Thursday, January 27, 2005

NT Gateway Bible Translations page

Several minor adjustments on the NT Gateway: Bible Translations and Editions page -- the Bible Foundation e-text Library is no longer available -- the Bible Foundation have removed it. The DACL Bible Library has also vanished, and the domain with it. So too the Online Bible (direct) has gone, though I've kept the link to the Online Bible Software proper. Thanks to Hugh Houghton and Sarah Jones for spotting a couple of these.

Reactions to Oscars on The Passion of the Christ

Beliefnet has a piece on how some have reacted to the relative lack of Oscar nominations (see Three Oscar Nominations for The Passion of the Christ) for The Passion of the Christ:

Passionate Christians Perceive Bias in Academy Award Nominations
By Andrea James
In a statement, Catholic League president William Donohue called "The Passion's" three nominations "second-tier."

"Having been criticized for months for not giving Mel a fair shake, it looks like the Hollywood elite got the message," Donohue said. "It seems plain that Catholic guilt has been successfully exported to Hollywood."

Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, said he would have been surprised if "The Passion" received a best picture nomination.

"I don't know how exactly you prove discrimination based on religion or the Christian faith exactly except to say that it's well known that the Hollywood community has been anti-Christian for many years," Wildmon said. "Mel Gibson, even with all this star power, could not find anyone to help him pay to produce the movie. Here you have the greatest story of all time, one of the most influential people in history -- that is Jesus Christ -- with Mel Gibson involved, and he has to do it out of his own pocketbook."
(etc.). I doubt that bias has anything to do with it myself. It has more to do, I'd say, with the desire to avoid controversy, the same reason that Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 (which gets its UK TV network premiere tonight on Channel 4) received no nominations at all. I can feel an interesting blog entry coming on on how other Jesus films have faired in the Oscars.

Wright and Gaffin Conference Report

Tim Gallant has put together a series of detailed reports on a conference he attended in the USA which featured N. T. Wright and a certain Richard Gaffin:

2005 Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church Pastors' Conference
Monroe, Louisiana; January 3-5, 2005

He has pulled this together from his rabbisaul weblog.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mark Matson on the Priority of John

From the Stone-Campbell Journal's on-line site (see previous blog entry) comes the following article:

Mark A Matson, “Current Approaches to the Priority of John”, Stone-Campbell Journal 7 (Spring 2004): 51-78 [PDF]

I've added it to my Gospel of John: Articles page.

Stone-Campbell Journal

New on my ever-expanding Journals page is the following, with thanks to John Poirier for the link:

Stone-Campbell Journal

I had not come across this before, but here is its statement of purpose:
Stone-Campbell Journal provides a scholarly platform for biblical interpretation, history, theology, philosophy, apologetics, and cultural criticism for those who value the perspective of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement and who endeavor to advance its distinctive principles today.
The on-line version features regular full-text Featured Articles, on more of which I will blog in a moment.

OUP book sale

Some in the UK and Europe may be interested in the current OUP book sale:

Oxford University Book Sale (UK and Europe)

Bibles and Religious Studies

JSNT full text on-line

As Jacob Knee points out on Xtalk and as Darko Svenscak pointed out to me in correspondence yesterday, Sage Publications now have available all the full text of JSNT on-line, going back to 2001, at this URL:

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

See also:

Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

They do not appear to be setting this up for marketing reasons as a "trial", so my guess is that this free-for-all arrangement is only temporary, while they are getting the website sorted out. If you look at the side menu, it seems that these pages are aimed at those that they assume already have subscriptions or institutional subscriptions. And I doubt very much that this will stay around for long given that the prices for subscription, even to the e-edition alone, are not that cheap. So, as Jacob says, now is the time to download the articles you want if you don't normally have access.

For more on the move of Theology and Biblical Studies journals from Continuum to Sage, see my Journals, Sage and Free PDFs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Three Oscar nominations for Passion of the Christ

It's a long time since I've blogged on The Passion of the Christ. In fact, I think the last time was the SBL (SBL Passion of the Christ Session 1 and SBL Passion of the Christ Interview -- Fulco and Fitzgerald). It's time, though, for a mention given the Oscar nominations which were announced today. No one expected any of the big nominations for the film, anything like best film, best director, best screenplay, etc., but The Passion of the Christ earns three nominations:

Best music (score)
Best cinematography
Best make-up

I'd have been surprised if it had not received a nomination for best cinematography -- the look of the film is extraordinary, especially the Sanhedrin scene. I can't imagine that it will win the best music (score) Oscar.

The other major Jesus film watch relevant nomination is Martin Scorsese for The Aviator, which also picks up a good number of other nominations. The full list of nominations is available on BBC News here.

Zhubert's Updates

The latest has already been mentioned by several bibliobloggers (I'm a bit of a Johnny-come-lately these days, aren't I?), but Zach Hubert gets in touch to let me know of the significant updates to his remarkable site:

Here's the current feature list:
  • Complete GNT online - source text is from jtauber v. 5.05, based on Nestle Aland 26

  • Morphologically Parsed LXX - based on the CATSS project with UTF8 encoding, and fixes

  • Enhanced Browsing - You can now view as many parallel passages as you want

  • Parsing - available for every word, just hover over the word with your mouse

  • Word Detail Page - click on a word while reading and see detailed information about that word

  • Word Study - from the detail page, you can conduct a study on every use of the form or the root

  • Graphical Occurrence - from the word detail page, shows occurrences of both root and form by book, clickable

  • Basic Root Definitions - simple lexicon entries that you can make more accurate (moderated)

  • Grammar Reminder - a simple reminder as to the most basic grammar via your sidebar

  • User Features - your bookmark (don't lose your spot), your translation (keep your own translation of the GNT)

  • Interlinear - include KJV, NASB, or your own translation right next to the Greek

  • Parsing Trees - visually displays all occurrences of word forms, from detail page

  • Word Relations - first order is in on the detail page, with second order visible in tree format by clicking on the heading

  • Standardized Calling Interface - for those programmer types, you can just call bible?book=Matthew&chapter=2&verse=3 to get to your favorite verse (enhanced XML coming soon)
What a fantastic developing resource. Zack also asks:
Also, GNT Browser just won't work as a name, now that I have the whole greek bible. Any clever thoughts for a good name?
Good question. How about just Zhubert, or at least having Zhubert in the title? It's already becoming something of a brand.

