Category Archives: Biblical Studies Resources

The British Library and Hebrew Manuscripts, Online

The British Library has launched its first ever fully bilingual web resource, providing free access to its spectacular collection of Hebrew manuscripts to researchers worldwide.

The Polonsky Foundation Catalogue of Digitised Hebrew Manuscripts presents scrolls, codices and charters digitised in full, along with explanatory articles, videos and digital tools, offering scholars and the wider public alike the opportunity to explore this world-class collection as never before.

Etc.  Check it out.

Did You Know That You Can Download a PDF of Robertson’s ‘Greek Grammar’ (The Giant Monster)

Here.  You’re welcome.

Free Access to Sage Journals

Here are the details:

30 Days Free Access to our SAGE Religion Journal Collection! Sign up before 30th November to gain access

As part of our attendance to AAR/SBL Conference we are offering you free access to our entire SAGE Religion journals portfolio. Register today to gain access to journals from prestigious religious associations and world-class titles including Theological StudiesJournal for the Study of the Old Testament and Expository Times.

Click on the button below to start your free trial today!

The button is at the link above.  So you’ll have to go there.

The Tyndale House (Cambridge) Greek New Testament Launch

We are delighted to celebrate the launch today of The Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House Cambridge.

This volume represents a 10-year journey to present the New Testament in a way that reflects as clearly as possible its earliest recoverable wording. Taking the edition prepared by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles as a starting text, the Tyndale House Greek New Testament draws on the most ancient available manuscripts, including early sources discovered in the past 40 years. The editorial choices are based on an extensive study of scribal habits, and pay particular attention to the recurring scribal tendencies within manuscripts.

The result is a Greek New Testament that significantly assimilates the appearance of the earliest manuscripts, with paragraph marks presented as far as possible as they are in earliest sources, limited punctuation, and the elimination of interruptions from critical signs in the main text. This edition aims to be the most accurate possible printing of the New Testament in its earliest well-documented form.

As editor and associate editor, we acknowledge our profound debt to Dr Peter M Head and
Dr Patrick James, our associate editors. Over the course of the project we worked with more than two dozen scholars connected with Tyndale House, researching and peer-reviewing the finished text. Our thanks go to them, without whom this edition would not have been possible. We also extend our sincere thanks to Crossway and Cambridge University Press for their craftsmanship in presenting the volumes so beautifully.

It is our enormous pleasure to present to you the culmination of this project. It is our hope that The Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House opens up new possibilities for you in your study and appreciation of these precious ancient scriptures.

Yours sincerely,

Keep Up Your Greek, Hebrew And Aramaic

We all know a lot of people who, if they took the biblical languages at all, soon let them go through indifference and failure to keep up by reading.  This looks like a great tool to correct that failure.  Hendrickson has sent each for review, so stay tuned for my take on them.

The Greatest Commentary Sale Event of the Year- In Honor of Luther’s Birthday!

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

From now till midnight on Sunday the 12th of November you can purchase the entire Commentary for $99.  Yup.  You read that right.  For the next 3 days you can acquire the entire Commentary in PDF format for less than half price.  How?  Just by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s that simple.  It really is an exceptionally useful work for the layfolk in your life (even if it isn’t aimed at academics).  Here’s what a couple of layfolk think:

***

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

***

I am a Christian and a Bible Study Teacher at my church. I have been in church all of my life, but I found it difficult to take on the teaching responsibilities of a Senior Adult Ladies Class. Although I have read the Bible, there are many things that I do not understand. I also was worried because the ladies in my class are “Studiers” of the Bible and the thought crossed my mind “What can I teach these ladies that they do not already know?” As you can see from my comments, I was wondering how “I was going to do it” instead of wondering how “God would do it”!

But when you teach it, you have to go deeper than just reading. I believe that God wants us to continue to go deeper each time we open the Bible. One of the references I use for my studies are the books written by Jim West “For The Person in The Pew”. Jim can take a complicated set of scriptures and bring the meaning into clear view. Every time that I start a new Bible study, I order one of his books. We just finished the book of Revelation and his book was helpful in taking the complicated and making it simple.

