The January 2011 Biblical Studies Carnival
Welcome to the Carnival! Here we’ve rounded up the best of the best posts from as many biblioblogs as possible. That’s right- this month it’s a Rodeo Themed Carnival! Enjoy!
Hebrew Bible Barn
Rob posted a response to someone named Eric MacDonald about Adam and Eve and evolution early in the month, no doubt because he felt like it. Steve takes a look at Jehovah’s Witnesses and their idea of Eden (which is why I’ve included it here in the HBB). Claude Mariottini describes a report on the tombs of Esther and Mordecai. Mordechai… taken into captivity in the late 500′s and still alive when Xerxes rules… now that’s an achievement!
Joseph Kelly does a fine job discussing theodicy in Haggai. Tim’s confused about Jeremiah’s confessions. Poor lad. If he’d just read von Rad he wouldn’t be confused at all. Kids these days and their refusal to read things that weren’t written two hours ago on Twaddle. But he’s also cast more than a few pods, so I guess he can’t be all that bad. They’re “Biblical Narrative Podcasts” at http://bigbible.org/sansblogue/bible/biblical-narrative-podcasts/ – and that link lists 20 five minute podcasts on biblical narrative Tim has made over the last four years. Ideal (he hopes) for people teaching biblical narrative.
Chris Heard offers us a small window on his forthcoming Genesis commentary when he discusses the ‘Hexaemeron’. Meanwhile Joel Watts wonders if death was present in the Garden of Eden. Well of course it was! God didn’t kill the animals from which he took the skins in order to clothe the naked people in some slaughterhouse in Birmingham! Meanwhile, a new blog dedicated to – it seems – the HB and its ‘giants’ sprang (sprung?) forth in January. One of its earliest offerings concerns biblical big guy Goliath in an upcoming movie.
JPVDG did a fun series on the Ten Plagues (of Exodus, not modern American politicians) and he also has put together a very useful site he calls an ‘Image Encyclopedia‘ where you can see all kinds of awesome photos of biblically related things.
Aren posts an essay notice which discusses literacy and illiteracy in the Bronze Age. Was Israel a literate society? Or was it predominantly illiterate, as so many of us learned so long ago. It’s an authentically important issue.
Bob Cargill lectured on Jerusalem as sacred space and the video made its way to iTunes U (but do note, iTunes U isn’t ‘accredited’ so the information Bob shares may not be up to the standards of the snooty)(ok that was snark of course, but let’s face it, snark is appropriate from time to time- especially when it comes to those who call into question the quality of information based on a profit driven industry). He also uploaded one on Canaanite Jerusalem. Worth viewing. And since the Canaanites are on my mind, it’s a good time to point out Matt Flannagan’s series on their annihilation…
Chris Brady is interested in Genesis 1 and atheistic evolution, so he directs folk to – what’s that? Not Genesis 1? Some secondary lit? Oh ok. [Sorry, sometimes it's hard to hear in the barn]. Anyway, Chris directs us to Joel Watts‘ post about the topic and not to Genesis (or any other text in the Bible at all- which seems odd given the fact that he’s discussing the bible and atheistic evolution but there it is).
Oh, and even NT Wright had something to say about Genesis and Myth. Everyone’s a Gunkel-ian these days it seems. If only they would bother to read stuff published more than a week ago they’d realize that they’re not saying anything new at all.
Matthew Crowe is interested in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and so he’s summarizing it. And speaking of the fairer sex (not Matt, Enkidu), Darrell P. has a fantastic post on women in Israel. Really a barn burner.
New Testament Branding
Tommy Wasserman sets all our minds at ease when he divulges the owner of P10. Sleep in secure slumber, my friends. The mystery is solved! (Actually, it really is important to know who owns these invaluable manuscripts, how they got them, and why. So my apparent snarkiness aside, Tommy is to be thanked for bringing this to our attention).
I think James Spinti is on to something when he makes mention of a hermeneutic of convenience when it comes to the way people like to read Paul. I think all of us, in our more honest moments, will admit that methodological rules are as flexible for some exegetes as a piece of cooked spaghetti. If it doesn’t fit, bend it!
