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Archive for April, 2006

Long Time, No Blog…

27th April 2006

Sorry everyone. I’ve been busy with end-of-term grading and other responsibilities and haven’t found the time or energy to blog lately. I am submitting the last of my grades today, so regular blogging should resume shortly!

Posted in Blog News | 2 Comments »

Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne – CSBS Programme (30 May 2006)

17th April 2006

As a member of the Steering Committee of the Ancient Historiography Seminar in the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, I am pleased to report that the programme for our inaugural sessions is now available. Here is a the schedule for this year’s seminar:

Function of Historiography – Hebrew Bible /
La Fonctionne de l’Historiographie – Bible Hébraïque

Tuesday 30 May 2006 – 8:45-12:00 (ACE 002)

Chair / Président: Tyler Williams (Taylor University College)

8:45-9:05 am – Is the Book of Kings Deuteronomistic? And is it a History?
Kurt Noll (Brandon University)

The consensus among biblical scholars is that Kings is a work of history, probably the final instalment of Martin Noth’s Deuteronomistic History. To date, the best two attempts to defend that genre designation are those of John Van Seters and Baruch Halpern. Van Seters compares the Former Prophets to ANE literature, while Halpern stresses rhetorical structures indicating what Halpern calls “antiquarianism” in the text. However, recent researchers on Kings have raised issues that perhaps require a reassessment of the question about genre. On textual grounds, one can argue that Deuteronomy did not influence the earlier stages of composition and that later stages were no longer concerned with “antiquarianism.” This paper will review the debate between Halpern and Van Seters in light of the more recent research, revisit both the comparative argument and the argument based on rhetorical structures in the text, and offer a possible solution to the question of genre in the book of Kings.

9:05-9:15 am – Discussion

9:15-9:35 am – Uses of the Past: The Stories of David and Solomon as Test Cases
John Van Seters (Waterloo, ON)

For the accounts of the reigns of David and Solomon scholars have suggested various layers in the books of Samuel and Kings, some regarded as near-contemporary pieces of historiography and have proposed various functions for the stories: propagandistic, apologetic, antimonarchic, etcetera. In this study I will look at some of these proposals in the light of comparative models and make some suggestions of my own.

9:35-9:45 Discussion

9:45-10:05 am – Sennacherib’s Campaign Against Judah: What Saith the Scriptures?
Paul Evans (Wycliffe College)

This paper won the Founders’ Prize and will be read on Sunday afternoon. It will be summarized at this session.

This paper provides a close reading of the Hezekiah-Sennacherib narrative of 2 Kings 18-19 which, with the aid of a Rhetorical analysis, will: 1) reassess putative sources found in the text (questioning the traditional A and B source delineations); and 2) reveal common misreadings of the biblical text (e.g., that a siege of Jerusalem is referred to and that Sennacherib’s army is said to be defeated outside the walls of Jerusalem). This study will then analyze the implications of these results for the use of this biblical text in historical reconstruction.

10:05-10:15 am – Discussion

10:15-10:30 – Break

10:30-10:50 am – The Chronicler as Elite
Tim Goltz (McGill University)

Noam Chomsky is credited with the observation, “The Internet is an elite organization; most of the population of the world has never even made a phone call.” If the “eliteness” of communities is, in part, measured by their ability to effectively communicate their message, the model of the Internet elite demonstrates a truism of human societies; that the majority of recorded communication is representative of relatively few individuals who tend to wield a disproportionate amount of power. In Western societies which communicate so freely and cheaply, it is sometimes difficult to imagine ancient societies where significant literary agency was limited to so very few people. As a member of the Yehudite elite, the Chronicler was one of those few. Most likely supported by the Jerusalem Temple, he wrote a revisionist account of the history of “Israel” which has been retained as the book(s) of Chronicles. Employing a unique comparative theory from the emerging discipline of elite studies within the humanities, this paper seeks to address the issue of what the term “elite” means in terms of the ancient Yehudite literati. Widely used but rarely dissected, the paper is also an appeal for biblical scholars to more critically engage the implications of term “elite” as applied to socio-historical reconstructions of ancient Israel, and, indeed, to related ANE cultures.

10:50-11:00 – Discussion

11:00-11:20 am – Tyler Williams (Taylor University College)
The Function of Historiography: A Synthesis and Response to Kurt Noll, John Van Seters, Paul Evans, and Tim Goltz

11:20-12:00 am – Discussion

Function of Historiography – Classics, Intertestamental Literature, and the Gospels / La Fonctionne de l’Historiographie – Les Littératures Classiques et Intertestamentaire, et les Évangiles

Tuesday 30 May 2006 – 1:30-14:30 pm (ACE 002)

Chair / Président: Todd Penner (Austin College)

1:30-1:50 pm – Dilys Patterson (Concordia University)
Once Upon a Time: Women as Leaders in Historiography and the Ancient Novel

In antiquity it was rare for a woman to be in a leadership role. Leadership typically meant having authority over men and participating in the male dominated public sphere, which, according to the cultural values of the day, was not the proper place for women. Nevertheless, women do figure sporadically in historiography and are central characters in Jewish novels. The Book of Judith, for instance, not only situates itself in Israel’s past but also demonstrates a solid appreciation of Israel’s history. Both historiography and the ancient novel therefore draw on the past to create meaning. This paper examines the anomalous position of female leadership and the use of this type of leadership to create meaning in three historiographies, The Histories by Herodotus, The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities by Flavius Josephus, and the Jewish novel, Judith.

1:50-2:00 pm – Discussion

2:00-2:20 pm – Craig A. Evans (Acadia Divinity College)
Gospel Historiography and Biblical Epic

The four New Testament evangelists present the “history of Jesus” in distinctive ways. Their writing strategies place them in the general context of other Jewish writers of late antiquity, such as Josephus who writes an apologetical historical treatise, or Philo the epic poet, Orphica, Ezekiel the Tragedian, or a variety of other Jewish poets who imitated Greek style in their respective efforts to retell various parts of Israel’s sacred story or what we might regard in a certain sense “Biblical Epic.” The New Testament Gospels represent examples of the creative ways that Jews and persons caught up in the story of Israel attempted to retell sacred history in the genres and forms current in their day, including the forms found in Scripture itself. Although the strategies of the respective evangelists vary, their gospels are rooted in and linked to Scripture in important ways and so represent efforts to tell Israel’s story, centered on the figure of Jesus the Messiah.

2:20-2:30 pm – Discussion

2:30-2:50 pm – Sean Adams (McMaster Divinity College)
Ancient Greek Historiography and its Methodology: How Does Luke Relate?

2:50-3:00 pm – Discussion

3:00-3:15 pm – Break

3:15-3:35 pm – Eve-Marie Becker (Oberassistentin Institut für Neues Testament)
The Gospel of Mark in context of ancient historiography

My paper will expound on the approach of my “Habilitationsschrift” which will be published in Tübingen (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament) in 2006: Das Markus-Evangelium im Rahmen antiker Historiographie. This approach is firstly historical and secondly methodological: ad 1: The Gospel of Mark seems to be the first record of early Christian writing, which has put the story of Jesus in a chronological and narrative order. Which specific historical circumstances have made the narrativization of the Jesus-story necessary? Reasons for that could probably be found in the events of the first Jewish revolt and the destruction of the Second Temple (70 A.D.). Is there any textual evidence within Mark’s Gospel for these historical events? and 2: The way Mark uses traditions and sources can be compared to the techniques of ancient historiographical writers. In this perspective, historiography can be defined as a narrativization of at least partially historical traditions. The discussion about the Gospel’s genre (biographical literature?) is – in that sense – has to be resumed once again.

3:35-3:45 pm – Discussion

3:45-4:30 – Discussion

This looks like an exciting session. I will be updating the Ancient Historiography Seminar Website in the next few days. I will let you know when everything is uploaded.

Posted in Academic Associations, Ancient Historiography Seminar, CSBS, History of Ancient Israel | 1 Comment »

Congratulations to James K. Aitken!

17th April 2006

JAitken.jpgFinally! I have a winner! My 41,000th visitor is none other than Dr. Jim K. Aitken, Teaching Fellow in Hebrew and Aramaic at University of Cambridge. He is a specialist in Second Temple Judaism, Septuagint, and Greek and Hebrew Lexicography. His doctorate was on Ben Sira and he has been involved in the “Greek Bible in the Graeco-Roman World� project and the Semantics of Ancient Hebrew Database Project. Talk about an über-lexicographer! His personal web page is filled a lot of interesting stuff on lexicography, Septuagint, and more. I strongly encourage you to peruse his site!

I believe I met Jim at the Toronoto SBL meeting when I was with a common friend and fellow Septuaginalist Tim McLay.

In terms of a prize, Jim has requested a copy of the revised edition of Moisés Silva‘s Biblical Words and their Meanings (Revised & Expanded edition; Zondervan, 1995), and I am more than happy to fulfill that request! (I’m just glad that other Jim didn’t win — West would have wanted some esoteric — and expensive — book on some dead Swiss guy called Zwingli!)

Congratulations Jim! (So, when are you going to start your blog?)

Posted in Blog News, Milestones & Visitor Recognition | 1 Comment »

Easter, Grace, and U2

16th April 2006

I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep ship. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity. I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says, “Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions.” The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled. It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

- Bono (Michka Assayas, Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas [New York: Riverhead, 2005] 204).

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It’s a name for a girl
It’s also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she’s got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

All That You Can`t Leave Behind (2000)

Posted in Easter, Holidays, U2 | Comments Off

41,000 Please Step Forward…

12th April 2006

Now perhaps we will have a winner… the 41,000 visitor to my blog is from Cambridge, England. The individual visited Codex at 9:51:25 am (my time), 4:51:25 pm (Cambridge time). If you think you are that person, please email me at codex [at] biblical-studies [dot] ca and provide me some information about your ISP, computer, and browser.

