Category Archives: Archaeology

‘Letters from Tel Zayit: The Hebrew Alphabet Carved in Stone’

This Thursday, 6-7 PM (Oxford U. time).  HT2021 DP Week 6 Ron Tappy.  All the details are available in this PDF.

Congratulations to the New Editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review

Glenn Corbett.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Glenn J. Corbett, a Near Eastern archaeologist and long-time associate and contributing editor to the Society, will serve as the new Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine beginning March 2021.

Read the full announcement.

2021: The ‘Let’s Hope It’s Not Another 2020, but it Started Off Pretty Horribly And Ended Better’ Edition of the Biblical Studies Carnival

Carnival: The word is said to come from the Late Latin expression carne levare, which means “remove meat”; a folk etymology derives it from carne vale, “farewell to meat”. The etymology of the word Carnival thus points to a Christian origin of the celebratory period.

In keeping with the word’s meaning, this month’s carnival is vegan.  There will be no dead flesh in it.  None.  That said, welcome to the Carnival!

Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament- The Bible of  Judaism and of Jesus and the Early Church

Wish to learn about Huldah?  Claude is your guy.  Phil Gons is your guy if you want to think about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart.  And he has a lot of pictures festooning the post so Joel Watts and Chris Tilling will be able to enjoy it too!

Michael Langlois has a post on the Bible and Hebrew that you’ll hate missing.  Je serai virtuellement à l’université de Strasbourg la semaine prochaine pour parler Ancien Testament et autres textes hébreux.

Gary Greenberg is doing a series on the flood narrative that you’ll want to take a look at.  This is the third part.  Scroll his blog for the others in the series.

John Fea has a post discussing false prophets.  In today’s world it’s worth a look.

A call for papers has been issued for a conference on gender in the Ancient near East.  All the details are available here.

Bob MacDonald has a piece on one of the Psalms.  It’s some sort of analysis or something of Ps 55.  I’m sure you’ll either enjoy it or you won’t.

Claude Marriottini has a multi part series on Ex 34.  Give it a look.

Were Ancient Israelites really monotheists?  So asks Bart Ehrman.  I think it’s fair to say that no scholar of the Hebrew Bible thinks they were or has thought they were for a very long time.  Henotheists, surely.  Monotheists?  Not till the Maccabean era, if then.

Steve Walton (one of my favorite scholars) has a two part overview of the Book of Ruth you’ll want to take a look at.

James Aitken will be lecturing on the LXX at Oxford as the newly appointed Grinfield Lecturer.  Congratulations to Jim on this impressive appointment.

Joseph and Aseneth are the topic of this podcast which is a youtube video.

Charles Jones has provided a list of corrections to Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.  Including a mockup of a page that has somehow managed to be lost from the second volume from the second printing onwards (since sometime in the 1980s or 1990s). The reader can print the page and cut it out to insert it in their copy if it is missing.

Michael Langlois discusses Baal in this useful to read post.  Phil Long discussed Ahikar.  Fun times.  Fun times indeed.

William Ross announces the TWU LXX Summer School and its details over here.  And Phil Long wonders what the Letter of Aristeas is.  Here’s my answer: a letter.   You’re welcome.

Phil Long wonders what the Book of Judith is.  Spoiler alert… it’s a book.  Amen.  You’re welcome.

If you reside in the European Union (or maybe just Germany) you can watch this interesting looking film until March 9 on the ark of the covenant, featuring Israel Finkelstein and Thomas Romer: Von Engeln bewacht: Die Bundeslade.

New Testament- With Scant Mention of Paul Because He Gets Too Much Mention as it Is

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to YouTube, along comes an interview with Chris Tilling about…. yes… you guessed it…. Paul….  What a harbinger for the new year…

A conference took place in November in Marburg which examined the life and work of Gerhard Kittel, Nazi Sympathizer and New Testament scholar.  Those unable to attend can now read a summary of the proceedings and the conference volume, which is forthcoming, should make the papers all available sometime in the hopefully not too distant future.

Jesus in the news…. and other unfortunate-nesses, by Todd Brewer.  A perfect reminder that journalists as a group are as horrible at biblical studies as pentebabbleists.  Ergo, get your biblical scholarship from biblical scholars, not news outlets.

The Enoch Seminar met in January and the focus of its online gathering festooned with leading scholars was John the Baptist.  James McGrath did a fine job of summarizing each day’s doings.  Visit here for the first day and then scroll his blog for the others.

