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Archive for March, 2006

Thank you for your prayers for Tim!

27th March 2006

Great news this morning!

Tim Bauslaugh has been discharged from University of Alberta hospital as of 10:45 am this morning. Tim is staying in Edmonton for a couple days and then will be going back to Washington State. Subject to how he is feeling, Tim is even planning on coming to chapel this Thursday (March 30) to express his thanks and offer a song of praise to the Lord.

God is gracious!


Posted in Personal | 1 Comment »

Giveaways Galore!

26th March 2006

In a previous post (One Year Blogiversary & 40,000th Visitor Contests), I highlighted some contests I am holding as my 40th birthday, 40,000 visitor, and one year blogiversary are all fast approaching (one week from today I will be 40! Wow!).

While my visitors per day average has gone up, I’m not sure if I will make 40,000 by April 1st. While I have received quite a few entries to my “Tell-a-Friend about Codex” contest, the more the merrier! Here are the rules about how to enter:

  • Email a friend about Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot – whether about the blog in general or about a particular post that you liked — and tell them to visit. The email should say something about my blog (â€?It’s the greatist thing since sliced breadâ€?) and include the url to the blog (http://biblical-studies.ca/blog). Here’s the catch: you need to CC me the email at “contest[at]biblical-studies[dot]ca.â€? The cc’d email will constitute your entry. (Remember to CC me or I won’t know you entered.)
  • Then after 12 noon on my 40th birthday (April 1, 2006, MST), I’ll pick an email completely at random from the cc’d emails sent to the above address and, presto, that individual will be the lucky winner. (Don’t worry, these emails will only be used to pick and contact a winner of this contest. I promise.)

So get those emails going! And remember to tell them to visit us here at Codex! Feel free to email as many friends/enemies as you want or have — multiple entries are more than welcome! (BTW: email lists will only count as one person!)

In addition, a post on your blog with a trackback or a link back to this entry or this blog will also constitute one entry. All you need to do is email me at at “contest[at]biblical-studies[dot]ca� and let me know about the post.

In addition, the 40,000th visitor to my blog will also win!

Gee… I sure am generous in my old age! :-)

Posted in Emergent | Comments Off

Blog Design and Monitor Resolutions

26th March 2006

I received a comment from a reader about having trouble reading my blog due to pictures getting in the way of the text. I assume this is due to my new blog design that includes a sidebar on both sides of the text as well as his or her monitor size and resolution.

I knew the new design would be better viewed with 17′ monitors with higher resolutions, but I figured it would affect few readers. While the vast majority of my readers use monitors with resolutions of at least 1024 x 768, there are still 12-13% who are viewing the blog on monitors with resolutions of 800 x 600. If you are one of those individuals, please let me know how the blog looks and whether viewing it is a problem with the new design. I will seek to rectify the problem as soon as possible.

Any and all comments are welcome!

Posted in Blog News, Personal | 2 Comments »

UPDATE: Prayer Request for Taylor Student

23rd March 2006

UPDATE: Thursday 23 March: Things are looking up for Tim. The pneumonia is clearing up and Tim is even sitting up. They hope he will move to a new room outside of the ICU today. All of this is good news, but please keep praying for the recovery, the family, and a clear understanding of what really happened to Tim.

The family thanks everyone for their prayers. Please continue to pray for Tim and his family.

Original Posts

Tuesday 21 March. I visited Tim in the hospital today and he is doing much better. He was responsive and had a firm grip. He has developed pneumonia, though it appears to be a mild case.

Some good news came today in that the doctors do not think there will be any longterm consequences. They have pretty much ruled out that Tim had a seizure yesterday. They believe that his blood preassure spiked due to the pneumonia.

His sister Debra (who was one of my students a couple years ago; She was a great student and has been accepted into a master’s program in Christian history at Weaton College for the fall) and younger brother are now in Edmonton.

Monday 20 March 10:37 am: Please continue to pray for Tim. There has been some setbacks. There was a slight mishap last night and Tim aspirated some food into his lungs. Due to this he has been placed back on the ventilator and there is some concern of pneumonia at this time. They will be sedating Tim more to help with the ventilator and to be able to possibly deal with the pneumonia.

