Barry J. Beitzel - "The Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels"
12:36PM Jul 10, 2020
Jonathan J. Armstrong
Barry J. Beitzel
It is our extraordinary privilege today to be speaking with Dr. Barry Beitzel. Dr. Beitzel is professor emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Trinity evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Dr. Beitzel is also the editor of the texts that we'll be discussing today the Lexan geographic commentary on the Gospels. Dr. Beitzel, we're extremely grateful to be speaking with you today.
Thank you. It's great to be here as well.
Dr. Beitzel, this is a unique book and an extremely helpful book to understand the depths of the insights that we have here in the Gospels. You explain in the preface to the text, quote: "The conceptual premise of this commentary holds that geography / space is a legitimate if commonly overlooked, hermeneutical category." You've written and produced many Bible atlases, how is it that you came across the idea for this unique project?
Well, Jonathan, I think that we could agree and most people would agree that even a cursory glance and reflection into the pages of the Bible leads to the almost inescapable conclusion. That words from God came to real people and real places, real words, real people, real places. In other words, we think about our Bible being a space time document that is recording space time events. Even in our own world, we we think of living in space and time. Here we are in the Christmas season and celebrating as it were. first advent of Christ the incarnation. There's a sense in which the Incarnation locks Jesus into space and time. And that's a that is something that is new and different, in terms of, of his earthly experience. Space is, I would argue, a fairly significant category hermeneutic Lee, as it is presented in the Bible, and it is one of the ways in which the Christian Bible is very much unlike sacred writings of any of the other major religions of the world. For example, in in Hinduism, it's about you you have in Hinduism and the rigveda, let's say roughly 1000 holy poems that talk about many, many gods, but very, very few places. There is a mention of the seven secret rivers But they are not known. They're not identified. In fact, theorists believe that they are, they fluctuate over time in terms of their identity. And aside from that, there is an occasional reference to a valley or road or some unnamed Valley Road or something like that. That's about it. And then you take a look at Hinduism. The same is really true in the sacred writings of of Hinduism. I have found fewer than three dozen references to places in the in in the sacred writings of and most of though, excuse me and Buddhism. And most of those places are simply identifying either where Buddha was at the point that he gave a particular teaching, or maybe where he stayed overnight in one of his travels, or where he would go in the rain, rainy season. Two to be safe. Taoism is probably the least geographically sensitive document. The notion of geography is almost non existent. Inside Taoism because Taoism is presenting truth, it's presenting its own truth. What it views has truth in other categories, more aesthetic categories, even in the Quran, the fourth major religion beside Christianity that has the closest affinity to the Bible, but a closer look at the places that are mentioned the nature of geography in that writing leads us to realize that actually, so much of it comes from the Bible. So many of the places that are mentioned in the Quran, the Garden of Eden, Babylon, Egypt, Mount Sinai, goggan, Magog, and places like that media and then media and so forth. Let's play Is come from the Bible. Of course the Bible was written before the Quran. At the same time in the Quran, there's actually an antipathy towards space or towards geography, particularly in cities where in the view of Muhammad that's where that's where sin abounded. That's where people live lives that were formed and away from the Lord and so forth. In in rather radical contradistinction to any of the other major religions of the world. The Bible in all of its canonical segments, not just in one or two or some, in all of its canonical segments, I would say is replete with references to geography, by my own count. There, there must be between 1100 and 1200 different places mentioned by name, most of those mentioned frequently, some of those mentioned more than 25 times Quite a few mentioned more than 100 times, not even to mention the scores of references to river names and mountain names and region names and territorial names and the like. In other words, the notion of space is very much present. But beyond the mere quantity of reference, one often finds that space becomes the pivot of interpretation, not always, not even mostly, but sometimes, a certain event may be said to have occurred in a particular town, at a certain Valley, next to a certain River and the like. And oftentimes, particularly in the Old Testament, then there is a play there is a pun on that word. The place is called Bible because it was a place of confusion. There's a connection between the word for Bible and the Hebrew word For confusion, that is said to be included, those kinds of additions are said to be included in those stories precisely to help a person be reminded when they do not have written texts in front of them. It was an oral tradition. But it's a way of helping someone living in an oral tradition to remember where that event took place. It seems to me that the biblical writers inspired a god are mentioning places so frequently, and so commonly, that it is hard to argue that in the economy of biblical inspiration, biblical writers are including what was to them extraneous and irrelevant, and unimportant. So I would say that space geography is really an outworking of the world in which we live, which is a spacetime world. And it's a way to, for us to be able to explore the spatial dimension of scripture in a better way. And the in a more full way.