Allen Brent's homepage

Thanks to Prof. Allen Brent of the University of Cambridge for letting me know of his new homepage:

Allen Brent

It still needs some work doing, but already has lists of publications and some explanation of research interests.

While I am at it, I have tided up the Scholars: B page, weeding out a couple of dead links and changing the URL for Helen Bond's Edinburgh faculty page (regular complaint on this kind of occasion: the reorganisation of these pages has been done without setting up forwards from the older URLs, something that is never in the university / department / faculty's interests to avoid because you end up sending potential students to error pages).

Friday, January 21, 2005

Journals, Sage and Free PDFs

I've made lots of changes to the New Testament Gateway Journals page:


I've adjusted information for Brill journals like Biblical Interpretation and Novum Testamentum, I've fixed some URLs and changed some information and, most importantly, I've changed all the links from the old Continuum journals (all dead), to the new links at Sage Journals, which incorporate Currents in Biblical Research, Expository Times, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, Journal for the Study of the New Testament and Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha.

Now Sage have made available for most of these a free sample issue in PDF format. I've added links to all of these on the Journals page too. For convenience I'll list them here too:

Currents in Biblical Research 3.1 (October 2004)

Expository Times 116/2 (November 2004)

Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 2.2 (June 2004)

Journal for the Study of the New Testament 26.4 (2004)

Glen H. Stassen articles

A couple of additions to the New Testament Gateway with thanks to Stephen Martin for sending over these links:

Glen H. Stassen, “The Marks of the Kingdom and the Four Dimensions of Jesus’ Justice”

This is added to Historical Jesus: Books, Articles and Reviews

Glen H. Stassen, “The Fourteen Triads of the Sermon on the Mount”

This is added to Gospel of Matthew: Books, Articles and Reviews

Glen Stassen is Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary and from the look of it, he's right up to speed on NT scholarship. The previous link will take you to the frames-based version of his homepage, from where you can also access the articles above.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Felix Just's webpages

It has taken me much too long to get round to adjusting all the links to Felix Just's pages on the NT Gateway but I've done it today. I won't list them all individually but I think I have caught them all. Happily, the directory structure on Felix's pages has remained the same, so it was just a question of finding and replacing the prefix. My apologies to Felix that it has taken a while. I have also added an update to an old blog entry, Where are Felix Just's Webpages? at his request, not least because that very entry comes up high on a Google search for Felix Just's webpages.

Denver Journal Exegesis Bibliography

Each year, Drs. Craig L. Blomberg and William W. Klein update their "Exegesis Bibliography" on the Denver Journal. It continues to be a useful and up-to-date resource of conservative-leaning bibliography on the NT and the latest is now available:

Exegesis Bibliography (2005)

Sage Journals

Having just blogged on the Journal for the Historical Jesus, it occurs to me that I don't think I have kept up to date in this blog with these developments. For those who have not heard, Continuum / T and T Clark International sold their journals to Sage, who are experts in the journals field, last November. There is a press release about it on Sage's website here:

Press Release (PDF)

Included among the journals are several of interest to the NT scholar, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus and Expository Times among them. See also this general listing:

Theology and Biblical Studies

Sage have got the materials up pretty quickly here, though it does not look like they have yet got the electronic journal access going. Presumably in due course that access will include some backlog from T and T Clark International too.

Now this impacts on other areas back at T and T Clark International including one I am directly involved with. Clearly we can't any longer have a Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement if the Journal for the Study of the New Testament itself is located elsewhere. So we are rebranding JSNTS as Library of New Testament Studies. Similarly, the former JSOTS becomes Library of Hebrew Bible / Old Testament Studies. There will be more on this in due course; I'll put up a notice when the rebranding of the series is fully underway.

Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

This was just sent by Bob Webb to the Xtalk list, reproduced here with his permission:

With the purchase of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus by Sage Publications (, I've been able to arrange a special introductory rate for new subscribers. If you are interested, please contact
them directly (I'm just the lowly editor!).

The individual introductory offer would be a 20% discount off the individual subscriber rate. The price would be £32/$54 for one year and £64/$108 for two years (instead of the regular rate of £40/$68 for one year or £80/$136 for two years).

The subscription hotline to call would be +44 (0)20 7324 8701 in the UK or (800) 818-7243 in the US. The subscription email in the UK is: or in the USA it is:

Dabar website back up

Thanks to Daniel Dyke, Professor of Old Testament at Cincinnati Christian University, for the note that the Dabar web site at is up and running again. It went away for a while over funding, but has since recovered and is back online. Tom Thatcher's materials are not available yet (remember his "atomic" website with bags of interesting material?) but apparently there are plans to bring these back though in a less graphic intensive format.

Lorin Lee Cranford

I've made an URL adjustment for Lorin Lee Cranford under Scholars: C.

Wesley Center links

Thanks to Bob Webb for alerting me to some dead links on the New Testament Gateway. The Wesley Center for Applied Theology have reorganised their site, so there are new links to The New Testament -- John Wesley on Bible Translations and Editions, the Non-canonical Homepage on Non-canonical Christian Texts and the Works of Flavius Josephus on Judaica. Repeated regular sidenote: I wish that these sites would add in forwards when they rearrange their materials -- it's in their own interests to do so.

Resource Index and Resource Blog

Jeffrey Downs gets in touch to let me know of the following:

Resource Index and Resources Blog
Looking for books, articles or audio on a religious or philosophical topic? Want to stay up-to-date with the latest theology, apologetic and philosophical resources? If so, bookmark this site. Click one of the links to the left to browse the Resource Index.

Below are blogs of the latest resources in theology, apologetics and philosophy. The Resource Blog will be updated Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday.
There is no RSS feed available so my own ability to keep up to date on looking at the site will be limited.

Review of Bibical Literature latest

Latest from the Review of Biblical Literature under the New Testament heading:

Bruner, Frederick Dale
Matthew: A Commentary: Volume 1: The Christbook (Matthew 1-12)
Reviewed by Mark Bredin

Bruner, Frederick Dale
Matthew: A Commentary: Volume 2: The Churchbook (Mathhew 13-28)
Reviewed by Mark Bredin

Burridge, Richard A. and Graham Gould
Jesus Now and Then
Reviewed by Michael Bird

Burridge, Richard A. and Graham Gould
Jesus Now and Then
Reviewed by Michael Pahl

Gench, Frances Taylor
Back to the Well: Women's Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels
Reviewed by Betsy J. Bauman-Martin

Gench, Frances Taylor
Back to the Well: Women's Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels
Reviewed by Orysya Hachko

Gench, Frances Taylor
Back to the Well: Women's Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels
Reviewed by Kelly Iverson

Hedrick, Charles W.
Many Things in Parables: Jesus and His Modern Critics
Reviewed by Renate Viveen Hood

Hedrick, Charles W.
Many Things in Parables: Jesus and His Modern Critics
Reviewed by James Metzger

Hedrick, Charles W.
Many Things in Parables: Jesus and His Modern Critics
Reviewed by Christopher Skinner

Incigneri, Brian J.
The Gospel to the Romans: The Setting and Rhetoric of Mark's Gospel
Reviewed by Dwight N. Peterson

Ng, Wai-Yee
Water Symbolism in John: An Eschatological Interpretation
Reviewed by Ron Fay

Stanley, Christopher D.
Arguing with Scripture: The Rhetoric of Quotations in the Letters of Paul
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Congratulations to Helenann Hartley

I'll join AKMA in offering warm congratulations to Helenann Hartley on getting through her DPhil viva. Great news; well done!

Macintosh Biblioblog

I'd like to join others in welcoming Joe Weaks's Macintosh Biblioblog to biblioblogdom. The Macintosh gubbins will only be of limited interest to me but, having met Joe in San Antonio, I look forward to seeing here some of his "Rather spurious comment on topics in NT and especially Synoptic Studies". In his introductory post, Joe writes:
I create my own web pages, but I thought I'd experiment with this whole blogging thing as a way to make such a forum available, though I must confess it seems rather egocentric. Does the format necessarily emphasize the personality of the provider? Does the messenger become as important as the message? And, is that really a bad thing? For surely, the real difference in blogging, in contrast to web page development, is the transparency with which we see the one providing the substance. (Emphasis original).
Yes, kind of, no, agreed. The great thing about blogging is that it allows you to get to know the person behind the website and to build your trust in a person and his/her views and editorial selection of what is worth blogging on in the stated field of interest. As you get to know them, you find it more interesting to interact with their views, sometimes to engage critically with them. I would also want to recommend avoiding too much soul-searching on blogging. Just put your stuff out there; if people are interested, they will read it; if not, they won't. It's a pretty democratic medium.

Physician Heal Thyself @ Laudator Temporis Acti

Don't miss Michael Gilleland's post, Physician Heal Thyself on Laudator Temporis Acti, which gives several interesting parallels to the proverb in Luke 4.23.

Feed Readers @ the Coding Humanist

Eric Sowell has an excellent introduction to Feed Readers on the Coding Humanist and why it's well worth using one if you don't do so already. My own Reader of preference is Bloglines which I combine with Firefox in order to subscribe to new feeds without difficulty, and it the bloglines notifier can be integrated with the browser. Bloglines also publish my blogroll, which means I don't have to add new blogs manually every time I begin reading one.

Monday, January 17, 2005

SBL Resolution Survey

I have greatly appreciated Ed Cook's and Jim Davila's comments on the SBL Resolution that was circulated to members with the invitation to "Agree" or "Disagree". (And see other links to other blogs in both Ed's and Jim's posts). I have voted "disagree" and added the following comment in the invitation to provide "additional comments":
Although sympathetic with elements in this statement, I feel uncomfortable about this move for the following reasons:

(1) It should be clear who wrote this resolution and what the processes are for circulating resolutions like this to the membership. Is it something that was proposed, seconded and voted on in the SBL council? If so, is this now being sent to the members to vote on? In other words, I feel that the process needs to be transparent and at present it is not.

(2) The statement tacitly accepts the very attitude to the Bible that it is apparently attempting to criticize by summarising in a sentence or so what it regards as the Bible's central message(s). The statement tends to reinforce a particular attitude to the Bible, which sees it as having dominant messages that just need extracting and applying. In other words, there is no attempt to challenge the kind of fundamentalist approach to the Bible under criticism here.

(3) I am concerned that the statement will alienate some in the society who hold views similar to (one or more of) those being rejected in the first paragraph. I think that the society will be richer for allowing a variety of views and, most importantly, encouraging rigorous intellectual exchange on them, rather than attempting to prescribe what moral and political views its members should have.

(4) Our goal is to foster Biblical scholarship rather than to act as a political lobby group. I am sure that we have a lot that we need to communicate to the wider world about our discipline, and this will include the necessity to speak out on important religious, political and moral issues of our day, but we need to ask ourselves whether we are likely to communicate most effectively by issuing this kind of broad-brush, sweeping statement. In my view, the issuing of a statement like this is likely to be counter-productive and may be a step we come to regret in the future.
When I submitted this tonight, the results come through so far as 57 per cent "Agree" and 43 per cent "Disagree" which seems to represent some movement from the figures reported by Ed Cook only the other day (70 per cent agree). Perhaps the bibliobloggers have made a difference?

A couple of other related issues. Jim West makes the useful point that the survey is SBL members only and so is effectively "in house", a family matter. He notes too that the URL of the survey has a "DO_NOT_COPY_THIS_LINK_" and so he refrains from doing so. However, I don't think that that is added to discourage linking to the survey so much as to discourage linking to that excessively long, temporary URL. If they had wanted to discourage linking to the survey, I reckon they would have added a "do not copy this link" to the URL sent out in the email. But I may be wrong.

On the more substantive point about the appropriateness of public discussion of in-house matters, the point is well taken but I would want to ask: what is the alternative? There is no public forum solely for discussion of this kind of issue by SBL members only. Once upon a time there was an email list called Graphai which was sponsored by the SBL but become defunct several years ago. For some time, I have been lobbying for a more interactive area for SBL members on the SBL Forum, not least given the fact that the name at present gives the impression of something interactive. So I would say that at present, one of the best ways of securing an intelligent discussion about this resolution is for the bibliobloggers to take it on. I can't think of a good alternative at present.

Jim Davila suggests that the poll could have been password protected. It seems to me that the lack of password protection is troubling. How do they know that the "Mark Goodacre" who clicked in tonight is me? And how do they know that the multiple "Anonymous" users are SBL members? I am guessing that a part of the problem is using the Survey Monkey site rather than doing it in house.

To get an idea of the extent of the problem, see the Canonist, a new blog to me, so I can't comment on it other than to comment that after noting "Ooh, some horn-rimmed academics are making a political statement," its author says "Anyway, readers, go over there and enter your random results to f*** around with the SBL's cute little poll." Since this is happening, I doubt that the results of this survey can be taken seriously. I propose that this survey is voided as a well-meaning but ultimately not very well thought through experiment.

