Archive for December, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the last year’s worth of blogging.

This last year, I’ve attempted to write some essays concerning theological method and the inter-relationship of doctrines and theological disciplines, while adopting the framework and using the tools/insight of Cornelius Van Til’s Presuppositional Apologetics and John Frame’s Multiperspectivalism.  The inter-relationship and the coherence of how all things come together has made me have a deeper desire to stand at awe at God for the coherence of His truth.

I hope to continue further exploration and writing in this vein unto next year, as this is a growing interests of mine and I have much to grow and know in the Lord.

Here are the essays that I’ve attempted to go further indepth than my usual blogging posts, in my exploration for 2010 thus far:

1.) ‘Doing’ Christian Theology in the 21st Century Defining theology, doctrine.  The goal of theology and why Pastors need to “do” theology.

2.) Book Review: Vern Poythress’ “Symphonic Theology- Thought it was important to review an important introductory work to Frame’s type of Perspectivalism written by a capable colleague.

3.) The Son’s Economic Subordination to the Father and it’s practical implication in the Gender Role Debate– How a Biblical understanding of the Trinity has implication for the issue concerning Complementarianism.

4.) A Critique of Process Theology’s Epistemology and Doctrine of Revelation- The relationship between one’s epistemology and doctrine of revelation provides an avenue to critique the foundation for Process Theology’s theological positive statements.

5.) A Swift Refutation of Sander’s Open Theism: Eternal Security in Heaven in light of Libertarian Free Will and Epistemic justification of future events- Refuting John Sander’s Open Theism by exploring his perspective on Libertarian Free Will, God’s knowledge of the future and his view of the believer’s eternal security.

6.) The Inter-relationship between eschatology and Apologetics: Implications for Apologetics and Eschatology- The relationship between the two are explored.

7.) The Basis for Religious Language in light of the Holy Spirit- Exploring philosophy of religious language in light of biblical pneumatology.

8.) A Critical Evaluation of Peter Enns’ Theological Method in his formulation of the Incarnational Model of Scripture- Taking account Enns’ theological method such as his model of coherence and relevance, his goal for the construction of his bibliology and other precommitments is a fruitful to explore the faults of Enns at a foundational level.

9.) Enns and Ancient Near East Literature: A Case study in his interaction with the Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe- Exploring a specific case study of Enns use of ANE record, discussing ‘genre-calibration’ that is built from the foundation of the previous essay on Enns theological method, and applies the earlier critique to a specific example of what Enns sought as ‘evidence’.

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This happened in England

The video is fascinating

Praise God that the courts ruled that the preacher’s speech ought to be protected and the cop was wrong

For more about this, read HERE

One interesting note is that a gay rights activist even came out to speak on behalf of the preacher

May law enforcement officers learn from this

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This essay is best read in light of the previous essay on Enns’ theological method HERE


The topic of this paper will be on the role of ANE literature in Enns’ theological method that give rise to his bibliology.  Specifically, it will explore a case study of Enns’ handling of the Tale of Sinuhe as evidence in the support of his Incarnational model.  It assumes what has been discussed in our previous essay concerning the problem of Enns theological method.  Just as it is the case in the previous essay, this essay likewise will interact at times with Inspiration and Incarnation when it is relevant but the bulk of the interaction will be with his academic writing.

Before going forward, a brief summary of Enns’ Incarnational bibliology might be needed as a reminder or an introduction to the issue.[1] Enns sets his Incarnational model of Scripture against traditional, evangelical formulation of bibliology.  He argues for his model largely by employing rebutting defeaters, believing that his model can account for developments “felt over the past 150 years or so” which “presents challenges to traditional, evangelical views about Scripture.”[2] The last one hundred fifty years have brought a slew of discoveries of ANE records contemporaneous with the Biblical records themselves.  Enns felt that historically, Evangelicals have not attempted to interact with these new texts in their study of the Bible:

For one thing—and I very much wish to be corrected on this if I am in error—I have found no sustained discussion concerning the impact of extrabiblical texts in the writings of the nineteenth-century Princeton Old Testament scholars. I may recall an occasional reference, but no attempt to work through the implications of even such a widely discussed text as Enuma Elish.  The focus, rather, as I mentioned earlier, was on source criticism.[3]

These texts have brought with it many questions and problems raised in interpreting the Bible.  In Enns’ estimation, Evangelical response to these questions and problems fall short.  According to Enns, Evangelicals have been good in shifting or avoiding the real issue.  Speaking of this Enns writes, “the biblical and extra-biblical data that raised the questions in the first place still needed to be addressed, and this is where the fundamentalist critique could come up short at points.”[4]

These questions are ones that historically liberals have questioned concerning the Divine origins of the Bible.  They are disappointed that a book claiming to be Divine in origin would fail to satisfy their expectation of what a book of Divine origin is suppose to look like.  Yet, Christians of the last one hundred fifty years are not alone in their disappointing discovery:

If we have learned anything from over two thousand years of Christian interpretation—and twenty five hundred years of Jewish interpretation alongside it—it is that our Bible is an elusive book to try to explain.  At times it seems so very mundane, even frustrating in acting so ‘out of character.’[5]

Enns believes that the true problem lies with the expectation of the readers.  Enns believed that the problems leveled against traditional evangelical bibliology are real, and the problem is not with the new “evidences”, but with the bibliology itself.  What needs to be doubted is the not the “evidence” from ANE data, but Evangelical bibliology and its assumptions.  He believes that Evangelicalism biblical scholarship has suffered from the same defects that the higher critics share, such as both camps operating from the precommitment that “‘History’ and ‘fiction’ are mutually exclusive.”[6]

Enns proposes that whatever has traditionally been viewed as “problems” by Evangelicals ought to be accepted, and then own up as the “human” element of Scripture.  This he sees would be an adequate bibliology.  This is in brief, his Incarnational model of Scripture.

