The September Carnival: Provocations

Felix and Regula after decapitation

Felix and Regula after decapitation

This month’s Carnival has adopted the theme ‘Provocations’. Well, you’ll see- It’s all about the posts which I’ve found most provocative.

Hebrew Bible

Ralph Klein wrote a tremendous post titled ‘Questioning the Text’. Must reading. The Remnant of Giants denuded the tragically inept History of the Jews by Schama.  Bryan Bibb did a great bit of work on the tendency of some to turn the Bible into an idol (and turn the KJV into a god).  David Lamb does a nice piece of exegesis on Isaiah 9 which provokes many a thought.

Though including both New Testament and Old Testament texts, I’ve decided to mention here Preston Sprinkle’s delightfully (if not completely agreeable) series on homosexuality and the Bible.  It’s sure to provoke.

blenkinsoppSpeaking of aberrations- TM Law posted a bitlet about the ‘center of gravity for LXX studies’.  I looked through his list of suggestions and though he lists some good folk, Jim Aitken at Cambridge is the ‘cream of the crop’ with Kristin D.T. coming in less than a hair’s breadth behind.  But why study the LXX when there’s the Hebrew Bible to enjoy?

Phil Long offered a very nicely worded review of Joe Blenkinsopp’s most recent book on David.

Tim Bulkeley asks  Is there such a thing as (biblical) Hebrew Poetry? He also asks What sort of God do we sing?   Provocative thoughts worth thinking in both of those gems.

New Testament

A new book is coming out by the late Geza Vermes on Herod the Great! Chris Keith summarized the BNTC held in Britain this year (just like 20130913-105321.jpgit was last year and the year before). Sounds as though it were a lot of fun. Brice Jones showed the importance of the papyri for the study of Paul’s letters (and, consequently, all of the letters of the New Testament) and he also shed a bit of light on the superscription of Matthew’s Gospel. Mark Goodacre didn’t care for some tv presenter’s presentation of Paul. Unfortunately it was on Brit TV so I can’t comment on the quality of the show. But I can say, now Mark knows how I felt during the Old Testament portions of the tv special ‘The Bible‘ (which was, in both OT and NT segments, simply awful). Mark also had some observations on the absurdity that is Simcha’s claims to fame. Chris LeDonne (or Anthony Keith) shared the grand news that Baylor University Press has now released Jens Schröter’s From Jesus to the New Testament, the English translation of his Von Jesus zum Neuen Testament. Every decade or so something good does come out of Texas.

streeter2I have to mention this:  Maurice Casey’s brilliant book on Mythicists is due out in January.  You will NOT want to skip it. And try not to skip J.M.’s useful post concerning gnosticism and christology.  I’m glad Maurice finished his book before Bill O’Lie-ly laid hand to pen and wrote his pseudo-scholarly life of Jesus (about which Joel tells us and which he dabble-reviewed in a series of posts and which Candida Moss also reviewed (but it was on The Daily Beast and that’s not a blog so I can’t include it here (and she, since I’m talking about her, should blog more).  Not that Maurice would trouble himself with O’Lie-ly’s lunacy.  But at least he was spared the rubbish.

Brice has the interesting news clipping of the story of B.H. Streeter’s death in a plane crash in 1937.  A quite intriguing piece.  Meanwhile, Tommy Wasserman put together a list of the best commentaries for text criticism.  And Dan Wallace announced the fantastic news that the CSNTM has digitized the entire Chester Beatty Papyri collection and will be making it available this year.  Tim Gombis had an interesting discussion of the ‘Messianic Secret’ in Mark.  Phil Long made some fun comments about the Apostolic Council of Acts 15.

Anthony Le Donne posted a really good piece on the apocalyptic mind and 1st century Jewish mindset that I hope gets a lot of reads.  Very, very important stuff here.

Chris Tilling offers a word of thanks to a colleague for interaction with his book on 151865_216e6157d1Paul (the best book on Paul written in the last 25 years– no kidding.  If you haven’t read it yet- you must).  He also takes to task those silly people who these days assert that seeing Paul as a Jew is a ‘paradigm shift’.  Oh. Please.

Bill Mounce had a fun piece on whether or not Paul used ‘y’all’ in his letter to the Corinthians.  Tommy posted snaps of a reivew of NA28 in Biblica- and it makes some useful points.

Leo Percer offers a sermon outline along with salient points in a post that’s different than all the rest here assembled- as a provocation to remind one and all of the ultimate reason for biblical exegesis:  so that we might feed Christ’s sheep.  Which, by the way, is just what Michael Pahl does in his post on Romans 8.

