Codex

My musings on Biblical Studies, Biblical Hebrew, Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Popular Culture, Religion, Software, and pretty much anything else that interests me!





Old Testament on Film

  • Searches



Archive for March, 2009

Jonah’s “Big Fish” Story 3: Jonah and the Sailors (1:1-16)

26th March 2009

[I will be republishing my series on the Hebrew text of Jonah for my current introductory Hebrew class since I had to go back and fix the Hebrew in the posts]

The first chapter of the book of Jonah begins with Jonah’s call to go to Nineveh. But instead of heading for Nineveh, he heads the opposite direction to Tarshish aboard a ship filled with pagan sailors. Jonah’s presence on the ship does not bode well for the sailors, who eventually figure out Jonah is the reason their ship is in danger. After much prayer, they toss Jonah into the sea, after which he is swallowed by a divinely appointed “big fish.” Thus begins Jonah’s “Big Fish” story.

Jonah and the Sailors (1:1-16)

Jonah1-LeningradCodex-sm.jpgHebrew Text

The Hebrew Text is taken from BHS. Click on the image to the right to view the passage in the actual Leningrad Codex (MS B19 A). To hear the chapter read in Hebrew, an MP3 file is available here.

‏וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה אֶל־יוֹנָה בֶן־אֲמִתַּי לֵאמֹר׃ קוּם לֵךְ אֶל־נִינְוֵה הָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה וּקְרָא עָלֶיהָ כִּי־עָלְתָה רָעָתָם לְפָנָי׃ וַיָּקָם יוֹנָה לִבְרֹחַ תַּרְשִׁישָׁה מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה וַיֵּרֶד יָפוֹ וַיִּמְצָא אָנִיָּה בָּאָה תַרְשִׁישׁ וַיִּתֵּן שְׂכָרָהּ וַיֵּרֶד בָּהּ לָבוֹא עִמָּהֶם תַּרְשִׁישָׁה מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה׃ וַיהוָה הֵטִיל רוּחַ־גְּדוֹלָה אֶל־הַיָּם וַיְהִי סַעַר־גָּדוֹל בַּיָּם וְהָאֳנִיָּה חִשְּׁבָה לְהִשָּׁבֵר׃ וַיִּירְאוּ הַמַּלָּחִים וַיִּזְעֲקוּ אִישׁ אֶל־אֱלֹהָיו וַיָּטִלוּ אֶת־הַכֵּלִים אֲשֶׁר בָּאֳנִיָּה אֶל־הַיָּם לְהָקֵל מֵעֲלֵיהֶם וְיוֹנָה יָרַד אֶל־יַרְכְּתֵי הַסְּפִינָה וַיִּשְׁכַּב וַיֵּרָדַם׃ וַיִּקְרַב אֵלָיו רַב הַחֹבֵל וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מַה־לְּךָ נִרְדָּם קוּם קְרָא אֶל־אֱלֹהֶיךָ אוּלַי יִתְעַשֵּׁת הָאֱלֹהִים לָנוּ וְלֹא נֹאבֵד׃ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ לְכוּ וְנַפִּילָה גוֹרָלוֹת וְנֵדְעָה בְּשֶׁלְּמִי הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת לָנוּ וַיַּפִּלוּ גּוֹרָלוֹת וַיִּפֹּל הַגּוֹרָל עַל־יוֹנָה׃ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו הַגִּידָה־נָּא לָנוּ בַּאֲשֶׁר לְמִי־הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת לָנוּ מַה־מְּלַאכְתְּךָ וּמֵאַיִן תָּבוֹא מָה אַרְצֶךָ וְאֵי־מִזֶּה עַם אָתָּה׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם עִבְרִי אָנֹכִי וְאֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם אֲנִי יָרֵא אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה אֶת־הַיָּם וְאֶת־הַיַּבָּשָׁה׃ וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים יִרְאָה גְדוֹלָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו מַה־זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ כִּי־יָדְעוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים כִּי־מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה הוּא בֹרֵחַ כִּי הִגִּיד לָהֶם׃ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו מַה־נַּעֲשֶׂה לָּךְ וְיִשְׁתֹּק הַיָּם מֵעָלֵינוּ כִּי הַיָּם הוֹלֵךְ וְסֹעֵר׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם שָׂאוּנִי וַהֲטִילֻנִי אֶל־הַיָּם וְיִשְׁתֹּק הַיָּם מֵעֲלֵיכֶם כִּי יוֹדֵעַ אָנִי כִּי בְשֶׁלִּי הַסַּעַר הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה עֲלֵיכֶם׃ וַיַּחְתְּרוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים לְהָשִׁיב אֶל־הַיַּבָּשָׁה וְלֹא יָכֹלוּ כִּי הַיָּם הוֹלֵךְ וְסֹעֵר עֲלֵיהֶם׃ וַיִּקְרְאוּ אֶל־יְהוָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אָנָּה יְהוָה אַל־נָא נֹאבְדָה בְּנֶפֶשׁ הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה וְאַל־תִּתֵּן עָלֵינוּ דָּם נָקִיא כִּי־אַתָּה יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר חָפַצְתָּ עָשִׂיתָ׃ וַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת־יוֹנָה וַיְטִלֻהוּ אֶל־הַיָּם וַיַּעֲמֹד הַיָּם מִזַּעְפּוֹ׃ וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים יִרְאָה גְדוֹלָה אֶת־יְהוָה וַיִּזְבְּחוּ־זֶבַח לַיהוָה וַיִּדְּרוּ נְדָרִים׃ ‎

