Thursday, July 29, 2004

Amazon clamp down on anonymous reviews

Back in February, I commented on an interesting story in The Observer on Amazon's anonymous reviews (Authors reviewing their own books on Amazon). Amazon have now, at last, acted on this and only allow real names with credit card numbers. This is from today's Guardian:

Amazon halts tit-for-tat critics
Authors and publishers face credit card barrier to anonymously puffing their books
Andrew Clark in New York
The change, which was quietly introduced earlier this month, is intended to put an end to authors and publishers anonymously showering their own books with praise while trashing the work of their rivals. An Amazon spokeswoman said: "This is the latest step in an ongoing effort to continually improve the content of the site." . . . .

. . . Reviews on Amazon's site are of variable quality and many are tongue in cheek. A review of the King James Bible from one reader in Indianapolis describes the tome as "a rollicking, non-stop, action-adventure which ends with a thrilling conclusion and a hearty 'Amen'". Meanwhile, Bill Clinton's recently published memoirs receives a rough ride from a New York customer, who advises buyers: "Give your money to charity instead of enriching this pants-on-fire liar."
I suppose we are a bit more lucky in the slightly more rarefied atmosphere generated by academic books on the Bible. But even here, there are some quite funny reviews, whether you agree with them or not. This, for example, is an excerpt from an amazon review on Crossan's Birth of Christianity from a certain "phranger":
When I got the book I was struck by how physically light it is for its size. The paper is made from pulp somewhat cleaner than newsprint, which is blown up during drying to perhaps twice the thickness good newsprint would have, using the same amount of pulp. The enclosed air makes it more opaque. This is a fine figure for Crossan's writing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Kaler on Ehrman's Lost Christianities

One of the latest reviews I particularly enjoyed from Review of Biblical Literature (see previous) was Michael Kaler's Review of Bart Erhman's twin Lost Christianities and Lost Scriptures. I have recently obtained and begun reading Lost Christianities myself and am finding it compelling reading, full of interesting insights and well worth its cover price. I am a particular fan of scholarly writing that is accessible to the broader public and Ehrman is a master of the art. One of the things I particularly like about the way Ehrman goes about this is that he appears always to be thinking not just about that broader public but also about the graduate students and scholars too. I would defy anyone to find nothing new here. Anyway, Kaler is an enthusiast for Ehrman's books too, though he adds some useful points by way of criticism.

The point in Kaler's review that caught my attention was his footnote 2 on the first page, relating to the Secret Gospel of Mark:
While his discussion of the issue is gossipy (in a good way) and engrossing, I found Ehrman's conclusion to this intricate and fascinating affair to be artificially ambivalent. He spends most of the chapter clearly implying that Morton Smith forged the letter of Clement that contained the Secret Gospel and then at the end refuses to commit himself. "I am not willing to say that Smith . . . forged the letter which he claimed to discover. . . . But maybe Smith forged it. . . . Or maybe this is a genuine letter by Clement of Alexandria" (89). To my mind, Ehrman should either have taken an explicit and definite stand or rewritten the chapter so as to present the facts in a truly neutral, unbiased way."
I quite agree with Kaler here and found myself reacting in the same way to this chapter. In fact Ehrman's "artificially ambivalent" attitude surprised me somewhat given his robust presentation of the same material in a talk to the Textual Criticism section of the SBL Annual Meeting in Toronto (2002). My memory of that talk (other than my colleague David Parker flashing up on screen for some time a picture of his back garden as he attempted to get his powerpoint presentation together while Bart was speaking) was that it was strong in its implication, allowing the circumstantial evidence to point the finger at Smith; Ehrman's tone was at best faux naif.

So why is Ehrman so reticent to state more strongly in print that he thinks Morton Smith may have forged the Secret Gospel of Mark? His stated reason is the following:
I am not willing to say that Smith was a latter-day Dionysius the Renegade, that he forged the letter of Clement which he claimed to discover. My reasons should be obvious. As soon as I say I am certain he did so, those pages cut from the back of the book will turn up, someone will test the ink, and it will be from the eighteenth century." (Lost Christianities: 89).
I am not sure that this is strong enough. Scholarship of this kind is about taking risks, but risks that are staked on one's careful and considered reading of the evidence. I've written a book arguing against the existence of Q and attempted there, as well as elsewhere, to make quite clear that I do not think that such a document ever existed. I could have held back for fear that someone might dig it up and show me up for a fool, but it's a risk that I was willing to take because I am fully persuaded that the Q sceptical case is right. In other words, it's always possible that someone will produce Q and surprise me, but my research persuades me that this is unlikely to happen. I'm not sure what is gained by holding back for fear of future possibilities that one thinks are unlikely to materialise.

Review of Bibical Literature latest

New reviews added to the Review of Biblical Literature under the New Testament heading:

Cook, John Granger
The Interpretation of the New Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism
Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus

Ehrman, Bart D.
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
Reviewed by Michael Kaler

Ehrman, Bart D.
Lost Scriptures: BooksThat Did Not Make It into the New Testament
Reviewed by Michael Kaler

Ehrman, Bart D.
The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Hurtado, Larry W.
Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity
Reviewed by Moschos Goutzioudis

Kok, Ezra Hon-seng
The Truth of the Gospel: A Study in Galatians 2:15-21
Reviewed by Arthur J. Dewey

Lee, Dal
The Narrative Asides in the Book of Revelation
Reviewed by Jan A. Du Rand

McLay, R. Timothy
The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research
Reviewed by Robert Hiebert

McLay, R. Timothy
The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Nodet, Étienne
Histoire de Jésus?: Nécessité et limites d'une enquete
Reviewed by Douglas Geyer

Philo Blogger back

Torrey Seland left a comment here and it made me wonder if he was blogging again after his summer break. And I notice that he has been blogging for a good week or so:

Philo of Alexandria Blog

It seems that one of the RSS feeds is not working, or at least is not working with Bloglines (this one). So it may be that others, like me, need to adjust to an alternative feed which is working (this one). Anyway, welcome back Torrey.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Harland wins F.W. Beare Award

Another one from my catch-up file, going back a couple of weeks. Congratulations to Philip Harland, author of the fine web site on Associations, Synagogues and Congregations, who receives this award for the book of the same name. This press-release is from Fortress Press:

Harland wins F.W. Beare Award from Canadian Society of Biblical Studies

MINNEAPOLIS (July 7, 2004) Fortress Press is happy to announce that Philip A. Harland’s book, Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations: Claiming a Place in Ancient Mediterranean Society, was awarded the 2004 Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS) F.W. Beare Award during the Annual CSBS Dinner, held on May 30th as part of the Society’s Annual Meeting in Winnipeg.

