OCABS (Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies)
The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies was established to educate, inspire and challenge the faithful to recognize the centrality of sound biblical interpretation for life in Christ. The last 50 years have seen a wonderful renewal in the areas of liturgy, music, iconography, patristics, and monasticism. OCABS is part of a growing community of faithful in the Orthodox Church who are embracing the same renewal in the development of serious Scriptural studies and preaching.
The 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.
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.
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.