Friday, January 14, 2005

What do I think about the James Ossuary?

On Deinde Danny Zacharias asks where the bibliobloggers stand on the James ossuary. I don't think I've taken a stance on it here in the past since archaeology, inscriptions etc. are not my area of expertise and in general I like to listen to the experts on a given topic. Having listened to the experts on this one, my view is that it would be unlikely in the extreme if this artifact (or, I should say, the inscription) turned out to be genuine. I did not take the trouble of going to look at it when it was on display in the museum in Toronto during the 2002 SBL, even though I walked right past the museum (the latest Bond film was out, Die Another Day, and that, of course, had priority). I don't have a lot more to say except that I will continue to watch the development of the story with interest. For what it's worth, here are a couple of reflections on things that I haven't seen said by anyone else yet:

(1) I couldn't help being suspicious about the timing of the emergence of this unprovenanced artifact. That something focusing on James the brother of Jesus should just happen to emerge at the very moment that both scholarly and popular interest had been awakened on this figure was curious. What I mean is that on the scholarly level, decades with very little on James were followed by awakening of interest illustrated in the books by Pierre Antoine Bernheim in 1997 and John Painter in 1998. On the more sensationalist level, Robert Eisenman's book on James also appeared in 1997. And then his ossuary appeared. That bothered me in a way that the presentation of Thaddeus's ossuary would not have done. It'd be like if Mary Magdalene's ossuary were to appear now. In retrospect, it surprises me that the timing itself did not encourage more scepticism.

(2) If the ossuary inscription were genuine, I am still not sure what it adds to our historical knowledge. No one serious doubts the existence of James the brother of Jesus; no one doubts that he died; it makes sense to imagine that his bones would have been placed in an ossuary. At best the ossuary would have been useful for legitimising, and not for informing. It would have provided a possible external corroboration of the existence of a character who appears in the Biblical account about whose existence no one was in doubt anyway. And even there there is an inevitable circularity about the enterprise -- how do we know that "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus" is our James? Because the New Testament and early Christian literature tells us that there was someone called James who was Joseph's son and Jesus' brother. And how do we know that that James was an historical figure? Because the name appears on an ossuary. And so on.

One final note. The desire to use archaeology for legitimising the Biblical record concerns me. When Ben Witherington III listed his Top Ten New Testament Archaeological finds of the last 150 years (see the Prolific Ben Witherington III), key finds like the Nag Hammadi codices which fill out and inform our picture of early Christianity do not get a look in but the Turin Shroud and the James Ossuary are there, items whose authenticity is very strongly in doubt, and which if genuine only corroborate the Biblical text, so are being used to legitimise and not to challenge, inform or get us engaging. Both faith and history are too important for this.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Crossan - Wright debate

The N. T. Wright page adds a link to the announcement of a debate on March 11-12 between John Dominic Crossan and Tom Wright on the resurrection:

The Resurrection: Historical Event or Theological Interpretation?

The event is at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Bet Tom Wright doesn't like the either / or implied in that title!

AKMA's NT Resources Page

It's great to see an announcement on AKMA's Random Thoughts this morning that he has started a blog on NT Resources:

New Testament Resources Page
The point of this blog is not to displace the good work others do in this regard, but to serve as a durable answer to the question students, alums, clergy, and geneeral visitors always ask me: “Do you know of any good books or articles on that?” These pages will serve as my answer —with space for feedback from conversation partners.
Does this mean we can now officially co-opt AKMA, who was into blogging long before the rest of us, as a biblioblogger?

One comment on the Galatians reading list [Note: AKMA's permalinks don't seem to be working at present] -- the following article is available on-line, albeit in a hideously bad scan:

Fredriksen , Paula. “Judaism, the Circumcision of Gentiles, and Apocalyptic Hope: Another Look at Galatians 1 and 2,” JTS 42 (1991), 532-64

This is one that comes top of my list for students on Galatians too. It's a brilliant piece.

I enjoyed AKMA's general comments on his new venture, including the following:
There’s definitely a way in which one could read this gesture as my bowing to the value of the gateway; if it were important for me to differentiate these pages from (say) Mark’s, I suppose that I’d say that mine aims less toward comprehensiveness, more toward critical evaluation. Of course, if one stops browsing at my page and treats it as a last word on biblical scholarship, then mine would certainly constitute a throttle to knowledge; I prefer to think of it as Google- (or Technorati-)fodder. . . .
Thanks for the link and the mention. Let me add that I don't aim for "comprehensiveness" myself. I think I probably did once upon a time but I have long since abandoned that attempt in the face of the ever expanding internet and the number of useful specialist gateways, and the growing number of useful specialist blogs. In my Throttle to Knowledge post, which AKMA mentions here, I wrote:
But of course the gateway resources select some sites and reject others. In this sense they do engage in the business of restricting the flow of certain information, and all strength to their arm for doing so. All academics are necessarily engaged in the process of distinguishing between materials on the basis of their quality. On the whole, the bibliographies at the end of our books are our selections of books and articles that we regard as worthy of attention, and on the whole we restrict ourselves to listing those and not others. It does not mean that we are not well aware that there are likely to be many others that we have not had the time or the good luck to come across. The point is that our bibliographies are restrictive but not prescriptive. They are not saying that this is all you should read, but that these are some resources that I have read and found worth engaging. So too the internet gateway. It is not prescriptive. The intention is not to limit the number of resources that anyone might want to look at, but to provide some helps to the user about good places to start, possible ways to navigate through a difficult topic, a range of different resources on a given theme.

I suspect that most users of gateway resources appreciate that while their authors are attempting to be as comprehensive as possible, the sites are never going to be exhaustive. And with this realisation comes appreciation of a key function of the gateway, that far from discouraging students to distinguish for themselves between good and bad internet resources, they actually help to educate them in how to do this. The student writing an essay on the Historical Jesus is not simply let loose to google in the dark until they have come up with a few scrag ends of dubious worth. The gateway gives them some starter resources, some hints, some pointers, a way to feel their way into the topic. It is just the same discipline as the age-old teaching tool, the Reading List . . . .
etc. I like the idea of "Google- (or Technorati-)fodder. . . ." in AKMA's post too.

