Wednesday, August 31, 2005

British New Testament Conference starts today

The British New Testament Conference starts today and is hosted this year by Liverpool Hope University. I will be going along and will take my blogging machine with me. I doubt that there will be any wireless or other internet access -- I've not known it thus far with any of the BNTC locations -- but you never know. But at some point, expect some reports. And I look forward to seeing some of you there.

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Warren and several of his students in Biblical Textual Criticism from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at the Birmingham Colloquium in April. I have been wondering about them over the last few days given the devastation wrought by Hurrican Katrina. The seminary does have a Hurricane Katrina Update, which gives some idea of the extent of the devastation, as they attempt to set up temporary offices elsewhere, looking to locate members of the faculty. I hope all is well with them; they too are in our thoughts and prayers.

Update (1.11): more here: BREAKING NEWS: NOBTS president says 'damage unknown'; moves offices to Ga.

Update (Monday, 5 September, 13.58): Jim West has more on Biblical Theology. I also heard via my colleague David Parker that Bill Warren and his colleagues are all safe and well, though naturally their lives are in unpheaval.

D is for Danove

Thanks also to Ted Blakley for this one:

Paul Danove
Villanova University, Villanova, PA, U.S.A.

I've added it to Scholars: D but haven't had time to refresh that page overall.

T is for Thompson

Thanks to Ted Blakley for this one, now on Scholars: T

Marianne Meye Thompson
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, U.S.A.

There are extensive course materials available on a variety of subjects, especially the Gospels.

M is for McKnight

I've now refreshed the Scholars: M page on the NT Gateway, adding Scot McKnight's page, changing URLs to several others (usual complaint: none of them had set up automatic forwards), and deleting Bruce Malina's page, which has gone password-protected, and deleting David Mealand (gone) and David Mealand (gone).

Update (Thursday, 00.57): And thanks to Scot McKnight for his kind mention in his blog Jesus Creed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

For a while, I've had a link to Rob Bradshaw's blog in my blogroll, alongside his blog, both of which I enjoy following. I've now added a link also to the site on my short Early Church and Patristics page, with thanks to Rob for the suggestion.

More scholars, C, especially Chesnutt

Some further NT Gateway Scholars updates. Scholars: C has been refreshed; I've deleted Larry Chouinard -- can't find him. I've added Severino Croatto, with thanks to Luis Durruty for the link. For those who read Spanish (I don't), there's lots there.

I've updated several URLs, and this always gives me a chance to see how the quiet open-source revolution on scholars' homepages is continuing. It's something I've often mentioned here, but it is exciting to see the extent to which scholarship is being made available to a wide audience through reproductions on scholars' homepages. The latest excellent contribution to this revolution is Randall Chesnutt who has the following of his articles available as PDFs on the site for all to view:

"Perceptions of Oil in Early Judaism and the Meal Formula in Joseph and Aseneth," Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, 14 (2005) 113-32.

"George Nickelsburg's Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah: Retrospect and Prospect," in G. W. E. Nickelsburg in Perspective: An Ongoing Dialogue of Learning, Jacob Neusner and Alan J. Avery-Peck, eds., 2 vols., Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 80. Leiden: Brill, 2003. Vol. 2, pp. 343-56

"Covenant and Cosmos in Wisdom of Solomon 10-19," in The Concept of the Covenant in the Second Temple Period, eds. Stanley E. Porter and Jacqueline C. R. de Roo. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 71. Leiden: Brill, 2003. Pp. 223-49.

"From Text to Context: The Social Matrix of Joseph and Aseneth," in Society of Biblical Literature 1996 Seminar Papers, ed. K. H. Richards. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996. Pp. 285-302

"Jewish Women in the Greco-Roman Era," in Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity, vol. 1, ed. Carroll Osburn. Joplin, MO: College Press, 1993. Pp. 93-130

"Revelatory Experiences Attributed to Biblical Women in Early Jewish Literature," in 'Women Like This': New Perspectives on Jewish Women in the Greco-Roman World, ed. A.-J. Levine, Early Judaism and Its Literature 1. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991. Pp. 107-25.

"The Social Setting and Purpose of Joseph and Aseneth," Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 2 (1988) 21-48

Lots of material of interest there, and lots for me to add to my Aseneth Bibliography, which is in desperate need of a decent overhaul.

New homepage

My move away from Birmingham necessitates a move of my homepage, which has been located at in Birmingham for several years. I have moved all the content over to a new template I've adjusted from the NT Gateway templates, so you'll recognise the look. Please let me have any criticisms or suggestions (and no, I can't do anything about my grinning face, I am afraid):

Mark Goodacre's Homepage

While I have moved the content over, I have also done a bit of an update to the information contained. And its URL is, following the standard means of organising things here,


ITSEE is the name of a new institute at the University of Birmingham, the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing, created in May this year, the directors of which are my long time colleague David Parker and my new colleague Peter Robinson. It has a smart new website, including a news section, and it's well worth a visit:

Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing

Neville Birdsall

I have commented previously on the Times Obituary of Neville Birdsall written by my colleague David Parker. Thanks to Richard Birdsall for pointing out to me that there was also an obituary in The Independent:

Professor J. Neville Birdsall
Formidably erudite New Testament scholar

Unfortunately, the bulk of the article is subscription only.

See also this special page at the University of Birmingham's new ITSEE:

Professor J. Neville Birdsall

It features the eulogy delivered by David Parker at Neville Birdsall's funeral. And see too a brief Leeds University Obituary.

Jesus Creed Adjustment

I've belatedly got round to adjusting my blogroll -- Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed recently moved and I've made the adjustment to the new feed on my blogroll.

E is for Evans

On Primal Subversion, Sean du Toit draws attention to Craig Evans's powerpoint presentations and documents, which are well worth a visit (though Introduction to the Four Gospels is not working). He has an interesting one on Historical Jesus Quests, which, as it happens, illustrates one of Dale Allison's complaints in Secularizing Jesus (see previous post), that there was ever such a thing as a period of "no quest". Anyway, I checked my links and noticed that I had an outdated link to Craig Evans's homepage on my Scholars: E page, which I have no refreshed all through (though I failed to locate Claudio Ettl, so I've deleted that link).

Dale Allison's Resurrecting Jesus

I'll join with Loren Rosson on The Busybody in looking forward to Dale Allison's latest, Resurrecting Jesus:
I'm excited about this book, which is definitely the best study of the resurrection. (I know from proof-reading a part of it.) It steers between the poles of Wright and Ludemann, using the best of both worlds while eschewing dogmatism from either side. Dale makes a good case for historicity of the empty tomb, though differently than Wright, and with sanity by recognizing the variety of possibilities which could account for an empty tomb -- an actual resurrection being but one of them. Then too he dabbles into grief-induced visions, though again, better than Ludemann does, and with less dogmatic surety. Dale well understands that Jesus expected to suffer and die (probably expected some of his followers to die too) as a necessary prelude to the apocalypse. That apocalypse, about which our Galilean friend was obviously mistaken.
Continuum have a shed load of endorsements that echo Loren's opinion:

Resurrecting Jesus
The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters

including comments from Jimmy Dunn, Scot McKnight, Gregory Sterling, Joel Marcus, Craig Evans, Daniel Harrington, Gregory Sterling, David Aune. From the look of the table of contents,
1. Secularizing Jesus
2. The Problem of Audience
3. The Problem of Gehenna
Excursus I: Percy Bysshe Shelley and the Historical Jesus
4. Apocalyptic, Polemic, Apologetics
5. Torah, Urzeit, Endzeit
6. Resurrecting Jesus
Excursus II: Joseph of Arimathea
Excursus III: The Disciples and Bereavement
Index of Scripture
Index of Modern Names
there are several pieces that have been floated prior to publication on the net, including chapters 2 and 3 on the Xtalk Allison Seminar in 2003 and chapter 1 on Allison's homepage, a brilliant piece entitled The Secularizing of the Historical Jesus (PDF).

