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Wednesday, November 04, 2009
  Beginning right
Somehow I missed the link to the JTS Torah Commentary site when Bob first posted the instruction to Enjoy this commentary actually despite the linguistic form it is more of an expectation "you will [I am sure] enjoy this commentary" than an instruction ;) Either way the commentary he points to on the beginning of the beginning of the first pericope of the Bible Parashah B'reishit was well worth enjoying :)

Written with (almost but not quite?) an excess of humour the post takes up Rashi's remarks that the first word of Scripture 'says nothing other than "explain me"!'

I used Rashi's approach in the sermon I preached on Gen 1:1.1-3 (the first three words of Gen 1:1) for the latest CareyMedia video series on "Gospel" (the new series is not available yet, but you can watch one of the previous series on Blip.tv. So I loved Rabbi Harris' commentary. In particular I was grateful for his opening paragraph to discover a passage and interpretation I had not noticed before:
There is a verse that I love to invoke whenever I teach about "the poetics of biblical narrative," and it doesn't come from this week's portion (but who's keeping score, anyway?). Instead, it is found in the first extended legal section, Parashat Mishpatim (Exod. 21–24). Loosely translated, this is the text: "In all charges of misunderstanding . . . whereof one party alleges, 'This is it!'—the case of both parties shall come before God" (Exod. 22:8); the Hebrew phrase underlying the words "this is it!" is: כי הוא זה (ki hu zeh). The verse seems to be addressing a case in which no one side has a total claim on the truth; in such a case, then, one is bidden to consider both possibilities.
Do read the rest!



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Saturday, May 31, 2008
  Performance as assessment: synthesis and Biblical exegesis
Geoff at Theologians without Borders asked for examples of Creativity in Theological Education for my contribution I've presented an assignment I regularly use which asks students to "perform" the text, they are then marked on a "justification" they write which explains the performance's origin in the biblical text, i.e. what about the text caused them to perform it this way and how their performance communicates important features of the text to their audience. You can read the write up here. Or just enjoy the two sample performances (because of a technical hitch I don't have time to fix before going away for a long weekend (thank you Mrs Queen for having a birthday ;) one is displayed here the other requires you to click a link:

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008
  Genesis 1: בָּרָא (again)
I noted below John's (Hobbins) post about John's (Walton) claim that בָּרָא does not mean "create" as in "make from nothing" but rather "create" as in "give a new function to" - and this description is a gross oversimplification of much more nuanced claims. Well, even more credit is due to both Johns, and to John 1's commenters also (since I suspect that their kind and quality persuaded John 2), there is now a follow up: The Goal and Purpose of Genesis 1: John Walton Responds, in which John 2 explains his thought further, and provides some tantalising hints about his forthcoming Eisenbrauns monograph on the subject. Even on a quick read I am much more nearly convinced than I have been by the Genesis NIVAC alone.

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