Zwinglius Redivivus

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The February Carnival: The ‘Love is in the Air’ Edition

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5February is the month of love.  Valentine’s Day don’t ya know…  Anyway, I thought this month I would show some link love to a number of blogs you’ve never (or probably never) heard of, written by people (or probably people) you’ve never heard mentioned.

Check it out:

Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament

Mine.  I mean, in answer to the question posed by young Mr (well darn, I’ve forgotten) (no there it is)- Jason.   There was a right sharp interview with Karen Jobes on International Septuagint Day that you should read – because you haven’t already.  It’s by someone.

Richard has posted a series of videos of lectures in Thomas Römer’s series on the Bible and its contexts.  Well worth a look and videos by some of the leaders in the field.

David Clines lectures on the varieties of creation in this video.  Clines is really a scream of a lecturer/ presenter.  He’s sort of the male version of Amy-Jill Levine (which is to say, whenever you have a chance to hear him, do it).

Bob Cargill posted his radio appearance in January but nothing in February so here it is.  I reckon February is too cold in Iowa for blogging.

The wise and goodly folk in Central Europe have constructed a brilliant little game to teach kids (and journalists) the Old Testament.

Tim B. is doing a video series on the geography of the Bible and he’s also got one in the series on ‘routes’.  It’s right smart and it deserves your attention.

3Since Jack Sasson’s list is now being hosted on the SBL site you’ll be able to read it even if you aren’t worthy of being on Jack’s list.  That’s good news for you, the little people.

Deane Galbraith is back with ‘Remnants of Giants‘.  Good to see him doing what he does again.  Here’s a fine example on the David and Goliath tale.

New Testament

Someone named Anthony wrote a piece about some angry atheist and some skinny not so funny comedian debating the topic of Theodicy (because who on earth doesn’t want to know what an angry atheist and an actor person think about one of the most complex issues in theology.  Maybe next time throw in a journalist and you’ll have the trifecta of dileattantism).

Have you ever wondered about responses to Mark 7:32-37 in Victorian London and in biblical scholarship? Well, over at the most narrowly focused blog in all existence you can find out.  Who knew…

Campbell is not right.  Moo is.  Bauckam is right too but he’s talking about fishing.  I like fish.  I don’t like catching and murdering them or cleaning them or cooking them or smelling them.  But I like the way their completely deboned descaled decapitated bodies taste.

John Martens has a really fine commentary on Acts he’s blogging.  And by that, I mean he’s writing a commentary on Acts on his blog that certainly is a worthwhile read.  And Phil Long is also thinking about Acts and almsgiving.

From Durham- this.  On rock/ sand.

3Richard Goode posted an entry on the ‘Gospel of the Lots of Mary’…  Lots of Mary… Lotsa Mary.  (I’m sorry, sometimes the mockery just comes naturally and if I try to hold it in I die).  Richard also shared a lecture by Steve Moyise on Jesus and his birth (part two).  Richard’s doing great things with the Newman blog.  You should watch it.

Nijay Gupta did a good job destroying the ridiculous and absurd comments about NT Wright.


Larry Hurtado shares Richard Bauckham’s appreciation for Larry Hurtado.  It’s a nice tribute nicely appreciated by the recipient of the tribute.  I.e., the tributee.

George Athas directs our attention to yet another (albeit good) contribution to the discussion of Jesus’ existence.  It’s still a stupid question.  It has been asked by skeptics since ages ago and no one with any sense or sensibility doubts it.  Maurice Casey said everything about the topic that needed to be said.  And still… the daft continue to ask it.  Its become a cottage industry promoted by the self promoting.

Ancillary Stuff (Archaeology, Text Criticism, DSS, etc.)

There’s a very interesting post on the Tel Aviv archaeology blog  by Joshua Errington about a field excursion that you’ll most definitely want to read (and you’ll want to follow the blog too).

Roberta Mazza body slams the practice of buying and selling antiquities to ‘protect them’.  #Boom.  She does the same when it comes to ‘marketing’ the ‘Word of God’.

Danny G. posted video about Sebastian Moll’s discussion of Marcion.  Fun times for all.

Hershel Shanks reflects on the birth of BAR.  It’s a good read.

Vaticanus is now fully digitized and available online.  Nifty.  Not so nifty is Brice’s citation of Wikipedia for the description of the manuscript.  He notes, wryly (I hope) that the description is accurate.  It may have been accurate the moment Brice read it but 10 seconds later it may have been distorted.  Wikipedia.  It’s bad.  It’s always bad.  It’s never good because- at the end of the day- it’s never really trustworthy.

Steve Moyise has a good bit to say about Wright’s (mis)understanding of Paul’s use of Scripture.  You won’t want to miss it if you’ve already missed it.

It has already occurred but you may want to ask Larry if he has plans to publish his lecture at the Pontifical Institute.  It sounds really great.  “The Dead Sea Scrolls: Judaism on the Eve of Christianity”.

