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Western Fellowship Papers

Information about Western Fellowship Papers

  • WFP is a service provided by the Western Fellowship of Professors and Scholars to promote research and discussion. Posting of papers and responses does not imply any endorsement of the views expressed in this forum by the Western Fellowship or any individuals or institutions associated with it.
  • The purpose of the Western Fellowship of Professors and Scholars is to promote the renewal of evangelical faith and life through scholarly research, reflection, and discussion.
  • Papers should deal with issues of interest to Christian scholarship. They may be in one of the traditional fields of theology, Bible, Christian history, practical theology, world religions, etc., or they may be interdisciplinary, showing the contribution of other areas of learning to Christian concerns.
  • Papers will be read by qualified referees. Papers considered appropriate to the purpose of the WFPS and displaying competent research will be accepted for posting.
  • Papers that are exploratory, experimental or provisional are welcome. This forum may be used to present papers that will be revised later for other publication or presentation.
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Western Fellowship Papers
Paper Submissions for Review

The following papers have been submitted for review to WFPS. If available, paper content is in .pdf and/or .doc file format, and is the sole property of the author. Content does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of WFPS service or Manhattan Christian College. Discussion and comments are included below each paper. To respond to a paper you may e-mail  your comments to Dr. Alterman. After a review of comments, they will be posted with the article. Papers are listed by date submitted.

