Let’s get this out of the way right up front so that it needn’t be mentioned again: guess who was the #1 most beloved blogger of July? That’s right pilgrims- me!
Whew. That was close. I managed just a 20,000 point spread over my nearest competitor friend colleague compatriot. Speaking of blogging, don’t – for any reason – miss Ben Myer’s piece titled Theology 2.0 – Blogging as Theological Discourse.
Well let’s do it- what were the most interesting posts in August?
August started with an Australian bang when Matt posted his go at an always fascinating question- did God command genocide in the Old Testament? Well did he? And is it fair to impose quite modern categories (like genocide) on ancient texts? That, to me, is the central question that has to be answered before any other can. Why must God be subject to our notions of the way things must work in the universe? Steve Wiggins investigated the regularly investigated theme of divine kingship in the Old Testament. So far as I can tell, Mowinckel did the definitive work on the subject. Christian Brady talked a bit about Boaz (not booze, for the Aussies out there who got inexplicably excited at the possibility) in the Targum of Ruth. Marc struggled with Psalm 109 and he dragged Spurgeon in for help.
Christopher Rollston, epigrapher extraordinaire, posted a fine entry on the ASOR blog about the probable inventors of the alphabet. Sharp stuff from a smart guy.
Gavin mentioned an interesting series in the Guardian on Job, by a Jewish person! A Jewish person thinking about Job… the times, they really are a-changin… To bring Job-ian things back to an even keel, Bob Cargill uses Job 29 as a model for social justice. Hmm… I’m not so sure Job is all that thrilled with how things worked out in the backwash of that application of just compassion. A glance at Job 30 paints quite an interesting picture indeed and in it Job repudiates (or ‘refudiates’ if you’re one of THOSE people) the entire enterprise.
Tim Bulkeley discussed the ‘abstract’. You know, that little – devilishly difficult to write – 150 word summary of a 30 page essay we all have to write from time to time… And he also mentioned what looks to be a fantastic learning opportunity- a colloquium titled Isaiah and Empire. If you’re in New Zealand you really ought to make plans to go. But that’s not all from Tim (he did a lot of good stuff in August) – he also discussed one of our favorite topics- open source!
Ken Schenk takes a gander at Genesis 1. As Christian Scripture… Who knew… And speaking of Christian Scripture, Bacho Bordjadze, a new blogger, is blogging over at ‘Reading Isaiah as Christian Scripture‘. He’s got a number of great posts, seems to have a delightful sense of humor, and seems to appreciate Karl Barth (a tad). Check him out. I think you’ll be glad you did.
In August the Aussie Stevens attended a conference featuring Ben Witherington III and informs us a bit about it as the meeting proceeded. Joel and TC discussed Revelation a bit but, bless their hearts, they’re both wrong. It isn’t a book about enthronement or eschatology; it’s a book which ‘unveils’ Jesus Christ for a persecuted Church: he is the victorious Lord. Steven Demmler analyzed one of Bultmann’s sermons. Very much worth a read. Lamentably, James Crossley posted absolutely nothing, and hasn’t since the first of the year. But Chris Tilling recommenced blogging (see below, under uncategorized) with a multi-part review of Douglas Campbell’s amazingly long book. Ridiculously long. Overly long. Dare I say what I’m thinking? Unnecessarily long… I couldn’t finish it. It wore me down, and out. So I’m glad Chris is summarizing it. And I’m glad it’s Chris who’s doing it, because, in my opinion, no one working in the field today knows more about Paul than Chris Tilling. And I mean that in utter sincerity. Matt Page offers some very interesting observations on those sometimes confusing lists of 12 Apostles found in the Gospels. Joel informed us of an essay by Vermes on Josephus’ view of Jesus.
Brian LePort leads us down the path of examining John the Baptist’s shrinkage in a multi-part series. I don’t know why. I worry about Brian. I think you should all put him on your list of prayers. Michael Barber commenced a series on Peter at the end of the month, so you’ll have to check in later in September to see how it turns out.
Scott commenced a new series on apocalypticism in Luke which looks like something worth keeping an eye on. Stephen Carlson took a look at Galatians 3:1 and turned up some tidbits I had not considered.
There appears to be a new teaching tool on the horizon, and Mark points it out: sock puppets. Sock puppets? Incredible. Perhaps next we can use lego blocks and flannel boards and cartoon cut-outs so that sad benighted unengaged college toddlers can have their paltry attention held. Poor things, if there’s not a visual they appear to be incapable of grasping concepts (except when it comes to sex and drinking, abortions and partying- which none of them seem to need any instruction concerning, falling into it quite naturally and effortlessly – while their maids clean their dorm rooms…). Mark’s also still casting the pods, and he did one in August on teeth. Be sure to visit that one!
R. Scott Clark has a fine post on reasons why you shouldn’t buy into NT Wright’s NPP. Don’t let Wright make you wrong like he has so many of the gullible and weak willed. Nevertheless, Wright still has his defenders (though if those defenders would crack open Johannes Weiss they would realize that what Wright says about parables has been said before).
And D. Miller takes us back to the question of the language of Jesus.
James McGrath does a fantastic job reviewing Neyrey’s latest contribution to Johannine scholarship. McGrath is a good kid, and a good scholar (even if he does delve too much into the science-fictiony end of the wading pool). You’ll learn from his review.
In what has to be one of the more bizarre bits of news this August, it seems that many Protestants are returning to Rome. I’d be curious to know how many of them are already ‘Catholic lite” (i.e., Catholics without a Pope- like the Episcopalians and the Lutherans and the Anglicans). Wherever they’re coming from, Rome is glad to have them.