The F.W. Beare Award is offered annually by the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies in recognition of an outstanding book in the areas of Christian Origins, Post-Biblical Judaism and/or Graeco-Roman Religions written by a member of the CSBS and published during the previous two years. The Award is determined by a panel of judges drawn from members of the Society with a publishing record in at least one of the areas covered by the Award.
A groundbreaking study. Harland’s focus on associations in Roman antiquity as a way better to understand civic social life and the social sensibilities of those involved in such associations sets the stage for a reconsideration of the place of ancient Christianities and Judaisms in the Roman order. What emerges is a realistic picture of the ancient Christian associations of Asia Minor that produced such texts as 1 Peter, the Apocalypse of John, and the Pastoral Epistles. This new picture emphasized the concrete, day-to-day ways in which ancient Christians did claim a place for themselves within the empire, and soundly dismisses conceptualizations of Christianity as an isolated sect. This is an indispensable step toward re-imagining ancient civic life, ancient religion, and the origins of Christianity as well.”
-—William Arnal, University of Regina, Saskatchewan

This award has been established in honor of Francis (Frank) Wright Beare, one of Canada’s most renowned New Testament scholars. He was born in Toronto in 1902, studied in Toronto, Paris and Cairo, and taught at the Presbyterian College in Montreal (1933-46) and Trinity College in Toronto (1946-68). He participated actively in the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies and was named President of the Society in 1942; he was also President of the Society of Biblical Literature in 1969.

The Canadian Society of Biblical Studies is the oldest humanities academic society in Canada. The Society provides a meeting place for those interested in all aspects of the academic study of the Bible — Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, New Testament — in its literary and historical context.

Philip A. Harland is Assistant Professor of Christian Origins in the Religion Department at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Format: 272 pp. 6 x 9" paper 4-color cover

ISBN: 0-8006-3589-2

Price: $22.00 Publication Date: May 2003

To order Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations please call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the web site at To request review copies or exam copies please visit the website at, click on “Contact Us” and follow prompts for requesting review copies or exam copies or call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234. For interviews, speaking engagements, and writing assignments please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or email

----End of press release-----

JSNT latest

Still in catch-up mode (pretty much the story of my life), here's the table of contents for the latest Journal for the Study of the New Testament. What prompted me was seeing a copy on the bed-side table of Prof. Michael Goulder when I visited him in hospital the other day, where he is recovering from a stroke. (Get well soon, Michael!).

Journal for the Study of the New Testament Vol. 26 No. 4 (June 2004)

The Charge of Blasphemy in Mark 14.64
Adela Yarbro Collins

Ephesians 2 as a Narrative of Divine Warfare
Timothy G. Gombis

The Politics of Identity in Ephesians
Margaret Y. MacDonald

Questions of Method in James Dunn’s Jesus Remembered
Bengt Holmberg

A New Perspective on the Jesus Tradition
Samuel Byrskog

On History, Memory and Eyewitnesses
James D.G. Dunn

Compleat History of the Resurrection
Markus Bockmuehl

An Incompleat (but Grateful) Response to the Review by Markus Bockmuehl of The Resurrection of the Son of God
N.T. Wright

Book Reviews

Links are to abstracts of each article. Full text access is for insitutional or personal subscription only.

Groningen Blog Watch

The SBL International Meeting is currently underway in Groningen in the Netherlands. I cannot make it to this myself because of child care commitments and I have recently had to pull out of the SNTS in Barcelona for the same reason. But I'm on the look out for any bloggers who can give us a taste of the conference. Jim Davila is there but has not yet found time or place to blog; Pete Phillips, on the other hand, has filed his first, enthusiastic report. Meanwhile Tim Bulkeley of Sansblogue has been to AIBI (Association Internationale Bible et Informatique) and files a brief report with the promise of more to come.

Monday, July 26, 2004

David Alan Black blog and website

On Bible Software Review Weblog, Rubén Gómez draws attention to this blog belonging to David Alan Black, Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina:

Dave Black Online

The blog appears to be pretty frequently updated and it's been on-line since November 2003. The topics are wide ranging, often American politics, but there is some NT material in there. Unfortunately, there is no RSS feed, so it's one of those one has to try to remember to look at from time to time. The blog is part of a larger web site under the same name.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Is the Farrer Theory too boring?

In an enjoyable post on Hypotyposeis, Stephen Carlson suggests that the Farrer Theory's "fatal flaw" is that it is "too boring":
It is interesting to me that, although Kloppenborg explored in depth the theological stakes of the Griesbach hypothesis and the Q hypothesis, he did not really do so for Farrer except to point out that our present assumptions of Christianity probably aren’t going to change very much. And perhaps that’s exactly the problem with the Farrer theory--at a time when there are so many new, interesting areas of investigation (narrative criticism, socio-rhetorical criticism, post-modern criticism, etc.), what is going to motivate a young scholar to step back into the swamp of source criticism if the result is going to be upholding a conventional view of Christian origins? Where’s the fun in that?
Stephen is quite right, but I would take these comments as a challenge. Farrer theorists are themselves to blame -- they have simply not managed to show effectively what the "cash value" of their theory is. What problems does it help us to rethink? How does it help us to reimagine Christian Origins? As Stephen says, where's the fun? It's a problem I have become conscious of more since finishing The Case Against Q than I was before writing it. Had I have realised the difficulty, perhaps I would have tried to address it some more, or at least to think about the problem. But I've turned to something like this recently in a short essay called "A World Without Q" in a forthcoming collection of essays edited by Nick Perrin and me. A couple of excerpts:
As far as Q scepticism is concerned, it sometimes seems like the choice is between Griesbach, which is implausible because it dispenses with Marcan Priority, or Goulder, who is unpalatable because of his over-creative evangelists, or Sanders and Davies, whose view is too complex to offer a positive vision for the future. The world without Q might indeed seem like an unattractive place. What has been lacking is anything that will explain the appeal of Q scepticism to different elements in the New Testament guild . . . .

