Saturday, September 19, 2009
  Motherly God-language: an experimental publication
Julia's Jesus' image so intrigued me partly because for the last few weeks I have been exploring publishing my Not Only a Father: Motherly God-language in the Bible and Christian Tradition material. This short book is an attempt to explore the warrant in Scripture and Christian tradition for talking and picturing God as mother (as well as father). This has been a hugely divisive topic in churches, and on the whole Evangelicals have rejected such talk, largely (it seems to me because "liberals" have welcomed it ;)

Not Only a Father was written and edited with print publication in mind, but increasingly I am frustrated with the model that puts more and more books before fewer and fewer readers, unless you are skillful at tickling the public fancy and create a blockbuster.

Most print books apparently only sell a couple of hundred copies. [I read this statistic on somebody's blog recently, but did not note the source :( so if it might be you, tell me in the comments and I'll add a link!] What's the point, except for a specialist work with a tiny target audience, most blog posts get more readers than that ;) So, put the material online for free and watch the readers roll in... except my "output" gets measured by a committee who value refereed or publisher approved publication... so seek a publisher and lose the audience, but gain brownie points in the academic system :(

Enter, the successor to CommentPress (which was a fascinating project from the Institute for the Future of the Book). My bright idea is to publish Not Only a Father online free using so that the ideass can be discussed paragraph by paragraph. This form of commenting will encourage (I hope) a deeper and more reflective conversation than the usual forum perhaps even because at paragraph level deeper than for blog posts followed by comments. I will argue to the committee that this is research into new forms of publication (a research area where I have established credibility through the Hypertext Bible Commentary project and associated journal articles). Thus I hope to have my cake and eat it also :)

BUT in this bid to score points, while also allowing maximum accessibility, I need your help. If you (or you know of someone who) are interested in reading about and/or discussing this issue of motherly language for God. Please visit, or point your friend to Not Only a Father I have uploaded two chapters already: Talking Pictures an introduction to using picture language to spesak of God, and Biblical Talk of the Motherly God. Several other chapters will be added over the next weeks, and one is still being researched.

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Monday, July 13, 2009
  Hebrew Bible (plus Appendix ;) podcasts
Chris Heard has a post in which he asks what sort of things people would be interested in hearing in a series of short podcasts on the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. My answer would sound something like this "short (5 mins only) somewhat scholarly, but accessible to all, material that helps make sense of the Bible". This is what I try to offer at 5 Minute Bible. Do let me know, or drop a comment on Chris's post, if you think I should focus the material differently.

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Friday, November 30, 2007
  A thinking theologian: reformation now!
Chris-Wright---blueChris Wright, the International Ministries Director of the (John Stott's) Langham Partnership and author of a number of popular and scholarly books on the Old Testament has issued a stirling call for reformation, among Evangelical Christians. The whole article is well, very well, worth reading (and it is short) despite its dull as ditchwater title: Theology Working Group Focuses on Lausanne Core Slogan.

The core of his case is succinctly put:
My big concern is not just that the world church should become more evangelical, but that world evangelicals should become more biblical.
Then since he takes biblical prophecy seriously, he socks it to us:

For there are scandals and abuses in the world-wide evangelical community that are reminiscent of the worst features of the pre-reformation medieval church in Europe.
  • There are some mega leaders, like ancient prelates, wielding vast wealth, power and control – unaccountable, unattractive and unChristlike
  • There are multitudes of ordinary Christians going to so-called evangelical churches, where they never hear the Bible preached or taught. They live in scandalous biblical ignorance.
  • Instead they are offered, in the ‘prosperity gospel’ a form of 21st century indulgences, except that you pay your money not for release from pains after death, but for receipt of material ‘blessings’ here and now.
  • And there are evangelicals parading ungodly alliances with secular power – political, economic and military – identifying themselves (and the gospel they claim to preach) with agendas and ideologies that reflect human empire not the kingdom of God in Christ.
Will we have the courage to identify and renounce such scandals and to seek a reformation of heart, mind and practice?
Read it the full short article!

Discuss it! Send the link to friends, blog it (so Google picks it up) this needs to be heard.

He concludes:

The 16th Century Reformation was criticized because it lacked missionary awareness and energy until much later. They were so obsessed with tackling abuses in the church that they
neglected world mission. How ironic and tragic will it be if 21st Century evangelicals are so obsessed with world mission that we neglect abuses in the church, and remain wilfully blind to our own idolatries and syncretism?
  • If reformation without mission was defective,
  • then mission without reformation will be deluded, self-defeating and even dangerous.
The Lausanne Covenant, like the Bible itself, commits us to the integration of both.