Please pray for Tim and the whole Bauslaugh Family.

Saturday 18 March: For those of you who are praying people, I would like to request prayers for one of our students at Taylor University College. The student, Tim Bauslaugh, collapsed while playing football with friends at Taylor on Friday afternoon, 18 March. He was rushed to the University of Alberta Hospital and after some tests they determined that he had spontaneous bleeding of the brain. They did an angiogram today and while it appears the bleeding has stopped, there are still concerns about complications and rammifications due to the initial trauma.

Updates on his condition may be found here

So, if you can, please pray for Tim. He is a young man in his last year of a BA program in Religion & Theology with his life ahead of him.


Posted in Personal | 9 Comments »

50th Anniversary Collection of De Mille’s The Ten Commandments

19th March 2006

DeMille_10Commandments.jpgParamount Home Video is releasing a special 50th anniversary collection that includes both of Cecil B. DeMille‘s films about Moses and the exodus from Egypt (Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com). The main attraction is a new transfer of the 1956 classic biblical epic, The Ten Commandments. This special release also includes, for the first time on DVD, DeMille’s 1923 black and white film The Ten Commandments. The special edition will be released on 21 March 2006.

This special release of the classic biblical epic includes a bunch of extras, including a six-part, 37-minute “making of” documentary, hand-tinted footage of the Exodus and Parting of the Red Sea Sequence from the 1923 version, and commentary by Katherine Orrison, author of Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic, The Ten Commandments (Vestal Press, 1999; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com) on both the 1956 and 1923 versions.

All in all this looks like a great edition. For a detailed review of the release, check out DVD Times here.

For a complete listing of films based on the Hebrew Bible, please see my Old Testament on Film pages.


Posted in Bible & Film, Exodus, Film, OT Film Epics | Comments Off

Knoppers et al on Kalimi’s An Ancient Israelite Historian: Studies in the Chronicler

17th March 2006

The latest edition of the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures has an article edited by Gary N. Knoppers with contributions by Ehud Ben Zvi, Robert L. Hubbard, Jr., Gary N. Knoppers, Ralph W. Klein, Mark A. Throntveit with a response by Isaac Kalimi, entitled, “Chronicles and the Chronicler: A Response to I. Kalimi, An Ancient Israelite Historian: Studies in the Chronicler, his Time, Place and Writing,” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 6/2 (2006).

This article began at a session of the Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah section of last year’s SBL devoted to Isaac Kalimi, An Ancient Israelite Historian: Studies in the Chronicler, His Time, Place, and Writing (Studia Semitica Neerlandica, 46; Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2005). After an introduction by Knoppers, each author presents an expanded review of Kalimi’s book, and then Kalimi responds.

While I am not going to repeat the contents of the article here, one criticism that a number of the authors noted was Kalimi’s characterization of the Chronicler as an ancient historian and the book of Chronicles as historiography. While most of the authors appear to be fine with classifying Chronicles as ancient historiography, they don’t like some of the implications that Kalimi draws from this assertion. First, when Kalimi calls the Chronicler a “historian” he means by implication that he isn’t a “midrashist” or a “theologian.” While I would agree that the Chronicler is a historian, I would characterize him as a theological historian who at times employs midrashic techniques.

Second, Kalimi appears to imply that because the Chronicler is a historian, this should influence our assessment of the reliability of the information contained within Chronicles and the book’s usefulness as a historical source for the history of monarchic Israel. Again, while I would agree with Kalimi’s characterization that the genre of Chronicles is ancient historiography, that does not mean that the book is necessarily reliable as a modern historical source. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that Chronicles can’t be used to reconstruct this history of monarchic Israel or Persian Yehud. What I am saying is that Chronicles is an ancient history book and that the Chronicler has very different standards for writing history and very different literary and historiographic techniques than modern historians — and these differences have to be taken into consideration when evaluating the reliability of his accounts. In this regard, I quite liked Mark Throntveit’s comments:

Three of the designations (Exegete, Theologian, and Historian), at least in Kalimi’s critique of those who have proposed them as characterizing the Chronicler, are rather modern ideological constructs. The Chronicler was neither what we understand a modern exegete, theologian, or historian to be any more than he was a Democrat, Republican, or Green Party member. Proposing modern vocational conceptions as characteristic of the Chronicler’s work or activity seems to me to be akin to asking the question, “What would Jesus drive?� interesting, thought-provoking, edifying, perhaps, but essentially conjectural.