But while it remains a possibility in the abstract that a theory could be both plausible and unappealing, I suspect that a new theory can only be truly convincing if it is able to demonstrate its potential to help us rethink elements in the discipline in fresh, creative and appealing ways, to spark interesting new questions as well as to provide promising answers to old questions. In other words, for Q sceptics to gain a hearing, it is essential for them not only to provide plausible interpretations of the existing data but also to explain to scholars what the cash value of their theory is. If Q sceptics are not to be perceived as stubborn ‘nay-sayers’ who refuse to join the party, it is essential that they begin to explore in interesting ways the ramifications that dispensing with Q has on historical, literary and theological study of early Christianity . . . .

This point aside, I would like to focus briefly on two key features of a world without Q that may benefit future research. The first takes its lead from the legacy of Farrer, Goulder and Drury, all of whom stressed the creativity of the evangelists, a legacy that is consonant with recent literary appreciation of the Gospels. The second is in part a reaction against the extremes of that legacy, but which nevertheless coheres with elements of it, the importance of recognising the role played by oral tradition in early Christianity. To speak about ‘dynamic tension’ is something of a scholarly cliché, so I will instead suggest that there is a creative interaction between these two factors, an interaction that has the potential to provide some profitable reflection on Christian origins . . .
However much one might be able to make suggestions, though, of how successful or otherwise future research involving Q scepticism might be, in the end this is a proof of the pudding scenario. I suspect that Q sceptics will know that they are making head way when New Testament scholars find that their imaginations are stimulated far more effectively when working without Q than than when they were working with it. And this is something that no Q sceptic can foretell.

Bible Software Review and Weblog move

As Stephen Carlson notes (Hypotyposeis), Rubén Gómez has new URLs for his web site and blog, having obtained the handy domain name

Bible Software Review

Bible Software Review Weblog

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Paula Fredriksen full-text articles on-line

Michael Pahl alerted me to the fact that once again Paula Fredriksen's homepage had moved and that my link was dead (See Scholars: F. An all too frequent remark: why do administrators of university web sites never set up forwards?). In looking for its new location, I discovered the good news that now there are many full-text articles available in PDFs. Here's the new link:

Paula Fredriksen

And here is the link to the PDFs:

Paula Fredriksen Articles

My delight at seeing this, yet another example of a scholar making available their scholarship to the wider public at no cost, is only slightly mitigated by the appalling quality of the PDFs. Let me draw attention to one brilliant piece in particular, in my humble opinion a really key article, frequently overlooked:

"Judaism, the Circumcision of Gentiles, and Apocalyptic Hope: Another Look at Galatians 1 and 2"
Journal of Theological Studies 42 (1991): 532-64

Exploring New Testament Greek

SCM have put out a new flyer on Peter Kevern and Paula Gooder, Exploring New Testament Greek:
Come and visit the companion website to our new publication Exploring New Testament Greek. A great additional tool with more information and examples for those who wish to explore this subject further.

'..simple language; easy to understand presentation; superb and ample examples..'
G. Byrns Coleman, Wingate University

' will make the sweet [sic] of learning an ancient language from scratch somewhat excellent introductory text.'
Barbara Shellard, St Hilda's College, Oxford

'Clear, Well-structured and very accessible for the beginner. Helpful links to the website.'
Canon Tim Evans, Carlisle & Blackburn Diocesan Training Institute

More details . . .
I commented on the web site a couple of weeks ago (see this blog entry) and am pleased to see that some corrections have been made. In particular, the problem with the iota subscripts on the Tables page has been fixed. But the Specimen Answer page is still a bit of a dog's dinner, and the Further Study page needs a lot more work; some of the Greek is incomprehensible.

Friday, July 23, 2004

NA28 developments

On Textual Criticism (still no sign of the return of TC-List -- gone for good? I never had an email back from Jimmy Adair when I enquired as to TC-List's whereabouts), Wieland Willker notes that the NA28 protype is progressing and now includes full transcripts of 01, A and B for all four Gospels. See:

New Testament Transcripts Prototype

First Century Synagogues

Several of the blogs (e.g. Paleojudaica, Textweek) reference this interesting article in Bible and Interpretation. Thanks too to Mark Elliott for alerting me to it:

The Nature and Origins of the 1st-Century Synagogue
It is very likely that the institutions referred to as proseuchai in inscriptions dating from 3rd and 2nd century bce Egypt were, in fact, Jewish temples, and not synagogues as is commonly assumed.
By Anders Runesson

N. T. Wright interview

Over on Textweek, Jenee Woodard draws attention to this interview on Beliefnet:

Your Spirit-Powered Resurrection Body
Renowned Bible scholar N.T. Wright talks about what human bodies will be like when they rise.
Interview by Laura Sheahen

Latest Biblica

I've been meaning to blog this since earlier in the week, but my blogging time continues to be pretty limited at the moment. Anyway, Jim West mentioned this on Biblical Theology and now on Paleojudaica Jim Davila lists contents with abstracts. In case you've missed these, here's the link:

Biblica 85 (2004), Fasc. 3 [and scroll down]

Church Times Reviews

Reviews in today's Church Times:

Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould, Jesus Now and Then

R. Alastair Campbell, The Story We Live By: A reader’s guide to the New Testament

These are reviewed together by John Court. Blurb: "How Jesus’s story becomes our story: John. M. Court reads two guides to the NT and the way its narratives reveal our Lord."

Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in earliest Christianity

The review is by Mark Edwards. Blurb: "Did St Paul think that Jesus was God? Or a lesser divinity? Mark Edwards on a monumental study of the subject." Excerpt:
To my mind, however, Hurtado moves too easily from dignity to divinity; forecloses controversy by writing “God” with a capital G from the beginning; and fails to observe that the hermeneutic key to John 1.1. (“the word was god”) is Exodus 7.1, “I shall make thee god to Pharaoh”. To be “god to us” in Jewish thought is not to be God in essence.
Edwards's review is fascinating and leaves one longing for more -- there is so little space given to these book reviews in the Church Times, particularly frustrating in the case of reviews that tantalise the reader like this one.