Update (Wednesday, 19.10): On The Busybody Loren Rosson notes that the books is now available. I'm hoping that Continuum bring a batch with them to the BNTC tomorrow; it will be the first book I'm after. Meanwhile, on Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight speaks of getting Allison, Segal and Wright together (and in comments Rosson rightly adds Lüdeman) for a juicy debate on all of this. Great idea.

Apocryphal Jesus @ Rel Anc Med

I'll second Tyler Williams's endorsement of a series of excellent posts from Phil Harland on New Testament Apocrypha. So far:

1. The Cursing Infant Jesus
2. The Little Drummer Boy and Protevangelium of James
3. Jesus' Descent into Hell and Satan's Conversation with Hades
4. Peter (in the Pseudo-Clementines) on "false" passages in scripture
5. Acts of John: Be thou like the bed-bugs

Hurricane Katrina

Spare a thought or a prayer for biblioblogger Michael Homan who has not signed back in since Sunday and at that point sounded pretty concerned about Hurrican Katrina, The Die is Cast. Hope all's well, Michael.

Update (Tuesday, 01.21): as others have also commented, Michael Homan reports, "I survived Hurricane Katrina, but it transformed me. I am a different person . . . ."

Wright in Portuguese

You know you've made it when your work is translated into Portuguese; the latest addition to the N. T. Wright page offers a Portuguese translation of Paul in Different Perspectives (PDF).

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature under the NT heading:

Koester, Craig R.
Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community
Reviewed by Petrus Maritz

Koester, Helmut, ed.
Cities of Paul: Images and Interpretations from the Harvard New Testament and Archaeology Project
Reviewed by Warren Carter

Meyer, Marvin and Charles Hughes, eds.
Jesus Then and Now: Images of Jesus in History and Christology
Reviewed by Joel Williams

Riches, John and David C. Sim, eds.
The Gospel of Matthew in Its Roman Imperial Context
Reviewed by Donald Carson

Rossing, Barbara R.
The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation
Reviewed by David Mathewson

Monday, August 29, 2005

Eric Meyers on TV this week

If you are in North Carolina (wish I was), Eric Meyers will be on UNC public television this week:

Jewish Heritage Foundation of NC in the spotlight on UNC-TV (

Don't miss seeing Dr. Eric Meyers in a fascinating conversation with William Friday on the North Carolina People program, airing on Friday, September 2, 2005 at 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 4, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. The origins of the Jewish Heritage Foundation of NC, the continuing influence of Rabbi Efraim Rosenzweig on our work, the Down Home project, and Dr. Meyers remarkable career as an archeologist and scholar are among the topics in this erudite and wide-ranging discussion.

The program will also air in all of the NC Channel slots during the week -- Monday, at 7:00 am, 8:30 am, and 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, at 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. UNC-TV’s NC Channel is available to those with a digital tuner or digital cable with Time Warner.

If you miss the air times, the interview will also be available streaming on the Web for a month. Point your browser to:

Michael Thompson homepage

I've added Michael Thompson, Ridley Hall, Cambridge, UK, to the Scholars: T page. I've also refreshed all the links on that page, including James Tabor who is advertising a forthcoming new book called The Jesus Dynasty, due out next year.

Classes Start Today

My first class in my new job at Duke University, Dept of Religion starts today. It's Introduction to the New Testament and meets at 1.30 . . . . . except that I'm not there to teach it. I'm still in Birmingham awaiting the arrival of my visa. Everything else is pretty much in place. You might say that I am "virtually" there -- I have a faculty page and a working email address (, I've set up all my teaching on the Blackboard site which Duke uses. Incidentally, I've enjoyed using Blackboard for the first time. So far, pretty intuitive and straightforward.

So what's the plan? Dr Andrew Mbuvi is teaching my NT class until I arrive in person. We await more news from US immigration. I am still hopeful that we will be able to move within the next two to three weeks, but it is impossible to say more until we hear more. In the mean time, one bonus of still being here is that I will take a last visit to the British New Testament Conference at the end of this week. I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Update (Tuesday, 1.16): Not long after writing the above post, I heard from Duke International Office that that my H1-B visa has been approved; now I await an appointment at the US consulate in London.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

That Jesus film

If you are interested in Jesus films, one of life's little mysteries is how the Jesus film (John Krish & Peter Sykes, 1979) can be so successful as an international tool of evangelism when it is so bad. On Filmchat Peter Chattaway points to an interesting piece in last week's New York Times:

Putting Jesus in Every Mailbox
Warren Smith, the publisher of an evangelical Christian newspaper in Charlotte, N.C., compares the movie "Jesus" to the jawbone of an ass.

That is, it does not matter if the movie, a 1979 box office flop, has a gooey soundtrack and a British voiceover, or if the actor who plays Jesus breathes noticeably as he lies in the tomb. If a weapon as unlikely as a jawbone can slay an army, as the biblical story goes, then "Jesus," direct-mailed on DVD to every household in Mecklenburg County, N.C., can offer salvation.
Not so sure that having a British voiceover can be held against it. I'd never even noticed. Is it British? Isn't it Richard Kiley and isn't he American? There are some nice stories in the article, including this:
A turning point came when a doctor in Birmingham, Ala., Robert Cosby, bought 1.7 million copies and mailed them in 1998 to every household in Alabama, although he "wasn't very impressed" when he saw the film.

"I mean, it was a nice film," Mr. Cosby recalled the other day, speaking by telephone from his home. "I would say it was moderately good."

The mailing included Mr. Cosby's home address and telephone number. One day, he said, he found a copy of the video in his front yard with a note that said, "Jesus has returned."
Peter Chattaway has a link to Martin E. Marty's comments and to several other useful bits and bobs, with additional comments. Something new to me:
Hopping on to yet another tangent, I saw this film on the big screen when it was brand new, and I bought a copy of Lee Roddy's novelization that still occupies a prominent place on my Jesus-movies bookshelf. That's right, a film whose big selling point was that it was for the most part a word-for-word adaptation of the Gospel of Luke was novelized.
And if you don't own a copy yet, you can pick one up on Amazon for $0.01! An offer not to be missed, surely.