T-C oddities and such like are the subject of Elijah Hixson’s recent post in the ETC blog.  Give it a look.  Another T-C thing of potential interest is the the deadline for the Logos Summer workshop.  Peter Gurrie (I know it’s Gurry but I prefer my spelling) tells the tale.  Still another T-C post, the topic of which I hope they make into a movie and they get Tom Cruise to play the starring role is about a family of Greek manuscripts by a guy named Post.  So gripping… stirring… eye-opening… non stop action from start to finish… etc.

Nijay Gupta wants to help you find New Testament resources to read.  Some of his recommendations are good.  Some aren’t.  That’s the problem with lists: they are always biased and limited because people are biased and limited in what they know, have read, and have wrestled with.  He also wants to share his use of Accordance bible software with you in a series he kicked off at the end of the month.

Archaeology and Such Things

Cynthia Shafer-Elliott talks about archaeology and the Bible.  You won’t want to miss it.  Even though it’s a podcast.

The last living member of the Dead Sea Scrolls research team, Prof. Dr. Claus-Hunno Hunzinger, died on January 6 in Hamburg.  There’s more about this sad passing here.

Craig Evans discussed the most important archaeological finds of 2020 in this podcast thing.  What are the top 10 discoveries in 2020 related to the Bible?  Funny you should ask, because there’s a list of them here.

None of them change anything we know about the Bible or add to our knowledge of its world.  But what the heck, lists gotta be made…

A post on the flooding of the Tomb of Cyrus was posted here.

The Palestine Exploration Fund blog has a very interesting essay on Polish Exiles in Wartime Mandate Palestine.

A new project was launched by our friends at St Mary’s, Twickenham, titled The Critical Dictionary of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements.  Add it to your useful sites list.

@PalExFund tweets – The latest edition of PEQ is a special 50th anniversary edition marking the start of the new excavations at Tel el Hesi in 1970. If you like what you see, why not subscribe & access the complete back issue run of PEQ back to 1865!

Books- Because Little Else Matters

Logos is again offering a free book of the month.  January’s was Feskos’ commentary on Galatians.  Only time will tell what February’s turns out to be.  But I’m sure it will be a good one because they generally are.

Karin Maag offers some ‘end of the year’ reflections on books and their publishers.

Avraham Faust has a new book out on history and archaeology and it’s free!  Also free is Becker’s commentary on Philippians!

Nijay Gupta takes a look at a book on the spirituality of Jesus. Or rather, the author of the book, Catherine Wright, gives an overview of it.  It sounds, honestly, like an interesting book indeed.

Gupta reviews Hagner’s NT Intro.

Chris Woznicki offered readers of his blog a list of the books he read in 2020.  Some of them may be things you’d find interesting as well.  Will Ross does the same.

The German Bible Society has published, just this month, a new edition of the Bible.  There’s a good piece here about it.

A History of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Judah by Edward Lipiński has been reviewed here.  Looks fun!   And ‘Rudolf Bultmann- Hans Jonas Briefwechsel 1928-1976‘ was reviewed by this adorable guy here.

Craig Evans’ new book ‘Jesus and the Manuscripts’ is reviewed here.  Let me just say, it’s a really important and useful book.  Craig is also interviewed about the book here.  Listen.  If you dare.

Scott Kellum’s Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament is reviewed here by Bobby Howell.  No relation to Bellend Howell.

A new book titled ‘The Moses Scroll’ was announced by James Tabor.  It’s not what you think.  Take a look.

I reviewed a new book on the biblical theology of Martin Kähler here.  It’s a genuinely fantastic volume.  If you aren’t familiar with MK’s work, you really ought to change that.

Phil Long reviewed David Peterson’s commentary on Hebrews here.  He calls it a welcome contribution to the study of this difficult book. The commentary is a model of generally conservative, evangelical scholarship in the tradition of F. F. Bruce.   I guess that’s either a good thing or a bad thing according to your perspective.

Mike Bird reviewed a commentary on the Pastorals.  It’s short.

Mark Goodacre chats with A-J Levine and Mark Zvi Brettler about their incredibly useful book, The Bible With and Without Jesus.  It’s very much worth a listen.

James Spinti, bookman, had a post that’s just a bit of humor – quite needed in these dark times.  Enjoy.

Miscellaneous- Or, Stuff That Doesn’t Really Fit in The Main Categories

Bob MacDonald started the month off with a New Year’s wish for one and all.  Optimist.  And Pete Enns wrote a list of resolutions that he probably has already forsaken.