In his very thorough response, Kalimi further nuances his understanding of Chronicles as historiography in a way that I think would satisfy most scholars. At any rate, I encourage you to take a gander at this article — it’ll be well worth your time. In addition, I encourage you to pick up Kalimi’s work. He is one of the major scholars studying the book of Chronicles today.


Posted in Chronicles, Historiography, History of Ancient Israel, Reviews & Notices | 2 Comments »

The iMac does Windows!

17th March 2006

Macworld reports that hacker have an Intel-based iMac up and running with Windows XP. Here is an excerpt:

Yesterday was a milestone day for the Mac. A pair of enterprising hackers got Windows XP to boot on an Intel-based Mac, and won almost $14,000 for their troubles.We at Macworld sacrificed one of our iMacs and joined forces with PC World to see this first-hand. And indeed, thanks to the hard work of PC World’s Danny Allen, we’ve got a working Windows iMac.

If you’re wondering how this new system works, there’s a massive amount of detail floating around the Web. But the short, less technical version is this: there’s some clever software that makes EFI, the Intel iMac’s equivalent of a PC’s BIOS, act like BIOS. Once that’s installed, you can boot off of a modified Windows XP installation CD-Rom and install Windows as normal. (You’ll need to wipe your hard drive and create two partitions, one for Mac and one for Windows, first.)

Once the installation is done, the dual-boot Mac behaves just like a Mac when in OS X mode. But when you restart the system, OS X doesn’t automatically reboot. Instead, a colorful Apple logo appears on the Mac’s gray boot-up screen. Pressing the up- and down-arrow keys toggles between that logo and a colorful Windows XP logo. Once you’ve chosen which operating system to boot into, press return: you’ll either see the dark-gray silhouetted Apple logo, or an equivalent dark-gray silhouetted Windows logo. And then a normal boot cycle will commence.

Mac users are Mac users because they love the Mac. But some of us, from time to time, need to run Windows — usually for a small collection of programs that aren’t Mac compatible. For anyone who has the need to boot into Windows from time to time, this is great news — because it means that we can stop buying PCs altogether, and just keep an extra partition handy on our Macs.

All I can say is nifty!


Posted in Macintosh | 2 Comments »

The Perfect Pint

17th March 2006

guinness.jpgHappy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honour of this day, I thought I would introduce you to what I consider the “perfect pint.” And, no, I am not talking about the green beer which is popular on this day, since what I consider the perfect pint is too dark to be coloured!

Of course, I am talking about Guinness Draught beer. And while these instructions about pouring the perfect pint are adequate, they miss one key step: when you pour the pint, you have to pour it such so that a four leaf clover impression is left in the head of the beer. I know one bartender in Edmonton who can do this. This, in my opinion, is truly the perfect pint!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(If you do have a drink today, please drink responsibly! And do NOT drink and drive!)


Posted in Guinness, Holidays, St. Patrick's Day | 8 Comments »

King Saul on the Silver Screen: An Early Film about Saul and David

16th March 2006

I recently bought on eBay a DVD with a silent film from the early 1900s about Saul and David. The amateur DVD is entitled, “Early Religious Films” and besides the film on Saul and David, it includes two other early Jesus films. Matt Page over at Bible Film Blog purchased the same DVD and has blogged on the two Jesus films here and here, and the Saul and David film here. As Matt noted in his blog entries, identifying these films is a bit challenging. The distributor who made the DVD from old reels doesn’t have any further information on the films included. In particular, a major problem with the Saul and David film is trying to determine whether or not it is one film or two. Matt thinks what is on the DVD is actually two films, a film called “David and Saul” and another film called “The Death of Saul.” Matt’s summary of this film is excellent and I encourage you to read it. I thought I would offer my own slightly different take on this early film about Saul and David.