Peter also refers to an article in Christian Century by John Dart on The Making of Jesus -- the Motion Picture and I have added that to my page on the Jesus film.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature under the NT heading:

Boring, M. Eugene and Fred B. Craddock
The People's New Testament Commentary
Reviewed by Jeffrey Lamp

Harvey, A. E.
A Companion to the New Testament: Second Edition
Reviewed by Julia Fogg

Newheart, Michael Willett
"My Name Is Legion": The Story and Soul of the Gerasene Demoniac
Reviewed by Kamila Blessing

Newheart, Michael Willett
"My Name Is Legion": The Story and Soul of the Gerasene Demoniac
Reviewed by D. Kille

Penner, Todd and Caroline Vander Stichele, eds.
Contextualizing Acts: Lukan Narrative in Greco-Roman Discourse
Reviewed by Paul Elbert

Powell, Mark Allan
Loving Jesus
Reviewed by Doreen Mcfarlane

Powell, Mark Allan
Loving Jesus
Reviewed by Joel Williams

Warren, David H., Ann Graham Brock, and David W. Pao, eds.
Early Christian Voices in Texts, Traditions, and Symbols: Essays in Honor of François Bovon
Reviewed by H. H. Williams

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Illuminating Luke, Volume 2

Thanks to Mikeal Parsons for the good news that the second volume of Illuminating Luke is now available:

Illuminating Luke, Volume 2
The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting
by Mikeal C. Parsons and Heidi J. Hornik
August 1, 2005
ISBN: 0567028208
192 Pages
7 x 10 | 254 x 178


This book examines visual representations of the public ministry of Christ in scenes unique to the Gospel of Luke. Scenes depicting the birth, suffering, and crucifixion of Christ no doubt dominated the visual repertoire of medieval and renaissance artists. Nonetheless, the miracles and teachings of Jesus also inspired numerous depictions, not only during the period of the earliest Christian art but continuing throughout the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods. The book demonstrates how this “visual exegesis” might enrich our understanding of Luke’s Gospel and at the same time inform the contemporary faith community’s interpretation of Scripture. Each of these chapters begins with an overview of the biblical passage and its subsequent interpretation, noting significant rhetorical features and the overarching theological argument of the text, as well as outlining a brief summary of its subsequent interpretation in the ecclesiastical literature. Next, the selected work of art is lent context by giving a brief biography of the artist, placing the work within the artist’s own oeuvre, discussing what is known of the patronage of the specific mage, and exploring important social, political and religious factors which may facilitate our understanding of the painting. A stylistic and iconographic analysis is followed by brief hermeneutical reflections about how this visual interpretation might inform the church’s reading of Scripture.

Illuminating Luke will appeal broadly to students of the Bible and the history of Christian art. Scholars and students interested in the history of biblical interpretation will benefit from this book. Likewise, educated laypersons and pastors will find in its pages rich resources for theological reflection

Reviews for Illuminating Luke, Volume 2

"Hornick and Parsons rightly discern that biblical texts cannot be segregated from their 'afterlife,' and that the interpretive tradition cannot be limited to the linear words of the treatise or commentary. Bycontextualizing key exemplars of the "visual exegesis" of selected scenes from Jesus' public ministry unique to Luke, they draw us into the history of Luke's reception in ways that are equally elegant and engaging. Here is a book that both excites critical reflection and invites joyful participation. Joel B. Green, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Vice President of Academic Affairs & Provost, Asbury Theological Seminary

"One of the endlessly-interesting things about studying works of art is that so many different approaches are possible. The series entitled 'Illuminating Luke' chooses to examine a few works in exaustive but enlightening detail. One comes away from each example with a greater understanding not only of some of the meanings the work conveyed at the moment of its creation, but also of an increased awareness into how it can be understood in our modern world." -David G. Wilkins, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

"This book is an eye-opener! Fascinating discussion of five stunning Italian paintings opens up intriguing vistas on key passages in Luke's Gospel. A wide readership will appreciate the authors' clarity and rigour, and will look forward eagerly to the final volume in a trilogy which will be a landmark in our appreciation of the 'visual exegesis' of Luke's Gospel."
-Graham Stanton, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge

Cornelis Bennema

On the Scholars: B page, I've added:

Dr Cornelis Bennema
South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, Bangalore, India

The page features several full text reproductions of articles:

"The Sword of the Messiah and the Concept of Liberation in the Fourth Gospel"
Biblica 86 (2005): 35-58

"Spirit-Baptism in the Fourth Gospel. A Messianic Reading of John 1,33."
Biblica 84 (2003): 35-60

"The Giving of the Spirit in John's Gospel: A New Proposal?"
Evangelical Quarterly 74 (2002): 195-213

"The Strands of Wisdom Tradition in Intertestamental Judaism: Origins, Developments and Characteristics"
Tyndale Bulletin 52 (2001): 61-82

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More BNTC updates

I've made some more updates to the BNTC website for the conference programme this year, Liverpool, 1-3 September:

British New Testament Conference

The updates are to the Short Papers -- full programme (minus one abstract) now available -- and to Johannine Literature, where there is a change in the programme.

As it happens, I sent my own booking in today, since it now looks like I am going to be able to make it after all. It's a conference I always look forward to, so I am very pleased that I should be able to make it, having earlier thought that it would not be possible.

Biblical Theology Bulletin, Spring 2005:

Articles from the Spring 2005 edition of Biblical Theology Bulletin are now on-line at FindArticles:

Biblical Theology Bulletin, Spring 2005

Of particular interest:

Sean P. Kealy, Change and the Gospels
A review of currents of change that have characterized traditional and recent interpretative models of critical gospel interpretation. The author characterizes changes that occurred up to and since the 1970s, noting how recent developments have integrated critical methods of the 19th and 20th centuries into a performance mode as in music and drama.

Douglas E. Oakman, Culture, society, and embedded religion in antiquity
After the concepts of "society," "culture," and the "embeddedness of religion" have been reviewed from the standpoint of the social sciences, religion's place in antiquity is considered in relationship to the Judean temple, ecclesia and synagogue, and the controverted terms "Jew" and "Christian." The meaning of religion, and the role it plays in human affairs, is argued to be fundamentally dependent upon its location in society or culture.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Top 500 World Universities

The latest edition of Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Top 500 World Universities has now been published:

Academic Ranking of World Universities -- 2005

Harvard is still top, but Cambridge jumps to second above Stanford. Education Guardian comments:

Cambridge climbs to second in world university rankings
Donald MacLeod
American institutions, both public and private, dominate the list but this year Stanford has ceded second place to Cambridge. Oxford has dropped from eighth to 10th in the table which its compilers admit favours science. The number of Nobel prize winners among alumni and on the staff count towards 30% of the ranking and Cambridge alumni almost equals Harvard's in this respect . . . .

. . . . UK university continue to perform well against the European competition - Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and University College London take the top four places in Europe, with Edinburgh in ninth position. Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, King's College London and Nottingham are all in the top 30 universities in Europe.
But of course we are all going to use this list to see where our universities figure, those where we studied and those where we work. It's difficult to resist the urge to look. Oxford, where I studied, is still in the top 10, just. Birmingham, where I work, just makes the Top 100, coming in at 98, dropping five places from last year (see last year's comment here), but that's still pretty respectable. Duke, where I am moving in September, is at 32.

Update (9.46): In comments Ken Olson notes that things are a little different for the American universities in the US News and World Report rankings. See America's Best Colleges 2005. Harvard and Princeton tie at the top, Yale at 3, UPenn 4 and Duke, MIT and Stanford tied at 5.

Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism latest

Thanks to Matthew Brook O'Donnell for alerting me to new additions to the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism:

Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism (Volume 2)

The new articles are the following:
2.5: Douglas C. Mohrmann, Boast Not in your Righteousness from the Law: A New Reading of Romans 10.6-8

2.6: Jintae Kim, The Concept of Atonement in Hellenistic Thought and 1 John

2.7: Jintae Kim, The Concept of Atonement in Early Rabbinic Thought and the New Testament Writings

2.8: Craig Keener, ‘Let the Wife have Authority Over Her Husband’ (1 Corinthians 11.10)

2.9: Patrick James, Participial Complementation in Roman and Byzantine Documentary Papyri: ἐπίσταμαι, μανθάνω, εὑρίσκω
Remember that eventually these will go into print and will disappear from the web, so enjoy their on-line presence while it lasts!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Synoptic Problem and Q Page Refresh

Thanks to Mathew Schlechter for alerting me to the need to refresh all my links on the NT Gateway to articles that were hosted on the old Synoptic-L site, now at I am referring to the links to articles on this page:

Synoptic Problem and Q: Books and Articles

I have not put "New URL" by each one this time, mainly because I couldn't be bothered.

Bibliobloggers' Brill Books

It's most reassuring to discover that biblioblogging is indeed conducive to writing books! And these are not just any old books but top quality Brill monographs. Congratulations to both Jim Davila and Torrey Seland. Jim Davila of Paleojudaica announces his new book, now on Brill's website, The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha: Jewish, Christian, or Other?, and Torrey Seland of Philo of Alexandria blog announces that Strangers in the Light: Philonic Perspectives on Christian Identity in 1 Peter is now in the shops.

Richard Oster

Thanks to Matthew Schlechter for alerting me to Richard Oster's homepage (CV -- PDF only) URL change, now adjusted on Scholars: O, P, Q. Richard Earl Oster is based at Harding University, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Your favourite Jesus

On Codex: Blogspot Tyler Williams draws attention to the Arts and Faith forum topic:

Who is your favourite Film Jesus?

It looks like the list has been put together by Matt Page and it's splendidly comprehensive. Leaders so far are Jim Caviezel (not Cavaziel) and Robert Powell. I like Caviezel's portrayal, but I'm not a fan of Powell's. I'll have to sleep on this question to work out who my one vote should go to. I'm tempted to say Henry Ian Cusick, of the Gospel of John. There are elements in lots of them I like, e.g. parts of Willem Dafoe's Jesus in Last Temptation of Christ, but not all of it; and I like some of Jeremy Sisto's Jesus (1999) and Ted Neeley's (not Neely) Jesus Christ Superstar. Definite no's for me are Victor Garber (Godspell) and Max Von Sydow (Greatest Story).

More BNTC updates

There are more updates available on the British New Testament Conference website, specifically full papers for downloading on the Acts Seminar page and on the Social World of the New Testament page.

Death of W. H. C. Frend

On Rob Bradshaw notes the passing of W. H. C. Frend on July 1, with a link to this obituary in the Telegraph:

The Rev Prof William Frend

Google Print set back

On Biblical Theology, Jim West notes an article from

Google Halts Scanning of Copyrighted Books
By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer
Stung by a publishing industry backlash, Google Inc. has halted its efforts to scan copyrighted books from some of the nation's largest university libraries so the material can be indexed in its leading Internet search engine.

The company announced the suspension, effective until November, in a notice posted on its Web site just before midnight Thursday by Adam Smith, the manager of its ambitious program to convert millions of books into a digital format.
The announcement can be read on Google Blog, which is a great deal more up-beat than the Associated Press article above.

Although neither the article nor Google's announcement make the distinction explicitly, it seems that the halt is not over the continuing Google Print project but specifically over the scanning of material in libraries. The vast majority of what I have found on Google Print (and it is a huge amount) is not from this older, scanned material, but from contemporary works that Google have taken over digitally from the publishers themselves, e.g. Cambridge University Press (cf. my recent post on Mark Chancey's book). This is comparable to what is going on on Amazon and the story that they tell is that the full-text availability tends to increase sales rather than the reverse. I'd be interested to hear more on whether there is evidence to back that up.

Update (15.38): more on The Google Weblog under the title Google Sells Out Users to Publishers. This post makes it clear that the issue is indeed one about whether or not to the books can be allowed to be scanned and so available for searching, and not necessarily that there would be full text availability on all the scanned books. This blog is pretty biting in its criticism of the publishers:
Publishers, in typical copyright-holder paranoia fashion worried that perhaps the two line snippets Google would be providing of their books would spell the end of the world for their entire industry . . . . That's right: Google won't even scan any book copyright holders ask them not to, even though doing so is perfectly legal. It's as if copyright holders got to dictate what books get placed in libraries. Their short-sighted selfishness will cost us all, depriving us of our heritage in our online Library of Alexandria.
Note: the Google Weblog independent of Google -- run by an enthusiast.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Where do you start with Goulder?

Matthew Page asks, "Where would you advise someone to start with Goulder?" Interesting question. In his hey-day, there's no question but I'd encourage someone to get to hear him live. I used to attend his day schools here in Birmingham when I was a student and watch him spar with the top scholars of the day, watching him win every time. (Michael did tend to see the sessions in terms of "winning" or not.) He told me once that he thought Richard Bauckham had proved a formidable opponent and that, because he (Michael) did not have a good response to Bauckham on the Ascension of Isaiah, that the result was a "draw".

But since his retirement in 1994, to get a flavour you need to begin with his writings. On the whole, Goulder has written for an academic audience, aiming at peers -- fellow scholars and post-graduate students, and taking for granted much of the introductory material. He's rarely been someone whose written work one can approach as a beginner. The major exception to this would be his Tale of Two Missions (London: SCM, 1994) [published in the US as Peter vs. Paul] which is an enjoyable paperback introduction to one of his later theories on Christian origins. So that might be a reasonable place to start. But it doesn't get to the heart of what I've most enjoyed about Michael Goulder's work. I think the book I most like is Midrash and Lection in Matthew (London: SPCK, 1974), brilliant, imaginative, under-rated. Perhaps next I'd list Luke: A New Paradigm (JSNTSup, 20; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1989). I've made one of his articles available on the web, "Is Q a Juggernaut?".

Tom Wright in Seattle; Jesus Seminar dead?

The N. T. Wright page, among several new updates, has a link to the following:

A Conversation with N. T. Wright
Response: The Seattle Pacific University Magazine

If you are familiar with Tom Wright's writings, you will recognise many of the characteristic emphases. If you are not familiar with them, this interview might actually be a useful introduction. But in addition, I was struck by this paragraph:
Q: What about the “Jesus Seminar”?
I see that the “Jesus Seminar” has long since run out of steam. That was really an ’80s and ’90s movement with a bunch of scholars who were working within a very tight paradigm of what would count as gospel research. Most of that was laughed at at the time by the majority of the serious scholars in the field. Not all. There are some significant figures, such as John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, who played a leading role. But most of the main Jesus scholars would never have had anything to do with that. So that the Seminar’s claim to be the scholarly take on all the subjects that it touched was never plausible, even at the time. And, actually, it’s died a death now. I mean, I don’t think anyone really takes it seriously.
This looks a bit overstated to me. Is the Jesus Seminar really dead?

Friday, August 12, 2005

E. P. Sanders's Library

On the Novum Testamentum blog, Brandon Wason has a link to Dove Books' 30 page listing of E. P. Sanders's library:

Library of E. P. Sanders

The page features a short bio and then dozens of books from Sanders's collection for sale.

Update (Monday, 13.03): Sean the Baptist comments and no, I don't think it's "nerdy" to take pleasure in the idea of owning a great scholar's books. Perhaps we should add it to Michael Bird's NT Buff Top Ten. Of course the thrill is greatly increased if you are buying books from a scholar who wrote in books. I know (from Stephen Carlson) that Morton Smith himself regularly annotated his books. But not everyone does. I'm the son of a book-collector and never write in books and I know that many feel the same way.


