Welcome to the fourth Biblical Studies Carnival. Thanks to the organizational skills of Tyler Williams, these carnivals have become monthly treats, a great way to glean the best of the biblio-blogposts you may not have had time for, or just want to revisit. So sit back and enjoy the ride, as we backpeddle through thirty-one days of rousing commentary. Who says we can’t relive the past?
The Big Question: To Have Faith or Not
The most memorable blog-event of the month came out of Alan Bandy’s Café Apocalypsis: unending interviews with scholars about faith-based and secular scholarship. Many evangelicals responded: Michael Bird, Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, Peter Bolt, Craig Evans, Andreas Kostenberger, Scot McKnight, and Peter Williams. Secular scholars James Crossley and Philip Davies also got their oar in the water, and Blog-Emperor Mark Goodacre had his say too. Those who haven’t read these interviews need to visit Alan’s café ASAP and see why believers and non-believers are equally needed in the academy. Alan promises even more interviews to come in the month of April, so stay tuned.
One of the above scholars, Peter Williams, conducted his own interview with translator Dan Wallace on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog. It’s a lengthy interview, well worth reading, addressing how relevant theological presuppositions have become in the field of textual criticism.
Meanwhile, in the background of this and more, Danny Zacharias of Deinde has continued updating his Blogger Cooler Roundup of “Faith and Scholarship” begun in February. This is a good place to go for a ready guide to all the comments, observations, and interviews about faith-based and secular scholarship.
Chris Heard of Higgaion received a letter from Paul Iversen regarding the Tel Zayit abecedary, and with trademark caution agrees that there’s much to be skeptical about here. Read the letter in Paul Iversen on the Tel Zayit “abecedary”: the author raises serious objections against what Ron Tappy has made of the so-called abecedarium, and as expected, the spectre of the minimalist-maximalist debate hovers in the background.
Our Hebrew Bible gurus have been active as ever. Joe Cathey provided two lengthy research bibliographies, one for Conquest and Settlement A-D, another for Ezekiel 40-48. Joe is always good with these lists.
Tyler Williams of Codex Blogspot is in the middle of writing an impressive commentary on Jonah. His bibliography in Jonah’s Big Fish Story: Resources for the Study of the Book of Jonah paves the way for the first part of the actual commentary in Jonah and the Sailors. This will be an amazing piece when finished. Keep going Tyler!
Michael Barber of Singing in the Reign is a new Catholic figure in the blogosphere, and no slouch. Check out his trio of posts on Loose Canons: The Development of the Old Testament Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Novices who are on the hunt for Hebrew Bible study tools will find H.H. Hardy of Daily Hebrew a godsend. How to Spend Your First $200 and Text Criticism for <$150 are his lists of essential purchases.
Mark Goodacre of NT Gateway kicked off the month wondering Did Jesus Have a House in Capernaum?, and using the often neglected criterion of “accidental information”, suggested that Jesus may have used Capernaum as base in his early career. Like many Goodacre posts, this one drew plenty of comments.
Two bloggers have continued working on two gospels, challenging assumptions about their Judaic/anti-Judaic underpinnings. Richard Anderson, Kratistos Theophilos, argues that Luke’s use of certain technical terms shows that he was a Jewish author writing for a Jewish audience in Precision Time Markers. On the other side of things, Chris Weimer of Thoughts on Antiquity believes that Matthew’s Judaic leanings are an illusion and that he was supersessionist; check out The Sins of Jesus.
Ephesians received some attention, first from Clifford Kvidahl of Theological Musings; see Thoughts from Ephesians Part 1. Then, springing off Wayne Leman of Better Bibles, Rick Brannan of Ricoblog explained the importance of paragraph breaks, clause breaks, punctuation, and how words relate to each other in general, in Ephesians 5 and Clauses.
