The December Biblical Studies Carnival

The December Carnival is strictly related to Biblical Studies.   We’re going old school.  We’re starting the New Year off with a gigantic collection of posts related to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.  And that’s it.  So enjoy!

Hebrew Bible

6a00d8341bf67c53ef0148c6c54ce8970c-800wiThe biggest news of the month was the appearance, on the last day of December, in the waning hours of the day, of the 8 volume Dictionary of Classical Hebrew for Logos Software.  For years and years we waited.  And, finally, just in time for this Carnival (because predestined to it), it arrives.

Word came that a bulla in Hebrew had been discovered in Jerusalem with the name of Hezekiah on it.  This is a big deal.  Perhaps the biggest deal of the month.  If you haven’t heard the details yet, you can find them here and you can see an image of the bulla here.  Casey Strine of Sheffield has some observations on the seal here and George Athas does here.

Phil Long wrote a nice book review on a volume on Proverbs I’ve never heard of by a guy I’ve never heard of and never would have heard of had Phil not mentioned it.  Book reviews- they teach us all always- even if what they teach us is that we don’t want the book.

200_sDeane has some interesting things to say about cats in the Bible.  They’re evil.  In or out of the Bible.  More interesting than cats is Michael Langlois’ intriguing observations on the Hebrew language.  He’s one smart kid.  And a very interesting conversationalist.  And a super presenter (as we all learned in Atlanta when he presented a paper at SBL).

Yigal Levin does some deep thinking about language, conquest, and Judah.  Give his piece a read over at Bible and Interpretation.

You can apply for a grant from the Palestine Exploration Fund.  There’s still time, so if you’re interested in archaeological research, do take a look.

lgo_nfl_new_york_giantsBible and Interpretation published a right interesting essay on ‘Giants’.  It is, in the language of Don Trump, HUGE!

Carly Crouch talks about the Psalms in this great video from Nottingham.  It’s very much worth watching.  Also worth taking a look at is the table of contents of the soon to appear T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Jacob Cerone (an angry youngster) has offered a review of a review in a book of essays.  On the English translation of the Septuagint.  A book in Greek.  It’s a good, albeit plodding and repetitive piece which by all accounts is an exact reduplication of the pace of the essay reviewed.  So – as the kids say – it’s all good.  Speaking of good, there’s good stuff on the Logos Blog about the Latin Vulgate (which Protestants too should know and use).  Sure, they want to sell you a copy but it is a business and the bits about the Vulgate are nicely stated.  So read it.  And speaking of the LXX, there’s a neat interview with Jim Aitken on Bill Ross’s blog.

The Finlanders are having a conference on the Synagogue in Ancient Palestine and they’ve issued a call for papers.  You might want to look into it.  Also along the lines of ancient stuff, Eric Cline’s great book on the collapse of civilization (thanks, aliens) has been named on one of those crazy end of the year ‘best of’ lists.  Still, it’s a good book, so we shouldn’t be unwilling to say so just because some random op-ed dude did.

vonradMichael Jones gave us (through a reblog) a reminder of the greatness of the greatest Old Testament scholar of the 20th century, Gerhard von Rad.  When you say von Rad, you say class and insight.  Would that our present academicians were as learned.

Rick Brannan has a post on LXX stuff.  About stuff related to LXX manuscripts.  Stuff like that.  He also reviewed a book about Sinaiticus.  He’s been busy. Of great interest, along those same lines, is this super essay on the making of Codex Sinaiticus from the British Museum Blog.  If you missed it mid-month don’t miss it now.  Cillian O’Hogan wrote it.

Antonio Lombatti provokes with a post on the existence, or non existence, of the so called ‘Temple of Solomon’.  Oh, the Italians.  What a wicked lot.

New Testament

There’s some ongoing discussion about Jesus and the syndicate on the Chaos and Jesus in History in Tradition and Reception and Modern Politics blog.  Or something.  I didn’t really read it, someone suggested it be included and I didn’t want to say no.  I’m a people pleaser….

All that historical Jesus stuff isn’t very interesting to me since Bultmann solved the riddle decades ago:  We have the Christ of Faith in the Gospels, not the Jesus of History.  And attempts to reconstruct the historical Christ are unfounded dead ends because we have insufficient historical material.  No one has ever persuaded me that Bultmann is wrong.  And of course Bultmann himself learned it from kahlerKähler, who wrote

The historical Jesus of modern authors veils from us the living Christ. The Jesus of the “Life of Jesus” movement is only a variant of the productions of human inventive art, and it is no better than the notorious Christ of Byzantine Christology. Both of them are equally remote from the real Christ.


martin_kahlerWe do not possess any sources for a ‘Life of Jesus’ which an historian can accept as reliable and adequate. I stress: we have no sources for a biography of Jesus of Nazareth which measure up to the standards of contemporary historical science. A trustworthy picture of the Savior for believers is a very different thing.

Those are indisputable truths.  But that hasn’t stopped the questers from questing.  They do love their Sackgasse (and besides, writing historical Jesus books keeps a lot of people gainfully employed).

kahler2Speaking of Bultmann- Travis McCracken shares a few of his thoughts as he reads through David Congdon’s gigantic book on Rudolf ‘the Demythologizer’ Karl ‘not Barth but a good and decent Karl’ Bultmann.

nh_spotted_newt_pingletonShawn Wilhite has some thoughts in an essay which concerns itself with New Testament as academic discipline.  It’s mostly about Hengel’s take on the topic, so of course it’s worth a look.

Phil Long is interested in the ‘two ages’ notion and Paul and the implications for a discussion about Paul and Apocalyptic.   Chris Trilling is also interested in Paul and how he should be understood.  I know I spelled it Trilling and not Tilling.  It was on purpose.

Lectio Difficilior is also interested in Paul stuff.  Particularly in connection with women prophets and veils.  Good stuff.  And don’t let the German summary at the beginning throw you off.  It’s an article in English.

Jim Gordon reviewed the new commentary on the Gospel of John in the New Testament Library.  It looks like a pretty good book.  Though I know it doesn’t surpass Bultmann’s (or Beasley-Murray’s), because, what could?  Nothing, that’s right.

Brant Pitre has a new book out on the Lord’s Supper.  I hope he mentions Zwingli’s correct view or else I will have to consign the bearded Papist to the same flames as the Methodists inhabit.  Speaking of Papists, Michael Pahl (who isn’t one) has a post on the ‘Real Jesus’ that you’ll want to read.  He concludes

We are right to look back to the New Testament for our understanding of Jesus. But the New Testament doesn’t present us with a single, uniform picture of Jesus. As much as is possible, we need to attempt to discern each of its distinct portraits of Jesus, not blurring them together, allowing each to give us an important angle on the Jesus who lived, who still lives, and whom we as Christians claim both to worship and to follow.


Roy Ciampa noted, with sadness, the passing of I Howard Marshall.  He was a true scholar.  The world needs more like him, not fewer.  Deane Galbraith posted a series of videos featuring Professor Marshall lecturing on the book of Acts down in Australia.  If you missed them, see them.  Peter Williams (among many others) remembered I Howard Marshall in a very nice posting in an email from Tyndale House.  And Eerdword did a post highlighting all those scholars who had died in 2015.  Certainly a post you’ll want to consult.

Steph O’Connor has some great observations on the Inn and Jesus.  She talks about some artsy stuff that I don’t understand due to my lack of culture and breeding but it’s still a sensible post.

uhf_ex_logo@2xDeane G. has some thoughts on Christianity in the Greco-Roman city.  City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday styles.  In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas…

Tiffany Webster got around to talking about what happened at SBL.  You’ll want to read it.  I’m…   How could…. It’s….  And Carl Sweatman posted an interesting essay which you’ll just have to see to believe about something you won’t believe even if you see it!!!!  [Mysterious, right??  The post is included only because I like Carl as a person].

Ian Paul did some thinking about Luke and the date of Jesus’s birth.  It must be December!  Jeff Carter talked about the little town of Bethlehem in Micah and Phil Long offered some thoughts on Joseph the righteous man.  And of course there was discussion of the ‘Virgin Birth’ (a phrase which makes no sense.  Births aren’t virginal, conceptions are.  So can we please talk about the virginal conception of Jesus, please).  Joel *The Lunatic* Watts spent Christmas with Chrysostom.  The Fathers… what a ghastly lot of poor philosophers.  Only Jerome can truly be counted among the Elect because he alone was an actual biblical scholar.  Him and Theodore of Mopsuestia.  Just those two. None of the rest.  Amen.  Even James Crossley chimed in with some interesting political remarks about the holiest of commercial holy days.  Even Richard Goode got in on the Christmastime fun with a nifty post on infanticide in Matthew’s Gospel.  Yup, it’s definitely December.


zwinglianaJames Crossley and Anthony LeDonne have been appointed co-editors of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus.  They’ll do a good job with it.  They’re both sensible and British (or British and American, who knows and I don’t like to lump people into groups).  It’s a pretty good Journal and though it’s no Zwingliana, it’s worth reading.  Sometimes.  (Let’s admit it, every Journal has a few crap essays – except Zwingliana.  And SJOT.  But other than them…  just take a look at JBL!).

Breaking My Own Rules

I want to mention one blog that isn’t related to the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament.  In fact, it’s not even related to someone awesome like Brunner or Calvin or Luther or Bultmann or Zwingli or anyone that cool.  It’s a Barthian.  His name is Wyatt and as much as I torment the poor guy I respect his work and admire his wit and humor.  Of all the Barthians, he’s my favorite.  Take a look at his little plot of cyber-space-theology.  You’ll find much to enjoy.


Tune in next month for a special carnival from a special location about which I’ll have more to say later.  But it’s special, and exciting, and contains some really great exciting things.  There’s excitement abounding (at least for me if not for you).

Oh, and since it’s the anniversary of Zwingli’s birth-