Category Archives: Biblical Studies Resources

When Texts are Canonized

How did canonization take place, and what difference does it make?

Essays in this collection probe the canonical process: Why were certain books, but not others, included in the canon? What criteria were used to select the books of the canon? Was canonization a divine fiat or human act? What was the nature of the authority of the laws and narratives of the Torah? How did prophecy come to be included in the canon? Others reflect on the consequences of canonization: What are the effects in elevating certain writings to the status of ‘Holy Scriptures’? What happens when a text is included in an official list? What theological and hermeneutical questions are at stake in the fact of the canon? Should the canon be unsealed or reopened to include other writings?

Edited by Timothy Lim.

Brice Jones on those NT Papyri Just Published

Here.

Two new Greek NT papyrus fragments from Oxyrhynchus have been identified: one of Ephesians and one of 1 Timothy. These fragments, already assigned Gregory-Aland numbers, were just published in the latest volume of the Oyrhynchus Papyri–P.Oxy. 81. Dr. Geoff Smith, the author of the Ephesians fragment, has uploaded the editions of both fragments on his Academia.edu site.

[As noted yesterday].

I Just Discovered That the Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible is in BibleWorks10

Is this new?  Or have I simply never noticed it before?

P.Oxy. 5258. Ephesians 3:21-4:2, 14-16 (P 132)

With thanks to Rick *The Giant* Brannan for mentioning this essay on Academia.edu.  Enjoy.

The Tyndale House Greek New Testament Blog

This is worth adding to your blogroll and keeping up with.  With thanks to Peter and Dirk for a project long in the making and an end result that will DOUBTLESS add significantly to our knowledge of the text of the Greek New Testament.

In the Tyndale House edition we aim to provide a text of the Greek New Testament that reflects as closely as possible its earliest recoverable wording. It is unashamedly a documentary text (based on the documents), with a strong bias to using knowledge of scribal behaviour (scribal habits) as the primary way to explain the rise of textual variants.

In coming posts we will explore what such method means in practice at the hand of examples, and also probe the boundaries of such approach. However, in practice the emphasis on scribal behaviour implies that if, in the past, exegetical and theological arguments have been used to address a particular variant unit, we happily ignore these arguments if there is also a perfectly adequate transcriptional explanation.

Etc.

Brilliant.

The New ISD Religious and Biblical Studies Catalog

Here.

#ICYMI – An Overview of James Barr’s Collected Essays

The three volumes published by Oxford and edited by John Barton feature all of these:

VOLUME 1: INTERPRETATION AND HISTORY 

Foreword, John Barton
James Barr Remembered, Ernest Nicholson & John Barton
Introduction, John Barton

I: Biblical Interpretation and Biblical Theology 
1. Does Biblical Study still belong to Theology?
2. Biblical Scholarship and the Unity of the Church
3. Historical Reading and the Theological Interpretation of Scripture
4. The Bible as a Document of Believing Communities
5. Some Thoughts on Narrative, Myth and Incarnation
6. Reading the Bible as Literature
7. Divine Action and Hebrew Wisdom
8. Biblical Scholarship and the Theory of Truth
9. Literality
10. Exegesis as a Theological Discipline Reconsidered, and the Shadow of the Jesus of History
11. Biblical Criticism as Theological Enlightenment
12. Jowett and the Reading of the Bible ‘like any other book’
13. The Bible as a Political Document
14. Revelation through History in the Old Testament and in Modern Theology
15. Semantics and Biblical Theology
16. Story and History in Biblical Theology
17. Biblical Theology
18. Biblical Theology and Revelation in History
19. Trends and Prospects in Biblical Theology
20. The Theological Case against Biblical Theology
21. Some Problems in the Search for a Pan-Biblical Theology
22. Predictions and Surprises: A Response to Walter Brueggemann’s Review

II: Authority of Scripture 
23. Has the Bible any Authority?
24. Biblical Hermeneutics in Ecumenical Discussion
25. The Authority of Scripture: Dictionary Definition
26. Scriptural Proof
27. The Authority of Scripture: The Book of Genesis and the Origin of Evil in Jewish and Christian Tradition
28. Review of William J. Abraham, Divine Revelation and the Limits of Historical Criticism