Translation

Please note that my translation is more formal in nature and purposefully highlights literary and poetic features of the text. The versification follows the Hebrew text.

1:1 The word of YHWH came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying: 2 Get up, go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim against it; for their wickedness has come before me. 3 Jonah, however, got up to flee to Tarshish away from the presence of YHWH. So he went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish, and he paid its hire, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, from the presence of YHWH. 4 But YHWH hurled a great wind to the sea, and there was a great storm upon the sea that the ship thought about breaking up!

5 And the sailors were afraid and cried out, each to his own god; and they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten [it] for them. But Jonah had gone down into the hold of the vessel and had lain down, and was in a deep sleep. 6 The captain went over to him and cried out, “Why are you sleeping so soundly? Get up, call upon your god! Perhaps the god will bear us in mind and we will not perish.” 7 The men said to one another, “Let us cast lots and find out on whose account this misfortune has come upon us.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 They said to him, “Please declare to us — you who have brought this evil upon us — what is your business? Where have you come from? What is your country, and from what people are you?” 9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew and I fear YHWH, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 The men were greatly terrified [feared a great fear], and they said to him, “How could you have done this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of YHWH, for so he had told them. 11 And they said to him, “What must we do to you so that the sea calms down for us?” For the sea was growing more and more stormy. 12 He answered, “Heave me overboard, and then the sea will calm down for you; for I know that this great storm came upon you on my account.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to return to the dry land, but they could not, for the sea was growing more and more stormy against them. 14 Then they called to YHWH: “Oh, please, YHWH, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood upon us! For You, O YHWH, have done just as you pleased.” 15 And they cast Jonah into the sea, and the sea stopped from its raging. 16 The men feared YHWH with a great fear, and they sacrificed a sacrifice to YHWH, and they vowed vows.

Translation & Text Critical Notes

For basic identification and parsing, please see the excerpts from Owens (PDF) or Beall and Banks (PDF). For bibliography noted in my post on “Resources for the Study of the Book of Jonah,” only short references will be provided here. See my “Mastering Biblical Hebrew” pages for more information on any Hebrew grammars and lexicons mentioned.

Verse 1

  • וַיְהִי- This Qal prefix vav conversive apocopated form is at home in Hebrew narrative and is the typical opening for “historical” books like Joshua, Judges, 1Samuel, and Ruth (see AC 3.5.1 c).
  • יוֹנָה בֶן־אֲמִתַּי - This “Jonah son of Amittai” is considered to be the nationalistic prophet of the same name mentioned in 2Kings 14:23-29.

