Thursday, September 6, 2007

BAR Highlights: 9/6/07

More recent archaeological news from Biblical Archaeology Review:

Roman Footprint
The footprint of a Roman soldier has been found preserved in cement at the ancient city of Hippos/Sussita in Israel.

Ballard Back to the Sea
Oceanographer Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, will be exploring a shipwreck in the Black Sea from the Byzantine era.

Dog Walk Leads to Roman House
A man walking his dog at a local golf course found pottery shards and roof tiles from a Roman house at the Cumberwell Park Golf Club near Bradford on Avon in England.

That Was Fast!
Samarkand, along the Silk Road, celebrates its 2,750th birthday this year, after celebrating its 2,500th birthday just 11 years ago. The reason? New archaeological finds have necessitated a revision of the city.

Greece Aflame
Dozens of fires have been burning out of control in southern Greece and threatening ancient sites, including where the Olympic Games were first played.

Rebuild the Buddhas?

A debate is growing over whether the two giant statues of Buddha that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 can be rebuilt—and whether they should be.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Another Semester in the Halls of Ivy

Yale's fall semester began today. Although I may visit a few other courses during the two-week "shopping period," my schedule will most likely consist of:

REL 654 Sibling Rivalries: Israel and "The Other" (Joel Kaminsky)
REL 687 Greek Exegesis: Hebrews (Harry Attridge)
REL 835 Iconography of Christian Art (Jaime Lara)

I'm particularly excited/terrified about Hebrews, given Dean Attridge's status as a leading interpreter of this particular letter. In addition, I'm planning to audit Reading Knowledge of German (a necessity for NT studies, and one that will hopefully make me a more attractive PhD applicant!). Attention, Jim West... I'll be directing all my German questions to you. ;-)

Christ and the Cross in Stories of Redemption

A recent announcement from Augsburg Fortress Publishers:

What does it mean to be saved, and how can we make sense of the Christian claim that Christ died for our sins?

That is the work of soteriology, the classic discipline of theology that inquires into the "saving work" of Christ and asks what, why, and how of redemption as understood by Christians.

In Fortress Introduction to Salvation and the Cross, a masterful survey and analysis of 2000 years of Christian reflection on salvation, theologian David A. Brondos, Professor of Theology at the Theological Community of Mexico, lays bare the diverse and even competing understandings, their social context and development, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Concentrating on thirteen of the most important figures in that long arc—from its biblical roots to its most controverted contemporary expressions—Brondos unfolds the thought of each theologian as articulating a distinctive story of salvation or atonement.

An excellent learning tool, Brondo's succinct and helpful text is augmented with a helpful timeline, illustration, glossary, suggestions for further reading, and questions for discussion and reflection. His work illumines how Christians through the ages have understood Jesus, salvation, and human reconciliation with God.

Order your copy today!

RBL Highlights: 9/5/07

A few highlights from this week's Review of Biblical Literature:

Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore
Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800
Reviewed by Carolyn Osiek

Mark J. Boda and Gordon T. Smith, eds.
Repentance in Christian Theology
Reviewed by David H. Wenkel

M. Eugene Boring
Mark: A Commentary
Reviewed by Darrell L. Bock

David B. Gowler
What Are They Saying about the Historical Jesus
Reviewed by Mary J. Marshall

Larry W. Hurtado
The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins
Reviewed by James F. McGrath
Reviewed by Joseph Verheyden

Hillel Newman, edited by Ruth Ludlam
Proximity to Power and Jewish Sectarian Groups of the Ancient Period: A Review of Lifestyle, Values, and Halakhah in the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Qumran
Reviewed by Gerbern Oegema

Jerome H. Neyrey
The Gospel of John
Reviewed by Mary L. Coloe

Monday, September 3, 2007

Great Resource For Bible Neophytes!

Danny Zacharias has announced that has reintroduced its online glossary of biblical studies terms, which he describes as "the largest glossary for biblical studies on the net (335 terms and counting)." This is a great resource for students taking introductory courses (I still remember long nights in the library struggling to memorize lovely terms like "amphictyony"!) or any others seeking greater fluency in the lingua franca of biblical scholarship. I've added it to the "Helpful Links" section of the blog. Check it out!

