Psalms for Our Time: Or, Psalms Your Pastor Will Never Mention

  • You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil, no sinner can be your guest. Boasters cannot stand their ground under your gaze. You hate evil-doers,  liars you destroy; the violent and deceitful Yahweh detests. (Ps. 5:4-6 NJB)
  • Break the arm of the wicked and evil, seek out wickedness till there is none left to be found. (Ps. 10:15 NJB)
  • Arise, Yahweh, confront him and bring him down, with your sword save my life from the wicked (Ps. 17:13 NJB)
  • May their own table prove a trap for them, and their abundance a snare; may their eyes grow so dim that they cannot see, all their muscles lose their strength.  Vent your fury on them, let your burning anger overtake them. Reduce their encampment to ruin, and leave their tents untenanted, for hounding someone you had already stricken, for redoubling the pain of one you had wounded. Charge them with crime after crime, exclude them from your saving justice, erase them from the book of life, do not enrol them among the upright. (Ps. 69:22-28 NJB)
  • Treat them like Midian and Sisera, like Jabin at the river Kishon; wiped out at En-Dor, they served to manure the ground.  Treat their leaders like Oreb and Zeeb, all their commanders like Zebah and Zalmunna,  … My God, treat them like thistledown, like chaff at the mercy of the wind. As fire devours a forest, as a flame sets mountains ablaze,  so drive them away with your tempest, by your whirlwind fill them with terror. Shame written all over their faces, let them seek your name, Yahweh! Dishonour and terror be always theirs, death also and destruction. (Ps. 83:9-17 NJB)

The Psalmists were more honest in their prayers than nearly all Christians.

Quote of the Day

“There is now no pardon, but it is the time of extreme vengeance, for they have too long abused God’s forbearance, who has borne with them, kindly and even sweetly exhorted them to repent, and testified that he would be exorable and propitious, provided they returned to the right way.” — Calvin

RefoThursday

“To make intercessions for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.”—John Calvin

That’s the header quote.  Enjoy the essay by Dawn Moore here.

For Your Reading Pleasure

Mohr has some new works that may interest you guys (gals, people, undecided, and indeterminate)-

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Frick, Peter Understanding Bonhoeffer

In this volume, Peter Frick attempts to answer the question of how to understand Bonhoeffer. By examining different aspects of his thought in a comprehensive manner, each of the essays, which were written between 2007 and 2014, illuminates nuances of the hermeneutical, philosophical, theological, and social dimensions of Bonhoeffer’s writings.

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Ezekiel Current Debates and Future Directions. Ed. by William A. Tooman and Penelope Barter

The twenty-seven essays collected in this volume were first presented at two symposia on the theme “Ezekiel in International Perspective”. The meetings allowed moments of introspection, providing the freedom and opportunity to reflect on questions of appropriate evidence, suitable methodology, and argumentative plausibility by juxtaposing papers from diverse perspectives. The resulting collection is a portrait of the discipline in the present and a prospectus for future research.

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Szkredka, Slawomir Sinners and Sinfulness in Luke A Study of Direct and Indirect References in the Initial Episodes of Jesus’ Activity

There are many sinners in the Gospel of Luke. Still, as Sławomir Szkredka’s study demonstrates, the sinners are not an easily identifiable category of characters. Szkredka shows that, in the end, what the reader understands about sinners is that he or she must discover and assimilate Jesus’ perception of them.

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Pachoumi, Eleni The Concepts of the Divine in the Greek Magical Papyri

How do philosophical, religious and mystical assimilations affect the concepts of the divine in the Greek magical papyri? Eleni Pachoumi examines in detail the manifold concepts of the divine and, through a careful analysis of the ritual practices and spells, uncovers the underlying parallelisms and influences.

The Two Gifts Karl Barth Treasured Most

barth92A random fact about Karl Barth with which you may or may not be familiar- but of all the gifts he was ever given he treasured most the Weimar Ausgabe of Luther’s Works (and that was an amazing gift indeed from an exceedingly kind soul) and the complete recordings of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

When visitors dropped by his house he was sure to be more than happy to point out those books and those records.  Barth began each day with breakfast, a pipe, the newspaper, and a piece from Mozart.

It’s my conviction that it was listening to Mozart that Barth found the mental acuity to do his work.  Mozart makes you smarter.  Reading Luther does too.

Barth had his faults but his love of Mozart and Luther covered a multitude of sins.

[And I love the old man almost as much as I love Brunner and Zwingli, fyi].

The June Avignonian Carnival of ‘May Biblical Studies End of the Academic Year’ Goodness

your host

The month of May saw the publication of a variety of Biblical Studies related posts across the spectrum of the Biblioblogging / Biblical Studies Kingdom.  Readers will find in what follows the best of the lot.*  If it’s here, it’s worthwhile. Mainly because there’s lots of academic vacationing going on and people are napping. Outside of this listing (annotated), there is nothing but darkness and weeping and wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

Hebrew Bible

There was a conference on Hosea that was video taped that Deane posted concerning.  Various and sundry among you may find it to be worth checking out.  It was at Wycliffe College so you’ll get to hear British accents AND none of them will belong to Ken Ham!

