Skip to Navigation

OCABS News Archives

New from OCABS Press: The Rise of Scripture, by Fr. Paul Tarazi

The print edition of Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi's The Rise of Scripture is now available: Order Now.

Those who experience the Bible as a living text, understand that Scripture possesses a life and power all its own. Written by human hands, texts become sacred when they resonate with ultimate truths encountered in the direst of human circumstances. Paul Nadim Tarazi's The Rise of Scripture offers a cogent argument for the particulars of how it is the Bible as we have it became Scripture. Avoiding futile speculation over Israelite textual and ethnic origins, Tarazi lays bare the Bible's strategic defense against Hellenistic urban hegemony over the fertile clay and desert environs of western Asia. With the help of biblical Hebrew—a "concocted language," according to Tarazi—scribes wrote and shaped oral and textual materials into a manifesto of cultural resistance in response to the ethnocentric arrogance of the alien occupation. The successful accomplishment of such a defense relied upon a kind of leveling of the playing field, in which the writers of the Bible came to throw all their own false idols into the fire, resulting in the production of the most scathing collective self-examination in human history.

OCABS Releases Next Commentary in Chrysostom Bible Series

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) has released a new title in The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series, The Pastorals.

In this volume the author, Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, notes that the verb paradidomi (deliver) and its cognate paradosis (tradition) are totally absent from the Pastoral Letters. "Instead," he writes, "the verb paratithemai (entrust as deposit) and its cognate paratheke (deposit) are used to emphasize that what is written is not to be interpreted subjectively, nor is it to be modified, changed, or developed in any way."

The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation.

OCABS Releases New Audio Publication, "The Rise of Scripture"

"The Rise of Scripture" is a new audio publication recently released by the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS). In this seminal work on the formation of the Bible, Fr. Paul Tarazi examines "the who, when, where, and why of Scripture and its purpose." Tarazi's presentation offers listeners a rare glimpse into the painstaking work of biblical scholarship. At each turn, he bolsters his groundbreaking thesis with meticulous detail, drawing upon decades of research in his field. "The Rise of Scripture" audio teaching is a total of 14 hours, 25 minutes.

Order now

OCABS Symposium: January 22-25, Phoenix, AZ

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, AZSt. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, AZThe 2015 Symposium of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS), will be held January 22-25, 2015, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, AZ. (Download a detailed schedule.)

Building upon the success of OCABS's inaugural symposium, papers presented at the 2015 Symposium will be published in the Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies.

OCABS is committed to empowering current and future generations of teachers and scholars already possessing a love for Scripture. This dynamic collaborative enterprise cannot help but benefit the lives of students and parishioners in a world in need of hearing the divine Word.

Noted Antiochian Scholar Fr. Paul Tarazi Honored at Retirement Dinner

The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, in whose honor former students founded the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies, recently retired from teaching this year after forty-four years of service at St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary, Holy Cross School of Theology, and the St. John of Damascus Theological Institute in Balamand, Lebanon. As many as thirty former students gathered from around the world to attend Fr. Paul's final class at St. Vladimir's Seminary, and to honor him at a special retirement dinner. They were joined by his brother Nouhad, who traveled from Lebanon, his daughter Reem, and his youngest son, Bassam. 

Even into the final years of his illustrious career, Fr. Paul remained extremely active, having published during that time no fewer than ten books and a two-volume set of audio commentaries covering the entire Bible. Father Paul's unparalleled zeal for the Bible continues unabated in his retirement. He is translating his comprehensive audio commentaries on the Bible into Arabic, in a labor of love for the sake of his mother church in Antioch, offered in the hope of bringing solace to Christians in the Middle East during these difficult times. He is also currently completing work on the Chrysostom Bible Commentary series, with forthcoming books on Ephesians, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude. 

Father Paul's retirement is a great loss for students of the Bible; however, his growing collection of writings and the continued work of OCABS will remain to serve future generations seeking the light of God's instruction.

OCABS Press Releases New Commentary on Galatians

Torah to the Gentiles, by Fr. Marc Boulos, is the latest release by the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS), a center established to educate, inspire and challenge the faithful to recognize the centrality of sound biblical interpretation for life in Christ. The letter to the Galatians, notes the author, offers a brief but demanding exposition of the teaching of the Older Testament for a Gentile audience. 

Highlighting the Bible's struggle against idolatry, power, and human identity, St. Paul's letter exposes Jerusalem's fatal misreading of biblical circumcision: a practice given to remove social barriers had been co-opted to build the same. By imposing their religious identity and practices on the gentiles, the Pillars of Jerusalem had betrayed the Torah, offering things that pass away as though they were eternal. Worse, they had done so at the expense of the weaker brother. Having been liberated by God from the worship of Caesar, why would the Galatians now turn to another human master?

