In the past, Carnivals have been ‘uneven’ or even perhaps ‘nearly non existent’. But 2020 is a new year and kicks off with The Carnival to Beat All Carnivals. Titled simply 2020: The Carnival, it serves as the template for all the Carnivals to come this year: Fully stocked, cleverly curated, and vividly presented.
Carnival attendees will not have to suffer entries that consist merely of a link and a two word descriptor. Gone are the days of hum-druminess, dear friends. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!
Let’s visit the attractions from January and start off this new year of Carnivals right now!*
Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East
Jan Assmann has a very intriguing essay in The Torah dot Com about the blackening of Egypt’s image through the tale of the Exodus. It’s a great read to start off the Carnival.
Are you a bit odd? Do you enjoy really obscure, odd things in the Masoretic Text? Things like accent marks? Then, my friends, have I got the post for you. Enjoy.
Roberta Mazza has some news about Brill’s publication of some Museum of the Bible unprovenanced artifacts. Give it a read if you haven’t already.
What’s that? File footage of Dead Sea Scrolls stuff from the early days ya say? Well who wouldn’t want to see that?
Otherwise, the HB/ OT people must have had January off. Lucky devils.
New Testament and Early Christianity
Phil Long offered some interesting observations on 1 John. On several occasions. Take a gander. There was an interesting podcast (I know, I know…) interview with Deb Saxon about heresy and in particular heretical women that appeared early in the month.
Can we trust the text of the New Testament? Dan Wallace and Bart Ehrman debate the question.
They’re already issuing calls for papers for sessions at SBL. Here’s one for the text critics.
The Call for Papers for SBL Annual Meeting in Boston (21–24 November) is now open until 11 March. This year we will focus on the ECM of the Gospel of Mark which will be published soon (hooray!).
Leave it to Rick *The Papyrinator* Brannan to find out some obscure this or that about some New Testament personage from some obscure and relatively unknown papyrus. This time it’s about Miriam’s Tambourine. Whatever, dude. What. Ever.
Peter Gurry has a nice essay-let on the KJV and a passage in Matthew and versification. He posted it on twitter too in 2023 separate tweets so be glad he collected it all in one place here so as to spare you the scrolling of a thousand scrolls.
Mike Bird wonders if it’s possible to put into play today the so called ‘Haustafeln’ from the NT epistles. I say sure, why not. I’m game. I also would like to see other bits of the Bible taken seriously. Alas, those days are past now for most Christians (who have zero interest in doing anything remotely related to biblical ideas). Mike also wondered how theological New Testament theology is. I sense a new book in the works…
How do NA 28 and THGNT compare? Well naturally the TC geekers have been on the question and come to some interesting conclusions.
The CSNTM is very keen to get you to read a book about Myths and Manuscripts. In fact, if you don’t read the book in question, they’re going to send someone to your house and they will say ‘Ni’ to you from behind bushes until you do!
Nyasha Junior and Sarah Bond have a very good entry on how one of the Magi became Black. Or, in the words of their thesis- The story behind the rise and decline of the popularity of the black magus during the Renaissance has been largely forgotten, but at one time, the tale was used to explain the perceived need for conversion to Christianity, the three ages of man, as well as emerging theories of race.
There’s also this post about Sappho. Some text something or other found on some day in 2012 and there seems to be a debate about it. It’s connected to the Museum of the Bible… so, there’s that disclaimer. Sappho-ites, enjoy it.
The low point of the month came when word arrived that J. Ramsey Michaels had died on the 18th. That news took 9 days to seep out. Obviously Michaels wasn’t ‘famous’ enough for the world to hear of his passing instantly. But he mattered more than any celebrity ever has. Rest in peace, good sir.
Todd Bolen posted this in the waning hours of 2019 but I’m going to include it in spite of the fact that it wasn’t technically posted in January. It’s still worth a look. It’s what he calls the top 10 discoveries in 2019.
The ‘figural world of Judah’ is the topic of this lecture at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. Posted here.
Interested in olive farming in the ANE? Well then this is the post for you.
How do archaeologists decide on dating a find? Israel Finkelstein answers that question in this interesting interview. Watch it. And also watch Israel and Thomas in a YouTube video about their archaeological escapades.
Roberta Mazza has a not to be missed post on the ongoing Obbink scandal. Do give it a thorough read.
ETC has a piece on the bedouin who discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s a sort of ‘thanks, guys’ piece. And speaking of the Scrolls, Andrew Perrin has a post about them and fakes and frauds and such. Give it a look, for sure.
Don’t miss this essay, buried under a mountain of internetness, about the perennial problem with the excavation of ancient sites, unprovenanced junk, and related matters.
And finally, ANE Today hits another one out of the ballpark with this exceptionally well written essay on the alphabet. There are other Archaeology magazines out there but they pale in comparison to ANE Today and, to be quite straightforward, they have more interest in fluff and self promotion than they do in facts and science. Save your money, don’t waste it on substandard magazines, and instead use your time wisely and read ANE Today.
This is definitely one of the more interesting books I’ve read of late.