III: Judaism 
29. Judaism: Its Continuity with the Bible

IV: Natural Theology 
30. Biblical Faith and Natural Theology
31. Mowinckel, the Old Testament, and the Question of Natural Theology
32. Biblical Law and the Question of Natural Theology
33. Greek Culture and the Question of Natural Theology
34. Ancient Biblical Laws and Modern Human Rights

V: Environing Religions 
35. Philo of Byblos and his ‘Phoenician History’
36. The Question of Religious Influence: The Case of Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity
37. The Language of Religion
Index

VOLUME 2: BIBLICAL STUDIES 

Introduction, John Barton

I. Old Testament 
1. The Old Testament
2. The Old Testament and the new crisis of Biblical Authority
3. The Meaning of ‘Mythology’ in Relation to the Old Testament
4. Theophany and Anthropomorphism in the Old Testament
5. The Image of God in Genesis: Some Linguistic and Historical Considerations
6. The Image of God in the Book of Genesis: A Study in Terminology
7. The Symbolism of Names in the Old Testament
8. The Book of Job and its Modern Interpreters
9. Jewish Apocalyptic in Recent Scholarly Study
10. An Aspect of Salvation in the Old Testament
11. Review article of M. Brett, Biblical Criticism in Crisis?
12. Hebraic Psychology
13. Review of James L. Kugel, The Idea of Biblical Poetry
14. The Synchronic, the Diachronic, and the Historical: A Triangular Relationshipa
15. Some Semantic Notes on the Covenant
16. Was Everything that God Created really good?: A Question in the First Verse of the Bible
17. Reflections on the Covenant with Noah
18. A Puzzle in Deuteronomy
19. Mythical Monarch Unmasked? Mysterious Doings of Debir King of Eglon
20. Did Isaiah know about Hebrew ‘Root Meanings’?
21. Thou art the Cherub’: Ezekiel 28.14 and the Post-Ezekiel Understanding of Genesis 2-3

II. New Testament 
22. Which Language did Jesus speak? Some Remarks of a Semitist
23. Words for Love in Biblical Greek
24. Abba isn’t ‘Daddy’
25. The Hebrew/Aramaic Background of ‘Hypocrisy’ in the Gospels

III. Methods and Implications 
26. Allegory and Typology
27. The Literal, the Allegorical, and Modern Biblical Scholarship
28. Allegory and Historicism
29. Childs’ Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture
30. Man and Nature: The Ecological Controversy and the Old Testament
31. Biblical Language and Exegesis: How far does Structuralism help us?

IV. Biblical Chronology 
32. Why the World was Created in 4004 BC: Archbishop Usser and Biblical Chronology
33. Biblical Chronology: Legend or Science?
34. Luther and Biblical Chronology
35. Review of W. Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus
36. Pre-scientific Chronology: The Bible and the Origin of the World

V. Fundamentalism 
37. Fundamentalism
38. Fundamentalism and Biblical Authority [Religious Fundamentalism]
39. The Fundamentalist Understanding of Scripture
40. The Problem of Fundamentalism Today
41. Fundamentalism’ and Evangelical Scholarship
42. The Dynamics of Fundamentalism
43. Foreword to Fundamentalism edited by Martyn Percy

VI. History of Scholarship 
44. John Duncan
45. H. H. Rowley
46. Godfrey Rolles Driver
47. George Bradford Caird
48. Remembrances of ‘Historical Criticism’: Speiser s Genesis Commentary and its History of Reception
49. Wilhelm Vischer and Allegory
50. Friedrich Delitzsch
51. Morris Jastrow
52. Foreword to In Search of Wisdom: Essays in Memory of John G. Gammie
Index

VOLUME 3: LINGUISTICS AND TRANSLATION 

Introduction, John Barton

1. Ancient Translations 
1. Vocalization and the Analysis of Hebrew among the Ancient Translators
2. Three Interrelated Factors in the Semantic Study of Ancient Hebrew
3. Guessing’ in the Septuagint
4. Doubts about Homeophony in the Septuagint
5. Did the Greek Pentateuch really serve as a Dictionary for the Translation of the Later Booksa
6. Seeing the Wood for the Trees? An Enigmatic Ancient Translation
7. erizw and ereidw in the Septuagint: A Note principally on Gen. xlix.6
8. Aramaic-Greek Notes on the Book of Enoch
9. The Meaning of epakouw and Cognates in the LXX
10. Review article of J. Reider, An Index to Aquila
11. Review of P. Walters (Katz), The Text of the Septuagint
12. Review article of Bruce H. Metzger (ed.), The Early Versions of the New Testament
13. Translators’ Handling of Verb Tense in Semantically Ambiguous Contexts
14. Cr)b – MOLIS; Prov. xi.31, 1 Peter iv.18