Fernando, The Relationship between Law and Love in the Gospel of John

Thanks to Professor Sophia for mentioning this new book from Peter Lang publishers:

G. Charles A. Fernando,
The Relationship between Law and Love in the Gospel of John

A detailed Scientific Research on the Concepts of Law and Love in the Fourth Gospel and their Relationship to each other

Europäische Hochschulschriften

Reihe 23: Theologie
Vol. 772
3-631-51797-1, paperback
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2004. 289 pp., 2 fig.
Sales price: 75.00 SFR 51.50 €* 48.10 €** 34.00 £ 57.95 US$
** includes VAT - only valid for Germany and Austria
** does not include VAT

Book synopsis: This is a detailed scientific study not only on the concepts of Law and Love in the Gospel of John but also their relationship to each other. This research discovers and proves that the concept of Law in the Fourth Gospel finds its climax in the concept of Love there. The concept of Love finds its clear expression in the Love Commandment of Jesus (John 13,34; 15,12.17). All the occurrences of the terms - Law and Love - in the Fourth Gospel are analysed.

Contents: Terms of Law in the Fourth Gospel - Symbols of Law in the Fourth Gospel - Love in the Fourth Gospel - The Relationship between Law and Love in the Fourth Gospel.

About the author: G. Charles A. Fernando has wide experience of teaching in different parts of the world, such as India, Europe, USA and Canada. He has had personal encounters with Mother Teresa, Professor Rudolf Schnackenburg and Pope John Paul II. The author holds a Ph.D. (University of Ottawa, Canada) and a D.Th. from St. Paul (Catholic) University, Ottawa. The author holds a Masters in English Literature from Mysore University, India and a Masters in Theology from Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, India.

Carolyn Osiek, Reading the Bible as Women

The New Interpreter's Bible web site features a short article in which Carolyn Osiek reflects on her contribution to Volume 1 of The Interpreter's Bible:

Carolyn Osiek, Thoughts on  “Reading the Bible as Women”

Monday, July 19, 2004

Pentecostal Commentary: New Testament

A second press release from Pilgrim Press:


Contact: Aimée J. Jannsohn, publicist
The Pilgrim Press
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-1100
(216) 736-3761

July 16, 2004 -- Cleveland, Ohio -- The Pilgrim Press has launched a new biblical commentary series written from a distinctively Pentecostal perspective: "The Pentecostal Commentary: New Testament." The series is designed for scholars, students, pastors, and laypeople seeking critical biblical commentaries written by and for Pentecostals and other Charismatics. "Charismatics" are usually defined as Christians in Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant denominations who believe in a baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by spiritual gifts such as prophecy, healing, and glossolalia (i.e., speaking in tongues).

Pentecostalism is the fastest growing expression of global Christianity. Worldwide, there are an estimated one-half billion Pentecostals/Charismatics. Africa and South America have seen explosive growth of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, as have African American and Hispanic communities in the United States. An estimated 71% of the world's Pentecostals are non-white.

The general editor of the series is John Christopher Thomas, who is the Clarence J. Abbot Professor of Biblical Studies at the Church of God Theological Seminary, Cleveland, Tennessee. Thomas earned a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Sheffield, England. Thomas is also author of one of the two initial volumes in the series being released this month: "The Pentecostal Commentary on 1 John, 2 John, 3 John."

The other just released volume, "The Pentecostal Commentary on 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude," is authored by Rebecca Skaggs, professor of New Testament and Greek at Patten College, Oakland, California. Patten College of Patten University is a Church of God (Cleveland, TN)-related institution. Skaggs earned a Ph.D. in New Testament from Drew University, Madison, NJ.

New titles covering the rest of the New Testament will appear over the next
few years.

The Pilgrim Press, North America's oldest publisher, established in 1621, has historically been associated with social justice, multicultural, sexuality, and liberal Protestant theology. Michael Lawrence, marketing director, explains that the publisher's initiation of a series directed toward audiences usually associated with more conservative/Evangelical theology reflects its mandate to encourage free and open exchange and understanding among a wide spectrum of approaches to faith. "The Pilgrim Press' mission", Lawrence says, "is to give voice to those voices that have historically been pushed into the margins by a majority culture.   Pentecostalism is certainly one perspective that historically was marginalized by some in the majority religious culture. We see including this series as part of our mandate to promote diversity, pluralism, and inclusivity in both theological and cultural terms."

For more information about The Pilgrim Press visit the web: The Pilgrim Press is distributed in Canada by Wood Lake Books, 9025 Jim Bailey Road, Kelowna, BC V4V 1R2. Toll-free: (800) 663-2775. Web:

"The Pentecostal Commentary on 1 John, 2 John, 3 John"
John Christopher Thomas
319 pp - softcover
$24.00 USA / $23.00 CAN

"The Pentecostal Commentary on 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude"
Rebecca Skaggs
176 pp - softcover
$24.00 USA / $23.00 CAN

Review copies available upon request for the press. Contact: Aimée J.
Jannsohn, above.

Feminist Companion to the New Testament

This press release is from Pilgrim Press:


Contact: Aimée J. Jannsohn, publicist
The Pilgrim Press
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-1100
(216) 736-3761

July 16, 2004 -- Cleveland - The Pilgrim Press is pleased to announce the North American publication of The Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings. The series is edited by Vanderbilt University Divinity School professor Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff, also of Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

The Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings series is a developing series of anthologies written by an international and inter-religious array of feminist scholars. The first comprehensive series of its kind, the volumes are available in the United States through The Pilgrim Press and in Canada through Wood Lake Books.

To date, seven volumes are available, with plans to release additional titles over the next few years. Five of the volumes comprise a commentary on the Gospels, while two encompass Paul -- his authentic writings as well as the Deutero-Pauline.

The Society of Biblical Literature commented in particular on the Markan volume: "This volume is the second in a new series that brings together essays of scholars both seasoned and new, from diverse cultures and contexts, using feminist approaches to New Testament texts and other early Christian writings...The rich diversity in feminist New Testament scholarship is evident in the questions raised, and the methods used, and the conclusions reached by these authors....It is an excellent compendium of some of the best in feminist scholarship on the Gospel of Mark."

Amy-Jill Levine is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion, and director of the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality in Nashville, Tennessee.