That is absolutely fascinating. Dr. Beitzel, and how long has it been that you've been putting this idea together for what you titled a geographic commentary on the Gospels?
Well, you can see that this book was published by Lexan press, but it alexson press is the publication arm of Lagos. So when a publication comes, at least with this publication coming out in Lexan, it has come out both in law guys it has come out both in electronic format published by loggers it's accessible to people who have bought into the logger system. And it's available in the printed edition. So that is a necessary step to get at your question. I was doing an electronic Atlas for logout. So it's actually over 300 maps, it was a very comprehensive, the the product is out there. It's a, again, it's accessible through log us. And many of those maps appear in that volume and will appear in the other volumes as well. But it was when I was coming near to the end of that project. I began to speak with people there in Bellingham, Washington at what is now the faith life corporation that incorporates both the electronic medium, and the print medium additions. And we started thinking about doing this and we wanted to begin with a gospels volume because in the gospels, it is fairly conspicuous. Probably two dozen, two and a half dozen places maybe more, that there's a very direct connection between where Jesus was at a particular moment. And what it was he had to say. He was linking his space and his words. And that can be illustrated Oh, a few dozen times in the gospels alone. So we thought that would be a reasonable place to begin.
This is a magnificent resource, the Lexan geographic commentary on the Gospels, edited by Dr. Barry Beitzel. Dr. Beitzel there are 48 chapter length articles. We have 14 different authors contributing to this volume. How is it that you selected which articles you wanted to have included in this volume?
Well, I suppose the short answer of that is that I was a little bit limited by the amount of space that dissolved was going to have in other words, the volume contains about 200,000 words not counting bibliographies, and any of the media components. And so we were working on that as a kind of a ceiling figure. But I began to compile a list of all of the biblical texts. We tried it you'll see in there that each of the essays has at the very beginning and has a an identification of what we call anchor texts. In other words, while this is talking about space is talking about geography, and sometimes it's doing so in a technical or a semi technical sort of nature. It was imperative and significant and important that we always bring this back. We begin with a biblical text, but we circle back to an anchor text. So what I needed to do was isolate and identify any number of texts that I thought would be conducive to a geographical explanation of one sort or another. To work from that list to my ceiling number of 200,000 words, and how many essays might one be able to put in there. And then from that, I began to consider now who has the pedigree and the skill sets and the experience that would take that could be able to who could take this particular text and run with it, and be creative and productive and fruitful with it.
Were there chapters in the book that you really wanted to include, but for one reason or another couldn't?
Well, there was one chapter that I really wanted to include that I couldn't because the author was just became deceased, and it was too late in the process. And so that's kind of a kind of a sad reality that that did occur. I suppose in an idea The Old World Yes, I would never be fully satisfied with what is appearing there in print. I guess I'm always wanting to think what else could we have done? What what what additional sorts of comments and subject matter could we have addressed? But but that's part of that's my personal inclinations. I'm very pleased that we were able to find good subscribers, good contributors to almost all of the topics that I was proposing. So in that sense, I'm extremely pleased, overwhelmingly pleased. In that sense, the volume represents a good expression of those anchor texts in a way that should widen and deepen one's understanding of those texts, and in that sense, bring glory to God.
This is indeed a marvelous resource. If I can look at the very first article, the very first article is titled the birthplace of Jesus and the journeys of his first visitors. This is an article written by Paul right? This is about the Nativity story tradition has it that Mary gave birth to Jesus in the manger because there was no room in the end? How is it that the study of biblical biblical geography contributes to our understanding of the Nativity story?
