Tuesday, November 10, 2009
  Jesus as fulfilment of Scripture: Slavery and Spanking
Photo by lucyfrench123
This second of my recast podcasts continues thinking about Jesus as "fulfilment" of the Scriptures, by examininging at one topic that's been agreed universally by the Church universal for decades, and another that, in NZ where a bill whose detractors claimed would criminalise parents spanking children, was in the daily headlines when I recorded the 'cast.

You can download it here.

I'm working with this material again for a possible short series in Daystar an NZ Evangelical monthly, which will be republishing my piece on families in the Bible in their December issue.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009
  How does Jesus "fulfill" Scripture
One of the difficult issues for many of my students is the notion of Jesus fulfilling Scripture. The only way they can think of "fulfilment" in this context seems to be predictions and their fulfilment. This means that they have to understand much of the Old Testament as making a series of predictions that would have been total gobbledegook to their first hearers or readers (even assuming that the Holy Spirit had explained enough to the "prophet" so that they could make head or tail of them). This Nostradamus view of prophecy is widespread among Christians. Yet I think it is nonsense.

So, here is the first of two audio posts discussing what it might mean for Jesus to "fulfil" Scripture:

What DOES "fulfil" mean?

PS this post is the first of several over the next few weeks while I will be either or both extremely busy or travelling in which I will repost here things that were first put on my 5 Minute Bible podcast if you first saw them there I apologise for cross-posting after all this time.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009
  Ethics and "Christian" Publishing: Case of Thomas Nelson
On my 5 Minute Bible podcast a recent post "Ruth is from Moab, but Boaz is from Bethlehem" attracted an anonymous commenter, who failed to interact with the audio, or the text material in the post, but did advertise a commercial audio Bible published by Thomas Nelson. (I am not linking to them here as I find this practice of comment spamming despicable and have no intention of promoting the company as a result.)

I am writing to ask in general if you are aware of any other dubious ethical practices used by this publisher, and in particular if anyone else has seen examples of comment spam from them?

For the record if the person who wrote the comment, even had they chosen to hide behind anonymity, had interacted with my material or other comments in some way I would NOT have deleted the comment. As it is I intend to cease recommending any works audio or print published by Nelson to students and churches if a viable alternative exists from a more ethical publisher.

Addendum: [in case you do not rerad the comments] this comment is posted below, in fairness to Thomas Nelson I am copying it here so that you can read it with my post:

Michael Hyatt left a comment:

I am the CEO of Thomas Nelson. We do not encourage or promote comment spam. Like you, I hate it. I spend more time than I would like deleting it from my own blog.

If you have an IP address or other information from the person who commented, I will be happy to take the appropriate action.
Blogger, unlike WordPress :( does not seem to collect (or at least does not offer bloggers a chance to see) the IP addresses of commenters, and this one was "Annonymous" but I am glad to hear that such behaviour is not approved, though puzzled since another biblical studies blogger has had similar experiences advertising your company's products. I do NOT object to anyone linking to your product pages, IF they are relevant and add something to the discussion.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009
  Biblical studies podcasts
Chris Heard has begun a podcast series that specialises in Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) topics at first I was unable to check it out as he only published it to iTunes now it is also available for non-proprietary download. Sounds good, I am looking forward to episode two of "God and Someone Else" looking forward since Chris smartly ends with a cliff hanger ;)

Chris thus joins the existing biblical studies podcast series (the order is chronological, since style, audience and frequency offer interesting variety):
Do try them, you'll like (at the very least some of) them!

Incidentally (but appropriately) our PodBible daily podcasts of the Bible itself from various amateur readers precedes all of these biblical studies 'casts :)

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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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Tuesday, July 21, 2009
  Biblical studies podcasting
I've just had an interesting "chat" with Mark G about Biblical Studies podcasting. Some of the conversation (we used MSN, if we had only used Skype I could have recorded it, but ironically we used plain text ;) was technical stuff that would only be of interest to others doing podcasts, but there were two nuggets that deserve wider thought:
KQED Radio - Michael Krasny's studio by David Sifry
  • a joint biblical studies podcast, maybe of two sorts:
    • a virtual common-room, where a few of us chat about some topic
    • a more prepared edited 'cast where different people speak briefly and then perhaps respond to what another has said (getting the interactivity but allowing a more considered approach)
  • maybe using a Facebook page to encourage wider interaction with our podcasts - we each said that while we appreciated the way voice adds a richness, nuances like tone distinguish sarcasm from more gentle wry humour, we missed the interaction with an audience that other media like live talks or blogs provide
I'm convinced that both ideas are worth following up. But, at the start of a new semester, am also too busy to remember ;) so this post is (a) a "reminder to self" and (b) a call for comments - what do you think of the ideas and (c) a call for expressions of interest, would you be interested in participating in such a recorded conversation?