Verse 2

  • קוּם לֵךְ- Of the two imperative verbs, קוּם functions as an auxiliary verb to the principal verb לֵךְ and may be translated something like “Arise, go…” or better, “Go at once…” (GKC 120g).
  • וּקְרָא עָלֶיהָ- The collocation of על with the verbקראtypically has negative connotations, hence my translation “proclaim against.” The parallel statement in Jonah 3:2 on the other hand has אל. While this change may only suggest the interchangeable nature of the prepositions (WO’C), the change to the more innocuous “proclaim to” in 3:2 may foreshadow the Ninevites’ positive response to Jonah’s message (see Ben Zvi).
  • הָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה- The definite articles are functioning as weak demonstratives, “that great city” (AC 2.6.6). Alternatively, both adjectives could be modifying the noun, “Nineveh the great city” (J-M 138b; 141c; BHRG 30.2.2vii).
  • כִּי־עָלְתָה רָעָתָם לְפָנָי- This phrase should be taken as causal (“because…”), providing the rationale for God sending the prophet to Nineveh (contra Sasson who understands it as asseverative). See AC 4.3.4a, i.

Verse 3

  • מִלִּפְנֵי- This compound preposition is best translated as “away from the presence of” or even just “away from” (HALOT).
  • תַרְשִׁישׁ- The identification of “Tarshish” is the subject of much spilled ink (see Sasson for a discussion). I tend to think of it as an ancient “Timbuktu.” Either way, the point is that Jonah headed in the exact opposite direction of Nineveh. Note that it occurs both with and without the directive ה in this passage
  • אָנִיָּה- The footnote in BHS (sic L, mlt MSS Edd אֳניה cf 4.5) suggests that the pointing of אָנִיָּה is incorrect; it should be אֳניהas many other Masoretic texts indicate as well as the pointing in vv. 4 and 5.
  • וַיִּתֵּן שְׂכָרָהּ- The antecedent of the 3fs possessive pronoun is clearly אָנִיָּה(“paid its [i.e., the ship's] fare”). A number of Jewish traditions (and modern authors) suggest this indicates Jonah rented the entire ship (and thus was wealthy), which again emphasizes the extent to which he was willing to avoid God’s call.
  • עִמָּהֶם- While the sailors are not mentioned until v. 5, the 3mp object suffix on עִמָּהֶם refers to the sailors included in the sense of the term אָנִיָּה (GKC 135p).

Verse 4

  • וַיהוָה- The fronted subject with the conjunction breaks the series of vav conversives and introduces a different subject and is best rendered as “but YHWH…” (AC 3.5.4; 5.1.2b.2).
  • חִשְּׁבָה לְהִשָּׁבֵר- Many translations render this combination of Piel affix 3fs and Nifal infinitive construct something like, “the ship was about to break up” (NASB) or the like. I prefer to take it as an example of personification or prosopopoeia where the ship is portrayed as thinking about breaking up. This understanding is supported by the fact thatחשׁבis always used elsewhere with an animate subject. See WO’C 23.2.1 for the sense of the Nifal here.

Verse 5

  • אִישׁ אֶל־אֱלֹהָיו- This is a distributive use ofאִישׁ, “each to his own god” (GKC 139b). It could also be translated “each to his own gods” since the sailors were evidently pagan.
  • לְהָקֵל- The Hifil infinitive construct needs an object, i.e., “to lighten [it].”
  • “But Jonah had gone down… and had lain down, and had fallen fast asleep.” The fronted subject once again interrupts the sequence of wayyiqtol verbs and marks a new subject which contrasts Jonah’s actions with those of the sailors.
  • וַיֵּרָדַם- The verbרדםmeans “deep sleep” and is from the same root as the noun used to describe Adam’s sleep when the woman was taken out of his side in Gen 2:21. The Septuagint translatesרדםwith the verb ῥέγχω “snore,” which adds some humour to the scene as Jonah’s snoring was apparently loud enough for the captain of the ship to hear him from above deck as he comes down to Jonah and asks him what is he doing snoring when a life threatening storm has been thrown to the sea by YHWH (see my post on snoring here)!

Verse 6

  • רַב הַחֹבֵל- Lit., “chief of the sailors,” i.e., captain.
  • מַה־לְּךָ נִרְדָּם- The Nifal participle may be functioning as a subordinate accusative of state, i.e., the object of the non verbal interrogative construction, lit. “what [is it] to you, sleeping?” = “why are you sleeping so soundly?” (see GKC 120b; J-M 127a, 161i). I am almost tempted to take the participle as a vocative and translate it something like, “What is the matter with you, sleepy head?!”
  • יִתְעַשֵּׁת - The Hitpael of עשׁתis a hapax that means something like “bear in mind” (HALOT).