One should dispute Enns’s claim that ANE “texts must still enter the conversation—front and center—if we wish to discuss the genre of an ancient text like Exodus,” in discussing the historicity of Exodus.”[7] What Scripture says about itself in regards to the book of Exodus and the historicity of its account should be front and center instead.  This subject—the place ANE literatures in discussing the genre of Exodus and it’s implication concerning the nature of it’s historicity—is the topic of the next section.

Exodus’ historicity in light of the genre of the Tale of Sinuhe

In his paper presented on the historiography of Exodus, Enns writes,

The intersection of the Old Testament and ancient Near Eastern studies, i.e., understanding the Old Testament against the backdrop of its ancient Near Eastern environment, is a sine qua non of evangelical Old Testament scholarship. Our focus here, however briefly, is on how this intersection affects our understanding of the kind of historicity we are to expect from the book of Exodus.[8]

Gleaming from the quote above, one can see that it is hoped by Enns that comparison of Exodus with other ANE literature will reveal something about the genre of Exodus itself, and as a consequence, the nature of Exodus’ historicity.  This he calls “genre calibration”, which he describes succinctly as follows:

Even though ancient Near Eastern texts do not determine the historicity of the biblical narratives, they do serve as sort of a “genre calibration” to help us understand conventions of history writing in the ancient world, which would then help move us to a clearer understanding of the nature of the Bible’s historical witness.[9]

From Enns standpoint, saying that Exodus is historical is not enough.  For him, the question is whether the historiography of Exodus presents things “as they are” or perhaps a not so “life-like” in its depiction:

Moreover, in the Bible, are we dealing with a life-like depiction, such as that of a Norman Rockwell painting, or are we closer to the impressionism of a Monet, or even the abstract art of Picasso or Jackson Pollack? All would claim to be ‘rooted in history’ (their paintings represent real things), but such an assertion loses its force when it tells us nothing of the quality of the paintings.[10]

Important to Enns genre calibration of Exodus is the Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe.[11] Some background information about the Tale of Sinuhe is important.  The Tale of Sinuhe survives to us today in “some two dozens copies of portions of The Tale of Sinuhe, most very fragmentary, though we have three ‘major’ (i.e., fairly complete) texts: P. Berlin 10499 (R), P. Berlin 3022 (B), and the Ashmolean Ostracon.”[12] This is a story that takes place during the second millennium BC and tells the story of Sinuhe, an official of Pharaoh’s son in law Senworset.  After Pharaoh Amenemhet I’s death, Sinuhe witnesses a violent plot to take over Egypt and “goes into exile in Syria-Palestine, away from the Egypt he loves.  The story ends when Senworset becomes Pharaoh and invites Sinuhe to return to Egypt.”[13] Many scholars have taken this tale to be in the genre of Egyptian fictional prose.[14]

Enns notes “how elements of its storyline are similar to features of the life of Moses,” in that “both Moses and Sinuhe flee Pharaoh’s wrath over a murder, both flee to tent-dwelling communities and marry the chief’s oldest daughter, both return to stand before Pharaoh.”[15] Enns sees this parallel as no more coincidence, taking that “the book of Exodus has an Egyptian setting or at least stems from an Egyptian setting.”[16] While he explicitly deny that he holds to the view that Bible “copy” the tale from the Egyptian, he does believe that on the basis of the parallel, Exodus is quite Egyptian and therefore share in the same genre as the Tale of Sinuhe.

From the two sharing in the same literary form, Enns comes to a startling conclusion:

The similarities between the biblical and Egyptian tales open up the reasonable view that the biblical report, however much it might have been connected to Egyptian conventions, may not be a ‘straight’ account of history (so to speak) but a story, however plausibly rooted in historical events, whose expression participates in an ancient literary convention of some sort.[17]

Enns assumes here that parallels “does suggest a status of something other than simply an ‘account of what happened.’”[18] But what exactly does Enns means when he wrote that Exodus might not be so “straight account of history” or “something other than “an account of what happened”?  Is this something to worry about?  Sadly, Enns asks the same question of what does this mean, but concludes there can be no final conclusion to what it means in regards to Exodus’ historicity:

The larger questions, the ones that are forced upon us by way of extra-biblical evidence, are: ”Yes, true—but in what way?” “Accurate, O.K.—but how?” “Rooted in real events, sure—but in what sense?” The same can be said of most historical novels—they are “rooted” in history, are “true,” but they also take substantive liberties with that history, so that its genre is properly defined as “novel,” not historical account. Is Exodus a historical novel? Is that the best model for us to use? To draw a final conclusion here is certainly premature, but these are the types of questions that require evangelical scholarly attention.[19]

