Deeper Waters Podcast 7/2/2016: John J. Collins

What’s coming up this Saturday? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For those wondering where the new episodes are, we have had problems with the recording program I have been using. I have switched it and another podcaster has confirmed I have made a good switch and that he had similar problems. I did a check with him yesterday and it worked out well and we’re going to do another one later on. We will try to get in touch with the guests scheduled and get them to come on again and repeat.

Anyway, this Saturday we’re going to be talking about a lot of writings from the intertestamental period of the New Testament. These will include apocalypse, prophecy, and pseudepigraphy. Who better to have come on to discuss these then the author of the book¬†Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy,¬†a book I have reviewed earlier. That is Dr. John J. Collins. Who is he?

Collins

A native of Ireland, Professor Collins was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago from 1991 until his arrival at YDS in 2000. He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. His books include The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography; Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview; the commentary on Daniel in the Hermeneia series; The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature; Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls; Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age; The Apocalyptic Imagination; Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora; Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with CD-ROM; Does the Bible Justify Violence?; Jewish Cult and Hellenistic Culture; Encounters with Biblical Theology; The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age; King and Messiah as Son of God (with Adela Yarbro Collins); and Beyond the Qumran Community: The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is coeditor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism, and The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has participated in the editing of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is general editor of the Yale Anchor Bible series. He has served as editor of the Journal for the Study of Judaism Supplement Series, Dead Sea Discoveries, and Journal of Biblical Literature, and as president of both the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature. He holds an honorary D.Litt. from University College Dublin, and an honorary Th. D. from the University of Zurich. Professor Collins is a fellow of Trumbull College.

This show promises to be an in-depth look at these topics. We’ll learn what they are and why they matter so much for us as Christians today. I hope you’ll be tuning in for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast and please do consider going on ITunes and leaving a positive review of the show. It makes me so happy to see them!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy

What do I think of John J. Collins’s book on Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many readers might have a hard time even with the title of this book in the modern church. That first one certainly sounds like the book of Revelation at least. The second one has to be about the end of the world. That third one is some term most people just don’t know. Unfortunately, they will be lost with that kind of thinking and that is why the modern church needs to understand this more.

Collins’s book is certainly in-depth. Keep in mind, it does imply you know a lot about the underlying material so some readers could get lost at that point, but hopefully it will drive them to get more familiar with it. Since we have come across many more writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we have had much more light shed on Biblical studies. Unfortunately, most people are picking something up like this expecting to hear about the end of the world.

Collins is one of the most knowledgeable people on this subject if not the most knowledgeable and he has shared that knowledge. Collins will speak about what each of these is and what difference it makes. In fact, he deals with many ideas that have popped up in the history of the study of this field. One I was pleasantly surprised by was the inscription found about a decade ago dealing with the idea that supposedly there was a belief about the Messiah dying and rising from the dead three days later. What does he say about it? Well you’ll have to get the book to read it, but he doesn’t come out in favor of that interpretation of the text.

When it comes to prophecy, he points out that too many times in our churches today, we read the prophecy passages as if they were all about the future and said nothing for their own times. Very little of the prophets was actually foretelling the future. That was a part of what some of them did, but not entirely. Much more was on the issues of the day such as getting people to turn from sin to righteousness.

The last category refers to writings that were written under other names. The books of Enoch are some of our first examples. A less well known but one that would make sense in the ancient world was the Sibylline Oracles. Many of these would be written to promote a certain view and then this would be given more authority because it had the name of a famous person or source attached to it, such as Enoch or Ezra.

This is a complex book and one not for the faint of heart. Still, if you are interested in this subject, it helps to have one of the best minds in the field in your library to guide you on it. Hopefully the reader of this book will want to invest more in the literature under discussion.

In Christ,
Nick Peters