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How Not to Preach from Genesis 1

18th December 2010

Robert Cargil has an excellent discussion and critique of Mark Driscoll’s exegesis of Genesis 1, especially Driscoll’s appeal to Targum Neofiti to show some Jews before the time of Christ held Trinitarian views.

Here is Robert’s intro:

Apparently, as a part of an indoctrination informative series of mini-sermons on ‘What Christians Should Believe,’ pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle attempted to expound on Targum Neofiti. In particular, he attempted to use Neofiti as part of an apologetic defense for evidence of the Christian concept of the Trinity in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

And his conclusion:

Unfortunately, in the end, Driscoll’s so-called mis-“reading” of Targum Neofiti is a mere fabrication – a complete misreading of the text, which he uses as evidence for something that isn’t there (evidence of the Trinity in the OT). It’s almost as egregious of a fabricated defense of the Trinity as the Johannine Comma, in which a medieval publisher (Erasmus) intentionally inserted text (under pressure from others) in 1 John 5:7-8 in an attempt to provide some explicit Biblical evidence for the Trinity (because there was/is none).

And that is how not to use the targums. How do you mislead your congregation into believing something that you believe, but that the Bible doesn’t mention? You just make something up.

As I said before, “I shake my head.”

Do watch the video and read Robert’s blog post deconstructing it.

Now I don’t think that Driscoll just “made it up”; he was misinformed and got into stuff he knew nothing about. Pastors should stick to what they know. They shouldn’t try to use Hebrew or Greek if they don’t know it (or don’t remember it). They shouldn’t appeal to ancient Jewish translations or text if they can’t read them.  Or, perhaps, they should have paid attention in Seminary and actually learned some of this stuff in the first place.  Or at least they should have learned some basic hermeneutics and learned how to think critically and theologically about the biblical text.

Methinks I will have to use this in my Genesis class next semester. Thank you Dr. Cargil!

Posted in Aramaic Targums, Bible, Genesis, Hebrew, Hermeneutics, Old Testament | 4 Comments »

Edmonton SBL Hebrew Scriptures Satellite Fall Seminar

23rd November 2006

As the coordinator of the Edmonton SBL Hebrew Scriptures Satellite, I would like to announce our fall seminar:

“The Prospects and Potentials of a Narratological Approach to the Pentateuch Targums�

Simon Adnams Lasair
University of Manchester

Response by Dr. Francis Landy
Professor, Department of History and Classics and Program of Religious Studies, University of Alberta

Thursday 30 November 2006 – 7:30 pm
Senate Chamber, Old Arts Building (Arts 326), University of Alberta.


This paper presents some of the initial findings of the author’s PhD thesis A Narratological Approach to the Pentateuch Targums, and shows what relevance this work has to the field of Targum Studies. The argument presented herein states that narratology can help to clarify many important differences between the targums and the Hebrew Bible, which in turn will allow scholars to address questions concerning how the targums might have functioned in various social and historical contexts. Several examples are given describing various narratological differences manifested between the targums and the Hebrew Bible. The discussion then turns to some methodological issues that are raised by this work and suggests how an engagement with these issues can help to further the work of targum scholars. Through this overview it is hoped that this paper will demonstrate how narratology can be used by scholars to further their understandings of targums and targumic literature.


Simon Adnams Lasair received his B.A. in Judaic and Christian Studies from Providence College, Otterburne, MB in 2001. In 2002 he was granted the degree of M.A. with distinction in Jewish Studies from the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. The title of his M.A. dissertation was “A Methodological Enquiry into the Problem of the Provenance of Targum Onqelos.� Mr. Adnams is currently a third year PhD student at the University of Manchester, working on his dissertation, “A Narratological Approach to the Pentateuch Targums� supervised by Prof. Alexander Samely.

If you are in the Edmonton area, please feel free to join us.

Posted in Aramaic Targums, Emergent, SBL | Comments Off