Jonathan Robker has a series of posts interviewing George Kiraz.  It’s good stuff.

And someone named Jonny Gibson interviewed Peter Williams (who’s actually smiling in the website photo) about the importance of learning the biblical languages.  I didn’t listen to it because I don’t listen to podcasts.  But it may be interesting.

Ian Paul shares his experiences in the gulag we call lockdown.

The Institute for Biblical Research has issued the call for papers for its Annual Meeting.  Visit the Research Groups page and then the section which interests you.  And the SBL has opened its call for papers and the details are available here.

As happened throughout 2020, Covid impacted the Winter Meeting of the Society for Old Testament Study and it went virtual, meeting January 5-7 online.  As always, the papers were fantastic.  Hopefully next year it will be in person again.

Call for Papers (EABS Wuppertal, August 3-5, 2021): Miracles and Paradoxography in Late-Antique Literature of Biblical Reception. All the details are here.


I can’t close the Carnival out without reminding you that the month saw a group of domestic terrorists attempt a coup.  Russell Moore responded in the most precise way and so I cite him here to memorialize his sentiments and engrave them here:

And Heather has some very useful thoughts on the situation.  Let’s hope that somehow the evil that has been unleashed by the past administration is flung to the dank pit from which it sprang.

Denver Seminary offers some really helpful remarks and reminds us that truth, character, and decency matter.

Arnold, though, gets the last word on the events of January 6:


Last month’s Carnival was posted by Peter on 1 January, so if you missed it, give it a look.  Upcoming:

180 February 2021 (Due March 1) Bob MacDonald at Dust  @drmacdonald
181 March 2021 (Due April 1) – Amateur Exegete,  @amateurexegete
182 April 2021 (Due May 1) –  Ruben Rus, Ayuda Ministerial/Resources for Ministry@rubenderus
183 May 2021 (Due June 1) – Bobby Howell, The Library Musings  @SirRobertHowell
184 June 2021 (Due July 1) –   Brent Niedergall,  @BrentNiedergall

So yay.  Enjoy!

The Carnival is Coming

I’m hosting the January 2021 Biblical Studies Carnival (posting 1 February).

Here are the categories I’ll fill out (with your kind assistance):

Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament- The Bible of Jesus and the Early Church

New Testament- With Scant Mention of Paul Because He Gets Too Much Mention as it Is

Archaeology and Such Things

Books- Because Little Else Matters

Miscellaneous- Or, Stuff That Doesn’t Really Fit in The Main Categories

So if you see something, say something!  And thanks in advance.

News on the Tomb of Cyrus: A Guest Post

On 2 January I published a short note in a “Telegram channel” called “Cuneiform Studies in Iran” (<>), as a reaction to the widespread news about the “decipherment of Linear Elamite” by Dr F. Desset. In his many interviews and online lectures, Dr Desset announced his success in deciphering the Linear Elamite texts, but postponed further details to the publication of his forthcoming article. Needless to say, we can not be sure of such a claim until the article is published and the opinions and criticisms of experts in related fields are received.

In a series of recent online lectures, Dr Desset has also proposed to use a set of new terminology when discussing early writing from Iran, such as “Hatamtite”, “Proto-Iranian writing”, “Earliest Persian Ideograms” instead of well-known terminology such as Elamite and Proto-Elamite. It is my view, and the view of many of my colleagues that the insistence on the use of such terms is based on non-academic disputes in Iran, that have no academic benefit.

In reaction to this short note, Dr Desset wrote a brief note published two days later on the Telegram channel of the Society for Iranian Archaeology (<>). According to Dr Desset, I was not aware of his previous or recent publications and his previous online talks on this matter. Dr Desset stated that I and another researcher, Dr A. Moqadam, who accused him of not mentioning her efforts in publishing the Konar Sandal tablets and other related studies in his publications, did not scrutinize his previous publications.

Unfortunately, this whataboutism misses entirely the point that I raised which was to question the timeliness of announcing the decipherment of Linear Elamite before any evidence had been scrutinised by colleagues or even published. I am obviously well aware of the previous publications of Dr Desset, but I am not responsible for any claims or statements made by Dr Moqadam.

The only evidence in the public space concerning Dr Desset’s claim of decipherment remains his article concerning the “analysis of the Gunagi Corpus LE Inscriptions”, which is primarily an archaeological argument for the authenticity of a number of metal vases with Linear Elamite inscriptions, and a section of one of his recent talks (ca. 14 minutes) about the decipherment of Linear Elamite. Dr Desset may be surprised that not all scholars accept this as final evidence for the decipherment of a writing system which has resisted all attempts of decipherment during the more than 115 years since its first discovery.