Yes, well, I think there's a sense in which, like many stories, the notion of geography allows us to take a biblical text a biblical event from the page into real space and in real time, so there is a placement that is that is occurs in that case. Now, in this particular story that you're talking about, I suppose, that real place that real space could relate let's say prophetically, since we know that it was Was that Prophet it was prophesied that that Messiah should be born in the town of Bethlehem of Judea, specified Bethlehem in India because there are a number of places in the Bible identified as Bethlehem the word Bethlehem just, it simply means a house of bread. It's where there was a granary. So it was like going to the bread store. And a place you go to buy bread, theoretically could be a Bethlehem. So that's why both Matthew and Luke specify that this was Bethlehem of Judea. That's, that's one way in which it comes to into reality. But secondly, you know, Luke's wording there there was, there was no room. Yeah, in the end, and so he was laid in a manger loop uses that word. That's probably unfortunate. In Bible translation, there are certain aspects of Bible training. Where translators I think rightfully, don't really wish to climb a mountain, there's more to be lost than to be gained. And that concept of an in almost like an oak place for overnight lodging is so deep in Christian tradition, even in a Christmas carols, that that's probably a mountain. That's a fight that Bible Translators really don't want to make. And I understand that, in fact, in my own Bible translation work, we also shied away from that, but Luke's use how the word does in fact, in the story of the Good Samaritan, which is also found in the Gospel of Luke. Luke, in that story uses a different word to refer to a place where a person would stay for overnight lodging. And in that case, not only did they not only did the Samaritan take the priest to An end that was an actual place where there was also an innkeeper, and so forth. But that's not what Luke is referring to here. That kind of a Luma was a, we would say, a spare room, a guest room. In fact, the same word is used later in the game almost at the end of the Gospel of Luke, to refer to what is sometimes called the upper room. That In other words, in most first century, houses, people were living for the most part in the kind of a bare subsistence economy. They usually had one extra room maybe it was a back room, maybe it was a side room, but and sometimes it was for storage. Sometimes it could have been a two story house, so it was on the second floor. It was in that sense and upper room but for the most part, it was a place that was you were guests would stay and it's entirely logical and reasonable. That in making the trip from Galilee to that, above lamb, they would have wanted to stay with family. Remember, it was just a few months before that when Mary makes a trip to Judah and stays with Elizabeth, she's staying with a family member. In this case, since the census was would have covered people generally across the whole land. It is a reasonable assumption though it is an assumption that there is no route the guest room had already been taken by family members who had come to Bethlehem for the same reason that Joseph was going to Bethlehem but they simply didn't live as far away as Galilee or for whatever reason they managed to be there sooner rather than later and because there is no room in the guest room. They will Went to where there was a feeding trough. Well, those houses oftentimes had a underground oftentimes, houses had
an underground cave. Sometimes it was a natural cave. Sometimes it was a section of rock that was cut out. So it may have been a manmade cave. In some cases, it may have been a natural cave. And that was a natural place to bring in the animals at night, both for protection from the bad guys of this world to protect and also from the predators of this world, but also it it would have given them some warmth from extreme cold. We have examples of these and in these house Exactly. In fact, one of the really good examples of a first century house that has an underground cape is actually comes from Nazareth. Obviously they left Nazareth, but that is one place where you can find it. But there are any number of places where you can find that. And in those underground caves, sometimes you find a man may have a block of stone that has been carved out, that was used as a feeding trough for animals, one or two cases, their actual their manmade, in some cases, their their natural. In other words, they simply etched out a little bit of a section from a natural cave. And so it was where they could feed their animals and it was a natural place if they went under the house, then that would have been a natural place to, to have laid Jesus. It very early in Christian tradition as early as the middle of the second century, in what is called a proto evangelism of James and also the testimony of the apologist Justin Martyr there was a very early tradition that Jesus was born in a cave. And in fact, the translator of much of the vulgate, the early Christian Jerome, as you may know, spent much of his life in the town of Bethlehem and wrote, are translated much of the vulgate in Bethlehem. And he lived in a cave in an underground cave in Bethlehem. And he talks at some detail about the actual cave, he gives the dimension, the shape, and indicates that peep and he's writing in the fourth century, but he gives indication of the fact that Christians were going there early Christians were going there so that they could go into the cave and see the niches and see the size and see the stone and so forth. Anyhow, that's part I think of what is involved in Mary and Joseph Going to a family member's house, finding that the guest room had already been taken probably fill, maybe overflowing. And so there was simply no room left. And what they did was they went downstairs as it were. And while they were there, Jesus was born. And he was laid in one of the only objects or areas that a person might be laid in an underground cave, where there are animals brought in for overnight protection.
Thank you so much, Dr. Beitzel, for showing us how all of these cultural and geographical factors work together to give us this rich description of these traditional stories that we find in the Gospels. Thank you, Dr. bytes. So in chapter nine of this text, chapter nine is titled Capernaum, a strategic home for for the Messiah. It's written by Aubrey Taylor. We learned that Copernicus represented a crossroads where Jesus Message could find new hearers. What were some of the features of Copernicus that may have attracted Jesus to establish His ministry there?