2. Modern Translations 
15. Biblical Translation and the Church
16. After Five Years: A Retrospect on Two Major Translations of the Bible
17. Modern English Bible Versions as a Problem for the Church

3. Hebrew and Semitic Languages 
18. Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek in the Hellenistic Age
19. Hebrew Linguistic Literature: From the 16th Century to the Present
20. The Nature of Linguistic Evidence in the Text of the Bible
21. Reading a Script without Vowels
22. Semitic Philology and the Interpretation of the Old Testament
23. The Ancient Semitic Languages: The Conflict between Philology and Linguistics
24. Common Sense and Biblical Language
25. Etymology and the Old Testament
26. Limitations of Etymology as a Lexicographical Instrument in Biblical Hebrew
27. A New Look at Kethibh-Qere
28. Determination and the Definite Article in Biblical Hebrew
29. St Jerome s Appreciation of Hebrew
30. St Jerome and the Sounds of Hebrew
31. Migrash in the Old Testament
32. Ugaritic and Hebrew sbm?
33. One Man or All Humanity? A Question in the Anthropology of Genesis 1
34. Some Notes on ben ‘between’ in classical Hebrew
35. Hebrew d( especially at Job i.18 and Neh. vii.3
36. Why?’ in biblical Hebrew?
37. Is Hebrew ‘nest’ a Metaphor?
38. Hebrew Orthography and the Book of Job
39. Three Interrelated Factors in the Semantic Study of Ancient Hebrew
40. Scope and Problems in the Semantics of Classical Hebrew
41. Hebrew Lexicography
42. Hebrew Lexicography: Informal Thoughts
43. Philology and Exegesis: Some general Remarks, with Illustrations from Job iii
44. Review of J. Yahuda, Hebrew is Greek
45. Review articles on Koehler-Baumgartner, Hebraisches und Aramaisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament, parts 1 and 2
46. Review article on E Ullendorff, Is Biblical Hebrew a Language?
47. Review of J. Blau, Grammar of Biblical Hebrew
Index

Have you ever seen a more comprehensive collection by a scholar more capable of such wide ranging interests and abilities?  The nice thing about all this is that you can start reading in the section which suits your interests.  So, naturally, I’ve started in Volume 2, Chapter VI.

I feel confident that I’ll have more to say about this as the weeks go by.

The Textual History of the New Testament and the Bible Translator

An interesting essay, free for now – here.

The present paper highlights the importance of attending to the ancient textual tradition within the process of translation. It argues that many of the scribes of the NT manuscripts perceived their own work in a similar light to many Bible translators today, since they considered clarity of communication to be one of their goals. For this reason, they often made emendations of a sort similar to those that are recommended to contemporary translators. Translators are able to derive benefit from attending carefully to the NT textual tradition to learn how ancient scribes understood the text and sought to communicate its meaning clearly to their readers.

Aramaic Tobit at Qumran

Here’s a good one:

For a long time, the book of Tobit has been studied as a one-of-a-kind composition, with other so-called “novels,” such as Esther and the book of Judith. However, the presence of Aramaic copies of Tobit among the Qumran scrolls, together with other Aramaic texts, revealed its background and context and taught us much about the language and cultural setting of the composition. Most particularly, Tobit shows affinity to the Aramaic stories about the biblical patriarchs and to the Aramaic court-tales. Despite the fact that this corpus is the closest to Tobit in time and place, little has been done to utilize the Qumran Aramaic literature as a key to interpreting Tobit. This may be due partly to the well-anchored opinion, still maintained by numerous scholars, that Tobit was composed in the “Eastern Diaspora.” The Tobit copies found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and the numerous links Tobit displays to the Aramaic texts discovered there, suggest that the origin and setting of the book is in the land of Israel.

Etc.

