Bart Ehrman now podcasts… via a prophet

Bart Ehrman, Professor of New Testament at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has commenced a podcast: The Bart Ehrman Podcast. But his words are spoken by another, his prophet on earth, John P. Mueller.

It involves a weekly podcast in which John reads two posts that have previously appeared on the blog, some of recent vintage and some archived, often from long ago.

So John P. Mueller reads posts from The Bart Ehrman Blog. The Blog is only available in full behind a paywall (to raise money for charities fighting poverty, hunger, and homelessness). The podcast is free, but only includes a selection of the posts on Ehrman’s blog. That is, the blog is not-for-profit but not via prophet, and the podcast involves no fee but is via prophet.

While Mueller’s voice differs from Ehrman’s slightly, his words are the ipsissima verba of Ehrman, a feature which is – after all – much more than can be said for the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament.


Michael Heiser: Putting the Aramaic Cart before the Hebrew Horse

Michael Heiser - Putting the Aramaic cart before the Hebrew horse
Michael Heiser – Putting the Aramaic cart before the Hebrew horse

This response is further to an earlier post on Remnant of Giants, “Michael Heiser’s (Mis)interpretation of “Nephilim” as “Giants” not “Fallen Ones”“, which was followed by a comment from Michael on the same post and Michael’s post, “My Thoughts on Nephilim: Answering a Criticism” on The Naked Bible:

Thank you for your reply in the comments section of my earlier post, Michael, and for your post. What you have written here and in your post helps me understand how you have come to your conclusion, which I continue to consider is unsound.

Of course, I quite agree that there is no simple morphological basis for preferring my explanation that “Nephilim” is a Heb. qatil or your explanation that it is a loanword from the Aramaic usage attested in the Genesis Apocryphon and Book of Giants. The form would be the same in either case. So this is not at issue between us. But your claim faces much more substantial problems than morphology.

What is at issue is the cogency in claiming that “Nephilim” is an Aramaic loanword into Hebrew, when the only passages in Aramaic which employ the purported Aramaic loanword are so obviously dependent on Gen. 6:4. Both Genesis Apocryphon and Book of Giants are rewritings of the Genesis narrative. The obvious conclusion is that their employment of the term Nephilin is dependent on the use of Nephilim in Gen. 6.4. So of course the Aramaic would have the same form as the Hebrew: the occurrences of “Nephilin” are all dependent on the Hebrew “Nephilim”. You have put the Aramaic cart before the Hebrew horse! My argument is not merely that there is an absence of Aramaic evidence that precedes Genesis – but that the Aramaic evidence we have is clearly dependent on Genesis. So your reliance on the Aramaic “meaning” of Nephilin faces what I consider is an insurmountable problem, and I hope I have made this problem clearer to you.

If you wish to continue to make an argument that the Aramaic meaning of the term “Nephilin” is “giants” and that this meaning influenced the Hebrew, the onus is on you to provide the evidence. But there is no evidence – is there? Furthermore, the only evidence we have in Aramaic suggests the opposite conclusion: the Aramaic term “Nephilin” is only used in contexts which are dependent on the Bible’s use of “Nephilim”. Your argument from Aramaic “meaning” is circular at best.

Furthermore, I do not follow your logic in mentioning that the gloss in Num. 13:33 is “quite late”? First, Nephilim is not a gloss in Gen. 6:4 – or do you also date Gen. 6:4 “quite late” (whatever that means)? Second, for what I think is your argument to have any cogency, the three mentions of “Nephilim” in the Hebrew Bible must all be later than the earliest evidence of Nephilin in Aramaic – later, that is, than the approximately second century BCE works, the Genesis Apocryphon and Book of Giants. Are you really saying that all the occurrences of “Nephilim” in Gen. 6:4 and Num. 13:33 are this late? Third, your statement “basically everyone takes Num 13:33 as a gloss” is either inaccurate or incorrect. It is normally understood that only the words “the sons of Anak from the Nephilim” comprise the later gloss within Num. 13:33. But it is incorrect to say that Num. 13:33 is widely interpreted as a gloss, And there is still one occurrence of the term “Nephilim” in Num. 13:33 which lies outside of the later gloss. So if you are attempting to argue here (and I confess, it is not clear to me if it is your argument) that Num. 13:33 is later than the Aramaic occurrences of Nephilin, you face a number of significant problems.