May God grant us the will and humility to respond with equal commitment.

PS I forgot to mention that it was our principal, Paul, who pointed me to this item, he has not blogged (Paul's blog) it himself yet, but I'll be interested to read what he writes as it is likely to be more thoughtful than this knee-jerk jump for joy!

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Monday, October 01, 2007
  Biblical Studies Carnival XXII

Biblioblogger of the month

As Jim reported:

"Alan Bandy was [the] victim subject interviewee for the September Biblioblogger of the Month.

Biblical studies as an international discipline

Jan Pieter van de Giessen emailed me "I think it would be nice giving some attention to nonEnglish Biblical Studies blogs". I thoroughly agree. However, there are some problems. All of us are busy, blogging is relegated to odd moments or the "small hours of the night", and many English-speaking biblical studies bloggers have not had the advantage of living or working much in other languages. Thankfully, Jan Pieter himself, Jim West (as multilingual a polymath as even John Hobbins could wish!) and others have nominated a number of posts.

We should be grateful to them for their nominations mentioned in the "sections" below.

JP proposed a couple of items that I found difficult to place, Jona Lendering writes about Synesius of Cyrene in Eenoprecht onoprechte bekeerling: Synesios van Cyrene (deel 4) and Mark's new (first post 18th) TheologicalGerman/Theologisches Deutsch a site for reading and discussing theological German, with its sister site Celucien's Theological French/Français théologique which is also brand new, and looks to be planning to start from the very beginning - with the "French alphabet"!

Jim also mentions a new Swedish blog Exegetisk Teologi when I looked (25th) it only had one post [Update: sorry, I don't know what happened here, put it down to being overworked and underpaid;-) there are dozens of posts.], Bilder på kung Herodes stenbrott, since this "Kredit till Dr Jim West, som på Biblical studies mailinglista, tipsade om detta", we at least know how the polymath knows of this new blog, though I am not at all sure how he discovered "Little Ho" or his post 駱駝穿過針眼 about the Camel and the eye of a needle! I suspect that humour aside, Little Ho's post on the Local (Christian) Publishing Industry 本地出版業 may be more relevant to this carnival. (NB. beware Google language tools which translated the first post's title as "Camels crossed eye")

Bible in General

Dale has a post on trusting the bible? with some interesting responses to a lecture by Bishop Spong which claimed that"The Bible is not the solution - it's the problem." Meanwhile Mark gave his students a simple test, and as a result laments The state of Bible Knowledge Today! I wonder, looking at his diagnosis framed in terms of failures of the Kiwi churches to engage with the Bible whether US students would actually do anybetter… or has the problem a different cause? (Me, I'm still shocked that anyone in an NT class would still think the book of Elijah was written by Paul ;-0

Meanwhile Matt's Bible Films Blog looks set to become an encyclopedia of Bible-related filmography, with this month among others entries Golgotha - Additional Comments (which are longer than the average blog review)!

Richard had a post that reached from the priestly code to Luke, via the prophets I will gather the lame, the outcasts and the afflicted whose title explains its range!

Hebrew Bible

Susanne really started something (while I was away holidaying in Thailand :) and technically falling outside this carnival's territory - being dated 31st Aug) with her Psalm 68 Part l In this post she inevitably opened up questions about God's name as well as the interesting psalm itself. So then the ball began rolling - with just a little pushing from Lingamish ;) I'll try to list all the posts (but please excuse me if I missed yours, or better still tell me and I will add it):
Susanne: Psalm 68
Part 2

68 Part 3

Lingamish: "This psalm is the most difficult of all psalms to understand and interpret." he must think higher of my capacities than I do, since he then emailed me to get involved in interpreting it ;-)
John at ancient hebrew poetry: When the Face of God Fills the Horizon: Psalm 68:2-4
Bob: Psalm 68
Wayne: Ps 68: Pt. 4: A house full of children