Father Marc Boulos is pastor of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church, in Eagan, Minnesota. He and Dr. Richard Benton co-host The Bible as Literature Podcast, a weekly discussion of the biblical narrative and its implications for everyday life. He is also co-founder of the Ephesus School, a biblical studies program for children and adults that emphasizes the Bible's self-sufficiency for teaching in lieu of modern theories of religious education. 

Order the book

New OCABS Press Commentary Features Hebrews

A new book in The Chrysostom Bible Series—Hebrews: A Commentary, by Antiochian priest and Biblical scholar The Very Rev. Paul Nadim Tarazi—is the latest release from the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies' publishing arm, OCABS Press.

In this volume, Fr. Tarazi notes the importance of the placement of Hebrews in the canon, which together with Romans, "bracketed [Paul's] literary corpus of fourteen epistles between two magisterial letters-Romans, addressed to the residents of the capital of the Gentile Roman empire, and Hebrews, addressed to the Jews who were still dreaming of the restoration of the earthly Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans."

However, Fr. Paul points out in this work, "God's city is not, as it was assumed by the Jews, the earthly Jerusalem that lay subjugated by Rome, but rather the 'Jerusalem above' (Gal 4:26), the heavenly city of Zion, toward which the believers are heading."

The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series exists to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation. The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies also offers a variety of other commentaries, a journal, a society for the study of Scripture, and exegetical notes for teaching and preaching.

OCABS Releases Two New Volumes in Chrysostom Series

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) has released two new volumes in "The Chrysostom Bible" series titled Isaiah: A Commentary, and Jeremiah: A Commentary. Both are written by The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. "Books in the Chrysostom Series are not so much written in honor of John Chrysostom as they are published to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation," notes Dr. Tarazi. 

"Isaiah can well be viewed, without exaggeration, as a mini-scripture. By the same token it is no wonder that, besides Genesis—the tone-setting book for the entire scripture in both its Testaments, and Psalms—the book of psalmody of the new Zion, Isaiah is the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament," he says, adding that "...the Book of Jeremiah...is the book where God 'alone' stands 'over the nations and over the kingdoms' of his entire earth (Jer 1:10) in his office of sole supreme judge of all, including the deities of the nations (Ps 82)."

Order both books and many other Biblical commentaries from OCABS Press.

 

New Commentary on 2 Corinthians Released by OCABS Press

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) recently released a new title in The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series. 2 Corinthians: A Commentary, is authored by The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Books in the Chrysostom Series are not so much written in honor of John Chrysostom as they are published to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation.

In this volume, Dr. Tarazi explains that previous studies of 2 Corinthians are plagued by "the unwarranted premise that the Corinthian correspondence contains different letters sent out on different occasions...The premise sounds convincing," Dr. Tarazi writes, "because several times one hears reference to Paul having written to the Corinthians (1 Cor 5:9; 2 Cor 2:2-3; 7:12), if not outright to "letters" (1 Cor 5:9; 2 Cor 7:8; 10:9-11)...However, when one deals with the New Testament books as literature, then one will realize that reference to something 'written' is a mere literary stratagem to draw the hearer's attention to the importance of what is being 'said.'"

Father Paul is also the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, and the Chrysostom Bible Series. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the Old and New Testament are available on the OCABS website.

 

OCABS Press Releases Joshua: A Commentary

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) recently released a new title in The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series. Joshua: A Commentary is authored by The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Books in the Chrysostom Series are not so much written in honor of John Chrysostom as they are published to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation.

In this newest volume, Fr. Paul explains that Joshua, like most of Scripture, has been "plagued by the proof texting approach of classical theology....Instead of asking the simple question, 'What is the book saying?'" most of us, Tarazi contends, "have been programmed to ask, 'What is the book saying concerning a certain topic?'...the 'topic' we are interested in is already defined in our minds...by merely asking the question, we are already straightjacketing Scripture."

Father Paul is also the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, and the Chrysostom Bible Series. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the Old and New Testament are available on the OCABS website.

Festschrift Volume for Fr. Paul Tarazi Features Old Testament Scholars

Peter Lang International Academic Publishers recently announced the release of a new title, a festschrift ("celebration publication") in honor of The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Tarazi, an Antiochian Biblical scholar and professor of Old Testament at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. The Festschrift in Honor of Professor Paul Nadim Tarazi is the third book in a series, "Bible in the Christian Orthodox Tradition," and includes a collection of articles discussing the latest scholarly findings in the field of the Old Testament studies. Scholars from around the world Fr. Paul TaraziFr. Paul Taraziconducting research in the Old Testament text, theology, canon, interpretation, and criticism have contributed their recent findings in the fields of their research and teaching to this volume.