As your argument for the etymological meaning of Nephilim as “giants” faces these significant problems, I can understand why you might want to switch to the fertile history of the reception of Gen. 6:4, and in particular the Greek Septuagint (LXX). But, evidentially, this is also putting the cart before the horse. As is widely acknowledged, Gen. 6:4 is famously obscure, and gives rise to sometimes quite bizarre later interpretations. One can fairly easily surmise that a translator familiar with Greek literature – writing in, perhaps, the third century BCE – might leap to the conclusion that Gen. 6.1-4’s odd story of dalliances between sons of the gods and human women sounded like something from Greek myth. But this tells us a lot more about the Greek-influenced reception of Gen. 6:4 than it does about Gen. 6:4 itself. This is why Lothar Perlitt cautions that the LXX mixed two quite different worlds in translating historisierenden Notizen des Alten Testaments (‘historicizing notices in the Old Testament’) with terms which were weitgehend mythologisch in sensu stricto (‘largely mythological in sensu stricto’). If hard cases make bad law, obscure stories make bad translations – and Gen. 6:4 is a prime case in point. Perlitt’s conclusion is correct: Kurzum: die Frage nach den Riesen im Alten Testament fände auf dem Wege über die griechische oder lateinische Konkordanz nur falsche Antworten (‘In short: the question concerning Giants in the Old Testament would find only wrong answers by looking in a Greek or Latin concordance’). And of course, the wrong answers are only compounded by looking at interpretations of the Nephilim which come even later than LXX.

So for these reasons, I still cannot see how you could reasonably rely on Aramaic evidence in order to arrive at the meaning of “giants” for Nephilim. You may certainly raise the conjecture that the term “Nephilin” was used in Aramaic to mean “giants” before the composition of Gen. 6:4 and Num. 13:33. Or you can feel free to raise conjectures that there were similar words in Egyptian, or Akkadian, or whatever – which I am sure would be based on just the same amount of evidence (that is, none). But I will continue to prefer the facts that exist – and that includes the fact that Nephilim follows a Hebrew form, the qatil, with an etymological meaning of “fallen ones”. I am, however, most willing to be persuaded otherwise, if you are able to present a sound argument for the etymological meaning of “Nephilim” as “giants” from the Aramaic evidence.

Michael Heiser’s (Mis)interpretation of “Nephilim” as “Giants” not “Fallen Ones”

Michael Heiser - Giant?
Michael Heiser – Giant?

In a number of recent publications, Michael Heiser has claimed that the etymological sense of the term “Nephilim” found in Gen 6.4 and Num. 13.33 is “giant”.

Most academic attempts to explain the sense of “Nephilim” derive it from the Hebrew root נפל (n-f-l: “to fall”). There is a relatively straightforward explanation for the form of the term Nephilim. It appears to be a reduction of the passive adjective (qaṭīl), קְטִיל. Joüon-Muraoka notes that ‘hardly anything but substantives are found in this form’ (Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, 250, §88E g). So in this form, the meaning of “Nephilim” is something like “fallen ones”. Or, as Victor P. Hamilton translates it: ‘those who were made to fall; those who were cast down’ (The Book of Genesis, 269; cf. Ronald S. Hendel, ‘The Nephilim were on the Earth’, 21; Brian R. Doak, The Last of the Rephaim, 63).

Yet the difficulty is not with the sense of the term, but with determining its precise significance. Unlike in later retellings, there is no indication in Gen. 6:1–4 that בני האלהים (the sons of god(s)) had previously resided in the heavens or had ‘fallen’ to earth or were ‘spiritually’ fallen. Even if such an interpretation is imposed on Gen. 6:1–4, the description ‘the fallen ones’ would presumably apply to the בני האלהים, not their earth-born offspring, the Nephilim. But there is at least one other good explanation for describing these “mighty men” who lived “long ago” (Gen. 6.4) as “fallen ones”. As heroes, the Nephilim would probably have been described as dying in heroic deaths, perhaps to have “fallen” in battle. This explanation was proposed by Hartmut Gese in Vom Sinai zum Zion (p. 110), and provides what I think is the better sense of the “fall” of the “Fallen Ones”.