A bit of sad news came around in January when word arrived of the death of the brilliant New Testament exegete Rudolf Pesch. Pesch’s work, particularly on the Gospel of Mark, has been remarkably influential. He will be missed.
On the other hand, Chris Tilling’s eternally long review of Campbell’s Deliverance of God saw it’s 13th and 14th installments in January. A revised prayer has been written for the occasion which includes the line ‘And deliver us from Deliverance, for THINE is the Kingdom’, etc….
And the eternally long ‘James Ossuary’ trial is in its final stage (awaiting the Judge’s decision) – so Robert Eisenman has written an op-ed expressing his opinion about the whole ridiculous artifact. Good stuff too.
Paul Anderson is publishing (through Fortress, and due out in March) a volume titled The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel. Here he interacts with a review of the volume in a guest posting with some insightful suggestions.
Seldom mentioned in cultured circles is the book of Jude (deemed unworthy of attention even in most New Testament introductions). Indeed, when was the last time someone wrote an excited review of a newly published commentary on the text? So thanks to Kevin Brown for writing a very nice piece on the Christology of Jude.
Marc Regier never wants to
get married have a girlfriend go out on a date so he’s decided to take a New Testament passage which mentions women and teaching a bit too literally and without sufficient sensitivity to either the context of the passage or the context of the author.
Joel Watts falls for the ‘the gospel of Mark is a bit of subversive anti-empire rhetoric’ trap and discusses the expulsion of the Roman Legion Demons from the Swine of Gerasa. Don’t fall for it Joel. All that ‘seeing anti-empire’ everywhere rhetoric hubub is one of those fad exegetical techniques that appears, sounds promising, and then mercifully dies off as the newest fad is adopted. The Gospel writers were as interested in the politics of the Empire as the tea partiers are in justice for all.
Mark Goodacre did something of a mini-celebration of Albert Schweitzer, whose birthday was in January. He includes a number of fantastic photos and videos. Very much worth looking at if you missed it.
Second Temple Judaism Cow Roping
Hanan Eshel’s passing in 2010 was remembered in Tel Aviv where a conference was held and upon which Aren commented. Todd Bolen does some roping of his own in early January, offering a listing of links he suggests to his readers.
Timothy Lim wrote a fine essay on the ‘defilement of the hands and the holiness of Scripture‘ which appeared in the Journal of Theological Studies and is free for downloading until the end of February only. Get it while you can.
Tom Verenna did the unthinkable and promoted (*gasp*!) an essay in Biblical Archaeology Review on the discovery and promotion of some mosaic thingy-ma-job.
The Sheffieldians announce a book that loads of people will want to read because it
ropes the entire barn has something for just about everyone- Matthew Coomber’s ‘The Bible and Justice‘.
Mike Bird tells us why he thinks the ESV is the Cadillac of study bibles. My grandparents drove a Cadillac. They bought it at a police impound auction. It had previously been owned by a pimp. (True story). Ever since then whenever anyone says ‘Cadillac’ I can’t help thinking of something owned by a pimp and used for nefarious purposes. Which, coincidentally, fits nicely with the ESV…
Jim Linville opens the window on his semester’s work (though I really think he’s opened the window to get the cat litter box smell out of the room- but never mind). I’d love to be a fly on the wall in one of his classes. I think he should YouTube them. They’d be a hit (and much more interesting than the dry stuff we’re usually subjected to when some prof’s lecture… heaven help us).
Nick Norelli hosted a pretty interesting discussion on bloggers and book reviews which is worth taking a look at. I included it in this segment of the rodeo because writing reviews is like roping cows. You have to nearly strangle a book before you can conquer it.
Duane ties one on (or up or something) in his discussion of Israel Finkelstein’s most recent contribution to the field of archaeological studies which appeared in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures. I don’t think Duane is as much a Finkelstein-ian as I am. But then again I’m awfully bright.
