Monday, February 28, 2005

Report on Richard Hays's Lectures

On rabbisaul, Tim Gallant has posted a thorough and most interesting report on two sessions at the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City given by Prof. Richard Hays of Duke Divinity School. Go to Richard Hays Lectures for the account. Tim mentions the interesting tidbit that "These lectures are an early form of Hays's next book - apparently a Gospels version of his Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul". Sounds fascinating -- wish I'd been there!

BibleDudes latest

Michael Homan announces the Newest Latest Section of BibleDudes, a fine interactive piece on the Archaeology section -- go about two-thirds of the way down the page, click on the trowel and then play with it -- a nicely designed and helpful teaching tool.

More on TNIV

Christian Century has an article on the newly released TNIV, Today's New International Version, noting that it has not caused the kind of controversy among evangelicals that some had expected:

New Bible woos young adults, skirts critics
John Dart
. . . . Zondervan has emphasized that its goal is to attract young adults who might not ordinarily take note of a new Bible version. “With advancements in biblical scholarship, updated language and gender clarity, the TNIV is a new translation that will engage today’s younger generation with God’s word,” says a news release from the Michigan-based publisher.
There is a further short article comparing the NIV with the TNIV, Bible Verses Compared.

I found myself when lecturing today comparing the two track approach that Zondervan / the International Bible Society are taking, viz. to keep the NIV going alongside the TNIV, rather like Coca Cola in the 1980s with their new recipe Coke and their classic Coke. But if I understood that situation, new reciple Coke eventually disappeared without trace, whereas it is difficult to imagine the same thing happening to the TNIV.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Sword

I've been waiting for a chance to join others (e.g. Stephen Carlson in Hypotyposeis) in welcoming Michael Turton's new blog:

The Sword

Michael is clearly a person of good taste -- he has a delightful review of my Case Against Q.

I am also on Michael's side with the following post:

An Open Letter to NT Scholars
So now I'm begging. Take a moment. Get out your digital cameras. Fire up those scanners. Prod your student workers. But get those older works online where the world can see them!
I suppose that one of the things that does encourage me is what I call the quiet revolution that is taking place in scholars making available reproductions of their articles on their homepages. It's something you rarely see discussed when people are talking about open access, but it is one of the most significant and useful elements that is breaking through in the current scene. Just think -- you can read articles by the likes of Paula Fredriksen, Francis Watson, John Kloppenborg on-line on their personal homepages, and more scholars are doing the same all the time.

More Jesus Sightings

I'm pleased to see that the sightings continue. Thanks to David Meadows for this fine example of the genre, with a video, in First Coast News:

Woman Sees Jesus in Door

And (now Dr) Helenann Hartley notes this exclusive from Leeds Today:

Our Madonna on a bath tile

But no image -- boo!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Beyond Belief

I went up to Manchester on Thursday to take part in a recording for a Beyond Belief on Radio 4. The topic was Gnosticism and the other two taking part in the discussion were Timothy Freke and Michael Green, with an interview with Elaine Pagels on tape to be broadcast at the half-way point. Ernie Rea was in the chair as usual. I'd met both Timothy Freke and Michael Green before, though in very different contexts. Tim I met in 2001 on the Channel 4 programme Right to Reply. I was on with Michael Wakelin to defend the BBC1 series Son of God against Tim's critique, a short film and then an in-studio discussion. This time it was good to get to know Tim a little better. On that occasion they kept us apart until we met on set. On this occasion, we shared lunch together first and, as it happened, a train journey afterwards. We disagreed profoundly, and I especially disagreed with Tim's Jesus-myth approach, on top of what I would call a kind of popular philosophical approach rather than an historical approach to Gnosticism, but Tim's company I enjoyed very much -- and we had a few laughs.

Michael Green I had met before in Oxford when I was a fresher. He was rector of St Aldate's Church at the time and used to invite the freshers to tea in the rectory on a rolling college by college basis each Sunday tea-time. Goodness only knows how they managed to keep up with this across the weeks and years, but we appreciated it. I remember their asking us if we would like to pray together after we had had our tea and cakes, and I remember getting a special prayer because I would be studying Theology, so would need additional strength! I also recall the dog sniffing around us while we were praying.

That was almost twenty years ago. This time Michael Green was in a studio in Oxford and the other three of us were in Manchester. I've done Beyond Belief several times and just once in a lonely studio in Birmingham down the line -- I don't recommend it. It is much easier to do when you can see Ernie and your fellow guests. And on this occasion we lost Michael Green for a good ten minutes or so during the recording.

The discussion was quite enjoyable. I felt like I spoke less than the other two, both of whom got pretty passionate, the one for how wonderful Gnostic texts were and how much they can lead to inner enlightenment today, the other for how far they were in thought from orthodox Christian texts in the canon. Happily, I was not asked to define Gnosticism, something that I would not find easy after having read Michael Allen Williams and Karen King. Also happily, we tended to focus most often on the Gospel of Thomas which I know better than any of the other Nag Hammadi texts, though it was a shame that we did not get into some of the really interesting funkier bits of the Apocryphon of John and the like. Ernie asked me to tell the story of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts too. But as usual on such occasions, I cannot now remember a great deal of the rest of what I said, so I hope that none of it was daft. (I do remember sharing my first impression of reading the Gospel of Thomas, that I wondered whether the author of it was on drugs).

The programme goes out on Monday 7 March at 4.30 pm on Radio 4.

Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective

A press release from Fortress:

Scholars Present Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective

MINNEAPOLIS (February 25, 2005)— Of all the writings of the New Testament, the Book 0f Revelation has the most comprehensive critique of the Roman Empire and the most global vision of a new world in the worship and service of God. In From Every People and Nation: The Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective a diverse group of biblical scholars and theologians gathers in one volume perspectives from many cultural and social locations in a quest to illuminate this powerful book and to promote a vision of justice and peace.

Together, the contributors model the dynamics of cultural interpretation and offer resources for readers themselves to engage in the intercultural study of Bible. They discuss topics such as Hispanic / Cuban American and African American perspectives, ecological issues, postcolonial themes, and liberation theology. The book also provides a set of guidelines for intercultural Bible study.

The volume's contributors include:

* Brian K. Blount
* Justo González
* Harry O. Maier
* Clarice J. Martin
* James Okoye
* Tina Pippin
* Pablo Richard
* Barbara R. Rossing
* Vítor Westhelle
* Khiok-Khng Yeo


David Rhoads, Professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago is the co-author of Mark as Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel (2nd ed.; Fortress Press, 1999) and author of The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels (Fortress Press, 1996). He received the 2004 Fortress Press Award for Graduate and Seminary Teaching in recognition of his innovative teaching, his approaches to subject areas, and his communication with today's students. For a couple of decades he has given oral performances of the gospel of Mark in a dramatic setting before church groups and classes. His inventive teaching methods include diverse methodologies for studying the Bible and other pedagogical strategies, and creative writing assignments.

