Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How long did it take to walk from Nazareth to Sepphoris?

James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003): 298, ". . . the youthful Jesus would have (regularly?) visited Sepphoris, only two hours distant (5 km) from Nazareth by foot, perhaps even as a young carpenter assisting in the construction of its theatre." 5 km is apparently just over 3 miles, which you can walk in an hour at a stroll. Two hours would be a mile and a half an hour. Is Jimmy a slow walker?

Friday, January 27, 2006

"You say so"

On the ever-interesting Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, Phil Harland has a post on Mark, "Who is this guy? The Gospel of Mark on the Identity of Jesus" in which, towards the end, he makes the following comment:
Jesus is publicly asked “Are you the Messiah (Christ)?” and, in an unprecedented manner (for Mark’s narrative), he openly proclaims “I am”. The secret is out. Then, when he is brought for another hearing before Pilate, the Roman governor, the issue of identity is at the fore: “Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so’” (15:2 [NRSV]) — which amounts to a “yes” here.
But does the latter amount to a yes? Given that Jesus does say such an ambiguous yes in front of the high priest in 14.62, why not here in front of Pilate? What does σὺ λέγεις mean?

Perhaps one clue lies in the different questions asked by the high priest and by Pilate. The high priest's question is "Are you the Christ, the son of the blessed?" Now, we know that these are titles Mark approves of -- 1.1 announces the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ; the baptism and the transfiguration have God announcing that Jesus is his son; and Peter (Chapter 8) and the nameless woman (Chapter 14) recognise that Jesus is the Christ. The only thing that needs adding is some qualification -- he is anointed to suffer (8.31), or for burial (14.3-10), and now the confession that he is the Christ leads directly to his death.

But Pilate's question is different, "Are you the king of the Jews?" (15.2). Nowhere does Jesus own the title "king" in the Gospel, though it is the one that everyone imposes on Jesus throughout the Passion Narrative, king of the Jews, crown of thorns and so on. This is one of those places, I think, where John is a fine exegete of Mark and he teases out the meaning of the terse, ambiguous "You are saying so" in this way:
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." (John 18.33-36)

PDF Problems

Several have commented on my post from this morning on Paula Fredriksen's PDFs. As predicted, when I got to class today, almost everyone had struggled with reading the article I had set (and in case you are thinking, "Excuses, excuses", that is not normal for Duke students, at least not in my limited experience so far).

But to comment on the post's comments, Eric Rowe notes that there are plenty of programmes available for converting originals to PDFs, and for free too. I use these myself, but I suppose that what holds others back are (1) the desire to have the document exactly as it appeared in print, with page numbers et al, rather than in the flawed original from their own PC; (2) the fact that research assistants and support staff are often those who prepare materials for scholars' homepages, and they work with what they are given, in this case printed originals. Some (not all) scholars who have homepages do not look carefully at the content on the page.

Crystal asks about why people use PDFs at all. I think the answer there is sheer convenience -- instant results. I know that that is why I've used them in the past, and with some regret because it takes away one of the glories of publishing on the web, which is hypertext. I know that in theory you can add hyperlinks (and so on) to your PDF, but in practice few do. One of the things I particularly dislike about PDFs of articles is the reading of footnotes and endnotes. The web offers the potential of a new way of reading academic papers, with nice, hyperlinked notes, but how often do we have that pleasure now that so many just upload a PDF?

A further relevant point: one of the advantages of the PDF adapted from the scholar's own e-original is that it can still be searchable, whereas the photo-scans of printed versions are usually not.

John Lyons asks about how publishers regard the uploading of scholars' work to the web. My own experience would be to suggest that they remain wary about the wholesale uploading of book manuscripts to the web, but appreciate that the reproduction of journal and FS articles can increase a scholar's profile and so increase book sales. But that's just my own perspective, and it may be inaccurate.

Did Jesus "declare all foods clean"?

There's an interesting blog thread at the moment surrounding James G. Crossley's The Date of Mark's Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity (JSNTSS 266; London: T & T Clark, 2004), the catalyst for which was the most recent edition of the SBL's Review of Biblical Literature, which featured reviews of James's book by John Painter and David du Toit. James Crossley responds on his Earliest Christian History blog (one of the joys of academic blogging is that you can respond publicly to reviews of your work; our forefathers just had to grumble in the senior common room) and Stephen Carlson follows up with a characteristically thoughtful post on Hypotyposeis. One element in the discussion is what the apparently editorial comment in Mark 7.19c, "Thus he declared all foods clean" implies about Mark's view of the law and Jesus' attitude to it. I don't have James's book to hand, having lent it to someone (see how popular it is?), but what I want to add is at a slight tangent and relates to the translation of Mark 7.19c.