On the technical details:
  • we thought of using Talkshoe so participants could phone in and would not need recording gear themselves
  • we also thought of getting someone to act as host and ask questions / guide the conversation
So, what is needed:
  1. a topic: needs to encourage different points of view, probably to work well needs to allow different personalities to 'come through" (audio rather than text medium) needs to be potentially interesting to a wider audience
  2. a host: needs to be willing to refrain from expressing their own opinion!
  3. some speakers
  4. an editor: to take the recording and cut the fluff (remove the worst ums and errs, or where the participants make asides like "is this too loud?") - I'd be happy to do that.
This post has mainly been about the joint podcast idea, but I do not want to forget the Facebook idea either... this would be a page where podcasts by bibliobloggers or others who open serious biblical studies to a wider audience would be listed and so get mentioned on the profiles of the page's members and perhaps encourage a bit more interaction...

Dramatis Personae:

Mark (as well as being the biblical studies Blogfather) has started an excellent NT focused podcast series NT Pod and for a couple of years I've been doing an occasional 5 Minute Bible podcast (basically Hebrew Bible focused but occasionally trespassing - nearly 40 'casts so far).

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Friday, July 17, 2009
  PodBible podcasts the last chapter
Today PodBible podcast the last chapter to complete the whole Bible! Fittingly the chapter was also a whole book - Philemon. After nearly four years of work, starting with 300+ volunteers reading the whole Bible live over Labour Weekend in 2005, and continuing with teams who brainstormed ideas for "something to Think about, Pray about and Do" for each daily chapter the podcast series (of the 66 books of the Protestant canon) is complete.

The daily chapters will continue to be podcast, but the whole Bible is now available to download chapter-by-chapter. Work has begun on two new delivery projects to develop PodBible further.

First packaging chapters to make 60 minute collections (book by book) so that people can download these "Bible60" collections to put on CDs, tapes or their car radios to listen to longer swathes of Scripture (with no TPDs added).

Then making the daily podcasts available in AMR format (much smaller files than MP3files) for download to mobile phone...

By the way, if providing Bible readings to more than a thousand people a day sounds worthwhile to you maybe you could help by taking a share of the regular tasks needed to run the podcasts, with a little training we can provide, anyone who is moderately computer literate could do what is needed in less than an hour a week... write to Tim to get more details...

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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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Thursday, November 20, 2008
  Audio epistolatory novel
Perhaps the biggest, and certainly the most complex, Librivox project I've been involved in is finished!

It took 400 days, involved about 20 different readers "playing" the various characters whose reminiscences and letters make up the story, in which different characters versions of events are told alongside each other.

The Woman in White was written by Wilkie Collins in 1859, is the first mystery novel, (which may make it attractive to Barbara who reads whodunits. The Woman in White is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of ’sensation novels’. Many people know it through the musical adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2004. It has al,so been filmed by the BBC, a Rusian company and Holywood...

Oh yes, and you can listen, or download from the Internet Archive, or Librivox.

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Monday, October 20, 2008
  PodBible promo
Having seen David's promo video I've been playing with Animoto. Since in email conversation with David we determined that I have an unusually short attention span here first is the quiet slow version...

To put this video on your webpage or blog use this code:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

The photos are all from Flickr with CC licenses, here are the credits:

Photos by freecultureNYU, biblicone, kretyen, Edward B.,, terren in Virginia, Alan Joyce, liewcf, GeoWombats, Wonderlane, knowhimonline, the bright and morning star, nexus6

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Sunday, June 15, 2008
  Smaller lighter audio Bibles
On FutureBible David introduces us to a (to me) new file format AMR: An alternative to mp3, I have tried it, using the conversion tool David points to, and it works, a 1.11MB MP3 (at 32kbps) becomes a 266KB AMR (at 6.7 MR) which sounds "nearly" as good though a bit "quieter".