Identification

According to my research, in the early 1900s there were four films made that focused particularly on the reign of Saul, the first king of Israel, and his stormy relationship with David. My primary sources for this information are:

  • Richard Abel, The Ciné Goes to Town: French Cinema 1896-1914 (University of California Press, 1994; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com)
  • Richard H. Campbell and Michael R. Pitts, The Bible on Film: A Checklist, 1897-1980 (Scarecrow Press, 1981; out of print)
  • Jon Solomon, The Ancient World in the Cinema (Revised & Expand edition; Yale University Press, 2001; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com)

As I piece the various lists together, there are four early films on Saul and David. In chronological order they are:

  • Saul and David. This early American film was directed by J. Stuart Blackton with the scenario written by Madison C. Peters. Produced and distributed by Vitagraph in 1909. [Noted in Campbell and Pitts, 3; Solomon, 5, 166; IMDb]
  • Saul and David [Saül et David]. A French film produced and directed by Léon Gaumont in 1911. [Noted as "lost to the ages" in Campbell and Pitts, 5; Solomon, 7]
  • David and Saul [David et Saül]. Produced by the French studio Pathé-Frères and distributed by their export office C.G.P.C. in 1912. Campbell and Pitts has this film listed as “Saul and David” while IMDb has it as “David and Saul.” In addition IMDb notes this film was directed by André (Henri) Andréani and dates it to 1911. This identification is plausible since Andréani directed many of Pathé-Frères biblical films in this period; the earlier date likely represents its actual production date, while the later date is its American distribution. [Noted in Campbell and Pitts, 5; Solomon, 7; IMDb]
  • The Death of Saul [La Mort de Saül]. This French film was directed by André (Henri) Andréani with the scenario written by Eugène Creissel with Louis Ravet playing Saul. It was produced by Pathé-Frères in June 1912, while its American distribution date is typically listed as 1913. 12 minutes long. [Noted in Abel, 319; Solomon, 7, 141; and IMDb]

The challenge with identifying the film on the DVD is that, based on the intertitles, it appears to be two films spliced together. The first three intertitles include the title “David and Saul” in small print at the top of the frame; then there is a full-frame intertitle introducing “The Death of Saul” while the rest of the intertitles in film have “The Death of Saul” in small print at the top. In addition, while there is remarkable consistency between the two sections in regards to costuming and it appears Louis Ravet plays Saul in both parts, the actor playing Saul’s son Jonathan is different between the two sections.

Matt Page identifies the first part with the 1911/12 film “David and Saul” and the second part with the 1912/13 film “The Death of Saul.” This identification is more than likely correct, since both films are by the same studio. From the discussion in Abel (which is based on the version of the film in the Library of Congress archives), however, it is clear that the “Death of Saul” on the DVD does not include its original beginning. Perhaps that is why excerpts from “Saul and David” were included at the beginning.

What should be clear from this discussion is that figuring out the early history of Bible related films is challenging to say the least!

Analysis

The origin of the film aside, the version that I have consists of two main sections, Saul and David and the Death of Saul. Here is my breakdown and discussion of the two parts (my divisions are based primarily on the intertitles):

David and Saul

This part of the film may be divided into three sections based on the intertitles. It’s camera work is pretty basic, consisting of almost exclusively of stationary longshots.

David-and-Saul_Michal_Given.jpgDavid, conqueror of the Philistines, asks Saul to Keep his Promise [to give his daughter Michal in marriage]
This section is based on 1Sam 18:27 and has David returning from battle, being greeted by a portly Jonathan, and being given Michal in marriage by Saul.

