The October “Very Scary” Biblical Studies Carnival (Number 188)

This month’s carnival, like all the other’s I’ve tried to put together, draws from as many contributions as have been sent along.  So, once again, I appreciate all the heads ups. I literally could not do it without you!

As we begin, I think it’s important that you keep in mind what a sage and gifted scholar once wrote many years ago- 

Jim West’s blog deservedly outranks everyone else because he writes like a real person, puts on few airs and graces (except for an insufferable tendency to link to foreign language sources without warning), suffers from no false modesty, and his writing style has an “edginess” to it that slaps you around sufficiently to grab your attention. — Gavin Rumney

You’re all welcome.  Enjoy the scary reality!  

NB– the photos heading each section are the scariest ones I could find, in keeping with the theme of this month’s carnival: scary.

Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament

Jim Davila started the month out with a post on Jerusalem’s water supply.  Water matters.  Did you know that without water, you wouldn’t be here?!?!  Well neither would Jerusalem.   Was medicine in Babylon guided by science, or magic?  A lecture addressed that topic on 28 October in Zurich.  You probably didn’t attend, did you?  But that’s o.k. because it was recorded and beginning 4 November you can watch it.

Josiah Solis offers a Kantian reading of the prohibition against lying. It’s nice to see kids today reading old Germans. It gives hope to the world’s dark future.

@e_a_b_s tweeted – Event! Registration open for the International Psalter Colloquium: “Editing the Greek Psalter”, Göttingen, 1–3 Dec 2021. The colloquium will take a hybrid format, and you can register to attend online for free here: Sounds fantastic!

Want to brush up on your Aramaic? Well you’re in luck. A series of videos will start being posted on 1 November to help you do just that. Join in if you dare.

Oriel College at Oxford U. is hosting a series of Michaelmas Lectures on Comparative Philology that will be of interest. The three in October are past but there are still 3 in November you can sit in on virtually or in person. Details and registration links here.

John Meade and Joshua Alfaro had an interesting discussion on twitter regarding a textual variant in Isaiah. Fun stuff!

Do you enjoy ruler cults?  Well then Chuck Jones has a post that you’ll find right up your pagan alley.  

Until now, the study of cultic honours for Hellenistic political leaders and benefactors has mainly focused on the ideological and diplomatic features of the phenomenon. The project “Practicalities of Hellenistic Ruler Cults” (PHRC) shifts the focus on its practical aspects: the materiality of media, ritual action and space, actors, administration, and the funding of cults.


Do you enjoy the Septuaginta LXX?  Well who doesn’t?  We all enjoy the taco taco and the burrito burrito too.  But back to the topic- Chuck Jones (of the previous ruler cult post) advises that the Septuaginta LXX is out there. Septuaginting.

James McGrath calls Moses the ‘Musical Lawgiver’. Hmmm… Anyway, if you are into various sorts of music, this post is right up your alley.

Uriah the Hittite. The guy forgotten in all the ‘David and Bathsheba’ discussions of late. Claude fixes that. It’s a good series.

It seems that block printing of Hebrew texts was happening a century before brother Gutenberg came along.  Read the post at the Genizah Fragments blog.

In the latest installment of his ‘The Bible for Proggies‘, Pete Enns addresses the fun topic of Adam and his evolution. Or something. I don’t listen to podcasts and the post was sent in as a recommendation, so, enjoy.

Steve Wiggins jumps on the ‘Sodom was destroyed by an asteroid‘ fun bandwagon that festooned the internet at the end of September and beginning of October. What’s not to love. It combines Sodom with a giant ball of rock from space.

Bob McDonald is doing translation experiments. Dude has his own way of looking at texts. Sometimes it’s quite intriguing. Sometimes.

Podcasts your thing? Why? Anyway, if they are, here’s one on ‘creation out of nothing’ by a chap who thinks that Genesis teaches such. Let me know if you think he’s right. I don’t listen to podcasts because I don’t have an iPod and you have to have an iPod in order to hear a Podcast because Pods can only be heard on Pods.

Have they found ‘David’s Judah‘?  Nah.  But it’s a fun read.

New Testament

Paul continues to fall on hard times. Accused in the past of misogyny and all manner of wickednesses, now the poor guy is having his establishing of the Galatian churches ripped from his long decomposed hands. And he isn’t even around to defend himself. Next up, someone will say he never even existed. And then he will be just like Jesus.

Nijay Gupta is doing a series of posts on a Festschrift. If series’s are your thing, you may be into this one.  

Elijah goes to Britain. With Dan Wallace. To look at manuscripts.

Interested in atheist readings of Christian theology based on New Testament texts? This may be just your thing then. See proggies, I can be ‘inclusive’ too.

Peter Williams gave a lecture on ‘The Genius of Jesus’ Teaching‘. I didn’t notice it on any other blog, so I mentioned it here. Accordingly, I’m sure you’ve already seen it because 1) everyone reads the blog whether they admit it or not and 2) you’re among the number called ‘everyone’. Ergo, QED, you have already seen it.