This could be great news for projects like (making the PodBible audio Bible podcasts available to mobile phone users).

However, I have two questions you might be able to answer for me:
  1. What mobile phones can or can't play AMR files? So if you have a phone can you try downloading this AMR file and seeing if it plays, and report the make, model and result below, please!
  2. What exactly are the licensing issues with AMR there is a link on the Wikipedia site to an VoiceAge legal page, but I go cross-eyed trying to find out what that means for ordinary non-commercial users. Any comments on that would be helpful too!

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Monday, March 17, 2008
  SBL International Bloggers
In a comment on the post below Why I (usually) blog - and why I am not blogging (here) much this year Stephen asks:
Tim, do you know if there will be any SBL Biblioblogger gathering at the SBL international meeting in July?
Oh, yes Stephen, there will, the hereby announced, but as yet undated (since it was your comment that reminded me of the need to get something organised ;) Great, First Ever?, SBL International Bloggerfest. International (and indeed national, of any and all nationalities) bloggers with an interest in academic study of the Bible and/or Theology in any other of its (subsidiary? ;) forms are invited to share a meal and chat. All you will have to do is get yourself to Auckland at the time of the International SBL meeting this July. If anyone has a suitable microphone system we'll also tag on a meeting of the International Society for Theological Podcasting (and related disciplines) and do a podcast... Minor details like exact date, and location (our house, or some suitable eating house in walking distance of the conference...) to follow. But please (and seriously, folks) book the concept, and once it is announced book the date too!

PS: If you plan to be in Auckland in July and are potentially interested, please indicate this in a comment below, and say if there are particularly bad or good times for you. This may help plan the event!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
  I made the list of great and famous preachers
Kingdom Living has made a list of about 70 Christian Sermon Links. It starts with an Theologian, Alister McGrath, and includes Wolfhart Pannenburg (the list is not restricted merely to the living as Karl Barth gets in) and includes a numberof great and famous Biblical Scholars, like Ben Witherington III, Craig Blomberg, D. A. Carson, James Dunn, N.T. Wright and Walter Brueggemann. It also includes Evangelical heroes like Eugene Peterson, John Stott, Marva Dawn (so it is not quite a male only zone ;) Ravi Zacharias, Tony Campolo, a selection of worthies from the Wheaton College Chapel and Will Willimon.

But also among the top seventy preachers of the current age lists Tim Bulkeley.

So, in the spirit of the occasion I'd like to thank my mummy and daddy, my hair dresser (there is only one - hair that is, though actually Barbara has been the only one in the other sense for years now)... actually I'll stop this acceptance speech before it gets out of hand. But seriously, folks: Thank you, Kingdom Living!

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Thursday, December 06, 2007
  Advent Podcasts
[devo.bmp]Stephen posted a link to an Advent podcast, from people he has taught. Devo-to-Go offers short devotional talks based on advent readings each just a few verses long.

They are a bit longer than my 5 Minute Bible podcasts, and as well as the "sermon" each day also features a link to the source of the music clips they have used.

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Monday, October 29, 2007
  Posting audio to a blog
Phil (of Narrative and Ontology) asked below how I post the audio files to my 5 Minute Bible blog. The answer is that I fudge it. Blogger does not make audio easy and I didn't have time to learn Wordpress, or money to use a paying service (like Evoca) so I use a free Flash MP3 player (I forget which one I used, but the JW MP3 Player) looks fine. I also use podifier to create an RSS feed that is compatible with iTunes as well as the feed that Blogger makes for me.

If it wasn't for RSS feeds and blogging software, on an "ordinary" website, like my Children's stories I just use the MP3 with an M3U textfile to stream the MP3 directly!

I'm sure there are easier ways... so why not tell me, and Phil in the comments, you might make both our lives easier ;-)

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Friday, June 08, 2007
  A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated
When recording (for Librivox) a review article of Oscar Wilde's, I found myself both delighting in his cleverness, and detesting his brutality. So I also recorded his "A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated" as an antidote to his cruel, devastating, if funny, wit in the review. The "maxims" recording has now been "published" as part of a Short Story collection (whose editor was generous and willing to include such a non-story orphan). Listening to it again I suspect I may post, over the next few days, about how a few of them relate to the interests of this blog...

