Daily Archives: 19 Oct 2016

The Joint IVP / SBL Statement on IVP Academic and the SBL Annual Meeting

InterVarsity Press Publisher Jeff Crosby has confirmed that the Society of Biblical Literature’s Council, at its next meeting on October 29-30, is taking up the question of IVP Academic’s right to exhibit at the 2017 annual meetings of the jointly-hosted AAR-SBL. That conversation is a part of a larger discussion the SBL Council will have regarding its protocols and standards for exhibitors at its events.

Crosby was notified of this intent to in a letter of October 12, 2016 from John Kutsko, SBL’s executive director, who made clear that it is a question — not a decision — regarding whether or not IVP Academic will continue to have access to the exhibit space.

“I have been grateful for the cordial conversations I’ve had with John Kutsko of SBL, and appreciate the many complexities a person in his role is navigating at any given time,” Crosby said. “For 70 years, IVP has been committed to fostering dialogue and a robust exchange of ideas. All of us who represent the IVP Academic program genuinely hope the Council will continue to make room for the particularity of the discourse that IVP Academic brings to the theological academy via SBL’s annual events. Indeed, the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature gatherings have been an essential component for our academic program for more than three decades.”

“While many concerned scholars have commented on social media and by email about a supposed ban of InterVarsity Press from exhibiting at the SBL-AAR Annual Meeting, IVP has not been banned or limited in any way at the Annual Meeting or for other matters relating to SBL. At its meeting later this month, the SBL Council will discuss protocols and standards for exhibitors and other groups associated with SBL in the context of ongoing discussions involving academic freedom and the disciplinary standards of discourse the organization fosters. Indeed, IVP was invited to contribute to this conversation. Further, SBL was not speaking for the American Academy of Religion, though any protocols for exhibitors would be drafted in conjunction with it. Finally, SBL values the contribution of IVP, and many SBL members have published with the Press,” John F. Kutsko, Executive Director, Society of Biblical Literature, said.


So, what does it mean?  It means what we already knew.  IVP is being discussed in terms of a potential act by the SBL prohibiting exhibitions at the Annual meeting.

No concerned scholar has said IVP had been banned; but simply that the plan as presented in SBL’s original letter declared that it was the intention of John Kutsko to request the Publisher not be allowed exhibition space in 2017.  So saying that IVP had not been banned is technically correct.  The fact that the declaration doesn’t say it isn’t SBL’s intention to prohibit IVP participation in the future is neatly glossed over.

Language is a funny thing but if you pay attention to what people say in carefully crafted declarations you can learn a lot.  SBL doesn’t deny its future plans vis-a-vis IVP.  It simply offers a smoke screen in hopes of persuading people that ‘there’s nothing to see here’.

The fact that Kutsko wrote IVP the following should not be glossed over-

I will request a temporary suspension of IVP’s booth registration for the 2017 Annual Meeting.

That is the key statement.  And it is not addressed in the ‘joint statement.

“500 Years of the Protestant Reformation. Trajectories and Perspectives”

To mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the year in which Luther nailed his 95 theses on the power and efficacy of indulgences, a conference in Santiago de Chile will address the overall impact of the Reformation. The consequences of the Reformation went far beyond the life of the Christian church and theology. In Germany and the rest of Europe, and soon in the whole Western world, new ways of viewing religious life, society, and the relationship between politics and religion emerged.

Organized by the Department of Historical Sciences of the University of Chile, “500 Years of the Protestant Reformation. Trajectories and Perspectives” is open to individual short paper presentations (20-minute presentations) by graduate students and established scholars in all the related fields. The conference will take place on May 29-30, 2017.

We encourage papers on the following themes:

  • Forerunners of the Reformation
  • National Reformations and their expansion
  • Political, economic, and social thought of the Reformers
  • The political and cultural impact of the Reformation in Europe
  • Works by major religious thinkers of the Reformation
  • The continuing influence of the Reformation

Presentations on related topics can also be considered by the organizing committee. Those interested in giving a paper should offer a title and a brief synopsis (300–500 words) of their proposed contribution. Proposals together with a short cv should be sent to Matías Maldonado at the address reformaprotestante.congreso@gmail.com. Conference languages will be Spanish and English.