But more seriously the main question in my note remains unanswered. What is the logic behind using such odd terms like “Hatamtite”? Did we already know that “Elam” was called “Ha(l)tamti” in that language? Yes! Did we use “Ha(l)tamtite? No! Do we use, for example, “Emegirite/Emesalite” for Sumerian, “Nashilite” for Hittite or “Bianilite” for Urartian? No! So, what is the logic or purpose for using “Hatamtite” instead of “Elamite” or other terms like “Proto-Iranian writing” and “earliest Persian Ideograms”? How does this sort of disputes over terms improve our understanding of ancient texts? Does it make it easier for beginners to study the ancient cultures of Iran and Iraq?

I and others have received strong criticism from anonymous and not anonymous sources for questioning Dr Desset’s claims and his new terminology but I remain clear in my criticism and my questions. Should it turn out that Desset has indeed deciphered Linear Elamite, I shall be the first to congratulate him, but I will still use the conventional terms for the languages and scripts of both ancient Iran and ancient Iraq.

Soheil Delshad

Synagogues in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods Archaeological Finds: New Methods, New Theories

The study of ancient Judaism has enjoyed a steep rise in interest and publications in recent decades, although the focus has often been on the ideas and beliefs represented in ancient Jewish texts rather than on the daily lives and the material culture of Jews/Judaeans and their communities. The nascent institution of the synagogue formed an increasingly important venue for communal gathering and daily or weekly practice. This collection of essays brings together a broad spectrum of new archaeological and textual data with various emergent theories and interpretative methods in order to address the need to understand the place of the synagogue in the daily and weekly procedures, community frameworks, and theological structures in which Judaeans, Galileans, and Jewish people in the Diaspora lived and gathered. The interdisciplinary studies will be of great significance for anyone studying ancient Jewish belief, practice, and community formation.

Powerful Text-Things: Papyrology and the Material Turn by ROBERTA MAZZA

You’ll want to watch this:

ASOR Webinar

Friends of ASOR presents the fourth webinar in our monthly series on December 13, at 7:30pm EST, featuring Dr. Eric Meyers. An expert in Judaic studies, Dr. Meyers will discuss how archaeological work in the Galilee over the past generation and a half has demonstrated that this region was overwhelmingly Jewish in the first centuries BCE and CE.

Michael Langlois on The Holy Grail

If you can watch this, you should.

I was interviewed by RMC Découverte on the Holy Graal.  This documentary will be broadcast next Friday, 4 December 2020 at 9pm.

New From Aren Maeir

All the details are here.

Roberta Mazza on the Papyri- A Zoom Lecture

Join us on zoom on Dec. 11th for the twelfth of our 2020 #EOTalks series! This event will feature Roberta Mazza, who will talk about why papyri are way more than the texts they bear, and why, therefore, we urgently need to approach them as vibrant matterand as things with inherent power.


This paper is based on my interest in the politics and ethics of papyrus collecting and publishing, which has been influenced by my work experience with the John Rylands papyrus collection, my role as a trustee of the Egypt Exploration Society (owner of the Oxyrhynchus papyri), and my interactions with the Green collection and the Museum of the Bible.

My preoccupations have lately moved from first hand observation and activism to researching the causes of past and present unethical and illegal behaviours in order to set stronger foundations for more ethical practices in the field.  In this paper, I will argue that the obsession of papyrologists and classicists for texts and the reconstruction of a supposed ‘Western canon’ stays at the roots of malpractices. This cultural attitude needs to be abandoned because it provides a failing description of ancient manuscripts, which erases their material dimension. In so doing it has not only caused damages to cultural heritage objects, but has also impaired our ability to produce knowledge. Building on the works of Bruno Latour and Laura Bennet, I propose to look at papyri as vibrant matter, things with inherent power that is activated depending on the networks in which they are entangled over time. This new perspective helps breaking old cultural classifications based on ‘Western’ values and preconceptions, and gives objects an agency and the ability to recall rights with interesting consequences for cultural heritage practices.

Legal and Ethical Guidelines for Research on Archaeological and Heritage Artefacts

This is worth your attention.

A resource for staff and students at MF who work with cultural heritage materials such as ancient, medieval, and modern artefacts from different countries around the world. Working with these types of materials sometimes raises legal and ethical issues, and this page can be a resource for beginning to engage with these challenges.