I have long been bothered by the unnecessarily robust verb "declare" here, and the unduly forthright "Thus he declared all foods clean." This very common translation gives the impression that Mark is flagging up his comments here far more blatantly than he is. The translation is based on a reading of Mark 7.18-19 that construes καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα at the end of Jesus' speech of 7.19 with καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς at the beginning of 7.18, thus "Jesus says to them . . . cleansing all foods," or "Jesus says, cleansing all foods, 'Are you too without understanding . . .'" The reason that "Thus he declared . . . " comes in is that translators are anxious about bringing forward the end of one verse (19) to the beginning of another (18) -- it breaks the verse-by-verse rule of Bible translation, without which people would not be able to look up the verses they wanted in the right place. And given the necessity to keep words in sequence, the decision is made to translate this participle phrase by adapting the force of λέγει and turning the whole into a fresh, interpretative clause. But that move, from a clarificatory parenthesis to a stand-alone statement, and the use of the word "declare", alters the force of the original.

Now it may be that the standard translation picks up the sense of this interpretative clause, even if it overstates it, but even there I am not sure. Could the person orally delivering Mark 7.18-19 have made this intelligible?:
He says to them, "Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?", cleansing all foods.
I am not convinced that we are reading Mark right here.

Paula Fredriksen PDFs

I've often praised the way that Paula Fredriksen has PDFs of lots of her key articles on her homepage and I sometimes set them as reading for my classes. I set one for my class later today "From Jesus to Christ: The Contribution of the Apostle Paul" but when I sat down to re-read it I was struck by how bad the quality of the scan was, at times almost unreadable. The same is true of several others on the page. It's a shame since it's a great contribution to on-line scholarship for those to be present; but people need to be able to read them if they are to take advantage of such a great contribution.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A good introduction to Textual Criticism?

In comments, Sean du Toit asks if I could recommend a good introduction to Textual Criticism. Indeed I can:

David Parker, The Living Text of the Gospels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Amazon have it on "Search Inside" so you can get a good taster before buying. And it's on Google Books too, like a lot of CUP's stuff.

Incidentally, the fact that it was available for searching allowed me to try out the terms discussed in that previous blog post and comments and it seems that David is, on the whole pretty consistent in his usage: "textual criticism" x 50; "textual critic" x 7; "text critic" x 0; "text criticism" x 0; but "text-critical" x 7 and "textual critical" x 0.

Updates (Friday, 9.33): thanks to Matt Page for the corrected Amazon link for David Parker's book, now adjusted above. Thanks too to Holger and to Steve Walton for the endorsement of another useful introduction to NT Textual Criticism, which I had completely forgotten about:

J. K. Elliott and I Moir, Manuscripts and the Text of the New Testament: An Introduction for English Readers (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1995)

Alas, it is a bit expensive on-line, like several of the Continuum back-catalogue (including one of my own books, to my frustration); e.g. see Amazon. It is reviewed by Tim Finney on TC.

Lüdemann on The Intolerant Gospel

Thanks to Gerd Lüdemann for drawing my attention to a new article on-line:

The Intolerant Gospel
Gerd Luedemann

It is from the February-March 2006 issue of Free Inquiry and located on the Council for Secular Humanism Website.

Just one minor comment:
The salvation or eternal damnation of individual human beings depends on whether they believe or do not believe in him. "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. But whoever does not believe will be condemned"-this is the clear message of the risen Jesus at the end of Mark's Gospel, the first of the four canonical accounts to be written.
The verse in question is Mark 16.16, part of the longer ending of Mark, in which case the mention of Mark as "the first of the four . . . to be written" is irrelevant, no?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crum available at Wipf and Stock

I was pleased to hear on the Gospel of Thomas e-list recently, from Simon Gathercole, that Walter Crum's Coptic Dictionary is now available from Wipf and Stock -- yet another very useful reprint:

Walter E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary

At $108, it is not cheap, but it has always been expensive on the second-hand book market and this is a welcome re-issue.

