Saturday, December 31, 2005
Amos: Hypertext Bible Commentary ISBN::

I forgot to say earlier, the ISBN is 0-473-10714-7, so the publication is really official! I am too busy being on holiday and having my brother, Lyn, and his wife, Carol, to visit NZ for the first time, and seeing Oriane off back to France to write more at the moment, but promise a full post with all the gory details soon...

Amos: Hypertext Bible Commentary all go! ::

The reviewers have spoken, the reports are in, and the decision is to publish. I have not had time to read them carefully yet (they only got passed on to me last night and it was Oriane's 18th birthday), but they seem to be full of sensible suggestions and nice words (we'll have to pick some choice morsels for the packaging).

We have a great design for the CD packaging, an ISBN, and there are only a few corrections following the reviewers reports still to be made. So, we have reached the deadline, just! Amos will be published in a stable citable peer-reviewed form this year (just!).

Oh, there is one little detail, the price...

Friday, December 16, 2005
How is the Bible an authority ::

OK, I've deliberately messed with the formulation of this question, to suit my own interests and prejudices, but that's one right that authors always enjoy!

Craig has been posting on "Bible and authority" based on his reading of NT Wright, and his "Bible and authority part two" is a typically thoughtful and provoking post. I posted a comment:
Is it incurably romantic to think of the Bible as "like" a bunch of people with whom one discusses, and who argue among themselves, but who one defers to as authoritative for us... I.e. model the authority on personal authority rather than on the golf club rule book...
The golf club rule book is an approach that is horribly common in "Evangelical" circles....

Craig replied :
Hi Tim, I like the idea of a personal authority and having the Bible's authors as conversation partners. It's an appealing metaphor.

[aside: Do we need to find a "balance of power" with the Bible?]

I guess I fall apart when I wonder which voice to listen to. Should I listen to the mainline voices? The near-silenced prophet? The scribe who reinterpreted something? What do I do when they disagree?

[Is it incurably romantic to answer my own questions with, "as led by the spirit"?]

I guess that's why I came up with the "protege" model. It avoids those questions -- which possibly isn't a good thing.
I am now writing a reply to Craig's reply... but to read it you'd have to go to his blog!
Filed in:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The worth of a picture - The British Museum, Lakish, tzitzit and proof ::

Jim West has a fine gloating post claiming that the absense of tzitzit in the images of Judeans in the Lakish siege panel in the British Museum "implies quite clearly" (which is not of course the same as the "proof" he has demanded vociferously from others ;) that the Pentateuchal regulations for these come "from many centuries after the fact" and are "Hellenistic".

Assyrian siege ramp at Lakish from

Jim's remarks were stimulated by a post on James Crossley's blog, just titled "British Museum" and asking the interesting question about the absense of these. (There is also a well-considered comment from Ken Ristau which Jim should read!)

For the record I see no connection between a panel dating probably to the early 7th century of a battle in the same period for claims of a Hellenistic dating for another text.

However Jim's post prompted me to look again at the British Museum site, it is much improved since my last visit! Well worth a look, the relevant section for this discussion is probably "Stone panel from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib (Room 36, no. 10)" Good pictures, informative text and helpful suggestions of other goodies to explore - I'm going to add a virtual field trip to the BM to my next "Bible in an Electronic Context" class!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Virtual Theology Colloquium in print ::

The papers from our colloquium on "Virtual Theology" at the beginning of the year have appeared in print, in the appropriately named journal Colloquium 37:2.

The articles are as follows:

Tim Bulkeley "Virtual Theologising as Recapitulation" 115-130
Peter Horsfield "Theology as Virtualising Enterprise" 131-142
New Zealand Christian Churches Online: Websites, and
Mary Griffiths and Ann Hardy "Models of Authority and Participation" 143-156
Iain Doherty "Metaphysics, Ontology and the Structural Design Process:
Creating a Space for Virtual Conversational Christian Presence" 157-167
Paul Teusner "Resident Evil: Horror Film and the Construction of Religious Identity in Contemporary Media Culture" 168-180
Stephen Garner "Hacking with the Divine: A Metaphor for Theology-Technology Engagement" 181-195

Typically, I am late marking this as Paul has already blogged his contribution! Sadly, those who do not have access to a print copy of the journal (perhaps your library would consider subscribing, it is only NZ$55 or A$50 for an institutional subscription!) may have to wait a few years as the latest issue I could find (in ATLAS) available electronically is 2001... However, I will also be trying to post-print the papers on the website...

Sunday, December 11, 2005
Davide is back! ::

Anyone who used to follow the Davide's Notes blog and has removed it from their subscription list may like to note that Davide is back, welcome! The first post is on "Pannenberg and the Resurrection" so I'll happily leave it to the Theologians (and NT scholars?) to comment on...

Saturday, December 10, 2005
Very Cool Tanak Site ::

Rubén Gómez pointed to Alain Verboomen's TanakhML Project, on a quick look this is a really exciting project. Among the toys that his XML dialect allows is a "Verse Analyser" which displays verses of the Hebrew text graphically revealing the structure implied by the Massoretic cantillation. This sounds terribly technical, so - for non Hebraists - what that means is that you can see how the scribes thought the text of a verse broke down into smaller units. So Amos 1:1 displays like this. Or in English:
The words of Amos
    who was among the shepherds
    of Tekoa
  which he saw about Israel
    in the days of
    Uzziah king of Judah
    and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash
  king of Israel
  two years
  before the earthquake.
Now most of the time (as here?) this adds little to our understanding, but sometimes it shows that the scribes have parsed the structure of a verse differently from modern translators, and then things get interesting... Which reading is better? And why?

Now it is true that all this information is available in the cantillation marks in the BHS or other print or electronic Hebrew text. Yet most of us are not practiced at reading these marks, here is the text of this verse first uncantillated then cantillated to show you why:
דִּבְרֵי עָמוֹס אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה בַנֹּקְדִים מִתְּקוֹעַ אֲשֶׁר חָזָה עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּימֵי עֻזִּיָּה מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה וּבִימֵי יָרָבְעָם בֶּן־יוֹאָש מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁנָתַיִם לִפְנֵי הָרָעַשׁ ׃

 דִּבְרֵ֣י עָמֹ֔וס אֲשֶׁר־הָיָ֥ה בַנֹּקְדִ֖ים מִתְּקֹ֑ועַ אֲשֶׁר֩ חָזָ֨ה עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל בִּימֵ֣י׀ עֻזִּיָּ֣ה מֶֽלֶךְ־יְהוּדָ֗ה וּבִימֵ֞י יָרָבְעָ֤ם בֶּן־יֹואָשׁ֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שְׁנָתַ֖יִם לִפְנֵ֥י הָרָֽעַשׁ׃
Incidentally, any Hebraist who does not have the SBL font installed should not follow his current link, but go to (I'll write to him and suggest he updates the link). What a cool tool, with more good things to come !

Friday, December 09, 2005
Dead Sea Scrolls podcast ::

Jim West mentions the ABC programme Spirit of Things about "Scandals and Rivalries of the Dead Sea Scrolls" I have not yet listened to it, though I used my recent flights to nearly catch up on my backlog of podcasts, but Jim rated the transcript "worth a read" so I am looking forward to it!

The programme is also available as a podcast, or for online listening as Real Audio there is a list you can subscribe to for the regular podcasts of the programme (if you like this one and want more).

Thursday, December 08, 2005
Is ἄνθρωπος a gender neutral term? ::

There's an interesting debate going on over whether in fact ἄνθρωπος is a gender neutral term, as those of us who have an intense dislike for gender-biased Bibles have tended to assume.

In the ἄνθρωπος = man corner read Justicare.

For the gender neutral view try Powerscourt.

Morecambe Bay and Graham Doel's fine eponymous blog ::

Graham Doel who runs a thought provoking eponymous blog has been trying to raise his page rank on Google for the terms Morecambe, or Morecambe bay. Now he's resorted to shameless hints, so I'm happy to reward him with a post that links to his post, even if it is not always about Morecambe, or Morecambe bay.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The Joys of Travel ::

I wanted to do a proper post, but I'm too tired and jetlagged. I'd promise one tomorrow, but there's all the catching up to do as well as the regular meetings... So, here are a few thoughts on the wonders of travel.

1. Thought One - Chunnel Europe: the journey I just did is incredible, Sunday morning in Besançon (near the French/Swiss border), by train to London (changing in Dijon and Paris) the channel tunnel is a SciFi dream, that's now taken for granted, but it seems to be actually changing the way people think, more than the EEC it seems to be making Britons European!

2. Thought Two - LAX or why can't the Empire Strike Back Los Angeles airport is always a transit passenger's nightmare. Not only do you always have to change terminals (well it seems that way) but the people you ask directions from seem incapable of directing one to the right place, resulting in a series of trial and error approximations. Then, of course, there's that bizarre US requirement that you take your hold baggage through customs and you go through immigration (yes fingerprints photo and all) before you wheel your luggage to the other terminal and check it in again... or that's what you would do if the checkin counter was open... I assume that the sort of chaos that was LAX yesterday was caused by all the new extra security caused by 9/11, but really, we are a few years on, you'd think they'd have worked out a more user friendly system by now! The most powerful empire the world has ever known, and they can't manage a simple job liketransferringg your baggage from one plane to another, without putting the passenger through half a dozen long queues... I mean, isn't it time someone told the Americans that the inefficiency of their airports and customs and immigration handling gives visitors the impression that Americans are incapable oforganizingg anything, let alone a world!

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