The significant factor of why there can be no final conclusion of the historicity of Exodus is due to the fact that the data required to know the historiography of the ANE genre that Exodus participates in is not fully available: “The type of evidence we would need to bring this issue to a close will likely never come to us, and so the theological dialogue between history and faith will likely not abate.”[20] More than once in Enns’ paper he gives statements along this line: “And this discussion will never be settled by finding more and more data, for the types of data theoretically accessible to historical research can never settle these larger questions.”[21]

Enns realizes the theological implication of believing that Exodus might not be so “straight” of an account of history, when he wrote right after that “if this is the case, our theological articulation of the nature of Old Testament historiography will need to take this factor into serious account.”[22] From Enns’ “genre calibration”, there is no concluding answer ruling out the possibility of whether Exodus “genre is properly defined as “novel,” not historical account.”[23] Richard E. Averbeck’s warning in his essay on ANE mythology and Genesis 3 is appropriate for here as well, that “if these biblical books are outright fictional fabrications that have no basis in the real past, then they should not be called ‘history writing.’  By definition, legitimate history writing cannot be substantially fictional, whether in ancient or modern times.”[24]

Much is at stake here, for Enns himself even wrote:  “If the events surrounding Israel’s entrance to and deliverance from Egypt—which includes the events at Sinai and the wilderness—can be shown to be fiction, the heart of the Old Testament’s theological content is drained of its life force.”[25]

With the gravity of the situation is there a solution to Enns’ problem of Exodus historiography?  Is there a way to solve Enns own dilemma of whether Exodus is a life-like “Norman Rockwell painting,” or an “abstract art of Picasso or Jackson Pollack”?  And more importantly, is there the possibility of ruling out the genre option that Exodus is merely a historically-themed novel?

Didactic Scriptural Evidence on Exodus historiography

It’s a shame that Enns can say “the type of evidence we would need to bring this issue to a close will likely never come to us” when Enns has not interacted with all the available data to him: there is still the implication of the didactic passages to this problem which Enns fail to bring to the table.  It is baffling that Enns did not consider the intertextuality of Scripture, and explored whether it might have any implication in answering the question of the historiography and historicity of Exodus.  What, if anything, does the didactic portion of Scripture say that might enlighten readers concerning how to interpret the account of Exodus as history?

According to Long, “In some of its parts—the so-called historical books of the Old Testament, for example, or the Gospels and the book of Acts in the New—the Bible makes fairly unmistakable historical truth claims.”[26] This is true in the case of didactic passages interpreting Exodus as well.  One example shall suffice, given the length of this essay.  In Hebrews 11:23-29, the writer of Hebrews understood the account of Moses in Exodus at “face value” and interpreted to be as it says rather than some “abstract” meaning of events.  Moses was hidden for three months (v.23), was then part of Pharaoh’s daughter’s household (v.24), went on the Exodus out of  Egypt not fearing the Pharaoh (v.27) and went through the Red Sea through dry land (v.29).  This and other historical truths in the narratives of the Old Testament were described by the author of Hebrews as clouds of “witnesses” or “testimonies” (12:1), indicating that the “face value” of the Exodus account of Moses restated in Hebrews 11 were forwardly true, that is, without any further abstraction on the part of the interpreter to arrive at what the situation truly is.

If God was the Divine author behind Exodus, something which Enns does not dispute, and if He Himself interpreted the historiography of His own book to be a “straight account of history” in a passage of Scripture He also authored, this eliminates the possibility that Exodus might just be nothing but a novel that happens to be historically situated.  It also resolve the epistemic dilemma Enns has with the missing ANE data which he wishes to obtain (but unable to have completely) in order to calibrate the genre of Exodus.  Long is right: Scripture “presents many of its stories—and, more particularly, the central thread of its one Story—as reflecting a real, and not simply a fictive, past.”[27]

Sinuhe and Exodus not similar genre

If the didactic passages of Scripture indicates that the genre of Exodus to be an adequate vehicle to provide a “straight account” type of historiography, then what should one make of Enns’ conclusion? Certainly, Scripture’s didactic teaching trumps Enns’ position.  But what should one also make of the method that led Enns to his conclusion?  More precisely, what went wrong with Enns’ genre calibration of Exodus with the Tale of Sinuhe?  Enns operating assumption here is that both literature share Egyptian literary convention.  However, is it appropriate for him to use the Tale of Sinuhe as the basis of calibrating Exodus’ literary form?

What led Enns to interpret Exodus in light of the genre of Sinuhe is due to the similarities within both stories, as this essay made clear earlier in this essay.  Richard Pratt has identified these more of these parallel than the ones Enns mentioned, citing six instances total.[28] However, he also adds this caveat which must be quoted in full:

Yet, we must also keep in mind the obvious differences between these texts. Among others, 1) there are no strong linguistic connections. 2) The genre of Sinuhe is poetry and Exodus is narrative. 3) There are no geographical connections, except Egypt. 4) Moses served as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, not as an official of the king’s harem. 5) Moses had not been sent on an excursion. 6) Moses was neither involved in nor accused of the assassination of a Pharaoh. 7) Moses did not flee by the Nile. Moses did not go to Libya, Palestine, Lebanon or Syria. 9) Moses did not establish himself as a great leader and mighty warrior in his land of exile. 10) Moses received a call to return to Egypt from God, not from Pharaoh. 11) Moses did not go back to Egypt under Pharaoh’s favor. 12) Moses opposed Pharaoh and delivered the people of God from Pharaoh. 13) The stories of Moses’ early life and return to Egypt make up only a fraction of the text of Exodus. 14) The point of the Sinuhe story is completely different from the point of the book of Exodus. The lists of such discontinuities go on and on.[29]

If Enns were to believe that Exodus participated alongside the Tale of Sinuhe in the same literary convention on the basis of the similarities within both stories, he must also taken into account the differences between the two works to see if the similarities are significant to conclude the two as sharing the same genre.

