Thursday, October 25, 2007

Accordance 7.4

Accordance Bible Software (my bible software of choice) has released another update to their excellent product. Version 7.4 may be downloaded here. There aren't a lot of exciting new features, but the development team is promising to add some in the near future... maybe before SBL next month? Maybe?

Sean Freyne: Still Circling the Northeast

Thanks to Deidre Good for this announcement:

Thursday, November 8
The Center for the Study of James the Brother at Bard College presents a lecture by renowned biblical scholar Sean Freyne entitled “Retrieving James/Yakov, the Brother of the Lord: From Legend to History” Free and open to the public.
4:00 p.m.
Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center

For those unable to attend the lecture at the College, it is available via a live webcast, followed by a question-and-answer session with Freyne at

Although Annandale-on-Hudson is more than two hours from New Haven, I'm thinking about making the trip, as James the brother of Jesus is one of my principle areas of interest. Plus, when Prof. Freyne was here last week he was kind enough to ask for a copy of my own paper on James, which I presented at last year's SBL Annual Meeting. I'm sure he was so moved by my breathtaking scholarship that he'll cite me at length. ;-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New: Titles from SBL Publications

New releases from the SBL:

The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel

Israel Finkelstein and Amihai Mazar
Edited by Brian B. Schmidt

Three decades of dialogue, discussion, and debate within the interrelated disciplines of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, ancient Israelite history, and Hebrew Bible over the question of the relevance of the biblical account for reconstructing early Israel’s history have created the need for a balanced articulation of the issues and their prospective resolutions. This book brings together for the first time and under one cover, a currently emerging “centrist” paradigm as articulated by two leading figures in the fields of early Israelite archaeology and history. Although Finkelstein and Mazar advocate distinct views of early Israel’s history, they nevertheless share the position that the material cultural data, the biblical traditions, and the ancient Near Eastern written sources are all significantly relevant to the historical quest for Iron Age Israel. The results of their research are featured in accessible, parallel syntheses of the historical reconstruction of early Israel that facilitate comparison and contrast of their respective interpretations. The historical essays presented here are based on invited lectures delivered in October of 2005 at the Sixth Biennial Colloquium of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in Detroit, Michigan.

Paper $24.95 — ISBN 9781589832770 — 232 pages — Archaeology and Biblical Studies 17 — Hardback edition

Seeking the Favor of God, Volume 2: The Development of Penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism

Mark J. Boda, Daniel K. Falk, and Rodney A. Werline, editors

The essays collected in this volume investigate the development of prayers of penitence within Jewish literature of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The book provides a critical overview of the present state of research on these prayers, and leading experts in the field use a variety of methodologies to investigate afresh various texts from the Hebrew Bible, apocryphal (deuterocanonical) and pseudepigraphical works, and the Qumran corpus in order to provide new insights into this prayer tradition. Contributors include Russell C. D. Arnold, Esther G. Chazon, Daniel K. Falk, LeAnn Snow Flesher, Michael H. Floyd, Judith H. Newman, Bilhah Nitzan, Eileen Schuller, Pieter M. Venter, and Rodney A. Werline.

Paper $39.95 — ISBN 9781589832787 — 300 pages — Early Judaism and Its Literature 22 — Hardback edition

The "We" Passages in the Acts of the Apostles: The Narrator as Narrative Character

William Sanger Campbell

This book explores the narrative significance of the “we” passages in Acts within the boundaries of acceptable ancient grammatical practice. It contends that the occasional first-person plural narrator represents a character whose entrance at crucial moments in Paul’s career parallels the role of Barnabas, the apostle’s earlier companion. Although consistent with the grammatical practice of ancient writers, the use of the “we” style in Acts nonetheless represents a variation of those conventions because the author of Acts wrote anonymously and never claimed personal participation in the events narrated. In analyzing the function of the narrator as narrative character, the book presents narrative literary strategy as a fruitful approach to these enigmatic texts whose narrative possibilities have in the past been subordinated to their historical potential.

Paper $19.95 — ISBN 9781589832053— 164 pages — Studies in Biblical Literature 14 — Hardback edition

Studia Philonica Annual XIX, 2007

David T. Runia and Gregory E. Sterling, editors

The Studia Philonica Annual is a scholarly journal devoted to furthering the study of Hellenistic Judaism, and in particular the writings and thought of the Hellenistic-Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria (circa 15 B.C.E. to circa 50 C.E.).

Cloth $39.95 — ISBN: 9781589832954 — 260 pages

Peter in the Gospel of John: The Making of an Authentic Disciple

Bradford B. Blaine Jr.

In this narrative-critical study Bradford B. Blaine Jr. argues, against conventional scholarship, that John’s Gospel presents Peter and the Beloved Disciple not as competitors but as colleagues who together serve as composite halves of the ideal Johannine Christian, with Peter representing praxis and John representing faith. Not only does Peter carry out activities fundamental to Johannine discipleship during Jesus’ earthly ministry, which include believing in Jesus, following him, and publicly confessing him, but he also demonstrates post-Easter missionary skills and is invested by the risen Jesus with pastoral responsibilities. Finally, in dying a martyr’s death, Peter glorifies God. Peter, in fact, is depicted in this Gospel as an inspirational founding member of the Johannine community.