Alterman, Dr. Mark, Digital Resources for Ancient Languages (.pdf)
ABSTRACT:  Part I gives the rationale for using audio and other multi-media resources in the study of ancient languages: both language learning and textual interpretation are enhanced.  Part II surveys various resources, mostly Internet-based.  Resources are included for Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Medieval Italian, Coptic, Egyptian, Aramaic, Arabic, Sanskrit, Akkadian, and Ugaritic.  Comments relating to the pronunciation and reading of ancient texts are interspersed in the descriptions.
Alterman, Dr. Mark, Review of 'The Development of Greek and the New Testament' by Chrys Caragounis
**This review has been published in The Stone-Campbell Journal Vol. 9, No. 2 (Fall, 2006), 307-309.
ABSTRACT: Greek is not a dead language to Chrys Caragounis.  The central thesis of The Development of Greek and the New Testament is that the Greek language is an organic, living unity from the time of the linear B tablets to the present day, and that this fact has been neglected to the detriment of New Testament scholarship.  To understand the language of the New Testament properly, he insists, one must be familiar with the language as a whole, a facility he demonstrates throughout the book.
COMMENTS: Essentially, what Caragounis argues for is what I have invariably heard from every Greek Orthodox priest I have met, especially once they find out I teach Greek.  Erasmus is invariably the goat, and yet he began using essentially a modern Greek pronunciation.  The crux is usually in Greek poetry where the modern Greek vowels seem restrictive (all issues about pitch and stress accents aside).  The diphthong alpha iota can only be short in modern Greek (= epsilon), while it can be both long and short in the ancient world; the modern word for “tea”, in which the two vowels are pronounced separately, sounds suspiciously like the academic pronunciation. The major issue is basically the cart and horse one.  If modern Greek seems to elucidate ancient or koine Greek, it may well be because of the typical conservative influence of the ancient liturgies on modern Greek, the continuing effect of ancient Greek literature on the modern curriculum and, more recently, the katharevousa movement to make modern Greek more like ancient Greek.   In short, the argument is basically circular, and modern Greek often does not provide an independent witness.  The reputation of Hatzidakis is pretty secure as the frequent citations in E.  Schwyzer’s Griechische Grammatik attest.  The number of foreign influences in modern Greek make it of dubious value for the ancient world unless the particular element under discussion can be otherwise connected to that period.  After all, the standard modern word for “good-bye” is a borrowing from Italian.
C J Dull
Donaldson, Dan, Concerning Bible Dictionaries (.pdf)
ABSTRACT: Christian professors and scholars with opportunities to contribute articles to Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries well support serious HB studies (and other Biblical studies) when they include works that (1) rely on the received HB text to reach orthodox-classical-traditional interpretations, (2) explore interpretations that reject schemes of text evolution, or (3) adopt views such as spiritual-historical-grammatical interpretations.
Dull, Dr. C.J., The Lost Unity Vision (.pdf)
ABSTRACT: The effective separation between the Independent Christian Churches and the Disciples of Christ is often dated variously, from as early as 1927 (the date of the first North American Christian Convention) to as late as 1971 (the official change in the religious census).  The paper below argues from institutional reorganizations—mostly conventions—that the separation began some time in the early forties and was complete by the late fifties of the twentieth century.  The impetus behind many of these changes was a general tendency in the forties for organic union, which was later eclipsed by COCU and other developments in the fifties, and a specific aim to make the Disciples more institutionally compatible with the Northern Baptists, with whom they contemplated union during that period.  That proposed merger did not materialize and so the concomitant actions were largely forgotten or subsumed until different influences.  The later Restructure especially obscured these earlier efforts.  A couple of significant points about this process: (1) a number of individuals active in it later were significant players in Restructure; and (2) Restructure was not as much a cause of the final division as a sign of it.
ABSTRACT: The church’s discussion of the Bread of Life Discourse focuses on the Real Presence in the Eucharist—are the body and blood of Jesus truly present by transubstantiation or as consubstantial, or are they there only symbolically? This bypasses the historical setting of John 6, where revolutionary messianists wanted to take Jesus by force and make him king. In first-century Jewish expectation, the messiah would be a New Moses who would restore the gift of manna: this fact illuminates the entire discourse. In their original setting the words of Jesus had nothing to do with the Lord’s Supper, but were a rebuke of the crowd’s messianic nationalism. Freed from its captivity to eucharistic interpretations, the Discourse comes alive against its historical background.
ABSTRACT: This paper is an attempt to apply the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), especially as expressed in the Critique of Pure Reason, to the contemporary debate over the teaching of intelligent design theory in American schools. It begins with an historical overview of design arguments, followed by a brief examination of both (Neo)Darwinism and intelligent design. Having provided context, the writings of Kant are discussed, namely the antinomy and the ideal of pure reason from the Transcendental Dialectic of the Critique of Pure Reason. While he famously argued that no logical proof for the existence of God was valid (including what he calls the “physico-theological” proof, i.e. the teleological proof or the argument from design), Kant was not philosophically opposed to religion per se. Rather he believed that all metaphysical claims, whether religious or secular, should be regulated by epistemology, i.e. the limitations inherent in human understanding.
ABSTRACT: Siblingship is a common metaphor Paul uses in describing the family of God. As twenty-first century readers of the New Testament, it is hard for us to understand first-century ideas. This paper investigates (1) the first-century Greco-Roman concept of siblings in actual families, (2) the ideal roles Plutarch thought siblings should fulfill toward one another, as well as (3) Paul’s use of the Greco-Roman concept of siblingship within his writings, specifically 1 Thessalonians and Romans.
Gardner, H. Lynn, A Perspective on Postmodernism as it Relates to Modernism and Evangelicalism
** Part of the paper is in a manuscript of a book I am writing on introductory apologetics. Permission to copy with restrictions:  Classroom use only with notation “Copyright material used with permission.”
ABSTRACT: Postmodernism is described and critiqued. Postmodernists view reality and truth as arbitrary constructs of society and they generally reject objective truth, the correspondence theory of truth, objective use of reason, and human ability to know reality. They hold to anti-foundationalism, non-representationalism, non-realism, and a linguistic approach to reality. The paper defends an adequate realism with reality establishing truth.
While postmodernist claim to reject Enlightenment modernism and be post modernist, in important ways they continue the modernist agenda as defined by Kant. They reject traditional authorities and create their own truth out of their experience that works for them within their own community. This skepticism toward reality and agnosticism toward knowledge and truth is a flawed philosophy that is influencing evangelism, especially the emergents.
ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the impact of German Pastor and Theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the preachers and preaching in the Twenty-First Century. Bonhoeffer’s life and works continue to influence the Church. His impact is seen in at least six ways: Meditation on the Word of God; Fellowship; Costly Grace; Standing Against Evil in Society; Serving Jesus in Severe Trials; The Grace of Living Well and Dying Well.
** Full copies without changes and without charge may only be made for classroom distribution.
ABSTRACT: While Amos pronounces God's judgment on nations for trading in human beings, biblical instruction in both O.T. and N.T. is surprisingly silent with regard to freeing slaves though quite clear about Godly masters' treatment of slaves and Godly slaves' responsibilities to masters. One cannot study this in depth without pursuing the role Christianity is to have in public life, both socially and politically. This leads to study of the place and application of power and the relationship of faith to government and economics. Such study arises, perhaps, from the question, "If God is against something, are believers charged with responsibility to make their nation stop it?" What if we should not view truth through eyes of democracy and capitalism?
ABSTRACT: For mission agencies and churches alike, Paul is often hailed as the model missionary and pastor. For New Testament scholars and theologians, he is rightly praised for his theological insights. Yet what does Paul's praxis have to do with his ability as a theologian? This paper seeks to bridge a historic lacuna between Paul's activity and thought by suggesting that the "center" of Paul's theology is the theological legitimization of the Gentile mission. This oft neglected theme informs the shape and goal of the Pauline mission: the formation of the Jew- plus-Gentile eschatological people of God. Therefore the theological defense of Gentile mission was Paul's unique contribution to the development of early Christianity and the underlying theme of his of doctrine of Justification.
ABSTRACT: Translators of John Albert Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti (1742) from the original Latin into English made choices in the extent to which they adhered to Bengel’s original work, and as a result, they variously furthered or supplanted Bengel’s purposes and priorities. As an alternative to assembling potential exegetical views, Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752) had adopted a historical-grammatical approach to exegesis in his Gnomon Novi Testamenti (1742). In several distinct ways, the commentary that Bengel included in this work emphasized the advantage to exegetes of acknowledging chiasmus in the Greek New Testament. With the exception of Fausset’s (1858) translation, however, later English translations of Bengel’s work prevented readers from being fully aware of Bengel’s exegetical priority on identifying and utilizing chiasmus exegetically. Departures from Bengel’s priorities arose because translators adopted more pragmatic purposes in their editions; valued different aspects of Bengel’s work besides Bengel’s priorities; and used creative license to adapt Bengel’s methods to the Authorized English Version of the New Testament.

Additional questions or comments can be directed to:
Dr. Mark Alterman, MCC, 1415 Anderson Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502
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