Thursday, 17 January 2008

free pdf essays from lhbots

T & T Clark (the publishers) has a blog and for this entry below, they are offering 8free pdf files of essays from a festschrift on philip davies (OT scholar at Sheffield). download them to read because we can never afford the price of this book! ( lists the price as a whopping 70 pounds!) keep an eye of their blog for future offerings.


December 31, 2007
Happy New Year! An Online LHBOTS of Sorts - In Search of Philip R. Davies: Whose Festschrift Is It Anyway?

For Hanukkah, we celebrated by giving eight LHBOTS gifts (albeit a few belated ones). And we're doing the same thing for (belated) Christmas/New Year's as well! We're very pleased to make available to you a festschrift for Professor Philip R. Davies, marking his 60th birthday entitled In Search of Philip R. Davies: Whose Festschrift Is It Anyway? Dr. Duncan Burns and John W. Rogerson, his former student and colleague, respectively, have edited a collection of essays honoring the legacy of his scholarship - a collection that reflects the scope, interest, and influence of Professor Davies from the last 30 years.

These articles from their peers reflect on the impact Professor Davies has made in three particular areas of study: Hebrew Bible, Qumran, and Palestinian Archaeology; New Testament and Early Judaism; and Biblical Interpretation.

Our gift to you is that we are making some of these essays available for download in pdf format.

In Search of Philip R. Davies: Whose Festschrift Is It Anyway?, edited by Duncan Burns and John W. Rogerson

When YHWH Tests People: General Considerations and Particular Observations Regarding the Books of Chronicles and Job by Ehud Ben Zvi

Prophecy as Inspired Biblical Interpretation: The Teacher of Righteousness and David Koresh by Lester L. Grabbe

"Jew By Nature": Paul, Ethnicity, and Galatians by R. Barry Matlock

The Second Temple Origins of the Halakhah of Besah by Jacob Neusner

Why Talk About the Past: The Bible, Epic and Historiography by Thomas L. Thompson

The Rhetoric of 2 Peter: An Apologia for Early Christian Ethics (And Not 'Primitive Christian Eschatology') by Robert L. Webb

The Death of Biblical History by Keith W. Whitelam

A happy and safe New Year to all! We here at T&T Clark resolve to continue to bring you the best in biblical scholarship and theology as we have for over a century!

(By the way, a few days ago, we reached 10,000 visits to our blog! Wow! We hope it's not because we keep clicking "refresh" on our browsers... Thanks for coming by! We'll have lots of new things to share very soon.)

finding wisdom

last tuesday was the first worship service for the new academic year in STM. i was given the privilege to share the first sermon, a short homily because the whole worship service is only 40 minutes long. as is with my usual practice for tuesday chapel services, i shared from the book of proverbs.


Tuesday 15/1/08 Chapel Prov. 3:13-18
Title: Finding Wisdom

3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding, 14 for the gain from it is better than silver and its profit more than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.

In our annual retreat, the speaker, Dr. Tan Soo Inn, reminded us that there are far more important things that merely getting very good results in seminary and acquiring knowledge and skill in exegeting the Word of God. It is important that we learn from people around us who encapsulates the Word of God in their lives.

In line with this train of thought, this morning’s sharing reminds us that what the seminary seeks to do is not merely to impart knowledge to the students but to do far more than that. If you come to the seminary only to gain more knowledge, you might as well do it outside the seminary. One can just borrow the books from the library and read them at home and still gain knowledge. However, in the seminary, one of our aims is to help students know wisdom and get onto the path of wisdom.

There is a significant difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is mere facts and data. One can acquire knowledge from books and other sources. But wisdom is knowledge put into practice, or to put it in another way, wisdom is the ability to utilize knowledge in a fruitful way. So, in the world, there are a lot of knowledgeable people but few wise people; in the church, there are many knowledgeable pastors but very few wise pastors. It is far easier to acquire knowledge but far harder to gain wisdom. One can get knowledge in any period of our lives but wisdom often comes with old age and through experience. Hence, the Chinese saying about older people is very true: ‘I have eaten more salt than you have eaten rice’.

