Category Archives: Bible

The Return of the Avignonian Carnival

This month’s fun is Chronological:  The best post of each day as determined by a panel of experts are listed here in the order of their appearance.  And some of what follows, especially mid-month, is sure to infuriate.  For that I cannot apologize.  You’re welcome to see things as you wish, but by the same token, so am I.

zwingli_laptop1 – Antonio Lombatti has a great post on early Judaism.  Not to be missed.

2 – Jennifer Guo and SBL have announced the hashtag for the upcoming Annual Meeting which, to my eternal sorrow, will include the unwashed masses of the AAR.  Remember when John reports that ‘Jesus wept’?  Yeah, that.

3 – I read with great interest and personal profit George Athas‘s post on depression.

4 – Dom Mattos wrote a piece which rounded up reviews of T&T Clark’s amazing volume on Geza Vermes.  Take a look.  You won’t regret it.

5 – Word was shared that J. Louis Martyn died on the 5th.  It saddened all of us and provoked Beverly Gaventa to write this beautiful testimonial.

6 – Words can’t express how much I find Richard Goode a delightful wit.  His post on two recent carnivalesque things will endear him to you as well.  Unless you’re insane and unhinged.

opitz_zwingli7 – Christian Brady posted a lovely series on the subject of suffering, about which he knows more than any parent should. You need to read it.  And need is emphatic.

8 – Joel Watts received a volume to review that looks genuinely of interest.  Keep an eye out for his review here.

9- Chris Tilling posted a nice and nicely titled bitlet on Barthing.  If you immediately thought the word ‘barfing’ then you hit the mark.

10- Gershon Galil offered a very intriguing reading of the second recently discovered Qeiyafa inscription.  Consider it.

11 – Larry Hurtado is writing a new book and in it he evidently is going to talk about the likes of Julius Africanus, whom he calls an interesting fellow.  Thanks, Larry… now I have to chase that rabbit to see if he really is interesting or if he’s just ‘Joel Watts’ interesting…

12 – A very intriguing and sensible essay on the emergence of the Codex for those interested in the history of books and writing.  The British Library has posted it.

zwingli13 – Jim Tabor is doing a series on John the Baptist and Messianic expectations.  Here’s a segment.  If you enjoy it you might also enjoy the rest of them.

14 – Deane Galbraith has an as always intriguing post on- this time – Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’.

15- Peter Head reviewed a book that sounds pretty good.   But I can’t link to it because that would be unfair to Peter who, a few years back, said academics shouldn’t blog (and other derogatory things about books on blogs).  And linking to it would make him seem to be a tad disingenuous.  So if you want to read it you’ll have to track it down using your own devices.

16 – Scot ‘The Canadian’ McKnight has some thoughts on how one shouldn’t talk about faith and science.  Being a big, big fan of the whole faith … science dialogue I can do nothing but commend it to you.

17 – Christoph Heilig has written a nearly ingenious review of the NIDNTTE.  It’s exceptional.

ZWINGLI-GOS-DIGITAL18 – On the evening of the 17th a young man walked into Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and murdered 9 people- including the Pastor.  I searched the biblioblogs to see who else had mentioned the event and I’m sorry to say that hardly any could be bothered with it.  I can’t express sufficiently how sad it makes me that so many people who are ‘interested in the Bible’ are not at all interested in contemporary events; nor do they see it as a part of their responsibility to say something to society in the face of such disgusting acts.  Ivory towers are for pulling down, not for settling into.  Notable exceptions:

Our Prayers are with Charleston, Scot McKnight and Greg Hillis.

Thank you, Scot and Greg (and perhaps others who are unknown to me).  To be sure, people can, and do, blog what they want.  But the disconnect between Scripture scholarship and current events is just so stunning as to be note-worthy and remark-able.

19 – George Athas says a big hearty ho NEIN to ridiculous claims being made that a Canaanite coin has been discovered.

conacher_zwingli20 – Day off.  Was sick.  Did nothing.

21 – Chris Rollston had some important things to say about the newly discovered second Qeiyafa inscription which maximalists especially owe it to themselves to read.

22 – Steve Wiggins posted a review of a book by a person of whom I have never heard on a topic which is of no interest to me.  But in order to be inclusive, I include it here.

23 – Nijay ‘Sanjay’ Gupta has announced that EP Sanders is going to publish a ‘big book’ on Paul this year.  I’m betting just in time for SBL.  Oh boy…. Paul… Who can’t get enough of Paul………..  Paul… It’s almost as though the NT consists only of Paul and the Synoptics and everything else is the red headed step child.  But in reality, John and the Johannine lit are the high water marks of the NT.  Everything else, including Paul, is of lesser interest.

More interesting than another book on Paul could ever be is the interview of Konrad Schmid on Swiss television.  Unmissable.

zwingli_1513_22.jpg24 – Very sad news this day: Eduard Lohse has died.  :(    (I’d have linked to another blog but evidently none of them could be bothered with noting the death of one of the best New Testament scholars to grace the planet).

25 – Richard Goode posted an announcement of a Greek Summer course.  You should go.  Yes, YOU!  If you don’t read the languages in which the Bible was written, you shouldn’t be preaching it or teaching it.

26 – A day that will live in infamy…  Oh, and Brian Small reviewed Herbert Bateman’s book on the Catholic Epistles (I don’t know why he calls them ‘General’).

27 – James Spinti had some historical and biblical thoughts about the SCOTUS decision which are quite worth reading.

28 – Jose da Silva posted a summary of the RBL reviews which, if you missed, you should take a look at.

zwingli_165029 – Daniel *The Big Haired Aussie Transplant to America* Gullotto posted a piece of homosexuality and Christianity as discussed by a book which isn’t nearly as good as Helmut Puff’s Sodomy in Reformation Germany which is, in my not uninformed opinion, the very best study on the subject of sexuality and the Church yet written in any Western European language.

But if that isn’t your ‘cup of vinegar’ then surely Brice Jones’ rampaging denunciation of rampant speculation and pure guesswork concerning early Christian texts will be.

30 – The last submission was that of Deane Galbraith‘s provocative essay on the sin of Sodom. And it’s fitting and proper that the final entry of the month is an analysis of the final book of the Bible- Revelation.  Ian Paul does a fine analysis of the components of the book and argues for a unified composition.

Join us next month as we return, once more, to offer Avignonian Contrarian posts intended to compete with those offered by the heretical official carnival hosted by the non-heretical Phil Jones (or one of his minions).  There’ll be plenty to annoy even those with the disposition of Mother Theresa.  After all…

It makes me tingle with pleasure from head to toe when I see that through me, poor wretched man that I am, God the Lord maddens and exasperates you hellish and worldly people – Luther

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun

And people are the same as they have always been-

ezekHe said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak with you.” As he spoke to me, a wind came into me and stood me on my feet, and I heard the one speaking to me.

He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the house of Israel, to rebellious nations who have rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have revolted against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and hard-hearted, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign LORD says.’

And as for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 

But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words—even though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions—do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house!  You must speak my words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. 

As for you, son of man, listen to what I am saying to you: Do not rebel like that rebellious house! Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.”  Then I looked and realized a hand was stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front and back; written on it were laments, mourning, and woe (Ezekiel 2:1-10).

Erasmus and his Greek New Testament

Via Refo500

Houston Baptist University announces a wonderful exhibition and a fascinating conference both related to the 500th anniversary of Erasmus’ edition of the New Testament in 2016.

Exhibition: “Renaissance of the Bible; 500th Anniversary of Erasmus’ Greek text, the foundation for Reformation”. A special exhibit for the 500th anniversary of the first publication of the printed Greek text by Erassmus in 1516.  January 4 – December 16, 2016

Conference: AD FONTES, AD FUTURA: Erasmus’ Bible and the Impact of Scripture.  February 25-27, 2016, hosted by the School of Christian Thought and the Dunham Bible Museum.  The call for papers will follow soon.

BibleWorks 10: The NETS Version

The NETS version is the New English Translation of the Septuagint.  This translation has been widely feted and its inclusion in BW10 is clearly a welcome edition.

When I’m working with a translation I like to compare it or test it or check it in relationship to the original underlying text because, as we all know, translations aren’t always accurate or even good.  Think of the New International Version or the even worse ‘Living Bible’ (which is neither Living, nor Bible, nor even translation).

Setting up a parallel version to use in BW wasn’t exactly the easiest process.  The ‘help’ instructions aren’t always helpful.  Here’s the results if one searches the help file for ‘parallel versions’ (which seems to me the natural place to start when one is looking for setup instructions):


So- not exactly the most helpful screen.  But going down the list one discovers the appropriate term:


And that’s just what’s needed.  Then, one can simply set up the versions one wishes to examine in parallel:


Once that’s all set up, comparing the NETS with other versions and translations is as easy as pie.  And to select a passage one need do so in one window:


And then on the left panel simply choosing to synchronize the two:


It really is quite a useful resource, the NETS.  But setting things up to view it in parallel can be frustrating if one doesn’t know the exact phrase which the programmers have set as the term to which the program will respond.

Indeed, that may well be the only shortcoming or weakness of the program.  One has to, at times, try to think like a programmer.  What’s plain and common to them may not be to you and as a result you may find yourself wandering around in the giant forest which is the program becoming ever more frustrated until, by chance, you find a breadcrumb which leads you out (or straight to the house of the witch who devours).

Computer programs which manage so many materials and which must therefore be rather complex are great when they work easily and can be absolutely indispensable.  On the other hand, when they are difficult to use or when it is hard to find just the right phrase to search in order to get them to do what you need it to do, it can me mind numbingly infuriating.

BibleWorks manages to keep ‘help’ manageable.  But sometimes, just barely.

[NB – I’m sure I’m the only person who uses bible software who doesn’t have at hand all the computer lingo common enough amongst the masses as to make my difficulties finding procedural steps laughable.  Nonetheless, reviews of such software are by their very nature personal].

The review series of which this is a small part is located here.

There, In Berea…

Dort war man ihnen freundlicher gesinnt als in Thessalonich. Sie nahmen das Wort mit grosser Bereitschaft auf und forschten Tag für Tag in den Schriften, ob es sich so verhalte. (Acts 17:11 ZUR)

Diese waren freundlicher als die in Thessalonich. Mit aller Bereitwilligkeit nahmen sie das Wort auf und forschten täglich in den Schriften, ob es sich wirklich so verhalte. (Acts 17:11 HRD)

Diese waren von edlerer Art als die in Thessalonich: Sie nahmen das Wort mit aller Bereitwilligkeit auf und untersuchten täglich die Schriften, ob es sich so verhielte. (Acts 17:11 JAN)

Diese aber waren edler als die in Thessalonich; sie nahmen das Wort mit aller Bereitwilligkeit auf und forschten täglich in den Schriften, ob es sich so verhielte. (Acts 17:11 NLB)

οὗτοι δὲ ἦσαν εὐγενέστεροι τῶν ἐν Θεσσαλονίκῃ, οἵτινες ἐδέξαντο τὸν λόγον μετὰ πάσης προθυμίας καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἀνακρίνοντες τὰς γραφὰς εἰ ἔχοι ταῦτα οὕτως. (Acts 17:11 NA28)

Here the Jews were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they welcomed the word very readily; every day they studied the scriptures to check whether it was true. (Acts 17:11 NJB)

These were also more noble men then they which were at Thessalonica, which receiued the woorde with all readinesse, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 GNV)

act 17-11



It’s amazing how many different ways a simple verse can be rendered.  This really is a cautionary tale to all would be interpreters- every translation is an interpretation- even your favorite, or yours.

If a seemingly simple and straightforward and plain sentence can be translated in such different ways, then it behooves the wise to tread carefully.

Quote of the Day

Sondern wir haben uns losgesagt von allem, was den Tag scheut und Schande bringt. Wir sind nicht hinterhältig, noch verfälschen wir das Wort Gottes, sondern, indem wir die Wahrheit offenbar machen, empfehlen wir uns einem jeden menschlichen Gewissen vor Gott. – St. Paul