Yet in a number of publications, Michael Heiser casts doubt on the derivation from n-f-l. These publications include his draft book, The Myth That is True, an article on “Nephilim” for the online FaithLife Study Bible,, and this video from Heiser does so by criticising scholars who have derived Nephilim from the Hebrew participle of n-f-l. He’s right that the term Nephilim does not meet the standard form for a participle. But he either does not mention or quickly dismisses the fact that “Nephilim” perfectly fits the passive adjectival form in Hebrew.

Instead, Heiser argues that the term Nephilim most closely resembles the Aramaic term נפילין (Nephilin). Heiser points out that the “meaning” of the Aramaic term Nephilin is “giant”. So his conclusion is that the Hebrew “Nephilim” was derived from the Aramaic term for “giant”, and that the meaning of the Hebrew term Nephilim is also “giant”. After all, as Heiser claims, the Jews were quite familiar with Aramaic as  the lingua franca of the ancient Near East and as a language closely related to Hebrew.

But there is a giant problem with this reasoning, even if we leave aside the fact that “Nephilim” has a perfectly acceptable Hebrew adjectival form. For when Heiser claims that the “meaning” of Nephilin in Aramaic is giant, he appears to overlook the fact that this Aramaic “meaning” only occurs in works which are even later than the biblical texts in Gen 6.4 and Num. 13.33 and which are dependent on the Hebrew biblical texts. A “meaning” is only as good as its particular uses. And you can’t claim that a biblical word derives from Aramaic if the Aramaic usage is later than the Bible!

I am aware of no instances of the Aramaic term Nephilin from Old or Imperial Aramaic – that is, from before the writing of the Pentateuch The first attested examples of the term Nephilin (or variants) occur in post-biblical documents from Qumran: Genesis Apocryphon and the Book of Giants. What’s more, these texts from Qumran are dependent on the Enochic version of the story in Gen 6.1-4. They are retellings of retellings of Gen. 6.1-4. Although some scholars have claimed that 1 Enoch predates Gen 6.1-4, Michael Heiser does not, so this is not an issue here. These  Aramaic retellings are certainly interesting developments in the reception of Gen 6.1-4, and it is true that the Nephilim were characterised as “giants” in much of their early reception. Yet it remains the case that there is no intimation of the height of the Nephilim in Gen 6.1-4 itself. The idea that the Nephilim were giants originates in Num 13.33’s comparison of the Nephilim to the gigantic Anakim; it is not present in Gen 6.4. Instead, in Gen 6.4 the Nephilim are identified with “mighty men”/”heroes” of remote antiquity, who were famed for their heroic deeds. The descriptions fit well with the conception of the heroic “fallen dead”, and the derivation of the term Nephilim from n-f-l. But the idea of giants is absent in Gen. 6.1-4 and must be imposed from Num 13 in order to be seen there.

The Aramaic foundation for Michael Heiser’s interpretation of Nephilim is anachronistic: the Aramaic term Nephilin is only attested later than the Hebrew term Nephilim, so cannot be supported as the basis for the Hebrew Nephilim.  Moreover, the Aramaic term Nephilin is first attested only in Jewish texts from Qumran which are clearly dependent on the Hebrew stories in Gen. 6.1-4 and Num. 13. Based on the evidence as we have it, the Hebrew term “Nephilim” gave rise to the Aramaic term “Nephilin” – not the reverse.

See also: Michael Heiser: Putting the Aramaic Cart before the Hebrew Horse

Atheist Biblical Criticism on “Who Killed Goliath?”

Who killed Goliath?An interesting new blog called Atheist Biblical Criticism has come to my attention, after the blogger left a comment here at Remnant of Giants. The blogger, who describes him/herself as “an ex-evangelical christian (and ex-Roman Catholic, ex-Anglican, ex-liberal christian)”, appears to have training in biblical studies and is based in the United Kingdom. He/she is currently tackling that old dilemma: “Who killed Goliath?”, which concerns the contradictory reporting of the death of Goliath at the hands of both David (1 Samuel 17) and Elhanan (2 Samuel 21.19). The posts so far in Atheist Biblical Criticism’s series are:

 1. Goliath: Who killed Goliath?

2. Who killed Goliath? (Part 2)

[3. Who killed Goliath? (Part 3)]

A very worthy topic!

