Biblical Studies Carnival #198 (August 2022)
It’s hard to believe summer is pretty much over, though here in Louisiana we’ll experience temperatures in the 90s well into late September and maybe even October. The end of summer means that students are heading back to classes and so teachers/professors are in teaching mode. Sometimes we reap the benefits of that in the form of blog posts, videos, etc. And so you’ll find below a collection of links from many a scholar (and a few amateurs) covering two general areas: Hebrew Bible/ANE/LXX and New Testament/Early Christianity. (I could have probably broken them down further but I’m running the show this month!) At the end you’ll also find an “In Memoriam” that covers a few recent deaths.
If you would like to host a carnival, please contact Phil Long either on Twitter (@Plong42) or via email (email@example.com). He’s in charge of keeping the carnival running and is always looking for bloggers who would like to host it. As of right now, I don’t think he has any for the next few months. But it’s a great way to generate traffic for your website so please consider hosting it.
- Claude Mariottini has been working on a series covering translation work. At the beginning of August, he posted a piece on “The Problem of Omitted Words.” What do we do when it’s clear a copyist dropped a word or phrase on accident (or on purpose, for that matter)? And what is the significance of such omissions?
- Over at thetorah.com, Rabbi David Frankel looks at Deuteronomy’s revision of Exodus 18, noting that Deuteronomy was an “attempt to supplant earlier traditions and rewrite them in the service of new agendas.”
- Lisa Cleath discusses how manuscripts are created and how it relates to the subject of textual criticism. The format is one she’s used in her classroom work with students and so teachers who are reading the carnival and are interested in finding creative ways to teach these types of subjects may find Cleath’s post useful.
- Podcaster and YouTuber @ReconBible posted a piece over at his website on his reconstructive-reading methodology. In it he details the types of clues he looks for when reading a text and what they might mean.
- When scholars talk about how complicated and complex the history of the Bible is, we don’t always appreciate what they mean. In a recent piece over at thetorah.com, Carol Newsom looks back to the Second Temple period and considers the ways in which scribes altered and manipulated their sacred texts with the result that there were multiple versions of the same book circulating.
- Over at Ancient Jew Review, Elena Dugan presents two classroom activities for students to show the difference between magic and miracle. One of them is centered on Moses and his confrontation with the magicians of Egypt. Fun stuff!
- If you’re interested in musical compositions of biblical texts, look no further than Bob MacDonald’s website. Here’s a recent one covering Psalm 17:13-15!
- Allison Hurst had her students create dating profiles for biblical characters with hilarious results. It makes for a creative writing assignment that forces you to think about the characters themselves. And next time she does, she plans on having students pick lesser known characters instead of the big ones like Adam, Noah, etc.
- Jeffrey Gibbs looks at the claim that the divine name Yahweh sounds like breathing and that when an infant takes its first breath it is speaking God’s name. Long story short, it’s “pious nonsense.”
- John Squires has begun a series looking at Ezekiel, noting that “a key issue for Ezekiel relates to whether God continues to be the God of the people of Judah who are in exile in Babylon.”
- Brent Niedergall reviews Mark Scarlata’s A Journey through the World of Leviticus: Holiness, Sacrifice, and the Rock Badger. Another book to add to the list!
- Who were the “Sea Peoples”? That’s the question Andrew Jacobs takes up in a recent episode of Religion for Breakfast.
- William Ross alerts readers to two recent developments in his academic work: an article in the Journal for the Study of Judaism that was born from a “workshop” on the LXX, and that his book on the LXX coauthored with Greg Lanier has been published in Spanish. Pretty cool!
- Carly Crouch examines war crimes in the Hebrew Bible and ANE and how those who perpetrated such violence justified their actions.
- Aren Maeir alerts readers to an interesting find from the Revadim Quarry, just north of Gath: an elephant tusk!
New Testament/Early Christianity
- How old is Codex Sinaiticus? I know for most readers of the Carnival it’s a question that keeps them up at night. You can rest easy though! Brent Nongbri linked to a recent piece he wrote for the October issue of Journal of Theological Studies that addresses the dating of Sinaiticus. My fellow amateurs should be thrilled because Nongrbri’s piece is open access!
