Thursday, October 02, 2003

Bible Review, October

The October issue of Bible Review has appeared and, as usual, several of the articles are previewed on-line,

Rose Mary Sheldon, "Spy Tales"

-- a playful piece with the abstract "Meet the James Bonds of the biblical world, the secret agents who scouted out the Holy Land, sought breaches in Canannite defenses, and single-handedly brought down evil enemy empires." Also on-line is:

William H. C. Propp, "Who Wrote Second Isaiah?"

This is an enjoyable piece that resurrects a little-known theory of one Nehemiah Rabban that 2nd Isaiah's name was Meshullam (Isaiah 42.18-19). It's a kind of bold and lively attempt at detective work that reminds me of Michael Goulder, though he wouldn't be convinced by this theory since he's recently published a resurrection of another old idea, that the servant was Jehoiachin. I don't know whether there is anything in Propp's idea -- I can shamefully plead the ignorance of a New Testament scholar of current literature on the topic -- but it's certainly an entertaining piece and I wish more Biblical scholarship was like this.

Also in this month's Bible Review is a piece by Ronald S. Hendel, "Was There a Temple in Jerusalem?", subtitled "Wartime reports from Palestine mask the truth" (referenced also in Bible and Interpretation). An excerpt will give you the flavour of this piece:

In the Middle East, lies in wartime often also include lies about the past, since the past—or more precisely, public memory about the past—provides authority for claims about the present. I recently learned that the Palestinian Authority has taken to lying about the ancient biblical past in defense of its claims regarding Jerusalem. One of the chief negotiators of the Oslo accords, Saeb Erekat, states bluntly the current position of the Palestinian Authority: “For Islam, there was never a Jewish temple at Al Quds [Jerusalem].”1 This is one of the reasons why the Palestinians wouldn’t accept a compromise about Jerusalem during the Camp David negotiations. I was floored when I read this. What a whopper!

Finally, it's worth having a look at Jots and Tittles, especially Leonard Greenspoon's "A 666 Word Essay". And it really is 666 words long -- I couldn't resist pasting it into MS Word to find out. But you have to include the title & author and exclude the "Leonard J. Greenspoon holds the . . ." Good fun, though. Strange how people get all het up about 666 when the alternative reading, 616, seems to have an as good or better claim to be original. If you don't know what I'm talking about, have a look at The Other Number of the Beast.

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