Verse 7

  • Note the cohortative הs on וְנַפִּילָהand וְנֵדְעָה .
  • בְּשֶׁלְּמִי- The compound particle is made up of the preposition ב + relative שׁ + preposition ל + interrogative מי; together it means “on whose account” (HALOT), or “for whose cause” (GKC 150k). For the combination of the relative שׁ and preposition ל, see WO’C 19.4a n15.
  • Note the idiom of “casting lots” with the verb נפל.

Verse 8

  • There is a rather oblique text critical footnote in BHS (“nonn add Hab” = “several manuscripts have added”) marking off the phrase בַּאֲשֶׁר לְמִי־הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת לָנוּ, “on whose account has this evil come upon us” (as well as a similar phrase in v. 10; see below). The footnote suggests the editors of BHS considered this phrase to be an addition or later gloss. While they do not provide any reasons, it is likely based on two things: (1) the phrase is omitted in the LXX and a number of Masoretic manuscripts and (2) it appears to be a doublet or repetition of virtually the same phrase in v. 7. While this is certainly possible, the phrase is found in the huge majority of Masoretic texts as well as scrolls from Qumran. Furthermore, the absence of the phrase in some Hebrew and Greek manuscripts can easily be explained by homoeoteleuton (skipping over words between words with similar endings) triggered by the repetition of לָנוּ in the Hebrew or ἐν ἡμῖν in the Greek. That being said, the question of how to translate it remains. The most straightforward translation is to repeat the question, “on whose account has this evil come upon us?” even though they already know the answer and Jonah doesn’t answer it (see NASB, KJV, NIV). Another, perhaps better, option is to render it as a relative clause, “you who have brought this evil upon us” (see JPS and Sasson). This recognizes the subtle difference of the construction בַּאֲשֶׁר לְמִי־הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת לָנוּ with בְּשֶׁלְּמִי הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת לָנוּin the preceding verse.
  • The sailors pose four questions to Jonah: (1) what is your mission? (2) from where are you coming? (3) what is your (home)land? and (4) from what people are you? (the combination of the interrogative with מן does not produce any notable change in meaning; J-M 143g).

Verse 9

  • עִבְרִי אָנֹכִי- The order of predicate –> subject in the verbless clause indicates classification and refers to a general class (Hebrews) of which the subject is a member (WO’C 8.4.2). The term “Hebrew” is typically only used in the HB to imply a contrast with foreigners (GKC 2b).
  • The irony of Jonah’s confession is marvelous; while his confesses he fears “YHWH, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land,” he also appears to believe he can flee from this same YHWH by taking a sea voyage!

Verse 10

  • וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים יִרְאָה גְדוֹלָה- This construction of a verb with a direct object derived from the same root is called an “internal accusative” or “cognate accusative.” It serves to strengthen the verbal idea and may be translated “the men were greatly terrified” or the like (AC 2.3.1c; GKC 117q).
  • מַה־זֹּאת- The linking of the interrogative pronoun to the feminine demonstrative is an exclamation of shock or horror rather than a query (Sasson).
  • כִּי הִגִּיד לָהֶם- This phrase is marked off as a gloss in BHS (see discussion on v. 8 above).

Verse 11

  • מַה־נַּעֲשֶׂה לָּךְ- The prefix form in this context likely has a modal nuance, i.e., “what must we do to you…” (J-M 113m).
  • וְיִשְׁתֹּק- The prefix + vav form indicates purpose, “so that” (J-M 169i; BHRG 21.5.1.iv).
  • הוֹלֵךְ וְסֹעֵר- The participles form a hendiadys to convey repetition and increasing intensity, with הלךfulfilling an auxiliary role (GKC 113u).

Verse 12

  • וְיִשְׁתֹּק- The prefix + vav form in Jonah’s reply has a consecutive sense, “then…” (J-M 169i).

Verse 13

  • וַיַּחְתְּרוּ- The verb חתר means “to dig”; it is used here to suggest hard rowing or “digging” into the water with their oars.

Verse 14

  • The first person plural cohortatives are found here with the particle of entreaty נָא, often translated as “please” or the like (J-M 114f; GKC 105, 108c).
  • כִּי־אַתָּה יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר חָפַצְתָּ עָשִׂיתָ- This clause is a bit difficult to unpack. Sasson takes it and the preceding clause as separate motivations offered by the sailors to God: “Indeed, you are YHWH; and whatever you desire, you accomplish.” While this is possible, I think Sasson is giving too much weight to the zaqef qaton on YHWH. I have translated YHWH as a vocative and the relative clause as modifying אַתָּה“you.”