The same question was discussed on Claude Mariottini’s blog in 2011, in three posts (part 1, part 2, part 3). But Claude’s attempt to answer the question was overtly apologetic and therefore should be read with care. Remnant of Giants responded soon after the series was completed to point out its major weaknesses as I saw them. One of those weaknesses is that Claude relies on an incorrect reporting of an inscription found at Tel es-Safi which wrongly identified the two names inscribed on it (’lwt and wlt) as equivalent to gwlyt/Goliath. These are definitely not the name “Goliath”. Remnant of Giants has recently also dealt with the erroneous interpretation of the Tel es-Safi inscription.

Have a read of Atheist Biblical Criticism’s “Who Killed Goliath?” series, beginning here.

Eric Seibert on the Violence of Scripture and David and Goliath … and Biblical Criticism Lite

Eric A. Seibert - The Violence of ScriptureEric A. Seibert examines the ways in which the Old Testament supports and advocates certain forms of violence in The Violence of Scripture: Overcoming the Old Testament’s Troubling Legacy (Fortress Press, August 2012). Seibert points to examples in which violence is given approval in the Old Testament, even given divine sanction, and declared to be a virtuous activity for people to take part in.

One of Seibert’s examples of what the Bible considers virtuous violence concerns the story of David and Goliath. He quotes David’s justification for fighting against Goliath, in 1 Samuel 17.45-47:

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Seibert comments:

The literary context of this story suggests we are to view David’s actions as being pleasing to, and empowered by, God. Prior to his encounter with Goliath, David had been anointed by the prophet Samuel at which point we are told, “the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1 Sam. 16.13). Then, when David confronts Goliath, he claims that God will give him the victory when he boldly declares” “This very day the LORD will deliver you into my hand (1 Sam. 17.46). The text suggests God stands behind David’s victory over Goliath, and most readers  tend to agree. Most people believe God wanted to kill Goliath, and enabled him to do so, and most interpreter’s describe David’s actions as admirable, indicating no discomfort with his behavior. By doing so, they reinforce a key ideological assumption undergirding this captivating story, namely, that violence can be “virtuous.”

Eric Seibert also raises specific problems with telling the story of David and Goliath to children:

What are children to think if one week we tell them to love their enemies, and the next week praise David for killing his? And why should they believe our bold proclamation that God loves all people when, in the same breath, we also insist that God wanted the Israelites to kill every last Canaanite?

Seibert suggests that we still tell these stories to children, but miss out the questionable bits, like David’s justification for his actions in 1 Sam. 17.45-47, and perhaps pose questions that get children to question the Bible’s conception of virtuous violence rather than to merely accept it. Seibert’s ultimate aim is to achieve readings of the Old Testament which conform to his commitment to nonviolence. Which is fine and, well, virtuous in itself. But does it go far enough? For isn’t violence integral to the ethics of the God of the Old Testament who destroys entire rival nations and integral to the ethics of the God of the New Testament who consigns outsiders to Hell for all eternity? Surely an ethical commitment to nonviolence should also involve a fundamental rejection of the Bible’s conception of this God, not just an attempt to eek out the nice bits?

For all of Seibert’s legitimate points about the ethical problems in the Bible, his book suffers from a condition which infects the vast majority of contemporary biblical scholarship, what James Kugel has termed “Biblical Criticism Lite”:

I have a premonition that some readers … – especially my fellow academics, as well as some divinity school students, ministers, and perhaps a few educated laymen – will react … with a yawn. Such people have grown used to the idea that the Bible really wasn’t written by those figures long claimed to be its authors, that it is full of contradictions and editorial overlays, etiological narratives and invented history. “Yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus,” they will say. “We are all a little older and wiser now, and some of our old illusions have fallen away. But really, that’s not so bad – in fact, it’s not bad at all. We embrace the truth about the Bible as we now know it.”