On the Gospel of Thomas list, Judy Redman also posted on forthcoming electronic editions of Crum.

American Jesus scholarship coming of age?

I am preparing a lecture at the moment on the contemporary scene in Historical Jesus scholarship (having taking a lecture on Schweitzer, then a lecture on Bultmann, Käsemann and the new quest, then a lecture on Geza Vermes and Ed Sanders) and as I re-read some materials on the Jesus Seminar, I am struck by this comment from the late Robert Funk, just a little over twenty years ago:
Perhaps most important of all, these developments have taken place predominantly, though not exclusively, in American scholarship. We need not promote chauvinism; we need only recognize that American biblical scholarship threatens to come of age, and that in itself is a startling new stage in our academic history. We may even be approaching the time when Europeans, if they know what they are about, will come to North America on sabbaticals to catch up, rather than the other way around. It is already clear that Europeans who do not read American scholarship are falling steadily behind. (Opening Remarks of Jesus Seminar Founder, Robert Funk, 21-24 March 1985)
It's interesting to read that prophecy of not so long ago, and in many ways Funk has been proved right. In Historical Jesus studies at least, one's mind naturally turns to Germans, and a handful of Brits prior to 1970. But the last thirty years or so have been quite different.

I'm wondering about geographical affiliations of Jesus questers in recent times. I suppose that a surprising number of so-called third questers have an association with the U.K., Geza Vermes, Anthony Harvey, Tom Wright. Ed Sanders had written Jesus and Judaism prior to coming to Oxford in 1984, but it was published in 1985. Then there's Gerd Theissen in Germany. There are of course many prominent Americans too, Ben Meyer, John P. Meier, Paula Fredriksen, Dale Allison and more. Jesus Seminar folk, on the other hand, tend to be almost exclusively based in the US, and perhaps that is no coincidence in the light of Funk's remarks above.

An aside on the same topic, I have struggled with attempts to categorize recent Jesus scholarship and I am inclined to agree with Dale Allison in "The Secularizing of the Historical Jesus"* that the now standard division into three quests is misleading and unhelpful. Nevertheless, I was struck today to see that Lane McGaughy consciously aligns the Jesus Seminar's work with the work of the New Quest (The Search for the Historical Jesus: Why start with the sayings?). I was struck because I had thought that Tom Wright's category "renewed new quest" in his inventory in Jesus and the Victory of God was a kind of marginalizing of the work of Crossan et al. I had not realized that it was in the Jesus Seminar's own self-description. Notice, in particular, the following:
The agenda of the Jesus Seminar thus evolved from the New Quest and its attempt to reconstruct the teaching of the historical Jesus. In distinction from the so-called Third Quest which is attempting to locate Jesus within the religious and social world of first-century Judaism, the work of the Jesus Seminar may be seen as a renewal and extension of the New Quest (though some members of the Jesus Seminar may see their own work as part of the Third Quest). In chapter four of his recent book Honest to Jesus, Robert Funk refers to the work of the Jesus Seminar not as part of the Third Quest, but as the Renewed Quest for Jesus . . . . The work of the Jesus Seminar can thus be seen as the continuation of the New Quest for the historical Jesus.
I'm really surprised by the explicit acknowledgement that there are others who are engaged in a different enterprise, and the apparent distancing from the task of "attempting to locate jesus within hte religious and social world of first-century Judaism". I thought that everyone took for granted that one of the very reasons for the collapse of the new quest was its negative evaluation of what it so shockingly called "late Judaism".

* This was on-line on Dale Allison's homepage for ages, but it seems that it is no longer there, nor are any of his other articles (and there's a new pic.). Google locates a version here but I don't know if it's legitimate or not. Anyway, if you have a copy of Resurrecting Jesus (and if you haven't, why not?), it's the first essay in there, and a cracking read, as is the whole book.

Textual criticism and text critics

I am just preparing an introductory lecture on Textual Criticism for my New Testament class and I fell to wondering why it is that everyone tends to talk about textual criticism and text critics. Why is it that when we start talking about the individuals who practise textual criticism, we call them text critics? Why not textual critics or text criticism? Or is it just my perception that those are the conventions?