That’s not the whole review. There’s more. There’s more to, to Brian Leport’s review of a book called Gospels Before the Book. Mark Baker reviewed ‘Paul and the Giants of Philosophy‘- for those of you are into all that Paul stuff. John is better. (The Johannine Literature is far more engaging and enthralling. Admit it. Or be wrong. Up to you.)
Prof Stuckenbruck pointed out the publication of a thing. Some of you will be interested in that thing and some of you won’t. But you won’t know if the thing is of interest until you look at the thing.
Paul Moldovan (is that his real name???) reviewed (briefly) Doug Harink’s commentary on 1-2 Peter.
I enjoyed the author’s short treatment of Satan in Peter’s epistle (1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind: your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”). Harink finds that Satan is on the constant prowl against God’s people–the local community of faith–to disrupt its shalom.
Chris Tilling constantly disrupts my shalom. That makes him Satan, right?
Tim Mitchell, a student (and helicopter mechanic), has written a book review for JETS and he’s posted it on his blog too. The book is Larsen’s ‘Gospels Before the Book’. Here’s the sentence that stood out-
Though most of the work remains unconvincing, there are one or two aspects of Gospels Before the Book that might commend it to those who lack knowledge of ancient publication.
Oh boy… Now that’s funny. Here’s what Leonard Greenspoon thinks of the volume-
“[an] elegantly written volume … An invaluable resource for those seeking a clearer understanding of ancient literature, including (but by no means limited to) religious texts … Highly recommended.” — L. J. Greenspoon
So, whose word on the work will you take for ‘gospel’. A beginner’s or an expert’s? Read Mitchell’s entire review and I think your decision will be very easy…
This young fella named Matt Cover (if that’s really his name) reviewed the Lexham English Septuagint. He writes
I highly recommend Lexham’s LES! This resource will allow Christians to see the translation that many in the early church used.
I had NO idea that many in the early Church read the Lexham English Septuagint! There’s other stuff to learn from the review too!
Richard Hess also reviewed the Lexham English translation of the LXX. He misses out though and doesn’t call it the ‘translation that many in the early Church used’…
An anonymous, unnamed blogger calling herself the ‘Christian Classicist’ reviewed Jongkind’s introduction to the Tyndale Greek New Testament. [I searched high and low on the blog for some name, but alas…]
Bob Cornwall reviewed a commentary on Mark. Review his review for yourself, here.
Chris Tilling took a moment to blog in January. Just a moment though, and then he returned to cheese. His first and greatest love. He wrote, in part
I am delighted to hear of Prof. Rainer Riesner’s forthcoming book, Messias Jesus, for which more information can be found here.
Scot McKnight reviewed Nijay Gupta’s book on… wait for it… Paul, in a post titled ‘Gotta Have Faith, But What is Faith?’ And the revolutionary conclusion? ‘Faith’ means different things in different contexts! Who knew…. [I don’t mean to sound snarky, but when will enough books about Paul be enough? What can possibly be said that hasn’t already been said by someone somewhere? I beg you NT people, pick something else to write about besides Paul. He’s tedious and boring and no one liked him and we know that because no one ever went with him on more than one mission. Even Luke got sick of him. Move on, friends, to something else. There’s a whole Bible to think about.]
Jimmy Roh reviewed the T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism. Ruh Roh…. (get it?)
Hebrew Discourse analysis. Nuff said…
The discipline of discourse analysis is applied to Biblical Hebrew in Zondervan’s recent syntax, Basics of Hebrew Discourse.
The Society for Old Testament Study met at the University of Nottingham in January. You can see what happened there at the hashtag #SOTS2020. It’s one of the best conferences around. If you are into the Hebrew Bible, you should most certainly consider applying for membership. You’ll need proficiency in Biblical Hebrew and two sponsors who are active members.
Origen as Philologist will be held in Phoenix in November. Sign up now or you may be cut off…
The Museum of the Bible (yes, that MOTB) is hosting a conference in June on textual criticism and related sorts of stuff. It’s aimed at grad students and other gullible sorts. Do attend if you are inclined that-way-wards.
I posted a pretty good sampling of events at SOTS Winter Meeting 2020. Here’s the link. And of course you can see what others had to say about the meeting at the twitter hashtag #SOTS2020.
The Newman Conference which focused on ‘The God Who Speaks’ was a fantastic event with amazing sessions. 2020 is the ‘Year of the Bible’ and this event was the launch of that celebration in the United Kingdom.
Will Ross issued a call for papers for the Linguistics and the Biblical Text Conference. Don’t confuse this useful conference for the one Chris Tilling announced titled ‘Linguini and How it Changed My Pasta, Present, and Future.’
Tweets and Tweeters
@DyingSparrows — On the eighth day after his birth Jesus was circumcised. 1,300 years later St. Catherine of Siena would be given his holy foreskin as a wedding ring (she had small fingers or it was super elastic). Y’all should study religion more.
‘Nuff said, right?
Peter Gurry tweeted this mysterious bitlet-
@pjgurry – So, it seems that @ivpacademic has recently changed their review copy policy for the worse but @BakerAcademic just changed theirs for the better.
What’s he mean?? As a big fan of books, I need to know the back story. Tease-tweeting needs an explanation, people!
