June and July are usually slow months for Bibliobloggers, and it looks like many regular writers have dedicated themselves to watching the World Cup. Jim West undoubtedly will have posted his Avignonian Carnival, although he is a master multi-tasker and rarely misses a second of major sporting events.
Despite the warm weather and interest in men kicking a ball in Brazil, there were some significant posts this month. Before this World Cup Carnival rolls in, I need to add my plea volunteers to cover the rest of the year – contact me (plong42 at gmail) to volunteer! Carnivals are a great way to get some good exposure for your blog.
Biblioblog News. Peter Kirby posted his Top Fifty Biblioblogs for the quarter ending June 30. Several blogs are inactive. #5 Bibbia has only made three posts in 2014 and not since March; the venerable Scotteriology has been silent since March; #36 Remnants of Giants has been dormant since October 2013. Andrew King has not updated The Blog of the Twelve since October either. Josh Breland at Diaspora has been quiet since April. The BusyBody moved to WordPress (good idea!). The Centre for the Study of Christian Origins at the University of Edinburgh also has moved to WordPress. I also notice the Top Fifty list still have Euangelion at their old address, they moved to Patheos in 2011! Finally, Brian Renshaw has moved www.ntexegesis.com to brianreshaw.com, made some significant cosmetic changes.
Bible Study and the Christian Life continues to move up the list. There are a few new blogs to the top fifty. Ian Paul’s Psephizo has been around for a while, but is in the top 50 this month. For the first time I can recall, a publisher’s blog made the top fifty (Eerdworld). Steve Wells and Philip Wells have been writing at Dwindling In Unbelief, a blog described as “an unbeliever’s thoughts on the Bible, the Qu’ran, and the Book of Mormon.”
Passings and Closings. Long time Professor of Greek and New Testament at Baptist Bible Seminary Rod Decker passed away at the end of May. He was a long-time blogger at NT Resources. His family made several posts in his last days that stand as a testament to his personal faith in Jesus Christ as his savior. Many have written tributes to Rod in the last month. Robert Cargill reflects on the death of Dr. Yuval Peleg in an accident at an archaeological dig site between Homesh and Karnei Shomron in the West Bank on Thursday, June 26, 2014.
Several long standing blogs announced they are closing. Brian LePort shuttered his popular blog Near Emmaus on June 20, although he will continue to post on several other blogs (Seedbed and Bible Study and the Christian Life). Michael Kok is no longer posting at Kata Markon, he will continue his work at Bible Study and the Christian Life. Kata Markon will get occasional updates for new publications or conferences, and like Near Emmaus, it will continue as an online archive. Both have been model “biblioblogs” for many years and I wish Brian and Michael best of luck as they move on to other projects. Stephen J. Bedard adjunct faculty at Emmanuel Bible College is closing Hope’s Reason (#35 this quarter) in order to focus on his personal blog. Back in March, Michael Heiser announced The Naked Bible is moving, or joining forces with his other blog, Paleobabble, at new eponymous blog Michael Heiser.
Old Testament / Ancient Near East Studies
Michael Heiser comments on Genesis 1-2 as Polemic, interacting with Cris Putnam at Logos Apologia. “What’s happening in Genesis 1-2 is very obvious to anyone who works in the original text (beyond simplistic word studies) and (important) is familiar with ancient Near Eastern creation stories.”
James Pate offers a reflection on Jeremiah 30:21 – “The Prince Who Dares (Or Engages His Heart) to Approach God.”
Using Psalm 89 as an example, Bob Mac Donald asks “How Important is it to Read All of a Long Psalm?”
Claude Mariottini has a nice piece on the search for the city of Ai. He also wrote the best article I have read on “ripping open pregnant women” in a long time….well, ever.
Luke Chandler wonders if the finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa improve Bible translation? He discusses an article by Yosef Garfinkel and Madeleine Mumcuoglu on temple shrines and 1 Kings 6:31-33. Later in the month Luke checked in from The Tel Lachish Excavation with Field Report from Week 1.
Beit Guvrin was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site this month. Beit Guvrin is not a particularly “biblical” site so it is not on many tours of Israel. I have visited in three times, and my students always find it interesting, climbing around in the Bell Caves is quite the experience. While not really on an archaeological site, Wayne Stiles lists 3 High Points to See in the Golan Heights, but really all three can be seen from Mount Bental. This is on very few Christian tours, but I have been up there three times, and it is well worth the extra drive.