Bob: More on Psalm 68 and Some Commentaries on psalm 68
Susanne: Ps.68: Part 5 The barren woman
Aristotle's Feminist Subject: How Aristotle Reads Psalm 68
Lingamish: Psalm 68: Should we be singing the yucky stuff? and Psalm 68 as a Missionary Prayer
Bob: The precipices in Psalm 68
Susanne: Ps. 68: Part 6: The heavens dripped
Lingamish: How Aristotle Reads Psalm 68
John: Psalm 68:6-7 and the God of Many Names
Iyov: Psalm 68
Aristotle's Feminist Subject:How Aristotle Writes Psalm 68
Susanne: Ps. 68: Part 7: Reflections
The Voice of Stefan: Why Not to Blog on Psalm 68
Aristotle's Feminist Subject: Reflections Around an Embroidered Psalm
Iyov: Traditional Gentile view of Psalm 68
Lingamish: Psalm 68: A threnody for 9/11
Lingamish: Psalm 68: Tag, you’re it
Chris admitted: Psalm 68: coming late to the party

So John at ancient hebrew poetry then attempted to scoop the pool with a series of mega-posts on naming God (all dated 13th Sept), so he must have been saving them up ;-):

At this point Names of God(s) probably should be considered its own thread, with contributions Names of the Gods in Some Epigraphic Hebrew and "Blessed Among the Nations" and other Divine Appellatives from Duane.

Though Ps 68 was far from finished with:
Susanne: Ps. 68: Part 10

Lingamish: Psalm 68: Vassals all
John: The Beautiful Spoils of War: Psalm 68:12-19

Just to prove that Baptists are sturdily independent souls Sean the Baptist is ignoring the crowd and (though an NT scholar) working on Some Notes on Psalm 51 and More on Psalm 51.

Sonntagsblatt Bayern has an interview with Elijah, surely a scoop any tabloid editor would kill for…

The Other Testament

The Other Testament has its own equivalent of the Ps 68 marathon, (it began way back before this month): but Ayrton can perhaps be credited with the first post in the series this month (2nd) Juda e os judeus nos seculos VI-IV AEC Loren followed up with (7th) Jesus Was Neither Jewish Nor Christian, Doug responded quickly (8th) Jews and Judaeans revisted,
April entered the renewed discussion (10th) with first Now Jesus is not Jewish?, then (11th) Jesus
the Israelite?
and (12th) Jew or Christian? and a Link to Elliott's article (which may have started it all!) also Loren Jesus the Israelite: Questions of Anti-Semitism

Several of these posts have really good comments threads, does anyone know why NT people comment more, while OT people write posts in reply more often?!

To prove that conference season continues into September (the middle of the second semester down here) Sean the Baptist reported from the BritishNew Testament Conference 2007

Torrey has a new blog Research Notes on 1 Peter which already has a couple of useful reviews on this often overlooked epistle.

Stephen Carlson notes a useful new blog NT Resources Blog, and also in discussing an article from ETL opens interesting questions about ancient citation practices (Kloppenborg Nixes an Oral Q). Mark (naturally) is disappointed that the discussion focuses on Q (Kloppenborg on Variation in the Reproduction of the Double Tradition) and in doing so plugs his forthcoming SBL paper (a useful double whammy). April, with a sideswipe at Q1, is Rewriting Early Christianity seeking to rehabilitate Acts as a source for the early history of Christianity.

But then, Deirdre asks What did Paul know of Jesus and the Gospels? Judy considered Eyewitnesss accounts and asked at what point a redacted eyewitness ceases to count as an eyewitness account. In this mini-series April also discusses How can we know anything from our texts? (where anything seems defined as "information about events that happened"). Which, read in the light of the Maxi-Min conflict, causes me to realise with renewed force the importance of defining why we read before we start. Personally I am somewhat inclined to take a Jim West like stance of privileging theology over history as a motive for reading.

Is it time we recognised two or three related disciplines of historical/theological/literary biblical studies, rather than pretending we are all doing the same discipline!?

Back in the gospels Zephyr posts on Luke's Trial of Peter around the Fire.

Marco Rotman has a series of posts (in Dutch) on the life of Paul:

Sean in his Tiddlywikis and Bible Information not only makes provocative comments about the presentation of information about/related to Bible texts, but pointed us to Dave's Philemon TidlyWiki commentary. The format and delivery is fun, but I do find it somewhat disconcerting to come across
StyleSheetColors immediately after Theology and Themes in the menu (which is organized as a timeline)!