Review of Bibical Literature latest

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

Brown, Tricia Gates
Spirit in the Writings of John: Johannine Pneumatology in Social-Scientific Perspective
Reviewed by Steven A. Hunt

Clarke, Emma C., John M. Dillon, and Jackson P. Hershbell, eds.
Iamblichus: On the Mysteries
Reviewed by Douglas Geyer

Clarke, Emma C., John M. Dillon, and Jackson P. Hershbell, eds.
Iamblichus: On the Mysteries
Reviewed by Timothy Pettipiece

deSilva, David
An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation
Reviewed by Kevin L. Anderson

Duling, Dennis C.
The New Testament: History, Literature and Social Context
Reviewed by Jan G. Van Der Watt

Focant, Camille
L'évangile selon Marc
Reviewed by Sean Kealy

Hill, Charles E.
The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church
Reviewed by Kyle Keefer

John Dobson

I heard the sad news this morning from Jane McLarty that John Dobson, author of Learning New Testament Greek, has died today. He had cancer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Patterson in the SBL Forum

Next up is Stephen Patterson with Rome is Burning, a stimulating series of reflections on how the SBL can speak to a North American society obsessed with and led astray by the Da Vinci Code and The Passion of the Christ. Few could argue with its sound conclusion:
The Society needs to play an active role in bringing genuine critical biblical scholarship to the broadest possible audience, so that its members might begin to participate meaningfully in the discussions that will ultimately shape our common cultural life.
In one respect, of course, Biblical scholars already speak into this culture:
Entering the cultural conversation won't be easy. What do we have to work with? Try the History Channel. How many of our colleagues have been caught off guard supplying the talking-head expert testimony to be spliced in between fantastic stories of mummies, lost arks, suppressed texts, and secret societies? Mysteries of the Bible. This is our media outlet in the modern world.
But this is where I find Patterson's diagnosis of the problem rather depressing. Perhaps this is because the situation is rather different over here in the UK, but I am not so pessimistic about the media's use of academics. It has gone wrong for me once, but on the whole I remain positive (see my short article on this). Where it does go wrong, it can be the academics themselves who are to blame for their refusal to think about how they might try to communicate coherently to those in the media. But I'd want to add here that the History Channel is not the best outlet for academics looking to communicate to a wider public. What about the internet? Why not get stuck into the ways of communicating one's scholarship via this fantastic young medium, whether through scholarly homepages, specialist websites, blogging? Or try talking to publishers about writing popular level paperbacks that aim for a wider audience -- they will be interested!

I am a little surprised by the stident tone of Patterson's comments on The Passion of the Christ:
Conservatives had their historical fantasy last spring in the theaters. Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ was a great example of the same mesmerizing formula [as The Da Vinci Code], the other side of this two-headed coin. Remember how he looked Diane Sawyer in the eye and told her, "I know how it really went down." Here, the ideology — anti-Semitism — achieves its transcendent status in the age-old weave of Jewish recalcitrance in the face of God's offer of eternal salvation.
What surprises me is the notion that "anti-Semitism" is the film's "ideology". I have read dozens of scholarly reviews of the film and thought that I had understood its most vociferous critics as claiming that the film was at worst inadvertently anti-Judaic in its (in their view) uncritical borrowing of depictions from the New Testament and Emmerich. I haven't yet seen anyone who sees the film's very ideology as anti-Semitic, so I find this comment pretty striking.

More SBL Forum

Next up is Timothy Lim of the University of Edinburgh, The SBL-Alone Annual Meeting: Challenges and Opportunities. As far as Lim is concerned, and I guess most of us will sympathise with this view, there is more by way of "challenge" than opportunity. One point he hits on is the question of receptions:
Take the Scottish Universities Reception as an example. This popular reception, sponsored this year by the four ancient Universities in Scotland, including my own in Edinburgh, warmly welcomed alumni, friends, and prospective students for drinks and nibbles. It drew many besides, not only those associated with Britain. The SBL/AAR split will mean either double the costs or alternate receptions. It could also mean double the administrative organization for a colleague.
The same is true on a smaller scale for us in Birmingham. We had the first of our Birmingham receptions at the 2004 meeting and it was attended by both AAR and SBL folk in roughly even proportions. I will be sorry to see such events getting compromised. Lim also comments:
Colleagues who are members of the AAR inform me that there have been petitions opposing such a split. Whether a future reconciliation will take place remains uncertain.
I can't resist saying that if Lim read the biblioblogs, he'd know that there was an AAR petition about this -- read it here (and in Paleojudaica and Deinde) first! (See AAR Petition and AAR stands firm on stand-alone meetings and Text of AAR Letter on-line and the links there).

Lim also writes:
Nonetheless, this time of change could be seen as an opportunity for the Society to reinvent itself. Is it too far-fetched to think that the SBL could fully embrace the three abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam within its walls? The common origin and source of all three faiths is of course the Hebrew Bible.
I applaud the spirit here but doubt that it is really viable to see the society embracing Islam without renaming itself.

SBL Forum Latest Contd.

Further on the SBL Forum latest, in The Future of the Society Ehud Ben Zvi comments on the question of the dissemination of knowledge throughout the wider world, and the importance of freely accessible electronic journals as a means of achieving this:
There is, of course, a world beyond paper publication. Journals such as Biblica and the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures communicate knowledge freely all over the world. I appreciate that the Review of Biblical Literature follows the same path. But I find it disconcerting that the flagship journal of the Society, the Journal of Biblical Literature, does not do so. I would like very much to see open access to the electronic version of the JBL.
I am delighted to see Ehud Ben Zvi's commitment to open access scholarship, but I have a query about the premise that the JBL does not "communicate knowledge freely all over the world". As far as I can tell, the recent editions of the JBL are available freely to all. The only one that is not is the latest volume, which can be viewed by members only. That already seems like a pretty generous arrangement to me. If you are in doubt, go to:

Journal of Biblical Literature

and see what you can access without typing in your membership number. You'll find it is at present almost everything from 2003 and 2004. What I would like to see is others committing themselves to the same kind of arrangement, e.g. SNTS and New Testament Studies.


One of these days I really will get round to finishing my reflections on Unicode, and completing a revamp of my Greek fonts page on the NT Gateway, but while it's current, let me mention that the Stoa draws attention to a useful looking new facility for those of you who are still struggling to come to terms with unicode (Greek in this case) and who have Macs. The facility is a new freeware Unicode keyboard layout for ancient Greek, via VersionTracker. It enables you to type in unicode but using the Beta Code keyboard. I've not tried it since I am a PC user, but here's the link for something that sounds useful:

Unicode keyboard layout: type ancient Greek using Beta Code

Christmas leftovers

Some ill-health through Christmas and the new year and even into the beginning of the new term (nothing awful, just flu and fatigue etc.) have kept me away from the blogging machine more than I like and I have a backlog of interesting bits and bobs I had wanted to comment on. I'd still like to get to Geza Vermes on the Birth Narrative, so will be keeping that in the pending tray.