In the seminary, what the lecturers seek to do is not merely imparting their knowledge to the students. That is not enough. We are also trying to show you by example (though we may fail at times to live it out) and through our experiences how to put that knowledge into practice. If knowledge remains only at the intellectual level, it can become aloof and proud. One can walk around with your head in the clouds. But if knowledge can be used to build up the common good of others and be used to direct our paths in the right way, that is actually wisdom.

So, lecturers do not merely show you how to exegete a Bible passage to draw out the essence of God’s Word; we also seek to tell you why you ought to do it. Lecturers teach you about the lessons of church history not that you will know more facts about the past but so that you can learn from the mistakes of our forefathers and avoid making them in our time. Lecturers teach you about Christian Education not that you can carry out fantastic programs in the local church year after year but that Christian Education is meant to mould and transform the lives of your church members from cradle to the grave. Lecturers teach you about missions and evangelism not that your church become big and well-known for its successful evangelistic efforts but that people everywhere ought to have the opportunity to hear the Gospel message and be saved. So, the task of the lecturers is not merely imparting knowledge but giving you the life skills that will last a lifetime. There is much truth in this saying: ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat a day; teach him how to fish and he will eat a lifetime’.

Why wisdom of all things? Why not success and honour? Why not secrets to fame and fortune? Prov. 3:14-15 remind us that wisdom is far more precious that gold and silver. If you gain wisdom, you will gain something far more valuable and resourceful than earthly wealth. If you find wisdom, you find life itself (v. 18 - wisdom is like a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy or ‘blessed’). Your time here in STM is only the beginning of a lifelong journey with wisdom and may you all walk down the path of wisdom and find life! LeHayim!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

late bernhard word anderson

although belated news, still important news nevertheless. about the passing of another great OT professor. this time it is bernhard w. anderson, author of the popular Understanding the Old Testament. see the orbituary from SBL website:


Dr. Bernhard Word Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, passed away peacefully on December 26, 2007, at age 91. A noted educator, author, and biblical scholar, Dr. Anderson is perhaps best known for his textbook, Understanding the Old Testament, which set records in sales for a book in that field and is read in translation around the world.

Through his writing and teaching, Dr. Anderson was instrumental in inspiring the study of the Old Testament in America in the 20th century, and in shaping theological perspectives that remain important today. As an author, his effortless prose addresses readers personally and without scholarly pretension, a style that he also brought to lectures and sermons. Indeed, his ability as a lecturer was legendary among Princeton students and colleagues, who still wonder how Dr. Anderson managed to end each lecture on a stirring theological climax -- just as the bell would sound!

Modest in the extreme, Dr. Anderson was often surprised by the feeling with which students, teachers, and churchgoers spoke about the significance of Understanding the Old Testament in their lives. A public tribute of this kind occurred as recently as 2004, when Dr. Anderson was invited to participate in a panel discussion at a well-known theological school. Dr. Anderson listened while a faculty member in New Testament, whom he had not previously met, told the story of how he stumbled on a copy of the book as a novice Cistercian monk in the Knockmealdown mountains of Ireland. Over the next six months, the professor recounted, he read it from cover to cover, as lectio divina, in the silent hours between the 3:45 wake-up call and the 6 A.M. Eucharist. Profoundly inspired in a new direction, he eventually left the monastery to pursue the historical study of the Bible and become a teacher in his own right. He added that he had told this story many times in the years since, but couldn't resist telling it again in the presence of the author himself!

In another instance, a professor wryly observed that when he used Dr. Anderson's textbook in his classes, he noticed a dramatic increase in the number of Old Testament names his students gave to their children.

Dr. Anderson approached people and challenges with an enthusiastic charm that owed much to the American frontier. He was the son of an itinerant Australian preacher who came to America in the early 1900's to pursue a seminary education. Born in Missouri, he moved at a young age to California, where his father ministered to small congregations in the mining district north of San Francisco. Of necessity as well as inclination, Dr. Anderson became an integral part of the worshipping community, learning early to play the organ so he could accompany hymns during his father's services.