OCABS Press Releases New Title: Mark, Canonizer of Paul

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) Press has released a new book titled Mark, Canonizer of Paul. The book, authored by Tom Dykstra of the University of Washington, "draws connections between Paul and the Gospel of Mark that are stunning, surprising, and original, and leave readers with a sense that the evidence deserves a better interpretation than traditional Synoptic models can offer," noted David Trobisch, author of The First Edition of the New Testament.

 Other reviewers have commented:

"For over 150 years the idea that Mark used the Pauline epistles has been recurring in New Testament research. Now in the work of Tom Dykstra, wide-ranging work and thoughtful, the truth of that idea emerges with a clarity it never had before. The result is to give a fresh sense of the origin and nature of Mark, of all the New Testament books, and of the quest for history.” – Thomas Brodie, Director, Dominican Biblical Institute, author of The Birthing of the New Testament

“In addition to its main focus on Mark, this book is a lucid introduction to early church history, oral tradition, the gospels’ genre, and how to understand scripture in general.” – The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, Adjunct Professor of Old Testament, St. Vladimir's Seminary 

Order the book from Amazon

OCABS Releases Ezekiel: A Commentary

Fr. Paul Tarazi, authorFr. Paul Tarazi, authorThe Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) has released a new commentary on Ezekiel by the Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi.

The Bible Commentary Series is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom, as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God’s congregation. In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, explains that "The most striking aspect of [Ezekiel's] message is that the exile has been willed by God...as a teaching lesson." Instead of heeding God's instruction, "under Solomon and his successors, [the people of Israel] treated Canaan as another Egypt where, this time round, they would be 'masters' of their own destiny. Little did they realize that neither they nor the Pharaohs are 'masters' of their fate. God alone is the Lord and master of all. Thus, it is God himself who calls upon the new 'Egyptians,' the Assyrians and the Babylonians, to punish Samaria and Jerusalem."

The V. Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is Professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, Galatians: A Commentary, 1 Thessalonians: A Commentary, Land and Covenant, and the Chrysostom Bible, Genesis: A Commentary, Philippians: A Commentary, Romans: A Commentary, Colossians & Philemon: A Commentary, and 1 Corinthians: A Commentary. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the New Testament are available online through the OCABS website.

Fr. Paul Tarazi's Old Testament Audio Commentary Released

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) announces it has released the second and final MP3-DVD volume in Fr. Paul Tarazi's groundbreaking Orthodox Audio Bible Commentary. Ordering information is available on the OCABS website.

As each verse of the Old Testament is read aloud and carefully explained, listeners can hear the story of the Bible unfold in its entirety, while learning relevant historical, linguistic, and literary facts. As attested to by Orthodox liturgical tradition, Scripture is meant to be read aloud to people of all backgrounds. Unfortunately, differences in language, culture, and historical circumstances often obscure the Bible for contemporary listeners. Throughout this series, the speaker repeatedly highlights poetic and literary connections from the original languages, overcoming the problem of translation and helping listeners to encounter the Old Testament as it was heard in its orignal setting.

The approximate running time is 75 hours.

 

St. John Chrystostom Academy Offers Fall Course on Romans

The Fall Session for the St. John Chrysostom Academy will start on Wednesday, October 19th and last until December 14th. This Fall's course is the "The Letter to the Romans," and will be offered on Wednesdays from 7:30-9:30pm at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1220 S. 60th Court, Cicero, IL 60804. The St. John Chrysostom Academy is an Adult Lay Educational Ministry of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine at St. George.

Download the Registration Form, attached here, and please feel free to distribute to your parishioners. Thank you!

Also, for more information about ongoing Biblical studies and resources, visit the newly redesigned website of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).

Fr. Aaron Warwick Reviews Fr. Tarazi's Book, Land and Covenant

From The Word, November, 2010

Fr. Paul Tarazi’s book, Land and Covenant, is a must-read for Orthodox Christians or anyone else who desires to acquire a Scriptural mindset. When I decided to read Land and Covenant I was expecting a technical and academic study of precise biblical terms – land and covenant. Although the book is certainly precise and intellectually deep, it was written in a manner that would make it understandable and appreciated by those with little prior biblical knowledge. In the end, Land and Covenant is a brilliant summary of the entire body of Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation), showing clearly how the message of Jesus Christ to all nations and people had always been God’s will, from the very beginning (Genesis 1). The most disappointing aspect of Land and Covenant is the book’s title: it is so much more than a study of these technical terms!