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Thursday, June 07, 2007
  Babbling on...
In a (typically thought-provoking) post "Babel as theme in bioethics" Stephen replied (in passing) to my request below (Getting ideas for Biblical Studies Podcasts) for requests. So now, at last, I've posted (the first part of) my response... isn't that a lot of brackets! It's called "Babbling about Babel"

By the way (I just got pinged for using BTW in an email, so for the rest of the day I'm typing it in full ;-) here are a couple of the pictures I refer to (in passing) in that 'cast:

The Leaning Tower of Babel
by Joanna Hastings Jan 18-21 2001 [link now dead]
(Advertisement for a play)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007
  Getting ideas for Biblical Studies Podcasts
I've now prepared about fifteen 5 Minute Bible podcasts and have begun to get a feel for the medium and its strengths and weaknesses, also I am discovering (slowly) the ways I have to change my thinking patterns to adapt to this format and medium. I've just posted one that came from teaching the Hebrew group: "Biblical Narrative: Fraught with Background: Genesis 24". Most of the 'casts so far have developed out of things we have done in class. Which leaves me with a problem over the next few weeks. My last classes this semester are on Thursday - then that source of ideas will dry up till July. So, if anyone has any suggestions for 'casts or for getting ideas for such short focused slots about the Bible do let me know!

I must also find a better way of indexing them so that I can be more likely to remember or find them when one would be useful for students... So for example if you have a small topic that you think your students could do with a short different voice (in more ways than one ;-) explaining add it to my wish list and who knows you could have a new targeted resource!

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Saturday, May 19, 2007
  Biblical Studies and its "market"
The students in BSTHEO316 "Biblical Texts in Context" that I am teaching with Prof Wainwright are asked to keep a reading blog, and to comment on each others'. One of the students, Ryan Pellett (who gave me permission to quote him here) wrote this as part of his reply to a post about:

Sugirtharajah, R.S. "Scripture, Scholarship, Empire: Putting the Discipline in Its Place." Expository Times 117, no. 1 (2005): 2-11.
It seems to me and this is just a generalisation that theologians have some amazing insights into the Bible their work is so wordy and unreadable or widely unavailable that it’s only read by other academics. Its also seems that half the time of a theologian is spent taking small and not so small pot shots at other theologians.

Before I started this course I had never heard of any of the people we now study, and I would say it would be the same for most of you in the class. Unless you actively seek to know more, as we have done by studying theology, you never come across all this insightful work which brings me to my point.

What is the goal of a theology and theologians?

Is it to win the battle of popularity and bragging rights by publishing more books, however unreadable by the average person, and proving more of your pears ideas wrong then they can prove of yours?

Or is it to disseminate their insights to the church community as a whole so that we can benefit from their work. I know which one it should be but since I have never seen or heard of them in the 20 years I have spent at various churches I would have to say it’s the former which is a shame.

Is theological dissemination going to be left to people like us who take what we learn from the masters and spread it ourselves to those in our churches?
A large part of the problem, Ryan, is that the academic systems in which we operate either do not give us credit for writing "popular" works, or only give us small credit. So, the recent "Performance Based Research Funding" exercise in NZ which grades lecturers seems to give more credit for the more esoteric publications, and little or no credit for writing aimed at ordinary readers. Such writing does not count as research, but there is no other grading system in which such work does gain brownie points!

As a result of the way these systems discourage "popularisation", good biblical studies scholarship is seldom communicated in places that non-specialists read. Except by a few scholars, some of whom deliberately write books that will communicate to non-specialists. These scholars usually do not have stellar careers - they are most often employed by church-based theological colleges (seminaries), and so tend to be more conservative.

However, the way in which generations of pastors have failed to communicate much of what they studied has also led to a huge gulf between (almost) any sort of academically rigorous biblical studies and the way the Bible is read and used in church.

In Conservative churches, where the Bible is still regarded as the (or a very important) authority, the way in which scholars cite Bible passages to support points they are making has been understood as prooftexting. Most people in churches who seek to follow "the Bible's teaching" believe that one or two Bible verses can be read alone and mean something! Then add the approach to Scripture (largely driven by 20th century American Christian fundamentalists) that sees it as all of a piece, dictated word for word by God, and something like a makers manual for a car. By now you have effectively killed the Bible and turned it merely into a convenient cudgel to be used for beating your opponents to pulp.

