Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jesus at the Movies: Week 1

To those of you who missed the first session of "Jesus at the Movies" this evening at lovely Christ Church United Methodist: where were you? ;-) Fortunately, however, the technological marvel that is Google Docs allows me to post the thoroughly captivating PowerPoint presentation (an introduction to the study of the historical Jesus, which will serve as a comparative framework for the evaluation of aspects of various films) here, so as to offset your inevitable feelings of emptiness, loss, etc. Alternatively, simply click on the slide below. Enjoy... and we hope to see you next week!

RBL Highlights: 7/9/09

A few highlights from this week's Review of Biblical Literature. Note the volume in honor of the recently retired Eric Meyers, which is co-edited by the venerable Prof. Tom McCullough (one of my favorite professors at Centre).

Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, S.J., and Tom Thatcher, eds.
John, Jesus, and History, Volume 1: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views
Reviewed by Jan G. van der Watt

Timothy K. Beal and Tod Linafelt, eds.
Mel Gibson's Bible: Religion, Popular Culture, and The Passion of the Christ
Reviewed by William Telford

Richard J. Clifford, ed.
Wisdom Literature in Mesopotamia and Israel
Reviewed by John Mason
Reviewed by Andrew E. Steinmann

Richard M. Davidson
Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament
Reviewed by Gerrie Snyman

Douglas R. Edwards and C. Thomas McCollough, eds.
The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the "Other" in Antiquity: Studies in Honor of Eric M. Meyers
Reviewed by Cynthia M. Baker

Daniel K. Falk
The Parabiblical Texts: Strategies for Extending the Scriptures among the Dead Sea Scrolls
Reviewed by Lee Martin McDonald

David Flusser, with R. Steven Notley
The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus' Genius
Reviewed by Robert L. Brawley

Philip S. Johnston, ed.
The IVP Introduction to the Bible
Reviewed by Douglas Estes

Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta
Acta Andreae Apocrypha: A New Perspective on the Nature, Intention and Significance of the Primitive Text
Reviewed by Lee Martin McDonald

Sara Parvis and Paul Foster, eds.
Justin Martyr and His Worlds
Reviewed by Shawn W. J. Keough

Jaroslav Pelikan
Reviewed by John B. F. Miller

F. E. Peters
The Voice, the Word, the Books: The Sacred Scripture of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims
Reviewed by Kirk R. MacGregor

Kocku von Stuckrad, ed.; Robert Barr, trans.
The Brill Dictionary of Religion
Reviewed by Wolfram Reiss

Geza Vermes
The Resurrection: History and Myth
Reviewed by Tony Costa
Reviewed by Michael R. Licona

BAR Highlights: 7/9/08

Recent archaeological news from Biblical Archaeology Review:

A Risen Messiah Before Jesus?
BAR Special News Report
The news media has been reporting on an important ancient text—like the Dead Sea Scrolls, but written on a stone tablet—that may challenge our understanding of the concept of messiah among Jews and Christians in ancient times. The first popular article on this intriguing tablet, called “Gabriel’s Vision,” appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review; read the article here, as well as a transcription and translation of the 87-line text.

Oldest Church Found?
BAR Special News Report
Excavators in Rihab, northern Jordan, say the have uncovered a cave underneath a third-century church that they believe was used by the very first Christians between the years 33, about when Jesus was crucified, and 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

“May His Bones Rot”
July 8, 2008
That’s what the Talmud said of the Roman emperor Hadrian, and understandably so considering his ruthless suppression of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome. But Hadrian’s many accomplishments, good and bad, long ago secured his place in history, as shown in this review article of an upcoming British Museum exhibit.

F Is for Fake
July 6, 2008
The Brooklyn Museum has announced that it believes about one third of its Coptic (Egyptian Christian) objects are fakes—and it plans to put them on exhibit to highlight the problem of forgeries.

Back Home to Egypt

July 5, 2008
A 2500-year-old wall relief has been returned to Egypt after it was pulled from an auction house sale in England. The relief had been looted from a pharaoh’s tomb in Luxor.

Brush Up Your Syriac
July 4, 2008
Brigham Young University and Catholic University of America have joined forces to produce the Syriac Studies Reference Library, a valuable online resource for the study of early Christian texts.