Norma Franklin Has Long Deserved a Festschrift, And Now She’s Getting One!

I’m definitely ordering a copy of this.

Edited by Jennie Ebeling and Philippe Guillaume: This volume celebrates the career of Norma Franklin, an archaeologist who has made important contributions to our understanding of the three key cities of Samaria, Megiddo, and Jezreel in the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the Iron Age. The sixteen essays offered herein by Franklin’s colleagues in archaeology and biblical studies are a fitting tribute to the woman in the pith helmet: an indomitable field archaeologist who describes herself as “happiest with complex stratigraphy” and dedicated to “killing sacred cows.”

This is so very well deserved!  And the editors!  Wow.  Top notch both!  This is going to be a really wonderful book, I can feel it.

A Penis Bone in Genesis 2:21? Retrodiagnosis as a Methodological Problem in Scriptural Studies

Well ok then…  Now for something completely different in Bible and Interpretation

Ziony Zevit is the Distinguished Professor in Bible and Northwest Semitic Languages in the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University. He has done widely respected work on the religion of ancient Israel. However, Zevit makes a claim that is difficult to accept or understand linguistically, exegetically, and medically. In so doing, he is engaging in “retrodiagnosis.” Typically, such approaches seek to diagnose a condition mentioned in the Bible in precise modern medical terms.

Zevit specifically asserts that the Hebrew word  (צֵלָע) in Genesis 2:21 refers to a penis bone (os baculum), not a rib, in speaking of the creation of Eve. This essay will show that none of the arguments adduced by Zevit, including those drawn from Alan Dundes’ research on the practice known as couvade, will yield the results he asserts for Genesis 2:21.

To Loot Or Not To Loot, in Helsinki, 10 Nov 2020

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most important archaeological discoveries related to the Bible. But the (hi)story of their discovery by Bedouin, in the mid-twentieth century, is problematic and raises doubts as to their authenticity and provenance. Likewise, new manuscripts that surface on the antiquities market are dubious, and scholars have suggested that they should be ignored as they are unprovenanced, lest we become complicit in looting in trafficking. In this paper, I propose to go back to the early years of Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship in order to better understand if, how and why these scrolls were uncritically accepted. This, in turn, will help us figure out sound guidelines for handling and publishing such artefacts.

The Pandemic Super Stupendous Biblical Studies Carnival: October Edition (Posted 1 November) – Now With More Puppies

Last month’s Carnival, hosted by Brent Niedergall, had a Dr Seuss theme. If you haven’t had a chance to look at it, do so. It will put a smile on your face.  Then come on back and enjoy the Pandemic Super Stupendous Biblical Studies Carnival; Now with More Puppies.©

Hebrew Bible/ LXX

Jonathan Robker is working on a series of posts wherein he translates and comments on the MT and LXX versions of Kings.  It’s definitely something to take a look at.  Here’s a recent one.  Scroll down his page for more.

Pete Enns interviewed Cynthia Shafer-Elliott about doing archaeology.  Technically, he posted it on the 30th wherever he lives (probably Hawaii) but it showed up here on October 1.  It’s one of those ‘podcast’ things.

William Ross interviewed Eberhard Bons about the Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint.  It’s well worth the few minutes it will take to read.

Benito Cereno has a very in depth look at the more interesting contents of the Book of Enoch.  Very enjoyable read indeed.

Doug Fyfe does some interesting analysis of the story of Jephthah that you’ll enjoy reading.  Doug is from Australia, but don’t hold that against him.  He’s not all bad.

Gender and Beauty in the Hebrew Bible, a lecture, which you should hear, because it’s introduced by the greatest young Danish scholar of our century, Anne Katrine Gudme.

If you’ve been wondering what the Old Testament says about homosexuality, then this post will be of interest to you.  It’s by JOANNA TÖYRÄÄNVUORI (and yes I had to copy and paste that name.  There’s no way I could have remembered it long enough to type it in. That’s why it’s in all caps).

Konrad Schmid took part in a VERY interesting interview on the origins of the Bible.  You should give it a listen too.

April Fiet has some interesting thoughts on Exodus 20.  Take a look. April is a delightful person.  She raises chickens.  But she doesn’t eat them.  Weird, I know, but she’s still a delight.

They’ve found a shekel weight in Jerusalem.  Jim Davila notes it.

Bob MacDonald is digging deeply into every jot and tittle.  It’s an interesting series.  He’s even got a table!  With words and such.

David Penchansky offered a very brief introduction to Wisdom Literature mid month.  Wait till von Rad finds out.

