A New Volume on Jeremiah

Sheffield Phoenix has it-

This Guide provides a concise introduction to the ways the book of Jeremiah has been interpreted by scholars, and to new possibilities of interpretation still open to readers. Outlining approaches the reader encountering the book may best adopt, Mary Mills moves into the reception of the prophetic book in the modern period. The role of historical criticism has been fundamental but she shows how it should be supplemented by recent explorations into the rhetorical structures and devices by which the book communicates its messages.

Historically oriented scholars drew upon the book as a record of the words and career of a prophet in monarchical Judah. Literary investigation, on the other hand, focuses on the mood and tone of the literary work. Both interpretative strands acknowledge the persistence of a mood of terror and fragmentation within Jeremiah, the result of its origins in a period of great political upheaval. Examination of the poetic devices a society uses to process its social and cultural trauma leads the reader to a deeper appreciation of the variety of sources and genres found in Jeremiah. The study Guide aims to provide reading tools which readers can then develop at their own pace.

Ben Sira: On Friends

One kind of friend is so only when it suits him but will not stand by you in your day of trouble.  Another kind of friend will fall out with you and to your dismay make your quarrel public, and a third kind of friend will share your table, but not stand by you in your day of trouble: when you are doing well he will be your second self, ordering your servants about; but, if disaster befalls you, he will recoil from you and keep out of your way.

Keep well clear of your enemies, and be wary of your friends. A loyal friend is a powerful defence: whoever finds one has indeed found a treasure. A loyal friend is something beyond price, there is no measuring his worth.  A loyal friend is the elixir of life, and those who fear the Lord will find one. Whoever fears the Lord makes true friends, for as a person is, so is his friend too. (Sir. 6:8-17)

Sirach knew what was what when it comes to true friends and those who only pretend to be such until they find some point of disagreement with you.  That sort is Legion.

Saul’s Two Year Reign

Developing I. Provan’s observation that the kings whose reigns are under impending judgment typically reign for two years in the book of Kings, we propose that Saul’s reign of two years in the MT of 1 Samuel 13:1 can be read as indicative of his failed kingship.

It’s an essay from a few years ago but worth mentioning again.

A Wiser Use of Your Money: The Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post Biblical Antiquity

For well less than $89 you can purchase Hendrickson’s “Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity“. And you’ll learn a great deal from it. And you’ll have it on hand and won’t require an internet connection to make use of it. And it will be really yours and not merely ‘virtually’.

Most Bible dictionaries on the market miss a number of cultural and sociological issues of interest to the study of the Scriptures. The Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post- Biblical Antiquity aims to fill this void. Written and edited by a world-class historian and a highly respected biblical scholar, with contributions by many others, this unique reference work provides background cultural and technical information on the world of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament from 2000 BC to approximately AD 600.

Articles explain details of domestic life, technology, culture, laws, and religious practices, and are accompanied by extensive bibliographic material for further exploration. Articles range from 5-20 pages long. Scholars, pastors, and students (and their teachers) will find this to be a useful resource for biblical study, exegesis, and sermon preparation.

Brilliant.

The July Carnival: It’s Your Birthday America- And Here’s Your Belated Gift

Everyone loves birthdays.  There’s cake and presents and even from time to time a surprise.  And usually there’s a full menu of delights to please every palate, from the most bland to the spiciest.  So, America, happy belated birthday.  Here’s your gift: the world’s most beloved Carnival of Biblical Studies happiness with a menu ranging from the bland to the hot and tasty.  Oh, and it’s not fattening.  And, you’ll be thrilled to learn, it’s virtually 74.23% snark free!  #Winning

[Before we launch into the joyful fun, a moment concerning a pressing issue if I may:  A petition has been organized by colleagues in Zurich calling on the archives at the Central Library to allow access to and use of materials by persons via the internet.  Please, take a moment and sign the petition.  Even if you aren’t interested in the subject of Reformation studies, your voice will let the powers that be know that an international assembly is concerned about the issue.  And, thanks in advance.  Go do it now.  Then you can come back].