Happy blogiversary to Ricoblog, , which is a year old today, and has a nice summing up post and which is kind enough to mention links here. We are all looking forward to the second year.

Felix Just, S. J.'s websites on the move

Felix Just, S. J.'s websites are moving again, as he moves to the University of San Francisco. The new domain name is and this is the base page:

Catholic Resources for Bible, Liturgy and More

Johannine Literature is now at

Johannine Literature

It'll be a job getting round the many links to Felix's stuff on the NT Gateway, but I'll get it done asap. Congratulations on the new post, Felix, and good luck with the move.

What type of NT Scholar Are You? (updated again)

Sean Winter on Sean the Baptist asks "What type of NT scholar are you?", following on from a Michael Bird post Specialist or Generalist on Euangelion. Michael has a great "recipe for being a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none NT generalist", including the following tip:
If you can’t actually attend conferences at least read the seminar paper topics for various conferences like SBL, ETS, SNTS etc. Ask authors to email you their paper if you are interested in their seminar paper and you can’t attend.
I think that's a good suggestion, and I'd add: don't just go to papers in the narrow area of your own research -- try to take an interest in as many as possible. Always attend plenary sessions where possible. A related but key point I'd also add would be perhaps too obvious for mentioning, but still vital:
7. Talk to people: at the conferences take an interest in other people's research, and when they are working in an area you are not familiar with, ask them what one ought to be reading in that area. What are that person's pick of the last few years' books? What are the interesting ideas that deserve attention? Who are the "ones to watch" in that area?

Sean the Baptist goes on to quote a fascinating characterisation of the different kinds of scholar, from an assessment by John Knox of John A. T. Robinson:
"To be sure, there are many scholars so gifted and accomplished as not to be typical in either sense ... But for the larger number of us I believe one may say that the worker in New Testament studies will belong to one type or the other - to the more knowledgeable or the more imaginative. And I would maintain that the door to being a true, and even a distinguished, scholar is as widely open to the second type as to the first"

John Knox, "J. A. T. Robinson and the Meaning of New Testament Scholarship", Theology 92 (1989), 251-267 (here p.256)
It's a fabulous quotation, and I love the idea of being "as widely open to the second type as the first" -- what a great way of making sure that one avoids the pitfalls of both. I'd say that to answer Sean's basic question towards the beginning of our careers, as most of us bibliobloggers are, is a difficult one. We become associated with a particular narrow area because we have so far only published, on the whole, in the one narrow area, and that might make us appear to be specialists. Perhaps those who now appear "specialist" will in due course become "generalists". It's difficult to say. So I suppose it is something that one will be able to pronounce on more confidently when looking back at one's career rather than looking forward at it.

Here's a way of nuancing the question. What type of NT scholar do you most admire? I must admit to a fondness for what I would call "ideas" people, i.e. "the more imaginative" in Knox's characterisation. Fundamentally, my favourite scholars are those who have the ability to think exciting new thoughts, to rework existing questions in interesting new directions. I am thinking in particular of scholars like Michael Goulder (I know, surprise, surprise) who might be criticized on various fronts, but who will never be criticized for being dull. He always makes me think about existing questions in new ways. Whose books or articles would you always leap on?

The more I think about this one, though, I think the characterisation really is too simplistic to be useful. We can all think of work-a-day scholars whose special ability is to keep on top of a range of material, both primary and secondary, but the best scholars are those who combine imagination and insight with knowledge and wisdom. The greatest of all living NT scholars in my book typifies this combination, E. P. Sanders. He radically rethinks consensus positions, lucidly explicating his own views, at which he has arrived on the basis of extensive but careful reading of the primary materials.

Update (Sunday, 21.18): Michael Pahl comments on The Stuff of Earth. I agree -- "New Testament studies could use a little more romance"! I remember getting some funny looks from students once when I said that I was a romantic and rather liked some of the romance in Jeremias's parable scholarship, in spite of the fact that I agreed with very little of it.

Michael hits an important note here, the question of the extent to which your teaching load makes you a generalists, something Sean the Baptist had also mentioned before. I think that this is where many of us are -- our research requires us to specialize while our teaching requires us to generalize. It's a healthy mix and one that ultimately works for good. The broad range of our teaching often makes us think relevant and interesting thoughts that impact on the precise and more specialized area of our research. The key is that we turn those teaching necessities into long term research opportunities, so that we don't get stuck in a rut, always researching the same old area.

Update (Sunday 21.26): for Danny Zacharias on Deinde, this is a "blogger-cooler" discussion. I like the term, and the comments. (Yes, "water-cooler" discussions is a term used in the UK too).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Does your wife read your blog?

(Or your husband, spouse, partner, best friend).

On the Novum Testamentum blog, Brandon Wason mentions that his wife Wendy never reads his blog. It effectively draws attention to one of the strange dynamics of the blogging phenomenon, especially with professional blogs. Here I am in Birmingham reading blogs like Brandon's without having met him, while his nearest and dearest don't take a look at it. They are rather like the diary room in Big Brother, experienced by a big audience outside the circle of your immediate friends and family with whom you spend more of your time.

Another thought: when you know the blogger personally, it sometimes changes your perception of his/her blog. You hear some comments slightly differently.

Update (21.11): Jim West asks if my wife Viola reads my blog; the answer is no, I don't think she's ever looked at it. She has quite enough to put up with me yacking on about whatever I'm yacking on about at the time.

Now I must get back to some serious blogging. Is summer also "silly season" for the bloggers?

SCM-Canterbury Press Sale

SCM-Canterbury Press have a summer sale on at:

SCM-Canterbury Press: Summer Sale

There are only a few NT titles, but you may find something of interest (and the sale includes a couple of my late grandfather's books, Norman W. Goodacre).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Date of P52

On Xtalk today Ken Olson draws attention to an interesting article in Harvard Theological Review by Brent Nongbri of Yale University:

Brent Nongbri, "The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel," HTR 98.1 (2005): 23-48

Ken quotes Nongbri's conclusion:
What emerges from this survey is nothing surprising to papyrologists: paleography is not the most effective method for dating texts, particularly those written in a literary hand. Roberts himself noted this point in his edition of P52. The real problem is the way scholars of the New Testament have used and abused papyrological evidence. I have not radically revised Roberts's work. I have not provided any third-century documentary papyri that are absolute "dead ringers" for the handwriting of P52, and even had I done so, that would not force us to date P52 at some exact point in the third century. Paleographic evidence does not work that way. What I have done is to show that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. Thus, P52 cannot be used as evidence to silence other debates about the existence (or non-existence) of the Gospel of John in the first half of the second century. Only a papyrus containing an explicit date or one found in a clear archaeological stratigraphic context could do the work scholars want P52 to do. As it stands now, the papyrological evidence should take a second place to other forms of evidence in addressing debates about the dating of the Fourth Gospel.
It looks like an important article -- it's a staple of introductory courses on the New Testament that P52 provides us with a nice fix-able date in the very early second century that acts as an anchor for a lot of other datings. It looks like people will need to revise those sorts of over-simplistic appeal to over precise attempts to date this fragment.

Update (Thursday, 14.28): Sean the Baptist comments.

