Archive for September, 2009


You Can Never Have Too Many NT Manuscripts in Your Library…

… so check out these freely available facsimile editions:


Codex Washingtonianus (Mark 1:1-7)


More Free NT-Related Treasures from

If you haven’t spent an hour (or four) browsing the thousands of titles available for download from, you owe it to yourself to take a look.  A few worthwhile titles I found this evening:


The Shepherd of Hermas (Highly, Highly Abridged Edition)

This afternoon, I gave a brief presentation on the Shepherd of Hermas as part of Prof. Robin Darling Young’s seminar on reading practices in early Christianity.  Because many members of this particular seminar aren’t specialists in this period, I prepared a handout (complete with pictures!) to provide some additional background.  If anyone’s looking for an introduction to a fascinating apocalyptic text (and it is apocalyptic, no matter what some scholars may tell you), check it out here. I hope it’s useful!




The NFL Is Back…

… and it’s already keeping me from getting anything done.  Crap.


On the SBL and “Bibliobloggers”

The recent partnership between the Society of Biblical Literature and “Bibliobloggers” (a designation that seemingly implies a formal organization, although no such organization exists as of yet) announced by Jim West and the SBL itself has generated much discussion.  While many folks have wholeheartedly embraced the affiliation, a few have expressed reservations, including John Hobbins, Chris Heard, Alan Lenzi, and Doug Mangum. My initial reactions—a little uncertainty as to the nature of the evolving relationship, but hope for some exciting new developments—are pretty similar to those of Brandon Wason:

I’m still not entirely sure what the implications are of such an affiliation, but I do think it is something that should excite us. This represents a recognition from SBL that what we do on biblioblogs works hand in hand with the mission of SBL: to foster biblical scholarship. That’s why most of us blog. So I’m happy to hear about this new affiliation and I look forward to seeing how it affects things.

I find the respective responses of Mark Goodacre and Jim West (both members of the steering committee organized by Jim) to potential dissenters especially telling.  For his part, Mark adopts a sensitive, conciliatory stance:

I understand the points of view expressed here [in the posts of John and Chris], and I would hope that we will take on board some of the concerns expressed, but my own feeling is that you really don’t know quite how something is going to evolve until you have given it a try. I don’t think we need to be pompous or exclusionary or prescriptive, but we can collaborate, listen and learn. We have plenty of time before the Atlanta SBL in 2010, which is the earliest occasion on which the group can meet, so the discussion does not need to be rushed. Some of the very issues mentioned by John and Chris would in fact be pertinent to our discussions, and I would add that the interest that came out of the session on biblioblogging at the SBL in 2005 is testimony to the potential value of a broader, continuing discussion.

Jim, with a zeal that even Phineas might envy, denounces any continuing complaints:

[T]ake part in the SBL Blogging Program Unit, or don’t.  It really is just that simple.  If you choose to take part, great.  If not, nothing is accomplished by your childish and small minded ongoing campaign of whining and sniveling.

Simply put, Mark discusses the matter as if all parties—even those who may not be unequivocally enthusiastic or supportive at this point—have something to offer to the conversation, while Jim belittles anyone unwilling to immediately join his project on his terms.  Despite my desire to increase biblical scholarship and literacy in any way possible, I don’t think I’m alone in my preference for the former approach.  As long as Jim continues to employ this type of unnecessary vitriol rather than genuine dialogue, the question posed by Ed Cook in the comments to Chris’ post will persist in many circles: “Isn’t this whole thing just a roundabout way for Jim West to gain academic respectability that he can’t otherwise achieve via presentations and publications?”

UPDATE: Bob Cargill has posted some nice comments here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mark Goodacre has added to his earlier thoughts here.


It’s Not Biblical Studies…

… but it sounds interesting anyway:

AMSS 2009 flyer 1


Well Done, Centre!

According to the most recent rankings from Forbes, my alma mater is the fourteenth best college in the United States (and is the cheapest by far among the Top 25, military academies excepted).  Thanks to Celucien Joseph for passing these along:

America’s Best Colleges

Rank Name State Cost Freshman Class Size
1 United States Military Academy NY 0 1,263
2 Princeton University NJ 49,830 1,243
3 California Institute of Technology CA 48,990 236
4 Williams College MA 49,530 540
5 Harvard University MA 50,250 1,666
6 Wellesley College MA 50,026 596
7 United States Air Force Academy CO 0 1,286
8 Amherst College MA 50,230 439
9 Yale University CT 51,400 1,318
10 Stanford University CA 51,760 1,703
11 Massachusetts Institute of Technology MA 50,100 1,048
12 Swarthmore College PA 50,381 372
13 Columbia University NY 51,406 1,356
14 Centre College KY 39,200 336
15 Haverford College PA 51,637 327
16 Boston College MA 52,060 2,167
17 Northwestern University IL 52,120 2,078
18 Bowdoin College ME 50,570 488
19 Vassar College NY 51,370 638
20 Whitman College WA 46,212 401
21 University of Chicago IL 53,310 1,306
22 Kenyon College OH 49,260 456
23 Carleton College MN 50,000 489
24 Colby College ME 50,120 482
25 Middlebury College VT 52,460