Jim has a way of wording his explanations of the scripture in such a way that it makes you want to read deeper and then just watch and see what God can do! Jim is a gifted person and I am glad that God has blessed his life so that he could in turn bless mine.

Sherry Liles
Knoxville, TN

The Book of Ruth: Origin and Purpose

New in Bible and Interpretation.

Peter Flint Memorial Volume

It was just one year ago that Peter Flint died.  There’s to be a memorial volume presentation up at Trinity Western in Canada and if you’re in the territory you should attend:

Stuhlmacher’s Theology- Finally Available in English

Stuhlmacher’s theology of the New Testament has been out in German for a long time but it has never appeared in English.  Until now.  And Eerdmans will have it in about 10 months, so pre-order it and save up.  It is one of the most BRILLIANT theology’s of the New Testament written since Bultmann’s, if not the very best.

Since its original publication in German, Peter Stuhlmacher’s two-volume Biblische Theologie des Neuen Testaments has influenced an entire generation of biblical scholars and theologians. Now Daniel Bailey’s expert translation makes this important work of New Testament theology available in English for the first time.

Following an extended discussion of the task of writing a New Testament theology, Stuhlmacher explores the development of the Christian message across the pages of the Gospels, the writings of Paul, and the other canonical books of the New Testament. The second part of the book examines the biblical canon and its historical significance. A concluding essay by Bailey applies Stuhlmacher’s approach to specific texts in Romans and 4 Maccabees.

I have been awaiting this announcement for many years.  And I’m glad I can finally pass along this news.  Seriously, get this volume.

Kritiker und Exegeten: Porträtskizzen zu vier Jahrhunderten alttestamentlicher Wissenschaft

No one does this kind of work like Rudolf Smend.  He is, hands down, bar none, the BEST biographer of Old Testament theologians who has yet lived.  Truly, no one knows more about OT scholars than he does.

Die Hebräische Bibel der Juden, das Alte Testament der Christen ist seit dem Beinn der Neuzeit Gegenstand vielfältiger historisch-kritischer Bemühung gewesen, an der sich eine große Zahl bedeutender Gelehrter aus verschiedenen Nationen und Konfessionen beteiligt hat.

Das Buch von Rudolf Smend, Ergebnis jahrzehntelanger Forschung, führt 54 von ihnen vor, darunter J. Buxtorf, B. Spinoza, J. Astruc, R Lowth, J. D. Michaelis, J. G. Herder, E. W. Hengstenberg, A. Kuenen, J. Wellhausen, B. Duhm, R. Kittel, H. Gunkel, M. Buber, A. Alt, W. Vischer, G. v. Rad, M. Noth, I. L. Seeligmann, W. Zimmerli, H. W. Wolff.

Rudolf Smend ist der Meinung, dass jeder von ihnen zu seinem Teil, auf seine Weise und natürlich auch in seinen Grenzen das Ganze dieser Wissenschaft repräsentiert und dass sich von jedem noch heute etwas lernen lässt. Besonderer Wert wird darauf gelegt, sie auch mit ihren eigenen Worten zu charakterisieren. In der Begegnung mit ihnen begegnet man auch dem großen Gegenstand, dem sie alle gedient haben.

The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media

The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media is a convenient and authoritative reference tool, introducing specific terms and concepts helpful to the study of the Bible and related literature in ancient communications culture. Since the early 1980s, biblical scholars have begun to explore the potentials of interdisciplinary theories of oral tradition, oral performance, personal and collective memory, ancient literacy and scribality, visual culture and ritual. Over time these theories have been combined with considerations of critical and exegetical problems in the study of the Bible, the history of Israel, Christian origins, and rabbinics. The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media responds to the rapid growth of the field by providing a source of reference that offers clear definitions, and in-depth discussions of relevant terms and concepts, and the relationships between them.

A review copy was provided some weeks ago and my thoughts on the work follow:

The volume contains a list of entries, a list of contributors (which is almost as long as the list of entries), editorial bios of the three chief editors, a little entry called ‘How to use this book’ and an introduction to media studies and biblical studies.

