4th February 2006
Welcome to the second Biblical Studies Carnival! Whether you want to call them biblioblogs or just blogs, what is certain is that Biblical Studies is alive and well in the blogosphere. From cuneiform to creation, the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Devil, forgeries to lost books, and rapture to resurrection, there is something to interest everyone in this month’s Carnival.
Since the last Biblical Studies carnival in April 2005 (hosted by Joel Ng at Ebla Logs), there have been numerous excellent posts covering a wide range of topics related to the discipline of biblical studies. These have included individual posts, series, memes, as well as multi-participant series. Please note that the posts highlighted in this Carnival only represents a small sampling of posts in biblical studies since the first Carnival. Feel free to explore some of the biblical studies related blogs noted in my navigation bar to the left or check out Biblioblogs.com for a comprehensive blogroll.
Biblical Studies Carnival II – Legacy Posts
There have been a number of great posts on various topics since the first Biblical Studies Carnival back in April 2005, including a number of noteworthy series. (Scroll down if you want to go to the January 2006 Biblical Studies Carnival entries).
A number of the more significant archaeological finds in 2005 received good coverage among biblical studies blogs.
In July 2005, Hanan Eshel of Bar Ilan University in Israel announced the discovery a fragmentary “Dead Sea Scroll” containing portions of the book of Leviticus. Tyler Williams at Codex provided “A Step-by-Step Reconstruction of the New Leviticus Fragments.” This post included enhancement of images of the fragments and a reconstruction of the original scroll; much of what you would find in a preliminary publication of such fragments (For an index of posts relating to the Leviticus Scroll, go here).
Another significant archaeological discovery in 2005 was Eilat Mazar’s uncovering of a large public structure — claimed to be King David’s palace — at her City of David dig. Paul Nikkel at Deinde just so happened to pop by Eilat Mazar’s City of David dig before heading back to the UK to start the academic year. His post, “Photos of Mazar’s City of David Excavation” brings together a series of excellent hi-resolution photographs of the structure. (The “Yehukal seal” also discovered at the site received some coverage among biblio bloggers; see here for a summary of posts).
Old Testament/Hebrew Bible
With the recent controversy over teaching intelligent design in public schools in the United States, interest in the interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis is perhaps at an all time high. Chris Heard, over at Higgaion, provides a number of biblical reasons that answer the question, “Why I Am Not a Creationist.”
If you have ever wondered about when David first met King Saul, you will want to read Jeremy Pierce‘s post on “Chronology in I Samuel 16:1-18:5.” While most understand these chapters to be either contradictory or not in chronological order, the Parableman considers another option to understanding this biblical crux interpretum.
Last fall there was a flurry of posts surrounding historiographic issues in biblical studies. The debate revolved around questions of method as well as particular artefacts like the Tel Dan Stele and the Merneptah Stele. While I will not attempt to detail all of the posts (this is especially difficult now that Jim West’s former blog, Biblical Theology, is sadly no longer extant), some representative posts are noted below.
One of the primary voices in the debate was Joe Cathey, the Texan behind Dr. Cathey’s Blog. His post “Tel Dan – A Response” is representative of a series of posts on the Tel Dan Stele specifically and historiographic issues generally.
Kevin Edgecomb also weighed in on the interpretation of the Tel Dan Stele, particularly looking at the phrase “House of…” in reference to territories and their associated rulers in inscriptions in his posts “‘House of David’ and BYTDWD” and “Further on ‘House of…’ Usage” and “Further on BÄ«t-PN usage.” These posts bring together a wealth of evidence on this construction.
Chris Heard of Higgaion entered the debate with an outstanding summary of the online discussion as well as his own comments with his post “Ah, Merneptah!.” This post is an excellent appraisal of the significance of the Merneptah stele for reconstructing the history of Israel.
(See here for an attempt to track the overall minimalism/maximalism debate)
Finally, if you ever stayed awake at night pondering the difference between “Deuteronomic,” “Deuteronomistic,” and “Urdeuteronomium” (as I have), then you will want to take special note of Joe Cathey‘s superb post, “Deuteronomy/Deuteronomistic History.” In this post, Joe provides some clarity to the discussion and clears some paths through the forest of confusing terminology and neologisms. My personal favourite is “deuteronom(ist)ic” since it covers all the bases!
Philip Harland at the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean blog has produced a massive four-month 22-part series on the New Testament Apocrypha. In this series, Phil summarizes and provides some critical engagement with various texts within early Christian apocrypha — texts that include everything from a potty-mouthed Jesus who didn’t play well with others to Isaiah as a heavenly tour-guide.
The book of Tobit was the focus of a blog entry by Ed Cook over at Ralph the Sacred River. His post, “A Lost Scrap of Tobit from the Schoyen Collection,” provides an excellent transcription, translation, and some commentary on the hitherto unpublished scrap of 4Q196, a papyrus copy of the Aramaic version of the book of Tobit.
Starting October 2005, Stephen Carlson over at Hypotyposeis produced a three-part series seriously attempts to come to terms with what constituted forgery in the ancient world. The posts are as follows: The Seriousness of Forgery in Antiquity; Toward an Understanding of â€œForgeryâ€?: Metzger; and Toward an Understanding of â€œForgeryâ€?: Speyer.
Initially prompted by a post by Michael Pahl, Jim Davila of Paleojudaica fame asked, “out of all the lost documents related to early Christianity — those mentioned by early Christians but no longer extant, those for which we have fragments or quotations but not whole manuscripts — which would I most wish to be discovered?” Jim answered his own question with a post outlining his “Wish List of Lost Books.” He also write a follow-up post entitled ““More Lost Books.” Not only do Jim’s post bring together an impressive list of lost books, he also provides a wealth of links to similar lists by other bloggers. Now if only we could actually find some of these works!