A precocious student, Dr. Anderson graduated early from high school and attended the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific), where he studied music but eventually majored in religion. After graduating in 1936, he married a fellow COP student, Joyce Griswold, and began studies at the Pacific School of Reli¬gion in Berkeley, California. He received his divinity degree in 1939, and was ordained a minister of the United Methodist Church.

With the encouragement of James Muilenburg, his teacher at the Pacific School of Religion, Dr. Anderson became the first of Muilenburg's students to go on to graduate studies in the Old Testament field. He and his family moved East, where he pursued graduate studies in Old Testament at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. He received his PH.D. from Yale University in 1945, and began his teaching career in 1946 at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. From there he moved on to teaching positions at the University of North Carolina (1948-50) and Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York (1950-54).

In 1954 Dr. Anderson was invited to become Dean of the Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where he began his tenure as the youngest Dean in the history of that institution. During his administration, he gathered and led a distinguished faculty that included the late philosopher and Jewish theologian, Will Herberg, who became a lifelong friend and mentor. He also continued to teach as Professor of Biblical Theology.

While at Drew, Dr. Anderson developed a special interest in archaeology. In 1956 he joined with the late George Ernest Wright to launch the Drew-McCormick Archaeological Expedition for the purpose of excavating the site of the ancient biblical city of Shechem. In 1963-64 he served as Annual Professor of the American School of Oriental Research (now the Albright Biblical Institute) in Jerusalem, from which base he conducted archaeological field trips into Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Egypt. His son accompanied him on some of these trips, including a memorable ride on camelback to the top of Mount Sinai. He recalls his father driving fearlessly into remote desert regions where there were no marked roads, and being offered such exotic delicacies as eye of sheep as the guest of a nomadic Arab chieftan.

In 1968 Dr. Anderson became Professor of Old Testament Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, where his course on the Introduction to the Old Testament was regularly filled to overflowing. Regardless of class size, he and his wife Joyce maintained a tradition of welcoming all his students to their Mercer Street home at least once during the semester. Students were invited in small groups and the evening would begin with personal introductions, followed by lively discussion that sometimes lasted hours. The occasion would end with Dr. Anderson at the piano, accompanying the singing of hymns and popular songs.

Dr. Anderson travelled widely with his family, often in connection with professional assignments such as his work in Jerusalem. Drawn by the distinguished German theologians of his time, he spent a sabbatical year in 1958-59 in Heidelberg, Germany, where he visited lectures by Gerhard von Rad. He returned to Germany for a second sabbatical 1970-71, completing a translation of Martin Noth's A History of Pentateuchal Traditions. In 1983 he was invited to teach in Australia, where he visited his father's birthplace for the first time. At the invitation of a former student, he was also lavishly honored on a trip to South Korea. He recently returned the honor by donating his library to a theological school in South Korea.

During his years at Princeton, Dr. Anderson actively supported the professional development of younger colleagues, with special concern for the inclusion of women. After retiring in 1983, he continued to teach, counsel, and lecture widely. From 1984 to 1996 he served as Adjunct Professor of Old Testament Theology at the Boston University School of Theology. He taught courses at Yale Divinity School, Union Seminary, and Middlebury College, and led numerous bible study groups both in the United States and abroad.

In retirement, as in his professional life, Dr. Anderson was an ardent trailblazer and bridge-builder. He typically spent part of each day forging trails through the woods on the steep hillsides surrounding his New England home. These trails were elaborately engineered with bridges and graceful loopbacks, always wide enough for the lawn tractor and trailer that carried his tools. The easiest of these trails he called "The Path of Least Resistance."

Dr. Anderson served as President of the Society of BiblicaI Literature (1980) and President of the American Theological Society (1985), and is the recipient of many honorary degrees and awards. In 1980 the Society of Biblical Literature presented him with the Julian Morgenstern Award "in recognition of his unusual success in sharing the results of biblical scholarship with a very wide audience." A festschrift, Understanding the Word, was published in his honor in 1985.

In addition to Understanding the Old Testament, now in its fifth edition (2006), his books include Out of the Depths: The PsaIms Speak for Us Today, Creation and the Old Testament, Contours of Old Testament Theology, and a popular study guide, The Unfolding Drama of the Bible (fourth edition, 2006).