ISBN 0-8006-3721-6

6” x 9”, 282 pp, paperback


The brilliant -- and not so brilliant -- schoolboy

I enjoyed Ed Cook's post on Ralph on The Brilliant Schoolboy, following on from a comment made by Jim Davila on Paleojudaica.

There is another side to the archetypal "schoolboy", though, the one who makes basic errors of reasoning. B. C. Butler, The Originality of St Matthew. A Critique of the Two Document Hypothesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951): 63, criticises previous synoptic scholars for making "a schoolboyish error of elementary reasoning at the very base of the Two Document Hypothesis". I wondered if this "schoolboyish error" phrase might itself be a motif in academic writing of a certain era (when male scholars in male universities were looking back on their days at boys' public schools), but was surprised to find only Butler's use above coming up when I googled for it.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

TNIV latest

There is a lot of interest at the moment in the new TNIV translation. TNIV stands for Today's New International Version and is the gender-inclusive development of the New International Version. But it has not been without controversy and, as I understand the situation, the publishers are going with a two-track approach, continuing to publish the original NIV at the same time as TNIV, perhaps a bit like new recipe Coca Cola and Classic Coca Cola?

The main website is here:

TNIV Bible: Today's New International Version

There is then an on-line element to that site here:

TNIV On-line

You can read the TNIV in PDF from that page, and a fully searchable and browsable TNIV is promised on the same page at the end of this month.

For the real enthusiasts, there is a new blog:

TNIV Bible Blog

It includes details of a free TNIV offer, but only for North American residents.

To get a feel for some of the controversy in evangelical circles, this is a good place to start:

Feature: TNIV Bible Translation

It's a feature on the PBS Religion and Ethics news weekly from last Friday.

And thanks to Maurice A. O'Sullivan for alerting me to this article from the Washington Post:

New and Newer Versions of Scripture
Criticism of Today's New International Version of the Bible began three years ago with the publication of the TNIV New Testament. Opponents accused the translation committee, an independent group of evangelical scholars, of bowing to political correctness and feminist theology in using "gender neutral" or "inclusive" language.

The committee made adjustments to the 2002 text before this month's publication of the complete Bible. But committee members said they did not abandon their goal of providing an accurate translation.

Critics call the effort a failure, many preferring TNIV's precursor, the best-selling New International Version published in 1978 . . . .

Biblioblogs go flickr

On the MacIntosh Biblioblog Joe Weaks has a nice post on the benefits of flickr as a host for your photographs, with a link to a new Biblioblog group for us all to upload our own photographs. Joe sets this off himself with three photographs from last year's SBL, including Gail Dawson's E-Listers (including Joe himself, me and fellow bibliobloggers Stephen Carlson and Jim Davila) and Joe and me with a great (and entirely unfair) caption. Here's the group link:

Flickr: Biblioblog

There's an RSS / Atom feed too so that you can track changes to the group.

So now I have a place for my biblioblog related photographs when I get going with the digital camera I had for Christmas.

BAR on James Ossuary on-line

Biblical Archaeology Review have placed twelve pages of the latest March-April edition dealing with the Antiquities Fraud Indictment on-line in PDF. It's under their general "Update: Finds or Fakes" section and includes a picture of a smiling Oded Golan in front of a white grand piano (John Lennon in "Imagine" video style):

The Other Shoe: Five Accused of Antiquities Fraud
Biblical Archaeology Review March/April 2005: 58-69

Friday, February 18, 2005

Augsburg Fortress job losses

Christian Century notes that several job losses have been announced at Augsburg Fortress:

Augsburg Fortress . . . announced . . . that it is eliminating 24 staff positions . . .

(The full title is ridiculously long!). The announcement explains that "it is eliminating 24 staff positions, discontinuing product lines and consolidating select overhead costs." It seems that at the moment Fortress Press, its scholarly wing, is not affected, but one can't help but be concerned. Let's hope that Fortress keeps going strong.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Archaeologists discover Paul's tomb

Or so this report claims, with thanks to Jim West for the link (and earlier also Rogueclassicism on an Italian article on this):

Archaeologists discover Paul's tomb

The article is from Catholic News.


I'd like to second Jim Davila's congratulations to the University of Aberdeen Department of Divinity and Religious Studies who have just announced two new appointments in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament:

Aberdeen makes two new appointments in Old Testament / Hebrew Bible

Dr Joachim Schaper is to be Reader in Old Testament and Dr Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer will be Lecturer in Old Testament. Lena was a colleague here in Birmingham until quite recently and I am delighted to see the news of her getting this post.

I've been having a look at the Aberdeen department's website and Pete Williams has done a great job here. As someone who was once responsible for our department's website here, I know what a time-consuming job this can be. But it is very encouraging to see their website building, and in particular to see the introduction of links both to published pieces and to work in progress. For the NT, see in particular the following staff web pages:

Francis Watson
Simon Gathercole
Peter Williams

I should also mention Andrew Clarke but his web page is not yet anything like as well populated as the other three.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

New Perspective on Paul: Bibliographical Essay

I was lecturing a couple of weeks ago on the recent backlash against the New Perspective on Paul so for the first time had to find time to engage seriously with authors like Stuhlmacher, Das, Westerholm and Gathercole. I began to put together a bibliography on the backlash, or, as one should probably call it, the critique, but discovered that there is a fine one already available on the net. It is by Michael Bird and is a thorough, annotated Bibliographical essay, helpfully divided up into sections on all aspects of the New Perspective, pre and pro, ante, anti and tangential, all you need to know:

The New Perspective on Paul: A Bibliographical Essay
Michael F. Bird

I'd call it an annotated bibliography rather than a bibliographical essay, but that's a very minor quibble. It is located on Mark Mattison's superb Paul Page and is itself regularly updated, most recently yesterday. It also has some useful hyperlinked elements.

Review of Michael McLymond, Familiar Stranger

Christianity Today has the following article review of Michael McLymond, Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004):

Not a Tame Lion
An engaging theologian questions the Jesus of modern scholars.
Reviewed by Jeremy Lott

I don't know this book myself, but the review is entertaining. I would like to comment on one aspect of it, however, since I am sceptical about how Lott characterises the approach:
McClymond is a theologian and not a text critic or a language scholar, so he is inclined to pull strands of information together, rather than apart. He challenges the sometimes narrow field of biblical studies by insisting that the distinctions that seem so important for conference papers and journal articles are not significant for helping most Christians to understand the life and message of Jesus of Nazareth.
I am not sure that I am happy with the notion that text critics and language scholars pull strands of information apart, and I'd also dispute the concern about "the sometimes narrow field of biblical studies". I would not expect academic conference papers and journal articles to be helpful for "most Christians". That is not their target. Biblical studies takes its place in the academy alongside related and other disciplines where it is practised by scholars from a variety of backgrounds. I do think that is is important for all of us, and not only those of us who are Christians, to attempt to communicate our scholarship to the wider world, including Christians, but that is never going to be the primary goal of the academic conference or the academic journals.