Baghdad Eyewitness
July 3, 2008
Former Iraq Museum director Donny George, who was present during the looting of the museum in the wake of the American invasion in 2003, describes in a video interview those calamitous days and what it was like working for Saddam Hussein.

Uncovering Urban Egypt

July 2, 2008
The widely-held view that the land of the pharaohs was a civilization without cities is being upended by new discoveries south of Luxor.

Authentic Imitations
July 1, 2008
A Nevada natural history museum has received a gift of reproductions of King Tut’s treasures. The gifts came from Luxor—Luxor, Las Vegas.

What Took You So Long?

June 30, 2008
Thanks to clues in the Odyssey and the timing of an ancient solar eclipse, two scientists think they know when Odysseus was finally reunited with his beloved Penelope.

Palmyra Before Palmyra

June 29, 2008
Thanks to its spectacular remains, the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria is one of the most striking Roman sites in the Middle East. But now Austrian, German and Syrian archaeologists have uncovered an earlier incarnation of the city, which dates to the Hellenistic period.

On the Ropes
June 28, 2008
A manmade cave on the Red Sea coast has yielded more than 30 coils of rope wrapped by Egyptian sailors 4,000 years ago. The discovery is providing insights into ancient Egyptian sailing and shipbuilding techniques.

Handling of Greece’s Heritage Creates Scandal
June 27, 2008
The Greek government is coming under increasing criticism for neglecting the country’s archaeological heritage—many sites are poorly maintained or not accessible to visitors. The site of Akrotiri, on the volcanic island of Santorini, for example, is closed for the third straight summer because the roof over the remains collapsed and has yet to be replaced.

Forget Xbox, Play the Royal Game of Ur

June 26, 2008
A British Museum curator has had a lifelong obsession with ancient Mesopotamia’s most popular board game. Deciphering cuneiform texts, he discovered how the game was played and even convinced former chess champion Garry Kasparov to try his hand at it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July SBL Newsletter

The first SBL Newsletter for July arrived in my inbox this evening. Among other news, the yearly subscription fee for the print edition of the Journal of Biblical Literature has been slightly increased, from $35 (for Society members) to $40. Not an exponential jump, but enough to inspire me to save a few trees and read each issue online!

Publications News

New JBL posted
Note the upcoming price changes for the Journal of Biblical Literature one-year print subscription. (JBL on-line included in membership)

Member pricing: $40 for print issue; Non-member pricing: $165 online only, $180 print only and $195 for print and online.

This increase will be effective starting with the Spring 2009 128:1 issue. If your renewal comes up before then or if you have already purchased a 2009 subscription, the price remains $35.

Logos has announced the upcoming availability of the Review of Biblical Literature (RBL)—9 years worth of reviews from 1998-2006 through Libronix.

Ten more books have been added to the ICI Online Books Project. Click here for the complete list of books in the project.

Meetings and Events

The International Meeting in Auckland is currently in progress. It will end July 11.

Annual Meeting Session Guides have been mailed to all SBL members. Look for yours in the mail soon. You can check the Online Program for changes or register for the meeting at

Career Center

Candidate registration for Jobs at the Annual Meeting is now open.

Employer registration for Jobs at the Annual Meeting will open July 16.

The American Theological Library Association is partnering with the Career Center. The Career Center's broad audience will make more visible the various opportunities available in the library field and provide SBL members additional career services. Check the Career Center homepage for more information.


We are aware that using FireFox 3.0 may lead to users experiencing errors using the site. We are working to get everything corrected shortly.

Society Fund

We invite you to make your 2008 contribution to the annual Society Fund. Your contributions are essential to SBL programs such as the Online books Project which provides online access to current, critical scholarship to students in qualifying countries.
Please join your colleagues in helping us reach our goal of $75,000.

Thank you for your continuous support and a special thank you to those who have already made their 2008 commitment.

Calendar items for July and August 2008
For more information on all Events listed,
click here.

July 2008

SBL International Meeting
Auckland, New Zealand
Click Here for more information.

ARAM Twenty-Fifth International Conference: The Decapolis
University of Oxford
Click Here for more information.

Society of Asian Biblical Studies Meeting; Seoul, Korea
Click Here for more information.

54e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale
University of Würzburg
More Information

Summer meeting of The Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS)
Wadham College, University of Oxford
For conference details click here.