It is important to also note that in Enns’ genre calibration of Exodus with the Tale of Sinuhe, he failed to discuss the genre of the Tale of Sinuhe itself.  How can the historiography of Exodus be discussed on the basis of the historiography of the Tale of Sinuhe when the historiography of this Egyptian document wasn’t evaluated in light of the literary form of the Tale?  It appears that Enns has jumped the gun and went straight into questioning the historiography of Exodus instead.

The truth of the matter is, identifying the genre of the Tale of Sinuhe is no easy task.  According to archaeologist Miroslav Barta from the Czech Republic, in his English monograph on the Tale of Sinuhe, he admits that “it is thus even now extremely difficult to determine its genre.”[30] Barta himself believes that the story is a fictional poetry filled with autobiographical elements.[31]

The previous common acceptance of the tale being classified as an Egyptian fictional prose has also been questioned.  Foster has suggested that the Tale is best understood as narrative verse because of recently discovered “thought couplet” in the Tale.[32] He explains how “the ancient Egyptian thought couplet is a pair of verse lines which form an independent unit of thought, syntax and rhetoric,” which has “a pronounced sensitivity to matters of likeness and difference among units of vocabulary, syntax, and thought, so that the couplet displays a definite patterning or symmetery, whether through similarity or contrast of the units.”[33] This is contrast to Egyptian prose which was written without the care for such patterning.  If the Tale of Sinuhe were to be in thought couplet form, the option of it being in the genre of prose (and fictional prose) would be ruled out.

According to Foster, in one of the major three copies of the Tale of Sinuhe, the Ashmolean Ostracon, “For the first seventy or so ‘lines,’ as well as the last twenty, there is a usable system of verse points, a number which rises to approximately 270 verse lines.”[34] While the other two major copies, the P. Berlin 10499 (R) and the P. Berlin 3022 (B) do not have their texts in verse forms, other fragmentary copies attests to it’s verse forms.[35] Foster believed that it was sloppiness on the part of the transcriber in the instances of the two major copies.  He further makes his case for the Tale being narrative verses when he extensively goes through the story and demonstrate that the thought couplet fits the structure of the text which survives as prose form, concluding of how “we can say that significant portions of The Tale of Sinhue—and probably all of it—are in verse, the genre of narrative verse.”[36]

However, just because the Tale of Sinuhe has verses does not mean it must be an Egyptian narrative verse genre.  It can be other types of verse-based genre such as hymnal verse.  There is also another important clue within the text.  There are not only couplets found within the text, but there also triplets which occurs in the text.[37] According to Foster, “They may be an additional indicator marking the genre of narrative verse.”[38] This is because triplets form are common in narrative verse genre.

If the evidence is strong that the genre of Sinuhe is narrative verse and not a prose, it is questionable that Exodus shares the same genre as the Tale does since Exodus is heavily narrative prose.  Nor does the book of Exodus operate within Egyptian framework of thought couplets and the specifics that it carries.  There are serious difficulties in believing that the two share the same literary form.

Even if it was granted that the two share literary forms, there are further difficulties in the suggestion that something other than “an account of what happened” is being given in the tale.

For those that hold that the Tale of Sinuhe is fictional, there is limitation in exploring Egyptian genre alone in determining the historicity of the Tale of Sinuhe. The historicity question of the Tale is significant if one believes that it’s literary form is fictional prose (that is, there was no Sinuhe, he happened to be made up in the author’s imagination).  According to Foster, in Egyptian literature, genre distinctions have “three major kinds of divergences: (1) the degree of parallelism of members; (2) the presence or absence of formal or imaginative devices like figurative language, imagery, other non-literal presentations of the subject, or other patternings of sound, thought, vocabulary, and rhetoric; and (3) the choice of specific kinds of grammatical formulas.”[39] None of the significant divergences center on historicity.