Archaeology

Anne_Kirstine_de_He_764022aAnne Katrine Gudme wrote a great essay about Materiality and Divine Remembrance: The Votive Inscriptions from Mount Gerizim. She’s such a good writer. She notes that here she will …revisit parts of my doctoral thesis on the votive inscriptions from Mount Gerizim and to think further on the relationship between materiality and divine remembrance in these inscriptions. In my thesis and in the paper that I have been working on, I compare the Gerizim inscriptions with other Aramaic remembrance inscriptions, but in this blog post I shall focus on the Gerizim inscriptions.

lombatti-altra-fotoAntonio Lombatti related the story of the discovery of a Roman army camp at Megiddo.   The remains of an imperial Roman legionary camp — the only one of its kind ever to be excavated in Israel or in the entirety of the Eastern Empire from the second and third centuries CE — have come to light at a dig near Megiddo, archaeologists said this week.

Luke Chandler found a little fertility goddess at the Lachish excavation.  Fertility goddesses were considered influential over the fertility of the womb, making them especially popular among those desiring children. Someone wanting a child likely worshiped this figurine at home or in a temple. The Bible says that Israelites shared in this practice with the Canaanites.  Bloody pagans.

Visiting Azekah, Lachish and J. L. Starkey’s resting place, By Abigail Zammit (continued from The Lachish Letters in Jerusalem).  Worth a read for sure.

Eric Cline and a swarm of others authored a preliminary report on the season at Kabri and posted it on Academia.edu.  The 2015 excavations at Tel Kabri, the capital of a Middle Bronze Age Canaanite kingdom located in the western Galilee region of modern Israel, lasted from 14 June to 9 July 2015. Highlights of the season included the discovery of three more rooms containing a minimum of 70 jars, connected to the original wine cellar (Room 2440) discovered in 2013.  Etc.  Eric does great work.  

Brian Le Door interviewed James Strange on the Strange excavation at Ancient Jew Review– a blog you really need to follow.  Brian the DoorKeeper writes The excavation at Shikhin is directed by Prof. James R. Strange of Samford University. In addition to Prof. Strange, Drs. Mordecai Aviam (the Associate Director), David Fiensy, Dennis E. Groh, and Prof. Strange’s father, the legendary James F. Strange, provided valuable oversight and insight into the work. Etc.

Tel Aviv University interviewed the always delightful and engaging Israel Finkelstein.  Vintage Finkelstein in this Q&A- Q: Talking about the site of Megiddo, personally I think it´s a very interesting site, a place with an almost mythical past.  A: What do you mean an interesting site? It is THE mother of ALL sites!

Our friends at biblical studies online reminded us that very little has changed in the world of archaeology and fraudulent artifact trafficking since 2007 when Aren Maeir delivered a lecture on that very subject.  Give it a read.

Israel Finkelstein has published a new essay in ZAW which discusses the migration of outsiders to Judah in the 7th century.  It’s a great and important essay and it is summarized here.

John Bartlett, former Director of the PEF and former editor of the PEQ has a nifty post titled ‘What Have These Stones…”  He writes I took part, as my first experience of archaeology, in the second season (January-June, 1962) of Kathleen Kenyon‘s Jerusalem digs, which followed her famous Jericho excavations. Kenyon was particularly concerned to locate the early walls and so the early location of the city of Jerusalem, and made important Middle and Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age discoveries on the slopes of Ophel and elsewhere.  Etc.

Hebrew Bible

vonradTVZ has published a great biography of the Old Testament scholar and archaeologist Hans Wildberger.  There’s a very nicely informative review of it here.  Hans Wildberger war Professor für alttestamentliche Wissenschaft und allgemeine Religionsgeschichte an der Universität Zürich. International bekannt wurde er durch seinen monumentalen Jesajakommentar, der zwischen 1965 und 1982 erschien. Frank Jehle erzählt von Leben und Wirken Hans Wildbergers, seiner Herkunft als Bauernsohn aus Neunkirch (SH) bis hin zu seinem Tod in Zürich. Bemerkenswert ist seine Zeit im Gemeindepfarramt (1933–1951) – seine Predigten sind Zeitdokumente ersten Ranges.

Bryan Bibb posted a relevant bit on recent things.  Here.  He asks the question: Why are the “devout” so quick to believe accusations against people with whom they disagree? I read two posts recently that address this question in different ways.   It’s fair to point out, I think, that the ‘devout’ (i.e., religious) aren’t the only ones who do such things.  There are as many ‘irreligious’ who are willing to spread falsehood about things they don’t understand just to toss red meat to the sycophant mob.  One need merely think of Richard Dawkins as a prime example.