Read the other details here.

Marginalizing Oppressors: An Observation

The marginalized always become marginalizers when they achieve even a semblance of power and the oppressed always become oppressors when they are granted the opportunity, no matter how slight.

Which One Is Telling the Truth?

This one-

The Council of the Society of Biblical Literature will meet on October 29-30, and I will raise these concerns at that time. I will also discuss my concerns with the American Academy of Religion to determine whether InterVarsity Press will be allowed to exhibit at future Annual Meetings, beginning in 2017. Further, I will request a temporary suspension of IVP’s booth registration for the 2017 Annual Meeting while we take this matter under advisement.

Or this one-


The one who isn’t seeking the removal of IVP from the annual meeting or the one who is?  Which part of ‘I will request suspension‘ is being misrepresented online?

While it is true that IVP hasn’t been banned (yet) in his own statement K. says that’s precisely what he will be requesting.  So, again, how is the notion that IVP is being excluded from SBL being misrepresented?

Excellent News From CBA

An email has just arrived which bears good news-

The Catholic Biblical Association of America is pleased to announce the first annual Emerging Scholars Fellowship. The fellowship is a graduate student award given to emerging scholars who show promise and appear likely to make significant contributions to the field of Biblical studies and enables Fellows to attend the Annual General Meeting of the CBA, to present their scholarship, and enjoy the company and conversation of scholars in the field.

Click here for more information about the fellowship, including links to download application forms and an informational flyer for your department bulletin board.

The SBL Executive Board Has Contacted the Editor in Chief of IVP for a Sit Down Discussion…


Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes at the SBL Executive Offices…


Let’s Play the ‘Which Publisher Should SBL Ban Next’ Game

To play, simply visit their exhibitors page, pick three publishers of whom you are ideologically intolerant, and write a letter to the SBL executive board letting them know how uncomfortable, unsafe, and marginalized those terrible publishers (whose stuff you needn’t buy and whose booths you needn’t visit, but never mind that inconvenient fact) make you ‘feel’.  Here are my three-

  • Baylor U. Press (because they’re Baptist and we know how those people are!)
  • BYU Press (Mormons.  Enough said).
  • Liturgical Press (Catholics… they won’t even let women be the Pope!  That makes me feel both marginalized AND unsafe.  I need my safe space.  Someone hug me…)

Pick your three, and send those letters in to john.kutsko@sbl-site.org

Thomas Romer on the ‘Tolerance of God’

They talk pretty fast (which means a lot of pausing and rewinding to get the sense for a mildly informed viewer)- but it’s worth your time.

The SBL’s Email Announcing its ‘Fall Meeting’ Fails to Mention Its Intended Action Against IVP

Here’s what the email says- and it just arrived from SBL-

Council Update: Fall 2016 Meeting Agenda

The SBL Council will be holding its fall meeting on October 29-30, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. In addition to covering our usual fall agenda, which includes such business as reviewing the society’s annual audit and its financial and department reports, the Council will also be working on new or ongoing initiatives. These include drafting a policy statement that affirms SBL’s commitment to academic freedom, discussing the possibility of convening special sessions at future annual and international meetings, and continuing our series of meetings with the SBL Committees to learn of each committee’s current needs and how the Council can be of continuing or better support. Be sure to check back here in November for a brief post-meeting update!

Given the behind the scenes efforts to ban IVP from the 2017 meeting, I find mention of academic freedom utterly ironic.  They’re going to draft a policy statement on academic freedom?  Surely it will have to include a mention of the fact that they reject it in publishers which do not adhere to their ideological agenda.

I also find it interesting that they don’t mention the intentions they sent to IVP.  Hiding something?

Comparing the New 2017 Luther Edition and the Earlier 2009 Revision

Luther 2017

Darum, wer diese meine Rede hört und tut sie, der gleicht einem klugen Mann, der sein Haus auf Fels baute. 25 Als nun ein Platzregen fiel und die Wasser kamen und die Winde wehten und stießen an das Haus, fiel es doch nicht ein; denn es war auf Fels gegründet. Und wer diese meine Rede hört und tut sie nicht, der gleicht einem törichten Mann, der sein Haus auf Sand baute. Als nun ein Platzregen fiel und die Wasser kamen und die Winde wehten und stießen an das Haus, da fiel es ein und sein Fall war groß.