Available titles in the series:

A Feminist Companion to Matthew A Feminist Companion to Mark
ISBN 0-8298-1590-2 ISBN 0-8298-1591-0
248 pp/paper/$21.00 USA/$28.00 CAN 264 pp/paper/$21.00 USA/$28.00 CAN

A Feminist Companion to Luke A Feminist Companion to John:
Volume 1
ISBN 0-8298-1592-9 ISBN 0-8298-1588-0
328 pp/paper/$21.00 USA/$28.00 CAN 264 pp/paper/$21.00 USA/$28.00 CAN

A Feminist Companion to John: Volume 2
ISBN 0-8298-1589-9
240 pp/paper/$21.00 USA/$28.00 CAN

A Feminist Companion to Paul
ISBN 0-8298-1608-9
288 pp/paper/$21.00 USA/$28.00 CAN

A Feminist Companion to the Deutero-Pauline Epistles
ISBN 0-8298-1609-7
216 pp/paper/$21.00 USA/$28.00 CAN

For more information about The Pilgrim Press, visit
The Pilgrim Press is distributed in Canada by Wood Lake Books, 9025 Jim
Bailey Road, Kelowna, BC V4V 1R2. Toll-free 800.663.2775.

Request copies available for the press upon request. Contact Aimée J.
Jannsohn, above.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Review of Warren Trenchard, Concise Dictionary of New Testament Greek

RogueClassicism lists the latest reviews in BMCR. One of interest here:

Warren C. Trenchard, A Concise Dictionary of New Testament Greek (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Review by Rolando Ferri

Review of Bibical Literature latest

Latest from the Review of Biblical Literature under the New Testament heading. Another bumper crop:

Carter, Warren
Pontius Pilate: Portraits of a Roman Governor
Reviewed by Richard Bautch

Lee, John A. L.
A History of New Testament Lexicography
Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus

Lioy, Dan
The Book of Revelation in Christological Focus
Reviewed by Kyle Abbott

Lioy, Dan
The Book of Revelation in Christological Focus
Reviewed by R. Garland Young

Nanos, Mark D.
The Galatians Debate: Contemportary Issues in Rhetorical and Historical Interpretation
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Mayer-Haas, Andrea J.
Geschenk aus Gottes Schatzkammer (bSchab 10b): Jesus und der Sabbat im Spiegel der neutestamentlichen Schriften
Reviewed by Russell Morton

Nicklas, Tobias
Ablösung und Verstrickung: 'Juden' und Jüngergestalten als Charaktere der erzählten Welt des Johannesevangeliums und ihre Wirkung auf den impliziten Leser
Reviewed by Turid Karlsen Seim

Read-Heimerdinger, Jenny
The Bezan Text of Acts: A Contribution of Discourse Analysis to Textual Criticism
Reviewed by Jean-François Racine

Read-Heimerdinger, Jenny
The Bezan Text of Acts: A Contribution of Discourse Analysis to Textual Criticism
Reviewed by Klaus Wachtel

Schenck, Kenneth
Understanding the Book of Hebrews: The Story Behind the Sermon
Reviewed by Moschos Goutzioudis

Schenck, Kenneth
Understanding the Book of Hebrews: The Story Behind the Sermon
Reviewed by Richard W. Johnson

Schenck, Kenneth
Understanding the Book of Hebrews: The Story Behind the Sermon
Reviewed by James Sweeney

BMCR Reviews

Still loads of catching up to do;  so expected some older materials over the coming week.  Two review in BMCR that may be of interest:
Tessa Rajak, The Jewish Dialogue with Greece and Rome. Studies in Cultural and Social Interaction
Reviewed by Chris Seeman
James D. G. Dunn (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul
Reviewed by R. Dean Anderson

Form dropped

For years I have had a Form for the submission of new sites to the New Testament Gateway.  Today I've had to take it away because the level of spam coming through it is simply too great.  It's a shame because I like Formsmailer technology on the web.  It encourages people to get in touch while surfing the web without having to turn to their email account.  Instead, if you want to get in touch in the future in connection with a new site or a broken URL, simply contact me by email.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Karen King: What is Gnosticism: Review

Today's Church Times carries the following review:
Karen King, What is Gnosticism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003)
Review by W. H. C. Frend
The on-line version of the review itself just ends with the single word "Professor", but it appears to be by W. H. C. Frend.  He has mixed feelings:
Her detailed and carefully argued work will provoke discussion, even though her main thesis fails. As early as the 170s, Celsus describes how some Christian dissenting groups called themselves “Gnostics” ( Contra Celsum v.61). Hence the term must stand. None the less, the author has moved the debate on. She will take her place with other great scholars who have tried to solve the problem, “What is Gnosticism?”
This is a book I had better add to my Reading List  ( link); also worth reading on this topic is Michael Allen Williams, Rethinking "Gnosticism" (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999).

postmodernbible blog

Pete Philips of Cliff College writes to let me know of his new blog:
I notice that AKMA is already reading and commenting on this blog (e.g. here).  Pete's blog is in the AKMA style, covering a full range of topics of interest to the author, with personal and family news too. 

SBL Annual Meeting Programme

The SBL Annual Meeting (November 20-23 2004, San Antonio, Texas) programme is now available on-line:
2004 Annual Meeting: Preliminary Program Book

More blogger changes

Blogger has introduced some more changes, several of them quite useful.  There are keyboard shortcuts for editing posts, something I find very useful -- one does not want to keep stopping typing to go to the mouse.  The facility for changing time and date is brought up front on to the main editing page, also useful.   The major change, though, is a choice between a kind of WYSIWYG editor and a straight HTML editor.  The previous blogger combined elements of both and I am guessing that I will find it much easier to have the choice between the two, WYSIWYG by default and Edit HTML when it refuses to do what I want it to do.  My only qualms about the introduction of WYSIWYG is that, like many WYSIWYGs, it will probably result in the generation of some horrid coding.  What was good about the old interface was that it encouraged everyone to have some basic grasp of bits of HTML, however limited.

Biblical Theme Park in Israel

On Deinde, Paul Nikkel notes this extraordinary new story from Arutz Sheva:
Permits Received for Biblical Theme Resort

Kovacs and Rowland: Revelation

News of this book from Blackwell's, courtesy of Jamie O'Brien (click the links for further information and sample chapters):

Revelation: The Apocalypse to Jesus Christ
Judith L. Kovacs and Christopher Rowland (University of Virginia and Queen's College, Oxford)

"Judith Kovacs and Christopher Rowland give us something new -- an in-depth analysis that emphasizes the reception history of the Apocalypse, its significance for later theology, literature, and art. The result is an eye-opening book that will dramatically change how readers understand the last book of the Bible and its role in Western history. This is a rich and fascinating work." Bernard McGinn, Divinity School, University of Chicago

This ground-breaking commentary on The Revelation to John (the Apocalypse) reveals its far-reaching influence on society and culture, and its impact on the church through the ages.