Jesus at the Movies in Cornwall

With apologies for the self-promotion, I publish notice of this event on 28 May at the University of Exeter in Cornwall:

Jesus at the Movies
Theology and Contemporary Cinema
Mark Goodacre
Saturday 28 May 2005, Tremough Campus, Penryn

The link above is to a poster in Word document; also available in PDF here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Taking Note: St Matthew Passion

I caught a super programme earlier today which may be of interest to some, a half-hour documentary about the St Matthew Passion:

Taking Note
Bach's St Matthew Passion
Conductor Paul Spicer, Singer Emma Kirkby and Musical expert Simon Heighes discuss how it feels to perform monumental piece of music, and why the music has such a profound effect on audiences.
The link above opens the programme in Real Player.

Greek Study Day Correction and Reminder

Thanks to Steve Walton for pointing out the minor correction necessary on the booking form for the Greek Study Day on 2 March at the University of Birmingham:

Helping Students Over the Hurdles in Reading NT Greek [RTF] [PDF]

The notice spoke throughout (rightly) of the 2 March, but the booking form had one reference to 9 March, which has now been corrected. The updated versions are above.

But let me take this opportunity to encourage you to come along to what looks like an excellent day. It is the fourth of the Greek Study Days and they are usually very rewarding and enjoyable occasions.

Apocalypticism, Anti-Semitism and the Historical Jesus

My previous post reminds me to blog details of a super book I'm reading at the moment, one of the latest volumes in the JSNTS

Apocalypticism, Anti-Semitism and the Historical Jesus

Subtexts in Criticism
edited by John S. Kloppenborg and John Marshall
JSHJS; JSNTS, 275; London and New York: T & T Clark International, 2004


Virtually all scholars agree that apocalyptic and millenarianism formed at least part of the matrix of the culture in first-century Jewish Palestine, but there is a sharp disagreement concerning the extent to which Jesus shared apocalyptic and millenarian beliefs.

Although there has been a great deal written defending or opposing an 'apocalyptic Jesus', almost nothing has been said on the questions of what, from the standpoint of modern historiography of Jesus, is at stake in the issue of whether or not he was an apocalypticist or a millenarian prophet, and what is at stake in arguing that his alleged apocalypticism is a central and defining characteristic, rather than an incidental feature. Much has been said on the kind of Jew Jesus was, but almost nothing is said on why the category of Judaism has become so central to historical Jesus debates. These questions have less to do with the quantity and character of the available ancient evidence than they do with the ways in which the modern critic assembles evidence into a coherent picture, and the ideological and theological subtexts of historical Jesus scholarship. Scholars of Christian origins have been rather slow to inquire into the ideological location of their own work as scholars, but it is this question that is crucial in achieving a critical self-awareness of the larger entailments of historical scholarship on Jesus and the early Jesus movement. This volume begins the inquiry into the ideological location of modern historical Jesus scholarship.

Don't forget that the 50 per cent scholar's discount applies to these titles.

New book by Bill Arnal

It's good to see -- via Zeba Crook on Xtalk -- that Bill Arnal has a new book out and I can't wait to read it:

The Symbolic Jesus
Historical Scholarship, Judaism and the Construction of Contemporary Identity
William Arnal

Series: Religion in Culture:Studies in Social Contest & Construction

This volume addresses the current scholarly controversies that have erupted in the last 20 or so years over the implications of the Judaism of Jesus. Since the early 1970s, a surprising number if historical Jesus scholars have been insisting with increasing shrillness that Jesus was a Jew, and that this fact has significant implications for how one reconstructs the figure of Jesus out of the portraits in ancient Christian literature. While both Christianity itself and New Testament scholarship specifically do indeed have a disturbing anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic legacy, by the 1970s, that legacy largely seemed to have been overcome, at least in mainstream biblical scholarship. This suggests that something more, something subterranean, is involved in the emotionally-charged “debate” over the Judaism of Jesus, a debate over a point no one now disputes, and a debate that generates demonstrably false charges against certain scholars (e.g., John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, Burton Mack) as producing a “non-Jewish” Jesus. This book explores the anti-Jewish legacy of past scholarship, shows that the Judaism of Jesus is a more complex issue than many scholars will acknowledge, and explores the subterranean cultural implications of the recent insistence on the Judaism of Jesus. The book concludes that current controversies centered around the Jewishness of Jesus are actually debates about contemporary identity issues – scholarly identities, political identities, religious identities, and the definition of cultural identity itself.

ISBN (Hardback) 1845530063
Price (Hardback) £45.00/$65.00
ISBN (Paperback) 1845530071
Price (Paperback) £12.99/$22.00
Publication Date March 2005
Pages 128
Size 216 x 138mm
Book Status Not yet published

I. Introduction: Mad Mel and the Cultural Prominence of Jesus
II. Bad Karma: Anti-Semitism in New Testament Scholarship
III. A Manufactured Controversy: Why the “Jewish Jesus” is a Red Herring
IV. The Jewish Jesus and Contemporary Identity
a. Scholarly identities
b. Political identities
c. Religious identities
d. Cultural identities
V. Conclusions

The link above takes you to the publishers' site (Equinox). You can pick it up a bit cheaper at and

Update (28 April 2005, 00.31): there has been some interesting discussion of the book now on Xtalk, beginning with a review by Loren Rosson and featuring Bill among respondents. Begin with the previous link and continue to follow the thread through from the bottom of that page.

SBL Forum February

The latest edition of the SBL Forum is now on-line:

SBL Forum Vol. 3 No. 2 (February 2005)

The theme is "accomplishments and opportunities" and there are essays by Jan Willem van Henten, Freddy Boswell, S. David Sperling, Kristin Swanson and Robert Shedinger, and Kent Harold Richards.

The Society News also features:

Report on the Resolution Survey

This is the survey that was discussed extensively in the biblioblogs; Ed Cook has already commented on Ralph and Jim Davila agrees on Paleojudaica. More here later.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Review of Biblical Literature latest

Latest from the SBL's Review of Biblical Literature under the general Bible and NT headings:

Focant, Camille, ed.
Quelle maison pour Dieu?
Reviewed by James E. West

Jasper, David
A Short Introduction to Hermeneutics
Reviewed by Carol Newsom

Kirk-Duggan, Cheryl, ed.
Pregnant Passion: Gender, Sex, & Violence in the Bible
Reviewed by Ahuva Ashman

Stanton, Graham and David F. Ford, eds.
Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology
Reviewed by Peter Carrell

Adams, Edward and David G. Horrell, eds.
Christianity at Corinth: The Quest for the Pauline Church
Reviewed by Alan Johnson

Adams, Edward and David G. Horrell, eds.
Christianity at Corinth: The Quest for the Pauline Church
Reviewed by Verlyn Verbrugge

Burkett, Delbert
Rethinking the Gospel Sources: From Proto-Mark to Mark
Reviewed by David Peabody