Bob Cargill’s Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls aired again on the 25th. If you missed it, again, (what on earth is wrong with you?), Scott has collected all the segments into one handy locale. Among the Scrolls, of course, were copies of Ben Sira. Copies of that fantastic (why on earth isn’t it canonical for Protestants???) book were found in the Genizah in Cairo. So many leaves and fragments were collected that Cambridge is still sifting through them. Well in January, a fragment containing Ben Sira 7:18-8:18 was located and identified. I didn’t notice anyone else amongst the bibliobloggers noting this exciting find, so here’s my post on it.
Ben Witherington III wrote a book on work (and he does work! Dude writes all the time, so kudos to him for at least having a work ethic!) which was reviewed by one Rachel Bomberg on the Eerdman’s Blog. It’s a good review and it really does sound like an interesting book.
Early Christianity Clowns
What’s happened in the never ending quest of the Jesus of History, you ask? Aplenty! And the month (and year) started off with a roundup of posts by J. McG. But with a twist. Evolution is tossed in just for good measure (because nothing says dodging the bull like mixing two things that don’t go together in any respect). Mark Goodacre cast a pod in the direction of the mythicists (those bizarre creatures who actually assert that Jesus never even existed!). I can’t wait for Maurice Casey’s book on the subject. Mark also posted a couple of cool videos – one featuring Ed Sanders and the other Dom Crossan speaking about- yes you guessed it- their versions of the reconstructed historical Jesus of scholarly imagination.
Some Aussie kid named Ari (who blogs but has no blogroll… how bizarre is that?) tells us that the immensely expensive 4 volume Brill behemoth on the Historical Jesus includes a piece by Mike Bird (which is free to read). Maybe all the contributors will decide to post their entries and then some energetic Aussie kid could collect all the links in one spot and then no one will have to shell out well over $1000 for the collection. Kevin (another Aussie) reviews a book about putting Jesus someplace (and here I always thought the best place for Jesus was in our hearts).
JDR Kirk wants to take on the always fun subject of ‘who were the ‘deacons’ of Acts 6 anyway?’ Ben Witherington III posts a review of Readers and Reading Culture in the High Roman Empire. Be patient, once all the BeliefNet ads load and you can wade through the morass, you’ll find the review quite useful.
Larry Hurtado continues to explore early Christian manuscripts and offers more than a few insights into the material here. And Bob Cargill takes us on a fishing trip. Yes- you’ll have to go there and catch the big one.
Meanwhile, Marc Cortez took us all on a trip down memory lane, back to the heady and learned days of 19th century Southern christianity and its reconstruction of early Christianity. Marc is the last of a dead breed on this one… and what he’s done can’t be described, it has to be seen.
The month started with my own visit to SOTS at the University of Durham, UK. You can check out the various posts here. The SBL is already making mention of the 2011 meeting which will be held in San Francisco. I’m sure many will attend, Frisco is a fantastically beautiful city. Be sure to visit the wharf and Chinatown. Those two sites alone are worth the trip (not to mention, of course, the opportunity to prowl the book stalls and catch up on your sleep during those excruciatingly boring papers).
Aren Maeir summons ASOR folk to offer submissions on Philistine related stuff for the upcoming (November 2011) ASOR meeting. I mention it because submissions are due Feb. 15. If you find Goliath’s spear or his bowl or his spoon or his head, please do let me know!
Jack Sasson announced a conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which was blogged here (and I would have linked to another blog posting of it but I didn’t see any).
Varia and Miscellany Stable
First up, naturally, is the celebration of the KJV, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year. Matthew has some interesting things to say about it. Judith celebrated the birthday and return of Zenobia (but it was a rather short lived return, since the poor old statue went immediately back to sleep).
Also on the topic of bible translations- Michael Barber announced that the long awaited New American Bible Revised edition would be out soon.