  • Looks at interpretations of the Apocalypse by theologians, ranging from Augustine to late twentieth century liberation theologians

  • Considers the book's effects on writers, artists, musicians, political figures, visionaries, and others, including Dante, Hildegard of Bingen, Milton, Newton, the English Civil war radicals, Turner, Blake, Handel, and Franz Schmidt

  • Provides access to material not readily available elsewhere
    Will appeal to students and scholars across a wide range of disciplines, as well as to general readers
Browse sample pages here (PDF).

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

N. Clayton Croy

Reading Lincoln Blumell's review of N. Clayton Croy's The Mutilation of Mark's Gospel, a book I have still not got round to reading, prompted me to update the link to Croy's homepage on Scholars: C.

Publishers Weekly on Passion Book have have added a pre-publication review of Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. It's taken from Publishers Weekly:
Is Mel Gibson's The Passion "pious pornography" or devotional artistry? The lead-off essays in this collection, by popular Jesus researcher John Dominic Crossan and British New Testament scholar Mark Goodacre, will remind readers that on this question, as with nearly everything connected with Jesus of Nazareth, scholars can be depended upon to disagree. For Crossan, The Passion presents a "vision of a savage God" animated by anti-Semitism (Jesus and his disciples are never shown wearing yarmulkes, whereas the Jewish leaders are). For Goodacre, the film can be seen as "an extraordinarily powerful vision" in which the anti-Semitic tendencies of Gibson's sources have been muted (Gibson presents the sympathetic figure of Simon as a Jew, though some traditional sources have identified him as a pagan). Unfortunately, the remaining essays in this book, by an even-handed assortment of scholars, rarely equal Crossan's and Goodacre's incisive arguments. Nearly all the writers concur on a few points: Gibson adds and subtracts freely from the gospel texts, and depends heavily on the 19th-century mystic Catherine Emmerich. Ultimately, they say, his work must be judged as art, not history. But these nuggets of insight are obscured by pedantic writing and wooden interpretations that rarely do justice to Gibson's own passionate, provocative filmmaking.
I haven't seen the full manuscript yet so can't comment on this rather mixed review, though naturally I can't help feeling a little pleased to see "incisive arguments" next to my name!

Bible and Interpretation site return

It is good to see Bible and Interpretation site's Breaking News section is back again after a short break. One of the stories it links to is Ekklesia's Gibson Film Based More on Mysticism than the Gospels. This is a misleading title since it refers to John Dominic Crossan's claim that The Passion of the Christ is largely based on Anne Catherine Emmerich's work, not on "mysticism", whatever that might mean. The Ekklesia report is picked up from the press release I blogged the other day, a press release that gave prominence to Crossan's chapter in the book.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Review of Bibical Literature latest

Another big crop from the Review of Biblical Literature:

Arzt-Grabner, Peter
Philemon: Papyrologische Koimmentare zum Neuen Testament: Band 1
Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus

Blasi, Anthony J., Jean Duhaime, and Paul-Andr¨¦ Turcotte, eds.
Handbook of Early Christianity: Social Science Approaches
Reviewed by Ronald R. Clark

Blasi, Anthony J., Jean Duhaime, and Paul-Andr¨¦ Turcotte, eds.
The Elder and the Overseer: One Office in the Early Church
Reviewed by Richard M. Edwards

Carter, Warren
Pontius Pilate: Portraits of a Roman Governor
Reviewed by Lance Richey

Collins, Raymond F.
I & II Timothy and Titus: A Commentary
Reviewed by Daniel C. Arichea, Jr.

Croy, N. Clayton
The Mutilation of Mark's Gospel
Reviewed by Lincoln Blumell

France, R. T.
The Gospel of Mark
Reviewed by Steve Patton

Jackson, Glenna
'Have Mercy on Me': The Story of the Canaanite Woman in Matthew 15.21-28
Reviewed by PD Dr. Luzia Sutter Rehmann

Lee, John A. L.
A History of New Testament Lexicography
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Maccoby, Hyam
Jesus the Pharisee
Reviewed by Michele Murray

Mathewson, David
A New Heaven and a New Earth: The Meaning and Function of the Old Testament in Revelation 21.1-22.5
Reviewed by Thomas Hieke

Mathewson, David
A New Heaven and a New Earth: The Meaning and Function of the Old Testament in Revelation 21.1-22.5
Reviewed by James P. Sweeney

McRay, John
Paul: His Life and Teachings
Reviewed by James P. Sweeney

Merkle, Benjamin L.
The Elder and the Overseer: One Office in the Early Church
Reviewed by Ronald R. Clark

Merkle, Benjamin L.
The Elder and the Overseer: One Office in the Early Church
Reviewed by Richard M. Edwards

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Roman Wives, Roman Widows Review

Today's Church Times features the following book review:

Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The appearance of new women and the Pauline communities
by Bruce W. Winter

Review by John Court

Passion of the Christ Book Announced

This press release just in:


Contact: Claire England
212 953 5858

July 8 2004 (New York) - Viewers of "The Passion of the Christ" know that the movie is an overwhelming assault on the senses but is it also an assault on the Gospels? Is it accurate? Or is that question relevant since Mel Gibson set out to make not a history of Jesus but a film that compels us to experience Christ's sacrifice?

When the DVD of "The Passion" comes out on August 31, a new book will also be available to help readers answer these and other questions about the most controversial movie of the year.

"Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ: The Movie, the Gospels and the Claims of History" from Continuum is the first analysis of the movie by an international team of leading Biblical historians and critics.

Readers are guided by historical Jesus scholars who help distinguish between the contents of the film and the contents of the Gospels, and between the contents of the film and what might be historically reconstructed about Jesus. The book also places the movie in context as a work of art, assessing it alongside other portrayals of Jesus in different media.

The contributors give thoughtful, factual assessments of the historical and scriptural accuracy of the movie, including the contribution made by non-gospel sources, particularly the nineteenth century Catholic nun and visionary Anne Catherine Emmerich. In his essay "Hymn to A Savage God" John Dominic Crossan comments:

"In this film, about 5% comes from the Gospels, that is, the general outline and sequence of events; about 80% comes from Emmerich, that is, the details and characters that carry the best and the worst of the non-Gospel additions and expansions; and about 15% from Gibson, that is, everything that escalates the violence above that already prevalent in Emmerich.