BiblePlaces has a round-up of criticisms of the Temple Mount Sifting Project and linked to a response from the The Sifting Project to an article in the Times of Israel.
Matthew R. Malcolm explains How coins help us understand the Bible.
Lawrence Schiffman wrote two short posts on Schisms in Jewish History, first The Limits Of Tolerance: Halakhah And History, then one on the Samaritan Schism.
Chris Keith has a few comments on a Larry Hurtado upcoming New Testament Studies article on “Oral Fixation in New Testament Studies”. “Hurtado’s arguments are, to my mind, convincing.”
The Sacred Page asks, “Is Peter Cephas?”The post interacts with two papers by Barth Erhman and Dale Allison from the early 1990s.
Paula Fredriksen does not like N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. “Wright’s book is historically important, therefore, for the light that it sheds not on Paul, but on the last century of Pauline studies.”
Tim Widowfield wrote a short piece on Jesus and the Relationship Between Sin and Disease at Vridar. “People like to talk about Jesus as if he’s a close friend and trusted confidante, but the real, historical Jesus would have been just as Albert Schweitzer described him: ‘a stranger and an enigma.”
Books-at-a-Glance has an iterview with Darrell Bock on his Jesus According To Scripture: Restoring The Portrait From The Gospels.
Tim Gombis comments on “Worldliness” According to Paul. “It seems to me that the parallels between the “worldly” Corinthian community dynamics and contemporary American tribalized evangelicalism are endless.” Gombis also has a long series on Cross-Shaped Leadership. “Christian leadership, then, ought to be cruciform since those who lead do so on behalf of the One whose identity is determined by the cross.”
Joel Willitts on Torah as Interpretation and Paul’s Dying to the Torah (Gal 2:19). “We need to be much more aware of the fact that Torah means different things to different Jews/Jewish groups in the first century.”
Clifford Kvidahl has a nice comment on New Testament Theology via G. B. Caird. Abram K-J at Words on the Word posted A Sermon on Romans 6:1-11, one of the few blog posts this month featuring a bikini selfie (not Abram, I assume).
Allan Bevere finished his six part series on Reading Revelation as Wesleyans, an interaction with Joel Green’s book on the topic. The link goes to part one (from May).
Ian Paul thinks Revelation 8 and 9 is the Hardest Passages to Preach On.
Roger Pearse has an excellent introduction to the dictionaries of ancient Greek that survive from antiquity. This is a long article, but collects a great deal of useful information.
Larry Hurtado posted a brief evaluation of Brent Nongbri article published in Museum Helveticum 71 (2014) on the date of P66 (P. Bodmer II). Nongbri thinks the uses of the staurogram in P66 imply a date in the fourth century, and while Hurtado is impressed with his work, he cautions “it is important to give the matter patient and adequate attention.”
One more on the Jesus’s Wife fragment: Stephen Emmel, The Codicology of the New Coptic (Lycopolitan) Gospel of John Fragment (and Its Relevance for Assessing the Genuineness of the Recently Published Coptic “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” Fragment). “I do not see how there can be any room for doubt in anyone’s mind that the John fragment is but the product of a hoax.”
Alin Suciu has a summary of Catalogue of the Coptic Manuscripts in the Collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
Brice Jones reviews a new hardback facsimile edition of P.Bodmer II (P66; Gospel of John): L’évangile selon Jean: Introduction et traduction de Jean Zumstein (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2008). He includes some gorgeous pictures of the volume, bordering on BookPorn.
Dan Wallace - There Were Giants in Those Days: Codex Robertsonianus (Gregory-Aland 2358), correspondence between Adolf Deissmann and A. T. Robertson which eventually led to the purchase of a Greek Gospels manuscript by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Wayne Coppins introduces English readers to the German scholar Oda Wischmeyer, editor of Lexikon der Bibelhermeneutik (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013) and Paul: Life, Setting, Work, Letters (T&T Clark, 2012). Her Dictionary of Biblical Hermeneutics is a significant contribution, but not well-known non-German readers.
Mike Aubrey makes some good observations on the Linguistic adequacy and Greek Grammars.
At Cataclysmic, Michelle Mikeska demonstrates What Difference a Trinity Can Make.