Scott McKnight finally did it, a mega post Missional Jesus: All of it which gives us all 60post s his Missional Jesus series. Not links, but 39.46 screen yards of post, it makes even some of John's Hebrew Poetry marathons - or this Carnival - look brief ;-)

James provides enough evidence of Jesus' Sense Of Humor to forever dispel Lingamish's Whoa to you who laugh and for those who are finding all this Bible blogging just a tad too tame there is the lively discussion Jerusalem tunnel from 70 CEDan started with his disquisition on Pauline Scatology (and before YOU make any jokes about expecting Eschatology not scatology from DTS Dan did that one himself) and then Doug's post Oh σκύβαλα – sanitising the Bible just inflamed the fire, getting a different pool of suspects involved in the hunt for dirty words in the Bible! But then I discovered the previous post by Michael, the hilariously unsound Top Twenty
Theological Pick-up Lines NOT to use
my particular favourite (one of the few equally inappropriate for any gender) is '12. During communion say, “Can I get you another drink.'


Todd continues to keep us updated on current developments in archaeology in Israel/Palestine, with posts like Mount Zion - New Excavations often enriching the posts with his fine photos. Stefan Green collected virtually every biblioblogging link to the Temple Mount excavations and added comment of his own (in Swedish). There are also what claim to be videos of the destruction with a link to a petition.

Biblische Ausbildung drew my attention to the JerusalemDrainage Tunnel from 70 CE Long running debates were not forgotten, the phrase "brother of" on the "James ossuary"is analysed by Anotonio Lombatti (in Italian).
Herodian quarry, al092407538sr

Todd also offered us a selection of fine photos (from Aubrey Laughlin) of the Jerusalem Quarry as well as a post indicating the location using Google Earth (the image - right - comes from his first post Quarry of Temple Mount Discovered).

Astronomy (or Interdisciplinary studies?)

Jan Pieter has a post on Biblical Women on Venus an unusual blending of astronomy and Bible. (With the possibility of adding feminist studies too into the mix?)


Many biblical scholars also teach, so it is useful to note Danny's announcement of the new improved Deinde Bib. Studies Glossary, a useful link to provide for classes. The tooltip format is neat, but may make it difficult to quote a definition.

Michael Pahl's discussion of some conundrums facing "Conservative" readers of the Bible might be a useful discussion starter.

Mary discussed Free, online theological education with resources from Gordon-Conwell among others, but concludes:

But these are scattered efforts by innovators, not a sustained, collective, FREE, process."

Judy has a nice rant about the elitist failure of biblical scholars to popularise their work. In Making biblical scholarship available to congregational members - a bit of a rant which includes this:

I have reasonably frequently heard it said that telling members of congregations about ‘modern’ biblical scholarship is not appropriate either because they wouldn’t understand or it would destroy their faith. I find this elitist and condescending and have been known to ask whether the person making the statement has understood the scholarship and if so, whether it has destroyed their faith.

BTW the comments thread is well worth following…

Claude in Learn Hebrew points to Learn Hebrew a vocabulary learning site that offers a simpler alternative to דָּבָר : Biblical Hebrew Vocabularies. Basically Learn Hebrew offers premade themed vocabs with a word, gloss and sound file, whileדָּבָר offers the possibility of exporting your own selected words into vocabularies for your students, and a richer collection of semantic information… So many useful tools and sites are becoming available, ironically (though perhaps for related reasons) just at the time when the "owners" of the meta-sites are either ceasing to maintain them (Torrey RPBS-Resource pages - going into sleep?) or casting around for a new model (Mark The Future of the New Testament Gateway).


Readers of the carnival are probably power-users of Bible software, but if you need a place to point your less gifted colleagues BibleandTech offers a roundup: Logos Workspace and BW7 Ben on Thoughts on Antiquity points to The Patrologia Graeca (Migne) in Greek Unicode via PDF (not a BS resource, but one many Biblists may be glad to know about).

Writing and publishing

AKMA in his Writer's Hurdles discusses two such hurdles he faced, the second concerns the search for a good opening, a topic which perhaps deserves more discussion on academic blogs ;-)

Deirdre's thoughts on writing this month include (in Pondering what to publish?) citing a gem from Rachel Toor's The Care and Feeding of the Reader "A good writer, she opines, must enchant the reader".