Crocker, Cornelia Cyss
Reading 1 Corinthians in the Twenty-First Century
Reviewed by Kate Donahoe

Gehring, Roger W.
House Church and Mission: The Importance of Household Structures in Early Christianity
Reviewed by Mary Coloe

Haacker, Klaus
The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans
Reviewed by Dennis R Lindsay

Kannaday, Wayne C.
Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition: Evidence of the Influence of Apologetic Interests on the Text of the Canonical Gospels
Reviewed by Kim Haines-Eitzen

Kannaday, Wayne C.
Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition: Evidence of the Influence of Apologetic Interests on the Text of the Canonical Gospels
Reviewed by Michael Kaler

Pilgrim, Walter E.
Uneasy Neighbors: Church and State in the New Testament
Reviewed by Joseph Benjamin Modica

Ramos Pérez, Fernando
Ver a Jesús Y Sus Signos, Y Creer en Él: Estudio exegético-teológico de la relación
Reviewed by Jeffrey Morrow

Passion on 100 Greatest TearJerkers

The Passion of the Christ made an appearance on last night's Channel 4 chart, 100 Greatest Tear Jerkers, where it clocked in at 94. The clip they showed and discussed was the flashback where Mary runs to Jesus when he falls as a boy, and as she sees him fall the same way on the road to Calvary. I must admit that the tears welled up for me just watching the clip again!

I spotted a couple of other Jesus film links in there. I had not realised before that Philip Saville, director of the Visual Bible's Gospel of John, was the director of Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Blackstuff in the early 1980s; it clocked in at 65.

Latest Image

Thanks to David Meadows for this latest image in our Jesus-sightings watch. This article is from

Crowds See Holy Images In Tree

It's supposed to be the Virgin Mary (can't see her) and the finger of God (looks drawn on). I'll give it four and a half out of ten.

Peter Ackroyd Obituary

The Times has the following obituary:

The Rev Professor Peter Ackroyd
Old Testament scholar whose meticulous research challenged and then vanquished assumptions about the later prophets

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Biblical Theology Bulletin Fall 2004

FindArticles have added the full text of the following:

Biblical Theology Bulletin Fall 2004
When violence rules
by David M. Bossman

"Let them renounce themselves and take up their cross": a feminist reading of Mark 8:34 in Mark's social and narrative world
by Joanna Dewey

Hate never dispelled hate: no place for the pharmakos
by Mark R. Bredin

The family in the Jesus movement
by Santiago Guijarro

The radical Jesus: you cannot serve God and Mammon
by Douglas E. Oakman

History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel
by Otis Coutsoumpos

"Is this Jesus?"

On Biblical Theology, Jim West draws attention to this article from the Australian Herald Sun:

Is this Jesus?
Bryan Patterson

It's a computer reverse-aging on the image of Jesus from the Turin Shroud, so that we get what the person in that image would have looked like as a boy. I think this story surfaced before, if I remember correctly, and several of the biblioblogs did comment on it then. I just want to make a couple of quick comments on this article, the first its use of the journalistic technique of taking a very dubious claim and attempting to make it respectable by turning it into a question, thus "Is this Jesus?" The answer on such occasions is always "no". I remember when we worked on the first century Jewish skull for the BBC / Discovery Son of God (UK) / Jesus: The Complete Story (USA) which generated all over the press, "Is this the face of Jesus?" (etc.) Again, answer: no.

Second, this article makes reference to that project in a rather garbled last line:
The speculative picture contrasts with a recent attempt to reconstruct Jesus' face using a 2000-year-old Jewish skull, software and the latest forensic techniques. That revealed a dark-skinned man.
I love the idea that the process somehow "revealed" a dark skin man. The face was made dark skinned because that was what we thought was historically appropriate. It was dark skinned because we said, "Let's make it dark skinned".

Unicode for Greek Guidelines

Thanks to Bob Buller for letting me know of the existence of this excellent article at the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University:

Preliminary Guidelines to Using Unicode for Greek
Deborah Anderson

This will also be worth adding to the new unicode section on my Fonts page later on.

More on the Jerusalem Shroud

On Paleojudaica, Jim Davila draws attention to an interesting update from James Tabor on the Jerusalem Shroud in a message to the ANE List.

And on RogueClassicism, David Meadows points to this piece from BBC News:

TB may have killed off leprosy
Human remains dating from the 1st Century AD suggest tuberculosis (TB) may have killed off leprosy in Europe.

Scientists at University College London have been examining a shrouded body recently discovered in a sealed chamber in Israel.

The bones reveal the man was infected with both TB and leprosy.

Given that TB is the more aggressive and faster-killing of the two, the scientists say it would have won the battle of the diseases . . .

Welcome back Bible and Interpretation

I'd like to join others in welcoming back Bible and Interpretation.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

New cut version of The Passion of the Christ

This has been reported variously, e.g. mentioned by Jim West, a Variety (subscription only) article on a recut version of The Passion of the Christ, a film directed by Mel Gibson and first released last year:

The Passion Recut Coming to Theaters
Mel Gibson has made a new cut of The Passion of The Christ, trimming five to six minutes of violent scenes, reports Variety. The new version, The Passion Recut, will go out on 500-750 screens by Newmarket Films beginning March 11.

The new cut will be unrated, adds the trade. Gibson showed a preliminary version of this version to the ratings board. When it became clear he would still receive an R rating, which his original film bore, Gibson decided that would defeat his purpose . . . .

. . . . . "There are no new scenes, and the cuts are limited to the more violent aspects of the film, if that's the right term," said Bruce Davey, Gibson's partner in Icon Productions. "The scourging scene in particular has been substantially adjusted."

The film will be released in most major markets across the country. It is expected to run through Easter weekend, and Davey said that this might become a perennial release.
I will watch this story with interest; I might even be able to persuade my wife to watch the new version of the film with me; no more lonely cinema trips or DVD-watching sessions!

It's interesting that this has come after Fulco made a joke about this at the San Antonio SBL in November, noting that Gibson was working on a PG version; from my account of November 26:
Fulco cracked a joke with such dry humour that many fell for it. Shepherd asked him about the long term future of the film. Where would people's appreciation of it be in 5 or 10 years? Would it be regular Easter TV fare? He answered that Mel Gibson is currently working on a PG version of the film which would enable it to be shown on TV; he said that the PG version would be about 14 minutes long.
Well, I had assumed then that this was pure joke; but it looks like Fulco may have realised that there was indeed to be a cut version, and the joke was just about the length of the remainder.

More helps with unicode

I am happy to see Joe Weaks now posting some useful introductory material on unicode on his Macintosh Biblioblog

Unicode: A Bible Scholar's Introduction

I look forward to the future instalments. I took a session today in our Biblical Studies seminar on Greek fonts, and especially unicode, and pointed to some of my own links of choice on the Greek NT Gateway fonts page. I was stirred to do this having seen so many PhD theses struggling with fonts. I reckon that I have probably asked for major font corrections in the majority of theses I've examined.