Verse 15

  • מִזַּעְפּוֹ- The Qal infinitive construct with the prepositionמן (and the 3ms suffix) serves as a verbal complement to עמד, “the sea stopped from its raging.”

Verse 16

  • וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים יִרְאָה גְדוֹלָה אֶת־יְהוָה- The verb here has double accusatives: YHWH is the affected object (the object that existed apart and before the action of the verb, but is reached by the verb), while the “great fear” is the internal object (the object is an abstract noun of action typically of the same root as the verb, and thus a cognate accusative) (AC 2.3.1; J-M 125u n1).
  • Note again the irony that the pagan sailors are more devout than Jonah.

Comments

While I will leave most of the larger questions of interpretation to a later post, I do want to highlight a few things from chapter one.

First, it is difficult if not impossible to pick up on a significant key word for the book of Jonah: גָּדוֹל“great” or “big.” Everything in Jonah is “great”: Nineveh (v. 2), the wind (v. 4), the storm (v. 4, 12), the sailors’ fear (v. 10) and their repentance (v. 16). In later chapters we will encounter a “great” or “big” fish (2:1), among other things.

Second, the frequent use of גָּדוֹלas well as some of the other language in this (the ship thinking) and later chapters (the animals putting sackcloth on themselves in 3:8), “shifts the story to the fabulous” as Sasson suggests. I will come back to this observation in a later post.

Finally, when examining the characterization of Jonah, YHWH, and the pagan sailors in this chapter it is striking:

  • Jonah does exactly the opposite of what YHWH calls him to do: instead of getting up and going (קוּם לֵךְ), he got up to flee (וַיָּקָם יוֹנָה לִבְרֹחַ ), and then in contrast to getting up, he has a series of descents (ירד) in order to get away from YHWH’s call. And of course, as I already noted, the irony between Jonah’s flight and his confession is stunning.
  • The sailors come across much better than Jonah. Their actions are often parallel to those of YHWH: they, like YHWH, tell Jonah to “get up” and “call” (1:2, 6); they both “cast to the sea” (1:4, 5, 15). In addition, a contrast is set up between the sailors and Jonah: Jonah’s fear (1:9) vs. the sailors’ fear (1:10); and “perish” in the mouths of the sailors (1:7, 14) vs. from Jonah’s perspective (4:10).

Well, this post has ended up longer than I anticipated. I better end it here. We’ll pick up Jonah chapter three next.


Posted in Jonah, Jonah's "Big Fish" Story, Old Testament, Text Criticism | 2 Comments »

Reminder: Nominate Posts for BSC XL

20th March 2009

This is just a friendly reminder to submit some of your favourite posts of the month of March to the next Biblical Studies Carnival (the big 4-0) that will be hosted by James Gregory at his eponymous blog, James Gregory’s Blog.

In order to save the host considerable work, please nominate some posts today (and tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that…) It’s really easy. You have two options:

  1. Send the following information to the following email address: biblical_studies_carnival AT hotmail.com. If you’re not sure whether a post qualifies, send it anyway and the I 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]” in the subject line of your email
    • Your own name and email address.
  2. 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, please see the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage.


Posted in Biblical Studies Carnival | Comments Off

Finding God in The Shack

13th March 2009

The ShackIf you haven’t heard of the popular novel The Shack (Buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com), then you must have been living in a cave for the last two years. William P. Young’s bestselling novel about a man’s encounter with the Triune God one weekend has touched the hearts and minds of millions of readers. It has also raised the ire of a few theologians and self-appointed guardians of the faith.

The Shack is by no means perfect. As a novel it has weak dialogue and doesn’t quite hang together as it should. As a novel that explores some important theological questions about God, the Trinity, and suffering, it also has some weaknesses. Despite its weaknesses, this unassuming novel has elicited more theological discussion and reflection than any recent academic work of theology. While this work has raised many questions it is a bit short on answers; or at least the answers it provides at times only scratch the surface of some complex theological topics. What would be helpful is a theological guide to The Shack.

finding_god_in_shackThis is exactly what my colleague and friend, Randal Rauser has written with his just published volume, Finding God in The Shack (Paternoster, 2009; Buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com).  In seven short chapters, Rauser explores a number of the theological issues raised by The Shack, including the provocative portrayal of God the Father as an African-American woman and the Holy Spirit as a young Asian woman (Sarayu), the nature of the relationship between members of the Trinity (hierarchical or egalitarian?), and the problems raised by the existence of horrendous evil in the world. In each of these discussions Rauser begins with the novel and then explores the theological questions raised by the book in an engaging and accessible way. In addition, each chapter ends with questions for further reflection.

