Archive for December, 2017

Glory in the flesh

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

31 December 2017
First Sunday after Christmas
I Christmas ABC (RCL)

Isaiah 61:13 – 62:3
Psalm 147:13-21
Galatians 3:23-25, 4:4-7
John 1:1-18

There is a lot of scholarly speculation about from where John the Evangelist borrowed the term “logos.” Some see it as a borrowing from Stoicism; others as from Gnosticism (though I’ve never understood that — all of the gnostic texts we have that use the term ‘logos’ post-date John’s Gospel). Some think he got it from Philo. I think a reading of the Gospel indicates that wherever he got it, he made it his own. It is Jesus’ own ‘words’ and ‘word’ that become definitive of the Johannine community. (more…)

A new thing

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

17 December 2017
Third Sunday of Advent
Advent 3B (RCL)

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

The last part of the book of Isaiah (Chapters 40-65) has often been treated as a work entirely separate from the first part in time, location and occasion. Sometimes, it is even broken down into two parts of its own: DeuteroIsaiah (40-55) and TritoIsaiah (56-66). While it is clear that Chapters 1-39 deal with circumstances before the fall of Jerusalem in 539 BCE, and the last half deals with circumstances during Exile and after the return, yet it also seems clear that Chapters 40-66 have always circulated with the rest of the book, and in fact serve as a reflection on and interpretation of the prophecies of the first half viewed in new circumstances. (more…)

Abrupt beginnings

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

10 December 2017
Second Sunday of Advent
Advent IIB (RCL)

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

It is well know that Mark’s Gospel ends abruptly. Mark 16:8 ends “ephobounto gar“, for they were afraid. The trouble is, gar is a post-positive conjunction, which can never, but never be the last word in a phrase, let alone a sentence or a book. This was so troubling so early in the transmission of the Gospel that several authors have composed alternative endings to the Gospel. (more…)