"If Mel Gibson were to receive a Best Director Oscar for this film, it could well be argued that Emmerich should get a Best Adapted (or should it be Original?) Screenplay. If accuracy or even courtesy were followed, the opening credit should read: A Mel Gibson Film, followed by Based on the Book by Anne Catherine Emmerich.

"It is surely fascinating to consider that a magnificent publicity campaign has persuaded thousands of conservative, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christians to support enthusiastically an early twenty-first century film based only indirectly on the Gospels but directly on an historical novel from the visionary meditations of an early nineteenth-century Roman Catholic nun."

"Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ" is edited by Kathleen E. Corley, Oshkosh Northwestern Distinguished Professor and Professor of New Testament at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Robert L. Webb, an independent scholar living near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The other contributors are:

* Dr. Helen K. Bond, Lecturer in New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at New College, University of Edinburgh, UK;
* Dr. Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada;
* Dr Mark Goodacre, Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the Department of Theology, University of Birmingham, UK;
* Dr. Glenna S. Jackson, Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio;
* Dr. Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University, Chicago, Illinois;
* Dr. Mark Allan Powell, Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio;
* Alan F. Segal, Professor of Religion and Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York;
* Dr. W. Barnes Tatum, Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Greensboro College, North Carolina;
* David J. Goa, Curator Emeritus at the Provincial Museum of Alberta and a Fellow of the M.V. Dimic Institute for the Study of Culture at the University of Alberta.

The 208 page book is a paperback original (ISBN 0-8264-7781-X) priced at $17.95. For further information, review copies or interview requests, contact: Claire England, 212 953 5858

Looks interesting, doesn't it? Can't wait to read it myself. The only thing I'd say about the press release is that the prominence given to John Dominic Crossan's essay gives the impression that the book is going to be unambiguously negative about the film. Well, I have not read the book yet myself, but I can say that there is at least one essay in there that sees the film in less negative terms than Crossan's.

Exploring New Testament Greek web site

I've had a look and notice that the companion web site for Exploring New Testament Greek (see previous blog entry) is now live:

The Queen's Foundation: Greek

This is essentially a site designed for users of the book, providing recommended books and web sites, tables, a specimen answer and material for further study. There are some useful materials here and I would like to commend Paula and Peter for an excellent way of helping new students of Greek to find "a way in". In particular, the encouragement to use internet resources has to be a real plus. As regular readers will know, I am a fan of providing helpful companion web sites for books in this way, so many congratulations on this.

I would like to make some suggestions for ways of improving this web site. In particular, some serious attention needs paying to the following:

(1) The standard of accuracy on the site is at present pretty low. There are many typos and it does not look like anyone has given it a basic read-through. The English has not gone through a spell-checker; the URLs have not been tested (e.g. the NT Gateway link, for which I am grateful, misses off the all important ".com" and so returns an error page); bibliographical conventions are unevenly applied throughout; words collide into one another and so on. Indeed, at present the page provides a good illustration of one element in David Clines's excellent article, Publishers: Who Needs Them?, that the accuracy of on-line materials tends to be way below the accuracy of their printed counterparts. But on this kind of page, it is especially important to try to ensure as high a level of accuracy as possible, not only because students need to be able to access the web sites that are being linked, but also because a relatively low level of accuracy among scholars can encourage sloppiness in students. However, the good news about on-line materials is that one can adjust them speedily and produce ever more accurate versions, so here's some encouragement for the site to go through some careful checking and correcting.

(2) In particular, the Greek needs work. The importance of accuracy here, in a companion site to an introductory book, hardly needs stressing. But having cast my eye around the site, there are multiple cases where Greek has been entered incorrectly, most clearly over the iota subscript, which is often represented in a mix of SPIonic and GraecaII fonts, thus: twæ. The site specifies SPIonic as the font of choice, so all the encoding needs to be in that font. Those who do not have GraecaII font installed on their machine (including me) will see "æ" here and not an iota subscript. The encoding in SPIonic is "|", thus "tw|" which will produce tw|. The specimen answer, which reverts to the symbol font, has many errors. It may be that that is because it is a student's work, but if so it is probably not a particularly useful specimen to use.

A couple of more minor points: in the section on web sites, Tony Fisher's Greek New Testament is not mentioned though I'd regard that as one of the best. On the Unbound Bible, the authors comment, "The main difficulty with this site is the strange way you have to transliterate Greek words into English letters." But there's an easy way around this, particularly useful for the newcomer: just click on "Non-English search" and then choose Greek and then you can mouse-click the relevant letters.

New Introductory Greek Book

I have heard from Peter Kevern that his co-authored book is now available:

Paula Gooder and Peter Kevern, Exploring New Testament Greek: A Way In
Key Points

· The first guide to New Testament Greek to assume no prior knowledge and prioritise quick and effective methods of learning

· Contains useful pedagogical features such as Q & A exercises, a glossary of English grammatical terms and a glossary of key Greek vocabulary

· This book also features a regularly updated companion web-site with exercises and revision notes - access is free for all who purchase the book

The Book

This practical textbook for undergraduate students and serving ministers is specifically designed to teach the reader about New Testament Greek, and to enrich the readers understanding of Scripture. Exploring New Testament Greek aims to cultivate a 'feel' for the Greek language and give insight into some central issues in New Testament study without a heavy investment of time and energy. Its priorities are accessibility and relevance for Bible study: it is set out in ten short chapters that encourage learning through a variety of practical exercises, and concentrates on those aspects of the language that lead directly to increased understanding of the text. Rather than overwhelming the student with tables of grammar and vocabulary, the book directs students in the use of free websites, interlinear translations and other readily-available language tools as a means of making a little knowledge go a long way.


Introduction 1. Letters and Words 2. Finding Your Way Around a Sentence 3. Understanding How Greek Words Work 4. Introduction to Nouns and their Endings 5. More Noun Endings and More Pronouns 6. Words that Describe 7. Simple Verbs 8. Tenses 9. Voice: Active, Passive and Middle 10. Participles and the Articular Infinitive Epilogue Checklist of Grammatical Words used in this Course Appendix: Useful tables Lexicon of Greek words

About the authors Dr Peter Kevern is a theologian and educationalist, currently Director of Studies at the Queen's Foundation, Birmingham. He has worked alongside SIL translators in Papua New Guinea, on a version of the New Testament in Siane-Lambau. Dr Paula Gooder is a lecturer at the Queens Foundation, Birmingham and is a freelance biblical lecturer and writer. She has extensive experience teaching both Greek and Hebrew at Higher education level.