RBL Highlights: 9/9/09

Highlights from the most recent edition of the Review of Biblical Literature:

Octavian D. Baban
On the Road Encounters in Luke-Acts: Hellenistic Mimesis and Luke’s Theology of the Way
Reviewed by Ron Clark

Randall C. Bailey, Tat-siong Benny Liew, and Fernando F. Segovia, eds.
They Were All Together in One Place? Toward Minority Biblical Criticism
Reviewed by Gerald West

Richard Bauckham
The Jewish World around the New Testament: Collected Essays 1
Reviewed by Christoph Stenschke

Augustine Casiday and Frederick W. Norris
The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 2: Constantine to c. 600
Reviewed by Paul Dilley

Gregory Lee Cuéllar
Voices of Marginality: Exile and Return in Second Isaiah 40-55 and the Mexican Immigrant Experience
Reviewed by Timothy Sandoval

Lawrence DiPaolo Jr.
Hymn Fragments Embedded in the New Testament: Hellenistic Jewish and Greco-Roman Parallels
Reviewed by Daniel Darko

Daniel Durken, ed.
The New Collegeville Bible Commentary: New Testament
Reviewed by Peter Judge

Beverly Roberts Gaventa and Richard B. Hays, eds.
Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage
Reviewed by Mark Elliott

Axel Graupner and Michael Wolter, eds.
Moses in Biblical and Extra-biblical Traditions
Reviewed by Hallvard Hagelia

Heidi J. Hornik and Mikeal C. Parsons
Illuminating Luke, Volume 3: The Passion and Resurrection Narratives in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting
Reviewed by Thomas E. Phillips

Marvin Meyer
Judas: The Definitive Collection of Gospels and Legends about the Infamous Apostle of Jesus
Reviewed by Philip Tite

Anita Norich and Yaron Z. Eliav, eds.
Jewish Literatures and Cultures: Context and Intercontext
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

James M. Robinson
Jesus: According to the Earliest Witness
Reviewed by Petri Luomanen


Five Female Scholars Who Changed the Way I Read the Bible

Although I haven’t had much to contribute to the ongoing discussion of female bibliobloggers (see Tim Ricchuiti’s invaluable listing of the various posts here), I’ve followed the responses to Mike Koke’s related meme on influential female scholars with extreme interest.  Unlike Jim West, who seems to equate femininity with left-handedness, I’ve found that female scholars often possess insights not immediately apparent to me—perhaps because of genetic or experiential differences, perhaps for other reasons.  In any case, it can be valuable for all of us to take a few moments to consider the gifts of people markedly different than ourselves, and how they’ve helped us get outside of our own biological, cultural, and intellectual boxes.  With this in mind, here are five women who have especially impacted my study of the Bible:

Prof. Collins’ generous service as one of my advisers during my time at Yale merits her inclusion on this personal list.  However, not only did she successfully steer a nervous, uncertain kid through his first stage of graduate studies, but her work on the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of Mark (most recently her Hermeneia commentary on the latter book) has demonstrated the continuing viability of the historical-critical method, even in the postmodern era.

Prof. Frederiksen’s engaging work on the historical Jesus, and more recently the complex relationship between Jews and Christians, needs no introduction.  I’m looking forward to diving into her most recent book, Augustine and the Jews, in all my spare time.  ;-)

Prof. Kovacs possesses a remarkable set of skills to which many other scholars should aspire: equal interest and proficiency in the frequently divided fields of biblical studies and patristics.  Her commentary on the reception history of the Book of Revelation, written with Christopher Rowland, is an excellent resource; her forthcoming study of Clement of Alexandria will surely prove to be the same.

I first encountered Prof. Pagels’ work as an undergraduate, when I read The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief as part of a course on early Christian literature.  These and other influential writings provided an invaluable introduction to the remarkable ideological diversity of the early Christian world, and its modern implications.

It was in a course taught by Prof. Swancutt, appropriately entitled “Early Christian Identities,” when I first realized the tremendous value of sociological and anthropological approaches to the study of the first Christian communities.  Plus, like Prof. Collins, she’s always willing to provide guidance and advice to students in need!


A TC Makeover for NT Gateway (Plus, a Complete Edition of Tregelles on the Internet!)

Holger Szesnat, a recent addition to Mark Goodacre’s team at the revamped NT Gateway, has added a number of excellent resources to the Textual Criticism page. Check out these and other classic and contemporary offerings:

Moreover, this evening I discovered that a beautiful, high-resolution scan of Tregelles’ The Greek New Testament (1857-1872), an individual effort equaled only by Tischendorf, is available for download here. The work is available in separate files that essentially follow the divisions of the original, progressively published volumes:

Just to whet your appetite, here’s an image from Romans 4-5:



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