Daily Archives: 24 Jul 2017

If You’re Having Problems Interpreting The Bible…

Read a commentary written by someone who understands the biblical text.  The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.


The books are all available in PDF format from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s a good commentary. But don’t take my word for it:

This commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

That Anonymous Letter of Complaint Has its Object Confused

Brigham Young University Greek expert Lincoln Blumell is baffled by an anonymous letter to the university that alleged he is preparing to publish a translation of ancient Iraqi artifacts illegally obtained by arts-and-crafts retailier Hobby Lobby.

Hobby Lobby president Steve Green earlier this month agreed to forfeit thousands of cuneiform tablets and pay a $3 million fine. Soon afterward, a letter purportedly from eight past and present BYU scholars accused Blumell of violating professional standards by translating some of the tablets and preparing them for publication.

“Adding value to these artifacts and legitimizing their seizure by publishing them, even in reputable presses by trained scholars, contravenes professional standards of ethics,” the letter stated. BYU’s reputation would be damaged if Blumell did so, the authors wrote.

However, Blumell said he can’t read cuneiform, never looked at the Iraqi tablets and isn’t preparing anything about them for publication.

He did visit the Museum of the Bible, which Hobby Lobby and Green plan to open later this year in Washington, D.C., but he visited a different collection.

“I looked at some Greek paypri from a different find and provenance,” he said. “The larger question, of course, is if Hobby Lobby obtained an Iraqi collection under dubious circumstances, what else has been obtained under dubious circumstances in the museum, which is a fair question to ask. My involvement in it was looking at some Greek texts, nothing involved with the scandal about Iraqi material and cuneiform texts. I looked at a totally different find and language.”

The anonyous letter, first sent to the Salt Lake Tribune, called for BYU to conduct an investigation of Blumell, an associate professor of Ancient Scripture.

“To be honest, I’m not sure what you’d investigate,” he said. “All I’ve done is gone and looked at some Greek documents.”

On the anonymous complaint, see here.

Debated Issues in Sovereign Predestination

»Debated Issues in Sovereign Predestination« examines three flashpoints of controversy in Reformation and Post-Reformation theology: first, the development of the Lutheran doctrine of predestination from Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon to the Formula of Concord; second, the doctrine of reprobation as traced through the writings of John Calvin; and third, the doctrine of predestination in Geneva from Theodore Beza in the 16th century to Jean-Alphones Turretin and Jacob Vernet in the 18th century. This book offers a balanced, historical analysis of a difficult subject. (Zur Leseprobe mit Inhaltsverzeichnis).

The Publisher has sent along a copy (via their magnificent North American distributor, ISD) for review and since I’m a big fan of predestination, I’m VERY keen to read it.

Some ‘Scientific’ Journals Publish Absolute Garbage

Now this is interesting.  It shows how easy it is to scam scientific journals and get garbage published.  With thanks to James Spinti for the tip.

A number of so-called scientific journals have accepted a Star Wars-themed spoof paper. The manuscript is an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes. I know because I wrote it.

Inspired by previous publishing “stings”, I wanted to test whether ‘predatory‘ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper. So I created a spoof manuscript about “midi-chlorians” – the fictional entities which live inside cells and give Jedi their powers in Star Wars. I filled it with other references to the galaxy far, far away, and submitted it to nine journals under the names of Dr Lucas McGeorge and Dr Annette Kin.

Four journals fell for the sting. The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research (SciEP) accepted the paper, but asked for a $360 fee, which I didn’t pay. Amazingly, three other journals not only accepted but actually published the spoof. Here’s the paper from the International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access (MedCrave), Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Austin) and American Research Journal of Biosciences (ARJ) I hadn’t expected this, as all those journals charge publication fees, but I never paid them a penny.

So what did they publish? A travesty, which they should have rejected within about 5 minutes – or 2 minutes if the reviewer was familiar with Star Wars. …

So does this sting prove that scientific publishing is hopelessly broken? No, not really. It’s just a reminder that at some “peer reviewed” journals, there really is no meaningful peer review at all. Which we already knew, not least from previous stings, but it bears repeating.

This matters because scientific publishers are companies selling a product, and the product is peer review. True, they also publish papers (electronically in the case of these journals), but if you just wanted to publish something electronically, you could do that yourself for free. Preprint archives, blogs, your own website – it’s easy to get something on the internet. Peer review is what supposedly justifies the price of publishing.

All of the nine publishers I stung are known to send spam to academics, urging them to submit papers to their journals. I’ve personally been spammed by almost all of them. All I did, as Lucas McGeorge, was test the quality of the products being advertised.

Peer review doesn’t equal quality any more than accreditation does.

Today in Melanchthon History

From our Saxon friends on FB-

July 24, 1518-  Philipp Melanchthon receives a letter from Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, appointing him professor of the Greek language at Wittenberg University, founded in 1502.

It was a momentous calling.

Brill’s Textual History of the Bible

For the LXXers

LXX Studies

THBOver at Evangelical Textual Criticism I summarize the aims and purpose of the Textual History of the Bible. I have mentioned THB‘s article on the Canon of the Hebrew Bible elsewhere on my blog. I do not review this work. I am only interested in drawing attention to a current tour de force in Hebrew Bible research that has potential (despite its outrageous cost) to update the state of the question of textual research. I hope it’s helpful to that end.

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