The Palestine Exploration Fund has a really cool post on photography in the 19th century in Palestine.  Take a look.

John Walton makes an appearance on a ‘podcast’ (which is not a podcast at all unless you’re listening on an iPod).  He chats a bit about 1 Samuel.

Will Kynes is continuing his one man drive to drive ‘wisdom literature’ out of the guild forever.  Why, Will?  Why??????

One of the greatest scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible, James A. Sanders, passed away on the 1st of October.  May he rest in peace.


New Testament

A new bit of the New Testament has been audio-ized.  Go here, click on ‘Colossians’, and listen to the text read from Codex Vaticanus.  B.P. Kantor is doing good work with his site.

If you’re into ‘podcasts’ then pay a visit to Yung Suk Kim’s Spotify page (I think Spotify is the adult version of snapchat but I’m not sure since I don’t use either).  He covers New Testament topics (and teaches New Testament at Virginia Union University).

The Textus Receptus can’t be accepted.  It’s a great post.

According to any academic standard the Textus Receptus is hopelessly outdated. The real reasons it still finds some few defenders have nothing to do with scholarship, but come down to infelicitous and misguided nostalgia in the best case and to obvious pseudo-scholarship in the worst case. It arbitrarily privileges a specific period, excludes progress, and inevitably argues from results to evidence.


James Crossley has thoughts on the meaning of the word ‘apocalyptic’ and how it doesn’t describe something just because you don’t like it.  It’s a great post.  Be sure to read it.

Michael Grondin, the Jesus Wife fragment fraud, and a very fine essay.  Very fine, and very informative.  Do not miss it.

A post for the language geeks out there.  By Mike Aubrey.

Deane Galbraith mentions a symposium on the early Church which will be of interest to potentially millions of people.  Or 8.  Enjoy.

There’s a new post over on the Bible Films blog, featuring a new book about Jesus in film.  The announcement of said book is preceded by this:

Apologies if things have been quiet round here of late, but I’ve been working on an exciting project that I’m not yet had to go ahead to talk about in public yet.

And yet there it is, talked about in public, but without any details.   😉   I sure hope that he somehow managed to get Jesus in a film!

Mike Bird interviewed someone (it’s he whose name must not be spoken) about the Gospel of John.  My favorite Gospel.

Allen Bevere wants Jesus to be President.  Sorta….

Pining for a post on The Gospel of Mark?  Your wish has been granted, by Bible and Interpretation.  The essay may have more heat than light, but make up your own mind about that once you read it.  At least it isn’t about Paul…

Nijay Gupta offered a couple of public lectures on early Christianity that you’ll want to take a look at.  They are the Downey Lectures.

Peter Gurry wants you to believe that there are mistakes and myths in New Testament text criticism.  Ghastly.  The process of textual criticism is perfect, just like the infallibly preserved text of – let’s say Vaticanus – is.  Peter also wants you to know that Kurt Aland got two votes on the UBS committee.  Let’s face it, he deserved two votes.  Or three.  Or all of them.

Phil Long has a post on dead people.  And how they bury other dead people.  Dead people are, these days, a lot more interesting than most live people.  Anyway, that’s beside the point.

The Gospels meet science fiction.  And coming soon, the Gospels meet the antacid industry.  They need a good antacid after all the stomach wrenching misrepresentations and imaginary discoveries they’ve been subjected to.

And speaking of the Gospels, two very enthusiastic millennials enthusiastically discuss – in a podcast – which is on YouTube – which means it’s a video.  A vodcast maybe?  Who knows.  Anyway, they are enthusiastically discussing why Jesus was killed.  Enthusiastically discussing.  I don’t think they’re enthusiastic about Jesus being dead.  But they are millennials, so who knows.  Anyway, give it a listen/watch if you’re into those kinds of things.

Ken Schenck wants to introduce you to the joys of Revelation.  Has he got it right?  Some.  Enjoy!

Bill Heroman wants you to believe that φιλεω is ‘greater than’ αγαπαω.  It’s not.  But he tries hard.

Tony Burke wants you to love the apocryphal literature.  So he wrote about it:  “Lost Gospels” and Other Christian Apocrypha: New Discoveries and New Perspectives”.

Mike Bird interviews a guy who thinks Jesus was a philosopher…  Next up, Jesus the yoga instructor and then shortly after that, Jesus the pizza maker.

Jona Lendering has a very fine post on the throne of Satan.  And its biblical origins.



