Parashat Vaetchanan


This is adapted from a drash Z. S. will read this weekend at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts. This Week’s Readings: Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26 Brit Chadashah: 1 Peter 1:18-25 I’m excited for camp, which for us starts tomorrow! I started going to camp when I was ten, and I think every summer since I have been involved either as a camper or as a counselor. I always had a lot of fun at camp with all the high-adrenaline activities. But as I grew older I began to realize that a … Continue reading “Parashat Vaetchanan”

On Scripture Expansion

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount

Extracting meaning from the Bible is perhaps one of the most necessary, important, and by proxy dangerous activities in all theology. The Good Book has many applicable lessons hidden within its verses, but stretching the passage to distortion in a greedy rush for enlightenment can ruin the entire endeavor. The book I was tasked with reading (for the Morning Walk Fellowship), David Timms’s Living the Lord’s Prayer, runs gung-ho into reckless analysis, attempting to dissect the Lord’s Prayer word-by-word but soon settling for phrase-by-phrase. Ignoring the hilarious irony that a prayer designed to be short was stretched into a 217-page … Continue reading “On Scripture Expansion”

Parashat Balak

This is adapted from a drash Z. S. will read this weekend at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts. This Week’s Readings: Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9 Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8 Brit Chadashah: Romans 11:29-12:2 Have any of you had a conflict with someone you loved and cared for? In the course of such a conflict, have you ever had a moment where, unbeknownst to them, you look at that person going about life in their usual manner, and you are able to see them in a positive light? Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof has this … Continue reading “Parashat Balak”

Scribal Mistakes in a Wycliffite Old Testament Manuscript

New College library at Oxford

The Wycliffite Bible (late fourteenth century) was the first translation of the entire Bible into English, though many English translations of significant portions of the Bible had already circulated centuries before. Manuscripts of Wycliffite Bibles are surprisingly consistent on the textual level. However, the manuscripts come in many shapes and sizes. Quite a host of scribes must have taken part in the production of these manuscripts, for we find a variety of scribal hands. A few years ago, when reading one particularly beautiful Wycliffite manuscript, I took some notes on a scribal error that made me smile.

Celebration and Relaxation

Tomorrow is a celebration; it marks both my birthday and the conclusion of my move to another house. I figured, in the midst of all the more sober prescriptive articles of the past, I would take this opportunity to discuss celebration, luxury, relaxation and the like. For one, there’s very little to go off with regards to visuals. Mentions of art, paint, color, and drawing are very rare in the Bible. It makes me wonder if “You shall not make for yourself a divine image with any form that is in the heavens above or that is in the earth … Continue reading “Celebration and Relaxation”

A Little Defense, Part I

“I just don’t get it!” Tommy leans forward with his elbows on the table and shakes his head emphatically. “Why would you root for Gandalf? He’s a terrible wizard. I mean, he gives Frodo the ring, fully aware that nine murderous wraiths are looking for it, and then leaves him with his slow, fat gardener in arguably the most defenceless country on Middle Earth! Now, Saruman, he’s a real hero. He clearly cares for the well-being of the hobbits, even loves his enemies! Like when Gandalf pays him a visit, and Saruman lets him have an entire tower to himself. … Continue reading “A Little Defense, Part I”

Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius

Easter’s just around the corner, so it’s time to commence with the several-hour long discourse on the nature of Pontius Pilate. What? You don’t do that on an annual basis? What better time to start the tradition than during your Easter video chats! Pontius Pilate’s character was the basis for a mold, an archetype which sticks in modern literature. He was the man who found Jesus to be an innocent man, but he loved popular praise too much (or, conversely, he was too weak to fight the will of the mob) to spare Jesus from crucifixion. Over the years, Pontius … Continue reading “Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius”

Eusebian Canons

Ever wondered what Eusebian Canons are? Neither did I, until I tried (and failed) to navigate a manuscript with them! That said, the Eusebian Canons are actually a pretty nifty work of ancient biblical scholarship. Here you can read about the Eusebian Canons found in the Herzog August Bibliothek, MS Cod. Guelf. 84.3 Aug. 2°. And here’s a peek at the manuscript: