The Anniversary of the Birth of Kurt Aland

Today is already March 28 in Germany and so it is the anniversary of the birth of that great Text Critic and Church Historian (yes, he wrote an extensive history of Christianity which spanned two large volumes) Kurt Aland.  He was born on 28 March, 1915 (and regrettably passed away on 13 April, 1994).

I corresponded with him a bit in the late 80’s early 90’s and he was always terribly congenial.  I regret that I never did have the chance to meet him though.  And that makes me sad.

Aland surely needs no introduction, does he?  Here’s a smattering of his impressive publications, just in case you aren’t familiar enough with him.

Here’s a tiny little interview which aired on German tv in which he explains in the briefest of terms the importance of textual criticism.

And here’s a great little explanation of the institute for textual criticism for which he was responsible.

Happy birthday, Professor. All of those who know your work, treasure it, and you.

Jacob Wright’s Webinar on David

What Do We Know About King David and Why Does It Matter? Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible Jacob L. Wright will present an alumni webinar on King David next Tuesday, March 24 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Register here –>

The World of the Bible, Jeremiah, And a Collaboration: A True Tale of Intrigue and Murder

world of the bibleAlright not really.  There’s no intrigue and no murder in what follows unless you’re intrigued with how you might want to murder me.  To which I say, get in line.

But what there is in its place is the exciting news that the publisher of The World of the Bible contacted me some months ago and commissioned a new e-Book in their fantastic series- to be on Jeremiah.  My assignment was to assemble a team and provide editorial oversight along with a contribution of my own.  I was glad to agree because I love Jeremiah.

The scholars, and they all are scholars of the first magnitude, writing essays for the volume are Jacob Wright, Bryan Bibb, Mark Leuchter, Tim Bulkeley, and George Athas.   It’s an international assemblage of insightful awesomeness.

The volume should appear this Fall.  You’ll want to read it.  And you’ll be able to afford to do so.  Bayard Presse is the publisher and this series of e-Books is intended to be informative and critical and accessible.  Jeremiah shall be.

Coming Soon: A Book By Bryan Bibb (and Some Other People)

Text, Time, and Temple
Literary, Historical and Ritual Studies in Leviticus
Edited by Francis Landy, Leigh M. Trevaskis, Bryan Bibb

bibbIn their different ways the essays in this collection ask, Why was Leviticus written? What is the relation of text to practice, and to the development of the idea of an Israelite society centred in its Temple through all vicissitudes of its history?

The thirteen contributors are engaged in exploring the intersection of literary, historical and ritual approaches to Leviticus, as the central book of the Torah and as a utopian vision of an ideal society. Leading scholars of Leviticus and the Pentateuch, like James Watts, Israel Knohl and Christophe Nihan, combine with others whose primary interest is magic, reception, cultural memory and gender.

The collection begins with a chapter by Michael Hundley on the ancient Near Eastern background of the priestly code and the issue of divine fluidity. Several scholars consider the social function of the book, particularly in the Second Temple period. James Watts, for instance, thinks that it combats scepticism about the efficacy of ritual; Reinhard Müller argues that the ‘I am Yhwh’ formula locates the texts in a liturgical setting. Christophe Nihan discusses the manipulation of blood in sacrifice as having an indexical function, as part of the ‘templization’ of Israel.

Other chapters engage in analyses of particular texts. Leigh Trevaskis advocates a symbolic interpretation of the prohibition of intercourse with a menstruant. Deborah Rooke analyses the gender and ethnic implications of the story of the blasphemer in Leviticus 24. Similarly, Francis Landy compares the chapters on the Nazirite and the woman suspected of adultery as challenges to the sacerdotal order. Jonathan Burnside argues that the prohibition of necromancy is integral to Leviticus 20. The book concludes with a moving reflection by Jeremy Milgrom on his father’s views on the ethical implications of his work, and particularly its relevance to Israeli–Palestinian relations.

Jesus and Brian: Exploring the Historical Jesus and His Times Via Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Jesus and Brian: Exploring the Historical Jesus and His Times Via Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

9780567658296Monty Python’s Life of Brian film is known for its brilliant satirical humour. Less well known is that the film contains references to what was, at the time of its release, cutting edge biblical scholarship and Life of Jesus research. This research, founded on the acceptance of the Historical Jesus as a Jew who needs to be understood within the context of his time, is implicitly referenced through the setting of the Brian character within a tumultuous social and political background.

This collection is a compilation of essays from foremost scholars of the historical Jesus and the first century Judaea, and includes contributions from George Brooke, Richard Burridge, Paula Fredriksen, Steve Mason, Adele Reinhartz, Bart Ehrman, Amy-Jill Levine, James Crossley, Philip Davies, Joan Taylor, Bill Telford, Helen Bond, Guy Steibel, David Tollerton, David Shepherd and Katie Turner. The collection opens up the Life of Brian to renewed investigation and, in so doing, uses the film to reflect on the historical Jesus and his times, revitalising the discussion of history and Life of Jesus research. The volume also features a Preface from Terry Jones, who not only directed the film, but also played Brian’s mum.

Go to the link above for the table of contents.

A New Volume of Interest to Scholars of the Hebrew Bible and Text Criticism

The Text of the Hebrew Bible:
From the Rabbis to the Masoretes
 edited by Elvira Martín-Contreras and Lorena Miralles-Maciá

Regular Price: $113.00 / Special Offer Price: $91.00

Description:  This book aims to open up the discussion and research of the up to now unstudied period of the History of the Hebrew Bible text: the period from the apparent stabilization of the Hebrew biblical text until the standardization that is reflected in the manuscripts of biblical text, those including the Masorah (c. 2nd – 9th centuries A.D.). What took place from the time of the standardization of the consonantic text of the Hebrew Bible until the appearance of the first Masoretic codices? How was the biblical text preserved in the meantime? How was the body of notes that makes up the Masorah formed? How can the diversity of the textual traditions contained in the Masorah be explained and be consistent with the idea of a text established and standardized centuries before?

For more information, please visit: