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Thursday, July 31, 2008
  This Amerigocentric Internet
I've been playing with Facebook recently, the main reason for starting was to see if it could be useful as a way of letting PodBible users share with each other. So I am setting up a PodBible page. It is still rough around the edges, but I can see that it might work. But in exploring FB I've begun to notice other things, not only the cool ways FB allows you to maintain or enhance what would otherwise be somewhat distant "friend"ships, but also how appalingly amerigocentric the Internet is. Take the neat and amusing little toy Where I've Been (the link is to their main website so you do not need to use FB to see it).

Now, you may have noticed in my post "Spot the Differences" below that if I add Russia, India and China to my list the score still stays at 14% of the world, but if I add Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Dellaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island I jump to a whopping 16%. This means that 9 smallish states of the USA count for much more than three of the largest, and most diverse countries. Take note people, for "where I've been" size does not matter, people do not count, nor is it a function of cultural diversity (not that I doubt the cultural diversity of Rhode Island, nor its rich cultural difference from Massachusetts, not having visited either I can hardly comment - though I do suspect that the cultural and geographical diversity of India and China might be considered greater by some people).

The Internet though now a worldwide phenomenon is also an American space. You might argue that this Amerigocentrism is the natural since the USA invented the Internet, you are probably right, but I'd argue back that it is now time we freed the 'net from this colonial past. Renaming the cool tool "Where I've been in America" could be a small start ;)

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  Spot the differences

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Monday, July 28, 2008
  Genesis Wordles (part 1)
Belatedly, since the applet crashes my computer :( I have begun playing with the Wordle toy. Since I am teaching Genesis this semester I began by looking at the ones for the whole book, that others had posted.

I am getting some interesting comments from students, so tomorrow I plan to show the class these.

Genesis 1-11:


Genesis 12-50
:


What do you think? Do these begin to capture some of the distinctives of the two sections of the book? Or do they rather reinforce the common themes of the whole work?

It would also be interesting to look at the different strands (at least P and J) so does anyone know how I can get hold of electronic copies of P Genesis and J Genesis in English translation?

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  Amos, Paul and PodBible
At the end of last week the PodBible chapter-a-day podcasts started reading Amos, the reader is Carey's principal, Paul Windsor. It must be Baptist week or something, because today's reading in the Bible in a year series is read by Bev Edmiston, who works in the Tranzsend office (she got the less enviable task of reading Ezra).

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  Nanotechnology and the Britannica Blog
It is a real puzzle, Tasha Moideen on the Britannica Blog had a somewhat striking post Nanotechnolgy as Fashion Accessory:The Morph Concept by Nokia which read:
The Morph Concept by Nokia shows what role nanotechnology can play in facilitating the use of communication devices in everyday life. These gadgets are flexible, they can discern harmful substances in the environment, and they can even be worn as fashion accessories, as this video makes plain.
The post contained a link to a You Tube video, which is "no longer available" the post on Britannica has also been pulled over the weekend.

I wonder what is going on? Any suggestions, or better still firm information would be appreciated!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008
  Orvieto Cafe: Three Kings
Mt Eden Road from the south, Orvieto is on the bend next to Three Kings
Orvieto Cafe
935A Mt Eden Rd
Mt Eden
Auckland
09-630 5046

With all the rain in Auckland this morning, we decided to try Orvieto again. It is local and has easy parking often just outside. It has also got good reviews in print on a couple of occasions, though the last time (before I began writing up our experiences) we were disappointed. Orvieto was reviewed by the NZ Herald earlier this month, it got 5 stars.

Like one of the Herald reviewers Barbara had the Spanish Omelette she says the Herald description fits:
The omelette came with toasted bread that we couldn't identify, but that didn't matter - it looked solid, even stodgy, but was light and delicious. Just like the omelette, really.
My Hash Browns with bacon, tomato and aioli were a more mixed experience. The bacon was excellent, good bacon well cooked; the hash browns were interesting pie slices of potato mix deep fried, apart from being a touch greasy they were crisp tasty and unusually seemed homemade (a nice change from supermarket hash); the eggs were perfect; BUT the aioli tasted like a lightly garlicky salad dressing. I think aioli should be made like mayonnaise from egg yolks and good oil, if vinegar adds bit it should be just a light nip.