2There’s a very intriguing post here on textual studies and diagnostics that you’ll want to take a look at.

It’s very exciting to pass along word that a new blog by a female person commenced in February titled ‘The Female Bible Scholar‘ by the learned and delightful Tiffany Webster.  I’m grateful to tiny Mike Kok for telling me about it.  Mike used to blog but now that he’s running his own corporation he doesn’t anymore.  Perhaps at long last women bloggers in biblical studies will break forth in a mighty surge.  Please, Lord, let it happen.  Tiffany also herself passed along word of a SIIBS gathering that will interest the Yorkshire folk.

Brice Jones described a newly discovered ‘saying of Jesus’ (one of those agraphon things).  But if it’s ‘unwritten’ how is it that it has been discovered written down?  [Sorry, it’s a pet peeve of mine that the term agraphon is used of clearly written down texts.  It’s as if textual scholars aren’t inventive enough to come up with a term that actually makes sense… you know, like ‘graphon’…] [And though you may have the feeling that I don’t like Brice nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact that he cites wikipedia…]

The folk at the PEQ blog have a really good post on an aspect of their work.  Give it a read if you haven’t already.

It being February, and February being both the month in which Melanchthon was born and Luther died, it’s appropriate to mention the commencement of a new edition of Melancthon’s Opera Omnia.

And finally, if you aren’t a part of the best online discussion of the bible group, join up.

1Next month’s blog will come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.  In the meantime, go read Jennifer’s ‘official’ Carnival.  She’s a delight.  A beginning theology student, she has a fine sense of wit and – importantly – understands that Joel Watts is the antichrist.

Biblioblogdom explained

Biblioblogdom explained

Written by Jim

March 1, 2015 at 00:01

Thomas Römer on Yhwh in the Desert

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Written by Jim

February 26, 2015 at 13:00

A Conference on the Bible and Film at the University of Exeter

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Exodus and the 21st Century Bible Film’
Workshop at the University of Exeter, 26-27 March 2015

Katie Edwards (University of Sheffield)  – God as Brat: Constructions of the Divine in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Nathan Abrams (Bangor University) – Whitewashing Jews & Judaism: From The Ten Commandments to Exodus: Gods and Kings

David Shepherd (Trinity College Dublin) – ‘See This Great Sight’: Exodus and the Evolution of Biblical Spectacle

Catherine Wheatley (Kings College London) – Religious America, Secular Europe? Adapting the Bible in Contemporary Hollywood and European Film

Samuel Tongue (University of Glasgow) – Picturing the Plagues and Parting the Waves: Visual Style and World Building in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Michelle Fletcher (Kings College London) – Once Upon an Apocalypse: Violence, Destruction and a Long, Long Time Ago

Jon Morgan (University of Chester) – Reading the Entrails: Interpreting the Rebooted Biblical Epic

David Tollerton (University of Exeter)
‘Down With This Sort of Thing!’ The Multiform Blasphemies Perceived Amidst Receptions of Exodus: Gods and Kings

Phil Wickham (Bill Douglas Cinema Museum) – Bible and Film at the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum Collection

The workshop is free, but because space is limited please contact David Tollerton ( as soon as possible if you would like to participate. The event is affiliated with several research groups based at the University of Exeter:

• The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum
• Centre for Biblical Studies
• Centre for Interdisciplinary Film Research
• Network for Religion in Public Life

Written by Jim

February 20, 2015 at 10:48

Posted in Bible, Conferences, media

What Jesus Thinks Matters More than What Aquinas Thinks… on Ash Wednesday (And Every Day)

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Matthew 6:16 Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποί, ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν. 17 σὺ δὲ νηστεύων ἄλειψαί σου τὴν κεφαλὴν καὶ τὸ πρόσωπόν σου νίψαι, 18 ὅπως μὴ φανῇς τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύων ἀλλὰ τῷ πατρί σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ· καὶ ὁ πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ ἀποδώσει σοι.


Written by Jim

February 18, 2015 at 09:15

Posted in Bible

Ora sul sito web della Biblioteca Vaticana il codice b

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Attorno all’anno 330 l’imperatore Costantino scriveva al vescovo Eusebio di Cesarea invitandolo a provvedere «a far trascrivere da copisti esperti e ben esercitati in questa tecnica cinquanta volumi delle Sacre Scritture, in pergamena finemente lavorata, che siano maneggevoli e di facile consultazione». Aggiungeva quanto l’allestimento e l’utilizzo di quei volumi sarebbero stati «indispensabili per la Chiesa»; assicurava inoltre di aver già dato indicazioni al responsabile generale dell’amministrazione perché si impegnasse a procurare quanto occorreva alla trascrizione di quei testi; autorizzava infine Eusebio a servirsi di due carri della posta pubblica per mandare a Costantino i volumi una volta confezionati.

See more at:  It’s quite good albeit brief.

