup – 6.7.19

“When Jesus calls Herod Antipas a ‘fox’ (Luke 13:32), most modern European readers will automatically think this means he considered Herod to be particularly clever or craft….The same association would naturally have occurred to a Greek reader in the 1st century. In Greek literature, the fox is proverbially a crafty animal. In Jewish literature, however, both Hebrew and Aramaic, the fox most often has another connotation, namely that of being second rate.” – Jan Joosten

  • Over at, Tzvi Novick (University of Notre Dame) wrote a piece on the resemblance of Jeroboam of Israel and Hadad of Edom to Moses-like deliverers. The comparisons are interesting, especially Exodus 2:15 and 1 Kings 11:40. Novick writes regarding those two texts, “In a bitter irony, Jeroboam seeks refuge from the Israelite ‘Pharaoh’ Solomon in the house of the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak.” Jeroboam, of course, was a northern king but the Deuteronomisic History is primarily pro-Judah propaganda and so the question becomes why such a positive portrayal exists in the DH. Novick addresses that and more (cf. John Harvey’s Retelling the Torah: The Deuteronomistic Historian’s Use of Tetrateuchal Narratives [T&T Clark, 2004], 1-3).
  • I recently read a paper by Jan Joosten (Oxford University) on whether Aramaic or Hebrew underlies the Gospels. He points out that in some places it seems Hebrew perhaps was the language Jesus may have used to express certain ideas. For example, in Luke 13:32 Jesus refers to Herod as a “fox,” which I thought meant that Herod was clever and conniving. But Joosten points out that if Jesus had said this in Hebrew or Aramaic, the implication would be that Herod was a nonentity in comparison with Jesus. It apparently matters not simply what Jesus said but also in which language he did. Of course, the next question that should be asked is, did he say it at all?
  • Back in January, Kyle Hughes (PhD, Radboud University Nijmegen) posted a brief “critical biography” of the Irenaeus, the second century Christian theologian who is perhaps best known for his work Against Heresies. Hughes points out that much of what we know about Irenaeus comes from Eusebius but there are a few things that can be drawn from Irenaeus’ writings like his love for Justin Martyr with whom he perhaps had some personal acquaintance. For those needing a “crash course” on Irenaeus’ life, this biography from Hughes should hit the spot.
  • Claude Mariottini has posted the May 2019 Biblical Studies Carnival. Go in and have a look around!  I’ll be responsible for the August 2019 edition (due 9/1/19).
  • Candida Moss’s recent piece at The Daily Beast asks the hard questions: “Did Jesus Poop?”  If he was fully human then there can be no doubt. Yet Christians through the ages have also considered him to be fully divine. Does God poop? Moss goes through the early debates on whether Jesus “poo-poo’d in the potty” (as my two-year old son would say), with many denying it even though they believed Jesus was a human being. I found myself chuckling through Moss’ piece. It was as informative as it was entertaining.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

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