Well, it's an interesting question. Because in terms of actual air mileage, the distance between where Nazareth is located, and where Compendium is located is less than 20 miles, it's only about 1718 miles. And when a Christian perhaps turns to the back of their Bible to a map to see Where's Copernicus, and where is Nazareth, it's on a map in the back of your Bible, it's less than one inch. So it seems like it must have been a pretty insignificant sort of move. Actually, it's quite the opposite. The mileage of course is the case. But in moving from a Pentium excuse me and moving from Nazca to calpurnia Jesus could be said to be moving from one world
to another world.
Now, he made that move in part, as the New Testament tells us because he was rejected by his own countrymen, there in Nazareth. And theoretically, I suppose it is possible to argue that Jesus could have gone anyplace else, but he chose to print them. So why did he choose to print him? I think it is fair to argue that it was a strategic place. It was a strategic move in this way. Nazareth was a purely Jewish town. In fact, it was a it was a what today we might call a Hasidic Jewish town, or what Christians might refer to as a fundamentalist town. The question of how Jews got to kopernik, including the parents of Jesus. That's a debated question that we could go into. But what we do know is that they that there was a company of Jewish people who went there early in the first century, and they settled there. And they did so deliberately. Because it was remote. It was isolated. It was it was buried deeply in the terrain. Until the days of bulldozers and dynamite people would not a Christian tourists would not be able to go to Korea, because it excuse me to Nazareth, because it is so deeply nestled into the heart of those tortured, twisted mountains of Galilee. It was a deliberate effort on their part to become countercultural. They were a small group of fundamentalist Jewish people who wanted to, so to speak, have isolation. Now, when Jesus leaves Nazareth, and goes to Copernican, he's going from a purely Jewish environment to a very much pluralistic environment. We know that both in the town of Nazareth, and in the Sea of Galilee, there were Jewish people that were Gentile people. And there were Romans. In fact, it was a Roman centurion, the New Testament tells us who built the synagogue at Capernaum.
and Jesus makes that change that transition. He's going from an isolated environment, to a totally open environment. He's going from a purely Jewish environment to a multicultural environment. And he's going from a place that is isolated from an international politics and commercialism to a place one place where it could be said to be thriving. Why? Because the international trade route that arch the whole way across the Fertile Crescent, from Egypt, in the southwestern corner, arching the whole way across the Fertile Crescent and ending in Babylon, on the other hand, went through the land of promise. And in the northern part of the land of promise, it went immediately beside Copernicus.
there is a sense in which Jesus by choosing Copernican,
in some respects did not have to take his message to the people. He was in a place where the people came to him.
There is, there is a piece of Christian poetry and titled one solitary life. It's you often find it in Christian bookstores, it's on cards on posters and so forth. And it's a basically, it's a piece of poetry that says, in effect, all of the many things that Jesus never did and all of the many places that Jesus never went, and blah, blah, blah. It's entitled one solitary life. It's actually a wonderful, wonderful devotional, a piece of literature. Well, there is a sense in which, because he chose nazzer, because he chose to premium. He didn't have to travel for I mean, people say, Well, Jesus only traveled, you know, roughly 100 miles didn't travel more than 100 miles from the place he was born. Which is true. But on the other hand, because he located the headquarters of his ministry, and especially if Galilean ministry, their income per diem, people walking through those town that town, those streets, those allies, hearing the message, learning of him they became instant and far flung ambassadors of the Christian gospel. One of the one of the most astounding discoveries, I believe, that I've ever made of a geographical nature is this.