Upcoming Accordance Seminars

Regular readers of this blog know that I am an avid user of Accordance Bible Software. One of the many fringe benefits of this software is that its support staff regularly present seminars designed to expand users' working knowledge and improve their experiences. Here are the preliminary dates, times, and locations of some upcoming seminars:

Orlando, FL

Circle Community Church
Saturday Sept. 29 and Monday Oct. 1
All day seminars, choose one

Atlanta, GA
Atlanta Vineyard
Saturday Oct. 6
All day seminar

Houston and Dallas TX

to be decided

St. Louis, MO

to be decided

Concord, NH
United Baptist Church
Saturday Oct. 20 (or Monday 22)
All day seminar

Princeton, NJ
Princeton Theological Seminary
Thursday Oct. 25??
Day and Hours to be decided

South Hamilton, MA
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Saturday Oct. 27
All day seminar

Santa Barbara, CA
Saturday Nov. 10
All day seminar

San Diego, CA
Journey Community Church
Tuesday Nov. 13
Before the ETS meeting, all day seminar

San Diego, CA
Friday evening, Nov. 16
At AAR/SBL meeting, 7 to 10 pm

Berkeley, CA
Saturday Jan. 19, 2008
All day seminar

Tips For Statements of Purpose

On The Forbidden Gospels Blog, April DeConick has listed a number of timely tips for students preparing statements of purpose as part of their MA/PhD applications. As a student preparing to apply to a number of PhD programs this fall, I'm most grateful... thanks, Prof. DeConick!

New: Introduction to the Desert Fathers

A recent announcement from Wipf and Stock Publishers:

An Introduction to the Desert Fathers
by Jason Byassee

The desert fathers wanted to get away from a church co-opted by empire and a Christian faith grown cold and listless. Byassee’s introduction to the Sayings of the Desert Fathers is offered in the hope that readers with lives quite different from those third- and fourth-century desert dwellers might nevertheless come to imitate their lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience; and more importantly, that they might grow more imaginative and passionate in their following of the same Lord.

“Jason Byassee is the perfect guide—an intrepid all-terrain interpreter in the heart of the desert.”
Timothy Larsen, Wheaton College

Read Complete Description and Endorsements

Read Excerpts (includes Table of Contents)

Request Review or Exam Copy

ISBN 13: 978-1-59752-530-5 / 130 pp / $16 Retail / Paper

Latest from Tyndale Tech: SESB

The latest offering from Tyndale Tech (a nice resource prepared by David Instone-Brewer) is a review of the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible (SEBS), which features electronic editions of the Nestle-Aland and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia critical texts, as well as their respective apparatuses. Instone-Brewer concludes: "give away your paper BHS + NA27 and buy this. An extraordinary conclusion for someone who doesn't like Libronix, but this is an extraordinary product which is more usable than the paper versions." Jim West is a little more skeptical, and counters: "No. Don’t. It’s never proper to replace an easily portable, non electronic, easy to use reference tool for one that requires a battery or a cord. But, do take his advice seriously if you are looking for an electronic supplement to your print collection." I'm always loath to disagree with Jim West, but I'm not sure that I would describe the BHS/N-A apparatuses as "easy to use." When my first Greek instructor introduced our class to the N-A apparatus, he told us that we were learning not one but two languages: koine Greek and the countless sigla of the apparatus. Furthermore, in order to weigh manuscript evidence properly, one must learn the provenance and relevance of all the papyri, uncials, early translations, and other versions which appear in the apparatus. That's a lot of information.

In an electronic edition, all of this information is available at the click of a mouse. Instone-Brewer mentions that a slightly less powerful, less expensive version of the SEBS is also available from Accordance Bible Software; I have used this version for the past year or so. (I also recently purchased an Accordance edition of Bruce Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, which is included in the SEBS reviewed by Instone-Brewer.) My verdict: I love the feel and portability of my Greek-English New Testament, but text-critical work is much simpler in the digital world. Explanations of sigla and the provenances of manuscripts appear simply by placing the cursor over them. The apparatuses can be searched with ease according to scriptural references, critical signs, witnesses, etc. In preparation for an exegesis class I'm taking this fall, I wanted to see how papyri have affected the development of the Nestle-Aland text from the 25th edition to the present 27th edition, with particular emphasis on the Letter to the Hebrews. I simply searched the critical signs for the cross (which symbolizes a reading which was part of the 25th edition but has now been changed), restricted the search results to Hebrews, and noted that almost all of the changes were supported by the papyri. Pretty easy.

In short, I'll probably keep my paper editions... staring at computer screens all day makes my eyes tired. ;-) But I highly recommend electronic apparatuses to all serious biblical scholars.