Get The Commentary That Even a Lawyer Loves!

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

The books can be obtained now only in PDF format from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.

But not everyone is interested in every book of the Bible so after having received a number of requests for individual volumes in the series I’ve decided to offer any single volume for $5.

If you bought each volume individually it would cost $210 for the entire series in electronic form at $5 each, so it still makes sense to buy the whole. But I’m happy to send each volume individually for those who prefer it.

Just paypal me $5 and tell me which you wish. If you want two or three simply multiply each volume by $5.  But BE SURE to include your email address or I will not be able to send them!

It’s a good commentary. But don’t take my word for it:

***

This commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

A Lecture on the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls

Watch this-

Great News From the Genizah Research Unit

From their facebook page-

A new search tool which facilitates the exploration of the Taylor-Schechter Cairo Genizah Collection is now available.

The keyword metadata provides a new way of searching and browsing the Collection both across broad subject areas and around distinctive items of vocabulary or key concepts. Furthermore, the interface is able to suggest similar items that might be of interest to the user, based on the similarity of the accrued data.

You can find the search slider here:http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/genizah by scrolling to the bottom of the page. A login is required (various login options are given).

To read more about the project through which this tool was developed: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/taylor-schechter-genizah-research-unit/projects/discovering-history

The Myth of Rebellious Angels: Studies in Second Temple Judaism and New Testament Texts

9780802873156This excellent book arrived about a month back and I’ve since read through it.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

The mythical story of fallen angels preserved in 1 Enoch and related literature was profoundly influential during the Second Temple period. In this volume renowned scholar Loren Stuckenbruck explores aspects of that influence and demonstrates how the myth was reused and adapted to address new religious and cultural contexts.

Stuckenbruck considers a variety of themes, including demonology, giants, exorcism, petitionary prayer, the birth and activity of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the conversion of Gentiles, “apocalyptic” and the understanding of time, and more. He also offers a theological framework for the myth of fallen angels through which to reconsider several New Testament texts—the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, Acts, Paul’s letters, and the book of Revelation.

Stuckenbruck has long been one of my favorite experts on Second Temple Judaism because he is simultaneously informative and articulate.  The present volume is something of a summary of his thoughts on some of the most interesting aspects of Second Temple belief.  In 14 chapters he discusses everything from giants and Genesis 6 to the need for women to cover their heads for the benefit of the angels in 1 Corinthians to the Apocalypse of John and 1 Enoch.

The essays are arranged in canonical order.  That is,

  1. Origins of Evil in Jewish Apocalyptic Tradition.
  2. Giant Mythology and Demonology.
  3. The Lamech Narrative in the Genesis Apocryphon and 1 Enoch 106-107.
  4. Demonic Beings and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  5. Early Enochic and Daniel Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  6. The Book of Tobit and the Problem of ‘Magic’.
  7. To What Extent did Philo’s Treatment of Enoch and the Giants Presuppose Knowledge of Enochic and Other Sources Preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
  8. Conflicting Stories: the Spirit origin of Jesus’ Birth.
  9. The Human Being and Demonic Invasion.
  10. The Need for Protection From the Evil One and John’s Gospel.
  11. The ‘Cleansing’ of the Gentiles.
  12. Posturing ‘Apocalyptic’ in Pauline Theology.
  13. Why Should Women Cover their Heads Because of the Angels?
  14. The Apocalypse of John, I Enoch,, and the Question of Influence.

Stuckenbruck also provides an extensive bibliography and indices of passages, authors, and subjects.

The value of this volume is revealed and properly manifested in its broad scope and comprehensiveness.  Curious notions are examined and demons abound.  The stickier passages are approached fearlessly and competently so that persons interested in the origin of the giants or the reason women had to cover their heads in Corinth are provided sensible and cogent explanations.

The majority of the chapters have been published elsewhere while one appears here for the first time.  The notes are copious and the documentation (i.e., evidence for Stuckenbruck’s interpretations) exceedingly thorough, as one would expect of a scholar of his caliber.

This is a book for the curious by a scholar who understands that curiosity because he shares it.  And he has the background, training, and skills along with a profound familiarity with the primary sources that allow his expositions to capture the imagination at the same time that they convince the reader of their correctness.