If I don’t hear anything in 24 hours, then the winner will be 41,001, etc., until I have a winner.

Then I can get back to some regular biblical studies blogging! (Actually the reason I haven’t blogged much in the last few days is that my wife is on the other side of the world and I am single parenting — as well as the typical end-of-semester grading push)

Posted in Blog News, Milestones & Visitor Recognition | 4 Comments »

I Really Want to Give Away a Book! 41,000th Visitor will Win!

12th April 2006

OK, I have officially given up on visitor number 40, 444! So, visitor number 41,000 will win. It should happen today (Wednesday 12 April 2006) sometime, so if you are reading this, who knows, you may be the winner!

Posted in Blog News, Milestones & Visitor Recognition | 2 Comments »

Visitor 40,444, Who Are You?

9th April 2006


Today (Sunday 9 April 2006) at 6:17 pm Edmonton time, my 40,444th visitor visited Codex Blogspot. The reader was from Glendale, Arizona. If you think it was you, then email me at codex [at] biblical-studies [dot] com and let me know your IPS and your computer and monitor and we’ll discuss your book prize!

Posted in Blog News, Milestones & Visitor Recognition | 7 Comments »

One Year Blogiversary

8th April 2006

One year ago today at 3:38 pm I published my first blog post. I’m not sure why I started a blog. One of my former students and friend Ken Ristau had mentioned his blog and I had looked at it on occasion, but it was more of an impulsive move that led me to create Codex Blogspot a year ago today.

In the year I have made some 335 posts (not quite once a day) on subjects ranging from Dead Sea Scrolls to ancient toilets, Jesus junk to inscriptions, Hebrew language to Hebrew tattoos. Since 7 July 1005 (when I added a site meter), I have had more than 40,000 visitors; my average for the last six months is around 200 visitors per day.

I have to say that I have very much enjoyed the blogging experience. I have enjoyed the camaraderie between bloggers and the relationships I have developed with others.

In honour of my blogiversary, I think I will put together a “Best of Codex” post to highlight what I think some of my best posts have been. So stay tuned.

I look forward to see what the next year will bring.

Thank you for taking the time to visit!

Posted in Blog News, Milestones & Visitor Recognition | 6 Comments »

D’oh! 40,000th Visitor is Lost! New Contest for 40, 444th Visitor.

8th April 2006

D’OH! I am so sorry!

OK, let me explain. My wife left yesterday to go to Indonesia for business (she works in international adoptions), so I am single-parenting it for a week. As it turns out, I didn’t have a chance to check my blog statistics yesterday, and guess what? I missed identifying who my 40,000th visitor was!

Today when I checked I was already at 40,200+ and my basic Site Meter account only provides details for the last 100 visitors. I even upgraded to a pay Site Meter account thinking that I may be able to gain access to past visitors — but unless I am missing something, it can’t be done.

What this all means is that I am not able to award a free book to my 40, 000th visitor. I am very sorry. So, instead, I will award the 40,444th visitor. As I write this the visit count is 40,219. That means that by Monday there will be a winner, so stay tuned.

Again, apologies to (un)lucky number 40,000!

Posted in Blog News, Milestones & Visitor Recognition | 1 Comment »

“Tell-A-Friend about Codex” Contest Winner

4th April 2006

I apologize that I didn’t get around to announcing this earlier (I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said I would announce the winner on my actual birthday! I ended up being a bit busy!), but I have picked a winner in my “Tell-A-Friend about Codex” Contest.

The way the contest worked is that all you needed to do is either email a friend about Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot and tell them to visit or post a similar note on your blog, and then let me know about it by carbon copying me the email. The contest closed on my birthday (April 1st). To pick the winner, I wrote down all the submissions on a piece of paper and picked one out of a hat (actually it was a tupperware bowl). Well, enough with the preliminaries… the winner is…

Scott Bailey

As it turns out, Scott, is a student at Taylor University College just entering his second year of studies. He is a bright student with all the makings of a good biblical scholar, so I am delighted to award him a book in the area of biblical studies or Hebrew language.

Now, just in case some skeptical souls in the blogosphere think the fix was in (especially considering the shadow of doubt on my integrity lingering as a backlash to my perfectly excecuted April Fool’s Day joke! :-) ), let me assure you that the draw was done above board. Scott had the advantage of having more than one entry because he emailed (spammed?) quite a few people about the contest. Either way, it saves me shipping charges, so I am happy!

40,000th Visitor Contest

While one contest is now over, don’t forget about my 40,000th Visitor Contest. As I have done in the past with my 10,000th visitor (see here), whoever happens to be my 40,000th visitor will also be a winner! There is not much you can do but visit here often and perhaps even read something! Once I have hit the 40,000 mark, I will blog the time and location of the lucky visitor and then they can contact me via email and verify with their IP address.

If I have done my math right, I shoud reach the 40,000 mark within the next few days. To be fair, I have changed my site meter icon so that no one knows how close lucky number 40,000 is.

Posted in Blog News, Milestones & Visitor Recognition | 2 Comments »