The Torah in Early Christianity
Much ado about the law in early Christianity warrants a separate category for the month. James Crossley of Earliest Christian History, Michael Bird of Euangelion, and Loren Rosson of The Busybody each gave four-point summaries on the subject. See, respectively, Christian Origins and the Law, Jesus and Torah: 4 Theses, and Jesus and Torah. Michael’s post is actually the third in a series, following after Jesus and Torah (I) and Jesus and Torah (II).
Mark Goodacre of NT Gateway entered the discussion in Jesus, Torah, Sanders, Hengel, and Deines, clarifying what E.P. Sanders’ has meant by referring to a “common Judaism”, and also mentioning an important article written by Paula Fredriksen which distinguishes between including and converting Gentiles in light of eschatology.
Finally, Loren Rosson discussed the Antioch incident in Treachery at Antioch, showcasing Philip Esler’s argument that Cephas’ withdrawal from table-fellowship signaled treachery and revenge more than mere “hypocrisy”.
Don’t miss other lively points of interest, like Mike Sangrey’s presentation of chiastic structures on the Exegetitor blog. In Chiasmus in Exegesis he illustrates the importance of these forms with an example from John 6.
If bibliobloggers aren’t vulgar and graphic enough, Stephen Carlson of Hypotyposeis at least got graphic with Power Law in Biblical Citations, showing how online citations of each verse in Gal 2:1-21 follow a power curve. Stephen suggested that curves like this help us identify our “canons within canons”. That’s pretty neat.
Duane Smith of Abnormal Interests had stimulating things to say about the way “Jerusalem” is written in the Akkadian of Amarna tablet EA 287; see Jerusalem in the Armana Tablets. Duane also continued considering texts which might be written in short cuneiform in The Cuneiform Short Alphabet (8).
Ever hear that law codes were intellectual exercises? Ken Ristau of Anduril says that’s how the laws of ancient Mesopotamia should be understood — as modes of scientific inquiry, given the lack of evidence for statutory significance; see Law Codes in the ANE. Ken also responded to economic historian Karl Polanyi’s view of ancient economies in Markets in the ANE, challenging the idea that such economies were exclusively palace-dominated redistribution systems.
Resurrection buffs will be happy to see that Christopher Petersen of Resurrection Dogmatics just joined the blogosphere. Be sure to read his Task of Reinterpretation, in which he lends a sympathetic ear to the inventive strategies used by millenarian movements to cope with failure.
Accepted SBL Proposals
Alluring SBL papers loom on the horizon, and here’s a sample of what to expect this November (pardon me if I missed anyone here; announcements are still appearing on the blogs): Sean the Baptist will be Re-reading the Great Commission (Matthew 28.16-20) in Imperial Context, engaging postcolonial readings of the text and offering an alternative. Rick Brannan of Ricoblog is going after Word Groups, Head Terms and Modifiers in the Pastoral Epistles, examining word group usage data for both the Paulines and Pastorals. Fake-nabbing Stephen Carlson of Hypotyposeis is tracking down The Nineteenth-Century Exemplar of “Archaic Mark” (MS 2427) — another forgery involving gospel writer Mark — and Stephen will also explain Luke’s Panel Technique for His “Orderly” Narration in another paper. Michael Bird of Euangelion plans on answering Who Comes from the East and the West? Luke 13.28-29/Matt 8.11-12 and the Historical Jesus, engaging (and disagreeing with) Dale Allison’s argument that Jesus was referring to Jews in the Diaspora rather than Gentiles. Finally, Mark Goodacre of NT Gateway will tell us why he thinks many of Paul’s Galatian converts were Already Circumcised when the apostle wrote his blasting letter. Great topics, and who knows, maybe I’ll finally make it to SBL this time to hear some of these.
Upcoming Biblical Studies Carnivals
Biblical Studies Carnival V will be hosted by Kevin Wilson at Karamat in the first week of May, 2006. Look for a call for submissions on his blog sometime in the middle of April.
Submissions for blog entries posted in the month of April should be emailed to biblical_studies_carnival AT hotmail DOT com, or entered via the submission form at BlogCarnival.com. For more information, consult the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage.
Thanks for taking a ride through the fourth carnival! I hope it was worth your time.