Christian Brady has a reader who is a little nonplussed at Logos for their fairly spotty responsiveness to his queries concerning a Bible Dictionary project they’ve asked him to take part in. In answer to Chris’s question re: wikipedia… shame on him! But this does raise an interesting issue regarding Logos. Have they bit off more than they can chew? They have loads of cool stuff and they’re working on loads more… but as a result, stuff is dribbling out at a maddeningly slow rate. For instance (one of my own pet peeves), their Dead Sea Scrolls Bible module was years in the making (ok that’s fine) but when it was constantly advertised as ‘in production’ – for years – we have to wonder if Logos might do better if they worked on one or two major project at a time; brought it out in a timely manner; and then began another.
Of course they’re free to do what they want but they may well be alienating people with their frighteningly slow pace. One or two things done in 6 months is better, from my perspective, than 15 things announced and none produced for ages.
Craig Martin of Religion Bulletin infamy is interviewed by some guy about something. I’m not really sure but I’m assured by a trusted source that it’s carnival worthy…
There’s finally a Journal for those who write total ‘stable droppings’ and they can feel good about submitting their stuff to it! Marc Cortez shares the happy news. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read stuff in JBL that really is better suited to this new niche Journal…
Bob Cargill has come up with a solution to the ‘which blog is most beloved’ dilemma with – a BCS system… One word: ACK! The BCS is the worst thing that happened to college football (just like Mark Stevens is the worst thing that happened to Pretty Close to Emmaus. Bob also (gosh he’s productive!) informs us of a new Bible Aptitude Test (BAT). I wonder how many bibliobloggers could pass it… Anyway, about the top 50… guess who ended up on top at the end of the month. Go ahead, guess….
Ken Brown represents a load of bloggers who didn’t post a thing in the entire month of January. The reason? Well ‘writer’s block’ of course. My recommendation? More fiber in your diets, people, more fiber! TC Robinson ate his fiber and consequently he produced a fine tidbit on the need for students of the Bible to read good commentaries.
The Dutch are evidently angry that there are few Dutch blogs in the Official Top 50 list- so (as many other angry souls have done), they’ve come up with their own Avignonian Papacy. With the multiplication of lists, sins are multiplied. Oh, and speaking of the rankings, the sons of God (that would be the only proper ranking system, that which Alexa stats provides) have come down from heaven and hooked up with the somewhat skanky daughters of men (else why would they be hooking up? right?) (and those daughters would be the voted for blogs blabbity blabby blah blah) – resulting in a grotesque caricature of bloggingdom rankings. It’s the final sign of the apocalypse. Next up, the end of the world as we know it. Thanks, Danny Mc and the rest of the angry atheists who weren’t satisfied with the way things were… Thanks a bunch.
Not strictly speaking a ‘biblical studies’ related post, still very much worth reading (must reading, I would say) is Scott Bailey’s take on the horror of the Tucson slaughter. I mention it for two reasons: first, it generated a LOT of conversation out in the big wide world and second, it generated very FEW remarks among the bibliobloggers (though thankfully there were exceptions). I find this totally incredible and I continue to be incredulous at the ways in which biblical scholars demonstrate themselves to be totally disconnected from life. Small wonder isn’t it that their work is widely ignored. It’s only fitting, since too many ignore everything around them. Additionally, the astonishing silence of so many biblio-theobloggers on the revolutionary uprising in Egypt (though, again, there were notable exceptions) was just simply inexcusable. Truly. What irrelevancy our work if disconnected from events.
Another not strictly BS Carnival thing was pointed out by James Spinti- and since it’s both a dig at Twaddle and a quote from Luther- here it is.
As the month died and withered like the spirits of a school kid learning that they’d be spending most of the Summer in school because they got so much snow in the Winter, NT Wrong called folk to note a few new blogs added to the ever growing list and simultaneously urged folk to go ‘vote’ for their favorite biblioblog… (bwahahahahaha)(but I suppose if it makes all those people who really get no visits to speak of feel better about themselves, fine, ok. I’m all about making people feel better about themselves cuz that’s the really important thing in life…).
Thanks for visiting! We hope you enjoyed the rodeo! Visit the carnival next month when it’s hosted by Matthew Crowe. I’m sure he will be way warmer and fuzzier than me. But he’s young. Give him time…