Friday, January 20, 2006

SBL Forum latest and Graphic Novels

It's always interesting to read the latest in the SBL Forum, which continues to go from strength to strength (though, as I have often said before, I am looking forward to the day when they introduce a proper, browsable archive), and I particularly enjoyed the article this month on graphic novels and the Bible:

The Bible and Graphic Novels: A Review and Interview with the Authors of "Marked" and "Megillat Esther"
Dan W. Clanton, Jr.

One of the two comic books reviewed is Steve Ross's Marked, which I mentioned here last November (Graphic Novel based on Mark's Gospel).

Since we are talking about graphic novels and the NT, let me also mention that !Hero: The Rock Opera, often mentioned on this blog, also has its own comic book, but I must admit that I have not seen this yet.

New Jesus film: Son of Man

Regular readers will not be surprised to hear of my excitement at the news of a new Jesus film, Son of Man, already mentioned in November by Peter Chattaway on Filmchat, Jesus comes to Johannesburg, and now with more information in a fresh post announcing the arrival of the film in the USA, at a festival in Utah:

Son of Man comes to Sundance -- an update

So what do we know so far? IMDb have pretty scant information: Son of Man (2006) but there is more on the Sundance Film Festival website, linked to by Peter Chattaway:

World Dramatic Competition: Son of Man
South Africa, 2005, 86 Minutes, color

Mark Dornford-May

Mark Dornford-May, Andiswa Kedama, Pauline Malefane

The story of Jesus reclaimed as an African fable: a simple concept becomes a remarkable cinematic experience in Son of Man. This is the second installment from the collaboration of director Mark Dornford-May and the South African theatre company, Dimpho Di Kopane. The moniker means "combined talents," and it aptly describes the incredible creative energy on both sides of the camera. Shot against the backdrop of a violence-riddled township and with text updated to modern time, Son of Man delivers one indelible impression after another. Mary conceives the Christ child during a militia attack on a grade school, Jesus asks for the surrender of handguns from his apostles, and the angel Gabriel is a precocious child marked with simple white feathers. Equally intriguing is the melding of the crucifixion and resurrection–alluding to the fact that in today's Africa, political dissidents, as Jesus was, are conveniently made to disappear. In song and originality, the spirit of Son of Man is contagious, a life-enriching elixir for Christians and non-Christians alike who feel mired in the unyielding bigotry of fundamentalism. By modernizing one of the world's most famous stories, Son of Man creates lasting resonance and imparts a significance that is truly glorious.— John Cooper
Peter also links to a Reuters article:

Black Jesus film preaches politics over religion
Billed as the world's first black Jesus movie, "Son of Man" portrays Christ as a modern African revolutionary and aims to shatter the Western image of a placid savior with fair hair and blue eyes.

The South African film, which premieres on Sunday at the U.S. Sundance festival in Utah, transports the life and death of Christ from first century Palestine to a contemporary African state racked by war and poverty.

Jesus is born in a shanty-town shed, a far cry from a manger in a Bethlehem stable. His mother Mary is a virgin, though feisty enough to argue with the angels. Gun-wielding authorities fear his message of equality and he ends up hanging on a cross.

"We wanted to look at the gospels as if they were written by spindoctors and to strip that away and look at the truth," director Mark Dornford-May told Reuters in an interview.

"The truth is that Christ was born in an occupied state and preached equality at a time when that wasn't very acceptable."
I suppose spoil-sport Historical Jesus scholars will want to point out that Israel was not "an occupied state" (e.g. see E. P. Sanders's excellent article, Jesus in Historical Context), or that it is an oversimplification to think of Jesus "preaching equality" (e.g. see John H. Elliott's Jesus was not an egalitarian), but hey, it's a new Jesus film and there's plenty to be excited about. It's an interesting comment that this is "the world's first black Jesus movie". I can't think of another off-hand, though one that comes close is !Hero, a rock opera that is available on DVD (filmed stage show) and record, and -- as I've commented before -- it's well worth the purchase if you don't have it yet.

Update (Saturday, 01.24): there is more here:

dimpho di kopane :: film :: Son of Man

The page includes a PDF press kit, stills from the film and more.

