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Archive for September, 2006

How The Lord of The Rings Should Have Ended

28th September 2006

For your Friday Thursday entertainment: [I was getting ahead of myself]

How The Lord of The Rings should have ended…

Posted in Humour, Popular Culture | 1 Comment »

Jesus Sighted on Dog’s Derrière

26th September 2006

OK, this is too much! One of the most recent Jesus sightings is on the backside of a three-year-old terrier mix named Angus MacDougall.

Click here to see for yourself.

(HT Bits & Pieces)

Posted in Humour, Jesus Sighting, Popular Culture | 2 Comments »

Old Testament Baby Names Are Now Popular

26th September 2006

An article in the Times Colonist (part of highlights the current popularity of Old Testament baby names. This trend is also seen among the rich and famous — at least if recent celebrity baby names count. Take, for instance, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt and Moses Paltrow-Martin (see my previous comments on Shiloh as a baby name here).

According to the British Columbia article,

In B.C., six of the top 10 names for boys in 2005 had Hebraic roots. It’s a fact that Victoria Rabbi Meir Kaplan finds “fascinating,” even if he’s not convinced the parents had much awareness of their historic significance.

The Top 10 boys names in B.C. include Ethan at No. 1 (292) Joshua at No. 2 (265 plus 13 Joshes), Matthew No. 3 (241), Jacob at No. 4 (222 plus 56 Jakes and 33 Jakobs), Nathan at No. 5 (206 plus 15 Nates) and Noah at No. 10 (179).

Other popular boys’ names of Hebrew origin are Daniel (174) Benjamin (172), Samuel (142), Zachary (116) and Adam (101). Calebs, Isaacs and Elijahs also abounded. Even Soloman got the nod in 13 families.

For B.C. girls, Old Testament names accounted for two in the Top 10 list collected by B.C. Vital Stats. Hannah placed fourth (189 plus 19 Hannas) and Sarah landed at No. 7 (160 plus 64 Saras).

I’m glad to see that Isaac isn’t too popular (that’s my son’s name — and we were not trying to be trendy or popular!).

Some names from the Old Testament that I would dare someone to use include Nabal (“fool”; see 1 Sam 25:3), Ish-bosheth (“man of shame”; see 2 Sam 2:10), Maher-shalal-hash-baz (“swift is the booty, speedy is the prey”; see Isa 8:3), Shear-jashub (“a remnant will return”; see Isa 7:3), Lo-ammi (“not my people”; see Hos 1:9), among others.

Posted in Old Testament, Popular Culture | 2 Comments »

Biblical Studies Carnival X Reminder

26th September 2006

Just a quick reminder that Biblical Studies Carnival X will be hosted by Philip Harland over at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean during the first week of October 2006. His call for submissions may be found here. You can submit/nominate posts via the submission form at or you may email them to biblical_studies_carnival AT hotmail DOT com.

As you are reading posts around the blogosphere, make sure to nominate at least one post for the next Carnival!

About the Biblical Studies Carnival

The goal of the Biblical Studies Carnival is to showcase the best of weblog posts in the area of academic biblical studies. By “academic biblical studies� we mean:

  • Academic: Posts must represent an academic approach to the discipline of biblical studies rather than, for instance, a devotional approach. This does not mean that posts have to be written by an academic, PhD, or professor — amateurs are more than welcome! Nor does it mean that posts must take a historical critical approach — methodological variety is also encouraged.
  • Biblical Studies: Broadly focused on discipline of biblical studies and cognate disciplines, including Ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Christian Origins/New Testament, Intertestamental/Second Temple literature (e.g., LXX, Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, etc.), Patristics, Biblical Criticisms and Hermeneutics, Biblical Studies and popular culture, among other things.

The Biblical Studies Carnival also serves to highlight a variety of blogs — from well known to lesser known. All blogs are welcome to submit relevant posts to the Carnival. In this way a Carnival is an excellent way to let others know about a blog you frequent or gain new readership to your own blog.

To submit a blog post for inclusion to the Biblical Studies Carnival you may do one of the following:

  1. Send the following information to the following email address: biblical_studies_carnival AT If you’re not sure whether a post qualifies, send it anyway and the host will decide whether to include it.
    • The title and permalink URL of the blog post you wish to nominate and the author’s name or pseudonym.
    • A short (two or three sentence) summary of the blog post.
    • The title and URL of the blog on which it appears (please note if it is a group blog).
    • Include “Biblical Studies Carnival [number]â€? in the subject line of your email
    • Your own name and email address.
  1. Use the submission form provided by Blog Carnival. (This is probably the easier option if you only have one nomination.) Just select “biblical studies carnival� and fill in the rest of the information noted above.

For more information, consult the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage.

Posted in Biblical Studies Carnival | Comments Off

30th Anniversary of U2′s First Meeting

25th September 2006

According to Neil McCormick’s book Killing Bono: I Was Bono’s Doppelganger (MTV, 2004; Buy from | Buy from today is the 30th anniversary of the first meeting of the guys that would eventually form the band U2. Paul Hewson (Bono), Dave Evans (The Edge), Adam Clayton, Ivan McCormick, Dick Evans all got together at the house of one Larry Mullen Jr.

During this first meeting they talked, played a couple covers, and decided to form a band called Feedback. Feedback later became The Hype, which later became U2.