Dead Sea Scrolls

Brian Davidson offered a series of posts about various software platforms and their inclusion of Scrolls resources. He calls it ‘necessary background information’. I call it cool and helpful. He also has an interview Ken Penner did with Martin Abegg..  Joseph Lam tweeted the happy fact that James Kugel has a lecture on the DSS on Vimeo- which I’ve linked to here.  Larry Schiffman made mention of a new book on the Apocalypse of Abraham by Andrei Orlov.  I’ve taken the liberty of mentioning it here because the A. of Abraham isn’t in the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament nor was it found among the scrolls.  But Larry is a Scrolls scholar, so, well there it is.


ASOR did, and does, a weekly roundup of archaeology in the news stories.  If you puechmissed it, you will enjoy it now.  There are a lot more of these weekly roundups than there used to be.  I look upon them as a style of mini-carnival.

Emile Puech had some interesting observations on the Talpiot Ossuary (after being misrepresented in a chat with Simcha).  And then he had even more to say and Joel has the provocative details.   Mark Goodacre had some things to say about it as well.  The more we look at this thing, the fishier it gets.  Finally, Bob Cargill translated for our Hebrew speaking friends the response of Simcha to all of this.

Joel took a recent ‘archaeological’ discovery to task, insisting, as he channels D.F. Strauss, that a certain village didn’t really exist and Mark just made up the name because he liked to do that sort of thing.  There’s nothing new under the sun- not even the suggestion that Mark was bad at geography (he must have been an American).

Larry Hurtado had a post discussing early Christian symbols (and I’ve listed it here because it’s an archaeological topic really).

Using Google Maps for Biblical geography is the point of Mark’s post.  Useful stuff there.


Dom Mattos of Bloomsbury and master and commander of the T&T Clark Blog offered an exceptionally useful roundup of Summer 6669627Conferences which, if you missed, you should see. Brian LePort offered a series of posts provocatively urging students not to blog. I don’t think people should blog either if they have a problem with being honest or they have more concern for their ‘career’ than they do the dissemination of the facts. Marc(k) (K)Cortez posted a very fine warning to researchers regarding ruining their papers.

Tommy Wasserman posted the abstracts of a conference held down under on Scribal practice.

A new blog is afoot.  By a fellow surnamed Myles (an Aussie, so there’s that). On the Bible and class ‘struggle’ (I wonder if that means that the freshmen will beat up the 8th graders again).

You’ll like very much Larry Schiffman’s post comparing Philo, Paul, and the Rabbis on body and soul, purity and impurity.

Joel Watts provoked us all to rage by mentioning the excessively boring and life-sapping “apostolic fathers’… Would that the whole lot was lost to history (except for Jerome and Tertullian before he went all Montanist up in this place- they were awesome).  David Lincicum too had something to say about one of the Fathers.  But since I like David better than I like Joel, I’ll just point out how wonderful his post is and how much you ought to read it.

Mark Goodacre announced happy news for Philip Esler- who’s going to Gloucestershire.  Josh Mann (who surely must just be 15 or 16) interviewed Joel Watts about blogging (as Josh’s series on the subject continues).  Joel’s completely right except about the parts he’s completely wrong on.

Matt Hauge asked ‘does the Bible mean anything?’  It does to Christians.  But it doesn’t to Anglicans, Unitarians, Universalists, and other depraved souls (including Methodists and Politicians).  But of course it does to people of faith.

50And, finally- Peter Kirby posted an entry on the top 50 biblioblogs by traffic.  Guess who topped the list…  No, really, just guess.  If that doesn’t cheer you up- this will.  And, making it official…

zwingli_lookoutTo the left you’ll see Zwingli with a pair of binoculars on the Grossmunster Church tower.  He’s always watching for provocateurs.  Next month, there should be a good batch of them what with the Copenhagen ‘Changing Perspectives Conference‘ taking place and preparations for SBL in full swing.  Come back in the meanwhile and enjoy the experience.

Chad Chambers is hosting the ‘Pretenders to the Throne’ non-Avignonian Carnival over at his *group* blog which, hold on to your pants, includes, take a deep breath, a woman!  Ghastly.  Like women can blog… give me a break.  They can’t be priests, they can’t work on cars, they can’t be Pastors, and we all know, they can’t blog!


[Oh calm down.  that last sentence was a bit of provocation, that’s all].

[Alright well fine, be all upset].

[Boy, you REALLY can’t take a joke!]

Tune in next month for more Avignonian happiness.

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