There hasn’t been much I’ve read in the Christian blogosphere that’s been particularly interesting, but there are a few things that you should check out.
There is a new theological journal called Themelios that has the standard fare of articles dedicated to biblical studies, but once in a while there is a real treat. The first is Tim Keller’s The Gospel and the Poor. In an increasingly divided Christian world where “helping the poor” has been politicized into “voting Democrat” it is good to see a solid biblical theology put together that can be embraced by anyone who claims to follow Christ. Carl Trueman’s The Way of the Christian Academic was especially helpful to me as I am thinking of perusing an MA in Philosophy of Religion (California? Colorado?). Money quote:
The second thing to note is that the title ‘scholar’ is not one that you should ever apply to yourself, and its current profusion among the chatterati on the blogs is a sign of precisely the kind of arrogance and hubris against which we all need to guard ourselves. Call me old-fashioned, but to me the word ‘scholar’ has an honorific ring. It is something that others give to you when, and only when, you have made a consistent and outstanding contribution to a particular scholarly field (and, no, completion of a Ph.D. does not count). To be blunt, the ability to set up your own blog site and having nothing better to do with your time than warble on incessantly about how clever you are and how idiotic are all those with whom you disagree—well, that does not actually make you eligible to be called a scholar. On the contrary, it rather qualifies you to be a self-important nincompoop, and the self-referential use of the title by so many of that ilk is at best absurd, at worst obnoxious.
There is a lot to rave about with the new ESV Study Bible. The little I’ve perused I’ve found to be rather impressive. But I must admit I am little concerned about the rave that surrounds the ESV as a translation. I’ve tried to get into it via study and devotional reading, but I just don’t think it is all that great. For me, I think it is clumsy, hard to read, and is not anymore accurate than the NIV or even the TNIV (my translation of choice). While I generally think arguing over bible translations is mostly pointless, I do think there is a new culture of “ESV-Onlyism” taking afoot. Mark Strauss posted a critical paper detailing why “more literal” does not necessarily entail “more accurate”—a basic principle of philosophy of language if there ever was one (see the ESV’s Luke 17:35 for some humor)–that should bring us back to reality. From reading a couple of the ESV Study Bible’s textnotes my suspicion was confirmed that it would be defending the ESV’s translation decisions (see especially Romans 16:7) as much as interpreting biblical theology. But that is a relatively minor concern given that it has a wealth of material packed into one volume. I’d recommend it along with the Archaeological Study Bible and the NLT Study Bible.