Lucifer stuff!  Or, more precisely, the fall of the horned devil takes center stage in a post by Jona ‘The Dutchlander’ Lendering.  In the first issue of Ancient History Magazine, I will be reviewing Adam, Eve, and the Devil. A New Beginning by Marjo Korpel and Johannes de Moor. The authors claim to have found traces of a Bronze Age myth about Adam, a serpent, and the tree of life. This is not the place to discuss their readings of Ugaritic tablets – you will have to wait for our first issue – but it is an interesting book, written by two authors who show a recommendable disrespect for disciplinary boundaries: cuneiform sources from Mesopotamia, Zoroastrian stories, Greek mythology, and Biblical texts are combined. Iconographic evidence is taken into account as well.

Abraham King James has a 2149776.jpgreally interesting post on the topic of the Ark of the Covenant- in a sermon.  Sermons aren’t normally Carnival fare, but this one seems appropriate.  He begins – David, now King over all Israel in 2 Samuel 6, asks a poignant question, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” (6:9) “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” The ark of the covenant was the adorned chest in the tabernacle that symbolized the presence of God. It went with and settled among God’s people wherever they wandered. It contained the two tablets with the 10 commandments, a jar of manna—representing God’s provision in the wilderness, and Aaron’s rod—a sign of the authority and sovereignty of God to make for himself a people of his own.

Rick Brannan did a post on the Psalms in the early church that you’ll want to visit.  It’s pretty good.

JESOT came out with an issue which Vince Artele (I think that’s how he spells it) posted mention of.  It’s a journal by, for, and focused on ‘evangelicals’.  I don’t know what that word means.  I know what it used to mean.  But what it means now, who knows.  So the contents of the journal may be of interest.  But it may not.  That’s up to you.

On the other hand Joel Watts did a post on mimes miming Proverbs in Mark.  I don’t understand it but Joel told me some years back that if I ever didn’t put a post of his in the Carnival he would sneak over to my house in the middle of the day and throw cat litter on my bird feeder and this one was his least insensible offering for the month of July.  So… well… there it is.

New Testament

bultmann_saysThe goodly Torsten Jansch (he’s German so he knows stuff) had some things to say about the so called ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ debate as carried on in the pages of NTS.   Viele Forscher vermuten, dass der sehr fragmentarische Papyrus eine moderne Fälschung ist. Die Argumente pro und contra, inklusive papyrologischer Argumente, wurden in einer ausführlichen Debatte ausgetauscht. Das Thema wurde in einer Reihe von Artikeln in der Harvard Theological Review 107/2, 2014 behandelt. Die Diskussion wird im aktuellen Heft der New Testament Studies 61/3, 2015, weitergeführt.

Mike Kok did a nice piece for Bible and Interpretation on Christology.  It’s worthy of your attention.

bultmann_bioScot McKnight informs us that the next book big on Paul is imminent.  Oh boy!  And this one … will undoubtedly become a major book for all Pauline scholars and all students who are in touch with the vanguard of scholarship, and I hope many pastors will read the book, too.   I know what you’re thinking- every publisher and every publisher’s blurb says that book whatever is the next big thing.  And that you’ve grown immune to the threat.  Well let’s just wait and see if everyone in Pauline studies is gasping for breath when they finish the volume before we declare it canonical.

Rick Wadholm posted on the question of eschatology.  For the universalists among you and emergents and others ill-instructed about Christian doctrine, eschatology is that bit of the future where you get tossed into the flames and roasted for eternity (also known as – hooray day!).  Give Rick’s post a read / listen (it has audio too).

bultmann_graveRichard “The Great” Goode draws our attention to something called the Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival (and thus of interest to New Testament researchers).  I know, who knew that there was such a thing as Roman Bioarchaeology much less that there are blogs about it and that they have a Carnival of their own.  As if the Biblical Studies Carnival (Avignonian version) were insufficient…  Hold on, I need a tissue…

Roberta Mazza, a true star, posted a very insightful piece on the Wyman Fragment that you’ll want to read fully.  The parchment, which has received different palaeographical dating ranging from the second half of the second century to the second half of the fourth century AD, bears some lines from Paul’s Romans chapters 4 and 5 attesting interesting variants. It is registered as 0220/20220 in the official list of New Testament manuscripts.