On the essential element of "cafe" the Herald proclaimed:
The coffee was hot and strong.
It was. The long black was also an espresso in a bigger cup with hot water in a jug to add - that's the way I like it! BUT it was also just a touch bitter.

So my conclusion:
  • Food: Good.
  • Coffee: Pretty Good
  • Service: Very Good
  • Overall: Good - Very Good but not the Herald's five stars, maybe four...


Friday, July 25, 2008
  Graphics programs again
I posted the other day about Gimp (which I was using because my Fireworks install CD is stuffed) in the comments friends helped me sort out the minor gripes I had with Gimp, the current version is nothing short of brilliant.

Stephen also commented:
For quick and dirty format conversions, resizing and cropping I use IrfanView. Does the trick for most simple tasks and is quick to start up.
IrfanView is also brilliant, a fast viewer that also does many of the most commonly needed editing tasks. I have not yet tried out any of the plugins, so up to now I cannot comment on video in IrfanView, but for graphics it is great!

If anyone has tried the video plugins please comment about how well they work - is this program a substitute for Windows Media Player as well?

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Thursday, July 24, 2008
  Will Jim rejoice? Can "knol" become trendy? Will the wicked Wiki die?
Closeup from photo of Pottsville Conglomerate from Wikipedia
Google's latest toy is available. It's a "proper" encyclopedia, one that looks for "authoritative" individuals, so I expect Jim and other Wikipedia bashers to get in boots and all!

Mind you they need to. At present the front page of Googlepedia features clogged toilets and how to backpack. Ah, the joys of a fully "authoritative" and commercial encyclopedia, so much better than Wikipedia - NOT! Yesterday to illustrate the genre of the Torah I needed a photo of conglomerate, I found this on Wikipedia. I wonder if the googleplex will ever match that? For now - until the authorities get busier - don't bother looking for biblical material on Google, "Isaiah", and the like are blank, though there is an article on "David". Jim won't like it though ;) But for the rest of us it even has a photo!

Photo of "David" from the Googleplex

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Monday, July 21, 2008
  Graphics software
I've been setting up a new laptop (Martin's old one, that I inherited when the screen on mine died, is also dying) and my trusty FireworksMX install CD seems to have decayed with time and is no longer readable. So, I installed Gimp, it is a few years (as the MX designation on my Macromedia - remember them? - software may hint) since I last tried Gimp. It has improved beyond recognition, back then it was ugly, difficult to use and crashed the machine often - in short, no advert for open source software. Now it is good looking, stable, and most tasks (once I began to learn different menu structure and keystrokes) are fairly easy. Brilliant!

I just wish I could find a good way to export a picture as JPG, but then Gimp is not designed as a Fireworks replacement, but one for Photoshop, I guess... Does anybody know a better freeware way to adjust photos and export them for the web? Or a quick way to export JPG and GIF from Gimp?

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  Internet use and aging
Mary Hess linked to this, in the original the headlines almost shout ;)
New Study Released By The Center For The Digital Future and AARP Shows Internet Users 50+ Are Rapidly Closing the Digital Divide with Booming Online Activity
News Release
June 19, 2008
Think about it people, round these parts "the Internet" became popular from the early nineties. The early nineties is now ten to fifteen years ago. People who are now just 50+ were then just 35-40+ is anyone really surprised that they actually use the Internet? I'm now 60+ and I've been publishing content and using "social networking" sites and email groups (a surviving pre-Web 2.0 social networking technology) since the early to mid nineties... Back then I did not feel particularly old to be involved, the surprise would be if few people in the 50-70 age bracket were making significant Internet use.

Mary's response was politer than mine, but she seems equally unimpressed by this totally unsurprising research.