End of Biblical Theology blog

I don't seem to have so much time to hang around on-line these days, alas, and I was quite surprised on my return to the land of the blogging to see the demise of Jim West's Biblical Theology. In his own inimitable way, Jim had carved out a niche with that blog, making it the place people went to hear a lot of the latest news on Biblical Studies related issues. I don't think anyone was ever quicker to the mark than Jim and even if some of the material covered there was not to everyone's taste, he was performing a useful service. So this is something of a lament, all the more so in that the entire archive appears to have been deleted, presumably a year or two's worth? It may be that others have commented on this on-line, but I've not had the chance to catch up with the blogs yet. Anyway, I am sorry to see this blog go. Jim has a new blog called First Baptist Church of Petros, centred on the church he pastors in Tennessee, and of course I wish him all the best with that.

The Email Mountain

My apologies if you are awaiting a reply from me; the email mountain is enormous this week, and without losing more sleep I don't have time to keep up with it as efficiently as I would like. And I've had even less time to blog this week, as you may have noticed. But I am hopeful of being able to find some more spare moments today.

Review of Biblical Literature latest

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

Bolt, Peter G.
Jesus' Defeat of Death: Persuading Mark's Early Readers
Reviewed by William Campbell

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

Donahue, John R., ed.
Life in Abundance: Studies of John's Gospel in Tribute to Raymond E. Brown
Reviewed by Paul Anderson

Gil Arbiol, Carlos J.
Los Valores Negados: Ensayo de exégesis socio-científica sobre la autoestigmatización en el movimiento de Jesús
Reviewed by Alejandro Botta

Jung, Chang-Wook
The Original Language of the Lukan Infancy Narrative
Reviewed by Gert Steyn

Kaminouchi, Alberto de Mingo
But It Is Not So among You: Echoes of Power in Mark 10:32-45
Reviewed by William Campbell

Kirk, Alan and Tom Thatcher, eds.
Memory, Tradition, and Text: Uses of the Past in Early Christianity
Reviewed by Thomas Kraus

Matthews, Shelly and E. Leigh Gibson, eds.
Violence in the New Testament
Reviewed by Mark Bredin

Monday, January 09, 2006

Crossan on the web

I finished getting together my syllabus for a course on the Historical Jesus tonight, and in the process of hunting down sources and references, I came across a site I don't recall having seen before:

John Dominic Crossan

It's at johndcrossan.com (a little odd since he's known by Dominic rather than John) and appears to be run by HarperSanFrancisco and is vehicle to advertise his books. There are excerpts from each of Crossan's recent books, though it is not quite as promising as it first looks -- where it says "Read Chapter 1", it is usually just three or four pages. But still a nice site.

I also came across this on Beliefnet, which I'd missed before, or forgotten about:

In Search of Paul Presentation

It's a nice virtual tour around some of the sites discussed in the book of the same name co-authored with Jonathan Reed. You hear a commentary from Crossan (sounding uncharacteristically stilted) and watch a slide show; it takes 10 minutes or so to go through.

David Starkey on Paul

A few minutes ago, just before the beginning of the Today programme, there was a little trailer for the following:

Who Killed Christianity?
Dr David Starkey argues that five major Christian figures distorted, even betrayed, the Christian faith as envisaged by Jesus. Defenders argue back. 1/5. St Paul.

I have to admit that Starkey is one of my least favourite people, and it's not a programme I am looking forward to. It's on at 9.30 am GMT, by which time I'll probably be in bed, though unfortunately it is likely to be archived so that I'll be able to listen to it later.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Review of Biblical Literature latest

The latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature under the NT heading:

Bovon, François
Studies in Early Christianity
Reviewed by H. H. Williams

Delville, Jean-Pierre
L'Europe de l'Exégeses au XVIe Siecle: Interprétations de la Parabole des Ouvriers a la Vigne (Matthieu 20, 1-16)
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Luz, Ulrich
Translated by Rosemary Selle
Studies in Matthew
Reviewed by Robert McIver

Luz, Ulrich
Translated by Rosemary Selle
Studies in Matthew
Reviewed by Clare Rothschild

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

Stegman, Thomas
The Character of Jesus: The Linchpin to Paul's Argument in 2 Corinthians
Reviewed by Verlyn Verbrugge

Friday, January 06, 2006

Fortress Press Presents Teaching Awards

This Press Release is from Fortress:

Fortress Press Presents Teaching Awards

MINNEAPOLIS (December 20, 2005)-Fortress Press presented two teaching awards at this year's annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature conference in Philadelphia, PA on November 19, 2005.