Posted in Popular Culture, U2 | Comments Off

Happy New Year (Rosh Hashanah)

22nd September 2006

I’d like to wish a happy new year for all of my Jewish readers. Rosh Hashanah (ר×?ש השנה) begins at sundown today and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe.

Happy New Year for all who are celebrating it.

Posted in Holidays, Rosh Hashanah | Comments Off

Parallel Hebrew Bible with Paleo-Hebrew

19th September 2006

I have been meaning to put together a page for my Biblical Hebrew Resources pages collecting the various resources available online, so I have been collecting a fairly impressive list of sites. The Parallel Hebrew Old Testament just came to my attention the other day and it has a pretty neat feature: not only can you have the Hebrew Bible with the Latin Vulgate as well as a whole variety of English translations, you can also have it in paleo-Hebrew characters!

This is kind of neat, though practically the only use I can think of it is for text critics to be able to see how a passage would have looked in a paleo-Hebrew script. (You can also purchase the software for your own computer for a mere $5)
(HT Jim West)

Posted in Hebrew, Software | 6 Comments »

theotherblog on U2′s War

19th September 2006


There is an interesting post on U2′s third album, War (1983; Buy from | Buy from over at theotherblog. If you are a U2 fan, it’s worth a gander.

Posted in Popular Culture, U2 | 1 Comment »

The Latest in Vetus Testamentum

19th September 2006

Volume 56 of Vetus Testamentum — one of the major academic journals on the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible — has hit the shelves, and it contains a number of interesting articles, including one on the first chapter of Chronicles as well as a brief one on abecedaries.

Here is the table of contents:

  • Assis, Elie. “From Adam to Esau and Israel: an anti-edomite ideology in 1Chronicles 1,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 287-302.
  • Auffret, Pierre. “Dans les assemblées je bénirai YHWH: nouvelle étude structurelle du Psaume xxvi,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 303-12.
  • Berman, Joshua. “The narratorial voice of the scribes of samaria: Ezra iv 8-vi 18 Reconsidered,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 313-26.
  • Forti, Tova. “Bee’s honey-from realia to metaphor in biblical wisdom literature,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 327-41.
  • Hess, Richard S. “Writing about writing: abecedaries and evidence for literacy in Ancient Israel,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 342-46.
  • Kreuzer, Siegfried. “Zebaoth – der Thronende,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 347-62.
  • Norin, Stig. “Was ist ein gillajon?,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 363-69.
  • Seebass, Horst. “Versuch zu Josua xviii 1-10,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 370-85.
  • Shnider, Steven. “Psalm xviii: theophany, epiphany empowerment,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 386-98.
  • Wong, Gregory T.K. “Ehud and Joab: separated at birth?,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 399-412.
  • DiTommaso, Lorenzo. “History and apocalyptic eschatology: a reply to J.Y. Jindo,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006), 413-18.

Posted in Reviews & Notices, VT | Comments Off

The Exodus Decoded: An Appraisal (By Chris Heard)

17th September 2006

Perhaps one of the most lavish documentaries produced on the Hebrew Bible in recent years is Simcha Jacobovici’s The Exodus Decoded. This two-hour documentary purports to “analyze the latest archaeological findings and scientific papers;… explore the dusty back rooms of out-of-the-way libraries and museums around the world; and… track down dozens of forgotten relics and ancient documents” with an aim to “tell the true story of the Exodus.” This is an impressive claim — and the documentary’s slick production values will undoubtedly convince many casual viewers. This is not Jacobovici’s first foray into sensational biblical archaeology. He also produced a documentary series called the “Naked Archaeologistâ€? for VisionTV up here in Canada (You may want to read my review of the episode on “Who Invented the Alphabet?” here).
I will not offer my own critique of the Exodus Decoded. Instead, what I will do is point you to the excellent and thorough review of the documentary by Chris Heard over at Higgion. He has written a six-part extended review that is second to none:

  • Part 1 (A critique of parallel between the Tempest [Ahmose] Stela and the biblical story of the ten plagues)
  • Part 2 with addendum (Problems with the identification of Ahmose as the Pharaoh of the exodus and Jacobovici’s 1500 BCE date fro the exodus)
  • Part 3 (A rebuttal of Jacobovici’s identification of the merchants in the Beni Hasan wall paintings with Jacob’s migration into Egypt, among other things)
  • Part 4 (A critique of the connection made between the “Jacob-harâ€? seals discovered at Avaris and the biblical Joseph, son of Jacob)
  • Part 5 (Questioning the Israelite identity for the Serabit el-Khadim slaves)
  • Part 6 (A dismantling of the connection of the ten plagues and the Tempest Stela catastrophe to a Bronze Age eruption of the Santorini volcano)

All in all Chris does an excellent job picking apart Jacobovici’s falicious arguments — and there is more to come! He is only half way through the documentary! I am looking forward to reading the rest of Chris’s installments. Good work, Chris!

This documentary underscores to me the need of scholars to popularize our research. Reporters often misrepresent or misunderstand their sources, documentaries often pander to sensational theories, and the public appears to lap it all up. I don’t think that we as academics can do much to prevent how our views are presented. What we need to do, IMHO, is learn how to “spin� our research and bridge the gap between the academy and the everyday world ourselves. We need to team up with popular writers, directors, marketers, etc., and tell our perspectives in a way that is compelling and interesting. And we need to take the time to do this important task.

Posted in Archaeology, Bible, Exodus, Popular Culture | 2 Comments »