Baker has published a new ‘Handbook on Hebrews through Revelation’ by Andreas Kostenberger.  Parts of it may sound familiar.

John Walton received a Festschrift a few months back and now it has appeared for all.  Read about it on Carmen Imes’ blog here.

I reviewed Johann Jakob Wettstein’s Principles for New Testament Textual Criticism here.  What a fascinating book!

If you are interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls in general or the fragments of Hanakkuk in particular, there’s still time to sign up for this Zoom session featuring Timothy Lim’s work on the text.  But Nov 3 is the deadline, so get to it.

Phil Long reviewed a book on Christians and elections by Tremper Longman the 3rd.

Scot McKnight has a book out titled ‘Tov’.  He writes- Our interview with Julie Roys about our new book.  We are quite bemused.

Randy Blackater reviewed a book about something called ‘biblical manhood and womanhood’.  I’m not sure what those things are.  I guess it has to do with wearing pants and dresses.  Enjoy Randy’s pant wearing review.

Rob Bradshaw has another free book for those who have an interest in Aramaic.  It’s in the public domain, of course, so it’s a bit dated, of course.  But Aramaic hasn’t changed much over the last hundred years.

John Kincaid reviewed a book on Paul.  But not just a book on Paul.  It’s a book on Paul as he was received in the second century.  That’s right, it’s a reception-historical treatment of Paul.  And who among us is so plague hardened that a book about Paul isn’t a welcome sight…  We need more books about Paul.  We need a virtual pandemic of Pauline studies… yeah.  That’s what we need right there.

And magically, announcement of another book on Paul showed up.  It’s titled ‘How to Read Paul’.   Answer, don’t.  Read John instead.  Much better stuff.

Todd Scacewater wants to tell you about his new favorite Greek/ English parallel New Testament.  So let him.  There’s a pandemic going on.  Do something to bring joy into someone’s life.  Read Todd’s post.  So far, just his wife has read it, and she was nonplussed.  When interviewed concerning the post, she shrugged her shoulders, and said “Meh.  Todd is a geek.  I have to listen to him drone on about his crazy nonsense every day.”  So help Todd out and get him a couple of readers.  Maybe he’ll let his wife alone about it all…

But Todd isn’t the only one.  Dirk too wants to talk about The THGNT ESV New Testament.  And admit it, when you saw the acronym THGNT you thought ‘thigh’ and now when you see the THGNT you’ll call it the ‘thigh version’.  Won’t you.

Phil Long reviewed a book.  That’s it.  That’s the bit.

Deane Galbraith has a chapter in a new volume about the Bible and America.  That’s reason enough to buy it.

Niels Peter Lemche has a book forthcoming on the Minimalism controversy.  It looks amazing.  Keep an eye out for it.

Be sure to drop by Logos and pick up the free book of the month.  Last month’s was pretty good.


Social Media

, a tweeter, had a very good thread on NT scholarship on October 1 that you will want to read.  Visit his twitter page and give it a look.  You won’t regret it.   

There’s a new twitterer in town-

You also won’t regret following these folk: Here’s part 2 of our debate review of WLC and Greg Boyd on Penal Substitution. Check it out!  —

St Mary’s Institute of Theology observed Black History Month (in Britain) by highlighting legendary Black scholars and leaders.

This is an important tweet-

@IdanDershowitz — As an undergrad, I had the privilege of being Moshe Weinfeld’s (last, alas) research assistant. After he passed away, I set up a website in his memory: Now @MyShtender has set up an exhaustive Academia page: Please check it out!

Matt announced an interesting sounding session on the twitter:



You may not be aware of it (I wasn’t) but October 1 was ‘International Coffee Day’.  Since coffee and scholarship go hand in hand, it’s worth remembering.  And reading Allan’s post on the holiday that kicked off the month.

A new number of TC has been published.  ETC has the happy (!) news.

This announcement will be of interest to students of Judaism.

We’re happy to announce that we’ve just published the first volume of *Judaica: Neue digitale Folge*, a new peer-reviewed open access journal covering all areas of Jewish Studies.

You can check it out here.

There’s a new blog amongst the bibliobloggers called ‘PhD Students to Follow‘.  I guess PhD students need followers.  Being a barista is a tough gig.  So go follow one of them and make their day.

The Digital Orientalist has a list of great, free, online resources for biblical studies.  It’s definitely worth checking out and using.

Allan Bevere shared some interesting thoughts on Christians and violence.  As election day approaches, it’s something worth keeping in mind…

James McGrath posted a call for papers for the Women and Gender in the Bible and the Biblical World conference.