Charles has a rant about Why Anchor Yale Bible is Bad for Biblical Studies and the General Public which deserves more discussion and thought…

Digital scholarship

One of John's fine review posts discusses Ehud Ben Zvi, the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, and Hypertextuality. While this is purely digital scholarship, another of John's reviews illustrates the usefulness and difference of blog post and "conventional" print-review his "The Book of Psalms"by Robert Alter: First Impressions does not aim (or claim) to be a full review, but offers a quick reflection on a very new work, which may help others with an interest decide whether to order, or how soon to try to read, the work in question. Thus blog and journal can complement each other. Though since John's "first impressions" continue into a series Robert Alter Translates the Psalms: A Review, Robert Alter Translates the Psalms: The Importance of Prosody, James Kugel vs. Robert Alter: The Cage Match of the Centurythe gap is narrowed, this post continues in James Kugel vs. Robert Alter:Round Two, James Kugel vs. Robert Alter on Psalm 51:7-8 Tyler also (on 27th) added his 2c in Alter on the Psalms.

Christopher reviewed Eric Cline's book, From Eden to Exile, Unraveling the Mysteries of the Bible (2007), The National Geographic Society, or at least chapter one of the book - another advantage of blog reviews is the option to offer them as serials, instead of in serials ;-)

[Perhaps we could call this sort of occasional scholarship Two Cent Scholarship and the old fashioned formal kind 100% Scholarship or in the case of Brill $100 Scholarship ;-)]

Jim (West) believes that scholarship is the art of concision (!), and thus praises the notion of The History of Ancient Israel in Ten Pages. Indeed by this standard he himself excels, a 39 word notice of a 800+ page book How to Read the Bible! But it is indeed another book worth noticing!

Charles drew attention to Kugel's argument that the attempt to mix critical study of the Bible with claims that the Bible has an authoritative role in modern life is "Biblical Criticism Lite" - an undesirable project. Charles offered a link to a condensed version of Kugel's thinking and proposes that his claims be discussed. Since the notion is closely related to Avalos' SBL forum piece and book which have generated some blog interest in previous months, perhaps discussion of Kugel's thought on this can help give this issue - surely a vital one for professional Biblical Scholars - another lease of life... John also writes A Review of Chapter Five of Hector Avalos, The End of Biblical Studies I'm doubly biased (firstly I think Jonah is so brilliantly funny and such a well-written work and secondly Avalos approach does not appeal to me) so I enjoyed his paragraph:

That is Avalos’s take on the book of Jonah: “distorted,” “aggravating,” “annoying,” “ugly.” Ironic, I think. The book of Jonah is delightful precisely because it is permeated by a self-deprecating humor that is altogether lacking in Avalos.

Which is perhaps justifiable sarcasm, if Avallos' views are a vitriolic as a line John quotes suggests!

Avalos does not think highly of his fellow biblical scholars. In his “Introduction,” he says that what they have to say is “either bland, ambiguous, or outright fatuous. Since 1982, I have encountered only about a dozen truly memorable papers.”

Jim (Davila) among others posted the SBL email trumpeting the new improvedONLINE CRITICAL PSEUDEPIGRAPHA PROJECT thoughsadly as Joepoints out this useful project is not (yet?) as Mac compatible as one might wish, or the press release suggested, he also offers a substantial REVIEW OF NADIA ABU EL-HAJ, FACTS ON THE GROUND: Archaeological Practice and Terriorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)

Just before the start of this carnival, but not mentioned in the last (modesty?), Duane in Peer Review and Blogging - Discussing and Being Discussed considers the uses of tagging posts about peer-reviewed
articles, and listing citations of blogs in such articles not least as a way of marking the interaction of blogaria and conventional scholarly publishing. (Duane's post was stimulated by The BPR3 Icon Contest has anyone seen Tyler's entry? It is bound to be good!)

Other review posts included: Rod on Con Campbell on Verbal Aspect and Narrative, Jeremy's Nahum Commentaries Zephyr's Recent Letter of James Research and More With Less Recent James Research, Edward (alias Ralph) offers a review of a few paragraphs (which is the sort of detail that good print reviews avoid!) in Halpern and the Beerothites, Rick's series on I also had a few posts on Stanley Porter's
Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament
(the series began in August, just),

And finally, my friends, since we all need help to read right I must draw attention to 5 Tips: How to Read the Bible the RIGHT Way - MY Way these tips could change your life!

The next Biblical Studies Carnival is hosted by John Hobbins at Ancient Hebrew Poetry it will cover October 2007. Please nominate posts John is erudite, prolific and always interesting, but even he cannot read everything!

For more information, please consult the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage.

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