New Testament/Early Christianity
Steven Harris at Theology and Biblical Studies deals ably with the contentious issue of the Apostle Paul’s attitude to women in the church in his post “Silent women in the church?.” Steven looks specifically at 1 Corinthians 14 and explores whether the text itself is corrupted, and if not, whether Paul’s directives in this passage are meant for all believers at all times, or whether they are specifically related to cultural issues being faced by the church at Corinth. He concludes that the directives are not absolute, but are meant to put a stop to disruptive behaviour in the service that may hinder the building up of the congregation in love.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, what is more appropriate that to remind ourselves about the nature love? Rick Brannan at ricoblog guided us through 1 Corinthians 13 in a series of three posts: “Noisy Gongs And Clanging Cymbals,” “So Then What Is Love?” and “The Greatest Of These Is Love.”
One of the more provocative posts of the new year was Loren Rosson’s “Dangerous Idea” meme. Inspired by a list of ideas contributed by leading scientists to The Edge magazine, Loren Rosson III over at The Busybody ushered a call to other bloggers to come up with their own “Dangerous Ideas in Biblical Studies.” Loren provided five “dangerous ideas” in the field of biblical studies — ideas which may well be true (or have arguably valid reasons for being true) but many people would prefer they not be true — in his original post. He then brought together “A Dozen Dangerous Ideas” based on his own ranking of the “dangerous ideas” submitted by other bloggers.
Another provocative, downright devilish series of posts that span the field of biblical studies as well as popular culture is Phil Harland‘s History of Satan series. These posts at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean deal with the development of the character of Satan throughout literary history. While the series was introduced in late 2005 with his first post (Satan 1), subsequent posts were in January and may be accessed here.
Old Testament/Hebrew Bible/Cognate Literature
Appropriate biblical nomenclature was the topic of a post entitled “Old Testament/First Testament/Hebrew Bible/Tanak: What’s in a Name? Quite a Bit Actually!” by Tyler Williams at Codex.
Kevin Wilson of Karamat fame has produced a couple posts on a “biblical” worldview, the first of which was posted in December 2005 (“A Biblical Worldview (Part I)” while the follow-up post was uploaded in January 2006 suitably titled as “A Biblical Worldview (Part II).” These posts explore the worldviews found in the Hebrew Bible and the possibility of constructing a worldview shaped by an encounter with the biblical text and actualized within the community or individual reading the text.
Duane Smith, who has many Abnormal Interests (I love the name of his blog!), has an excellent series of posts on the short cuneiform alphabetic texts from Ugarit, the most recent posted in the middle of January, “The Cuneiform Short Alphabet: Part 7” where he works through KTU 6.1: A Inscription on a Knife from Tabor Valley, Wadi Bire. Each post provides an English translation as well as a summary interpretation of the text under investigation. In addition, a more detailed study of the texts is available in PDF format for free download. Now you have no excuse not to brush up on your Ugaritic!
New Testament/Early Christianity
In the discipline of New Testament studies Ben Myers at Faith and Theology provided readers with an insightful post on Rudolf Bultmann’s interpretation of Jesus’ resurrection in “Bultmann on the Resurrection.” Ben argues that while Bultmannâ€™s interpretation of Jesus’ resurrection is often criticised, there is much to appreciate in his view, such as his correlations between Jesus’ death and resurrection and faith and resurrection, as well as his emphasis on the eschatological character of the resurrection.
Michael Bird has posted an email interview with Dr. Stanley Porter over at Evangelical Textual Criticism blog. In the post, “Stanley Porter, the Book of Acts, and Textual Criticism,” Mike explores Porter’s views of textual criticism in relation to the commentary on the Acts of the Apostles he is working on for the NIGTC series. One line of thought that I found especially interesting is Porter’s criticism of the tendency among NT scholars towards eclectic textual reconstructions as exemplified in NA27 or UBS4 compared to the emphasis on diplomatic texts in the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.
Rick Brannan has been busy with work on 1Timothy. On his PastoralEpistles.com blog he offers us a detailed analysis of 1 Timothy 4:10 in his post “Especially the Believers: 1Ti 4.10.” Then over at ricoblog, Rick highlights the different nuances a simple conjunction like “and” or Greek ÎºÎ±á½¶ can have in his post “Mmmmmmmm… Conjunctions…” (If you think the flexibility of English or Greek conjunctions are impressive, compare them with the amazing versatility of the Hebrew conjunction ×• “vav“).
Inclusive translation theory is the focus of Stephen Carlson‘s post “On Translation of “Brothers and Sisters” over at hypotyposeis. In particular, Stephen discusses the TNIV translation of á¼€Î´ÎµÎ»Ï†Î¿á½·, “brothers,” as “brothers and sisters” and argues that a better translation would discard the familial metaphor altogether and use a more appropriate dynamic equivalent such as fellow member, member, associate, compatriot, or neighbour.
Upcoming Biblical Studies Carnivals
Biblical Studies Carnival III will be hosted by Rick Brannan at ricoblog in the first week of March, 2006. Look for a call for submissions and nominations on his blog soon.
Submissions (which should be blog entries posted in February 2006) for the next Biblical Studies Carnival may be emailed to biblical_studies_carnival [AT] hotmail.com or entered via the submission form provided by Blog Carnival here.
For information about the Biblical Studies Carnival please consult the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage.