The Weekly Roundup – 6.21.19

  • @andrewmarkhenry of the YouTube channel Religion for Breakfast recently published a short video on the number 666 that appears in Revelation 13:18. Following most scholars, Henry notes that the number is likely an example of gematria, the practice of using the numerical values of the letters in one’s name to come up with a value for that name. Here 666 (and the textual variant 616) is the value of the Greek name for Nero Caesar (note: the number isn’t 6-6-6 but six hundred sixty-six or, in the words of the KJV, “six hundred threescore and six”). Nero’s legacy loomed large in the mind of John the Revelator whose apocalyptic work was a long polemic against Rome.
  • I love the Gospel of Mark and am slowly working on my own translation of it in English. But I’m always looking for great resources on it and recent discovered over on the Koine Greek channel the first in a series of videos that dramatize the Gospel of Mark while a narrator reads from the Greek text of the Gospel! I enjoy listening to the Bible read aloud, in English or in Hebrew or in Greek. And the first video in this series covers the entire first chapter. The Gospel of Mark was likely written to be read aloud and you can see that in both its episodic nature (which the video does a good job of showing) as well as in the turns of phrase, assonance, and other literary devices the Markan author employs that are made apparent in hearing it. I’m very excited about this series (if you can’t tell).
  • @bibhistctxt has returned (sort of) with a new post on his recent adventure in the Holy Land. Specifically, he details his trek to the Bull Site, a cultic site in the Samarian hills upon which people sacrificed to their gods, whether it was El, Baal, or perhaps even Yahweh. You can also check out @bibhistctxt’s YouTube channel for more videos of his trip including a short clip of the Bull Site itself.
  • Just recently @thebiblicalskep and @Reformed_Boi debated whether the Old Testament is polytheistic. The debate was respectful but seemed very one sided. For one, @Reformed_Boi wasn’t as prepared as his interlocutor who had done extensive reading and research on the subject before the debate. For another, in the closing statement @Reformed_Boi showed his hand: he was commited to a monotheistic reading because of his understanding of the New Testament. This constraint was not shared by @thebiblicalskep (or scholars of the Hebrew Bible) and so they are free to go wherever the texts may lead them.
  • Hanna Liss (PhD, Free University Berlin) wrote a recent piece on the sotah ritual of Numbers 5, which she describes as “an elaborate ritual strongly infused with magical implications.” The view she espouses is that the ritual isn’t intended to deal with the alleged infidelity as much as it is to deal with the husband’s jealousy. A very interesting piece!

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

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