The awards-one for teaching undergraduates, the other for teaching graduates or seminarians-are given in recognition of innovative teaching, unique approaches to subject areas, or superb communication with today's students in biblical studies, religious studies, theology, ethics, or ministry. Candidates were nominated by peers and chosen by independent judges.

Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher is Professor of Theological Studies and Director of Peace Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Among his innovative techniques cited in the nominations are his engagement of students directly with physical remains of the material culture of the Bible as a way of connecting archaeology and the development of the biblical texts. Likewise, he has encouraged students to get "out the classroom and into the real world" to see how various ethnic and cultural groups interpret and respond to the historic sacred texts today. Smith-Christopher's teaching, said one nominator, "captures the imagination of the students by approaching the worlds of the biblical text in non-traditional ways, especially ways that put students directly in touch with intra-cultural approaches to the Bible. (His own roots as a Quaker teaching in a Roman Catholic university context only add to this!)" Among Professor Smith-Christopher's several books is A Biblical Theology of Exile (Fortress Press, 2002).

Michael J. Gorman, Professor of Sacred Scripture at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, is also Dean of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology there. Dean Gorman was particularly praised for his attempts to address the problems of so many biblical students with little prior background in the critical scientific approach to the biblical texts and of how they may be applied pastorally. Particularly, he has developed a resource, published as Elements of Biblical Exegesis (Hendrickson, 2001), to introduce students to interpretive methods. And he has worked with the faculty of St. Mary's to develop Scripture: An Ecumenical Introduction to the Bible (Hendrickson, 2005) to bring exegetical and historical insights to a broad, ecumenical audience.

In presenting these awards proclaimed Fortress Press publisher, Scott Tunseth, "Fortress Press joins professors from around the country in acknowledging the talents of these educators and presents them as models for the academic community. We hope also in this process to identify teaching strategies to inform development of future classroom resources."

I once shared a cab/bus ride with Michael Gorman to the airport after one of the SBLs, I forget which, and we talked all the way about teaching. Many congratulations to both on their achievement.

Response to Lüdemann on Lüdemann's homepage

Just before Christmas, some readers will remember that I engaged in a discussion of Gerd Lüdemann's press release The Christmas Stories are Pious Fairy Tales. I responded in Lüdemann on Christmas; then Prof. Lüdemann responded to my blog post in Response to Mark Goodacre and Stephen Carlson and I added a further Response to Lüdemann. The dialogue is also now reproduced on Gerd Lüdedmann's Homepage, and I am grateful to Prof. Lüdemann for giving me this gracious "right to reply".

Review of Biblical Literature latest (belated)

Among the many emails in my pending tray is one I've missed that I try always to blog, the latest from the SBL Review of Biblical Literature under the NT heading:

Barclay, John M. G., ed.
Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire
Reviewed by Pablo Torijano Morales

Barclay, John M. G., ed.
Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire
Reviewed by Allen Kerkeslager

Asano, Atsuhiro
Community-Identity Construction in Galatians: Exegetical, Social-Anthropological and Socio-Historical Studies
Reviewed by Francois Vouga

Bakke, O. M.
Translated by Brian McNeil
When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity
Reviewed by Carolyn Osiek

Köstenberger, Andreas J.
Reviewed by Jan Van Der Watt

Økland, Jorunn
Women in Their Place: Paul and the Corinthian Discourse of Gender and Sanctuary Space
Reviewed by Antoinette Wire

Thurston, Bonnie B. and Judith Ryan
Philippians & Philemon
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Biblical Studies Bulletin latest

The latest edition of the Biblical Studies Bulletin from Grove Books and edited by Michael Thompson is now availbale on-line. It's always worth a look:

Biblical Studies Bulletin 38

I particularly enjoyed the report of the British New Testament Conference 2005, but it's all worth reading.

Fredriksen On the Passion of the Christ

I was just looking at Paula Fredriksen's web page -- I am putting together teaching materials for a course on the Historical Jesus and she has so much useful on-line material. She has a new book advertised there, On The Passion of the Christ : Exploring the Issues Raised by the Controversial Movie. It turns out that the book is in fact a re-issue with a much more interesting front cover (a picture from the film, see left) of the book previously published by Miramax and entitled Perspectives on the Passion of the Christ (see Another Passion of the Christ Book and A Short Review of Perspectives on the Passion of the Christ). It seems that Paula Fredriksen has added a new preface too. My guess is (with no disrespect) that if you already have the Miramax edition, there is not enough new in this re-issue to make it worth buying. But if you don't have it, now would obviously be a good time to buy it. I found the book pretty frustrating myself, and the overwhelmingly polemical tone of the vast majority of essays made it depressing reading. I once meant to write a review of it, but instead I have written notes with a view to writing a paper on what scholars' perceptions of the film tell us about contemporary NT scholarship. More on that anon, I hope.