International Conference on the Ancient Novel (ICAN 2008)in Lisbon, Portugal
includes sessions on Archaeology and the Ancient Novel and Early Christian Narrative and Jewish Narrative

The 63rd General Meeting of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (Society for the Study of the New Testament) will take place from July 29 to August 1 in Lund, Sweden. For members of the Society and their invited guests.

August 2008

Gender and Hebrew Bible conference
A Question of Sex: Embroidered Garments
King's College London
Strand Campus
For more detailed information please Click Here

Intertestamental Literature, Reading Non-canonical Books for biblical scholars from Catholic and various Protestant seminaries.
Conference Centre GBKP, Kabanjahe, North Sumatera, Indonesia
Contact: Fr. Dr. Hari Kustono or Rev. Armand Barus, Ph.D.

57th Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense; Topic: The Composition of the Book of Psalms
President: Prof. dr. Erich Zenger (University of Münster)
Venue: Catholic University of Leuven, Faculty of Theology, St-Michielsstraat 6, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
For more detailed information please contact:


Conference on Philemon
Theme: Philemon in Perspective
University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

For more detailed information Click Here

The Bible and Critical Theory 4.2

The latest issue of The Bible and Critical Theory is now available online. The included articles and reviews, with their respective hyperlinks, are listed below:


Julie Kelso
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 22.1-22.3.

Surveillant discipline: Panoptic vision in early Christian

David M. Reis
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 23.1-23.21.

Intersections in queer theory and postcolonial theory, and hermeneutical

Jeremy Punt
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 24.1-24.16.

Revelation for sale: An intercultural reading of Revelation 18 from an
East Asian perspective

Rohun Park
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 25.1-25.12.

The Story of Hannah (1 Sam 1:1-2:11) from a perspective of Han: The
three-phase transformative process

Yung Suk Kim
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 26.1-26.9.

`My business is circumference': A meditation on scission, locution,

Hilary Emmett
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 27.1-27.13.

Review of John J. Collins, The Bible After Babel: Historical Criticism
in a Postmodern Age: (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,

George Aichele
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 28.1-28.3.

Review of Corinna Riva & Nicholas C Vella (eds) Debating
Orientalization: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Change in the Ancient
Mediterranean: (London: Equinox, 2006.)

Michael Carden
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 29.1-29.3.

Review of Steven Schweitzer, Reading Utopia in Chronicles: (Library of
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 442. New York: T &T Clark, 2007)

Roland Boer
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 30.1-30.3.

Review of David Rhoads, From Every People and Nation: The Book of
Revelation in Intercultural Perspective

Rohun Park
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 31.1-31.4.

Review of Dan O. Via, Divine Justice, Divine Judgment: Rethinking the
Judgment of Nations: (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007)

Kathryn Imray
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 32.1-32.3.

Review of Hector Avalos, The End of Biblical Studies: (Amherst, NY:
Prometheus Books, 2007)

Peter D Miscall
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 33.1-33.4.

Review of J. W. Rogerson, According to the Scriptures: The Use of the
Bible in Social, Moral and Political Questions: (London: Equinox, 2007)

Craig Martin
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 34.1-34.3.

Review of Jerome T. Walsh, Ahab: The Construction of a King:
(Collegeville, MN: A Michael Glazier Book, Liturgical Press, 2006)

Lou McNeil
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 35.1-35.3.

Review of Ward Blanton, Displacing Christian Origins: Philosophy,
Secularity and the New Testament: (Chicago: The University of Chicago
Press, 2007)

Richard Walsh
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 36.1-36.4.

Review of Fiona Black (ed.), The Recycled Bible: Autobiography, Culture
and the Space Between: (Semeia Studies 51, Atlanta: Society of Biblical
Literature, 2006)

Christina Petterson
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 37.1-37.3.

Review of Anne F. Elvey, An Ecological Feminist Reading of the Gospel of
Luke: (Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2005)

Rohun Park
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 38.1-38.2.

Review of Warren S. Goldstein (ed.), Marx, Critical Theory and Religion:
A Critique of Rational Choice: (Studies in Critical Social Sciences,
vol. 6. Leiden: Brill, 2006)

Roland Boer
The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 2: 39.1-39.4.