Meanwhile, the interesting discussions on unicode continue over on b-greek which last night included a particularly notable contribution from Peter Kirby who has released a beta of a programme called Greek Pad, available at It's a great facility and allows you to type in Beta code and get unicode output, which you then copy and paste into your document. One of the things it has over the Unicode Classical Greek Inputter is that you can see in three columns, first the beta code keystrokes you are typing in, then the unicode that is coming out, and then the code points. Peter has also done some clever stuff to allow you to type in unaccented Greek, then hit the enter / return key and get some accenting based on stored dictionary entries. I'm not yet clear quite how the latter will pan out since it will not, presumably, be able to distinguish between different forms of given words. For example, I typed in εν αρχη ην ο λογος, pressed return and got ἐν ἀρχὴ ἣν ὁ λόγος and not Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος. But it is a beta, and it's another cracking resource.

More Jesus sightings

Helenann Hartley has the latest on one of the recent Jesus sightings -- in a pan:

Pan with face of Jesus attracting more visitors

The article mentions an important sighting that I'd forgotten to mention, "a grilled cheese sandwich resembling the Virgin Mary".

Meanwhile, David Meadows gets in touch with the following:

Creepy items haunt what's for sale on eBay
By Gina Piccalo

This article from the Chicago Tribune features the following paragraph:
The Virgin Mary is indiscriminately possessing food. Topping November's grilled-cheese-sandwich manifestation, she has now appeared with the baby Jesus in a Lay's Smokey Bacon Chip in Geraldton, Ontario. "I'm really, really freaked out right now about this, especially after the Tsunami Tragedy after Christmas," the seller writes. "I am beginning to think that the creaking in the kitchen may have been a warning."
He also mentions a story about a Gospel Tree in Kentucky.

And there's a useful post from Ed Cook on Ralph , noting that this is all predicted in Gospel of Thomas 77. Well spotted!

Callahan, A Love Supreme

This press release is from Fortress (and I will take the opportunity to add, as I do from time to time, that Fortress remain the only publishers who send me these. Where's everyone else's publicity people?):

Callahan Offers Original and Compelling Reconstruction of the Johannine Tradition

MINNEAPOLIS (February 10, 2005)— In A Love Supreme: A History of the Johannine Tradition, Allen Dwight Callahan suggests that scholars have wrongly placed the sequence and therefore the importance of the works collectively known as the Johannine tradition — the Gospel of John and the Johannine Epistles. His proposal includes literary, theological, and historical analysis as he argues for the reevaluation of a significant part of the biblical canon.

"The Johannine Epistles — are the literary beginnings of a process that ultimately bears fruit in a narrative representation of Jesus. In the Epistles of John and the Gospel of John, we learn that the greatest love is to live for one's friends. Love is how one lives, not how one dies, and one may only die in love as one lives in love. No one has greater love than to put one's life at the disposal of those one loves."
— from the Prologue

“Why didn’t anyone open our eyes to the Gospel of John like this before? . . . Callahan restores John’s story of Jesus’ mission to the concrete political turmoil of first century Palestine. . . . Callahan cuts through many an apparent enigma in John and enables us to see how John is indeed a story of the Word made flesh, politically embodied.”

—Richard A. Horsley, Professor of Classics and Religion, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Allen Dwight Callahan is Visiting Professor of Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School and Professor of New Testament at Seminário Theológico Batista do Nordeste (Brazil), and the author of Embassy of Onesimus: The Letter of Paul to Philemon (1997).

Format: Paperback 138 pages 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Item No: 0800637089
Price: $20.00

To order A Love Supreme: A History of the Johannine Tradition call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the web site at To request review copies or exam copies please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or email

N. T. Wright page latest

The N. T. Wright page continues to build up its really substantial bank of Tom Wright's articles, now with:

N. T. Wright, "Paul, Arabia and Elijah (Galatians 1.17)", JBL 115 (1996): 683-92

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Doctoral Scholarship Funding Opportunity

I forward this message on behalf of David McLynn and the Panacea Society:

Doctoral Scholarship Funding Opportunity
The Panacea Society (an established Christian Society and UK registered charity) is prepared to offer financial support in the next academic year to doctoral students in biblical studies, theology and ecclesiastical history, working on a specific range of topics within the Christian tradition.

Rev. Professor Christopher Rowland of Queens College Oxford, and Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw of New College Oxford have both kindly agreed to advise the Society with this initiative.

I attach a single page word document giving further details. I would be grateful if you could forward this email and the document to anyone you feel may be interested in applying, and also to any appropriate departmental colleagues not included on this mailing list.
(For the attachment mentioned, just click on the link at the top).

Professorial Post in Theology or Biblical Studies at Liverpool Hope

This is from Prof. Kenneth Newport. Liverpool Hope University are advertising the following post:

Professorial Post in Theology or Biblical Studies

Click on the link above for further particulars (Word document).


And of course I have added Jim Davila's new Qumranica blog to my blogroll. I am looking forward to seeing how Jim uses the blog to supplement his teaching; it is great to see Jim experimenting with the medium in developing innovative teaching. (Note that the new blog features Jim's distinctive use of ".com" in a virtual rather than an actual sense, as in the case also of; there is no actual domain

Tuesday, February 08, 2005 RSS feed now has its RSS feed so I've added it to my blogroll.

Jesus sightings

While I am in light-hearted mood (teaching and marking all day induces some silliness by the end of it), I want to say how much I am enjoying the various blog entries on the Jesus sightings in bricks, frying pans etc. This is just what we need to cheer us up. Michael Pahl and Jim West mention the most recent -- in a brick. For those who have not been following this, here is a round up of the key recent sightings:
Frying pan

Cabinet door

Oyster shell

I think my favourite is the oyster shell. Have I missed any?

Update (Wednesday, 16.27): the latest is Jesus in a clipboard, with thanks to Helenann Hartley. Excellent stuff.

Years of research as a worrying sign

In Biblical Theology, Jim West notes an odd new thesis aligning Jesus with Caesar (and when you see that the evidence consists of claims like "Both die on the same respective dates of the year: Caesar on the Ides (15th) of March, Jesus on the 15th of Nisan", then you get some idea of the kind of thing we are talking about here), but what piqued my interest was in the statement:
In more than fifteen years of investigation Carotta has found the traces which lead to the Julian origin of Christianity.
It reminds me of The Real Da Vinci Code the other day on which Tony Robinson presented one of the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail with the evidence that the Priory of Sion material was all a hoax and he responded, if I remember correctly, with the claim that he had researched the material for years. I am sure I've seen this trope before in pseudo-intellectual writing, the claim that the research in question is the result of "x years of research". Do any serious academic works ever have as an element in their publicity that "So and so has been researching x for y years"?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Paul Page update

Thanks to Prof. L. Gregory Bloomquist for notifying me that the old "Homepage for Saint Paul the Apostle" had gone. I've found it re-situated and re-named here:

The Paul Project

So I've made that adjustment on my Paul the Apostle page. I noticed while doing that that I didn't have the current URL for:

The Paul Page

by Mark Mattison, so I've adjusted that and promoted it to the top of the list -- it has come a long way since I first added it several years ago.