Richard Bartholomew shares a bit about the so called ‘Babel Stele’ and the tv special on it that isn’t.

Deane Galbraith has a very intriguing post titled ‘Canaanite Reconstructionism’.  Apparently there are Canaanite Reconstructionists! Yes, among the small number of neopagans in Israel, there are some Israelis who are trying to ‘revive’ Ugaritic and Canaanite religion. They honour or worship Asherah, Anat, or Ba’al – goddesses and gods worshiped by ancient Hebrews.  Weirdos.

Jim Tabor has a fun post on the shifting meaning of Pentecost.  It’s not your Pentebabbleist friend’s holiday.

If Hebrew Grammar is your thing, this post by RH might be right what you’re looking for.  Saturday morning a presented a paper at the annual Canadian Society for Biblical Studies. In the paper, I addressed some issues of poetic syntax. Why am I studying poetry? I’m not really that poetic or creative or literarily sensitive. (I will confess that much of passes for poetry mystifies me, but then I’d probably would have rebuked E.E. Cummings and told him to take a course in punctuation.)   Don’t look down on him with contempt just because he’s Canadian like Justin Bieber.

The folk at Logos are producing a new kind of Hebrew Lexicon.  It looks like something that would be and will be quite useful.  And for under $20 the price is right.  I remember when I bought a hard copy of HALOT from Brill I paid… no, hold on, I was sent a review copy.  Never mind.

Many of Jan Assmann’s various works are now available online for you enjoyment.  So enjoy.

Charlotte Hempel’s inaugural lecture at the U of Birmingham was video recorded and you can watch all 40 glorious minutes of it here.  It’s titled The Dead Sea Scrolls: Isolationism, Elites, and Austerity.  Scrolls?  The Elite?  What’s not to love?

The John Wevers Prize is in the news – and submissions are being accepted until August, so there’s time for you to send along the names of people you think deserve it like Jim Aitken and William Ross.  Speaking of my Bestie Jim Aitken, he put together a list of LXX resources that folk need to take seriously and add to their personal collections.

Also related to LXX matters, this post by Brice Jones about the availability of Codex Sinaiticus at the Library of Congress, in digital form.  Some good stuff there.

T.R. wrote a really great essay on Qeiyafa that’s must reading.  It’s full title is “Khirbet Qeiyafa – Some Thoughts of a Biblical Scholar. Response to Yosef Garfinkel and Aren Maeir”.  Get ’em, Thomas.

Phil *The Traveler* Long posted on the Apocalypse of Abraham.  Now before your head splits open because the Apocalypse of Abraham isn’t in Hebrew and isn’t in the Old Testament allow me to remind you that I don’t have a category for Pseudepigraphal materials and never shall because they’re not worthy of a separate listing.  So if it’s an OT personage their text covers, they’re in the OT section of the Carnival.  So there.  And enjoy.

New Testament

The big news of May is, of course, the announcement of an edition of the Greek New Testament being published by Tyndale House, Cambridge.  The actual Tyndale House and not the publisher of that name what foisted in the world the wretched nonsense of Mark Driscoll.  They also posted this  one, which discusses the route of textual choice.

Mike *Smeegal* Svigel writes  If you could travel back in time to the year 100 to visit several of the small Christian communities scattered across the Mediterranean world, what would you find?  Separate clusters of squabbling devotees with wildly divergent ideas of what it means to be Christian? A loose network of communities with a lot of love for each other but only fuzzy ideas about Jesus? Or perhaps tight-knit churches with standardized rites and a strong sense of belonging to the Catholic Church?  Ohhh… fun times ahead!

Brill’s Linguistic’s blog has some intriguing things to say about the Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek.  It’s not a review, but rather an ‘apologia’ which describes the methodology of the Dictionary’s invention.

Mike Kok (the Canadian Wunderkind) wrote a spiffy review of a book called ‘Peter in Early Christianity’.  He remarks I attended the conference which lead to the book and the book does a great job of assembling a number of specialists in a variety of areas to cover different aspects of Peter’s life and legacy.  In short, he was an eyewitness to the papers he reviews in the volume which sprang from the conference!  An eyewitness!!!  Richard Bauckham will be so proud.

Ian Paul.  Ascension Day.  What could go wrong?

Talking crosses.  Deane Galbraith.  What could go wrong?

An Orthodox Priest guy has some thoughts on Jesus.  It’s worth giving a read if only so that you can say you’ve actually read something from a biblical blogger who isn’t Lutheran or Reformed.  Let a little Orthodox interpretation into your cold and darkened heart, you pagan.

