Friday, February 27, 2009

Farrar on Knowledge without Common Sense

There is a mis-attributed quotation floating around on the internet that goes something like this:
Knowledge, without common sense, says Lee, is folly; without method, it is waste; without kindness, it is fanaticism; without religion, it is death. But with common sense, it is wisdom with method, it is power; with clarity, it is beneficence; with religion, it is virtue, and life, and peace.

Farrar, Austin
I won't link to the various sources of this mis-attributed quotation lest I give them additional publicity and instead I will clarify the source and accuracy of this quotation and perhaps then future googlers will find their way here. In the form above, the quotation makes little sense -- it has been garbled in transmission. Moreover, the quotation is not from "Austin Farrar", an apparent assimilation of the first name "Austin" in Austin Farrer to the true author, Frederick William Farrar. Here is a correct version of the quotation:
"You must not only listen but read, you must not only read but think; knowledge," it has been said, "without common sense is folly, without method it is waste, without kindness it is fanaticism, without religion it is death;" aye, but -— and every page of the New Testament confirms the lesson —- with common sense it is wisdom; with method it is power; with charity it is beneficence; with religion it is virtue, and life, and peace.

Frederick William Farrar, The Witness of History to Christ: Five Sermons Preached Before the University of Cambridge; Being the Hulsean Lectures for the Year 1870 (London: Macmillan, 1871), 159-60.
The piece in quotation marks is attributed by Farrar (159, n. 3) as follows:
From a speech by the late Bp. of Manchester (Dr J. Prince Lee), at the opening of the Bury Athenaeum. Cf. S. Bernard, " Ut legeret intelligendi fecit cupiditas; ut intelligeret oratio impetravit; ut impetraret vitae sanctitas promeruit. Sic cupiat, sic oret, sic vivat qui se proficere velit."
This blog entry comes by virtue of the glories of Google Books.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Infancy Gospel of Thomas Cartoon

In today's Historical Jesus class we are moving to Part 5 of the course where we begin to explore some life of Jesus traditions. And we begin at the beginning by asking questions about whether we can know anything about Jesus' birth and childhood. Well, if we look at the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, we find a whole series of wonderful, fictional stories about Jesus, including this piece (9), here delightfully animated:

I am grateful to Tony Chartrand Burke on Apocryphicity for sharing this link with us two years ago.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New SBL Consultation on Bible and Film

I am happy to announce that there is a new consultation at the SBL Annual Meeting on the Bible and Film. Like all consultations (I think), it runs for three years in the first instance. Here's the blurb:
Bible and Film
Jeffrey Staley

Description: Focuses on the critical analysis and interpretation of Bible/Jesus films and other films incorporating biblical themes or motifs in terms of the films’ biblical and extra-biblical content, cultural and historical significance, and ideology. Secondary focus on pedagogical use of such films, and the preservation, archiving, and digitalization of rare Bible/Jesus films.
I have been asked to serve on the Steering Committee of the group and I am looking forward to being involved in what sounds like a very interesting program unit.

On the trail of N T Wrong

As I mentioned last week, N T Wrong's Biblioblog Top 50 now has its own home, announced by Jim West, who now also republishes for our benefit N T Wrong's fine contribution to the series of Biblical Studies Carnivals, 37 (December 2008). If you thought you might be able to check out others of N T Wrong's old posts, the bad news is that you can't even retrieve them over on, usually the result of the author of the sites in question arranging to pull them off's space. For some reason, the author of the N T Wrong blog really does not want people to access his materials any more.

So where has the anti-bishop gone and what are the reasons for the disappearance? Is it connected with the recent postings on Hypotyposeis or is the timing a coincidence? There have, in fact, been a couple of recent sightings over in the comments section of James Crossley's blog, which, it turns out, is the place where all the cool kids hang out.

It seems that I am not the only one who misses the musings of the great man -- there is now a Facebook group devoted to the cause, Come back N T Wrong!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Biblioblog Top 50 new home

After N T Wrong cut transmission earlier this week, there was some speculation over what would happen to his Biblioblog Top 50, a favourite over at the N T Wrong blog. Well, the good news is that it is back, with a new look at a new location:

The Biblioblog Top 50

Thanks to Jim West for the announcement. The N T Wrong name has been dropped in favour of "the Biblical Floccinaucinihilipilification Society (”the BFS”)" (had to copy and paste that one). I think it is bad news, though, if this implies that we won't be hearing from N T Wrong again -- he will be missed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Metacatholic morphs into Blogito ergo sim

What's going on with blogs on our topics these days? First my blog birfurcates into the new NT Gateway blog and this one, Mark Goodacre's NT Blog, then NT Wrong cut transmission, and now Doug Chaplin is closing down Metacatholic, one of my favourite blogs (Metacatholic RIP). But Doug is continuing to blog -- point your browser now to Blogito ergo sim. Can't keep track? Just go to where there are now Updated links.

Monday, February 16, 2009

N T Wrong: Transmission cut?

There was a moment almost exactly a year ago when transmission was cut on Jim West's blog. Now we are looking at something similar with N T Wrong, whose blog now appears to be hidden behind a protected sign. On occasions like this, I am reminded of one of my favourite scenes in The Truman Show when the failure to broadcast actually causes some of the highest viewing figures in the show's history as everyone wonders what has happened. With Wrong, it seems clear that the end of his blog was not the end of the story, first with the continuation of the Biblioblogging Top 50, then the biblioblogging interview and subsequently the missing December carnival. All the while, James Crossley's blog has what must be the longest comment thread of all time on the biblioblogs, generated at least in part by my distaste with Wrong's language in the interview previously mentioned. The current cut in transmission coincides with the recent blog discussions surrounding Ethical Considerations Relating to Pseudonymous Biblioblogging over on Stephen Carlson's Hypotyposeis.

So is this another one of Wrong's mini-deaths, with another resurrection to come soon? Or is it just a temporary glitch from the anti-bishop -- he cocked it up?

My homepage and related materials

I have moved my home page and my own academic web materials to the following new locations at Duke:

My homepage

The Case Against Q Website

The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze

The Aseneth Home Page

This one is now particularly long in the tooth, but I keep it available for posterity / nostalgia:

All-in-One Biblical Resources Search

See also:


Xtalk: Historical Jesus and Christian Origins

The pages for the edited collection on The Passion of the Christ and for the Library of New Testament Studies remain on the NT Gateway.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New NT Gateway now live

The new version of the NT Gateway site is now live and it appears to have percolated nicely across the internet. Thanks for all the positive comments so far.

Just to clarify where things stand:

The New Testament Gateway: still at, but with a major facelift courtesy of the fine work of the people at Logos.

NT Gateway Blog: visit the new NT Gateway blog for all the latest news about the site, with regular updates about the new content. Make sure you remember to point your RSS reader to the new feed:

Mark Goodacre's NT Blog: this blog, for my own academic thoughts and reflections. Make sure you remember to point your RSS reader to the new feed:

New NT Gateway site launched

The new version of the NT Gateway site has now launched. We flipped the switch at about 6.30pm ET tonight. Apparently it takes a while for these things to percolate through the internet. I can't see it myself yet, here in North Carolina, but Ryan Burns at Logos reported that it's appearing out there in Bellingham, Washington, and a friend reports that he can see the new version in Austin, Texas. If you can see the new version of the site, with its new blog, I'd love to see your comments below. Thanks. It's the same address --

Blog migration success!

It seems that the migration of the old NTGateway blog and archives to this new location has been successful. I have made a few minor design changes but otherwise I am retaining the old look, at least for the time being.

Please remember to point your reader to the new feed,

New blog URL

I am aiming to point my new academic blog at the following URL:

Mark Goodacre's NT Blog

It is not there yet, and it is possible that the migration will be a disaster (I have backed up all six-and-a-half years' worth just in case), but my aim is simply to switch from hosting the blog on the current NT Gateway to hosting it over on blogger. If things go wrong, check twitter for updates.

Blog changes

Because of the exciting developments at the NT Gateway, I need to make some changes to the way that I blog. The NT Gateway blog will continue with updates and information relevant to the NT Gateway site. Meanwhile, I am keen to continue with my own academic blog for my teaching and research thoughts, ideas, reflections. In the last few years, such material has been included on the NT Gateway blog. Now it will move to its own new location, along with the old NT Gateway blog archives. Details of the move, and where to point your browsers and Readers, will be coming soon. The Resident Alien blog is unaffected by these changes and will continue as normal.

Harold Hoehner (1935-2009)

Several blogs have reported the sad news of the death of Harold Hoehner (Evangelical Textual Criticism; NT Resources; Green Baggins; Denny Burk; Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth; ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ; Pursuing Truth; Confessions of a Closet Academic). Here is the piece in Dallas Morning News:

Harold Hoehner, renowned professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, dies at 74
By Sam Hodges
Harold Hoehner, a renowned professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, died today. He was 74.