Chora Strangers

Thanks to Holger Szesnat for alerting me to this interesting website, not updated since 2003, but featuring lots of full text articles:

Chora Strangers

Here are some of NT bits and pieces of interest, again with thanks to Holger. In most cases there is no indication of where these articles originated. All are PDFs:

D. R. McGaughey, On D.F. Strauß and the 1839 Revolution in Zurich

L. Schottroff, The Songs and the Cries of Believers: Justification in Paul

H. C. Waetjen, Intimations of the Year of Jubilee in the Parables of the Wicked Tenants and the Workers in the Vineyard

H. C. Waetjen, The Trust of Abraham and the Trust of Jesus Christ: Romans 1:17

H. C. Waetjen, “Shakespeare in the Bush” and Encountering the Other: The Hermeneutical Dialectic of Belonging and Distanciation

H. C. Waetjen, Same-Sex Sexual Relations in Antiquity and Sexuality and Sexual Identity in Contemporary American Society

H. C. Waetjen, The Paradoxical Origin of Jesus Christ According to Matthew’S Gospel: Matthew 1:1-25

H. C. Waetjen, The Dichotomization of the Christological Paradox in the History of Christian Thought and Critical Biblical Scholarship

H. C. Waetjen, The Construction of the Way into a Reordering of Power: An Inquiry into the Generic Conception of the Gospel According to Mark

H. C. Waetjen, The Actualization of Christ’S Achievement in Our Historical Existence: Breaking out of the New Babylonian Captivity

H. C. Waetjen, An Adult Study of "the Lord's Prayer"

H. C. Waetjen, The Origin and Destiny of Humanness: An Interpretation of the Gospel According to Matthew (2nd ed. San Rafael: Crystal Press for Omega Books, 1978)

G. O. West, Indigenous Exegesis: Exploring the Interface between Missionary Methods and the Rhetorical Rhythms of Africa; Locating Local Reading Resources in the Academy

G. O. West, Early Encounters with the Bible among the Batlhaping: Historical and Hermeneutical Signs

I'd like to add links in all the relevant places on the NT Gateway proper, but that's a task that will take that I don't have at present.

Review of Biblical Literature latest

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

Bond, Helen K.
Caiaphas: Friend of Rome and Judge of Jesus?
Reviewed by John Byron

Bond, Helen K.
Caiaphas: Friend of Rome and Judge of Jesus?
Reviewed by Florence Gillman

Bond, Helen K.
Caiaphas: Friend of Rome and Judge of Jesus?
Reviewed by Michael Tilly

Capshaw, Jeffery L.
A Textlinguistic Analysis of Selected Old Testament Texts in Matthew 1-4
Reviewed by Pierre Keith

Chilton, Bruce
Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography
Reviewed by Zev Garber

Chilton, Bruce
Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography
Reviewed by David Reed

Oden, Amy G., ed.
And You Welcomed Me: A Sourcebook on Hospitality in Early Christianity
Reviewed by Benjamin Fiore

Sampley, J. Paul, ed.
Paul in the Greco-Roman World: A Handbook
Reviewed by Kate Donahoe

Sampley, J. Paul, ed.
Paul in the Greco-Roman World: A Handbook
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Trebilco, Paul
The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius
Reviewed by Michael Kaler

Thoughts about not blogging

I was interested to read Rubén Gómez's remarks in Bible Software Review Weblog lamenting his recent difficulties in getting time to blog,

It's Been Quiet Lately

Rubén comments that contrary to popular opinion, blogging is indeed time consuming. He is right, but happily he chose not to close down the blog due to struggling to find time to blog. I can sympathise with the situation. I really enjoy blogging, but sometimes work pressures are so great that I can't find even five minutes away from marking, teaching, teaching preparation, admin. internal and external. In fact last week there was almost a whole week during which I was unable to blog once (Friday 28 January to Wednesday 2 February), something that is so unusual for this blog that people began to ask where I'd got to and how I was. So, prompted by Rubén's post, here are a few reflections on my own current thinking about blogging -- or, more accurately, about not blogging and why it does not matter:

(1) The age of RSS feeds, aggregators, live bookmarks, bloglines and the rest makes it a cinch to catch up with a blog the second that it publishes something, so it is not as if several days worth of absence is going to turn anyone off a given blog. To speak for myself, if a blog doesn't have a feed, I only visit very rarely.

(2) The ever increasing number of biblioblogs has had the happy effect of taking the pressure off the existing biblioblogs. For me, it has meant that it is regularly the case that someone else has beaten me to mentioning something, and unless I have a specific comment I wish to make about that thing, I can leave it. Moreover, it has meant that each biblioblog is increasingly developing its own niche, its own particular emphasis, and that's something I enjoy too.

(3) Blogging is fun. Whenever blogging stops being fun, I stop doing it. It's a voluntary activity; I don't have to do it. None of my colleagues do. Most of them don't even know what a blog is. My blog should never screw up my life.

(4) Avoiding the attempt to be exhaustive. I realised early on that I could not blog on everything I would like to blog on. This is a tough realisation for academic bloggers, I think, because academics are prone to perfectionism, and techo-academics are often obsessive. I know I have that streak. I've had to learn to let things go when the time passes and I've still not found the time to blog on a theme I want to blog on. I had a post on Geza Vermes on the Nativity Story in my pending tray for an age, and eventually abandoned it. Likewise the unfinished discussion on "How to Present a Scholarly Paper" (with Buffy in Paleojudaica and Steve Martin in Ralph staring at me each day), to say nothing of the interesting threads on What did Jesus look like?. On occasions like this, blogging is a conversation and one has to acknowledge that the conversation sometimes moves on and other topics come up. When that happens in real life, it's a bit creepy to chip in with something everyone had finished talking about a couple of hours earlier on.

Chattaway on The Passion

On Xtalk, Jeffery Hodges mentions the following article in Christianity Today:

Come and See
How a century of movies—from a 1905 French silent flick to 2004's The Passion of The Christ—have encouraged us to look at Jesus … and at the world through his eyes.
by Peter T. Chattaway

The article is an excerpt from S. Brent Plage (ed.), Re-Viewing the Passion: Mel Gibson's Film and Its Critics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). I hope to find some time to comment on this article later.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Already mentioned in at least a couple of the biblioblogs is Rick Brannan's new website:

It's a website-come-blog and, as Stephen Carlson says in Hypotyposeis, it is good to see "the experimentation with integrating internet technology and philological scholarship". I am interested too with the idea of combining website and blog, already pioneered in our area by Stephen himself, for example, on The Synoptic Problem website. We already know Rick, of course, from Ricoblog. At this stage, it doesn't look like there is a live / RSS feed from, but let's hope that that will be added soon.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Greek NT Gateway: Grammars Update

Thanks to Catherine Smith for pointing out that the following page had largely dead links:

Greek New Testament Gateway: Grammars

I've fixed the links (at the Perseus site and its mirrors) and added two new ones, both at Textkit.