Entries include such topics as ‘Jan Assmann’, ‘Rudolf Bultmann’, ‘Circumcision’, ‘Code Switching’, ‘Dance’, ‘Epigraphy’, ‘Guslar’ (and I admit, I had no idea what that was supposed to be.  I imagined it must be some sort of Hipster beer or some such thing), ‘Iconography in the Hebrew Bible’, ‘Libraries’, a half dozen or so entries on some aspect of ‘Memory’ (which one would expect given the presence of Chris Keith on the editorial board), ‘Susan Niditch’, ‘Pilgrimage’, ‘Plato (on Writing and Memory)’, ‘Riddles’, ‘Social Memory’ (!), ‘Targums’, ‘Verbatim Memory’ (!!), ‘Wax Tablet’, and a great hoard of others.

It may seem, at first glance, that the topics  selected for entry are completely random, or ideologically motivated.  But that isn’t actually the case.  Rather, the selected topics all do ‘fit together’ and when the volume’s opening section is consulted (the bit called ‘How to use this book’) it all makes actual sense.  It aims, according to the editors, to introduce users to the blossoming field of Media studies and its fruitfulness (or at least potential fruitfulness) for biblical studies, ‘… by providing a convenient handbook of key terms, concepts, methods, and voices that are frequently encountered in media-critical studies of the Bible’.

Naturally, they continue, the entries in the Dictionary are not exhaustive, and many other topics could be included.  Yet it seems clear to this reader that their own key term is ‘communications culture’.  That is the term that summarizes the volume and its central concern.  It is, I presume, the newest ‘buzzword’ and I suspect in the next few years many, many papers at SBL will include somewhere in their titles the phrase ‘Communications Culture’ or ‘Media Culture’.  This volume, to put it plainly, will probably just be the first of many which focus on ‘communications’ in connection with Biblical Studies.

Whether ‘communications culture’ will become the latest flash in the pan fad of biblical studies or whether it will eek out a permanent place in the methodological universe remains to be seen.  We appear to be merely at the opening of the play, with several acts to follow (to mix metaphors).

The question, at present, remains:  is this a useful volume?  Every reader will have their own opinion on the topic and answer to that question, but for my part, I would say yes, very much so; and no, perhaps not.  Allow me to excerpt a portion in illustration of my answer by means of a snippet of the entry on Bultmann:

I think it fair to say that Bultmann would be very surprised to learn that he was a practitioner of ‘Media Criticism of the Bible’.  So perhaps the method is a bit forced at this point.  Perhaps it’s seeing ‘media criticism’ where none is really to be found.  But of course this is a natural stage in the development in any new methodology: in striving to justify its existence, it must provide examples of it.  Sometimes those examples are more than a little tendentious.

However, let me hasten to say that the book does better.  Here’s an excerpt from an entry that actually does have to do with media:

Thus the volume strives mightily to justify itself and its nascent methodology and at some points it fails but in many it succeeds.  For what is essentially the first attempt at a new field in relationship to study of the bible, it’s very useful.

I recommend it.  It will surely be turned to by students and scholars in the near future as a groundbreaking resource.  Whether, however, it has shelf life remains to be seen.

Today is the Last Day to Take Advantage of the Greatest Commentary Sale Ever

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

From now through the end of the day you can purchase the entire Commentary for $100.  Yup.  You read that right.  For the next 9 days you can acquire the entire Commentary in PDF format for half price.  How?  Just by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s that simple.  It really is an exceptionally useful work for the layfolk in your life (even if it isn’t aimed at academics).  Here’s what a couple of layfolk think:

***

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

***

I am a Christian and a Bible Study Teacher at my church. I have been in church all of my life, but I found it difficult to take on the teaching responsibilities of a Senior Adult Ladies Class. Although I have read the Bible, there are many things that I do not understand. I also was worried because the ladies in my class are “Studiers” of the Bible and the thought crossed my mind “What can I teach these ladies that they do not already know?” As you can see from my comments, I was wondering how “I was going to do it” instead of wondering how “God would do it”!

