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Archive for July, 2005

Hebrew Bible Related Reviews from RBL

25th July 2005

There are a number of good books relating to Hebrew Bible reviewed in this week’s Review of Biblical Literature. Johnston’s Useless Beauty is a great example of reading contemporary movies alongside a biblical book so as to encourage theological reflection. I am also interested in a couple of the books reviewed as potential textbooks. I have a course on Religions of the ancient Near East under development and Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide may fit the bill. Similarly, for a potential senior course on biblical criticisms, Moyise’s Introduction to Biblical Studies looks pretty good.

Here are the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible reviews as well as a couple more:

  • Joshua A. Berman, Narrative Analogy in the Hebrew Bible: Battle Stories and Their Equivalent Non-battle Narratives. Reviewed by Robin Gallaher Branch
  • Robert K. Johnston, Useless Beauty: Ecclesiastes through the Lens of Contemporary Film. Reviewed by David Shepherd
  • Gerard P. Luttikhuizen, ed., Eve’s Children: The Biblical Stories Retold and Interpreted in Jewish and Christian Traditions. Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas
  • John Rogerson, Genesis 1-11. Reviewed by David Petersen
  • John Rogerson, Theory and Practice in Old Testament Ethics. Reviewed by Stephen Reed
  • André Wénin, Joseph ou l’invention de la fraternité: (Genese 37-50). Reviewed by Walter Vogels
  • Steve Moyise, Introduction to Biblical Studies. Reviewed by Kate Donahoe
  • John F. O’Grady, Men in the Bible: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Reviewed by Philip Davies
  • Sarah Iles Johnston, ed., Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Reviewed by Bill Arnold

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The Bible: A Dangerous Weapon?

24th July 2005

This sad story comes from the Detroit Free Press:

Judge sentences man accused of beating girlfriend with Bible

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A man accused of beating his girlfriend on Halloween with a Bible has been sentenced to 7 years and 11 months to 15 years in prison.

Saginaw County Circuit Judge William A. Crane last week sentenced Charles E. Averill, 46, of Saginaw. Averill had pleaded no contest to charges including assault with intent to commit great bodily harm and carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent.

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Eshel in the Israeli News?

22nd July 2005

I have heard that there was a story in both Yediot Aharonot and Maariv on Friday 22, 2005, that accuses Hanan Eshel of supporting looting by purchasing the Leviticus fragments. As far as I can tell, this story is not in the online editions of these papers or in the online English edition of Yediot Aharonot. While I imagine the story will eventually appear in the English news, if anyone knows of this story and could let me know if it is available online, it would be greatly appreciated.

Alternatively, if you have read the print edition, send me an email and summarize it for me.

Thank you in advance!

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Over 1000 Served…

22nd July 2005

I remember growing up and the McDonald’s would have on their signs, “Over 1 Million Served” or the like. Hmm… when did they stop doing that?

At any rate, I hit the one thousand mark today with my site meter, which I think is kind of neat. I know that is nothing compared to the visits that blogging luminaries like Mark Goodacre at NT Gateway Weblog (he is currently at 2,093,660!), Jim Davila at Paleojudaica (150,865), or Jim West at Biblical Theology Blogspot (87,868) receive, but I think it is not too bad — especially considering that I only added the site meter to my blog two weeks ago (OK, 15 days if you’re picky). If I keep that rate up for the next year I will be at 26,000! Hmm… I have a way to go I guess!

What I find the most fascinating is that people are visiting from all over the world with a variety of different languages. If you are a new visitor, welcome! If you are a repeat visitor, I’m honoured! Thank you for taking your time to browse my blog and my site. Thank you for your feedback and I hope that you continue to find my blog useful, fun, and informative.

Here are some graphs of where my visitors comes from and what their (computer) languages are:

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Septuagint Institute at TWU/ACTS

22nd July 2005

While this has been in the works for a while, a date has just been set to celebrate the inauguration of the Septuagint Institute at Trinity Western University and Associated Canadian Theological Schools (TWU/ACTS). On Saturday, September 17, 2005 there will be a celebration of the formation of the Septuagint Institute at TWU. Two of the world’s foremost authorities on the Septuagint, Professor Emanuel Tov of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Albert Pietersma of the University of Toronto, will speak on the enduring significance of this Bible version and important developments in recent research. The Director of the Septuagint Institute, Professor Robert Hiebert of TWU/ACTS, will also give an illustrated talk.

Here is an excerpt the an announcement I received from Rob Hiebert:

The launch of the Septuagint Institute is a truly historic event, not only for our campus, but also for Canadian and international biblical scholarship. The focus of this new research and information centre, the only one of its kind in North America, will be on the Greek version of Jewish Scripture, which was also the Bible of many early Christians including the authors of the New Testament.