Update (Sunday, 17.11): link to my Grammars page fixed; thanks to Steve Walton for noticing.

John Drane's Introducing the Bible with CD-Rom

This press release is from Fortress Press:
Fortress Press Releases John Drane’s Introducing the Bible with CD-ROM

MINNEAPOLIS (February 3, 2005)— Introducing the Bible with CD-ROM is a wonderfully reader-friendly resource for the beginning student in the study of the Bible. It combines John Drane's two informative and popular earlier works, Introducing the Old Testament and Introducing the New Testament, and adds a new CD-ROM.

In this stimulating volume, Drane covers the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments. The reader is introduced to each book; but key issues that reading the Bible raises are covered in special articles concerning authorship, theology, history, literature, and the cultures of ancient Israel and the earliest followers of Jesus.

Drane writes in an accessible style, and the volume includes hundreds of illustrations—tables, charts, photos, maps, and line-drawings. The CD-ROM allows the reader to use the book interactively. The Libronix software offers not only the full text and links to the biblical references but also extensive additional study materials, such as chapter summaries, questions for review and discussion, and weblinks. Each biblical citation is hyper-linked to the NRSV text of the Bible.

Praise for the prior editions:

''Could not be bettered as a plain guide to the principal religious ideas of the Old Testament.''
Church Times

''Those wanting a general introduction will hardly find a better one than this.''
Baptist Times

''A happy combination of careful scholarship, lucid prose, appropriate illustrations and attractive layout.''
Christianity Today

''Dr. Drane...writes with clarity, simplicity and literary grace.''
Evangelical Quarterly

''A gold mine.''
Catholic Herald

“A remarkable book . . . display[ing] both a considerable grasp of the material and an ability to express knowledge in an interesting and balanced manner.”
British Journal of Religious Education

John Drane has taught biblical studies in the United States, Scotland, and Australia. His numerous books include Introducing the Old Testament, rev. ed. (Fortress Press, 2001) Introducing the New Testament, rev. ed. (Fortress Press, 2000), Son of Man (1993), Early Christians (1982), and Jesus and the Four Gospels (1979).


* Powerful search engine
* Topic, word, and verse indices
* Library browser
* Note-taking and footnoting
* Custom toolbars and menus
* Navigation aids
* Context-sensitive menus
* Bookmarks
* Interbook linking
* Works with your word processor
* Online help
* Electronic user’s guide
* Internet connections
* Extendability

System requirements for Libronix CD-ROMs
Computer/Processor: Pentium 133 MHz (Pentium 300 MHz processor recommended); CD-ROM drive. Operating System: Microsoft Windows 98 or later—will run on Windows 98/98SE/Me/NT 4.0 (SP6a)/2000/XP. Memory: Windows 98/Me/NT: 64 MB; Windows 2000/XP: 64 MB (128 MB recommended). Hard Drive Space: 60 MB minimum. Monitor Resolution: 800 x 600 or larger. Note to Macintosh users: May run on newer Macintosh computers running Windows emulation software. Performance will vary.

Format: Paperback and CD-ROM 730 pages 6 x 9 inches
Item No: 0800636724
Publisher: Fortress Press
Price: $49.00

To order Introducing the Bible with CD-ROM please call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the web site at To request review copies or exam copies please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234. For interviews, speaking engagements, and writing assignments please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or email

Tyndale Summer School 2005

Peter Head has just sent this over and it may be of interest:
Depending on demand, we will be hosting a Summer School in June-July 2005. If you are interested, or you know someone who might be interested, please talk to me about it.


Projected dates: June 19 to Aug. 5 2005

Includes: 2 week field trip to Greece for learning how to 'read' an archaeological site and how to interpret epigraphic evidence using actual inscriptions at:
Athens (including the Stoa and temple in the Greek Agora
Corinth including Isthmia (site of the ancient Games), Acrocorinth, Epidauros theatre

Then in Cambridge, staying in an ancient college of the University or at Tyndale House itself for 5 weeks of seminars, tutorials, guided reading, and use of Tyndale House Library (which is reputed to be among the three best libraries in the world for Biblical Studies) including courses in:
Papyri - a hands-on course in reading and understanding them
Rabbinic texts - how to date them and apply them to the New Testament
Greek Tools - using electronic sources and ancient lexical aids
Graeco-Roman literature - the society and culture of the New Testament
Qumran and Septuagint - the earliest translations and interpretations of Scripture

The aim of this Summer School is to give first-hand experience in how to read and understand the primary literature by which we can understand the background of the New Testament.

It is designed for post-graduate students, and especially those preparing for doctoral studies. Some knowledge of Greek is necessary and some knowledge of Hebrew is useful. Work can be assessed for course credits - please tell us if this is required.

For further details see:

Please reply to this Dr Bruce Winter if you would like an application form (see previous link for details).

Dr Bruce Winter
Warden, Tyndale House

Greek NT Gateway: Fonts update

I have finally got round to updating the following:

Greek New Testament Gateway: Greek Fonts

I have introduced a fresh (and much overdue) section on unicode, which I have prioritised. I have also tried to provide a little more than just a series of annotated links and have drawn special attention to the useful guides supplied by John Schwandt and Rodney Decker, both of which I have found very helpful.

One of the resources I had been using for some time myself is also linked on my updated page, the Unicode Classical Greek Inputter, but at the encouragement of Randall Buth on b-greek and Stephen Carlson on Hypotyposeis, I have begun using a proper Greek keyboard myself for inputting unicode Greek. And there's no better guide on how to get going on that on the PC than John Schwandt's previously mentioned.

Unicode Greek Samples

On b-greek, Wieland Willker puts together samples of unicode Greek fonts to compare the "looks" of each, and compares with the non-unicode Bible Works:

Unicode Fonts samples [PDF]

It reminds me that I really must update my Greek fonts page; it's looking horribly long in the tooth.

TNIV On-line

Thanks to David Baird for this link:

TNIV -- Today's New International Version Online

This site features information about the new "Today's New International Version", with PDF now available and online passage search planned for release this time next week -- I'll be on the look out.

I've added the link to the NT Gateway Bible Translations and Editions page.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Neotestamentica latest

Thanks to Holger Szesnat for letting me know the latest on Neotestamentica. On-line information on the latest issue, with contents, abstracts and sample articles, is now available:

Neotestamentica 38 (2004) 2

Thanks also to Holger for drawing my attention to the following on-line articles, all PDF:

Crossan, John Dominic 2003. The resurrection of Jesus in its Jewish context. Neotestamentica 37(1), 29-57.

Punt, Jeremey 2003. Postcolonial biblical criticism in South Africa: Some mind and road mapping. Neotestamentica 37(1), 59-85.