Eugene Peterson’s blurb on the back cover of Finding God in the Shack is as good as an endorsement you’ll find anywhere:

If you have ever had a conversation on The Shack, whether with an enthusiast or a critic, you will want to invite this skilled and accessible theologian into the conversation. Before you have read a dozen pages you will know why we need to keep company with theologians. They help us keep our conversation on God intelligent, informed, and irenic.

If you have read The Shack and want to explore some of the issues raised by the novel in more detail, I encourage you to pick up Rauser’s book. It will help you navigate through some of the deep theological waters raised by the novel.

Interestingly, Roger Olson has also just published a book with the same title from InterVarsity Press: Finding God in the Shack: Seeking Truth in a Story of Evil and Redemption (2009; Buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com).


Posted in Popular Culture, Suffering, Theodicy, Theology | 1 Comment »

U2 Announces Tour: Two Canadian Dates

9th March 2009

u2tour U2 just announced the dates and locations for their worldwide tour. The tour, called the U2360° Tour, is starting in Ireland and then stopping for one show in  London before hitting Europe. The North American leg of the tour is next, with two Canadian dates: Toronto (16 September 2009) and Vancouver (28 October 2009).

Unfortunately, the tour is not making a stop in Edmonton, even though we have the largest permanent capacity outdoor stadium in Canada (it can hold over 62,000). The stadium, called Commonwealth Stadium in honour the the 1978 Commonwealth Games for which it was constructed, also has the largest and most advanced video screen JumboTron in the world.  U2 has played Commonwealth Stadium on June 14, 1997 for the Popmart Tour (just before I moved back to Edmonton).There are actually a number of cool YouTube videos of this concert.

If Bono and the Edge are reading this (and I am sure they are), I am begging you to reconsider: Make Edmonton one of your stops!!! You won’t regret it!

If they don’t add an Edmonton date, I guess I will be heading to Toronto or Vancouver in the fall!


Posted in Popular Culture, U2 | 1 Comment »

God Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life…

6th March 2009

Some more Friday fun:

gods_wonderful_plan

The “Health and Wealth” gospel at its finest! (at least for Lions)

(HT Brandon Wason)


Posted in Humour | 7 Comments »

Top Ten Highlights from “U2 Week”

6th March 2009

Codex Top Ten LogoI decided to dub this “U2 Week” in honour of U2 releasing their new album, No Line On the Horizon, on Tuesday 3 March 2009. You probably also have heard that U2 was on Late Show with David Letterman all this week and that they even had a street in NY temporarily named “U2 Way.” They were also guests on Good Morning America this morning.

The “Top Ten” highlights from “U2 Week” for me were the following:

10. Larry Mullen, Jr’s brief interview at the NY Knicks Game (4 March 2009)

9. Street being renamed “U2 Way” in NY

8. U2′s Late Show “On Hold Music”

7. U2 on the Tom Snider Show from 1981. OK, I know this isn’t from this week, but I did watch it this week. It is quite a blast from the past with The Edge with almost a full head of hair. This is during U2′s first US tour for their first album, Boy.

6. U2′s interview on Good Morning America

5. Breaking news that U2 already has another album release planned. According to @U2, the band is planning on releasing “Songs of Ascent” in 2010. Here is an excerpt from the post on @U2:

Bono tells Rolling Stone magazine that U2′s next studio album will be called “Songs Of Ascent,” it’ll be released in 2010, and that “Every Breaking Wave” will be the first single — a “surging anthem.” And here’s a choice Bono quote about the next album: “Songs Of Ascent will be quieter than No Line in many ways, it’s that ghost album of hymns and Sufi singing. We’re making a kind of heartbreaker, a meditative, reflexive piece of work, but not indulgent.”