There is an interesting discussion going on at The Busybody on Two Theories of Mysticism. The post compares Did Muhammad Exist? and On the Historicity of Jesus, two books that “represent levelheaded arguments for mythicism. Their authors may have controversial personas, but that shouldn’t be confused with whacky theorizing.”
Dan Wallace has a lengthy review of Defining Inerrancy, by J. P. Holding and Nick Peters, with a forward by Craig Blomberg. This book is a response to Norm Geisler and Bill Roach’s Defending Inerrancy. Wallace points out that Geisler is intent on re-igniting the battle for the Bible, this time around it is more Game of Thrones style. Holding and Peters are trying to answer Geisler’s narrow view of inerrancy, and “are not in the least denying inerrancy; they are simply rejecting a rigid form of it that they see as dangerous to the health of the evangelical church
Steve Duby at the Theology Forum makes a “Plea for Understanding” from ‘Calvinism’ and its Discontents. “If one knows only the big names of the ‘new Calvinism,’”says Duby, “one’s view of what Reformed convictions look like on the ground can be skewed.” He encourages readers to listen to Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas, who “exemplify some of the best Reformed preaching done today.”
Atheist Biblical Criticism has a long review of Komarnitsky’s Doubting Jesus’ Resurrection.
N. T. Wright made some comments in interview on marriage and homosexuality which, not surprisingly, was highly controversial. Anytime you bring up Nazis and Communists in the context of homosexuality you are going to catch someone’s attention. Suzanne McCarthey calls Wright’s interview “most surprising and somewhat incoherent interview,” and Sarah Moon
called him a bigot accused him of bigotry, although she later backed away [edit: she did not back away, see Moon's comment below] from claiming Wright compared the LGBT community to Nazis. Alan Hooker had a few comments on the Wright dust-up as well. In a post prompted by this debate, J. K. Gayle asks, “must ‘the wife of the Lamb’ be a Ewe?”
Bart Erhman’s How Jesus Became God continues to generate discussion. Lindsay Kennedy at My Digital Seminary, reviews the Michael Bird edited How God Became Jesus. He has already written a great deal on both Erhman’s book and the responses in How Jesus Became God. “Tilling offers a devastating critique of Ehrman’s methodology and exegesis…” Nick Norelli at Righting Dividing the Word of Truth comments on Erhman’s built-in failsafe when accused of not interacting with scholarship: “it’s a popular book.”Jennifer Guo finished a long series on How Jesus Became God as well.
Peter Arzt-Grabner, Interpretation of ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ in Rom 16.7 (Paulus Handbuch (ed. Friedrich W. Horn; Mohr Siebeck, 2013), reviewed by Wayne Coppins.
Craig Evans, From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation (Westminster John Knox Press, 2014), reviewed by Larry Hurtado
Louis Crompton. Homosexuality and Civilization. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003, reviewed by James Pate.
Jennifer Guo read some books this month. A lot of books: Greg Monette, The Wrong Jesus, Robert B. Stewart (editor), The Message of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and Ben Witherington III in Dialogue, Charles Quarles, Illustrated Life of Paul, Herbert W. Bateman, Interpreting the General Letters and John Walton & D. Brent Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture.
Andrew Louth, Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology (IVP Academic), reviewed by Mike Skinner.
Commentaries on Genesis 1-3: Severian of Gabala (IVP Academic), reviewed by Roger Pearse. Severian of Gabala? Pretty much the only “curious flat-earth theory” you will read this year. Pearse has an updated bibliography on Severian and a summary of a Coptic life of Severian.
Daniel Block, Hearing the Message of Scripture: Obadiah, reviewed by Abram K-J.
Kevin L. Anderson. Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition. New Beacon Bible Commentary. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2013), reviewed by Brian Small.
Susanne Scholz, editor, Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Retrospect (Sheffield Phoenix Press, October 2013), reviewed at womensHebrewBible.
Rudolf Bultmann, Neues Testament und christliche Existenz . Mohr Siebeck, 2002, Reviewed by Drew Davis, Münster.
I reviewed Michal Beth Dinkler, Silent Statements: Narrative Representations of Speech and Silence in the Gospel of Luke. (BZNW 191; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013); Esther Chung-Kim and Todd R. Hains, editors. Acts. Reformation Commentary on Scripture: New Testament 6. (Downers Grover, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2014); Herbert W. Bateman, Interpreting the General Letters: An Exegetical Handbook. (Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2013).