Fischer, B 2003. The Lord has remembered: dialogic use of the Book of Zechariah in the Discourse of the Gospel of Luke. Neotestamentica 37(2), 199-220.

Steyn, Gert J 2003. Psalm 2 in Hebrews. Neotestamentica 37(2), 262-282.

Ekem, John D 2004. "Spiritual gifts" or "spiritual persons"? 1 Corinthians 12:1a revisited. Neotestamentica 38(1), 54-74.

West, Gerald O 2004. The historicity of myth and the myth of historicity: Locating the ordinary African 'reader' of the Bible in the debate. Neotestamentica 38(1), 127-144.

Draper, J A 2004. George Khambule and the Book of Revelation: Prophet of the Open Heaven. Neotestamentica 38(2), 250-274.

Loubser, J A 2004. D.H. Lawrence's Extra-Ordinary 'Ordinary Reading' of the Apocalypse. Neotestamentica 38(2), 326-346.

Update (14.00): I have added links to the above on-line articles. Later I will also add to the relevant parts of the New Testament Gateway.

Review of Biblical Literature latest

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

Allen, Ronald J. and Clark M. Williamson
Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary
Reviewed by Jonathan Lawrence

Berger, Klaus
Reviewed by Ian Scott

Klutz, Todd
The Exorcism Stories in Luke-Acts: A Sociostylistic Reading
Reviewed by Sean Kealy

Lee, Dorothy
Flesh and Glory: Symbolism, Gender and Theology in the Gospel of John
Reviewed by Christopher Skinner

Levine, Amy-Jill, ed.
A Feminist Companion to Paul
Reviewed by Maria Pascuzzi

Levine, Amy-Jill, ed.
A Feminist Companion to Paul
Reviewed by Linda Maccammon

Machen, J. Gresham
Edited by Dan McCartney
New Testament Greek for Beginners
Reviewed by Laurence Vance

Perspectives on the Passion Conference

I post the following for Dr Christine Joynes. This looks like a very interesting conference; I think I may go along myself:

Colleagues are warmly invited to attend the conference ‘Perspectives on the Passion’, 18-20 March 2005 at Trinity College, Oxford.

The aim of the conference is to bring together an international group of scholars from across the Humanities to explore the use and influence of the passion narratives in different fields, namely art, music, literature and theology.

Speakers include Neil MacGregor, Regina Schwartz, Robin Jensen, Sara Maitland, John Butt, Henry Mayr-Harting, J.R.Watson, Tim Gorringe, Jaime Lara, PeterHawkins, Emma Hornby, Peter McCullough, Philip Cunningham, William Flynn and Mark Goodacre.

This promises to be an exciting event, and in addition to a rich and varied programme of papers the conference includes an exhibition by contemporary Cambridge artist Kip Gresham and a concert by A Capella Portuguesa on the theme of the passion narratives.

Please find attached the booking form and the provisional conference programme. Early booking is advisable.

Draft Programme

Booking Form

Real Da Vinci Code

I have completely avoided The Da Vinci Code in this blog; I'm afraid I'm interested in neither the book nor the refutations of it. It just seems like a horrible waste of time to me. Nevertheless, I am a sucker for a good Channel 4 documentary (I've been in a couple myself) and tonight we have a two hour one called The Real Da Vinci Code presented by Tony Robinson, one of my favourite people, the guru of Time Team, Baldrick in Blackadder, member of the Labour Party's National Executive and so on. In fact, he once did an ITV documentary on Jesus, featuring Ed Sanders, Jerome Murphy O'Connor and others, called The Jesus Files -- quite entertaining as I recall.

Channel 4 have some web pages on this, set up as part of their Weird Worlds presents.

I am watching the documentary as I write. Robinson has the tone exactly right -- he is utterly sceptical but has obviously decided to enjoy himself and not to sneer or mock. So you find yourself entering into the enjoyment with him. He began by looking for the "Research Institute for Systematic Theology" at Kings College, London, which is apparently mentioned in the book as a place where you can get hold of the best and biggest electronic database on the holy grail. Robinson asked someone at Kings College for this institute and is led to Prof. Oliver Davies, who is sitting happily in a library ready to tell Robinson that while there is such an institute, it has nothing to do with the grail and no such great database.

Robinson explores and debunks some grail theories, including one British one where the grail is the size of an egg cup, and then moves on to the Cathars and the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail stories.

Good to have some clips of Monty Python's Holy Grail in the mix, and an enjoyable exposé of the hoax behind something called the "Priory of Sion", which is apparently at the heart of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and so too at the basis of the Da Vinci Code. Indeed apparently the latter actually speaks of the latter as "fact". (You see how ignorant I am about the whole thing, but it's nice to hear that the very basis of the book is not just, say, mediaeval myth or legend, but actually a modern hoax.

Biblical scholar alert: Elaine Pagels spotted, and she has talked about the Gospel of Thomas, Nag Hammadi, the Gospel of Philip and so on. There was also a woman with the surname Brock whose first names I didn't catch. She mentioned that the kissing of Mary Magdalene "on the lips" is a modern scholarly construct and that the lacuna in the Gospel of Philip text could be filled with nose, ear, anything else, and that it is not necessarily sexual.

I have finished watching the documentary now and I've found it enjoyable stuff, and enough to immunise me against spending any more time on it. Good to be educated about it. Tony Robinson used the word "rubbish" of the book towards the end.

SBL Forum latest

A couple of new items on the SBL Forum:

Results from 2004 SBL Annual Meeting Survey

This is not the political survey widely discussed in the biblioblogs but a survey of attendees at the recent Annual Meeting on their responses to that meeting. On the whole they are very positive. Unfortunately, it only gives the aggregated responses on the Yes / No / Maybe style questions and does not correlate any of the other comments. It's a bit like looking at the course evaluation forms we have here that students fill in at the end of a given course; the numbers give some idea of general satisfaction, but what one really wants to see are the actual pieces of feedback. Perhaps they will be forthcoming too.

The other interesting new piece is:

Search Any Book from Your Desk? Not Just Yet

Patrick Durusau

Worth a look.

Apocalypse of Peter on-line

When our post graduate Greek class here were reading Apocalypse of Peter last term, I noticed that there was no electronic text available on-line. So I have created one:

The Apocalypse of Peter (Akhmim Fragment) [MS Word]

I have transcribed it from Lic. Dr. Erich Klostermann (ed.), Apocrypha I: Reste Des Petrusevangeliums, Der Petrus-Apocakalypse und des Kerygmati Petri (Bonn: A. Marcus und E. Weber’s Verlag, 1903): 8-11. It's in MS Word format, but I'll add a PDF version later on. It uses Palatino Linotype, which is a unicode font. I am encouraging people to send corrections to me at so that we can ensure the most accurate text possible.

Update (20.34): thanks to Danny Zacharias for providing this PDF:

Apocalypse of Peter (Akhmim Fragment) [PDF]

Update (23.52): Ricoblog comments.