Daily Archives: 16 Oct 2012

Society for Old Testament Study Winter Meeting Registration Now Open, And the Program

SOTS Winter 2013 Meeting

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
2-4 January, 2013
under the presidency of Dr Eryl W. Davies

Printable version of the SOTS programme
The booking form for the SOTS Winter meeting
Location and Directions to Fitzwilliam College

The venue for all sessions is Fitzwilliam College, Storeys Way, Cambridge, CB3 0DG.  Publishers are invited to display books for sale during the Meeting.  Members who have had books published recently are also invited to display copies.


(2.00 p.m.) [Committee Meeting]
4.30 p.m. Registration
6.00 p.m. Reception 6.45 p.m. Dinner
8.15 p.m. Presidential Address: Dr Eryl W. Davies (Bangor) “Ideology and Constructions of the ‘History of Israel’”


8.00 a.m. Breakfast
9.15 a.m. Dr Janet Tollington (Cambridge) “Reading Ruth in Dialogue with Torah”
10.00 a.m. Dr Jenni Williams (Oxford) “Childlessness in the Hebrew Bible”
10.45 a.m. Coffee
11.15 a.m. Dr David Tollerton (Bangor) “Job the Irrelevant? Responding to Rejections of Job’s Usefulness for Post-Holocaust Thought”
12.00 noon Dr Helen Leneman (Bethesda) “Musical Paths to Experiencing Job”
12.45 p.m. Lunch
2.30 p.m. Seminars: EITHER “Creating dynamic Powerpoint presentations” (Ms Elizabeth Harper, Cambridge) OR “Accessing and using downloadable resources” (Dr David Instone-Brewer, Cambridge)
3.30 p.m. SOTS Wiki seminar (Dr James Aitken, Cambridge, and Dr Stuart Weeks, Durham)
4.30 p.m. Tea
5.00 p.m. Professor John Healey (Manchester) “Aspects of Late Aramaic Epigraphy and Law”
6.00 p.m. Reception, sponsored by Koninklijke Brill NV, Publishers
6.45 p.m. Dinner
8.15 p.m. Professor John Barton (Oxford) “Ethical Digests”


8.00 a.m. Breakfast
9.15 a.m. Dr Katharine Dell (Cambridge) “Reject or retrieve? Feminist Readings of Ecclesiastes 7:23-9”
10.00 a.m. Dr Mary Mills (Liverpool) “City-space and Cosmic Determinism in texts from the Minor Prophets”
10.45 a.m. Coffee
11.15 a.m. Professor Ronald Clements (Cambridge) “Solomon and the Regulation of Kingship in Deut.17.14-19”
12.00 noon Business Meeting (Members only)
1.00 p.m. Lunch, followed by departure

Want to Win a Copy of ‘Jesus Among Friends and Enemies’?

If your answer is yes, go here.  If your answer is no, go here.  If your answer is I don’t know, go here.  And if you are the sort which prefers not to answer at all, go here.

This Priest Would Have Been Right at Home in 1515…

Proving again that no matter how much things change, they remain the same.

Franciscan priest Father Sime Nimac disappeared after withdrawing the money he had made from selling a piece of Church land near Split without authorisation from the local diocese.  “The property was sold without the explicit written consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority,” the local Catholic Church said in a statement, adding that it had filed a lawsuit to nullify the sale….

Here’s where he resembles his corrupt 16th century brethren (except then they had fast horses, not fast cars)-

The 34-year-old priest reportedly had a reputation for living the good life, with a love of fast cars, good clothes and was often seen with a woman.  “He wasn’t trying to hide it; he went out quite openly with his girlfriend,” Lisana Ostrovickih, a resident of Father Nimac’s former parish in the town of Baska Voda, told the Sata24 news channel. “He was often seen on the beach with her. It was an open secret.”

Hold The Presses! Angelina Jolie Is Finally Going Public With Her ‘Outrage’ at the Treatment of Malala!

Whew, what a relief.  Now those of you who have been holding back on expressing your own outrage at the shooting of Malala by the perverted Taliban because there was no one in Hollywood to show you the way, no one who makes a living, and an excessive one at that, pretending (usually woodenly) to be someone else to break the ice and plunge into the Arctic of disdain first…  Rejoice!  Hollywood’s professional clowns are coming to the mic to speak!  Now the truth can be known!!!  Now the gods of modern culture have spoken!  Now we all can see clearly since one of their type has shown us the way…  Glory be to God!

Win a Copy of John Huehnergard’s ‘An Introduction to Ugaritic’

This freshly published and just appearing Ugaritic grammar has arrived from the good folk at Hendrickson for review, along with a copy for me to give away to one lucky soul.

Here are the contest rules:

1- In a few paragraphs describe how you came to be interested in Ugaritic.

2- Are you presently in University or Grad School and pursuing Ugaritic studies?