David-and-Saul-Sauls-Jealo.jpgJealous of David’s Popularity, Anger Invades Saul’s Heart.
This section consists of five scenes. The first has Saul in his palace looking out at the crowds who are evidently praising David’s military prowess (inspired by 1Sam 18:7). The second scene, based on 1Samuel 19 (cf. 19:1, 17), shows a confrontation between Saul and a group consisting of Michal, Jonathan, and some others. Saul is evidently asking for the whereabouts of David, but he leaves none the smarter. The third scene shows a dejected looking David and his motley crew of followers at the cave of Adullam (1Sam 22:1-2). Note that Matt Page identifies this scene as “David feigns madness whilst in hiding” based on 1 Sam 21:10-15. The problem with this identification is that the setting is does not appear to be Achish and David doesn’t look too insane (at least he’s not scratching marks on gates or drooling). The fourth scene is very roughly based on 1Sam 22:6-18. It has Saul going to the sanctuary at Nob and confronting Ahimelech the priest about David’s whereabouts (I say only roughly, since in the biblical account the priests are brought to Saul). Ahimelech refuses and is then killed by a nasty looking Doeg the Edomite. The fifth and final scene of this section has Saul and his guard leaving in search of David.

David-and-Saul_David-Hiding.jpgFatigued, Saul Seeks Repose in the Cave where David was Hidden.
This third and final section appears to be cut off prematurely. It is made up of two brief scenes based on 1Sam 24:1-3 (not 1 Sam 23:24-28 as Matt Page suggests). The first has Saul and his guard coming to a cave in the wilderness of En-gedi and Saul going into the cave to relieve himself (for more on the euphemisms used in this passage see my post here). The second scene shows David and his followers within the cave hiding themselves from the approaching Saul.

The Death of Saul

The second part of the film is, as Matt noted, of a higher quality and shows more innovation in camera work. It includes a pan shot as well as some ambitious outside action shots. It consists of seven parts of various lengths.

Saul Decides that the Priests and Other Inhabitants of the City shall be Slain.
This scene somewhat accurately represents the story in 1Sam 22:11-19 where Saul (in his palace) decides to kill Ahimelech and put the entire city to the sword. Interestingly, Abel, in his discussion of the film, mistakenly identifies the besieged city as Keilah (1Samuel 23). This is quite unlikely, especially considering Saul gave up his expedition against Keilah once he heard that David had fled the city.

Jonathan Endeavors to Avert the Massacre.
This section is quite long and involved, consisting of at least seven different scenes. The first two scenes of Jonathan fleeing the palace and warning Ahimelech of the coming massacre does not appear to be inspired by any biblical passage. The next scene has the priest going out and praying for the inhabitants of the city. Then the fourth scene shifts to Saul and his guard leaving the palace. The next three scenes has Saul and his army entering the city of Nob and burning it and putting it to the sword. These scenes employ some of Pathé’s patented special effects of red smoke and small explosions. The final scene of this section shows Saul receiving a written message just leaving the city. The message, which is signed by David, is presented on an intertitle. It says, “O King, know thou that the Philistines have gathered together to do battle with us. May the God of Israel protect us.” This may be based on 1Sam 23:27, though one cannot be sure.

Death-of-Saul_Saul_rallies_.jpgSaul Seeks the Witch of Endor.
This section consists of two scenes based on 1Sam 28:3-8. The first has Saul encamped at Gilboa in fear of the Philistines who are assembled against Israel at Shunem. While the second has Saul leaving camp with two men to inquire of the medium at Endor since the Lord did not answer him. This second scene includes a primitive pan shot as the three men are walking towards Endor.

Death-of-Saul-Samuel-Appear.jpgThe Witch Evokes the Spirit of Samuel.
This section, taken from 1Sam 28:8-25, begins with a scene with Saul and the two men coming to the cave where the witch lives and then there is an interesting close-up bridge shot of Saul going down the narrow tunnel to the cave entrance alone. The scene where the disguised Saul asks the witch to consult Samuel has some interesting camera shots. Samuel appears on the cave wall with a flaming special effect and fade in shot and then later disappears with a straight cut. Samuel’s message to Saul, paraphrased from 1Sam 28:18-19, is included on an intertitle. Interestingly, the next three sections of the film are introduced by intertitles including excerpts of this message.

Seath-of-Saul-Philistines.jpgThy Armies Shall be Delivered unto the Hands of the Philistines.
This section starts with Saul returning to the Israelite encampment, cuts to an amazing scene of the Philistine army rushing the Israelites, and ends with Saul and his army rushing out to meet them.