A seminary colleague, Darrell Bock, said Hoehner collapsed at home after jogging.

Hoehner taught at DTS for 42 years, and for long stretches oversaw its Ph.D. students and chaired its New Testament department.

He also published widely as a scholar.

“His magnificent commentary on Ephesians—his magnum opus—will continue to instruct and inspire pastors and teachers for many years to come,” the seminary said in a statement. “Because one of his books is entitled Herod Antipas, he became affectionately known to a generation of students as `Herod Hoehner.’” . . .
Dallas Theological Seminary apparently has a tribute, but there appear to be problems with their server at the moment. See also Justin Taylor, Between Two Worlds: Harold Hoehner (1935-2009) (with thanks to Michael Thompson for the link).

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Biblical Studies Carnival XXXVII

N. T. Wrong once again emerges from the shadows, this time to provide an excellent, very thorough carnival for the missing month of December 2008:

Biblical Studies Carnival XXXVII

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Developments at the NT Gateway

Regular readers will be aware that I have been rethinking The New Testament Gateway for some time now, asking questions about how it is to adapt to the changing face of the internet, making suggestions for the future, and engaging in discussions with others about how they can help. I am now delighted to be able to announce that the NT Gateway is partnering with Logos. Logos will be providing hosting for the site as well as installing a CMS and giving it a design facelift. I will continue to be the Editor. The address ( will stay the same, so there will be no need to adjust your links or bookmarks. I am sure that readers will like the new version of the site as much as I do. It has a lot in common with older versions but at the same time introduces some major improvements.

These exciting changes impact a little on this blog and on others of my web materials, and I will be explaining what is happening with these over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Biblical Studies Carnival XXXVIII

Many thanks to Judy Redman for an excellent Biblical Studies Carnival for January 2009:

Biblical Studies Carnival XXXVIII

God and the Movies on Radio 4

There was an interesting programme on Radio 4 yesterday about the impact that the commercial success of The Passion of the Christ has had on Hollywood and the desire to cash in on the "Christian dollar" in making Christian-themed and Christian-friendly films:

God and the Movies

You can catch it on the BBC iPlayer for the next six days.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Biblioblogging Top 50 for January and other Wrongs

N. T. Wrong re-emerges twice this week, first to present the latest Biblioblog Top 50. It's good to see this blog maintaining a high position in the list, but I am puzzled by the absence of Jim Davila's Paleojudaica, down from 15 in December. This makes little sense, below blogs that have posted next to nothing throughout January.

And the second re-emergence is an interview with Jim West over at, Blogger of the Month for February 2009. The interview is actually very entertaining, and the anti-bishop reveals a bit more of his voice. He is clearly enjoying trying to see what he can get away with, though, since there is an obscenity of the kind that is surprising (and frankly not entirely welcome) in an academic venue.

Update (Wednesday, 13.41): it appears that my comment above was unpopular, and several people have objected to it. For a fairly lengthy exchange, see the comments section on Earliest Christian History.

Monday, February 02, 2009

SBL International Paper Proposal Accepted

I was happy to hear yesterday evening that my paper proposal for the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting in Rome (30 June-4 July) has been accepted. I submitted it to the Paul and Pauline Literature section. Here is my title and abstract:
Does περιβόλαιον mean "testicle" in 1 Corinthians 11.15?

In a recent provocative article ("Paul’s Argument from Nature for the Veil in 1 Corinthians 11:13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering," JBL 123/1 (2004): 75-84), Troy Martin provides a new translation of a famously difficult verse. Arguing that περιβόλαιον in 1 Corinthians 11.15 means "testicle", Paul is saying that a woman's hair is given to her "instead of a testicle". Paul is assuming ancient attitudes to the body, according to which hair is "part of the female genitalia". However, the lexical basis for Martin's case is not strong enough to justify the new translation. Neither of the texts adduced by Martin (Euripides, Herc. fur. 1269 and Achilles Tatius, Leuc. Clit. 1.15.2) is speaking about περιβόλαια as "testicles", thus the interesting contextual material from ancient medical sources are not relevant as background to interpreting Paul. The conventional translations, according to which a woman's hair is given "for a covering" or "instead of a covering", are preferable.

Tyndale Bulletin online

Over on, Rob Bradshaw shares the excellent news that Tyndale Bulletin is now online. Everything is available from 1956 to 2005. This is a fine contribution to scholarship on the web. I am sure that I am not alone in being very grateful for the hard work that has gone into this, and to Tyndale House for providing permission. The index is here:

Tyndale Bulletin