April offers a reflection on blind Bartimaeus.  I’m including it because April is a delight and she deserves a wider audience for her blog than she presently has.

Mike Bird has a YouTube channel. He may sound like he’s been drinking, but he’s Australian, so he always sounds like that. I mention it because he has a blog too and he sometimes posts things on his youtube channel that supplement his blog. You’ll learn things, even if his accent is a bit offputting. It’s not lovely like an Irish accent by any means.  Nijay Gupta has a YouTube channel too.  He’s not Australian and he doesn’t sound like he’s been drinking.

Jesus and the Pharisees. It’s a popular topic. It’s frequently discussed. It’s part of Phil’s blog series on New Testament stuff something or other. The Pharisees get a bad rap, but I like them much better than I like most people. At least they did something.

James Crossley writes about COVID, the end of time, and American politics. Amen. James McGrath politicizes the theological tale of the Gerasene demoniac (because of course everything is politicized these days).

A podcast about Luke 1. [NB- podcasts, you’ll remember, are just long voicemails.] And a podcast about John 3 and Jesus’ chat with Nicodemus. Tune in if you like fundamentalism.

Do you like hearing two guys talk?  Do you enjoy hearing them talk about Philemon?  Are you a fan of Australian accents?  Are you conservative?  If you answered yes to all of those questions, then Mike and Nijay’s Chat Fest on Philemon may be just what you’re craving today.  If you answered no, then go read Philemon.

Ian Paul wants to know what happened to the cross, and the atonement, in the book of Revelation.  Can someone help him find them?  He’s misplaced them.  Again.

Have you ever wondered if a blog post was used as a corrective for an edition of the Bible?  Wonder still.  An ETC post may or may not have figured into a note in the CSB.  Or it may just be that two people came up with the same bit of information independently of each other.  Still, it’s nice to imagine that someone somewhere is actually reading what you post.

Paula Fredriksen has a video lecture on monotheism in early Judaism and Christianity. Tune in.

Seumas Macdonald writes Today I’m pleased to announce the launch of καθ’ ἡμέραν, a project in which I will provide (in theory 5 a week) verse by verse short videos (4~5 mins) explaining or discussing New Testament (and possibly LXX) verses in Koine Greek. You can find the youtube channel here, our twitter account here, and the first video is here

General Topics

Death, in the Hebrew Bible, wasn’t a walk in the park.  Jim Davila points out that fun fact and more, including some info about She’ol.

This tweet is pretty cool, so I included it:

@DaphnaOrenM — The Dan David Prize will be awarding up to 9 annual prizes of $300,000 each to early/mid career scholars and practitioners who study the human past. There is under 1 month left to nominate your outstanding colleagues, friends, and former students!

Bart Ehrman looks back at the life of John Shelby Spong.

James Spinti looks at the poisoning of theology by politics.

Todd Bolen rounds up various things having to do with various things.  It’s a post about a variety of things.

John Barclay lectured at the Nazarene Theological College of Manchester on Western Charity and The Gift.  If you missed the lectures live, you can watch them here.

There’s a conference planned for next year that may well interest you and your text-critic friends. Especially if you love all the ‘decentralizing’ going on in these troubled times.

A panel convened to discuss sexual abusers perpetrated by biblical scholars. It is MUST SEE.

Papyrologists have the opportunity to work at the Bodleian.  All the details are available here.

One of the best things posted in October was this wonderfully interesting interview with Septuagint scholar Raija Sollamo by Bill Ross. If you missed it earlier, do not miss it now.

Roland de Vaux was the subject of a lecture at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. Give it a watch.

Books and Reviews

You may not know this, but Rob Bradshaw gives away a free book every day. October 1st he offered a book on sacrifice in the Old Testament. Go there and you can doom scroll to find all the others.

Probably the most exciting book announcement in October came from Eerdmans, when they told us that Luke Timothy Johnson has an autobiography coming out in March of 2022.

Francesca S. wrote a book about God and it’s reviewed here.  The reviewer opines

God: An Anatomy is a tour de force. Stavrakopoulou has created not just an extraordinarily rich and nuanced portrait of Yahweh himself, but an intricate and detailed account of the cultural values and practices he embodied, and the wider world of myth and history out of which he emerged. 

Brian Davidson reviewed Crossway’s edition of the Hebrew Bible. He really, really likes it. So I ordered one too.

Brent Niedergall reviews a book on voice and mood.  Voice should be loud.  And mood should be even.  Amen.  Anyway, he remarks

Mathewson offers a technical overview of two overlooked areas of Greek grammar.

Well not really overlooked is it?  A.T. Robertson’s grammar spend a million pages on them.  But it’s an old grammar and people probably don’t read it anymore.

Nijay Gupta announces a new commentary series on the Old Testament.  John Goldingay is doing Ecclesiastes, so that will be good!  In fact, Goldingay is asked a few questions about the book by Gupta here.