Categories: Theology

Published: 30 June 2004 By SCM Press

Price: £10.99

ISBN: 0 33402942 2
Unfortunately the web site still has the false endorsement from me (I've omitted it from the information above; see previous blog entry on), in spite of my having pointed this out to SCM over two months ago. It's a shame that I feel obliged to mention this here a second time, not least in that I can add -- more happily -- that I have now seen the book in proof and although I have not had time to look at it in any detail, my overall impression was instantly favourable. In particular, I am interested to see in this book the first attempts in a beginning Greek book to introduce students to the internet resources available to help them with their Greek learning. I hope to publish a more detailed critical appreciation in due course, but in the mean time, congratulations to Paula and Peter on this publication.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Review of Bibical Literature latest

A couple of weeks' worth of Review of Biblical Literature. There is a lot that is of interest here:

Bieringer, Reimund, Frederique Vandecasteele-Vanneuville and Didier Pollefeyt, eds.
Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel
Reviewed by Jan G. Van Der Watt

Donaldson, Amy M. and Timothy B. Sailors, eds.
New Testament Greek and Exegesis: Essays in Honor of Gerald F. Hawthorne
Reviewed by Kenneth Litwak

Grelot, Pierre
Une lecture de l'épitre aux Hébreux
Reviewed by Richard W. Johnson

Konradt, Matthias
Gericht und Gemeinde: Eine Studie zur Bedeutung und Funktion von Gerichtsaussagen im Rahmen der Paulinischen Ekklesiologie und Ethik im 1 Thess und 1 Kor
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Marguerat, Daniel
Translated by Ken McKinney, Gregory J. Laughery and Richard Bauckham
The First Christian Historian: Writing the 'Acts of the Apostles'
Reviewed by Patrick Spencer

Park, Eung Chun
Either Jew or Gentile: Paul's Unfolding Theology of Inclusivity
Reviewed by Alan Segal

Porter, Stanley E. and Anthony R. Cross, eds.
Dimensions of Baptism: Biblical and Theological Studies
Reviewed by Fred L. Horton

Baird, J. Arthur
Holy Word: The Paradigm of New Testament Formation
Reviewed by Walter F. Taylor

Bennema, Cornelis
The Power of Saving Wisdom: An Investigation of Spirit and Wisdom in Relation to the Soteriology of the Fourth Gospel
Reviewed by Jan Van Der Watt

Choi, J. D.
Jesus' Teaching on Repentance
Reviewed by Dennis R. Lindsay

Donaldson, Amy M. and Timothy B. Sailors, eds.
New Testament Greek and Exegesis: Essays in Honor of Gerald F. Hawthorne
Reviewed by Daniel Gurtner

Robinson, James M., Paul Hoffman, and John S. Kloppenborg
The Critical Edition of Q: Synopsis including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas
Reviewed by Daniel Gurtner

Schnackenburg, Rudolf
The Gospel of Matthew
Reviewed by James E. Miller

Stirewalt, M. Luther
Paul: The Letter Writer
Reviewed by Daniel E. Goodman

Witherington, Ben III
Reviewed by Thomas Hieke

Ancient Studies - New Technology

This call for papers appeared today on the Elenchus E-List from Ralph Mathisen:


The third biennial conference on the topic of "Ancient Studies -- New Technology: The World Wide Web and Scholarly Research, Communication, and Publication in Ancient, Byzantine, and Medieval Studies" will be held December 3-5, 2004, at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. Topics of particular interest include 1) the digital museum; 2) the digital classroom; 3) the digital scholar; and 4) theoretical issues such as "knowledge representation". 300-word electronic abstracts dealing with these issues and with other ways in which the WEB can help to promote classical, ancient, Byzantine, and medieval studies may be directed to Ralph Mathisen, Program Chair, at and (snail-mail: Department of History, 309 Gregory Hall, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801). Deadline for receipt of abstracts is August 31, 2004. Programs for previous conferences may be consulted at (2000 Conference) and (2002 Conference). The website for the upcoming conference is located at

Return of Felix Just, S. J.'s Webpages

Many thanks to Felix Just, S. J. and a score of others, for getting in touch about the new location for his web site. Apparently LMU closed Felix's web sites, electronic accounts and everything without even letting him know, and in spite of promises to the contrary. My sympathies! I will need to adjust my links on the main site, but for those of you who haven't seen the new URLs elsewhere, go to:

Homepage of Felix Just, S.J.

And you can navigate from there to his various resources, E.N.T.E.R., the Johannine Literature Web and so on.

Review of NT Gateway

In comments, Mahlon Smith (great to hear from you!) posts this link:

3 Clix.Info: /New Testament / Gospels

It features an flattering Review of The New Testament Gateway and reviews and scores for a handful of other sites. The review of The New Testament Gateway has lots of nice things to say, but I am particularly grateful for its paragraph on the Weaknesses of the site:
While there are no notable mechanical weaknesses to this website, the index page does presuppose a certain amount of literacy in modern biblical scholarship. So users who have not read an academic introduction to the field may be befuddled by some of the jargon. For instance the section on the Synoptic Problem does not explain that the linked resources concern scholarly debate regarding the relationship of the gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke. Similarly, there is no notice that the section of Textual Criticism provides access to scholarly debate on the relationship and reliability of ancient gospel manuscripts. From a pedagogical viewpoint, one curious feature in the arrangement of the index is that the section of "noncanonical" Texts is found near the beginning while the section on the New Testament "canon" is found near the end. Once one is has a basic familiarity with academic biblical study, however, the layout of the website makes perfectly good sense.
On the whole, constructive criticism of the site is less forthcoming than is praise. That's a jolly nice situation in one way, of course, but it also means that the scope to improve the site is more limited than it might otherwise be. Frankly, I hadn't even thought about the issues mentioned here, and I think it is useful to have them flagged up. I do remember a correspondent some time ago telling me that I ought to explain to the newcomer what "textual criticism" is and that they might there find out informatiion about texts and manuscripts of the New Testament, but I've not taken any further action on that.

I don't know much more about the 3Clix.Info project at the moment because I've not had any time to explore it, but it looks like it could be a useful development. It describes itself as "the web's only ratings library".

Back from Smelling the Flowers

I am looking forward to catching up with some blogging again now that I am back from smelling the flowers or, more precisely, enjoying lots of French sun, swimming, wine, cheese and seafood. Many thanks for all the encouraging messages, as ever.