I have long wanted to comment on Stephen Carlson's reflections on Hypotyposeis concerning Luke 2.2, Luke 2:2 and the Census, Parsing Luke 2:2 and Putting Luke 2.2 in Context. If you have not yet read this fascinating new proposal, then let me recommend it. It appears to me to make sense both of the grammar of the passage and of the history, something that other explanations struggle with. I have one thought that occurs and it is something I always want to ask in the face of any new proposal on a text that has been read, re-read, translated, re-translated, interpreted on and commented upon over centuries. The questions, all related, are these: (1) Has this proposal ever been made before? (2) If so, why have others ignored it or found it unsatisfactory? (3) If not, why not? (4) Given that many, on this hypothesis, have been mistranslating this for years, did Luke fail in his attempt to convey his meaning clearly?

Also in my pending tray are posts in the threads on unicode, on how to read a scholarly paper, on BC/AD and some other bits and bobs too, some of which are even colder than the Christmas leftovers. But I'm quite excited by the evolution of the biblioblogs at the moment. The proliferation of biblioblogs both in range and quality is going to enable me to be feel somewhat freer to post on the particular topics that peak my interest, even if it is already taking me much longer to read through my blogroll every day. Happy 2005!

Update (19.45): Stephen Carlson offers some useful reflections in Hypotyposeis, largely to the effect that my questions fall into the zone between blog entry and published article, which is quite right.

SBL Forum latest

The latest edition of the SBL Forum has just appeared on-line:

SBL Forum

It has been given a slightly more journal-style look, with a new header and a volume and part number and date. This was something that was discussed in the SBL Forum advisory board meeting in San Antonio in November, and I think it is a good idea and helps to generate a sense of identity for the forum that is separate from the SBL web site as a whole.

The topic for this month is the future of the society, with a summary of the results of feedback on this topic written by the editor Leonard Greenspoon, and a series of short articles by Joel Green, Ehud Ben Zvi, Timothy Lim, Stephen Patterson, Adele Reinhartz and Gerald West.

So far I have only had a chance to read Joel Green's piece. There is a lot of material of interest here, particularly on the necessity for widening participation in the society outside of North America and Europe. He makes an interesting comment on the Review of Biblical Literature:
With regard to serving its own membership more directly, let me make one suggestion to the SBL. The tactic adopted and now operative for the Review of Biblical Literature may have logistical advantages, but provides no guarantees of scholarly advantage. When people self-select to write a review for any book, scholars not looking for things to do are unlikely to be involved in the reviewing of books. This democratic procedure has the advantage of introducing new scholars, but also runs the risk of never involving seasoned scholars in critical, peer review of emerging work. Is there not some way that RBL could have it both ways? Could it not leave some books (or copies of books) for volunteer review, while assigning others to persons whose specializations are well-known so as to ensure substantive interaction?
This point is well made and rings true with my own experience. Between 1995 and about 2000 I would often volunteer to review books, both on the RBL and elsewhere, and would almost always say yes when offered them for review. In recent times, alas, the pressure of so many other wolves scratching at the door has made me struggle to get the ones done I really want to get done and have already read and fully noted, let alone volunteer to do any others.

If Joel Green is right that this is the current policy of the RBL, then it needs to be reviewed. It used to be the case that the RBL also published all the JBL reviews so that a JBL review automatically appeared on RBL. Is this no longer the case?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Vermes on the Historical Jesus

Jim Davila and Helenann Hartley link to this interesting piece in The Times from Christmas Eve:

When you strip away all the pious fiction, what is left of the real Jesus?
Geza Vermes

As Jim Davila says, "It's a good summary of one mainstream view of the historical Jesus". Indeed in many respects, it is a much more conservative picture of Jesus than that of, say, the Jesus Seminar. The summary reminds me of E. P. Sanders's Jesus as much as Vermes's own, though Vermes is more inclined towards the historicity of much of the Synoptic material than I would see Sanders as being, e.g. I doubt that Sanders would list the healing of a "servant of a Roman centurion from Jerusalem" among his secure facts. I was also interested to see the characterisation of the those who object to Jesus in the Synoptic sabbath healings as "some petty-minded bigots". There are some great quotations here for those who need to set examination questions. Here's one I may use one day: "He was crucified before Passover probably in AD30 because in the eyes of officialdom, Roman and Jewish, He had done the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time." Bang a "Discuss" on the end of that and what could be better?

It's a regular complaint, I know, but I find the title of the article unfortunate, because it gives the impression that historical Jesus study is all about stripping away fiction and getting down to a kind of untouched core of "real Jesus" material. The difficulty in this context is that it puts the backs up of many of the Christian readers who might otherwise have been sympathetic to an article on what can be said about the historical Jesus with certainty. I suppose I am sensitive to such things because I often talk to evangelical students who instinctively balk at historical Jesus study because it appears to them to be a quest to strip away fact from fiction, and so to discredit Christianity, rather than as an enquiry into what the historian is able to say with confidence in a public arena. In other words, the rhetoric implied by the title is unnecessarily provocative given the useful content.

There are one or two interesting (presumably Times) editorial elements that will strike some readers. I doubt that Vermes desccribed himself as "the world's leading Gospel scholar" or that he used capital H throughout for "He" and "Him" of Jesus. I'd guess that he didn't use BC and AD either, but I may be wrong about that. Either way, what the latter demonstrates is something I have pointed out before, just how little the Bible scholars' use of BCE and CE is making an impact on the wider world of discourse, even here in the very area where such usage was born.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Archbishop, the Telegraph and the Tsunami

I cannot resist the temptation to blog a little outside of the NT. I knew that this would happen eventually. Apologies in advance. Ignore and pass on through to the proper NT stuff those who can't cope.

Helenann Hartley blogs on a matter I mentioned in passing the other day, the misreporting in the Sunday Telegraph of the Archbishop of Canterbury's views on the Tsunami disaster. Here's the article and the offending headline:

Archbishop of Canterbury admits: This makes me doubt the existence of God
By Chris Hastings, Patrick Hennessy and Sean Rayment

Now when I say "headline", I do not mean just the article. This was the main headline in the paper, the one you see in the newsagent on display as you buy your copy of The Observer. I was away at the weekend and when I saw it on sale in the petrol station, I was so intrigued that I nearly bought it. And that's the problem -- the headline sends its message out far and wide beyond those who actually consult the article. And let's face it: that headline is unequivocal. By using "me", it gives the strong impression that this is something that Rowan Williams has actually said. In fact, he said nothing of the sort. This is disgraceful headline making on the part of the Sunday Telegraph.