This was a "dog bites man" headline. About as much of a surprise as being told that Winston Peters was economical with the truth!

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Sunday, July 20, 2008
  Israel: a virtual study tour
I had an interesting email the other day, a parent wants to take their son on a virtual study tour to Israel. I was asked to suggest ten places to "visit", selected because of their "historical importance, but also of picturesque value". I had to admit that I am biased, I teach only Old Testament and so when in Israel I never visited the
places that mattered to Jesus!

A task for you

So, I thought I'd make a start and ask you all to join in. I'll post my fragmentary list, with some reasons, either in comments here or on your blog (in which case please place a comment with a link to the post here, so that I can gather the posts into a full listing in a future post. Nominate places giving a short description of your reasons.

First some ground rules:
  1. though we must end up with a list of ten we can discuss more places before we narrow the list
  2. the list is fosused on enriching understanding of the Bible
  3. places should be either of great historical or geographical significance
  4. we will need a balance of places of significance for the Jewish/ChristianHebrew Bible, and also the Christian New Testament, as well as those that illustrate the geography of the land
  5. the surrounding geography will form part of the virtual visit, so below I suggest Megiddo in part because of its location.
Notice that the list is intended to be of use for understanding of the Bible story - so e.g. Tel Azekah and the Elah Valley might get in, regardless of one's estimation of the historicity or otherwise of the characters David and Goliath, since a visit to a Shephellah valley would assist understanding the stories of Judges-Kings.
Photo from Wikipedia
My first suggestion
  • Megiddo: (a) geographically significant to explain the Plain of Jezreel (b) significance of trade routes (c) site of battles including (?) the one talked about in Revelation in the NT (d) Iron Age administrative centre (e) importance of water supply (f) gate complex and (g) Bronze Age cultic site.
Note that this makes it less likely that Hazor (trade routes, gates and Bronze Age cult) or Beersheba (gates, administrative centre, water supply) will make the final cut - places like this that serve multiple functions are especially useful!

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Saturday, July 19, 2008
  Google > Stoopid?
Most people (from whom one might expect a comment) have already posted responses to Nicholas Carr's The Atlantic article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" I wanted time to think before I wrote (remember I'm introverted ;) Many of the kneejerk responses have been along the lines of "Carr's right, and it's a disaster! Now let's move on to the next topic..." Demonstrating nicely that Carr is right, in part the phenomenon he discusses of shorter attention spans when reading, and often writing, and therefore thinking online not only exists, but afflicts most of us. Carr provides a nice example to illustrate the phenomenon:
Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine, also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”
Reading online is different from reading print, think Jakob Nielsen's studies back in the 90s which showed that online readers scan. Then bring it up to date and apply it to "academic" readers as well as the metaphorical "ordinary user":
As part of the five-year research program, the scholars examined computer logs documenting the behavior of visitors to two popular research sites, one operated by the British Library and one by a U.K. educational consortium, that provide access to journal articles, e-books, and other sources of written information. They found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site. Sometimes they’d save a long article, but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read it.
Factor in the fact that today we live online much more than we did then, and the result is obvious: "the Internet" is changing the way we think. Reducing our capacity to process lengthy complex writing. In short, making us stupid!

But, is different worse? The authors of the study mentioned above wrote:
It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.
Carr's argument presupposes that "reading in the traditional sense" is both traditional and good. Yet for the purposes of the "readers" assessed by the study, academics researching prior literature on a topic, reading has perhaps never been the long drawn out sequential process Carr inagines. I have been trying to teach students "How to avoid reading books" for decades. Why? Because scanning not reading works, for researching prior literature scanning beats reading! As MarkG commented "

Reading differently is not necessarily reading worse.

Carr also argues that the structures and processes of the Internet shape and control how we think, claiming:
The idea that our minds should operate as high-speed data-processing machines is not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network’s reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.
In other words: reading differently is worse because we lose the capacity for sustained attention. This is like Socrates argument in Plato's Phaedrus that the new technology of alphabetic writing (to which ironically we owe our "memory" of Socrates) "will produce forgetfulness in those who have learned it. They will not need to exercise their memories, being able to rely on what is written."