 I understand this reaction, but I don’t think it tells the whole story. I have noticed that these same people, especially when it comes to talking about actual texts – in biblical commentaries or introductions to the Old Testament – are often not nearly as blasé as their yawn might indicate (nor as committed to the “truth about the Bible as we now know it”). On the contrary, what they have to say often has an unmistakably apologetic tone: “Yes, it’s true, modern scholars have shown X, but still…” Indeed, this “Yes, but still…” way of talking about the Bible is so common nowadays it might practically be described as a reflex, a built-in or automatic way of trying to downplay the results of modern scholarship (yielding what might be called “Biblical Criticism Lite”) and thereby minimizing its implications….

In the light of all that modern scholarship has discovered, the Bible necessarily looks very different from the way it looked only a century or so ago. Yet … commentators still want it to be the Bible in the old sense – divinely inspired (at least in some attenuated way), a guide to proper conduct and proper beliefs, a book of truth and not falsehood, as free of error and internal contradiction as possible, in short, despite everything they know, a book still worthy of being called the Word of God. Their repeatedly apologetic remarks give the lie, I think, to the claim that people schooled in modern scholarship, even those at the forefront of biblical research, have entirely made their peace with its implications. They may sometimes sound blasé, but the truth, it seems to me, is that most of them are simply doing the best they can to have it both ways, to have their Bible and criticize it too.

Time to put away the decaffeinated biblical criticism, with its not-so-secret theological commitments, for a criticism that is worthy of the term.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou’s Virgin Birth – And Matthew’s “mistranslation”

Francesca Stavrakopoulou
Francesca Stavrakopoulou

In an interview today on BBC5, Francesca Stavrakopoulou provided an explanation of the account of Mary’s virgin birth in Matthew’s Gospel. She explained, for a general audience, something that is well known to biblical scholars: that Matthew looked for an Old Testament proof-text to support his contention that Mary was a virgin. And he did so by relying on a verse in Isaiah (7.14) which in Hebrew employs the term ‘almah (young woman or virgin) and in Greek employs the term parthenos (usually “virgin”). The context of Isaiah 7.14 shows that the ‘almah/parthenos in question was not a virgin at the time of her conception, because in the context of Isaiah 7-8, the ‘almah/parthenos refers to someone becoming pregnant according to the usual means. The ‘almah/parthenos turns out to be Isaiah’s wife, “the prophetess”(Isa 8.3), and the purpose of referring to her son is to assure King Ahaz of Judah that before the child is weaned, the two kings who had threatened Judah (King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Samaria) will be decimated by the Assyrians (7.15-16; 8.4). So the context of the prophecy which Matthew cites concerns events occurring in the eighth century BC, not the time of Jesus in the first century AD. Moreover, the ‘almah refers to a woman who is or will be pregnant – and by the very ordinary means of Isaiah having sex with her (Isa 8.3 says Isaiah ‘went into the prophetess’) – so it does not refer to a virgin. So Matthew’s appeal to Isa 7.14 as proof of Mary’s virginity (Matt 1.22-23) not only applies an Old Testament passage to the life of Jesus which has nothing to do with him, but applies an Old Testament passage which involves a woman who has had sex with her husband (not a virgin!). Yet, reading the Greek translation of the Hebrew term ‘almah (which is parthenos, usually “virgin”), Isaiah 7.14 might have appeared to be a “proof” of a virgin giving birth (Matt 1.20, 25). But this was Matthew’s “mistranslation”.

Even though Francesca Stavrakopoulou describes what is quite well-known in biblical studies, it seems to have upset some of the more pious bloggers, who don’t like her reference to an inner-biblical “mistranslation”. But Timothy Law (and Jim West agreeing with him) seem to have assumed that the “mistranslation” referred to by Stavrakopoulou is the Greek LXX translation of the Hebrew. Whereas, what she communicated – using language intended for a general UK audience – would not be wrong in respect of Matthew. For Matthew uses the term parthenos out of its context.  Matthew’s Old Testament proof-texting is – in simple and easy-to-understand terms – a “mistranslation” of the original context in both its Hebrew and Greek variations. Here’s what Francesca Stavrakopoulou said:

BBC Interviewer (Nicky Campbell): What about the virgin birth – where does that come from?