A consistent theme emerged in my reading of Land and Covenant, one that is present throughout Scripture and is also very much present in the tradition of the Orthodox Desert Fathers: non-possessiveness. Fr. Tarazi indicates that his desire to write Land and Covenant stemmed from the common misreading of the Bible that has led to much bloodshed over who “owns” the Holy Land. By offering a purely Scriptural – as opposed to political or historical – critique of the current situation in the Holy Land, Fr. Tarazi shows that the wrong question is being asked. Scripturally, God is the only “owner” of any land; we humans who were taken from the earth are given the gift of a certain earth/land on which we may subside, but it is never our property – all things belong to God. Likewise, no human society “possesses” God – He is the God of all people and all creation.

OCABS Press Releases Commentary on Colossians and Philemon

New from OCABS Press:The Chrysostom Bible - Colossians & Philemon: A Commentary                                      Paul Nadim Tarazi (Paperback: 130 pages, Publisher: OCABS Press, July 2, 2010)

The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation. In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, explains how both Colossians and Philemon are woven together to "'fetter' a free Roman patrician of the 'mighty' city of Colossae to the gospel whose main injunction is the love for the needy neighbor...both Colossians and Philemon," Tarazi writes, "when understood against their original background are lessons for the ages."

The V. Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is Professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, Galatians: A Commentary, I Thessalonians: A Commentary, Land and Covenant, and the Chrysostom Bible, Genesis: A Commentary, Philippians: A Commentary and Romans: A Commentary. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the New Testament are available online through the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).

Visit the OCABS Press website for more information.

Festschrift, Banquet and Booklet Planned for the Very Rev Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi

The “Bible in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions” unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, is excited to announce that it will be honoring the Very Rev. Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi on Saturday October 23, 2010 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his academic career. The festivities, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop PHILIP, will begin with a Festschrift (academic conference) on Saturday October 23, 2010 at the conference hall of St. George Antiochian Church in Little Falls, New Jersey, from 9am – 4pm. Lecturers have been invited from all over the world to present papers on subjects dear to Fr. Paul’s heart. The conference is free of charge and is open to the public, but an RSVP to attend is encouraged. The Festschrift presentations will be compiled into a special volume for publication following the conference. For more information, please click here.

To submit a few lines to the booklet or reserve a banquet seat, email: tarazifestschrift@orthodox.com, or write: Fr. Paul Tarazi Festschrift, c/o OCABS

P.O.Box 2902

Danbury, CT 06813

The Chairman of the Festschrift Committee, Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian PhD, can be emailed at vartabed@stnersess.edu.

 

 

 

Announcing "Romans: A Commentary" from OCABS Press

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies is pleased to announce publication of the latest addition to the Chrysostom Bible Series, Romans: A Commentary.  In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, explains that Romans, "the one gospel meant for all the nations living in the Roman empire East and West," was addressed to the capital city and positioned at the beginning of the Pauline corpus to emphasize the universality of St. Paul's teaching. Not only Romans, he argues, but all of Paul's epistles were meant to be read at church gatherings everywhere, "together with the Old Testament." The book is available in both e-book and paperback versions.

The V. Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is Professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, Galatians: A Commentary, I Thessalonians: A Commentary, Land and Covenant, and the Chrysostom Bible, Genesis: A Commentary and Philippians: A Commentary. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the New Testament are available online through the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).

OCABS Press Releases The Chrysostom Bible - Philippians: A Commentary

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies is pleased to announce publication of the latest addition to the Chrysostom Bible Series, "Philippians: A Commentary." In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, presents a reading of Philippians that uses the text "according to its own literary fabric," challenging the reader "to join the community of the Apostle's Philippians while listening to his letter...not to 'fathom' God's kingdom, but to inherit it."

Click here to order

An e-book version is also available

Land and Covenant Available As E-Book

OCABS Press is pleased to announce that Land and Covenant by V. Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is now available in an electronic version via Powell's Books. Click here to purchase the e-book!

Announcing Land and Covenant from OCABS Press

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies is pleased to announce the publication of "Land and Covenant," the latest in a series of books to be released this year by Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi. Personally commissioned by +Archbishop Philip Saliba, "Land and Covenant" addresses the root cause of Palestinian suffering—and Middle Eastern strife generally—through a stunningly comprehensive analysis of the Biblical story.

In his preface to Fr. Tarazi’s book, +Metropolitan Philip writes: "If you have lived in the Middle East since the inception of the state of Israel, or if you are a student of twentieth century Middle East history, you cannot help but take part in the debate which has produced many books on the ongoing conflict between Jews and Arabs, especially Palestinians...[Tarazi addresses this conflict] not from an historical point of view, but strictly biblical...Land and Covenant is a very scholarly and interesting biblical study, and I recommend it to all who seek the truth, objectively and without any prejudice."

Announcing The Chrysostom Bible from OCABS Press

This summer, the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies has launched The Chrysostom Bible, a new biblical commentary series for preaching and teaching. "The Chrysostom Bible," writes series editor, Fr. Paul Tarazi, "is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation."