Tuesday, August 25, 2009
  Old Testament Podcasts
All the talk of podcasting seems to have fired me up again, in the last ten days, I've posted three new 'casts to my 5 Minute Bible series:
None of these is ground breaking new research, but that's not the goal. Just short (5 minutes or so) snippets that serious Bible readers can hear and then enjoy using to discover more as they read.

If they work for that then the series is working :) and 3.7GB in July (which equates to 16 podcasts each of which was downloaded more than 300 times during the month - not to mention the other 24 podcasts that were less popular).

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Thursday, August 13, 2009
  Watch out or the bears will get you!
In his post "Bad Boy Bible Study meets Ship of Fools" the indefatigable Lingamish throws a challenge at several of his friends. Since he is doing a series on Bad Boy Bible Study (which incidentally I have tagged to read when I get the chance as it looks like something I might want to point people to for good advice) I guess we are the ship of fools ;)

Before naming his band of fools (a fine role in the mythical medieval court) he wrote about one of the nastiest stories in Scripture 2 Kings 2:23-24. For those of you too lazy to mouseover the link reftagger should have made this is where Elisha curses a crowd of teasing boys and some bears maul 42 of them. David then commands us:
  • You’ve been asked to teach or preach on this passage.
  • What would you say?
Granted that this week I'm flat out with a busy semester, 40 assignments to mark and more on the way, and the usual busyness of someone trying to buy a home (in Tauranga not here in Auckland), the first thing I'd say is "I am sorry, I did not have time to prepare properly for this sermon." Actually I wouldn't as you never apologise like that in advance, but I'd think it, and David asked for our reactions ;) And in this blogging context it is relevant, you need to remember this is a knee-jerk response not my considered thoughts.

First I'd retell the story, or more likely read it from a good simple DE translation like the CEV. Then I'd point out that Bible stories almost never intend us to take their characters as examples. Think 2 Sam 11.
  • act like David, forcibly (or at least through abuse of power) take any young woman you fancy
  • act like Bathsheba, don't say a word even when such crimes are committed against you
  • act like Uriah, be an unreasonable prig
Neither does our story contain examples to follow.

We expect life to be fair - it is not. If there was proportionality in this story, Elisha the "good" prophet would control his temper, the bad boys would be good, and carry Elisha's pack for the poor old baldie, and above all a good God would not allow bears to attack mischievous but otherwise harmless kids. But life is not fair, get over it! AND (and here is where I would begin really to bring other Scripture into consideration of this passage) pray for the coming of the Day of the LORD when every sort of wrong and injustice will be put right.

Learn to live in a world "out of joint" (it is that way because of human sin, in which we hold shares) while looking for the coming of a new creation.

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Monday, March 30, 2009
  The story and the narratives
I'm teaching biblical narrative this semester, so I was interested in the post by Nick Montfort to narrations of "Little Red Riding Hood":
to which we can add Mary Hess' link to Little Red Riding Hood as infographic.

So, tell me please gentle reader, was/were the one(s) you consumed "same" story, or a new story? And why?

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
  Biblical Narrative: A One Paragraph Summary
I'm teaching "Biblical Narrative" this semester, David Hymes has just published three posts of full and well documented introduction to biblical narratology:
I have no desire to compete, and no intention of offering a corrective, but we are asking writers of Bible Dictionary articles (By the way have YOU offered an article for this free online dictionary project?) to provide a one paragraph summary of their entry. So I wondered, how would my paragraph read?

This is a false task because I have not written a dictionary article, but prepared a course, but still... What are the most important things to say about Biblical Narrative if one only had a few sentences?

Biblical Narrative in one paragraph:
Prose Narrative is the most widespread genre in the Bible, with examples in both Hebrew Bible - comprising most of Gen-Kings, plus other "historical" books and several shorter more focused stories like Ruth, Jonah and Esther as well as episodes elsewhere - and New Testament mainly in the Gospels and Acts. Events are recounted very much as if "seen by an observer", with minimal interpretation or interpretative clues offered by the writers, there is also minimal description, so these accounts are "fraught with background"1 meaning hearers/readers have to interpret meaning for themselves (as we do in real life). Working within such a framework, hinting much while saying little, encourages hearers to engage with these narratives rather than just enjoy them.

That's my first draft, what would you write?

1. This is Auerbach's phrase (Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. 50th ed. Princeton University Press, 2003, 18.) RETURN

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Thursday, June 26, 2008
  Help, I need someone to suggest a film
I am teaching Genesis again this year, after several years break. I want to start by explaining why Genesis matters, and would really like a short film clip that illustrates how knowing the beginning of a story helps us to understand the rest. So I'm thinking a film where some vital item of information is shown right at the start, and if you "came in late" and missed it you would also miss much of what is going on in the film...

Do you have any suggestions?


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Friday, February 01, 2008
  Narrative Speed
On IBSWM I have also completed, at least in penultimate draft, a short entry on Narrative Speed, also for my online Introduction to Biblical Narrative.

On Monday we head off for Sri Lanka, so if you want to hear from me over the next couple of months please subscribe (by RSS or email) to the blog that will have writing, photos (and we hope video interviews with interesting people) relating to this travel and teaching Old Testament in South Asia including a refugee camp. (If you have a blog yourself please link to it, so that people find it before we return ;)

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Monday, June 13, 2005
Audio introduction to the book of Jonah ::

In the middle of the busiest month of the year, with piles of marking and papers to prepare for SBL International and Peter Horsfield's research symposium in Melbourne on "Emerging Research in Media, Religion and Culture" I took the weekend off to go down to Taranaki and lecture on Jonah. The talk was received well, so I'm making it available as an MP3. (The usual CC attribution no commercial use license applies!)

Audio Introduction to the book of Jonah, delivered to Hawera Baptist Church, Taranaki, NZ on June 11th 2005. As the lecture lasts 40 minutes you can choose whether to DOWNLOAD or listen as you go STREAMING audio.

The recording was made as part of my trial of using an MP3 player to record classes and the like, to make the files available to students as a resource. If anyone listens do let me know what you think, either about the content, or the technology!

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