Written by Jim

February 17, 2015 at 08:03

Posted in Bible

Reading Deuteronomy: Stephen Cook’s Fine Little Book

deutA lost treasure for large segments of the modern world, the book of Deuteronomy powerfully repays contemporary readers’ attention. It represents Scripture pulsing with immediacy, offering gripping discourses that yank readers out of the doldrums and back to Mount Horeb and an encounter with divine Word issuing forth from blazing fire. God’s presence and Word in Deuteronomy stir deep longing for God and move readers to a place of intimacy with divine otherness, holism, and will for person-centered community. The consistently theological interpretation reveals the centrality of Deuteronomy for faith and powerfully counters critical accusations about violence, intolerance, and polytheism in the book.

So the publisher blurbs.  They could have stated things more straightforwardly had they simply said ‘this book makes Scripture real, and immediate, and accessible.’  Because that’s what it actually does.

Stephen sent a copy for me to look over without any expectation of even so much as a mention much less a positive assessment or review.  But I’m going to say a few things about it anyway.  First, the contents begin with the heading titled Reading Deuteronomy: Issues and Approach which is then followed by the opening sequence of methodological presuppositions:

  • Appreciating the Book
  • A Respectful, Theological Approach
  • The Significance of Deuteronomy
  • Literary and Theological Form
  • Historical Circumstances of Composition
  • Village Israel versus the Royal Court
  • A Flowing Stream of Theology and Tradition
  • Literary History
  • Structure of the Book
  • Deuteronomy’s Theology and Message
  • Using this Commentary

Cook remarks therein

Far from a static, deadly book, this is Scripture pulsing with immediacy. This is divine word unleashed. Here Moses’ voice speaks in the present tense, declaring today the day of commitment, the day of new journeying to God. The journey at issue is open to the future. Deuteronomy’s texts reinterpret the past; they hear older teachings in a new way, speaking to the present.

That certainly is true. So, Cook is already off to a good start- setting the parameters of his exposition and urging readers to value a text many do not know at first hand (or second or fifth for that matter).

That done, Cook launches into the commentary proper, which follows a carefully outlined structure with the smallest subdivisions necessary in order to clarify the intention of the biblical text. Oddly, given his interest in the text and his focus on the text- the text itself is not present (and it isn’t even listed in the quite good bibliography at the end of the volume). I suppose the purpose of the series precludes any inclusion of the complete biblical text but, to be fair, the book of Deuteronomy is not that long and wouldn’t have added that much heft to the book. A commentary which forces readers to have an open bible next to it rather than the text of the Bible within the commentary itself has never made sense to me. If the purpose of a commentary is to explain the text (and that’s what the purpose of a commentary is), then it seems passing odd that the Biblical text is absent.

Still, Cook’s explanations of the oddly absent biblical text are quite good and at points even brilliant (and always honest and competent). Take his comment, in part, in connection to 2:1-3:11 –

Deuteronomy’s insistence on conquering defilement, even in the Transjordan, speaks against the scholarly misunderstanding that the book’s program of centralizing worship (see Deut 12) aimed to desacralize the land of Israel. Influential scholars such as Moshe Weinfeld and Baruch Halpern have encouraged a view that Josiah’s officers and priests worked to restrict the realm of the sacred to Zion. Hoping to unify the people and concentrate their loyalties on Jerusalem, they sought to secularize existence outside the capital and shift all life’s sacral bases to the central sanctuary.

Cook continues- making his point pointedly

It is difficult to see how the passage at hand could fit with any theory that Deuteronomy “desacralizes” Israel. The text’s language of holy destruction (Hebrew kharam; Deut 2:34; 3:6) is recycled language, picked up from ancient religious usage (e.g., cf. the Moabite Stone) and redeployed to drive home points about the radical apartness of all Israel (see the interpretation of Deut 7 later). Even in the Transjordan, far from Jerusalem, Israel must occupy a holy ground, claimed in toto by the divine warrior. The land as a whole is to be a place apart, rigorously cleared of all sources of temptation.

Cook is an insightful commentator and that insight manifests itself throughout. I would recommend this volume to every student of the Hebrew Bible. And I would recommend that the publisher reconsider the exclusion of the biblical text from the volumes in the series. That absence is like having a conference on the book of Deuteronomy where no one ever discusses the text of Deuteronomy.

Written by Jim

February 12, 2015 at 18:53

Posted in Bible, Book Review, Books

An E-Book on Jeremiah Forthcoming

Back in November I reviewed the World of the Bible’s Judas.  The publisher has asked me to assemble a team of scholars to produce a volume on Jeremiah- which I have done.

While we await the contract I thought it would be worth mentioning, so you could watch for it in the coming months.

Naturally I’ll post details as the project moves forward.  For now, I simply bring it to your attention before Brian Williams says he’s involved…

More anon…

Written by Jim

February 11, 2015 at 11:42


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