Monthly Archives: August 2013

Robinson Stories

2 Ryans fish

These two fish, caught by Ryan Weber (left) and Ryan Griswold (right) have been the source of their share of fish stories.

The Robinson Family is known as a group of storytellers.  Sitting around the campfire at the annual family campout in Pawnee, OK, one will hear fish stories, huntin’ stories, tall tales, whoppers, and more than a few lies.  We exaggerate, embellish, fill in missing details, and lie, sometimes for pride and prestige, but mostly for entertainment.  In honor of this year’s campout, which Sarah and I will unfortunately miss for the third year straight, I am putting together some of my favorite Robinson stories in a series of blog posts.

Uncle Fred Crowned Best Liar

The whole family—some 30 or 40 Robinsons—was sitting around the fire at suppertime, watching the cooks prepare burgers, hot dogs, and Uncle Leon’s favorite fried taters.  Some were beginning to ease their way closer, so as to be the first in line.  Others were content to sit in their chairs and wait, knowing that the first food to come off the griddle was never as good as later, when the cooks had a better feel for how hot to keep the fire.  Everyone talked.  The dominant conversation was the Robinsons’ penchant for telling whoppers, and various lies were told and recalled.

Uncle Fooey (Fred) tells Kyle a lie at the 20012 campout.

Uncle Fooey (Fred) tells Kyle a lie at the 20012 campout.

All the old folks participated in the exchange of stories.

Grandpa Jack:  “Norton (his favorite beagle) was on that rabbit’s trail for an hour…”

Uncle Carney:  “…caught a 10 pound largemouth last week…”

They talked and talked, even ranking each other in their propensity to fib.  While most agreed that Uncle Wilbur was the best story-teller, there was unanimous consensus that Uncle Fred was the best liar.  As the discussion unfolded, Uncle Fred sat back in his folding chair, looking rather pleased with his title.

He listened, satisfied that his relatives recognized him as the best liar.  From across the campfire, Steve said, “Well, how ‘bout it?  Show us how it’s done.  Tell us a lie, Freddie!”

Uncle Fred casually folded his arms over his overalls and said with an ornery grin, “Oh, no, I couldn’t do that.  I gave up lying years ago.”

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Book Review – The Story of the New Testament Text

Robert F. Hull, Jr., The Story of the New Testament Text:  Movers, Materials, Motives, Methods, and Models, (Leiden and Boston:  Brill, 2011)

Hull NT TextThis wonderful monograph tells two stories simultaneously:  the story of the New Testament text and its transmission from the earliest extant copies up to the latest scholarly Greek editions, and the story of the development of the discipline of New Testament textual criticism from early figures such as Origin and Jerome, to the emergence of the modern critics like Erasmus and Westcott and Hort, to the latest shapers of the discipline like Bart Ehrman, Kim Haines-Eitzen, and David Parker.  The development of the discipline is indeed the primary emphasis, as author Robert Hull (recently retired Dean and Professor of New Testament, Emmanuel School of Religion) focuses attention on movers (significant figures in the discipline), materials (important sources and documents), motives (the goals of various movers), methods (criteria by which certain movers made decisions), and models (examples of methods in practice).

Although the primary audience is seminary, divinity, and grad students of New Testament, this book would also be useful in undergraduate bible courses or even for the lay reader, provided that the reader has enough New Testament background to understand the general idea of textual criticism.   Although Hull provides some preliminary material explaining the reasons that textual criticism is necessary and the general goals of the discipline, this is certainly not an introductory level book.  I would think the most natural place for this book would be in a seminary or graduate level course on textual criticism, alongside readings from Westcott and Hort, Metzger, Epp, Ehrman, Haines-Eitzen, and Parker.  Unfortunately, as Hull laments, such courses are difficult to find.  I certainly was unable to take one over the course of my graduate career (all of the authors mentioned above I read independently), and found that interest is quite low even at the Ph.D level.

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