Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rob Bell Everything is Spiritual

This is a video of Rob Bell who we saw at Symphony Space.

He is now doing a talk The God's Aren't Angry which we well see next week.

Click here to order the DVD if you like this sample.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Staying Close To God

If you fill your calendar with important appointments, you will have no time for God
If you fill your spare time with essential reading, you will starve your soul
If you fill your mind with worry about budgets and offerings, the pains in your chest and the ache in your shoulders will betray you
If you try to conform to the expectations of those around you, you will forever be their slave
Work a modest day, then step back and rest
This will keep you close to God.

Dallas Willard

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Mishnah Part 1

The Mishnah (Part 1)

According to Jewish teaching, the Law delivered to Moses consisted of two parts. The written law, now contained in the Torah, or Pentateuch, was one of those parts. The other consisted of oral teaching, which was then passed by tradition from one generation to the next. This oral instruction explained and clarified what had been written. This material developed over time, but was finally codified and written down around the end of the second century AD or the beginning of the third century (there is debate among authorities as to precisely when the Mishnah was reduced to writing). This was composed in Hebrew but differing somewhat from the Hebrew of the Old Testament. Hence, it is called Mishnaic Hebrew. Though the Mishnah was written in Hebrew, it formed the foundation of the later Talmud, which is essentially extended comment on, and discussion of, the material in the Mishnah, and which was written in Aramaic.

The Mishnah is made up of six parts called “orders” (the Aramaic word is seder in the singular or sedarim in the plural). These orders are further subdivided into treatises, the treatises into chapters, and the chapters into paragraphs. The first order is called zera’im (seeds), and it is divided into eleven treatises. The second order is called mo’ed (festivals), from the Hebrew word for “appointed times” (see both Gen 1:14, where the ESV translates it “seasons;” and Lev 23:2, where the ESV translates is “appointed festivals”). This second order is made up of twelve separate treatises. The third order is called nashim (women), and is divided into seven treatises.

The fourth order of the Mishnah is called either nezikin (injuries) or yeshu’ot (deeds of help) and contains ten treatises. The fifth order is called qodashim (holy things) and contains eleven treatises. The final order of the Mishnah is called tohorot (purifications) and is made up of twelve treatises.

The Mishnah is available in English translation. Perhaps the most widely known version is that of Herbert Danby. It is still available, but is quite expensive. A newer version is that of Jacob Neusner. In a certain sense, Danby’s version was done for the uninitiated. The translation is paraphrastic and reads like literature. Neusner’s is more literal and shows the Mishnah for what it is—a compilation of Jewish teachings. The introduction to Neusner’s version is helpful in sorting some of this out. Neusner has also published The Mishnah: An Introduction, and Learn Mishnah. These two works provide a way into approaching and beginning to appreciate the Mishnah without it becoming a daunting task.

Over the next few weeks I hope to present the reader a brief survey of the content of the Mishnah in preparation for a look at the Talmud.


Author's Bio:
Dr. Shaw was born and raised in New Mexico. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico in 1977, the M. Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1980, and the Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1981, with an emphasis in biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, Old Testament and Targumic Aramaic, as well as Ugaritic). He did two year of doctoral-level course work in Semitic languages (Akkadian, Arabic, Ethiopic, Middle Egyptian, and Syriac) at Duke University. He received the Ph.D. in Old Testament Interpretation at Bob Jones University in 2005. Since 1991, he has taught Hebrew and Old Testament at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a school which serves primarily the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, where he holds the rank of Associate Professor.