Pete Enns talked about the New Testament instead of the Old.  He has some interesting ideas.  He concludes  “How do we understand Israel’s story in light of Jesus?” Tracing the theme of “land” throughout the Bible is an entry point to observing this pervasive transformative process. [An earlier version of this post appeared in July 2013.]  Sounds a lot like NT Wright.

Books and Book Reviews

Phil Long reviewed a book on the Book of Revelation.  And not once did he write ‘Revelations’ (because if he had, his post wouldn’t be included and he would be the object of much imprecatory praying).

Have you ever read a review of a review?  Well now’s your chance…  You can read a review of a Hebrew grammatical thingy book thing.  It’s on the relative clause!  WOW!!!  Calm down, Hebraists~~~  All that excitement may kill you.

Chris Le Keith mentioned the second edition of Bauckham’s ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses’ and the fact that Eerdmans is giving a copy away.  It’s nice to see the ‘Jesus Blog’ people carrying on without Crossley.

Sarah Dixson runs an interesting site devoted exclusively to book reviews on biblical studies and early Christianity stuff.  In May she posted two reviews:  one on a book by Fretheim and one on a book by someone named Mugridge.

I reviewed a volume titled ‘Salvation by Allegiance Alone’.  I have to say, I wasn’t unduly persuaded by the argument.   I tried to like it.  I really did.  I tried really, really hard.  I failed.  😦

Brill made available, for free, a copy of the very engaging volume ‘Women in the Bible, Qumran, and Early Rabbinic Literature.’  If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, do so ASAP.

Not reviewed yet but a volume that should be on your radar is this one titled ‘Revelation as Pastiche‘.  I don’t know what a pastiche is but it sounds spicy.

Here’s a new volume worth a look- Texts, Practices, and Groups. Multidisciplinary approaches to the history of Jesus’ followers in the first two centuries by the lovely Italian team of Destro and Pesce.

Whenever someone wants to know what version of the Bible is ‘the best’, I always point them here.  You should too, because it’s the truth.

Finally- hey RBL- what’s the deal with hiding behind a paywall?  Robert’s miffed and he isn’t alone.

Conferences

The Bible and Politics conference paper lineup looks pleasant.  It’s a shame it’s in England because I’d like to attend, but as Trump has taught us, England is a land rife with Islamic terrorists and you can’t even walk the streets without being killed.

Jim Davila brings this conference to our attention: Law as Religion: Religion as Law.  Take heed lest thou breakest the law.

Konrad Schmid posted news of a conference in Vienna.  Ah, Vienna….  Ah, Conferences on the Old Testament.  All my conferences this coming conference season are related to Church history.  So it will be nice to return to SBL in 2018 in Denver.

Miscellaneous

Brian Davidson had a post about writing and taking notes using some sort of fancy nancy software thing.  This will interest the 8 among you who actually write and it may be of eventual interest to those of you who one day stop playing with your PS2 and do some actual work.

Also related to the issue of scholarship- a post about pedagogy.  And a very insightful one it is at that.  You’ll enjoy it.  Unless you’re a Barthian.  Then you won’t be able to read it.

James Crossley wrote a piece for the Bulletin of Religion which speaks volumes to the present political environment.  And yes, it includes bits of Scripture so it deserves a place in this hallowed Carnival.  [Yeah, ok, you’ve read it and not seen a Scripture reference anywhere in it… so sue me.  I enjoyed it and I figured you would too].

Bob Cargill thinks Trump should have visited Masada.  Worth mentioning because it has to do with Masada, not Trump.  Who, you’ll recall, acts like this:

The latest issue of Relegere came out in May.  It’s got a little bit of everything (OT/NT/Theology) so surely within its cyberpages you’ll find a snippet to enjoy.  Surely.

James McGrath wrote a post about something.  I didn’t read it.  It may not even be on something about the Bible.  But I like James (all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding) so I wanted to include him in the Carnival so that someone, at least one or two people, would visit his blog this month.

Here’s a heartwarming tale of conversion from atheism to Christianity.  It includes this gem: One afternoon, I noticed that my usual desk in the college library was in front of the Theology section. With an awkward but humble reluctance, I opened a book of sermons by philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich. As I read, I was struck at how intellectually compelling, complex, and profound the gospel was.  I was attracted, but I wasn’t convinced.  Not surprising, is it, that Tillich isn’t very theologically fulfilling.  Enjoy the essay.

Here’s a list of people who haven’t blogged in a long time and who need to.

Looking to the Future

Here are the upcoming carnivals… and Phil Long is still looking for a Vol for September and October-

If you want to join in the fun, contact Phil.  We (the royal we) hope you had a good time at our (the royal our) Carnival.  Send along monetary tips to your Carnival host via paypal to his email address.  See ya in July.  And November.  And if you want to read the ‘official’ carnival it’s here.

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*And if you’d like to take advantage of a special ‘Carnival’ sale, I’m offering the Commentary in PDF to readers of this Carnival the special price of $100.  Just mention the carnival (and your email address) when you place your order.