This is a glorious example of biblical scholarship and it proves that detailed investigations of the highest quality needn’t be dry, boring, dusty, uninspiring, or lilting.  I hope one day to know as much about something as Stuckenbruck seems to know about second Temple Judaism.  To that end, I’m off to follow up several leads Loren suggested concerning those pesky headcoverings in Corinth.

My recommendation to you, dear reader, is that you read this book: not only because it will inform you, but rather because it will actually inspire you to better, deeper, more engaged scholarship.

Tyndale Announces the ‘Africa Study Bible’

FYI-

Spring Commentary Sale

The Commentary can be obtained now only in PDF format from yours truly for the Spring Sale price of $100 by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s that simple.

But not everyone is interested in every book of the Bible so after having received a number of requests for individual volumes in the series I’ve decided to offer any single volume for $5.

If you bought each volume individually it would cost $210 for the entire series in electronic form at $5 each, so it still makes sense to buy the whole. But I’m happy to send each volume individually for those who prefer it.

Just paypal me $5 and tell me which you wish. If you want two or three simply multiply each volume by $5.  But BE SURE to include your email address or I will not be able to send them!

Daniel as an Americanized Apocalypse

Set in the context of Judean resistance against the Seleucid Empire, Daniel addresses issues such as diaspora, identity, empire, and power. The first biblical apocalypse models how to survive faithfully within a hostile foreign culture, and it voices a full-throated rejection of foreign domination. In contrast, American religious media domesticate Daniel into a morality tale, a fable that promotes personal integrity and trust in God. The Americanized Daniel cannot or will not ask what “empire” means or what it means for believers to inhabit an empire themselves. This essay explores what modern readers can gain by reintroducing categories like “empire” and “resistance” in Daniel.

Give it a read, for free (but I don’t know for how long) – here.

#ICYMI – Free Greek And Hebrew Flashcards from Logos

Originally posted 31 March, 2014-

Pretty neat really-

We’re pleased to bring you a new app for Android and iOSFlashcards for Greek and Hebrew. It’s a powerful new tool for students of Scripture: whether you’re studying for a test or preaching through Ruth, the app will help you master precisely the words you need to learn, wherever you go.

When you sign in with your Logos account, Flashcards for Greek and Hebrew syncs your word-lists documents right to the app—if you have existing word lists, they’ll be automatically imported.

Etc.  Check it out.

flash

A Book You Might Want to Read

Paul’s Triumph:
Reassessing 2 Corinthians 2:14 in Its Literary and Historical Context​

by C. Heilig

Regular Price: $108.00 / Special Offer Price: $87.00 
Publisher: Peeters Publishers
Series: Biblical Tools and Studies, 27
Description:

Paul’s metaphorical language in Second Corinthians 2:14 has troubled exegetes for a long time. Does the verb ‘thriambeuein’ indicate that Paul imagines himself as being led to execution in the Roman triumphal procession? Or is, by contrast, the victory in view that the apostles receive themselves? Maybe the Roman ritual does not constitute the background of this metaphor at all? Clarity with regard to these questions is a pressing issue in Pauline studies, given the fact that this metaphor introduces a central passage in the Pauline corpus that is of crucial importance for reconstructing the apostle’s self-understanding. Heilig demonstrates that, if all the relevant data are taken into account, a coherent interpretation of Paul’s statement is possible indeed. Moreover, Heilig brings the resulting meaning of Paul’s statement into dialogue with the political discourse of the time, thus presenting a detailed argument for the complex critical interaction of Paul with the ideology of the Roman Empire.​

For more information, please click here.

Join the Biblical Studies Discussion List

Right here.  And join in the always informative discussion.  And don’t worry, this isn’t a list of dilettantes.  It’s a moderated discussion group populated by the well known and the lesser known in the world of biblical scholarship.  And it’s been in operation since the late 90’s.

And if you’d like to get on board the Facebook incarnation of the list, go here.

Reformation as Pauline Interpretation

REFORMATION AS PAULINE INTERPRETATION
Jörg Frey: “Has Luther misunderstood Paul?”

Join the public lecture: Donnerstag 23.3.2017 18.15 Uhr, Universität Zürich, KO2, Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zürich.  Link to the original video: https://tube.switch.ch/videos/9f47c926

Via facebook.