What then, is the basis of dismissing the Tale of Sinuhe as fictional?  In his monograph, Barta reveals his reasoning, perhaps indicative of many others: “Sinuhe’s fictitious account—we still possess no evidence that he was an actual individual—is dated to to the beginning of the second millennium BC.”[40] It seems the sole reason to rule the tale as fictional is on the basis that there is no evidence outside of the tale to suggest that Sinuhe was an actual person.  This reasoning is not just a passing thought, for Barta again restated the same thing later in the monograph, when he wrote of how “it has already been indicated above in the Introduction that Sinhue’s story as such was fictional.  Actually, it is not even likely (or, at least, there is no evidence) that a courtier of this name and with a similar destiny ever existed.”[41] This methodology of requiring external collaboration is faulty, for it commits the logical fallacy of arguing from silence. Barta’s position requires him to prove a universal negative, one which is hard for finite creatures to prove when the task is limited to themselves.  Furthermore as Christians, this train of thinking is subversive to the Bible as well, since there are people and events that have not yet been confirmed from external sources which will be ruled false or have its truth value suspended until future confirmation.  This questions the veracity of the Word of God, and it’s self-attesting character, a direction Enns might not wish to take.  The principle of requiring external collaboration in order to believe something is also a self-refuting, for the principle itself is rather axiomatic in nature and not subject to its own requirement.  Ironically, while Barta and other scholars like him dismisses the tale as fictional, they do believe that that “Sinuhe’s story is nonetheless a valuable narrative that provides us with accurate and important information about the world that surrounded the ancient Egyptians at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom (20th century BC),” even in the specifics of the story that has no outside collaboration yet.[42] There is a telling inconsistency that Barta and others need to address in their historical method.

Discussion of the tale’s historicity alone is not enough in questioning Exodus’ historiography.  It is one thing to say that the account in the text is historically mistaken and another thing to say that it’s literary form at the outset is not meant to impart any historicity with a “straight account.”  Pratt writes,

There is often evidence that many sorts of Egyptian texts do in fact contradict historical data, but the historical dimensions of literary conventions are not discerned simply by comparing texts with historical data. Instead, literary conventions regarding historical reliability are discerned by focusing primarily on the intentions of the ancient writers as they met certain cultural expectations. Did they intend for every aspect of their texts to be true to history or not? In this case, we must ask what evidence we have that the writer of Sinuhe (or his sponsors) intended to misrepresent or to disregard what they knew to be actual historical events. In a word, there is no conclusive evidence that the Tale of Sinuhe was intended to propagate historical fabrications.[43]

If Enns wishes to assert that the historiography of the Tale of Sinuhe intentionally describes event with a not so “straight account”, the burden is on him to prove that this is the intent of the author.  The task is not easy.  Enns also has to take into consideration that “a myth was not necessarily fictional at all to the ancient writers and readers,” even though outsiders would consider it not to be the true state of affairs.[44] Even if Enns was able to establish that the tale was meant to be understood as fiction, the case that Exodus did not share with the Tale of Sinuhe’s literary forms would make this fact irrelevant to the discussion of Exodus’ historiography.


Averbeck, Richard E. “Ancient Near Eastern Mythography as it relates to Historigraphy in the Hebrew Bible: Genesis 3 and the Cosmic Battle.” In The Future of Biblical Archaeology. Edited by Jasmes K. Hoffmeier and Alan Millard, 328-356. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmands Publishing Company, 2004.

Barta, Miroslav. Sinuhe, the Bible and the Patriarchs. Prague, Czech Republic: Set Out, 2003.

Beale, Gregory K. “A Surrejoinder to Peter Enn’s response to G. K. Beale’s JETS Review Article of His Book, Inspiration and Incarnation.” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 11, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 16-36.

________. “Myth, History, and Inspiration: A Review Article of Inspiration and Incarnation by Peter Enns.” JETS 49, no. 2 (June 2006): 287-312.

Carson, D. A.  “Three Books on the Bible: A Critical Review.”  Reformation 21 (April 2006). http://www.reformation21.org/shelf-life/three-books-on-the-bible-a-critical-review.php18 (accessed October 8, 2010).

Clark, David K. To Know and Love God: Method for Theology. Foundations of Evangelical Theology. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2003.

Enns, Peter. “Exodus, Historiography, and Some Theological Reflections.”  Paper presented at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, San Antonio, TX, November 19th, 2004.

________. Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.

________. “Preliminary Observation on an Incarnational Model of Scripture: Its Viability and Usefulness.” Calvin Theological Journal 42, no. 2 (Spring 2007):  219-236 .

________. “Response to G. K. Beale’s Review Article of Inspiration and Incarnation.” JETS 49, no. 2 (June 2006): 313-26.

________. “Some Thoughts on Theological Exegesis of the Old Testament: Toward a Viable Model of Biblical Coherence and Relevance.” Paper presented at the Eastern Regional of Evangelical Theological Society, Souderton, PA, April 1st, 2005.

________. “William Henry Green and the Authorship of the Pentateuch: Some Historical Considerations.” Journal of Evangelical Theological Society 45, no. 3 (September 2002): 385-403.

Frame, John. “Comments on Peter Enns, Incarnation and Inspiration”, The Works of John Frame and Vern Poythress, http://frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2008Enns.htm (accessed September 19, 2010).

Foster, John. “Sinuhe: The Ancient Egyptian Genre of Narrative Verse.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 39, no. 2 (April, 1980): 89-117.

Helm, Paul. “Analysis Extra: ‘Inspiration and Incarnation’ one more time.” Helm’s Deep Philosophical Theology Blog. Entry posted on January 12, 2008. http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2008/01/analysis-extra-inspiration-and.html (accessed October 10th, 2010).

________. “Review: Incarnation and Inspiration.” Reformation 21 (April, 2006). http://www.reformation21.org/shelf-life/inspiration-and-incarnation-evangelicals-and-the-problem-of-the-old-testament.php (accessed September 19, 2010).