Burridge, Cleese, and Goodacre
Mark Goodacre reported on a unique conference: Jesus and Brian. Or: What Have The Pythons Done For Us? hosted by Joan Taylor at Kings College, London, with support from Richard Burridge. Bart Erhman had a few posts on Brian and the Apocalypse, along with video clips from the film. Here are Chris Keith’s comments on the Life of Brian conference, and “veryrarelystable” at Atheist Biblical Criticism has some interesting thoughts as well. This conference was an excellent idea for a conference and appears to have been well-planned. The very fact that John Cleese participated in a biblical studies conference makes me very happy. I have often told my students that the general “background” of Life of Brian was a fairly accurate picture, now I have scholarly confirmation.
Chris Keith offerse a few comments on the 2014 Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity Conference at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
The Third Nangeroni Meeting of the Enoch Seminar in Rome, Italy was held on June 22–26, in Rome. The theme of the conference was Re-Reading Paul as a Second-Temple Jewish Author. “The meeting aims at re-examining afresh Paul’s Jewish background, his criticism against the Roman Imperial order, and his contribution to early Christian identity formation. We plan to have panels on the following topics: (1) Paul within Second Temple Judaism , (2) Paul and Second-Temple Jewish Apocalypticism , (3) Paul and Second-Temple Jewish Messianism , (4) Paul and the Law , (5) Paul between Empire and Jewish Identity , (6) Is There a ‘Two-Way Salvation’ in Paul? , (7) Paul, Anti-Semitism, and Early Christian Identity Making .”
A.D. Riddle reports on his visit to the “Roads of Arabia” exhibition, currently at the Kansas City, Missouri .
While on the topic of conferences, David Lincicum offers some sage advice on “not being a jerk at conferences.” I am thinking of printing this and handing it out this fall in San Diego.
Tyndale House announces the new version of their online Bible, STEP. This looks like a very useful tool!
Peter Enns stirs the waters by offering “Some Unasked for Advice on Whether an Evangelical Should Get a PhD in Biblical Studies.” His concern is the job market (you are destined to be adjunct). “The financial and personal challenges you go through in pursuing your degree–not to mention the job market once you enter it–will be unbearable unless you have a genuine, authentic, deep inner drive to spend the next 5-10 years in school.” In addition, he is worried about a growing climate of suspicion among Evangelicals with respect to those who have higher education: “by getting a PhD you are alienating yourself from 99% of the educated western Christian world.”
Good advice from Fred Clark: “Avoid any book with ‘leadership’ in the title.” I also avoid books with titles like “the twelve laws of…”
Marcus Borg asks: Does the Bible Matter? His answer: “Absolutely. Without it, the foundation of Christianity crumbles.” So Borg loves the Bible, just not in a fundamentalist way.
Ben Corey - What’s So Complicated About “Love Your Enemies”?
Shane Claiborne on the Death Penalty.
Tony Reinke piece on Nepal’s Most Unlikely Church Planter.
Rod over at Political Jesus, The Cross, Predestination, and Emmett Till. You get Black Theologians, Hip Hop culture, Civil Rights heroes.
Karen Swallow Prior offers a list of Classic Literary Works to Challenge the Thinking Christian. She has 13 books, the top four are Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It appears that scary visions of the not-to-distant future are especially challenging!
Stranger than Fiction…
Zack Hunt at The American Jesus linked to an art exhibit of Kim Kardashian As Jesus (And The Virgin Mary).
You missed your chance to bid on an autographed picture of Jesus on eBay. Still more authentic than the James ossuary.
The hard-hitting journalists at Haaretz ask “Did Adam and Eve speak Dutch?” The article is behind the pay wall,fortunately. Otherwise my Facebook page would be clogged with “re-post if your agree” spam.
Theologian and Biblical Scholar Elton John declares that Jesus would support Gay marriage. Glad that is settled now.
This sounds like a potentially strange story, Mitch Albom meets Mick Jagger in the Holy Sepluchre. My guess is Keith Richard visited the bone-room at St. Catherine’s Monastery, but no one noticed.
The July Carnival (due August 1) will be hosted by Jonathan Homrighausen at Linguae Antiquitatum. Contact him (jdhomrighausen at gmail) with your nominations for the next carnival. Rob Bradshaw will host the August Carnival, but after that I am looking for volunteers to cover the rest of the year – contact me (plong42 at gmail) to volunteer!