4. Paul Connolly’s news article “Why U2 really are better than The Rolling Stones AND The Beatles.” I’m glad someone finally had the guts to put this in print! The primary reason Connolly finds for the creative longevity of U2 is their punk origins:

They [80s bands like U2] were all born out of the embers of punk and new wave and they’ve retained that restless, adventurous, questing spirit. Punk may have become a debased cultural currency now (and it was responsible for some terrible bands at the time) but its enduring ideals have been responsible for some of the finest music of the last 30 years. Bands from the most ridiculed of decades are still pushing on, unafraid of change and trying something new, making some of the best music of their creative lives. The Rolling who?

3. U2′s performance of “Magnificent” on the Late Show. I Really, REALLY, like this song.

2. U2 band members doing David Letterman’s “Top Ten” List on Thursday night (5 March 2009). I especially liked The Edge’s dig on Sting.

1. The Release of U2′s new album, No Line on the Horizon. There is no question that this has to be number one!

NLOTH

The album is available in a number of different packages:

Finally, as a “fun Friday” bonus, here is a video of Bush singing, Sunday, Bloody Sunday:

Have a great weekend!


Posted in Popular Culture, U2 | 3 Comments »

Women, Biblioblogs, and the Biblical Studies Carnival

4th March 2009

There is an interesting conversation going on among some bibliobloggers surrounding the involvement (or lack thereof) of women in blogging the Bible.  While this may be a lamentable situation, I don’t find it surprising.  The proportion of women bibliobloggers probably corresponds roughly to the proportion of women who teach biblical studies and the number of women in pastoral teaching ministry (which is also lamentable, IMHO).

I am more than happy to go on public record that I am egalitarian. I believe that women may serve as pastors if gifted and called. I believe that the Apostle Paul subverted male “headship” in marriage when he commanded men to “love their wives as Christ loved the church.”  I believe that the church should strive by God’s grace to be the eschatological community of God where there are no divisions based on race, gender, or social-economic status, among other things.

That being said, as coordinator of the Biblical Studies Carnival for the last three years I am sad to say that I have only had one woman blogger agree to host a Carnival: Judy Redman hosted BSC XXXVIII over at her Research Blog in  February 2009. That is not due for lack of trying. While I primarily rely on individuals to volunteer themselves to host, I have in the past made a special effort to invite woman bloggers to host.  In that spirit, I formally invite all women bibliobloggers to host a Biblical Studies Carnival. Just let me know when I can put you down on the schedule.


Posted in Biblical Studies Carnival, Biblioblogs | 7 Comments »

Electronic Edition of the Göttingen Septuagint Announced by Logos

3rd March 2009

Logos Bible Software has announced a project that will make all Septuagint scholars’  mouths water: an electronic edition of all of the Göttingen Septuagint volumes, including the entire critical apparatus.  The LXX will be morphologically tagged and fully searchable; and if you own the texts found in the apparatus you will be able to just click and view the text. To make this all the more appealing, you can order the electronic edition at a fraction of the price of the print editions.

While the advent and availability of electronic texts has advantages and disadvantages, in the right hands tools such as these can revolutionize scholarship.

For more information on the Logos Göttingen Septuagint, see here.  For more information on the Septuagint, check out my “Resources relating to the LXX” pages.


Posted in Announcements, Logos, Septuagint, Software | 2 Comments »

German Translation of the LXX Published

3rd March 2009

The very first translation of the Septuagint into German has now been published: Septuaginta Deutsch: Das griechische Alte Testament in deutscher Übersetzung (Martin Karrer and Wolfgang Kraus, eds.; Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2009).

The “LXX.D” project has been on the go for about a decade, so it is nice to see it come to completion. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

It is said concerning the genesis of the Septuagint that 72 Jewish translators in ancient Alexandria translated the Hebrew Bible in 72 days into miraculously identical Greek. To this day, the very name “Septuagint,” which in Greek means “70,” evokes the legend surrounding the creation of the Old Testament in Greek.  The Septuagint was the standard Bible used by first-century Christians.  A knowledge of the Greek version of the Bible is necessary in order to comprehend many theological pronouncements, for example the virgin birth of Jesus. Moreover, it is still today the Scripture of the Orthodox churches.  However, it has never been published separately in German translation.