Li, Jimmy. “A Proposal on the Occasion and the Method of Presenting Evidence within a Van Tillian Framework.” Reformed Perspective Magazine 12, no. 9 (February 28th, 2010 to March 6th, 2010).

Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume 1: The Old and Middle Kingdoms. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975.

Long, V. Philips.  The Art of Biblical History. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994.

Matthews, Victor H. and Don C. Benjamin. Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2006.

Poythress, Vern S. Science and Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988.

Pratt, Richard. “Moses and the Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe.” Reformed Perspective Magazine 10, no. 3 (January 13th to January 19th, 2008). http://thirdmill.org/moses-and-the-egyptian-tale-of-sinuhe (accessed November 19, 2010).

Westminster Theological Seminary Board of Trustees. “A Message from the Board of Trustee.”  Westminster Theological Seminary. http://www.wts.edu/stayinformed/view.html?id=104 (accessed October 8, 2010).

Westminster Theological Seminary Board of Trustees.  “Joint Statement by WTS and Professor Enns.”  Westminster Theological Seminary. http://wts.edu/stayinformed/view.html?id=187 (accessed October 8, 2010).

Winther-Nielsen, Nicolai. “Fact, Fiction, and Language use: Can Modern Pragmatics Improve on Halpeern’s Case for History in Judges?” In Windows into Old Testament History. Edited by V. Philips Long, David Baker and Gordon J. Wenham, 44-81.  Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmands Publishing Company, 2002.

[1] Those who have read the first paper may proceed to the next section.

[2] Enns, Inspiration, 16.

[3] Peter Enns, “Some Thoughts on Theological Exegesis of the Old Testament: Toward a Viable Model of Biblical Coherence and Relevance” (paper presented at the Eastern Regional of Evangelical Theological Society, Souderton, PA, April 1st, 2005), 13.

[4] Enns, “Theological Exegesis”, 13.

[5] Peter Enns, “Preliminary Observation on an Incarnational Model of Scripture: Its Viability and Usefulness”, Calvin Theological Journal 42, no. 2 (Spring 2008), 220.

[6] Ibid,394.

[7] Peter Enns, “Exodus, Historiography, and Some Theological Reflections”( paper presented at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, San Antonio, TX, November 19th, 2004), 10.

[8] Ibid, 1.

[9] Ibid, 10.

[10] Ibid, 12.

[11] One can read this in the following anthology of Old Testament ANE parallel: Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin, Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East, (Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2006), 137-141.

[12] John Foster, “Sinuhe: The Ancient Egyptian Genre of Narrative Verse”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 39, no. 2 (April, 1980),93.

[13] Matthews, Old Testament Parallels, 137.

[14] John Foster, “Sinuhe: The Ancient Egyptian Genre of Narrative Verse”, 89.

[15] Peter Enns, “Exodus”, 7.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid, 7-8.

[18] Ibid, 9.

[19] Ibid, 10-11.

[20] Ibid, 10.

[21] Ibid, 12.

[22] Ibid, 8.

[23] Ibid, 11.

[24] Richard E. Averbeck, “Ancient Near Eastern Mythography as it relates to Historigraphy in the Hebrew Bible: Genesis 3 and the Cosmic Battle” in The Future of Biblical Archaeology, edited by Jasmes K. Hoffmeier and Alan Millard (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmands Publishing Company, 2004), 330.

[25] Peter Enns, “Exodus”, 1.

[26] Long, The Art of Biblical History, 93.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Richard Pratt, “Moses and the Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe,” Reformed Perspective Magazine 10, no. 3 (January 13th to January 19th, 2008), http://thirdmill.org/moses-and-the-egyptian-tale-of-sinuhe (accessed November 19, 2010).

[29] Ibid.

[30] Miroslav Barta, Sinuhe, the Bible and the Patriarchs, (Prague, Czech Republic: Set Out, 2003), 10.

[31] Ibid.

[32] John Foster, “Sinuhe: The Ancient Egyptian Genre of Narrative Verse”, 89.

[33] Ibid, 89-90.

[34] Ibid, 93.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid, 101.

[37] Ibid, 106.

[38] Ibid, 108.

[39] Ibid, 103.

[40] Barta, Sinuhe, 9.

[41] Ibid, 31.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Pratt, “Moses”.

[44] Averbeck, “Ancient Near Eastern Mythography, 332-333.

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This is quite good actually

For those of you with Facebook, this is actually funny, and good too

[HT: Defending Contending]

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Mark my word: While the U.S. thinks of Islamization in terms of Al Qaeda and Whabi Sunni Islam, the more subtle radicalization is Neo-Ottoman Turkish Islamic Radicalization in Eastern Europe.