If I were to ask you,
based on the New Testament, where would you expect to find the earliest the very earliest archaeological evidence of Christianity outside, of course, outside of the land of Israel? If someone asked me that question, before I had studied it, I would have said Well, take a look at where Paul went, because he that's the outward thrust of the gospel in the book of Acts. represented by the Ministry of Paul. And if you look at where Paul went as over against the look at the location of that land of Israel, he went to the north. In other words, he went into what today would be Turkey, or he went northwest into Greece, or into about a dozen different Mediterranean islands. He's out in the Mediterranean world. In other words, I would expect to find the earliest evidence of Christianity in the direction that Paul went. Now, it is true that we find a lot of very early evidence going north and going Northwest. But the very earliest evidence that we have is to the north east. In other words, it is not in the same direction that Paul went. But the three places where you have this kind of evidence. All of them without exception, are right on the very same roadway that calpurnia was on on that international archway called the Great trunk road. So I think one must conclude that that early, even before the
very far into the second century,
the gospel got there not because there were ambassadors that we know of, or any apostles that we know of, but because people who heard the message of Jesus in Capernaum embraced it. And then they continued on their journey. Their travels, they were merchants, travelers and people who were going through the program. And it's a wonderful and also the imagery, much of the imagery that Jesus uses is a function of being headquartered there in California. In other words, one of the big differences between those two places is that One is isolated high in the thick, thick mountains, the premiums right on the Sea of Galilee. So it's very unlikely that Jesus would have said in Nazareth, take up your nets, and follow me and become fishers of men, or where he talks about or he talks in, in a program about the use of millstones being around your head and so forth. Or he talks about fishing or he talks about a city set on a hill. And so in other words, much of the imagery that we find in the coming out of the mouth of Jesus is in part, a consequence of the fact that he made that transition from parent from Nazareth, to chronium
Dr. Vital This is absolutely amazing, these correlations that you're making between geography and the teachings in the gospels, astonishingly in chapter 40, which is titled a lesson on printing From the landscape, and that's an article by john Beck. We learned that when Jesus told his disciples that prayer can cast a mountain into the sea, the disciples knew specifically what mountain Jesus was referring to, and what specific See, would you be willing to explain this for us, please?
Yes, I'd be glad to do that. In the context, that's Matthew chapter 21. And in the previous chapter, and actually earlier in this chapter, or in the late part of 20, in the early part of 21. This was part of Jesus triumphal and we call today the triumphal entry. And we know that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem from the east because just before he gets to Jerusalem, he goes by the town of Jericho. And then a little bit later in his trip, he tells the disciples to go to the town of Beth pagi, or Bethpage, it's sometimes pronounced or maybe I should say mispronounce. And that's where they get the donkey and so forth. And so it was from the Mount of Olives, which is to the east of Jerusalem, that Jesus makes his triumphal entry. All right now, then the chapter goes on to say that at the end of that day, he returns to Bethany. Of course, that's the house of Mary and Martha, Martha, and Lazarus. We know about events that go on at that same house a little bit later, in our excuse me a little bit earlier in his life, but he goes back. And so I suppose we know that he goes back to Bethany. It's a reasonable assumption that he spent the night with Mary Maher in the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and so forth, although that second part of the is a bit inferential and perhaps that's not the case, but but I think that's fairly typical in Christian tradition or Christian interpretation to see that in particular, we know he went back to Bethany Then he spent the night and then the next morning. He goes, we're told that he goes, it's while he's going back to Jerusalem, from Bethany, that He gives this this parable of the fig, the fig tree that had no fruit and and so forth and so on. Okay. And he talks about faith like a mustard seed. And if you have faith like a pastor, see you could say to this mount and be moved and be buried into the deep sea and your faith would make that happen. Well, if one is traveling over the Mount of Olives, between Bethany which actually is on the east side of the Mount of Olives, just going up across the crest and then down the other side and right there is Jerusalem. So while he's making that trip is when he tells this, this parable well from the summit of the Mount of Olives loves. You can stand right there and look to your wall. If you're going towards Jerusalem, you stand there in your look to your left. In other words, you look south, and only about four miles away from there is a fortress that was erected by Perry the great. It's known today as the corrodium. Actually, it's, it's where Herod was buried. He died in Jericho, but he was buried. According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, he died in Jericho, but he was buried in herodian. Okay, you can stand there on the top of the Mount of Olives and you can look to the south, few miles but it's just the lay of the land allows you to easily see that fortress that was built by Herod the Great. In order for him to build that fortress. Herod had certain architectural demands a that went with To building up a fortress he was he was fearful. And he never felt fully accepted by Jews. He had had some bad experiences some near death experiences. And he wasn't about to take chances anymore. And so he, he had his fortresses built up and up and up. And one of the ways to build his fortresses and this happened, at least two places, one being herodian, he took two adjacent hills, and basically he had all the soil from the one Hill move to the top of the other Hill, so that now instead of having to parallel hills, you have only one Hill, but it's
a super Hill.