Rob continues his series on the practice of Baptism in the history of the Church. I’m not linking to any particular bit of it in hopes you’ll just scroll down and find the ones you want.
Dan Wallace did a great thing in August and he did it in a fine way when he eviscerated the nonsense known as “King James Only” – ism. KJV only-ers have to be the most uninformed and ignorant readers of the Bible that presently exist. Their lack of understanding is simply profound. And it seems, invincible.
Joel Watts posted a Calvin quote. That’s enough to get inclusion in any Carnival. In fact, my policy is, if someone quotes Calvin (in a nice way and not in an attempt to insult him), they are automatically my BFF.
Mary (yes, that Mary) experienced an apparition of her own in August: she had a toaster appear on her! Talk about turning the tables!
Stephen Smuts announced at the very last minute that the HCSB is available online in a glitzy yet useful format. I realize everyone loves online stuff but friends, you owe it to yourself to have actual books and bibles on actual shelves. They’re much better (because they don’t require electricity to use).
In August a Judge in California rejected the ballot initiative banning gay marriage. It was nearly instantly appealed as many expected. Also nearly instantly was the reaction among the biblio-theo bloggers. Bob Cargill supported the decision and Scott Clark rejected it. Both are worth reading. Needless (I think) to say, I concur with Scott on this one. Brian took the bull heifer by the horns and actually had the temerity to discuss the topic of ‘women in ministry’. Oh he’s a brave lad.
Matt Flannagan pointed us to the fine essay by Gutting which guts Dawkins. A fun read to be sure. And speaking of Matt, he’s not only a blogger with Maddie- he also blogs at a new (to me) Kiwi blog with a theological theme.
No, Michael, the answer is no. Science doesn’t have all the answers and it is particularly inept when it stumbles into metaphysical matters. Did I say inept? I meant to say utterly incompetent, uninformed, and dilettantish. But of course neither does Al Mohler have all the answers when it comes to what people can rightly believe concerning things science-y. Nor, for that matter, does he have any answers about most anything most of the time.
I lament the kidnapping of Roland Boer and the hijacking of his blog which, evidently, took place in August. How do I know? Roland B. would never do this. Never. So either he has been kidnapped or the Chinese have planted something in his brain.
Ben Myers has a brilliant post on theologians and their longing (thirst, quest, desire) for God. Be sure to read it if you haven’t already. Along similar lines, Helen Ingram wonders about doing theology too and the reasons for it (and she’s hands down the winner of the bizarre blog background contest!).
Stephen Smuts showed us why theology matters. If you don’t think it does, then you definitely need to read his post. And Gavin showed us (or tried to) that there’s a connection between the weather and theology. Nah. He’s crazy. I blame his head cold.
Archaeology/ Dead Sea Scrolls
News broke in August that Raphel Golb had rejected a plea deal and will head to trial in the middle of September for identity theft. Doubtless his real aim is to bring his father’s theories into the light of public day. Even if he loses the trial he wins. And speaking of his father, Norman lashed out at Robert Cargill’s NatGeo DSS special (as we learn from Antonio the always vigilant). Michael Barber looked at a scroll fragment in search of a Davidic Messiah. You’ll have to decide whether or not you think he found one. The fragment is a tad too fragmentary and imprecise for me. I fear Michael is making a suit out of a mere button.
The season at Gath wound down and Aren posted some very nice aerial shots of the site. Some very nice desktop themes there.
Hershel Shanks and BAR managed, somehow or other, to thoroughly negate Robert Cargill’s participation in the Israel National Radio interview which he and Schiffman did previously. And then, the next day, they did mention it. One can only wonder what BAR was up to when it marginalized Cargill for no good reason whatsoever.
JP told us about Israel. Israel, you know, the place where all the biblical action happened.
In August Matthew Page, the best of the bible film bloggers bar none, passed the 1000 post mark. Congrats! Chris Tilling started blogging again after a long nap layoff hiatus vacation prison term. Duane Smith gave us a very useful sticker with which to alert readers of the peril of journalistic ineptitude. Jason Gardner listed various bloggers and who they would be ‘fan-boys’ of. I don’t know what a ‘fan-boy’ is, but I did appreciate Jason’s rightly noting the importance of Bultmann. JD Kirk described why he continues to view blogging as a worthwhile enterprise.
Mark Goodacre (who removed me from his blogroll… why Mark, why??? I mean I can understand Davila and McGrath, Boer and … etc., etc., but et tu, Marcus?) discussed the interesting case of the unavailability outside the US of long out of print books on Google. It’s an interesting question for which I wonder if there is even an answer.
The New York Times had an excellent essay on the changing nature of ‘peer review’, noted and commented upon here. Biblical scholars need to reconsider their ensconcement in outmoded methodologies or they will become even more irrelevant.
Mark Stevens has been taking readers down a quite personal path. It’s an open window on an interesting life and you should check it out. Speaking of readers, you can’t have readers without books and speaking of books, Nick Norelli told the tale of his visit to the bookstore where he found the likes of Ehrman, Witherington, and Shanks on sale for a penny. I know! Who on earth would be willing to pay that much!!!
August 20th was the anniversary of Rudolf Karl Bultmann’s birth. Any carnival worth its salt has to mention it.
Finally, if all the good posts included in the Carnival made you feel a bit stupid, don’t fret. According to Darrell, it’s ok to feel that way! There ya go, [names deleted to spare the sensitive feelings of the stupid], you can feel better about yourselves now!
Join us next month. I’m sure you’ll feel way smarter. Our host will be relative newcomer Steven Demmler. He’s a student at Gordon-Conwell, so help him out (and be gentle… he’s not used to mean people!)
And now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!