Francesca Stavrakopoulou: Well, basically, that’s based on two different traditions. Firstly, Jesus was a Jewish man, born into a very good Jewish family in the Galilee region, probably in Nazareth. And as a result, his family and also his followers would have been very familiar with Old Testament or Hebrew Bible traditions about birth announcements. Special Jewish men who had a particular mission – religious mission – were often said to have been born following an announcement from an angel or a messenger from God. So that part of the story, that God was somehow involved in his birth, is straightforward in terms of Jewish religious culture. The other reason is that Jesus’s earliest writing followers – so the people that wrote the Gospel traditions – they were using a Greek translation of the early Hebrew scriptures. They were using those scriptures as proof-texts to find evidence, prophecies pointing towards Jesus’s mission and life. And one of these texts is in Isaiah. And it talks about a young woman, who will conceive and bear a child. And this child is going to be a royal figure, who is going to save his people. Now the Hebrew word for this is ‘almah, a young woman, an ‘almah. But the ancient Greek translation that the Gospel writers were using uses the word parthenos, which is often translated as a virgin. So basically, the virgin birth idea is a mistranslation.

BBC Interviewer (Nicky Campbell): So, what would you say to biblical literalists, then?

Francesca Stavrakopoulou: They need to learn to read Hebrew.

Of course, Matthew seems to have either invented most of his nativity story, or relied on spurious and invented traditions such as the death of the Innocents, stars, travelling magi, and a journey to Egypt. Even Luke couldn’t agree with Matthew, and changed most of the story.

Update: Mark Goodacre (NT Pod) responds in a podcast. Mark is a little more reserved in using the term “mistranslation” to describe what Matthew does with Isaiah – although, for a general audience I think this term is fine. Mark also rightly points out that Matthew, although reliant on the Greek LXX translation, was probably not ignorant of the Hebrew or of Jewish methods of interpretation. Indeed, the point was made by Soares-Prabhu in a fine treatment, The Formula Quotations in the Infancy Narrative of Matthew. This counters some more vulgar treatments of the “mistranslation”, as in Dawkins, but does not apply to Francesca Stavrakopoulou’s treatment.

Benjamin J.M. Johnson on The David and Goliath Narrative in Hebrew and Greek

Benjamin J.M. JohnsonBenjamin J.M. Johnson has recently completed a PhD thesis and article in Vetus Testamentum on the different Hebrew and Greek versions of the David and Goliath Narrative in 1 Samuel (1 Reigns) 16-18.

His thesis is available to read on Durham University’s e-Theses collection:

Benjamin J.M. Johnson, A Reading of the David and Goliath Narrative in Greek and Hebrew. Doctoral thesis, Durham University, November 2012

The story of David and Goliath existed in antiquity in two distinct literary versions, a short version found in LXXB and a longer version reflected in the MT. This thesis proposes that each version is worthy of study in its own right and offers a close literary reading of the narrative of David and Goliath in the Greek text of 1 Reigns 16-18. In this study we explore a method of reading the Septuagint that recognizes it is both a document in its own right and a translation of a Hebrew original. In offering this reading of the septuagintal version of the David and Goliath narrative we will highlight the literary difference between the two final versions of the story that exist in LXXB and MT.

In addition, Charles Jones (AWOL  – The Ancient World Online) has compiled a list of open access dissertations relating to antiquity on the Durham e-Theses website, including Benjamin Johnson’s.

Benjamin Johnson has also recently published the following article relating to the different versions of the David and Goliath story:

Benjamin J.M. Johnson, “Reconsidering 4QSama and the Textual Support for the Long and Short Versions of the David and Goliath Story“, Vetus Testamentum 62.4 (2012): 534-549.

The story of David and Goliath contains one of the classical textual problems. It exists in two versions: a short version in LXXB and a longer version in the MT. The question of priority has divided scholars and much scholarly ink has been spilt attempting to resolve the issue. In the discussion about the short and long versions of the David and Goliath story the witness of 4QSama has largely been ignored. The present study surveys all of the extant portions of 1 Samuel 17-18 in 4QSama where there is a variant between LXXB and MT. This survey shows that 4QSama most likely contained the long version of the story.

Benjamin Johnson is currently a tutor in hermeneutics and biblical theology at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford.