“And when matters were at that point that they should come and be baptized, some one of our enemies, entering the temple with a few men, began to cry out, and to say, ‘What mean ye, O men of Israel? Why are you so easily hurried on? Why are ye led headlong by most miserable men, who are deceived by Simon, a magician?’ While he was thus speaking, and adding more to the same effect, and while James the bishop was refuting him, he began to excite the people and to raise a tumult, so that the people might not be able to hear what was said. Therefore he began to drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been arranged with much labour, and at the same time to reproach the priests, and to enrage them with revilings and abuse, and, like a madman, to excite every one to murder, saying, ‘What do ye? Why do ye hesitate? Oh, sluggish and inert, why do we not lay hands upon them, and pull all these fellows to pieces?’ When he had said this, he first, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others also, seeing him, were carried away with like madness. Then ensued a tumult on either side, of the beating and the beaten. Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked James, and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead, he cared not to inflict further violence upon him.”
“But our friends lifted him up, for they were both more numerous and more powerful than the others; but, from their fear of God, they rather suffered themselves to be killed by an inferior force, than they would kill others. But when the evening came the priests shut up the temple, and we returned to the house of James, and spent the night there in prayer. Then before daylight we went down to Jericho, to the number of 5000 men. Then after three days one of the brethren came to us from Gamaliel, whom we mentioned before, bringing to us secret tidings that that enemy had received a commission from Caiaphas, the chief priest, that he should arrest all who believed in Jesus, and should go to Damascus with his letters, and that there also, employing the help of the unbelievers, he should make havoc among the faithful; and that he was hastening to Damascus chiefly on this account, because he believed that Peter had fled thither. And about thirty days thereafter he stopped on his way while passing through Jericho going to Damascus. At that time we were absent, having gone out to the sepulchres of two brethren which were whitened of themselves every year, by which miracle the fury of many against us was restrained, because they saw that our brethren were had in remembrance before God.”
Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.70-71
Note the allusion to Acts 9 and Paul’s travels to Damascus. This is most likely not a historical account of what happened, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Hands down the best book I read in 2014 was Matthew Novenson’s Christ among the Messiahs: Christ Language in Paul and Messiah Language in Ancient Judaism. Novenson’s work is a stimulating work on the use of Christological titles Judaism and later in Paul. It is well worth the $70 dollars.
Decker, Rodney J.
Mark 1–8; 9–16
Waco: Baylor University Press, 2014.
Since its inception in 2003, the Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament continues to be the best resource there is on syntax of the Greek New Testament. For those not familiar with this series, the BHGNT provides a convenient reference tool that explains the syntax of the biblical text, offers guidance for deciding between competing semantic analyses, deals with text-critical questions that have a significant bearing on how the text is understood, and addresses questions relating to the Greek text that are frequently overlooked or ignored by standard commentaries, all in a succinct and accessible manner.
As with each volume in the series, the BHGNT begins with an Series Introduction as well as the author’s Introduction. The series introduction contains a useful section on how to use the BHGNT as well as a brief discussion on deponency. If this is your first exposure to this series I would recommend taking the time to read what is there. As for the author’s introduction, Decker is concise and to the point. Because this is not a normal commentary you will not find extensive discussion on author, setting, or any other topic you would typically find in a more traditional commentary. Rather, Decker focuses on matters that are relevant to the study of the Greek text. One such topic is Verbal Aspect. Having written a monograph on verbal aspect—Temporal Deixis of the Greek Verb in the Gospel of Mark with Reference to Verbal Aspect—Decker section is very useful for understanding how verbs in Mark’s Gospel function aspectually. Also very helpful is the discussion on the use of καί and δέ. There are also section on Voice, Periphrastics, Prepositions with Verbs of Movement, and the Imperfect Tense. The introduction is an informative guide as one works their way through the handbook.
The handbook is organized in small sections of the Greek text of Mark. Each section begins with the an English translation supplied by Decker. Following the translation is the Greek text in bold, laid out one verse at a time. The verse is then sectioned off according to the word or words that the author is commenting on. The layout of the handbook is easy to follow and a perfect fit for a handbook like this. When commenting on the text, Decker provides useful information from primary and secondary sources. One of the things that I find most useful with this series is the minimal use of sources. This is helpful for not only the reader to be able to follow the argument but I would assume this is also helpful in keeping the author from chasing rabbits down very deep holes and getting lost along the way.
In my opinion, Decker’s handbook on Mark is the best volume in the the series so far. It is linguistically strong and up to date with the relevant discussions ongoing in field of New Testament Greek. When I was first introduced to this series during my undergraduate studies in Greek I remember thinking “Finally, a commentary that actually comments on syntax!” This is a series that you will want to be sure that you have every volume published as they appear, starting with Rod Decker’s.
Right now at Logos you can not only get Doug Campbell’s massive tome The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul for only $.99, but you can also get Stephen Westerholm’s Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking a Pauline Theme for free. That’s right folks, two fantastic books for only a buck! Do I need to tell you to go grab them?
Every time I see a blog post that promises something incredible in 5 or even 10 points I get really inspired. So inspired that I decided that I needed to return the favor. The following is 1 amazing way to count to 10.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
I hope this has revolutionized your way of looking at counting. I know it has done so for me.