Update (Sunday, 1.04): Stephen Carlson has some useful comments on Hypotyposeis.

Mark Chancey, Myth of a Gentile Galilee

I mentioned yesterday that I'd blog on the above book because it's got some real on-line presence. First, it's worth looking at the related article on Bible and Interpretation from 2003:

The Myth of a Gentile Galilee
The available evidence suggests that Galilee in the time of Jesus was a mostly Jewish region
By Mark A. Chancey

Second, Cambridge University Press have a major web page on the book, with sample chapter and full text view feature on ebrary. And like many CUP publications, the full text is available also on Google Print.

More Open Source Reflections

My post last Friday headed Sansblogue on Open Source Online Biblical Studies generated bags of comments, and the discussion has continued on Sansblogue (and a previous post on Sansblogue). AKMA continues to comment in his blog, and there are several useful posts by Peter Kirby in Christian Origins (specifically Open Source Biblical Studies, Open Access Translation).

There's one thing I'd like to come back to. I am not trying to put a dampener on things when I talk about the current situation, noticing the extent to which major advances have been made by both salaried professionals and gifted amateurs (for want of better terms). On the contrary, I think it's important that we recognise that all the major advances that have been made in our area in terms of on-line provision of quality educational materials has been done within the model of dynamic evolution driven by the enthusiasts.

AKMA writes:
If a professional association really wants its members to gain mindshare, to raise the level of public discourse over the topics it addresses, that organization ought to commission educational materials from its leading exponents and distribute them online — for a tiny proportion of what mainstream-media campaigns cost.

Yes, that won’t reach every audience segment, and perhaps it won’t reach certain audiences at all (though I’m inclined to suspect that a vigorous online sphere of attention would at least stand to generate side-channel interest and awareness). Some professional association ought to give it a try, someday. (I would single out the Society of Biblical Literature and Catholic Biblical Association, but these have no PR budget at all, to the best of my knowledge. Still wouldn’t cost them much to do a world of good.)
A suggestion: why not share this proposal with SBL? Indeed, a more specific proposal: why not write a short article on it for the SBL Forum and see what interest it generates? Perhaps the forum can itself carry the proposal forward in the future? But I'd come back here again to one of my basic points, that we may end up still talking about what the SBL calls "volunteer" efforts. I don't know whether the top post-holders in the SBL earn anything for their services, but it is clear to me that the vast majority of those who contribute to the SBL by running seminars, sitting on boards and so on, are volunteers -- they see it as a part of their professional duty and joy. So even on the assumption that we can move forward with involvement from the professional societies, we may need to recognise that the one thing that they are not going to be able to provide is extensive funding.

Also in discussion with AKMA, this time from comments here:
Mark, I am encouraged to hear that you feel enough freedom and institutional support to suppose that we can make great headway without the addition of funded leaves, stipends, or equipment; not everyone has the same experience. (Will Brum be searching for someone to fill your position?) I don’t expect unanimity on this topic, but the responses I’ve encountered over the years suggest that the theological academy will prefer to lag than to leap. I’d be tickled to be proved wrong, though.
AKMA's comments in some ways make my point. Perhaps Birmingham is more generous than are other institutions, but I don't think so: we get one term's sabbatical in every ten, and that sabbatical ("funded leave") I would always use in part to work on on-line resources. I say "in part" because there is a bunch of other stuff I'd use it for too, and writing would admittedly be a higher priority. Likewise on "stipends, or equipment" -- this is what I mean by our institutions providing support by employing us and giving us a salary and a computer. Things are far from rosey in UK academia -- I have bought my own home desktop and my own laptop out of my own funds, for example -- but I think it's worth recognizing it is the job, the institutional support that enables one to do a lot of what one does.

Having said that, I'd like to draw attention to Peter Gainford's comments:
For the record, I'm inclined to think that whatever the nature of the project(s) will be, funding will be an absolute necessity. Now, mostly that's for pragmatic reasons. But I'm also thinking primarily of the need for academics, in particular, to be able to demonstrate their research output: I have a sneaking suspicion that something like the British RAE, or New Zealand PBRF, is simply never going to acknowledge any non-print work as valid research unless it's part of a project that's legitimated by some funding body or other.
I would guess that that is right, at least as far as the RAE (=Research Assessment Exercise) is concerned. If any readers have experience on the RAE panels, I'd be interested to hear if that is not the case. For myself, I have never submitted an electronic item to the RAE, in spite of the fact that I have put far more hours into developing electronic resources than I have writing books and articles that I have submitted. I remember a colleague once asking me why I devoted so much time to developing electronic resources when it was clear that they would not be recognized by the RAE. I don't recall how I answered, but what I would say now is that academics should not live by the RAE alone and that there is a great deal more to working in a university than trying to satisfy the RAE panel, important though that may be. Moreover we need to be wary of playing into an either / or here. What can be exciting about providing on-line resources is that they can work together with one's research in such a way that they help to generate, overlap and interact with print publications.

Update (23.21): On Sansblogue Tim Bulkeley has further useful reflections, focusing especially on the importance of collaboration. I'm all in favour of collaboration! It makes me less nervous than the talk about funding does, talk that in my experience tends to lead down cul-de-sacs, talk that more often than not leads to frustration and can be best avoided.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Expository Times, September

No sooner had I received the August Expository Times alert earlier today than the September one arrives. Below are articles with an NT theme. As usual there are also bags of book reviews. Links below take you to abstracts; full text available for subscribers and institutional subscriptions:

Expository Times
1 September 2005; Vol. 116, No. 12

The Damned Rich (Mark 10:17-31)
James G. Crossley
The Expository Times 2005; 116 397-401

Familiar Friend or Alien Stranger? On Translating the Bible
David G. Horrell
The Expository Times 2005; 116 402-408

Book of the Month: Insights into Ephesian Christianity
Paul Foster
The Expository Times 2005; 116 412-414

Review of Bibical Literature latest

Latest from the SBL's Review of Biblical Literature under the NT heading:

Bovon, François
L'évangile selon saint Luc 15,1 - 19,27
Reviewed by Thomas Kraus

Horton, Charles, ed.
The Earliest Gospels: The Origins and Transmission of the Earliest Christian Gospels. The Contribution of the Chester Beatty Gospel Codex P45
Reviewed by Sylvie Raquel

Scholtissek, Klaus
In ihm sein und bleiben: Die Sprache der Immanenz in den Johanneischen Schriften
Reviewed by Michael Labahn

Shiner, Whitney
Proclaiming the Gospel: First-Century Performance of Mark
Reviewed by Gregg Morrison

Calvert-Koyzis, Nancy
Paul, Monotheism and the People of God: The Significance of Abraham Traditions for Early Judaism and Christianity
Reviewed by Mark Nanos

Evans, Craig A., ed.
Of Scribes and Sages: Volume 1: Early Jewish Interpretation and Transmission of Scripture
Reviewed by Corrado Martone

Mark Chancey on the Bible in American Public Schools

This falls a little outside the usual area of coverage on the NT Gateway blog since it's connected with a controversy over American public schools, but Prof. Mark Chancey of Southern Methodist University [Mark: you need a homepage] has asked me to draw readers' attention to his report on a curriculum that is gaining widespread usage in American public schools. Mark has a letter on this in The Bible and Interpretation this week, and Jim Davila comments in Paleojudaica. Here is the website for all the relevant information:

Texas Freedom Network: The Bible and Public Schools

Mark comments that he is particularly looking for support from academics, and hopes that my commenting on this here will make more aware of this. I note that already there are some big names on the Academic Endorsements page. I have not signed it myself because I am not an American citizen, but I have read it with great interest and some concern as a Biblical scholar who is also a Dad with children shortly to enter into the American public school system. I have spent some time reading Mark's report, which is available in full on the website above:

The Bible and Public Schools: Report on the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (PDF)
A Report by Mark Chancey for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund

It makes for some fascinating reading. On the whole it simply documents the difficulties with the report, commenting on why given elements are problematic. I suppose the thing that most struck me was the sheer extent of the apparent plagiarism in this document and, what's more, plagiarism of on-line articles of pretty dubious worth. Mark footnotes extensively, something the curriculum itself apparently does not do. It's not just that errors abound but that it includes things like urban legends about NASA.

It's good to see Biblical scholars getting involved and making intelligent, careful, reasoned responses to important public issues like this. Incidentally, if you haven't seen it yet, Mark Chancey's The Myth of a Gentile Galilee, which is based on his Duke University PhD, is essential reading; in fact, I may make a separate blog entry in a little on what is available on-line in relation to this book.

Peter Jennings

Michael Homan comments on the death of Peter Jennings. Not being an American (yet?!), I only tend to come across the names of the big journalists when they are connected in some way with Jesus films or documentaries. There was a big ABC Special on Jesus and Paul a while ago, with a strong website. See also Darrell Bock's review, Darrell Bock's interview, Charlotte Allen's review and Wilken's review.

Back in 2000 there was also a Peter Jennings ABC special focused just on Jesus and it used to have its own website -- it was a Featured Link in July 2000. But it looks like that Search for Jesus website has gone now, assimilated into Jesus and Paul.

Expository Times, August

Jim West has mentioned the latest edition of Expository Times on Biblical Theology. Here is the link to the journal and articles that will be of particular interest to NT folk. It's subscription or institutional subscription only on the full text:

The Expository Times
1 August 2005; Vol. 116, No. 11

Sinlessness and Uncertainty in Jesus
Graham Neville
The Expository Times 2005; 116 361-365

The Canonical Approach and the Idea of 'Scripture'
John C. Poirier
The Expository Times 2005;116 366-370

Book of the Month: Bridging the Gap between New Testament and Textual Criticism: The Legacy of T. C. Skeat
Michael J. Kruger
The Expository Times 2005; 116 374-376

There is a whole bunch of book reviews too, which you can access by going to the link at the top of this entry.

JSNT latest

The latest Journal for the Study of the New Testament is now available:

Journal for the Study of the New Testament,
1 September 2005; Vol. 28, No. 1

'Brood of Vipers' (Matthew 3.7; 12.34; 23.33)
Craig S. Keener
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2005; 28 3-11

Eunuchs and the Postgender Jesus: Matthew 19.12 and Transgressive Sexualities
J. David Hester
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2005; 28 13-40

The Incident of the Withered Fig Tree in Mark 11: A New Source and
Redactional Explanation

Philip F. Esler
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2005; 28 41-67

The Myth of the 'Traditional View of Paul' and the Role of the Apostle in Modern Jewish-Christian Polemics
Daniel R. Langton
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2005; 28 69-104

From Priestly Torah to Christ Cultus: The Re-Vision of Covenant and Cult in

Susan Haber
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2005; 28 105-124

Book Reviews: Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography: Essays in Honor of
Frederick W. Danker, A History of New Testament Lexicography

Moises Silva
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2005; 28 125-127

The links above will take you to the article abstracts and will give you the option of reading it if you are subscribed or if you have an institutional subscription.

Torrey Seland and SNTS

I'll join Jim West in offering congratulations to Torrey Seland who has been elected a member of SNTS. From the way he expresses it (Pleasant Surprise), it sounds like becoming a member is not too stressful.

BMCR Reviews

On Stuff of Earth Michael Pahl has a useful list of some of the latest Bryn Mawr Classical Review reviews that may be of interest in our area.

Monday, August 08, 2005

British New Testament Conference 2005 Seminars

I have spent some time tonight uploading details on the Seminar Programme for this year's British New Testament Conference, which will be in Liverpool from 1-3 September:

BNTC Seminars 2005

There are still a couple of seminars missing (Revelation and Second Temple Judaism), but otherwise it's almost complete. I've been sorry to do this work this year knowing that I am unlikely to be able to make it. As ever, there's lots on the programme of interest.

Update (11.59): Bridget has also sent over for me the missing NT and Second Temple Judaism abstracts and I have uploaded those too. So now we have a full seminar programme with only the exception of the Revelation seminar.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Golgotha Review

On Open Heaven Matthew Page has a review of a little known Jesus film from 1935 entitled Golgotha, directed by Julien Duvivier:

Film Review: Golgotha
A Review by Matthew Page

It's a film I've not seen myself yet and I'll have to add it to my list. I have recently managed to get hold of a video of Day of Triumph from ebay, another little known Jesus film, from 1953. I must refresh my Jesus film pages and add these. I'll add to my NT Gateway "to do" list.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Top Ten Lists

There have been lots of interesting blog posts on top ten lists of books on Paul and Jesus. For a good summary, see Michael Pahl's Stuff of Earth. On Hypotyposeis, What Books to Buy for Biblical Scholarship, Stephen Carlson hits a very important note, on how the beginner should build properly, from Critical Editions of the Bible, to Background texts, to Lexica and Indices and so on. There are some useful thoughts here, and for a similar reason one should be wary of embarking in a university setting on a Jesus / Paul course before one has done an Introduction to Biblical Studies as a prerequisite. I'd add something further in relation especially to Historical Jesus studies. I used to teach a one-term course on Jesus to second and third year students, but I found that it was very difficult to do this when they did not already have the necessary skills, background, methodology in place. How can you explain the way the Jesus Seminar works without first explaining how one gets to what they call the "Q Gospel"? How can one assess their assessment of the Gospel of Thomas unless one has first spent time studying that text? Happily, I was able to rework the course so that it became a two-term course, with term one on the critical study of the Gospels (and related literature) and then term two on the Gospels.

For similar reasons, and here I am influenced also by a conversation I recently had with Ken Olson, if I were to put together a top 10 list on Historical Jesus books, the majority would probably be key books you need to read before you can assess the books that are specially focused on Jesus. Yes, I'd like to have books like E. P. Sanders's Jesus and Judaism in there, of course, but I'd also strongly recommend something like Sanders' and Davies's Studying the Synoptic Gospels to get students a grounding in the preliminary questions. I might even hazard a guess that some of the problems in contemporary Historical Jesus study derive from the fact that people jump into Historical Jesus study, as if it is a discipline in its own right, before spending time working through the Synopsis, for example.

Which desk?

Occasionally the most absurd and yet surprisingly interesting threads break out on the blogs, and one is underway at the moment on bloggers' desks. So far we have Tyler Williams, Jim West, Tim Bulkeley and David Meadows; no doubt there are more I've forgotten. I am very tempted to join in, but regular readers will know of my rule to avoid being self-indulgent, so I will resist. But there's an assumption here that I don't share. Only one desk? Don't y'all have at least a couple, and those in addition to the makeshift desks where you take your blogging machines (kitchen table, settee, airport lounge, etc.)?