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Purchase: Amazon

The book is an imaginary conversation that Jesus would have with Buddha. This is Ravi Zacharias at his best, and my favorite of his books that I have read. Ravi opens up the book by situating it with a wonderful description of a Buddhist country, and while he never na…mes the country, one soon realize that the river setting he describe in his travel is Thailand. Even as he describe it, I can imagine the Mekong River (how I would love to go one day, being that I am Laotian-Chinese American). But among the beautiful scenery, he describe the tragedy of a news story he read about a Thai prostitute that eventually burned down her house as a sucidal escape. Here, the author ponders about what Jesus and Buddha would have to say and offer her. Thus, he launches into the meat of the book. Ravi does an excellent job here. For an apologist, the author is able to weave in great apologetics with tact, gentleness and creativity. Often apologist can carry what I call “battle-rattle” (what in the Marine we call our war gear, so much of it can be so clumsy on us, but needed for the tool of the trade), with technical terms and jargon for the toughest of opponents. In this book Zacharias was able to write for the general reading audience and yet manage to give penetrating insight into the internal philosophical inconsistencies within Buddhism. Another plus was the way Zacharias was able to put into Biblical motif and illustrations in Jesus response. Zacharias is truly a master wordsmith in writing the dialogue. As a former atheist born into a Buddhist household that turned Christian, I thought Zacharias did a fair job in portraying as true to life as possible what one can imagine Buddha and Jesus would say. The ending is also touching, marking the biggest difference between Jesus and Buddha, and what Jesus ends with in his address to the Thai prostitute is gripping–intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Read it for yourself!

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For those of you who have missed the December 12th deadline on Grace to You free offer for John MacArthur’s new book titled, “Slave”, here’s your second chance at getting this book through Bryan Lopez’s blog.

Go to his webpage for the details!


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This series of Lecture is by Jamin Hubner.  Most of you who know him, know him through his website Realapologetics.org and also as one of the blogger’s in Alpha Omega Ministries.  This series of lectures was for the Jesus Bible Institute at Rapid City, South Dakota.

Introduction to Christian Apologetics (Jesus Bible Institute)

Hubner – 2 – Apologetics in the NT I.mp3
Hubner – 3 – Apologetics in the NT II and Nature of Unbelief II.mp3
Hubner – 4 – Nature of Unbelief II.mp3
Hubner – 5 – Collision of Worldviews.mp3
Hubner – 6 – Apologetic Methodology I.mp3
Hubner – 7 – Apologetic Methodology II.mp3
Hubner – 8 – The Content of our Apologetic.mp3
Hubner – 9 – Historical Apologetics I.mp3
Hubner – 10 – Historical Apologetics II.mp3
Hubner – 11 – Historical Apologetics III.mp3
Hubner – 12 – Critical Thinking I.mp3
Hubner – 13 – Critical Thinking II.mp3
Hubner – 14 – Apologetics Battlefields I.mp3
Hubner – 15 – Apologetics Battlefields II.mp3

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Purchase:  Amazon

The problem of evil and God is an age old discussion. It seems that among a whole of issues, two in particular need to be addressed as they are foundational for the debate: what is evil, and it’s nature; and the type of God which is espoused that makes evil compatible/incompatible with it. Clark’s work, though it is short, is in my estimation one of the best discussion on this problem. If you are tired of the same old hashing of libertarian free will defense, I suggest this as a read. Clark is consciously tackling this issue from a Reformed perspective, and for that I commend him. The book provides some historical survey (as Clark often does in his work) and ultimately argues for a Ex Lex (“Outside the Law”) position. His discussion on the nature of responsibility should be read with care, for he argues that responsibility is often assume to be based upon libertarian free will for it to be meaningful. This has problems. Instead, he argues that responsibility rests on God’s sanction that it is so and not on free will. Before I spill the bean of his solution to the problem of evil, I recommend you read this…and now it’s on audio books through the Trinity Foundation for those who are short on time and on the road alot!

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This is a book I can give a hearty recommendation for!

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

While Bahnsen’s “Always Ready” has been read widely than perhaps any of his other works, I think this current volume by Bahnsen is much more superior to “Always Ready” and recommended as the first work to read as an introduction to Bahnsen’s work.  The book was “lost” for several decades, originally written by the author as a chapter to another book.  The project became big enough to be a separate volume!  It is incredible to think that he wrote this as a young man in his mid-twenties.  I have met people who have thought “Always Ready” was too repetitive and disjointed, and while I myself have not found that to be true, it is certainly understandable since it was put together after his death from a collection of Bahnsen’s writing.  The work heavily emphasizes the theme of God’s self-attesting Word more than “Always Ready” did, and I think rightly so.  I think this theme of God’s self-attestation needs to be foundational to Presuppositional Apologetics, lest the rest of the endeavor not make sense.  In light of some debate on the internet concerning the Transcendental Argument, I think any revisit of Bahnsen’s formulation should consider the role of the self-attestation of God’s truth in Bahnsen’s understanding of Presuppositionalim.  One the unique aspect of this book is not only it’s positive statement of Presuppositionalism, but also it’s critique of other “Presuppositionalism.”  In particular, he critiques Gordon Clark, and this is the most lengthy critique I’ve seen in print from a Van Tillian vantage point.  I think it is the best work done by a Van Tillian in this regard.  Also interesting read is his critique of Francis Schaeffer.  With each individuals, he considers their strengths and citation which shows where they agree with Van Til.  Then he proceeds to go over significant disagreement.  Excellent work, highly recommended.

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Dr. William B. Barrick, Old Testament professor at The Master’s Seminary, has uploaded the PDF for the book of Ecclesiastes

Word has it, that he is currently working on a commentary on this book as well.