I don’t know who Ray Comfort is, but evidently he wrote a book back in 2016 that promotes some rubbish nonsense concerning interpretation of the bible and said book was reviewed this month here.  Someone named ‘Ben’ wrote the review.  I’m fairly confident that Ray (whoever he is) finally had his book reviewed 5 years after it appeared.

Amihai Mazar posts a list of books by the late Eilat Mazar that are available from her publisher. Archaeology geeks, rejoice!

A new volume on the Targum of Chronicles has been published.  And so has a review of that volume.  Give it a look.

Like Paul?  Then you’ll like this tweet from Lukas Bormann:

„Paulus: Leben – Umwelt – Werk – Briefe“ (hg. v. O. Wischmeyer/E.-M. Becker). Copies for review available . Code OWI45654A. Full text online available unti 12. November 2021.

Mark Driscoll, plagiarist and pseudo-scholar, is writing (?) books (?) again and doing as awful a job as it as he ever has.  Wenatchee the Hatchet has the details.

Gender in the Rhetoric of Jesus: Women in Q was reviewed last month. 

In this compelling monograph, Sara Parks combines two scholarly interests that have not been brought together before: studies of Q, a hypothetical source that explains the material shared by the Gospel of Matthew and Luke, and studies of the historical Jesus’ relationship to women.


A new volume titled ‘Resisting Jesus: A Narrative and Intertextual Analysis of Mark’s Portrayal of the Disciples of Jesus‘ appeared in October.  It’s quite a book.

SBL tweeted- @SBLPress — “Though the region was never annexed or occupied by Assyria, the empire began to influence Edomite elite consumption, architectural construction, and pottery styles, and created the need for a small bureaucracy.” Check out Edom at the Edge of Empire

Bible and Sexuality is all the rage in academic circles and Bloomsbury is doing its part to publish books on the topic. One of the more recent is here reviewed. Gripping!

Do you like books by conservative faculty members of conservative writers? If you answered yes, then you may want to take a look at the review of the recent book by an author who has published two commentaries on the same texts. The review is enjoyable.

Do you like free books? Do you like animals? Do you pine for a free book about animals in the ancient world? Today is your lucky day, Sparky! Because there’s just such a thing for your taking. Here.

Beth Allison Barr has a fantastic piece on the terrible ESV that you definitely need to read. It’s one of the best things out this month.

James Crossley and Robert Myles have a book coming out soon titled ‘Jesus: A Life in Conflict’.  The table of contents and other stuff are available here. It looks like a great good read.

Other Stuff that Doesn’t Fit Into Another Category

Looking for a job? Want to be a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Egyptology and Assyriology? You’re in luck, pilgrim. Looking for a job and you want to teach Old Testament? You’re in luck! Briercrest College is looking for exactly you. The downside? It’s in Canada….

McSweeney’s makes the very valid point that there’s precious little difference between the academic job market and ‘The Squid Game’.

Here’s a twitter account you most DEFINITELY need to follow.  Seriously-

Thinking about Seminary?  Northern Seminary has a gift for you:

In case you didn’t already know it, cancel culture is trash.  It has claimed another victim in academia:  Kathleen Scott tweets

It’s nice to see other people catching up to what I’ve been saying for a good while now: progressives are oftentimes fundamentalists, on the left.  And there are a good number of proggie fundies in the biblical studies guild.  Give it a read.  

Feeling like an impostor?  Suffering impostor syndrome?  Well you’re in luck, for there’s a post for you titled ‘grappling with impostor syndrome‘.  It’s by a philosopher so be sure to take it with a grain of salt, since ‘philosophers are the patriarchs of heretics’ as our friend Tertullian rightly put it.

Deane tweeted – @dorhamidbar “When we analyze QAnon data, what we find is that… if you’re sort of conspiracy-minded, if you have strong populist views, and if you have a lot of Manichean thinking… — that’s a pretty big predictor of believing in QAnon.”

Looking for an award? The Palestine Exploration Fund has a couple to give out. You may be suitable for one of them.

We lost a giant in October.  On the 25th of the month the inestimable Ulrich Wilckens passed away at the age of 93.  His work in New Testament is epoch making.


Last Month’s Carnival is here.  And here are those coming up in the next months:

189 November 2021 (Due December 1) – Bob MacDonald at Dust @drmacdonald
190 December 2021 (Due January 1) – Phillip Long, Reading Acts @plong42

You should host a carnival.  They’re a lot of fun, and Phil sure could use the help.  He’s a good guy.  Tweet him and let him know that you’re a good person too.


NB– Zwingli was butchered on October 11, 1531 by the papists at Kappel-am-Albis.  And since this carnival covers the month of October, I am duty bound to make mention of it.  Sure, it’s not ‘biblical studies’ per se, but daggnabbit it’s my carnival.  When you do your Carnival, you can include lesser persons.

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