New from OUP: Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies

This announcement, however, comes not from Oxford University Press itself but from Dove, which is offering an introductory special on this title here. Given the exorbitant list prices of the hardcover volumes in this series, I will almost certainly be waiting for a paperback edition. But for those interested readers with deeper pockets, this will be well worth a look.

Ashbrook, Susan David Hunter (eds)
Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies
(Oxford University Press, 2008) 1032 pages
Hardcover List: $155.00 Dove Price: $125.99 Save $29.01 (19%) NYP Due: 08/15/2008

The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies responds to and celebrates the explosion of research in this inter-disciplinary field over recent decades. As a one-volume reference work, it provides an introduction to the academic study of early Christianity (c. 100-600 AD) and examines the vast geographical area impacted by the early church, in Western and Eastern late antiquity. It is thematically arranged to encompass history, literature, thought, practices, and material culture. It contains authoritative and up-to-date surveys of current thinking and research in the various sub-specialties of early Christian studies, written by leading figures in the discipline. The essays orientate readers to a given topic, as well as to the trajectory of research developments over the past 30-50 years within the scholarship itself. Guidance for future research is also given. Each essay points the reader towards relevant forms of extant evidence (texts, documents, or examples of material culture), as well as to the appropriate research tools available for the area. This volume will be useful to advanced undergraduate and post-graduate students, as well as to specialists in any area who wish to consult a brief review of the 'state of the question' in a particular area or sub-specialty of early Christian studies, especially one different from their own.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Spring Wrap-Up: Greek Exegesis of Mark

My term paper for Prof. Adela Collins' exegetical course on the Gospel of Mark was an extended proposal for the increased application of recent text-critical theories, with their movement beyond basic questions of originality or authenticity of a particular passage, to the gospel's final verses. The thoughts presented herein are by no means exhaustive or complete, but I hope that they represent a starting point for further discussion.

* The end of the road, or just a fork? A fresh look at Mark 16:8-20


Spring Wrap-Up: Theology and Cinema

The course requirements for "Theology and Cinema" included two reflection papers on the relationship between theological motifs and one or more movies, as well as a detailed proposal for an individual lecture or complete course linking the studies of faith and film in some fashion. My proposal, entitled "The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Scholarship and Cinema," served as the basis for the four-week seminar which I'm facilitating at my home church, Christ Church United Methodist, each of the remaining Wednesday evenings in July. If you're in town, I hope to see you there!

* "Get Busy Livin', or Get Busy Dyin'": The Shawshank Redemption as Cinematic Passion Narrative

* “Love Doesn’t End…”: A Bultmannian Study of Love in The End of the Affair

* The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Scholarship and Cinema: A Proposal


Spring Wrap-Up: History and Methods of NT Research

Among the course requirements for "History and Methods of New Testament Research," taught by Prof. Adela Collins, were a few scholarly reviews of particularly influential articles and monographs. And now, in my infinite generosity, I share them with you here:

* Adolf Deissmann, Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History (new ed.; trans. William E. Wilson; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957), pp. 3-26.

* C. H. Dodd, “The First Epistle of John and the Fourth Gospel,” in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 21 (1937), pp. 129-156.

Eldon Jay Epp, “The Significance of the Papyri for Determining the Nature of the New Testament Text in the Second Century: A Dynamic View of Textual Tradition,” in William L. Petersen, ed., Gospel Traditions in the Second Century: Origins, Recensions, Text, and Transmission (Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity 3; Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989), pp. 71-103.

Idem, “The Multivalence of the Term ‘Original Text’ in New Testament Textual Criticism,” in Harvard Theological Review 92.3 (1999), pp. 245-281.

*John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, Volume I: The Roots of the Problem and the Person (Anchor Bible Reference Library; New York: Anchor Doubleday, 1991). 484 pp.

Idem, A Marginal Jew, Volume II: Mentor, Message, and Miracles (Anchor Bible Reference Library; New York: Anchor Doubleday, 1994). 1118 pp.

Idem, A Marginal Jew, Volume III: Companions and Competitors (Anchor Bible Reference Library; New York: Anchor Doubleday, 2001). 703 pp.

Another requirement was a text-critical commentary concerning a problematic New Testament passage of our choice. As textual criticism is a particular hobby of mine, this was largely a labor of love!

*Romans 5:1--A Text-Critical Commentary