So Carr is in fine company. Like Socrates he is correct, memory has been eroded by writing and the capacity for sequential sustained reading is being eroded by the Internet. Also, like Socrates, he is wrong, the human capacity for living is not eroded so easily and the new mental states are not (most of us believe - since few today voluntarily give up writing and advocate burning libraries to the ground) worse ;)

Google need not make you stoopid, but it is making us think differently, and that needs serious practice and study.

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Monday, July 14, 2008
  Burmese dinner and cultural evening: for Cyclone relief
I am having reverse "senior moments", I remember writing a post about the Cyclone Nargis fundraising dinner BCNZ the West Auckland Burmese community are putting on, with Burmese food and dancing and songs from Karen, Kachin and Chin groups, but it was not here when Miriam sent me a notice about it this morning :(

So, here, I hope not too late for you to sign up, is a link to the invitation, and extracts of the details, it is:

  • organised by the Burmese Christian Fellowship,
  • on Sunday July 20th from 5pm till 7pm
  • $25 per person includes food, entertainment and donation to Cyclone Nargis relief (organised informally through contacts on the spot)
  • at Bible College of New Zealand (if it has not changed its name by then ;) 221 Lincoln Rd, Henderson, traffic light entrance opposite Pak N Save, "entrance through the muli-storey brick building at the end of the drive"
  • please pay in advance to:
    • Adrienne Coats 837 1507
    • Paul Long 818 3874
    • Khun Aung 630 8975
    • David Thorpe 826 0864
If anyone needs lift from over our way please contact me!

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008
  Historical Books (Hebrew Bible): SBL International
Today (Wednesday) was a short day at ISBL, nevertheless the section Historical Books (Hebrew Bible) produced some fine stimulation. The first paper scheduled was one of the disturbingly many no shows. (Perhaps the people did not all realise the distance involved in getting to NZ till too late to pull their names from the programme?) Each of the papers we did hear was stimulating:

In "Why So Reticent, Boaz?: Boaz's (In)action from an Identity Perspective" Peter H. W. Lau of Sydney University presented a reading of the book of Ruth that analysed Boaz' behaviour from a Social Identity Theoretical perspective. Using this grid enabled Peter to describe clearly the issues involved and throw considerable light of some of the gaps that we as listeners to the story are obliged to fill.

Next, Sunwoo Hwang of the University of Edinburgh offered a clear and organised discussion of "Bêtî in 1 Chronicles 17:14: Temple or Kingdom?" and in doing so drew my attention also to the interesting differences between not only 1 Chron 17:14 and its presumed source in 2 Sam 7:16, but also between the LXX and MT.

Rachelle Gilmour of the University of Sydney presented a lively and engaging analysis of "Suspense and Anticipation in I Samuel 9" and in doing so added still more to my appreciation of this most entertaining and rich passage. (For my take on the passage before Rachelle's paper listen to my 5 minute talks "Humour in the Bible: Part 1: Introducing Saul and Humour in the Bible: Part 2: Still Introducing Saul, incidentally there really are other 'casts in the Humour in the Bible series!

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  Genesis: SBL International
My vote for the "best paper" I heard yesterday does not go to the session I presented in, though (naturally) I thought "we" had some good stuff, but to one from the Genesis section. The presenter was a Francophone Belgian (a Walloon) from Louvain-la-Neuve and Arizona State.

Françoise Mirguet's topic was "The divine monologues in Genesis: An interrupted sequence". She presented the monologues, noted that the cease at 18:17-18, and explored their function in the telling of Genesis, arguing that the reason they cease is that the last monologue represents the moment when God elects a dialogue partner in Abraham.

I am not quite convinced by the case she argued, but convinced enough that I look forward to reading the published version to see if I am then convinced - at least I think there is a "case to answer"...