That situation has now been remedied. The first edition of the Septuagint in German will be presented to the public at the residence of the plenipotentiary of the EKD Council in Berlin (Charlottenstrasse 53/54) on 28 January 2009 at 3.30 pm.  Persons cordially invited to attend the presentation include Präses Nikolaus Schneider (Evangelical Church in the Rhineland), Bishop Johannes Friedrich (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria) and Jan Bühner (general secretary of the German Bible Society), as well as the two principle editors, Professor Wolfgang Kraus (Saarbrücken) and Professor Martin Karrer (Wuppertal). Greetings will be pronounced by Bishop Joachim Wanke (Erfurt) and Metropolitan Augoustinos (Bonn).

Up to more than 80 persons worked at one time on the project, which had been coordinated since 1999 out of a specially set-up office.  According to Wolfgang Kraus, “Without the generous support of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, in particular, we would never have been able to complete the translation.”  However, the translation which is being presented is not the only positive result of the nearly ten-year effort. The translation process included academic symposia organized in Germany, France and the United States.  “In terms of international Septuagint research, Germany is now on the map,” declared Martin Karrer with visible pride.

The translators included Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians, who consulted with Jewish scholars on questions of translation.  The result was a collective effort uniting various Christian denominations and Judaism.  For the first time, Orthodox Christians living in Germany have at their disposal a Bible in the German language.

The newly published translation, which comprises 1,500 pages in one volume, will be followed by a two-volume version which includes scholarly commentaries based on the Greek Bible.  The editors plan further publications, which testifies to the standing of the Septuagint as a source of important insights regarding the textual transmission of the Old Testament and as one of the cornerstones of European culture.

For more information on the German Septuagint project, you can check out their website: septuagintaforschung.de.

With this publication, new translations of the LXX have now been produced for English (New English Translation of the Septuagint – NETS), French (La Bible d’Alexandrie; this project includes introductions and commentary on the text and is almost complete), and German. Translation projects are also underway in Italian, Modern Greek, Modern Hebrew, as well as Japanese.


Posted in Announcements, Septuagint | Comments Off

U2 – No Line on the Horizon: My First Impressions

3rd March 2009

NLOTHI have had a chance to listen to U2′s new album, No Line on the Horizon, a number of times. I’m not sure if this will be my favourite U2 album, but I quite like it. Some songs remind me of All That You Can’t Leave Behind, while others could be off of U2′s more experimental albums like Pop or Zooropa. Here are some of my initial impressions on the individual tracks:

  1. No Line on the Horizon (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 4:12). I really like sound and feel of the title track — especially Bono’s soulful raspy voice (although the refrain is a bit awkward).
  2. Magnificent (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 5:24). This is perhaps my favourite song of the album. It is a faith-filled rock anthem that will no doubt become a U2 classic. “Only love / Only love can leave such a mark
 / But only love / Only love can heal such a scar.”
  3. Moment of Surrender (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 7:24). The haunting lyrics and soulful sound of this song will make it grow on you, as it has me. “I was speeding on the subway / Through the stations of the cross / Every eye looking every other way / Counting down ’til the pain will stop.”
  4. Unknown Caller (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 6:03). This song is kind of catchy, though the lyrics are a bit banal.
  5. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (U2; 4:14).  A light-hearted song; kind of catchy.
  6. Get on Your Boots (U2; 3:25). As I said in my previous post, this song is a fun romp with Bono taking a break from his political activism (”I don’t want to talk about wars between nations”) and calling us to live in the joy of the moment together (“here’s where we gotta be / love and community / laughter is eternity /if joy is real”).
  7. Stand Up Comedy (U2; 3:50). This song starts out as if it could have been on Zooropa, but then quickly becomes  something that would be at home on How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
  8. Fez – Being Born (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 5:17). No quite sure what to think of this one yet.
  9. White as Snow (traditional, arranged by U2, Eno and Lanois; 4:41).  This quiet and intimate song stands out from the rest of the album. According to Bono it is supposed to elicit the feelings of a soldier dying from a roadside bomb in Afganistan. A very moving song.
  10. Breathe (U2;  5:00). No sure what to think of this one.
  11. Cedars of Lebanon (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 4:13). This Pop-eque ballad grows on you.

All in all there is much to like about this album. Like most U2 albums, some songs resonate with you right away, others grow on you as you ponder their lyrics and appreciate their sound.  As I mentioned, the album is being released in a number of different packages:

If you are in North America you can pick up your copy today.


Posted in Popular Culture, U2 | 1 Comment »