The Big Question

Among a ton of interesting posts this week on Codex Blogspot is one you might miss on a documentary filmed during the film of The Passion of the Christ. Tyler Williams links to the IMDb page on the film as well as its official site:

The Big Question

Goodness knows when we'll get to see it; it's not out on video or DVD yet as far as one can see. (Also mentioned by Jim West on Biblical Theology). If we are lucky, Peter Chattaway might be able to get a viewing and review it for us.

Cullmann on Baptism on-line

On, Rob Bradshaw announces that the following large article is now available on his site as a PDF:

Oscar Cullman, Baptism in the New Testament (Studies in Biblical Theology No. 1; London: SCM, 1950)

Sansblogue on Open Source Online Biblical Studies

I had missed an interesting post in AKMA's Random Thoughts (AKMA: can't you give interesting posts like that more interesting headers than "Prior Art"?!) to which Tim Bulkeley draws attention in Sansblogue. The gist is on getting coordinated quality on-line Biblical Studies [AKMA: also Theology] materials available. Tim adds the following proposal:
So, I propose that:
(a) we begin to discuss such a proposal here in blogsphere
(b) those of us at SBL in Philadelphia try to meet - over coffee or a meal - to strengthen the network and begin identifying issues
(c) we work towards a (CARG sponsored?) day to really work things through before SBL in 2007
I'm sympathetic with the aims here, and we can start on (a) straight away. As a first step, I'd suggest that Tim (and perhaps AKMA too?) hone precisely what the goal(s) are here. So many people are already committed to the production of quality on-line resources in our area that one might argue that the kind of thing being talked about here is already well underway, and is evolving dynamically. If the essential proposal is: how can we get a big project financed (especially AKMA)?, then there is still a large part of me that just sighs. I have felt for some time that the key to the development of exciting on-line projects in our area is the voluntary efforts of people like us. The funding comes, if you like, from two places: (1) the educational institutions that employ us and which are committed to the dissemination of our scholarship not only within their walls but also outside of them, so that our salaries here are the funding, and the time we allocate is our decision about commitment to such an important goal; (2) the self-funding provided by the gifted and enthusiastic amateurs who make such a major contribution in this area by devoting their own time. But I am of course interested in seeing and hearing about different proposals. So I'd like to repeat my question that Tim or AKMA or others begin by explaining precisely what we need in the area that can only be provided by dedicated funding.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Harland @ SNTS

On the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean Blog, it's good to read comments blogged from the current SNTS in Halle. In general, the SNTS has been something of a blog-free entity. I think AKMA has occasionally blogged from there, if memory serves, but I don't remember anyone else doing so. I suspect that this is as much as anything because few of the bibliobloggers are SNTS members. I am not, and have not been since 1997. I'd like to attend again one day.

E. P. Sanders interview

One not to miss, mentioned on The Stuff of Earth and previously on Primal Subversion, is this:

An Interview with E. P. Sanders
“Paul, Context, & Interpretation”
Michael Barnes Norton, Journal of Philosophy and Scripture
At the occasion of Syracuse University’s Postmodernism, Religion, and Culture conference, titled “Saint Paul among the Philosophers”, Michael Barnes Norton sat down with religious scholar and historian E. P. Sanders to discuss the issues at stake in philosophical interpretations of the enigmatic writings of Paul, and in general the contemporary use of ancient texts.

Michael and Sean also mention an interview with John Dominic Crossan, also worth looking at, but I give prominence to the Sanders one because it is so much rarer.

Codex Sinaiticus On-line

Helenann Hartley mentioned this yesterday, from BBC News. A similar piece, interviewing Scot Mckendrick, now appears on Christianity Today:

Oldest Known Bible to go Online

One of the best pieces of news about this excellent project is that the website "is planned to be free of charge". Note that the original British Library press release (11 March 2005) is still available, as is the following information page:

Showcase: Codex Sinaiticus

SBL Blogging Session

Several people have mentioned the CARG session on blogging at the forthcoming SBL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. I'm pleased to hear that Torrey Seland is now a definite for the session too. If you haven't looked at it yet, Torrey has the programme for that session, which will be on the Saturday morning, just after breakfast.

Talking of breakfast, here's a tip for those at SBL on a budget (as I have often been in the past): get to one of those great American breakfast buffets and eat to your heart's content. Don't be put off by earnest looking professor types who only visit the buffet once. Keep going for as long as you can. Eat so much that you won't want lunch. You can then make it through to the evening when you'll be just peckish enough to enjoy something else. In fact you might even be invited to one of those receptions where there's lots of food in the evening too, and on days like that, you've only bought breakfast and the budget is looking healthier than it might have been.

Sean the Baptist / Σεαν ὁ βαπιστὴς

It was great to see on the Stuff of Earth a link to a new blog by my friend Sean Winter:

Sean the Baptist / Σεαν ὁ βαπιστὴς
The personal blog of Revd Dr Sean Winter, covering things of interest to me in the broad areas of Baptist life and theology in the UK and elsewhere, New Testament studies and hermeneutics

I've added it to my ever-expanding blogroll (left). Featuring comments on the now Bishop of Durham like "Yes, Tom does drink Earl Grey Tea", it's clear that this is going to be well worth reading.

Biblical Studies Bulletin 36

I thought that I'd have more time to blog since getting back to Birmingham, but alas, I spend all day every day either working (after all, the University of Birmingham are still paying me) or preparing in different ways for the move. Anyway, you don't want to know about that. Here's a link to the latest Biblical Studies Bulletin from Grove Books:

Biblical Studies Bulletin 36

Ignore the "35" at the top of the page -- it's an error. The guest editor this time is James Blandford-Baker and, as usual, there are several items of interest.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Back to Birmingham; back to regular blogging (I hope). Here's the latest from the SBL's Review of Biblical Literature:

Cameron, Ron and Merrill P. Miller, eds.
Redescribing Christian Origins
Reviewed by Timothy Pettipiece

Dibelius, Martin
Edited by K. Hanson
The Book of Acts: Form, Style, and Theology
Reviewed by Craig Blomberg

Dibelius, Martin
Edited by K. Hanson
The Book of Acts: Form, Style, and Theology
Reviewed by Carl Toney

Dettwiler, Andreas, Jean-Daniel Kaestli, and Daniel Marguerat, eds.
Paul, une théologie en construction
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Marguerat, Daniel, ed.
Introduction au Nouveau Testament: Son histoire, son écriture, sa théologie
Reviewed by Sean Kealy

Draper, Jonathan A, ed.
Orality, Literacy, and Colonialism in Antiquity
Reviewed by James Loader

The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology

This will be of interest to some:
St Mary's College, University of St Andrews is pleased to announce its second conference on scripture and theology: The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology.

The conference will take place in St Andrews, Scotland, from 18-22 July, 2006. It features keynote speakers Richard Hays, Morna Hooker, and John Webster, in addition to several other internationally recognized scholars.

Those who traveled to St Andrews in 2003 to attend John & Theology will recall unique features of that conference, including a musical performance at the start of the week, a joint worship service at the end of the week, and dialogue sessions between major scholars on important issues. We fully expect Hebrews & Theology to build on these past successes.

Please consider this invitation to join us in St Andrews on 18 July 2006. For further particulars, visit our web page, clicking anywhere on the first page to enter the site:

We expect this conference to be even more popular than the first. So book early!


Richard Bauckham
Trevor Hart
Nathan MacDonald