In "Liberal" churches the situation is, if anything, worse. The Bible is seen as a merely human book, that it ceases to hold much authority at all, and is at best a source of some carefully selected or Bowdlerised stories to tell to Sunday School children (of whom there are very few left to listen). The resulting Politically Correct censored Bible has little of value to say, for its message is merely be good people and be nice to each other!

Now, after my moan, the good news! Thanks to the Internet it is easier today to get hold of good, stimulating, intelligent material about the Bible than ever before. There are dozens, perhaps now hundreds, of blogs written by biblical scholars. Many of them, like those listed in the side bar of this blog, and those they list in turn, present a good level of scholarship in ways that are easy to read. Soon there will be a wave of bibliopodcasts (or whatever we come to call audio files presented by biblical scholars). For now there are few, and most are not regular bite sized chunks, but solid meaty lectures. However do try guiding people to hear Amy Jill Levine of Vanderbilt Divinity School talking about Jesus and Women. Then they'll be begging you for tickets to her Auckland lecture!

And if that's too long for them, send them to hear my latest experiment 5 Minute Bible podcasts. They attempt to break complex ideas about studying the Bible seriously into short "bites".

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
  Podcasting: rich and pure
If anyone still needs convincing that "podcasting" has a place in education (or if they enjoy fine Scot's accents!) try Stephen Walsh's interview with Donald Clark from UFI. He describes the unique blend of "high bitrate" (you can hear emotion, stress, accent...) and purity (there are no distracting images, context etc....) of an mp3 delivery of content. Plus it is fun to listen to two enthusiasts chat!

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Friday, April 13, 2007
  Evoca: "audio blog" not merely podcast
I mentioned a few days ago that I was trying out Evoca, a new tool for audio blogging. I have called it "audio blogging" rather than "podcasting" for two reasons, which I think between them (but especially the second) make an audio blog very different from a podcast:
  • Podcasts tend to be more like radio broadcasts with often interviews, intro music etc. while Evoca is brilliant in allowing the sort of comment on something I have seen or read rather like a blog post but audio not mere text.
  • Evoca allows audio comments, most existing podcasts do not.
The browser based microphone in Evoca is a brilliant idea, make it a Firefox plugin like Performancing (sorry, now called ScribeFire but still a great aid to bloggers), and I'd be hooked. I am really keen to get more audio comments - see sidebar for the tool. I'd love to hear what some of you I have not met face to face sound like!

Playing with Evoca has convinced me of the utility and fun of such "audio blogging".

But, the cost of getting enough storage to host an audio blog at Evoca is too high for me (US$5/month = 60 per year, for which I'd expect far more hosting features). So, if I do start a parallel SansAudioBlog ;-) or whatever better name I actually think up, I'll need to host the comments only on Evoca, or find another tool to record visitors remarks, and host the posts as "normal" podcasts, probably using Podifier to make and upload them. Actually, since Evoca seems to have no way for me to attach comments to posts (except using their full price service) I need means for that too...

Hey someone Blogger or Wordpress or some new one-person-band how about it? A blog engine that produces RSS for Podcasts with audio comments and a cool browser mic like Evoca's... now that could fly!

(I thought for a minute that the PodPress addin for Wordpress might be it, but as far as I can see it does not permit audio comments. MyChingo does but with a clumsy Java applet and then with similar cost problems to Evoca.)
A voice comment from the President!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

SBL Podcast (info box) ::

A bunch of the bloggers at SBL got together and made a podcast Bibliobloggers @ SBL. We just sat and chatted, and despite our fears we did not run silent as soon as the mics were switched on. At times it sounds more Marx Brothers than Biblical Scholars on a Plane, but conversation included blogging and blogging tools, as well as current research and publications and of course Hebrew Tattoos.

The Firefox blogging plugin some of us plugged is Performancing, neat and cool, as we said it allows you to press F8 and then to drag and drop, type and edit your post live in the bottom of ther FF window as you surf. Then when you have finished (and I now have) just click to publish...

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PodBible makes the GodCast top 100

Currently PodBible is in the GodCast top 100 Christian podcasts when I looked we were at no 23 !

This is really exciting, as such exposure will increase the number of people using the daily podcasts of either a chapter of the Bible or a "chunk" that will let people hear the whole Bible in a year.

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