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
  SBL International: The Bible in the Pacific
One really interesting session I attended yesterday was "The Bible in the Pacific", appropriate in a city which is home to more Polynesians than the other South Pacific Islands put together (I believe, if this is urban myth someone correct me!). I'll mention the two papers in the reverse of the order they were presented, since they represented two generations of Pacific Biblical scholarship.

Sione Havea is a well-established Tongan biblical scholar, now at Charles Sturt University. His paper "Displacing Bible, Drifting Homes, Restless Tellings" was a lively repeat of the usual post-colonial warnings about the ways in which the (Western) missionary enterprise of the 19th and 20th centuries left the Bible as a problematic book. It was engagingly delivered, and even the jibes at "Western Men" did not seem to hurt the Western males in the audience ;-)

The words were enlivened by "
works by artists from Oceania who expose the partnership of the Christian mission with Western colonization"). I somehow missed the argument of the second part, where he spoke about "how and why the Western bible [failed to] function as 'home' for the natives (for whom 'stories give home'). The third part, spoke of "the power of telling" this was a passionate plea, but sadly the example based on the "witch of Endor" (which was promised in the abstract) did not feature in the paper as presented.

Nasili Vaka'uta, a doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland (declaration of interest: I have co-supervised his thesis for the last few years) belongs to the next generation of Pacific scholarship. Nasili spoke on "Myth of (Im)Purity and Peoples of the (Is)Lands: A Tongan Reading of Ezra 9-10" To me Nasili's great achievement is to have prodcued a reading of his text which uses Tomgan vocabulary and culture as the categories that shape the reading. His "Tongan reading" is not merely a Western reading in Tongan clothes therefore, but more genuinely Tongan. I remember encouraging my Congolese students in the 80s to begin, trying to achieve this task, of discovering the thought patterns and processes that would lead to African readings that were African in their intellectual framework as well as their appearance! Back then we made little progress, but I think Nasili's paper represents a strong beginning to such a process for Tongan Tu'a readers. Here is his abstract:

Ezra 9-10 is narrated with a gaze. It gazes at the “peoples of the lands” not merely to identify, but also to belittle and discriminate against. In this paper, I offer a Tongan reading of Ezra 9-10 with attention to objects of deriding gazes, and the myth/ideology behind the gaze vis-à-vis the colonial construction of the Oceanic island 'natives.' This reading is situated in the social location of Tongan commoners (tu'a), and theorized with the Tongan notion of fonua (land, place, sea, and people). Methodologically, it weaves together insights from various methods and categories from Tongan culture. This interpretive framework provides the lenses for enga[g/z]ing (gaze back at) the text.

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Monday, July 07, 2008
  Society for Biblical Literature International: Powhiri
SBL International has begun. The first papers are not due for another half hour, but the conference began yesterday with a powhiri (Māori welcome ceremony) and a reception. For the SBL International in Auckland, the challenge was "Kamate Kamate" somewhat oddly since this haka was judged too bloodthirsty for international rugby matches (ka mate means death!) - apparently International Rugby is wimpy compared to International Biblical Scholars ;-)



It was great to begin this first ever SBL in New Zealand in a culturally appropriate way with the visitors being welcomed to the University Marae, to the University and to the country. As so often though my delight in powwhiri was tinged with saddness, of only Māori custom could unbend enough to produce a geniuinely bicultural powhiri one for example in which the speeches were tailored to the presence of 90% of the participants who are not fluent in Te Reo (the Māori language) so shorter and accompanied by brief summary statements in English (like subtitles) so that the 90% could understand and appreciate the ceremony. Such a powhiri if regularly adopted for bicultural occasions, would I suspect take NZ by storm and become the only appropriate way to formally welcome visitors. Instead too often what we have is a mere cultural show - which ends up turning Māori into museum exhibits, rather than partners in a bicultural society.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008
  Zotero and SBL manual of style
Back in April there were some problems with using Zotero with the (then under development) SBL Manual of Style "Citation Style" at least when adding page numbers. At the time we were told it would be fixed in version 1.0.4. It probably was, but I forgot to check, and now we are on version 1.0.5 and it seems to be working fine. So, anyone who has been holding off using SBL in Zotero, as long as you have been allowing updates, go for it!

A superb, free, bibliography manager now got even more useful for biblical scholars, though I still have a small gripe, Zotero does not yet know how to handle book reviews :( the main styles for this are covered by this Duke University Library page and you can see how much fiddling would be needed to change a Zotero reference like this from one style to another!

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Saturday, July 05, 2008
  Columbus: Onehunga (revisited)
When we visited Columbus: Onehunga last year I commented that though part of a chain they do the job well. That opinion remains unchanged by a return visit. Actually it is deepened, this is how a good franchise chain works. Each Columbus we've visited has been reliable, coffee good (if not great every time) with a range and choice that could be familiar to a visitor used to another branch, food differs from place to place, but of solid cafe standard. The decor has standardised elements, but as in this old post office (what it was before becoming Blue Strawberry). Reliable and pleasant - just what you need from a chain, but often do not get. As for Steve's comment last time (that as an old Onehunga hand he missed the "soul" of the old blue fruit), perhaps he's right, but we have visited plenty of cafes now where the "soul" fail to deliver decent coffee, or sometimes food :( Columbus does.

This visit I'd rate the coffee slightly less than last time's at just Pretty Good, my long black was a touch bitter and made long by running the water through the grounds rather than adding hot water to standard espresso. Though B's Soy Cappuchino was pronounced "very good" and was superbly decorated with a hand drawn fern ;)

The food this time was good, very good "Jose Breakfast" with a delicious blend of flavours including guacomole. The eggs benedict came on sage flavoured potato cakes, a nice touch! Though not "very good" as the bacon was a workmanlike supermarket style rather than the more risky but usually more tasty butcher's special.

The service was again superb almost too attentive!

Columbus: Onehunga
120 Onehunga Mall
Onehunga,
Auckland
Phone: 09 622 2819
Fax: 09 634 3337

PS: We'd meant to try the cafe at Bunnings Warehouse, but they did not open till 9am, and we did not fancy 20 mins waiting after buying our kitchen jars. Maybe next time...

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Thursday, July 03, 2008
  Too much excitement for one week...
First Carnival ל׳ and now number XXXI well done James R!

On top of that carnivalesque excitement, within days SBL International begins, if you will be there do consider signing up for an offline meetup...


  Aggression ≠ ad gredere
Theologians and preachers suffer many of the normal human weaknesses, finding what we want to see is a common example. When as a standard preacherly déformation professionnelle one adds a touching faith in the Humpty Dumpty school of linguistics.
There's glory for you!'

`I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs, they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

See Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass, "Humpty Dumpty" here

There's what I think is a fine example of Humpty Dumpty theology quoted on Mary's blog - I can't comment there as to stop the dreaded spammers she has comments set so that only people with a login to her blog can comment :(
It comes from a wonderful small book called The Practice of Communicative Theology, by Matthias Scharer and Bernd Jochen Hilberath. On page 38 of that book they write:

The word “aggression,” from the Latin ad gradere
(”moving toward”) has a positive as well as a negative meaning. It includes no only the life-destroying forces of exclusion but also that force which can find expression in a living, loving relationship. All-encompassing peace and harmony among all creatures without doing away with their differences are ideals corresponding to the transformation of life that God promises for God’s future…

Whatever the Latin ad gradere meant - and although no Latin scholar I suspect that (or perhaps even more relevant what the range of meaning of agressus was the English "aggression" simply does not mean what these authors want to make it mean - no dictionary I have consulted permits it, and even the recent usage in phrases like "an aggressive advertising campaign" permit it either. Aggression means attack, whatever the Humpty Dumpty theologians wish. The etymological fallacy is still a fallacy, even as we near the half-centenary beyond the publication of Barr, James. The Semantics of Biblical Language. London: OUP, 1961.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008
  The Rhetoric of Hypertext
No, not all the hype, though I am still happy to hype hypertext but an interesting teaching tool on Rhetorical Devices for Electronic Literature, in proper 2.0 style the site is described as "beta"... Thanks to the stimulating Grand Text Auto for the link.