There are three scholarly collections, to my knowledge, on The Passion of the Christ:

(1) The first out was the Miramax collection Perspectives on the Passion of the Christ just mentioned, and now re-issued by the University of California Press under the title On The Passion of the Christ.

(2) Next out was Kathleen Corley and Robert L. Webb (eds.), Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, in my opinion a stronger volume, not least because it was more strongly edited, with specific essays commmissioned on specific topics. Did I mention that I have an essay in this one?

(3) Most recently S. Brent Plate (ed.), Re-viewing the Passion: Mel Gibson's Film and Its Critics, one of the highlights of which is Peter Chattaway's essay.

Just one author, I think I am right in saying, found his/her way into two out of the three books. Quiz question: who is it?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

NT Gateway updates (or the lack of them)

I am getting a lot of emails at the moment asking me to add things to the New Testament Gateway, new resources, URLs to change and so on. I am afraid that I have not had a moment to add anything to the site since moving to the USA in September, and I don't foresee a chance to update it any time soon. I seem to have been able to snatch the odd moment to blog, even though not at the rate I was once blogging, and I hope that that will continue. In the mean time, though, there is the ever present mountain of correspondence to work through. Even putting all the NT Gateway materials to one side, I am having to answer dozens and dozens of emails a day to try to get back on track. I think I can do it, and still prepare classes for next week, but for the time being the New Testament Gateway proper will have to continue to take a back seat. Sorry about that, and I'll keep you up to date on the (lack of) progress.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all readers of the NT Gateway blog. We have returned to the USA after an excellent break in the UK (details on The Americanization of Emily, It's Chriiiiistmaaassss! and Happy New Year) and I am looking forward to getting back to bloggng at some point soon.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Second Annual Ralphies

I am beginning to work through my bloglines backlog of posts and still with hundreds to go, I realize to my horror that some go back weeks. One item of particular pleasure is the annual indulgence of bibliobloggers giving their "best ofs" in the Second Annual Ralphies. As regular readers will know, this is an academic New Testament studies based blog in which personal posts are only very rarely allowed a place, but the Ralphies are a pleasure I did partake of in 2004 (first annual Ralphies) and very much later than everyone else, I thought I'd add mine for 2005 too. I suppose there really ought to be a cut-off point for best-ofs, perhaps 2 January or something like that, and in recognition of that I am going to fictionalise the date of this posting back to 2 January.

Best nonfiction book: John Peel: Margrave of the Marshes: this is the unfinished auto-biography of the greatly missed John Peel, completed by his wife Sheila. He is still so greatly missed. I still can't quite believe he's gone.

Best fiction book: I didn't read any from 2005.

Best film: King Kong, I think. Honourable mention: Pride and Prejudice. Most overrated: either Crash or Batman Begins.

Best CD of the year: The Fall, Heads Roll

Song of the year: Kaiser Chiefs, I Predict a Riot; Madonna, Hung Up; The Fall, What about us?

As in 2004, I add a couple of extra categories and campaign for these to be added in 2006 too. I didn't go to any gigs in 2005, so drop that category here, but my move to America made me more conscious of the joys of BBC radio, and of British sport, so I add some extra categories:

Best TV programme: Dr Who wins hands down -- I thought I'd died and gone to television heaven. If you haven't seen this series yet, with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth doctor, and penned by Russell T. Davies, you are in for a real treat (it premieres in the US a year late, on Sci Fi in March). It wasn't just the best of 2005, but one of the best TV series ever -- I am serious! And as if it could get any better, it went and got better with the Christmas Invasion starring tenth doctor David Tennant, with a new series to look forward to in the spring.

Best radio programme: I'm sorry I haven't a clue -- still going strong after 34 years, and hilarious as ever -- makes driving home listening to the radio dangerous.

Best sporting event: England winning the Ashes, of course.