But when you teach it, you have to go deeper than just reading. I believe that God wants us to continue to go deeper each time we open the Bible. One of the references I use for my studies are the books written by Jim West “For The Person in The Pew”. Jim can take a complicated set of scriptures and bring the meaning into clear view. Every time that I start a new Bible study, I order one of his books. We just finished the book of Revelation and his book was helpful in taking the complicated and making it simple.

Jim has a way of wording his explanations of the scripture in such a way that it makes you want to read deeper and then just watch and see what God can do! Jim is a gifted person and I am glad that God has blessed his life so that he could in turn bless mine.

Sherry Liles
Knoxville, TN

Beyond the Texts: An Archaeological Portrait of Ancient Israel and Judah

By William Dever.

Go Read This Essay on Hebrews

By Tim Bertolet.

This article proposes a better source for the Son’s cry in Hebrews 5:7. It begins by surveying sources previous scholars have identified, including Jesus’ cry in Gethsemane and Golgotha, several Psalms, and the Maccabean martyr literature. It is then argued that these background sources for the language are insufficient. Instead the author of Hebrews has an entire motif from the Psalter as his informing source: the Davidic figure that cries out in trust to be delivered from a death-like experience. Firstly, the motif of the Davidic righteous suffering in the LXX Psalms is demonstrated. Secondly, Hebrews’ use of the Messianic royal figure is demonstrated and thirdly, Hebrews 5:7 as a portrait of the Christ who cries out for deliverance is demonstrated. Thus, Hebrews 5:7 sees the Son as the Davidic king who is the true representative human exercising trust in YHWH, bringing to fulfilment the theme from various Psalms.

Leuven Database of Ancient Books

Here’s one to add to your linksVia.

Commentary Sale

Available this weekend: each volume of the Commentary for $4 (the regular price is $5 per each volume in PDF).  The books are all available by clicking my PayPal Link.  When you send your payment include which Biblical book you want and include your email address please.

If, however, you wish to obtain the entire series, just send along payment and include, again, your email address.

***

Jim West is a man of very decided opinions. However, and this is much to his credit, in the Commentary I’ve read he does not advocate his opinions about Scripture. What he does is explain and simplify, working from the original language, without being simplistic. And this is to be commended. – Athalya Brenner

The Only Commentary Your Parents or Children Will Ever Read

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 are all available from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s a good commentary. But don’t take my word for it:

Dr Jim West has undertaken the phenomenal task of writing a commentary on every book of the Bible! And what strikes this reader most forcefully is its faithfulness to what it says on the tin: West’s efforts have been expended “for the person in the pew”.

In other words, one should not expect the usual exhaustive analysis of syntax, interpretive options, history of scholarship and such like. These commentaries are written so that the reader needs no theological education, and West presupposes no ability to read Greek or Hebrew. Anyone can read and understand these.

The result is like going through the biblical texts, with a scholarly pastor, who pauses to make a number of bite-sized observations on the way. And whatever one thinks of those annotations, anyone can follow and digest them. West writes with a heart for the church, and his unique character and love for scripture are obvious in these pages.

Dr. Chris Tilling
New Testament Tutor,
St Mellitus College & St Paul’s Theological Centre

A New, Free, Journal for Academics

Didaktikos.  And if you don’t know what it means, you probably aren’t an academic.  Or, you’re a systematic theologian and you don’t know anything about Greek (or Hebrew).

You heard it here first (second, if you’re reading this here on ZR [JW])– Faithlife, the maker of Logos Bible Software, is launching a new print journal for professors. The first issue of Didaktikos: Journal of Theological Education should arrive in professors’ mailboxes sometime in late October.

The idea behind Didaktikos is to have a vocational journal for people who teach and train pastors and other ministry leaders, and to encourage and support these professors in their academic calling and personal ministries. The journal also aims to spark productive conversations among theological faculty in North America and around the world. The name comes from 2 Timothy 2:24: “But it is necessary that a servant of the Lord not be quarrelsome but be gentle to all, skilled in teaching (διδακτικός), patient even in the midst of evil” (Mounce’s translation).