Paper $29.95 — ISBN 9781589832725— 240 pages — Academia Biblica 27 — Hardback edition

BAR Highlights: 10/24/07

More recent archaeological news from Biblical Archaeology Review:

Head of IAA Slammed for Temple Mount Work

A committee of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has accused Israel Antiquities Authority director Shuka Dorfman of bypassing government regulations when he allowed Muslims authorities to dig a 500-yard-long trench on the Temple Mount without taking due care that ancient remains not be damaged. Related stories can be found at,7340,L-3462904,00.html and

First Temple Era Finds Identified

Archaeologists have for the first time examined an undisturbed layer dating to the First Temple period. Among the items recovered are ceramic tableware and animal bone. A report from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides additional photos.

Cyrene Goes Green
The ancient Libyan site hopes to attract tourists by becoming an environment-friendly location.

Diamond Anniversary

Scholars convene in Canada to mark the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Wall of Fame

French excavators have uncovered an 11,000-year-old wall painting northeast of Aleppo, Syria. Though it is the oldest such work known, some liken it to the work of modernist painter Paul Klee.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SBL Program Book... Plus, an Added Bonus!

I received my AAR/SBL program book today. There are a number of can't-miss panels and section meetings... and of course I'll have to find some time to hit the exhibit hall! ;-) In addition, I discovered an advertisement for a new (and completely free!) Greek resource:

Greek Bible Study

Mark Goodacre posted a brief endorsement of his own today. I played with it for a few minutes this evening, and my initial impressions are also very positive. The KJV and NASB versions may be viewed in parallel with Tischendorf's edition of the Greek New Testament. The Greek vocabulary is color-coded according to parsing. After logging into the site, the user may save his/her translations and textual notes for later use. There is even a "Graduated Reader" feature, which displays certain portions of the Greek text once the user indicates that he/she has completed the corresponding sections in William Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek.

If you're a veteran Greek student looking for some additional practice, or a neophyte looking to engage in independent study for the first time, this is the resource for you!

New: Victoria Clark on Christian Zionism

A recent release from the hometown team (Yale University Press):

Allies for Armageddon
The Rise of Christian Zionism

Victoria Clark


Guided by a literal reading of the prophetic sections of the Bible, Christian Zionists are convinced that the world is hurtling toward a final Battle of Armageddon. They believe that war in the Middle East is God’s will for the region. In this timely book, Victoria Clark first explores the 400-year history of this powerful political ideology, laying to rest the idea that Christian Zionism is a passing craze or the province of a lunatic fringe. Then Clark surveys the contemporary Christian Zionist scene in Israel and in the United States, where the influence of the religious fundamentalists has never been greater.

Clark engages with Christian Zionism directly, interviewing leaders, attending events, and traveling with Christian Zionists in the Holy Land. She also investigates the Christian Zionist presence in Israel. She finds that the view through the Christian Zionist lens is dangerously simple: President Bush’s War on Terror is a mythic battle between good and evil, and Syria and Iran represent the powers of darkness. Such views are far from rare—an estimated fifteen to twenty million Americans share them. Almost one in three Americans believes Israel was given to the Jews by God as a prelude to the Battle of Armageddon and Jesus’ Second Coming. Clark concludes with an assessment of Christian Zionists’ impact on American foreign policy in the Middle East and on America’s relationships with European allies since the attacks of 9/11.

Victoria Clark, a freelance journalist and writer, contributes to the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, Prospect magazine, and The Tablet. She formerly was correspondent and Moscow bureau chief for the Observer (London). The most recent of her three books on religious history is Holy Fire: The Battle for Christ’s Tomb. She lives in London.

October Markdowns from Dove!

Another welcome announcement from Dove Booksellers!

Limited Markdown Books for October 2007

Now Through October 31, 2007
Order 5 limited markdown books, get the 5th book at no charge!
Order 10, pay for 8, get 2 at no charge
(for every 5, one will be at no charge)

We've spent the last few week adding titles to our limited selection, including many that we have never offered before, as well as restocking some items that had sold out. There are some gems that will go quickly to the earliest shoppers!

Display Limited Quantity Markdowns

The link above takes you to the list of markdown item
which you display according to your interest area, publisher, etc.

Many titles available from:
E. J. Brill
Society of Biblical Literature
Wm. B. Eerdmans
Augsburg Fortress
Sheffield Academic Press
Yale University Press
Oxford University Press
T & T Clark International

.... and many other university and academic publishers.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jewish Martyrdom with Tessa Rajak

Sadly, I won't be able to attend this one (I have an interview with Carney-Sandoe that afternoon). But it looks good:

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24 @ 12 PM | Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., Room 208

Judaic Studies Seminar:

"The Meaning of Martyrdom: Kiddush Ha-Shem from the Maccabean Literature to Akiva"

Martyrdom and/or Resistance: The Jewish Revolts

Tessa Rajak, Seminar Chair
Horace W. Goldsmith Visiting Professor of Judaic Studies, Classics and History, Yale University

Hosted by the Program in Judaic Studies and the Whitney Humanities Center. Lunch provided. Please contact for more information.