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





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Archive for the 'Biblioblogs' Category

Five Books/Scholars that Shaped My Reading of the Bible

28th July 2009

I have been tagged in the popular  “Five Books” meme and since I want to return to blogging more regularly, I figured I would add my five to the growing list of biblical studies blogs that have responded to the meme. The original question posed over at the C. Orthodoxy blog was, “Name the five books (or scholars) that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible.”

1. Since the focus of the meme is on “how you read the Bible”, i.e., hermeneutics, my first book is Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method (Continuum, 2005;  buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com).  More than any other scholar, Gadamer’s hermeneutical model has shaped the way I read the Bible (and everything else for that matter).  Another scholar who has been influential in this regard is Anthony Thiselton.

2. Learning to read the Bible in its original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) has naturally had a lasting influence on how I read it. Thus, the second scholar I list is Bruce Waltke. As his student and teaching assistant, my understanding of Biblical Hebrew benefited immensely, if I didn’t always share some of his theological perspectives. His (and M. O’Connor’s) An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Eisenbrauns, 1990; Amazon.ca | Amazon.com), remains within arm’s reach whenever I am trying to understand a matter of Hebrew syntax.

3. Reading the Bible for me entails dealing with ancient texts and translations. For that reason Emanuel Tov is my third choice.  Whether its in the area of textual criticism (see his Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible [Fortress, 2001; buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com]), Septuagint studies (see my LXX pages), or (of course!) Dead Sea Scrolls (where can I start? see my Dead Sea Scrolls section of Codex), Tov has influenced my understanding of the history and development of the biblical text like few others (one other I should mention is naturally my dissertation supervisor Al Pietersma!).

4. Why do I read the Bible? I do not read it only because of its considerable influence on Western civilization, nor only because I have to prepare lecture notes or sermons ostensibly based on it! Nor do I only read it because I find it fascinating and compelling. The reason I first started reading the Bible when I was 18 was because I believed the God spoke in and through it and at that time in my life I desperately needed a word from God! That conviction remains perhaps the primary reason why I read the Bible.  A biblical scholar whose ideas  helped me in and through graduate studies is Brevard S. Childs. Whether his Introduction to Old Testament as Scripture (Fortress, 1997; buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com) or his Biblical Theology of Old and New Testaments (Fortress, 1992; buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com), his “canonical approach” helped me appreciate the value (and the limitations) of the various higher and lower criticisms and provided me with a way to read the Christian Bible (both Old and New Testaments)  faithfully as a biblical scholar.

5. Finally, since, as I mentioned above,  I am not just interested in reading the Bible for academic or antiquarian reasons, but because I believe it is God’s word to the church, my last scholar is Karl Barth. While I do not claim to have digested all of Barth’s works (perhaps just a few crumbs from his table), I don’t think there are (m)any theologians who interact with the biblical texts to the extent he does. From his ground-breaking Commentary on Romans (Oxford, 1968; buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com) to his voluminous Church Dogmatics (Continuum, 2009; buy from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com), Barth modeled a way of reading Scripture that remained focused on the Triune God.

There are many others I could list, scholars like Herman Gunkel, Robert Lowth, Gerhard von Rad, Phyllis Trible, Walter Brueggemann, Sara Japhet, John Goldingay, George Eldon Ladd, Raymond Brown, N.T. Wright, Kenton Sparks, but I won’t.

So that is my list! I won’t bother tagging anyone since I don’t want to spend the time to figure out who hasn’t been tagged yet!

I am curious what books or scholars have been influential in shaping the way you, my readers, read the Bible.


Posted in Bible, Biblioblogs, Scholars, Teaching & Learning | 4 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 »

The Death of Blogs?

26th September 2007

The Christianity Today blog uploaded a post yesterday entitled “The Death of Blogs” where Ted Olson muses on the demise of blogging in general and “God-blogging” in particular. He points to some recent research showing evidence of widespread “blog burnout.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Tech researcher Gartner Inc. reported earlier this year that 200 million people have given up blogging, more than twice as many as are active.

“A lot of people have been in and out of this thing,” Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer told reporters. “Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they’re put on stage and asked to say it.” Given the average lifespan of a blogger and the current growth rate of blogs, Gartner says blogging has probably peaked.

Which isn’t to say that blogging is dead. Quite the opposite. Blog aggregator Technorati estimates that 3 million new blogs are launched every month. The site’s tongue-in-cheek slogan: “Zillions of photos, videos, blogs, and more. Some of them have to be good.”

As someone who has struggled with blogging the last couple months (and no, I don’t plan on giving up on blogging), I can relate to those who throw in the towel. I think that Olson hits the nail on the proverbial head when he notes, “What tired bloggers are increasingly discovering, however, is that it’s not necessarily the quality of their blog posts that matter. It’s matching their quality with frequency.”  Once my blog took off (and I thank all of my readers past and present), I felt this pressure to blog regularly so as not to disappoint my readers — and it was this perception of needing to blog that made it a chore rather than an enjoyable creative outlet and part of my teaching ministry.

I encourage you to read Olson’s whole post.


Posted in Biblioblogs, Blogging, Blogs | 3 Comments »

Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging

18th May 2007

See John Lyons’s humorous post over at Reception of the Bible. I would probably add to his list, “Blogging without Jim West’s Imprimatur.”


Posted in Biblioblogs, Humour | 2 Comments »

Banning Books and Blogs – Jim West’s Imprimatur

18th May 2007

Gee, you turn away from the computer for a second and a firestorm breaks out! Michael Bird started the “kerfuffle” (using Chris Heard‘s description of the controversy) when he listed as one of his “pet hates” when his students cite Matthew Henry’s biblical commentary in an academic paper.

It was the ever affable Jim West, however, who really got the controversy going when he made his own list of books and people not to cite in an academic paper. The last two on his list are “anything published by InterVarsity Press” and “William Dever.” While Jim claims the latter was meant tongue firmly planted in cheek (although knowing about Jim’s membership in the “Copenhagen Fan Club” makes me wonder how truly in jest the comment was!), the former has elicited a significant amount of controversy — and rightly so. You can see the able responses by Charles Halton, Chris Heard (parts 1, 2, and 3), Mike Aubrey, Daniel Clark, James Spinti (here and here) – to name only a few.  I won’t enter the fray except to say that I think InterVarsity Press is a fine publisher and am surprised that Jim associated it with fundamentalism. I especially think some of InterVarsity’s recent dictionaries are top notch reference works for all students of the Bible (if any InterVarsity Press representatives are reading this blog I’d be happy to point out how great and unfundamentalistic your books are in some reviews if you send me some samples!).

Jim has also made a list of who [sic] to cite; but alas I am not on his list, so you better stop reading now.

This whole brouhaha has got me thinking that what we need is an official imprimatur from Jim West for blogs which may be read with confidence. Then when coming to a blog all you have to do is look for the imprimatur and you know it is safe to read. Even though my blog hasn’t received such a stamp of approval from Jim West, I took it upon myself to design such a seal with the hope that Jim will approve my blog. Here is what I came up with:

jim-west-seal.jpg

(Some of you may recognize this as an adaption of the “biblioblogger seal of approval“; I recall Jim West thought the chap beside the seal looked kind of like him)


Posted in Biblioblogs, Humour | 5 Comments »