The content is written by professors, for professors.

κτλ.

The Most Recent Addition to BibleWorks 10

Is this oldie but goodie-

First rate exposition.

Game Over? Reconsidering Eschatology

Modern science informs us about the end of the universe: “game over” is the message which lies ahead of our world. Christian theology, on the other hand, sees in the end not the cessation of all life, but rather an invitation to play again, in God’s presence. Is there a way to articulate together such vastly different claims?

Eschatology is a theological topic which merits being considered from several different angles. This book seeks to do this by gathering contributions from esteemed and fresh voices from the fields of biblical exegesis, history, systematic theology, philosophy, and ethics.

How can we make sense, today, of Jesus’ (and the New Testament’s) eschatological message? How did he, his early disciples, and the Christian tradition, envision the “end” of the world? Is there a way for us to articulate together what modern science tells us about the end of the universe with the biblical and Christian claims about God who judges and who will wipe every tear?

Eschatology has been at the heart of Christian theology for 100 years in the West. What should we do with this legacy? Are there ways to move our reflection forward, in our century? Scholars and other interested readers will find here a wealth of insights.

It is quite the fine collection, consisting of essays in English, German and French.  The table of contents aren’t available online at the DeGruyter website so I wanted to include them here for the sake of fullness:

toc1

toc2

toc3

A quick read through the contents gives potential readers a taste of the richness of the volume.  There has not been anything done, on this scale, on this subject, at this level of scholarly expertise, in living memory.  The interaction possible between reader and volume is nearly limitless.  And what I mean by that is that readers are provided intellectual fodder that will provoke thought for a good while.

Many of the essays are simply spectacular.  Tietz’s, for instance, is simply brilliant. Wolters, too, utterly stunning.  And Ziegler’s is one of the finest essays on ‘the Christian life’ I have ever read.

The editorial introductory essay is, similarly, a stellar execution.  Chalamet and Detweiller, et al, have in it given readers a lot to think about.  They also offer summaries of each of the essays (at the end of the volume) which handily allows readers to locate essays of particular interest for first readings and then others of lesser interest (and this of course differs from person to person) for reading later.

As brilliant and incisive and informative as the volume is, however, there is a minor problem that should be addressed in future editions:  the English essays written by non-native English speakers need a closer editorial look.

English is a language bespattered with nuance.  And that nuance is often outside the experience of scholars whose native language is French or German or Danish or whatever.  When writers write in a language not their own (natively) it’s always best to have those works gone through by a native speaker.  This is true, by the way, of English natives who write in other languages as well.  If I were to write an essay in German (heaven forfend) I would insist a native speaker go through it so that errors of grammar could be avoided.

Not to belabor the point, a few instances of improper grammar can be offered here:

P. 294- It might be worth noting that the question of “why then the evil?” can have three different aspects: Why is suffering distributed so arbitrary?

A native English speaker will use ‘arbitrarily’ rather than ‘arbitrary’.  Arbitrary is the right word, but the wrong form of the word.

P. 295- Any position which recalls a higher plan of God or wich explains the benefit which one can reap of suffering, for example by becoming more mature, belongs to this type.

‘Wich’ should of course be ‘which’.  The form is correct in the first and third instance in the sentence, but erroneous in the second.

P. 296- Sometimes, human beings are ruined by the evil they had to bear. Then it is impossible and cynic to try to make evil less evil.

Native English speakers (and readers) will recognize the problem here immediately: ‘cynic’ is the right word in the wrong form.  ‘Cynical’ is the form needed.

Suffice it to say, then, that this exceptionally brilliant volume is not lessened in usefulness by these and other linguistic missteps.  But allowing a native English speaker to work through the English essays in future editions will provide a quite easy fix to many of the tiny errors which are found here and there.

This collection of essays is the sort of work that should find a place on every theologian’s shelf.  The subject, eschatology, is central to Christian theology.  The essays approach the topic from such a wide variety of perspectives that no one who picks up this volume will fail to learn a lot.  I know I did.  And I promise, you will as well.

Enjoy.