Dr. Anderson is survived by his first wife Joyce, his wife Monique, his children Carol, Joan, Ronald, and Ruth, and six grandchildren. Plans for a memorial service to be held in the Miller Chapel of the Princeton Theological School will be announced later this month.

Monday, 14 January 2008

learning greek and hebrew by yourself on the internet

those interested to learn greek by themselves, see these three valuable links:

one can also go to biblicaltraining by william mounce, author of basics of biblical greek:

or the full texts and sound clips here (no longer free):

Mounce has 2 classes recorded. the first is greek tools audio files here (you will need to register first at the website but it is free!):

or take a greek class based on mounce's textbook (all audio files free here!):


Ted hildebrandt of gordon college has done these videos to learn greek!


those interested to hear how hebrew (read in a modern style) is pronounced, go to this link:

the hebrew audio files of the OT books can be painstickingly downloaded one by one and burnt onto a cd or copied into an ipod since they are mp3 files.

the original files came from but they seemed to be no longer free: (but i have a cd copy made sometimes ago!)


a sample of what one can learn from the university of texas, austin which offers a hebrew course can be found here:

(the first link contains many sub-folders. if one clicks on the first on the hebrew alphabet, one can listen to how the letters are pronounced!)


one can go online to learn hebrew from the foundationstone website here:

Updated: check out the university of n.z.'s website on learning hebrew vocabulary (courtesy of tim bulkeley:

Second Update: from Joshua's Theology Books (2/7/08)

Animated Hebrew (Lectures and Audio based on the Ross B. Hebrew Grammar):

Hebrew and Greek Flash Cards in Flash (pretty flexible for sorting):

short sermon on 'zeal or love?'

during our recent orientation week for the new students in the seminary, i was asked to lead the morning worship and preach a short homily (all in 30 mins). as i reflected and pondered what to share with the new students, i was reminded of what i wrote for the Light For Our Path devotional some time ago on the topic of 'zeal or love?' i re-wrote certain parts of it for this new occasion.


Tuesday Jan 8th 2008 Revelation 2:1-7


1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 "’I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have, you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Key verse: “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance…But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Verses 2, 4)

The ancient church at Ephesus was highly commended by the risen Lord Jesus. On the surface, she seemed to be doing very well e.g. she hated evil men and tested the false apostles (verse 2), endured patiently for her faith (verse 3), and hated the Nicolaitans (verse 6). But the church lacked one thing, that is, she has lost her first love (verse 4). How can a church that seems to be 'dead serious' in everything else be lacking in love for the Lord? It was Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister, who once said, ‘The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end’.

One reason that the church at Ephesus lost her first love was that she became overzealous in many areas for God (fighting against evil, combating heresies, enduring for the faith) but neglected that one crucial but simple area – loving God. A church can become overzealous and not be balanced with faithfulness and love. She can sometimes be caught up with doing many wonderful ‘works’ but forget about the all-important quality of ‘love’.

Without love, our works are merely verbal professions, our toil merely human tasks, our endurance merely patient longsuffering, and our zeal merely misdirected fervour. But with our focus rightly centered on the agape love of God, this will ensure a healthy balance between doing and being.

One possible danger in coming to seminary is to get so caught up with the zeal and passion of theological study: we faithfully memorize our Greek declensions daily; diligently read through Karl Barth’s 14 volumes Church Dogmatics; exegete the Hebrew Masoretic text of Isaiah; or strive to write a fantastic paper on Christian Education on 'The Pedagogy of Church Education'. Our heads can be caught up among the heady clouds of biblical languages, and our feet so high up in theological circles that we are not grounded in love in the real world. We can end up living in an unreal world misguided by our zeal and passion but heading towards the wrong direction. Don’t be like some Christians who are too heavenly-minded to be of any earthly use! Warm hearts must be balanced by cool heads. Zeal must be balanced with love. Only then can we be vessels of noble use to God, to the Church and to the world.

Prayer: Teach me, dear Lord, to constantly re-discover my first love for you, so that I can continue to love you faithfully unto the end. Walk with me through this exciting journey of theological studies so that in the end I may become a Christian with zeal and passion for your Word but also with love in my heart for you and others. Amen.