It makes complete sense to imagine that Jesus might have been pointing to the south, when he says, you can say to this mountain be moved, and then by moving a little bit more to the east, From the summit of the Mount of Olives, you could look back to the east to the southeast, and you could actually, on a clear day, you could see the Dead Sea.
that is I guess, that's a reason why that's not a idiosyncratic sort of interpretation. I think that's fairly, you'll find that interpretation fairly general, generally, and commentaries, but the geography of that allows you to see how that could become the view it makes complete sense
factor vital. These are truly amazing correlations that you're bringing out of the study of geography and the sayings of Jesus and the teachings of the Gospels. Thank you so much for sharing those explanations with us. Dr. bites. Well, do you have any plans to write a continuation of this commentary, perhaps something on the Old Testament or other New Testament books,
they the commentary is a five volume commentary. The second volume on x through revelation is already out both in electronic version and in hardcopy, it's now available, it's been available for a little bit more than a month that the third volume will be on the pentatonic, that volume will be 300,000 words, that is completely written. It is in the in house editorial phases, and it should be available sometime in mid to late 2020. The fourth volume is where I'm involved right now that's in the historical books 90% of that volume that the essays for 90% of that volume are actually in and have been edited by me and now most of those, most of those essays are in the hands of the people in log us and Lexan. The fifth and final volume is on the poetic and Political books. Those contracts have been a lot. Those essays are not due until about next November. That's November 2020. Which means I suspect that book will have in hardcopy will not be out until about October November 2021. Or there abouts. That's, that's a pretty much a guess at this point. This is a
very exciting to learn about these other volumes that are also coming out. So congratulations on on developing this five volume set exabyte. So if I can close with a question that we've been asking all of the interviewees on this program, and that is this, what would it mean for the church to be united? How is it that we would recognize this unity and what is it that we as Christians can do to pursue the Unity for which Jesus prayed and john 17?
Your question is going to exceed my answer of course. I have perspectives on that I suppose. Just like any other person may, for me, one of the keys is to be able to differentiate between what is important in the Christian gospel, and what is essential in the Christian gospel. That is to say, in the historic Christian church, and today in certain traditions within the church, there is a cradle foundation that we that we have, if we take the apostles creed as one good example, early example that certainly was part of the vibrations and the pulsations of the early church. that's a that's a fine statement about faith. But it is is a useful statement to me in the context of your question. In other words, there are any number of issues of interpretation and history and theology.
That actually are not covered.
We can think of any number of questions and areas you can think of any number of questions and areas that are not covered by a document such as the apostles creed. Or perhaps today I'm in a denomination that has 12 Cardinal doctrinal points, not 13 out of 14, just 12. And the people who wrote that doctrinal creed decided that they had to make a decision between what was important in the Gospel as over against what was essential. And they included only what was essential into that creed.
To me, it would be very helpful. It would help foster unity if Christians could just
between what is important and what is essential. There are any number of things that let's say are important to me and my faith and any number of issues that are important to you and your faith. And there could be places along the way where something that is really important to you, let us say, is that variance with what I believe that is really important to me, or someone else has an issue or something in theology. it to me is very helpful to say, is that an essential of the faith or is that something that is important in the faith? To say that it is important is not insignificant.
But it is not essential?
And to the degree that we as Christians could jettison what may be important to us and may in fact be important to our faith. I'm not saying that. It's It's unimportant. But if we can somehow divorce ourselves and distinguish between what is merely important from what is absolutely essential, and then focus our attention
on what is essential,
because I think a case could be made that what is essential, let's say in the apostles creed, or what is essential in the Casa Dhoni and creator what is essential in modern creedal statements. There is going to be a central core, it's not always going to be unanimous. It's not always going to be exactly the same. But there are going to be certain issues that are more contemporary issues inside the church that really are not covered by any of those creedal statements. And to the degree that that is the case. I would, I would suggest that we as Christians need to be deferential where things are merely important and fiercely hold to
what is essential.
That, that I know that that is simplistic. It's doubtless overly simplistic, but that is to me at that has helped me to navigate in theology even at a place like Trinity where I have colleagues who sign the same, the same doctrinal creed as I do, who are genuine believers just like I am, who, whom I value, like, I value my own faith, but there are places where we disagree, and we can disagree agreeably, when it's only a matter that is important to one of us, or both of us. I don't know that that brings unity. But I do think that creates an atmosphere, a foundation within which Unity has a better chance to survive and, and thrive.
It's been our tremendous pleasure today to be speaking with Dr. Barry weitzel. Dr. Barry Beisel is professor emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic languages that at Trinity evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, editor of the first volume of the five volumes set Lexan geographic commentary on the Gospels available from Lexan press. Thank you so much, Dr. Beisel for being with us today.
Thank you for the invitation, Jonathan. I've enjoyed this very much.