My name is George Athas. I teach at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia. I lecture in Hebrew and Old Testament, and dabble a bit in Early Church History. I also look after the college’s postgraduate studies as Dean of Research. And here’s the odd bit: I’m an evangelical Anglican of Greek descent!
I’m using this blog as a place where I can post some news of things that interest me, as well as air some thoughts about topics I’ve been thinking about. Most of the time, those thoughts are going to be about biblical studies, theology, Hebrew, and the Ancient Near East. But hey, I’m not going to limit myself (I will probably sneak some posts about Formula One in there occasionally). I’m hoping to generate some conversations, so I hope that people will feel free to respond. I’m just trying to knock around ideas, and would appreciate some conversation partners that might help me in refining, correcting, or even confirming my thoughts.
Why is the blog called With Meagre Powers? Well, in his Confessions, Augustine writes the following paragraph:
The message of your Holy Scriptures has set my heart throbbing, O Lord, and with the meagre powers that are mine in this life I struggle to understand it. The poverty of our human intellect generally produces an abundance of words, for more talk is spent in search than in discovery. It takes longer to ask than to obtain. But we have your promise and who shall annul it? ‘Who can be our adversary, if God is on our side?’ ‘Ask, and the gift will come; seek and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you. Everyone that asks, will receive; that seeks, will find; that knocks, will have the door opened to him.’ These are your promises, and who need fear to be deceived when Truth promises? (Confessions, XII.1)
Here I see Augustine giving sanction to the careful and thoughtful inquiry after truth through the interrogation of the Scriptures. I believe that God has given us the faculties of our minds to be able to ask good questions, apply sound reason, and occasionally find answers. Applying rigorous and sound academic study to the Bible and its world is, I believe, rewarding. It’s hard, but very worthwhile. So, I’m hoping to apply my meagre powers in the struggle to understand the Bible and its world, hoping that others might join me in the struggle.