On the site Deena provides (in her introduction to "links") a classification of different sorts of link:
  • Denotative: The link goes to a node that provides either the site or text itself (such as a link to Google) or a definition or clarification of the linked word or phrase. This is a common type of link in encyclopedias, newspapers, etc.
  • Connotative: The link between the origin text and destination text implies something that is not explicitly stated--the originating node gives a new context to the destination node that can suggest some other meanings are lurking under the surface.
  • Similar or repetitive: The link goes to a similar node or a continuation of the same theme as the originating text.
  • Opposition or contradiction: The link goes to a node that contradicts or opposes the originating text.
  • Descriptive: The link goes to a further description or explanation of the linked word or originating text.
  • Advertisements: The link goes to a site that sells that particular item. While this is a common type of link in commercial websites (as many sites receive their funding from these links by counting hits and click throughs), this has been used in electronic literature. The link from Deena Larsen's Disappearing Rain: "How many credit cards are in it?" goes to a credit card site. (These outside links are thus commented on within the story and subvert these commercial endeavors into playing a role in tracking down Anna, a missing character from the novel).
  • Political: The piece hopes to provoke a reaction in the reader and provides a link to follow up on that reaction. For example, Jennifer Ley's War Games shows the horrors of land mines and connects to Adopt a Minefield.
This is much fuller and richer than the simple binary choice we plan to give to authors of the HBC_ volumes. We just offer the choice of "explanation" or "justification" and links to HBD_ articles or Bible references. But then our goals are much more focused... Her "descriptive" sounds like our "explanation" but I don't find in her list anything that corresponds to our "justification" yet intuitively I suspect that we are not the only ones wanting to link to material that gives in more details the reasons that justify a particular ideas expressed.

What do you think:
  • Is her list complete, are there other types she does not discuss?
  • Does she cover our "justification" type of link?
  • Would it help our navigation of the web (and other hypertexts) if there was a more standard and understood "rhetoric" of linking?

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  Auckland cafe reviews and coffee in NZ
As well as mine, Rhett has just started a series of Auckland Cafe reviews, since he covers a totally different part of the town if you like my reviews you will want to read his, though not in this case follow in his footsteps :( Esquires seems as bad as the name suggests!


On the other hand, if you wonder how I can be as hard on the coffees we've had, please be aware that the supplier we usually use for our beans at home: Zeke's Serious Coffee, is not only shade grown, fair trade and organic, nor merely got a regular annual string of bronze and silvers at the NZ Coffee Festival but this year added the Gold award for best NZ Espresso for the Howler Monkey (the blend we buy). Coffee that does not rip off the producers just tastes better!

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  Self-referentiality and openness in online biblical studies
Having just posted about the (no longer MIA) Biblical Studies Carnival ל׳ I then find myself double tagged for the 11111: The Binary Biblical Studies Carnival Meme which is far too many numbers and indeed writing systems for numbers for my poor little head :( I say double tagged, since my first and real tagger Biblical Studies and Technological Tools actually tagged me on 5 Minute Bible, but I just don't have time to organise a 5 or even 4 minute podcast with cynical or entertaining post titles for other, so far untagged biblical studies bloggers, and anyway, this meme was started to make up for the "missing" carnival, or at least so David the 'pottamus Kerr claimed. So, I've found a very mathematical way out...

I hereby tag myself with the post: Self-referentiality and openness in online biblical studies.


  Biblical Studies Carnival ל׳
With all Tyler has had on it is great that he has produced the thirtieth Biblical Studies Carnival. And just think any minute now carno-philes can enjoy another one!

By the way, there is no reason why someone should not produce a Wordpress plugin to put audio for the Hebrew audio files, though they'd first have to set up an RSS feed for them... for the real techno-heroes that should be trivial, for the rest of us... well suffice to say I have not worked out how to do it in Blogger, still... If you know please tell us...


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