Richard Goode at Newman did a cool Summer course on Greek and one day in class he had his students take a look at Sinaiticus.  What a brilliant way to let beginning students have interactions with ancient texts and see how well they can do at managing them.  This is the way to get kids right into materials!

vxZj5It’s too late now for you to take part in Mary Magdalene day (July 22)… but you can mark your calendar if you want and enjoy the fun next year.  Bottom line: Mary Magdalene showed up. And because of that, Jesus depended on her to carry the most important news of all time to the world: that the powers of darkness had been beaten back. The world would never again be the same. Her commitment to show up, despite the darkness around her, serves as a great inspiration to us.  You can.  I’ll be busy.

KeithLeCrossley posted a quote by J. Pelikan and since I like Pelikan’s work I’ve noted it here.  It’s a relief to see an entire post which is comprised of a quote because usually there’s some sort of rambling circumlocuting going on over there.

July 30 marked the sad departure of the greatest of all New Testament scholar’s from this life almost 40 years ago: Rudolf Karl Bultmann.  So, in a proper show of respect I posted a series of things about the great man which you will doubtless wish to read, along with a photo gallery.

General

NPR did a story on the misinformation distributed during Shark Week and it reminded me of those biblical scholars who, though they should know better, are still willing to sell out in order to be on tv.  Scientists know that Discovery twists the truth.  Why don’t biblical scholars?  And if they do (and they have to), then what is it about them that makes them willing to turn their backs on the facts and become part of something insidious and dishonest?

Bryan Lewis also has some thoughts about scholars, scholarship, and academia that you’ll want to read.  Especially if you’re thinking about doing a PhD.

BibleGateway does a weekly roundup of posts.  It’s something which might be of interest to you, the Bible reading public.  It covers such things as the Birthplace Of The First Hungarian Bible Marks 425 Years Since Completion Of Work Of “Epic Dimensions”

atlantaThere may still be time for you to book a discount rate hotel room in Atlanta for SBL thought they may well be running out by now.  Sometimes people would like to attend the Annual Meeting but the cost of the official hotels can be daunting.  And for many, downright prohibitive.  Accordingly, a friend in Atlanta who knows the area has provided a list of alternative hotels close to the Annual Meeting locations.

For something completely different, check out Tiffany’s post on stained glassI am extremely pleased to announce that I will be organising an exciting, family-friendly art and religion event in collaboration with Sheffield Cathedral as part of the series of events that the University of Sheffield will be hosting as a regional hub for the 2015 Being Human Festival (a yearly national festival of the humanities).

Peter Head offered an incisive summary of papers of interest to the text critical crowd from the SNTS meeting in Amsterdam.  Well, to be fair it’s not so much a summary of papers as it is a rather bland and banal simple listing.  Rather like a grocery list but without the exciting doodles.  Still, some people are very fond of oatmeal boiled to the point of tastelessness or egg whites left out on the sidewalk for a day or two.  So it’s included as well in our happy Carnival because you were promised bland too and it has to be delivered.

And just because I like the kid and his blog always has interesting things related to various interests of mine, be sure to visit Derrick Peterson’s ‘A Greater Courage‘.

Well, that’s it for July.  The August Carnival will post on 1 September at 0001.  It will be loaded with anticipatory SBL annual meeting stuff and some mockery of the hoity toity along with the usual fascinating tidbits.  See ya soon.

 

With Appreciation To Emily Varner for a Copy of the Zondervan NIV Study Bible (50th Anniversary Edition)

438335It arrived today.  Should you wish to know all about it, Biblegateway has loads of info including videos.  Thanks again, Emily.

Critical Questions for the Early High Christology Club

Michael Kok writes in Bible and Interpretation:

Many scholars of Christian origins infer that the Christian understanding of Christ (i.e. Christology) evolved in the first century CE from a human who was exalted to heavenly glory to a divine being who became incarnate in human flesh. They debate how rapidly Jesus’ status grew over time among his devotees. For some scholars, a full-fledged Christ cult was established by the Hellenized communities in northern Syria and was spread throughout the Mediterranean by Saul of Tarsus. Others contend that the divinization of Jesus is not attested until the Gospel of John or the epistles of Ignatius. An evolutionary model for the development of Christology, however, has remained as a standard historical reconstruction.

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