On Klippt Och Skuret, Goran links to the following editorial that appeared the next day in the Telegraph:

Faith in Plain Language

Remarkably, the editorial attempts to justify the misplaced headline by blaming Rowan Williams for his inability to speak in "plain language":
We have some sympathy with the archbishop. Those who had time on their hands to read his article several times over will realize that he was not in fact doubting the existence of God. The headline writer had clearly been misled by the sentence: "Every single random, accidental death is something that should upset a faith bound up with comfort and ready answers."

The archbishop's purpose here, it now appears, was to say that the Christian faith should not be upset by natural disasters, because it is a faith that is not "bound up with comfort and ready answers". But what a convoluted way of putting it.

If Dr Williams was indeed misrepresented by our sister paper's headline, he himself must accept much of the blame. His prose is so obscure, his thought processes so hard to follow, that his message is often unclear.
No, it is unacceptable to make up a headline that gives the impression that it is directly quoting from someone, even using "me". It is particularly outrageous given its prominence in the paper, the sensitivity of the subject and the importance of the figure being misrepresented. But the editorial also strikes me as remarkable for the condescending assumption that readers of a quality Sunday paper require "plain language", that they are unable to understand erudition, that they require some kind of dumbing-down in order to be able to work out what is being said. The article concludes:
If Dr Williams hopes to teach and inspire his flock, he really must learn to express himself more clearly. Otherwise he will be forever doomed to be the victim of his own erudition.
No, what is required is respect for the intelligence of both the archbishop and the readers of the paper.

The Guardian, my more usual haunting ground, has an excellent comment on this today, also linked by Helenann Hartley:

The bishop who believed
David McKie

This is quite right -- it does not require repeated readings to work out what Rowan Williams is saying; it requires one sympathetic and intelligent reading, and the avoidance of opportunistic misrepresentation.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Greek Day 2005

I am happy to be able to announce the details of the fourth Greek Study Day to be hosted at the University of Birmingham on 2 March 2005. Thanks to Dr Steve Walton of the London School of Theology for sending these over. Click on the links below for more information and a booking form:
Greek Study Day: Wednesday 2 March 2005, University of Birmingham [RTF] [PDF]

See the above links for details of this year's study day for those who teach Greek in universities and theological colleges - it promises to be an excellent practical day focused on helping students with participles, translation strategy, hearing from an introductory textbook author thinking aloud about how he planned his course, and considering how to introduce textual criticism to Greek students. Details and booking form are above. Please pass this on to others who may be interested in your university or college - it is open to all.

Steve Walton, Jane McLarty & Geoffrey Williams
Note also the web page for the Greek Study Days that I host here on the NT Gateway:

Greek Study Days

This provides details of the current and previous Greek Study Days.

Forgeries business in the biblioblogs

As I mentioned in a previous post (Hypotyposeis 2004 Retrospective), one of the encouraging things for me about the proliferation of biblioblogs (and related) is that I find myself increasingly at liberty to blog on the areas of my own competence and focus, or, in other words, not needing to blog on everything that is NT-related myself. One particular example of this is the excellent coverage of the fascinating and deeply troubling area of the recent indictments for forgery of biblical artifacts. Ed Cook in Ralph the Sacred River has posted some fascinating material in relation to the news, and Jim West in Biblical Theology is doing a useful job in keeping up with all the latest news. In particular, I am grateful to Jim for his references to the ANE list, which has featured lots of interesting material of interest on this business, including comments from Joe Zias and Robert Deutsch. I subscribe to the digest of this list but regularly forget to check it out, or don't have time. You can view recent contributions here.

Paleojudaica, Hypotyposeis and Serving the Word are also keeping up to scratch with some interesting material.

I have little to add to all of these fascinating contributions. One thought does occur to me in relation to the calls for Hershel Shanks to make a statement and that would be that I would be interested to hear what Ben Witherington III now feels about the James ossuary. He has, after all, been very public in his support of the authenticity of the ossuary, co-authoring a book with Shanks and discussing the issue prominently on the web, e.g. on Beliefnet and Christianity Today, including a comment in the latter suggesting that we "stay tuned" for analysis of the DNA of bone fragments found in the ossuary alongside the blood of the Turin shroud.

Hypotyposeis 2004 Retrospective

One of the treats in biblioblogdom that greeted my return today was Stephen Carlson's

2004 Retrospective

I quite agree that "there is no better intellectual discipline for one's scholarship than actually going through the process of articulating one's research to another interested person". When I look back on my own experience of blogging in 2004, I notice that what I found most enjoyable were the posts that in some way articulated elements in my own research, or added to that research by engaging with others. I enjoy the (ever increasing) variety in biblioblogdom, but what I appreciate in Stephen's approach is his ability to post material "cold", to begin the process of articulating a new idea he has had. I think that I should do that more often. At present I tend to post much more quickly when a topic is "hot", i.e. when something somewhere catches my attention and when I feel I have something to say on it. One of the values of that approach is that new thoughts emerge in unexpected places; I would not have predicted that I would have written an article on The Passion of the Christ at the beginning of 2004, but it emerged from the repeated blogging on other people's views, which I thought all too often were sloppy and misinformed.

With the rapid increase in the number of biblioblogs (and related), I look forward to the NT Gateway blog's continuing evolution into something that is more distinctively my own and less simply something I do as a kind of service to the academic community. When it was just a handful of us drawing attention to the interesting items out there, one could not help feeling something of an obligation to blog on something that was NT related. Much less so now.