This is truly great news. I, and many others, have been lamenting the slow but steady demise of the Septuagint program at the University of Toronto as they have not replaced John W. Wevers and are not planning on replacing Albert Pietersma. This move is all the more ironic considering the increase of interest in the Septuagint in the last couple of decades. The creation of this Institute will ensure the continued focus on Septuagint studies in Canada for years to come. It is also a bright witness to the legacy of scholars such as Wevers and Pietersma as the Institute’s Director, Robert Hiebert, is a Toronto graduate.

For more information on this important ancient Version of the Hebrew Bible, see my Septuagint section.

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Biblical Plagues coming to a Theatre Near You!

22nd July 2005

The ten biblical plagues (or were there only seven? see Psalms 78 and 105) will be coming to a theatre near you soon! The Reaping is described as a “supernatural tale” about a myth debunker (played by Hilary Swank) who travels to a small, religious town in Texas to investigate occurrences that appear to be the 10 biblical plagues. The film is being produced by Robert Zemeckis and Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment and is set to be released in 2006. (Thanks for the heads up from Peter Chattaway)

For more films based on the Bible, see my Old Testament on Film pages.

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Updated step-By-Step Reconstruction of Leviticus Fragments

22nd July 2005

I have updated my Step-by-Step Reconstruction of the New Leviticus Fragments based on my interview with Professor Hanan Eshel (see here for a preliminary report on my interview). The primary change I made was to incorporate the smaller fragment at the top of the first column of my reconstruction of the larger fragment (In our conversation Eshel confirmed that the fragments belonged to the same manuscript, even though the pictures released to the media were not entirely clear).

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News Flash: Original Hebrew Bible did NOT have Vowels!

21st July 2005

In a ground-breaking and controversial article, Israel Today reported today that the “original Hebrew writings, including the ancient Bible scrolls, did not use vowel points or punctuation.” This amazing news will send shock waves through academia as biblical scholars throughout the world will need to adjust their understanding of the history of the biblical text.

OK, so can someone tell me how is this news and why is it in the “Politics” section of Israel Today? Just wondering…

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Publisher for New Septuagint Commentary Series Announced

21st July 2005

Jim West at Biblical Theology blog has already announced this, though I feel it is worth repeating since my doctoral advisor (Albert Pietersma) is one of the chief editors and I may be involved in the commentary on the Greek Psalter.

I first heard about the partnership with SBL unofficially at Pietersma’s annual Bar-B-Que earlier in the summer; here is the official announcement from SBL:

SBL and IOSCS Announce New LXX Commentary Series

The SBL’s Research and Publications Committee recently approved a proposal from the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) to publish a new series of commentaries on the Septuagint based on the Greek text as articulated in the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS). The Society of Biblical Literature Commentary on the Septuagint (SBLCS), which will be sponsored and developed by the IOSCS, will differ from other Septuagint commentary series by focusing on the translation at its point of origin. That is, the SBLCS will take the Septuagint seriously as a translation in order to attempt to determine what the translator was doing when he was translating.

To that end, commentaries in the SBLCS will adhere to five guiding principles: the original text as the basis for interpretation; the original meaning of the text as the goal of interpretation; the parent text as the primary context for interpretation; the text itself as the only source for determining a translator’s intent; and the wider Greek-language corpus as the sole basis for identifying normal (and abnormal) Greek constructions. In keeping with these five principles, each SBLCS volume will, in addition to addressing standard introductory issues, offer a detailed commentary on individual pericopes, including a summary of a pericope’s contents, discussion of interpretive questions pertaining to the entire passage, bibliography, a critical edition of the Greek text, a Hebrew text, the NETS translation, and a verse-by-verse commentary on the pericope. (For further details on the contents and structure of the commentaries, see here.)

Responsibility for developing the series contents, making commentary assignments, and editing volumes will lie with the IOSCS through its editorial board (see here), while the SBL publications staff will manage the actual publication tasks. The SBL and IOSCS expect the first volume of SBLCS to appear in 2007, with publication of two volumes per year until the series is complete. For further information about the SBLCS, please contact Albert Pietersma (Joint Editor-in Chief), Benjamin G. Wright III (Joint Editor-in Chief), or Bob Buller (SBL Editorial Director).

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The Transporter is Unattended… Scotty Has Beamed Up

20th July 2005

James Doohan, the Canadian actor better known affectionately as “Scotty” from the original Star Trek series, passed away today at the age of 85. While this doesn’t really relate to biblical studies, many may not know that Doohan was also a linguist. He devised the rather Semitic sounding Vulcan and Klingon language dialogue heard in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The real reason I am blogging on this is the sad fact that I am a Trekkie. As a kid I had my Mom make me a red engineering Star Trek uniform just like Scotty’s. I had all the models, including a USS Enterprise with working lights. Even now in my office I have a small Enterprise model and if you look in my drawer you will find Vulcan ears and a working ST:TNG communicator pin.

Here are some pictures, including one from last year’s ceremony when Doohan received his “Walk of Fame” Star.


Who is going to keep the Enterprise together now? “Beam me up, Scotty…”

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