There’s a conference planned for November in Marburg that will also have its sessions live streamed for those interested, on Gerhard Kittel!  If you download the program, you’ll see a fantastic line-up!

No month seems to pass without the sad news of the death of a leading biblical scholar.  Tragically, this month was the same.  We learned on the 8th of the passing of Konrad Hammann.  He was a scholar of the historical theology and systematics and he was also the author of the best biography of Rudolf Bultmann that has ever been written.  May he rest in peace.

You may or may not have noticed that some academics aren’t very interested in blogging.  There’s actually a reason for that, and it doesn’t speak well of academia.



Be sure to visit Phil Long’s blog for the complete list of Carnivals, past, present, and future.  Phil writes

Bobby Howell will do the November 2020 (Due December 1) Carnival.  I am desperately seeking for December 2020 (Due January 1), and any month in 2021. Please contact me via email, or DM on twitter (plong42) to discuss hosting a carnival. I would love to see some veteran bloggers step up, but at this point I cannot really be too picky.

Don’t make Phil beg…  He’s old.  He doesn’t have much energy.

And, if I may offer a closing word on our times, might I encourage you to make truth a thing again- and beg you to go forth and be pedantic.


Public Service Announcement Concerning the Election

The election is in a few days.  Please note,

Georgetown law school has created a fact sheet for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals show up near a polling place or voter registration drive.

Find the fact sheet here.  Look up your State.  And know your rights.  It might be a good idea to print up a few copies and take it with you to distribute to the poll authorities and the intimidators sent out by the GOP.

NYU Archaeology Conference

Do take note of an online conference, “The Land That I Will Show You”: Recent Archaeological & Historical Studies of Ancient Israel, sponsored by the NYU Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies. For the program and to register, visit:

Direct any questions to Kirsten Howe (

Spend an Hour with Jodi Magness

If you can, you definitely should.  I wish I could but I’m occupied 7-8 every Wednesday.

A new Center for Epigraphical Studies at Persepolis World Heritage Site: A Guest Post

A new Center for Epigraphical Studies at Persepolis World Heritage Site

On behalf of Persepolis World Heritage Site, it is of utmost pleasure to announce that the Center for Epigraphical Studies has started its work at Persepolis.

Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostam and other surrounding sites are considered major ancient sites, not only in Iran, but also in the region encompassing the ancient Near East. It is noteworthy that Persepolis and its trilingual Achaemenid inscriptions played a significant role in the history of cuneiform studies, especially during the early phases of the decipherment of cuneiform in late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Also, a significant amount of trilingual Achaemenid royal inscriptions and administrative tablets (belonging to Persepolis Treasury and Fortification archives) were found in Persepolis and other adjacent sites. Still, the epigraphical evidence in this region is not limited to cuneiform documents.

A variety of scripts and languages in different formats, such as inscriptions, tablets and graffiti belonging to various periods, from Achaemenid to early 20th century can be seen everywhere in the whole area of Persepolis and its surroundings.

As a result, Dr H. Fadaei, the director of Persepolis World Heritage Site, together with other staff members, decided to establish a specialized center for epigraphical studies which can help researchers work together with PWHS staff on documentation, digitalization, publication, and even preservation/restoration of all kinds of epigraphical evidence that are located, or will be uncovered in the future, at Persepolis and other related sites. Another objective of the Center for Epigraphical Studies is to hold seminars, workshops and talks for graduate students, researchers, and the staff of PWHS on different aspects of epigraphical studies. Therefore, all kinds of help are warmly welcomed.

PS. It is necessary for every institute or research center to possess a well-stocked library. PWHS has already a library containing more than 3000 books and journals, still more publications that can help epigraphists and other researchers are needed. Therefore, any donations in the form of hard copies of books and journals will also be very welcomed.

Soheil Delshad

Advisor of Persepolis World Heritage Site

The Earliest Israel: Territorial History in the Highlands of Canaan

Can the Shechem–Shiloh polity of the Iron I be identified as the earliest Israel? In other words: When was the territorial-name Shechem, designating a city-state, replaced by the name Israel for a polity in approximately the same territory?

Chapter from: Azzoni, Annalisa, Alexandra Kleinerman, Douglas A. Knight, David I. Owen, and Jack M. Sasson. 2020. From Mari to Jerusalem and back: Assyriological and Biblical studies in honor of Jack Murad Sasson. University Park, Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns, 2020. (Discount code NR20 for 30% off).

Etc.  In Bible and Interpretation.