- At the beginning of August, James McGrath published another post in his series “In the Footsteps of John the Baptist.” In it he talks about visiting the Pools of Siloam mentioned in John 9 as well as the Church of St. John the Baptist. There are pictures!
- Heather Anne Thiessen posted the script of a sermon covering Revelation 21:1-8. She writes that the imagery, as troubling as it is, invites query and debate with the text. I particularly liked this wisdom: “This practice is not reading the Bible as if it’s a kind of holy encyclopedia, in which we just look up some topic we have a question about, and get the right answer, and then put it back on the shelf.”
- Mark Edward looks at the Transfiguration in the Gospel of Mark. Many scholars have thought the scene may be a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. Edward considers those arguments and offers some of his own thoughts on the text.
- Speaking of the Transfiguration, Ian Paul also discussed this scene from the Synoptics in some detail. In particular, he considered the usage of metemorphōthē in Mark and its wider implications.
- According to a report, the position that the Romans placed their siege engines when attacking Jerusalem during the First Jewish War has been found. Using various data including the location of ballista used by Rome, researchers figured out where the engines were placed. Really fascinating stuff!
- Jim Davila alerted his readers to an article at haaretz.com that purports to solve how ships in the Mediterranean could sail from east to west against prevailing winds. Specifically, Paul’s voyage, reported in the Acts of the Apostles, from the eastern Mediterranean to Rome is considered.
- How many variants are there among our Greek New Testament manuscripts? Obviously, a lot. But can we get any more specific than that? The gang over at biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com has an interesting survey of past estimates and present proposals.
- On a recent episode of The Bible and Beyond, hosted by Shirley Paulson, Eric Smith discussed ancient gold glass and its relationship to the idea of what is “biblical.” You can also find a write-up by Smith on that subject at earlychristiantexts.com.
- Was Jesus an egalitarian, a veritable feminist? Or was he the product of his own time? This is the topic of a post over at Scribes of the Kingdom. The author stresses that Jesus was product of his own time and place, not ours. Any attempt to employ him in a debate about this or that political view invariable winds up in anachronism. A key line: “The Jesus of history is the product not of Liberalism but of a peculiar kind of ancient Jewish reasoning – apocalyptic reasoning to be exact.”
- Yii-Jan Lin has a new piece over at Bible Odyssey on Junia, the female apostle mentioned by Paul at the end of his letter to the Romans. One of the issues she considers is whether Junia is somehow anomalous. Her answer? Nope! Read the piece to find out why!
- Did Jesus exist? James McGrath went on Myth Vision to talk about Jesus Mythicism with Derek Lambert. It’s a two-hour episode so get comfortable!
- Isaac Soon, a scholar who specializes in New Testament and disability studies, has launched his own website. Check it out!
- Over at the podcast Good Morning Australia, Michael Kok was interviewed about his book The Beloved Apostle? a work on Johannine authorship.
- Marg Mowczko published a piece on whether Martha is missing from the oldest manuscript of John 11. She considers specifically the work of Elizabeth Schrader who published a piece on the subject in 2017 for Harvard Theological Review as well as Diane Butler Bass who talked about this topic in a sermon. (Mowczko has all the relevant links.)
- Last year, Isaac Soon (see above for his new website) had a piece published in the journal Early Christianity on the apostle Paul’s height entitled “The Short Apostle: The Stature of Paul in Light of 2 Cor 11:33 and the Acts of Paul and Thecla.” On Twitter, Soon alerted his followers to the piece that you can read now for free!
- Over on his channel Apocalypse Now, Jon DePue discusses Karl Barth and the apocalyptic Paul. Theology nerds will love this one!
- Timothy Mitchell, the “Textual Mechanic,” posted some beautiful photos of his recent experience at the Lincoln College Summer School of Greek Palaeography. My favorites were pictures of (what I think was) the Magdalen College library complete with rows upon rows of old books.
- For those interested in learning or boning up on their Koine, E.J. Pond has a great website and recently posted on how purpose is expressed using particles like hina, hopōs, etc.
- Over at Pete Enn’s website, Jennifer Bashaw addresses the authorship of the Pastoral Epistles. Considering how complicated the question of who wrote the letters can be, she suggests that Christians don’t make it “a litmus test for faithfulness.”
- J. David Stark gives his readers ten reasons why they should read their Bibles. He has some pretty solid advice.