On another note, I think it would be an enjoyable project for a synthesis on great exegesis be done on this book by someone well verse in Presuppositional apologetics and awareness of contemporary philosophy to apply it to a whole host of contemporary worldview and isms.

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For all of you into Presuppositional Apologetics, just getting started or want to learn more about it, here’s my list of need to get books that is (key word that follows) *GIFT FRIENDLY*.

Some of them are linked with my review.  I will be complete my review of each book sometime this week. So do come back to this post for the updates!

1.) God Is: How Christianity Explains Everything

For a sample of how Presuppositional Apologetics is applied, friendly read for the general reading audience.

Purchase:  Amazon

2.) The Defense of the Faith

Some Presuppositionalists I know have heard and read more from Van Til’s student’s exposition on apologetics than directly from Cornelius Van Til himself.  Get the fourth edition which has helpful comment by Oliphint from Westminster.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

3.) Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended

The more recently posthumously published workl by Bahnsen.  In my estimation, better than Always Ready.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

4.) Apologetics to the Glory of God

If people weren’t introduced through Greg Bahnsen’s Alway Ready to Presuppositional Apologetics, chances are they read this book instead.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

5.) God and Evil: The Problem Solved

Concise, yet probably the best Reformed answer to this subject by Gordon Clark. Now available on Audio Book only through the Trinity Foundation, read by Walt Lilo, a friend of Veritas Domain.

Purchase:  Amazon

6.) Symphonic Theology

Short work, I believe Presuppositionalism’s cousin is MultiPerspectivalism, and it is a great tool in the task of theology.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

7.) Five Views of Apologetics

A survey and debate on apologetics methodology.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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What follows is a review from a presuppositionalist’s perspective.

This is a good book when it comes to seeing how the leading Christian apologist would go about articulating their respect school of apologetics, and their critiques of the other schools.  The editor Steven Cowan is to be commended in the introduction of giving a brief sypnosis of what each views are, for those who might not be familiar with the meta-apologetics debate.

In the first chapter by Classical apologist William Lane Craig, I was taken aback by Craig’s discussion of the witness of the Holy Spirit as self-authenticating (29).  Reading his chapter, it was a surprise to read of how he articulated much of what seems to be a partial embrace of Reformed Theology’s implication towards apologetics!  He shows in his section an awareness and appreciation of Reformed epistemology in general, and Alvin Plantinga’s work specifically, with his reference here and elsewhere in the book of properly basic beliefs, etc.  Seeing how he distinguish between why one believe Christianity to be true (inward testimony of the Spirit) and SHOWING Christianity to be true (where the role of reason comes in), I wished he explained the realm of reason (what one’s show to others) and Spirit (inward testimony) with more Scriptural reference brought to bear.  With his emphasis of facts and evidence, I wished he had gotten further to discuss what he believe the nature of facts mean, and whether or not the many things he has taken for granted such as probability (48), induction and the intelligibility of historical research can make sense apart from a Christian worldview.

Coming to Gary Habermas chapter on Evidentialism, the thing I most appreciated was the discussion that Christianity enjoy much evidence.  I have grown up in the faith appreciating much of his works defending the resurrection, but in his interaction with naturalistic assumption of non-Christians when it comes to dismissing the Christian interpretation of the resurrection, I think was rather naïve in the sense. He believes a minimal approach can be sustained, and I question whether it will always be true this approach will vindicate Christianity when “it meets critics on their own (common) grounds, using their presuppositions and their methodology” (115-116).  What if the criteria of the nonbeliever and their historical methodology such as naturalistic history have ruled out a resurrection or made it impossible for the resurrection to be historical?  His response to naturalism was that it dismisses the ‘facts’ of the resurrection, but it is one’s philosophy of facts (in this case, naturalism) that produces ‘facts’, and for the naturalists, a resurrection would hence be ruled out as not being a fact.  These critics then can not be met by sharing common grounds, and then using a “minimal” approach; rather, Presuppositionalism with it’s emphasis of analysis of presuppositions and pointing out self-defeating epistemology.

Another area that was a highlight of the book for me was reading the response towards Presuppositionalism by the other schools.  Reading Craig’s short response, the response did not seem to really be a response from a Classical perspective but rather as Craig sharing his opinion that Plantinga has superceded Van Til, something one would expect from the Reformed Epistemology camp instead!  Habermas critique began with his comment that Frame was more open to dialogue with unbelievers more than Van Til (237), but this opening reveals his lack of understanding VanTil was open to dialogue.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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According to this philosophy professor (Susan Dwyer) she does not know if its wrong to murder the Jews or wrong to lynch black men or genocide is wrong. She even gave a justification for Hitler’s action such as pragmatic, non-moral and political. She seems to need an answer to the fundamental moral question before she is able to condemn an act to be wrong or right. I guess the slaughtering of black Christian children by Muslims in Sudan and the kidnapped girls in the brothel for sexual exploitation have to wait.

This professor is  also a member of the International Advisory Board for the International Journal of Transitional Justice.

Do you see the irony? She is a member of the International Advisory Board for the International Journal of Transitional Justice. What kind of justice group is she part of if she does not know if killing of Jews and lynching of black men is wrong?

Ms. Dwyer, listen to this debate.

Update: Title changed to better reflect Dwyer’s position.

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