3- If you’re chosen as the completely random winner based on your responses to the first 2 questions above, what will you do with the volume?

Contestants must reside in the United States and answers must be emailed to me by midnight, November 1, 2012, at jim@theology.edu.

Good luck.  And watch for my review in the not too distant future.

Larry Hurtado Takes Simcha Jacobovici to the Proverbial Woodshed

He commences

If you want to see a good example of what be-devils any scholarly analysis of practically anything to do with Jesus and early Christianity, have a read of the postings of the Canadian TV self-promoter, Simcha Jacobovici here.  Jacobovici (who styles himself “the naked archaeologist” on his self-produced TV programmes, and offers no competence in anything relevant to the analysis of the fragment) notes that various scholars (particularly Coptologists and specialists in ancient Greek palaeography) have raised questions about the authenticity of the fragment (announced to the scholarly world in Prof. Karen King’s paper presented at a conference in Rome several weeks ago), and simply trashes all the scholars and queries as “sleeper agents of Christian orthodoxy”.

And then concludes

Jacobovici’s reasons for his scurrilous mis-characterization of the scholars who have raised questions about the fragment are all too transparent:   He obviously seeks to promote his own TV programmes and related commercial ventures, and his oxygen is sensationalism, largely hyped by him and for his own benefit.  As someone who has only reported on the on-going analysis of the fragment, I have no dog in this fight.  But I do have to condemn Jacobovici’s patently self-serving rants against fellow scholars, of various personal stances, who have simply taken up Prof. King’s invitation to weigh the warrants of the fragment, and have offered reasons for hesitating to treat it (at least yet) as genuine.

I would only say that Larry’s use of ‘fellow scholars’ is overly generous since Simcha isn’t.

Today With Zwingli: Der ander Sendbrief an die Christen zu Eßlingen

On 16 October Zwingli published his second letter to the good people of Eßlingen. In it he summarizes the Reformed viewpoint and urges them to lay hold of the truth and make it their own. They should abandon the papacy and instead, cling to the Gospel which alone can save them.

For Zwingli there were no gray areas. But this is true as well of the other Magisterial reformers, Luther and Calvin. Black and white were clear-cut for them and there were really no shades in between. (Certainly not 50 shades of gray, of that you can be certain!)

Here’s an excerpt in which he denounces the Papists and the absurd accusations they level against Zwingli and his colleagues-

… sy schriend: “kätzer, schwermer, buoben” etc. wuester weder bapst ye geton hab, man sölle die leer nun nit hören, kerend sich auch zuom gwalt, zuo dem sich der bapst kert, es sölle die oberkeit mit allem gwalt weren. Was ist das? Ist unser meinung so offentlich falsch, was bedarff es verbietens? Habent dann die glöbigen in den stetten und landen kein urteil? Wo ist denn, das der geistlich ermißt oder urteilt alle ding? [cf. 1. Cor. 2. 15]. Habent sy aber urteil, warumb last man sy dann nit lesen, das durch trüwe diener deß euangelii herfürgetragen wiert? Und ist es falsch, so wiert es dester ee verworffen. Kurtz, lieben brueder, man soll deß allerkleinste wort in der kirchen nit verachten, sunder hören und urteilen; das gebürt ruow und friden.

The Guardian Too Joins the ‘C-List’ Simcha Disdains, and Denounces the ‘Jesus Wife’ Fragment as Fake

In a report titled ‘The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: A very modern fake.’  Everything in the report is by now well known to those who have been following the story.  But it does conclude with a little joke which examines the implications of Jesus having a wife…

… the New Yorker alone was brave enough to examine the implications of the fact the Jesus’s wife, had she existed, would undoubtedly have been Jewish. Their Shouts and Murmurs humour column carried her side of the story:

“We were married in a simple, private ceremony in the desert, by a rabbi and someone whom Jesus called a Baptist minister. Right before the vows, the rabbi whispered to me, ‘Think about what you’re doing. Your children will be half Christian.’ Which was when the minister whispered, ‘So what? College isn’t for everyone.'”

Simcha Wonders if A Coin Proves Samson Existed…

He titles a report he’s lifted from elsewhere A Coin Found Near Jerusalem Proves that Samson Lived?

Ha. And he accuses others of being ‘c-list’… But here’s a guy who has absolutely not one shred of professional training in any field related to biblical studies or archaeology and he’s accusing others of not knowing what they’re talking about. Talk about your stunning hubris.  And since the discovery was widely discussed elsewhere earlier perhaps he should have consulted the people whom he denigrates and thus spared himself the embarrassment of asking the question in the first place.

If he knew anything at all about the field he would know that the answer to his question is no. In fact, it isn’t even a legitimate question but just another of his sensationalizing attempts to garner publicity.  But perhaps he’s planning a film…  for the Discovery Channel… [With thanks to Keith Whitelam for mentioning the ‘report’].