Typically, I began talking about Stephen and have now continued with myself. So let me get back to the Hypotyposeis 2004 retrospective. I appreciated the following reflections on the e-lists:
For many years, I found mailing lists to be a useful outlet, but the medium was not very conducive for the length of analyses I wanted to do. Rather, the mailing list is best for short, succinct critiques as well as keeping a pulse on the (mainly controversial) topics that people find interesting. However, mailing lists are only as good as the regular participants and even best groups need new blood from time to time or they will stagnate. Mailing lists run hot and cold too, and when they're hot there's sometimes an avalanche of mail that is just too overwhelming. Blogging seemed a better way to open up a forum for one's ideas to a wider range of interested people a more deliberative pace and without the interpersonal dynamics.
I have seen my own interest shift dramatically from the e-lists to blogging over the last year or so, and largely for the same reasons that Stephen gives. I still read the e-lists and occasionally contribute, and remain a fan of Xtalk, which would be my favourite list, but there is something frustrating about the way in which a thread with multiple contributions can easily drown a particularly detailed or nuanced contribution. On the whole, I can't help thinking that bloggerdom is going to attract more of the top notch scholars than the e-lists have ever been able to.

It is good also to see Stephen add his five top posts (or series of posts), following other bloggers who have done the same. Like me, Stephen annotates the list.

Stephen also comments on his disappointments and frusrations of unfinished extended reviews. I can understand and sympathise with this, not only because all three he specifically mentions are of particular interest to me, but also because I find a similar thing happening regularly, perhaps most clearly when someone posts a useful response to something I've blogged and I don't get the time to follow up on it, as for example in one of the very areas Stephen mentions in his own top five, re. A Throttle to Knowledge, where my entry ends with "comments in due course". But blogging is imperfect, often spontaneous, is bound by the limits of time and energy we have at any given time, and that vitality is also one of its joys.

Tom Wright on the Tsunami

I spotted this link on Klippt Och Skuret:

Meanings of Christmas: In the new world there will be no more sea
Does God have a responsibility to stop earthquakes and tidal waves? The story of Jesus raises much subtler questions
Tom Wright

I have a mixed reaction to this. I can't help feeling sorry for our religious leaders in their quest to say something meaningful, something helpful in the wake of this tragedy, and poor Rowan Williams has had a struggle to make himself heard clearly in the Sunday Telegraph, but at the same time I feel completely uneasy with the religious leaders' responses, not least because however much they want to say "I don't know" and "Why?", they still apparently feel obliged to say something that helps shed divine light on the catastrophe. I might comment a little more later on this in relation to Tom Wright's article later on, if I can face it.

Review of Bibical Literature latest

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

Barnet, John A.
Not the Righteous but Sinners: M. M. Bakhtin's Theory of Aesthetics and the Problem of Reader-Character Interaction in Matthew's Gospel
Reviewed by Joel Kennedy

Barnet, John A.
Not the Righteous but Sinners: M. M. Bakhtin's Theory of Aesthetics and the Problem of Reader-Character Interaction in Matthew's Gospel
Reviewed by Patrick Spencer

Elliott, Susan
Cutting too Close for Comfort: Paul's Letter to the Galatians in its Anatolian Cultic Context
Reviewed by Steven A. Hunt

Elliott, Susan
Cutting too Close for Comfort: Paul's Letter to the Galatians in its Anatolian Cultic Context
Reviewed by Fred Rich

Etcheverría, Ramon Trevijano
La Bibbia nel cristianesimo antico
Reviewed by James E. West

Jeremias, Joachim
Jesus and the Message of the New Testament
Reviewed by Jan G. Van Der Watt

Skaggs, Rebecca
The Pentecostal Commentary on 1 Peter, 2 Peter and Jude
Reviewed by Jeffery Lamp

Thomas, John Christopher
The Pentecostal Commentary on 1 John, 2 John, 3 John
Reviewed by David Bostock

Blasi, Anthony, Jean Duhaime, and Paul-André Turcotte, eds.
Handbook of Early Christianity: Social Science Approaches
Reviewed by Jan G. Van Der Watt

Lüdemann Seminar

The seminar with Gerd Lüdemann on the Resurrection of Christ (see announcement) is now well under way and is already generating some interesting discussion. If you have not already joined up, let me encourage you to do so. Details are here:

Lüdemann Seminar.

There are currently 122 members, which is a good number but many fewer than are involved in the sponsoring group Xtalk, which has over 400. Messages to the seminar are trickling in, so let me also encourage you to post. (I invited Prof. Lüdemann myself, and I am moderating this seminar with Jeffrey Gibson, so am much more aware of such things than normal).

New blogs on the block

Biblio- or nearly and not quite biblio-blogs are proliferating. New on the scene is:


This is described as "Reflections on being a complex Christian: how to be traditional in a non-traditional world without being dead" and is by Doug Chaplin, who (among many other things, not least being a parish priest in Worcestershire) is a part-time PhD student here in Birmingham. Welcome to the blogosphere, Doug.

Next up is another blog with a Birmingham connection, by Zeth Green:


Thanks to Jim Davila on Paleojudaica for spotting this. It describes itself as "an aggregator for Biblical Studies" and picks up feeds from a variety of biblioblogs (including this one) in the manner of the AWMC Web Watch (although the latter seems to have been stalled on 10 December 2004; is it now out of commission?). With the Biblioblog, the entire content of the selected posts is generated, along with an icon linking you to that blog's main page and a link to the post in question. Could be useful, especially for those not using bloglines or Firefox's live bookmarks.

And alerted by Ed Cook on Ralph the Sacred River is Seth Sanders's new blog:

Serving the Word

Alerted by Jim West on Biblical Theology is Richard Anderson's blog focusing on Luke, and in particular Richard Anderson's own theories about Luke (can't say I'm keen on the transliterated Greek here, avoiding the overstroke on the "o" for omega):

dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos Theophilos

Welcome to all. All of these are added to my blogroll as also is the South East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog.

Happy New Year

A somewhat belated happy new year from the NT Gateway blog. I have been away from the blogging machine for much of the Christmas period, either with visitors here in Birmingham, or away ourselves on visits. I've not been 100 per cent health-wise and my wife Viola has been ill almost the entire time and is still not better. I am now beginning to get back into catch-up mode, though, and find much of interest in all the blogs as well as in my correspondence.

As for everyone, the recent earthquake and Tsunami disaster in South East Asia has dominated my thinking. I wish I were able to say something profound, insightful or helpful, something that might in some small way make a difference, but I cannot. Although I sometimes take refuge in being more of an historian / Biblical scholar than a theologian, I cannot shy away from the fact that I do work for a living in a department of Theology and Religion and at present I am filled with a sense of the utter indadequacy of theology and theologians, and, for that matter, bishops, priests and religious leaders, to say anything that is able to help. To be honest, I find it pretty depressing even to see people trying. Speaking for myself, I wish more people would just say, "This is awful. I don't know what to say", allowing only the outpouring of compassion to speak so much more eloquently than anything else can.