Luther 2009 Revision

»Darum, wer diese meine Rede hört und sie tut, den vergleiche ich mit einem klugen Mann, der sein Haus auf einen Felsen baute. Als nun ein Platzregen fiel und die Wasserströme kamen und die Winde wehten und rüttelten am Haus, fiel es doch nicht; denn es war auf einen Felsen gegründet. Und wer diese meine Rede hört und sie nicht tut, der ist einem törichten Mann gleich, der sein Haus auf den Sand baute. Als nun ein Platzregen fiel und die Wasserströme kamen und die Winde wehten und rüttelten am Haus, da fiel es ein, und sein Einsturz war gewaltig.«

With the Observation of the Reformation Approaching…

Luther has some thoughts on Eric Metaxas and his dreadfully uninformed books-


Now Available Online and In the App Store- Lutherbibel 2017

If you’re like me and you can’t wait for your print copy to arrive, you can read the newly published Lutherbibel 2017 online here or you can get it at the App Store on your iphone by searching for ‘Lutherbibel 2017’.


The New SBL Lexicon Entry on ‘Tolerance’

To help you wade through SBL documents please note that the appearance of the word ‘tolerance’ doesn’t mean what you think it means.  Rather, in the new SBL lexicon, ‘tolerance’ stands for tolerating like-mindedness. Essentially when SBL texts utilize the word ‘tolerance’ in all its various forms it actually means

‘We’ll tolerate your views so long as they align perfectly with ours’.

If your views don’t align with the views of the SBL executive board then – oddly – you are deemed ‘intolerant’.

Those ‘New’ Scroll Fragments? Yeah, Fakes.

Nina Burleigh writes

The origin of the newest Dead Sea Scroll fragments, some of which are being sold in batches for tens of millions of dollars, is unclear. Many emerged from a private collection of the descendants of an Arab collector in Bethlehem who acquired and sold the first set of scrolls. But even the private collectors in Europe and the United States who have bought them are uncertain of their provenance.

American Steve Green, the evangelical Christian heir to the Hobby Lobby craft chain fortune and the force behind the Museum of the Bible, an endeavor Newsweekcovered earlier this year, has spent millions on the new finds. One fragment sold to the Southwestern  Baptist Theological Seminary conveniently refers to the biblical prohibition against homosexuality in the Book of Leviticus.

The problem is, experts suspect many of these sensational and pricy new fragments are expertly crafted fakes. For example, the fragment references passages in Leviticus 18 and 20 that contain the two strongest condemnations of homosexuality in the Bible. Such a strong coincidence is a flag of fakery.

“It is extremely unlikely that a small Dead Sea Scroll fragment would preserve text from both chapters” of Leviticus, says religion scholar Arstein Justnes, at University of Agder in Norway, who called the new fragments “amateurish” imitations that seem to have been copied from modern textbooks about the scrolls. “I think this fragment was produced for American evangelicals.”

Justnes  is creating an international multidisciplinary research project called the Lying Pen of Scribes to bring together scientists and scholars to systematically analyze the flood of new fragments for authenticity. “There is a real danger that an increasing number of forgeries is accepted into the datasets on which we base our knowledge of the ancient world,” Justnes says. “There is an urgent need for the development of strategies and methods with which to counter this threat.”

In recent years, scholars have exposed many high-profile fakes in Biblical archaeology, including pieces in the Israel Museum, the James Ossuary (touted as the first archaeological evidence of Jesus Christ and covered in a book I wrote) and recently, the “Jesus wife” fragment, which an investigation traced to a Florida-dwelling German émigré.

While the newfound  fragments contain references to the Old Testament’s books of Leviticus and Nehemiah, none so far refer to a possibly pertinent passage in Job, specifically 13:4 which states: “But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.”

That little trinket you think is ancient and invaluable?  Without provenance, deem it what it is- useless.