Thy Sons shall Perish. This brief scene includes a son of Saul coming back from battle and dying in Saul’s arms (if this is Jonathan, then it is a different actor from the first film as noted above), Saul lamenting and then falling on his sword.

Death-of-Saul.jpgThey Sword shall Avenge the God of Israel.
This final scene shows Saul dying — with, of course, the sword handle appropriately protruding from his belly!

Final Thoughts

There are a number of noteworthy things about this early film. First, as perhaps is clear from the various departures from the biblical storyline, that even in the early days of cinema films were interpretations of the biblical story. The scenario writer and director crafted their story with liberty to modify the biblical version as they thought appropriate. Second, what the film chose to focus on is interesting. The attention given to the massacre of the city of Nob and the visit with the witch of Endor likely stem from a number of things, including the simple desire to show off some of the special effects. Finally, I have to concur with Matt Page when he notes, “the most successful biblical films have been those that use less familiar material to challenge our pre-conceptions, or are at least more concerned with trying to explore their protagonist’s motives.” In this regard, I found this film to be quite intriguing.

For a complete listing of films based on the Hebrew Bible, please see my Old Testament on Film pages.


Posted in 1Samuel, Bible & Film, Film, OT Film Epics, Silent Films | 1 Comment »

Jonah’s “Big Fish” Story 2: Resources for the Study of the Book of Jonah

15th March 2006

There are a number of excellent resources for the study of the book of Jonah. While this post is by no means exhastive, I have tried to highlight the primary resources. Feel free to add your own opinions in the comments.

Hebrew Helps

For those just learning Hebrew, there are a number of aids to help you work through the Hebrew text of the book of Jonah (For more general Hebrew aids, please see my “Mastering Biblical Hebrew” pages). There are three resources that facilitate the rapid reading of biblical texts (I have included links to PDF excerpts with the book of Jonah as examples).

The Old Testament Parsing Guide parses and provides an English gloss for every verb in order of their occurrence in the biblical text, while A Reader’s Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament provides an English gloss (from BDB) for words that occur less than fifty times in sequence of chapter and verse. The most comprehensive work of this kind is the Analytical Key to the Old Testament. This four volume work parses, translates, and provides a cross-reference to BDB for all forms (verbs, nouns, particles, etc.) as they occur in the biblical text.

Another handy aid for translating the book of Jonah is

  • Norm Mundhenk, Eugene A. Nida, Brynmor F. Price, A Handbook on the Books of Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (UBS Helps for Translators; United Bible Societies, 1993). Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com

Commentaries

Jonah-Sasson.jpgThere are many excellent commentaries on the book of Jonah. These are written from a variety of different theological and ideological perspectives for audiences of different levels (for a discussion of the theological perspective and intended audience of some of the main series, see here).

Jonah-Allen.jpgThe critical commentaries by Limburg, Sasson, and Simon, and Wolff all have their strengths, though if you had to only choose one I would highly recommend Sasson. I have worked through Sasson again and have come to appreciate his careful eye for detail as well as his sober exegetical judgment. In addition, his commentary is a wealth of information of how Jonah “Big Fish” story grew with its retelling. Limburg is good, albeit brief.

There are a number of good comentaries that are based on sound scholarship yet offer theological depth and insight. These would include Achtemeier, Allen, Bruckner, Roop, Stuart, and Trible. My pick for top pastoral commentary, however, is Allen’s work in NICOT, primarily for his balancing of scholarship and theological reflection. In this regard, Trible is a close runner-up. Good commentaries for a popular audience include Bruckner, Baker et al, and Nixon.

(See my “Old Testament Commentary Survey” for more information on these and other commentaries).

Monographs

There are many interesting monographs on the book of Jonah. Most of these are more academic, though Trible‘s work is an accessible guide to rhetorical criticism that uses the book of Jonah as an extended example. On a more scholarly level, I recommend all of the other works. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the work of fellow Edmontonian, Ehud Ben Zvi. His collection of essays is well worth a read.

Next in the series, we’ll look at Jonah chapter 1. Stay tuned.


Posted in Commentary Survey, Jonah, Jonah's "Big Fish" Story, Old Testament | 4 Comments »