Looking for a job? This tweet’s for you: @nt4ox – Asst Prof in Theology (field of specialization open), St Catherine University (St Paul/Minneapolis). FT/TT. Deadline Feb 15.
Looking for a conference? Oxford NT tweeted this:
@nt4ox — Oxford day conference “Martyrdom on the Margins” (JW van Henten, E Castelli, M Edwards, C Sahner et al), 20 February. Registration (free) required, Deadline 3 Feb. ow.ly/QcqI50xXVcV
Think that apocryphal materials are no longer appearing? Think again, my friends, for what is more apocryphal than this tweet?
@TBurkeApoc — This seems to be the first significant effort to incorporate a large mum eat of MSS into an edition, right?
‘Large mum eat’ huh? Apocryphal to the max. Follow Tony. He’s great fun. And very informative!
I saw this and liked it and think you will too-
@laurajeantruman – Therefore I will put up with this Church until I see a better one; and it will have to put up with me, until I become better. Erasmus
Laura Robinson had a great thread on the malleability of the ‘end time signs’ people. I posted it here (having collected the thread into one post).
Chip Hardy, @drchiphardy, tweeted news of a ‘Ninth-century Inscription bearing a Yahwistic name found at Abel Beth Maacah’. Ha’aretz is less restrained, with its willfully exaggerated “Hebrew Inscription on a 3,000-year-old Jar Could Redraw Borders of Ancient Israel”. Papers have to exaggerate I suppose, which is why you should never believe a headline.
If you don’t think twitter has something to teach you, think again. It holds ‘gems’ like this…
@ShammaBoyarin — You guys- I think this does not look good for the Democrats’ case: Parnas פרנס is 80+200+50+60=390 in gemateria. And so is Schiff שיף-
How can you not believe someone who calls ‘gematria’ ‘gemateria’????
From the Palestinian Exploration Fund, this tweet announcement-
@PalExFund – We are pleased to announce the first event to be held in our research centre in #Greenwich: a talk given by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta on “The Survey of Western #Palestine Revisited: The Visible and the Hidden” on Feb 26. Book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the by, I’ve put together a list of biblical scholars who tweet. If you would kindly let me know if there are folk I missed and need to add to it, I would be grateful.
But don’t despair, lovers of Patheos’s festooned with ads blogs, Nijay has moved his blog from wherever it was to Patheos! He tweeted-
@NijayKGupta — Here is the big news: My blog has moved to @PatheosEvang. Bookmark, b/c old site will be removed soon. Here is my first post, check it out.
Good news! James Spinti is not an impostor! Hooray!
Carmen Imes has been blogging for a decade and she’s posted her top 10 posts. I have unbridled respect for people who can choose their favorite of anything. My favorite things change by the day and by circumstances.
There’s a post-doc in biblical studies waiting for you at Wellesley College. Details here.
Computer geeks and textual criticism geeks intermingle (like the sons of God and the daughters of men in Genesis 6) and what is born of that unholy union is something called the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). Interested? Of course you are, because you’re weird. So here’s the story.
An essay concerning the recording of classes appeared mid-month and the author, a law professor (of course) has a small list of reasons why he doesn’t like it. He’s worried, among other things, about his students being digitally surveilled. And he thinks it has a chilling effect on classroom discussion. I guess lawyers are always afraid they might run for office and can’t ever risk saying something that might show up on Youtube at some point in their lawyerly future. One thing’s for sure, we live in the ‘Age of Fear’. And kids are being taught to be afraid of everything. No wonder so many are so miserable.
If you are concerned about the fact that women are not yet represented fully in academia, this post is for you. Give it a read.
Need preaching guidance? Why not get it from someone who preaches every now and again but isn’t engaged in full time pastoral ministry? He’s got advice for you from the sidelines. And what better advice is there besides from a person who doesn’t actually have to do what they suggest that you do?
You know you’ve reached peak academic self-importance when you have your students answer your email. Like Wayne Grudem. Don’t be like Wayne. Answer your own email. [Why would I include this bit? Because it’s good for us to remind ourselves that we are scholars and not celebrities. And when scholars begin to act like celebrities, they need to be reminded of their calling.]
Thanks for coming! Next month the Carnival will be hosted by, as Phil puts it – “veteran Biblio-blogger Bob MacDonald is hosting the February carnival (due March 1) and newcomer Brent Niedergall hosts in March 2020 (Due April 1). I am looking for volunteers for the rest of 2020. If you hosted in 2019 feel free to volunteer again, but I am also interested in getting new bloggers and podcasters involved. Six of the hosts in 2019 were first-time hosts.
Carnivals are fun to write and a good Carnival draws attention to your blog. The Amateur Exegete posted his year in Blog Summary last week, his August 2019 carnival was his second most popular post of the year. I would love to hear from a few volunteers and fill out the 2020 Biblioblog schedule, so contact me at email@example.com or twitter dm @plong42 to volunteer to host!
*I’d like to thank the many people who sent along submissions for this month’s Carnival. In all the years I’ve been doing these Carnivals I’ve never received as many excellent submissions. So, thanks!