Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A couple of other Greek Alphabet Songs

Speaking of Greek Alphabet songs, don't forget Danny Zacharias's catchy number:

There is an industry going on Greek alphabet songs over on Youtube, and this is one of the best:

Greek Alphabet Song

Beginning your Greek classes this week?  Here's a nice help in learning the Greek alphabet, "with apologies to Kanye".  Thanks to Andy Rowell for the link, over on Justin Taylor's blog, and by a student from Southeastern Seminary called Micahel (sp?) Graening:

Learning the Greek Alphabet can be heartless

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thirty-nine lashes still being given as a punishment

I have been thinking about a podcast on 2 Cor. 11.24, "Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes less one"; it is an interesting verse and Anthony Harvey has a good article on it. I am also planning to talk about this a bit in one of my classes on the Life and Letters of Paul starting next week. I did not expect to see in the Jerusalem Post (via Antonio Lombatti) that this week the same punishment would be doled out, "'Sinner' singer given thirty-nine lashes by rabbis".  According to the report, the punishment was for performing in front of a "mixed audience".

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why studying Theology and Religion matters

In the face of Worries for UK Theology and Religion departments, Helen Ingram has an excellent shout out, 101 Reasons to Study Theology and Religion: The Call for Comments. Helen herself is a University of Birmingham BA in Theology and PhD in New Testament studies and she speaks with authority as well as humour. I think she is right that university leadership often thinks of Theology and Religion as "soft touch" and I would add that this is often born out of ignorance. It's important for those of us working and studying in the sector to let the powers know what we do and why it's worthwhile.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Frank Kermode: The Independent Obituary

Tomorrow's Independent has its obituary of Frank Kermode:

Sir Frank Kermode: Academic and pre-eminent literary critic who reached out to a non-specialist audience
By Paul Levy

NT Pod 38: Who is the Beloved Disciple in John's Gospel?

It's time I got up to date with posting the latest episodes of the NT Pod here also on the NT Blog. NT Pod 38 asks "Who is the Beloved Disciple in John's Gospel?"

You can listen to the NT Pod online or subscribe in your preferred reader or subscribe via iTunes. Or, of course, you can follow the NT Pod on Twitter or on the NT Pod Facebook page.

Frank Kermode: New York Times Obituary, Washington Post Obituary

The New York Times has its obituary of Frank Kermode here:

Frank Kermode, 90, a Critic Who Wrote With Style, Is Dead
By Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

It adds a series of Excerpts from Frank Kermode's Writing.

HT: James Tabor on Facebook.

And the Washington Post has its obituary here:

British literary critic Frank Kermode dies at age 90
By T. Rees Shapiro

The Bizarre Case of Google Books Unavailable Outside the U.S.

Over on the NT Gateway blog, I noted yesterday that William Wrede's Paul is now available in toto on Google Books. Accordingly, I added a link to the Paul: Books and Articles page. But then it appeared that a lot of people were unable to access the book. In comments, Holger Szesnat, my colleague on the NT Gateway, noted:
In my experience, most google books that are available in full view in the U.S.A. are not accessible outside of that country. I don’t even get ’snippet’ view of the ET of Wrede’s book. The publication date seems to make no difference. Particularly galling when, as I once noticed, a scan had been made at the Bodleian library in Oxford, but UK web visitors would be prevented from accessing the google book scan. Even worse when you live on the other side of the globe, with absolute no way of reading that book.

One thing that U.S.-based people can do though is this: download the google books PDF, and then upload it to archive.org – from where it is accessible to anyone. So much for google’s supposed copyright concern behind all this, incidentally. The German original is available on that site already: http://www.archive.org/details/pauluswred00wred

The rest of us (i.e. those who do not live in google-land) can use proxy servers like hotspot shield to get around the problem – as long as you are prepared to put up with slow speed and annoying advertisements.
Well, this was news to me. I am really surprised that books like this, over one hundred years old, are not showing up in some countries. I realize, of course, that copyright laws differ from country to country. Nevertheless, I am curious to know how widespread this kind of difference between Google Books at home and abroad is. Anyone else experienced this?

Now, if anyone would like to upload the PDF of Wrede's book to archive.org, it would be great to hear from you. As an interim measure, I have uploaded the PDF to my web space here:

W. Wrede, Paul (translated by E. W. Lummis; London: Philip Green, 1907) [PDF]

Update (14.01): Roger Pearse comments.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tom Wright on Moving to St Andrews

BBC Wear had a nice little feature on the forthcoming retirement of of Tom Wright as the Bishop of Durham, and his move to St Andrews University, Scotland, to work on his Paul book. And it turns out that he is a keen amateur golfer too, and there is some footage of him playing. It's about three minutes long:

Bishop of Durham approaches retirement

Is it just me or is Bishop Tom now sounding a bit more like Archbishop Rowan in the bishopy way he enunciates? Perhaps after a few months at St Andrews, that will all change and he will begin talking like Jim Davila.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Frank Kermode Obituary

The Daily Telegraph has its obituary of Sir Frank Kermode, who died yesterday:

Sir Frank Kermode
Sir Frank Kermode, who died on August 17 aged 90, was the most eminent critic of English literature since FR Leavis; his teaching career culminated in the senior English professorship at Cambridge University, a post he surrendered in 1982 in the aftermath of a widely reported doctrinal rift within the faculty.

The Guardian also has also just published its obituary:

Sir Frank Kermode obituary
Pre-eminent critic who with easy erudition explored how ideas work in literature

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sanders vs. Crossan through the medium of puppets

Struggling to think of innovative assignments for your students?  How about asking them to have a go at expressing the views of key scholars in the discipline through the medium of a "Puppetual Debate"?  Although the student concerned has not quite got the likenesses of E. P. or Dom right, let alone the voices, the content is pretty accurate:

Update (15:13): James McGrath rightly notes that "sock puppets do not appear on biblioblogs nearly enough". Nor Mr Potatoheads, of course. James wonders whether the sock puppet versions of Sanders and Crossan in debate might be more popular than the real characters would be in debate. In fact, I've often thought it a shame that Crossan and Sanders have not had a good head-to-head debate, at least not as far as I am aware.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Worries for UK Theology and Religion Departments?

Last week's Church Times has a worrying article about the problems in store for Theology and Religion departments in UK universities:

Axe hovers over world of academic Theology

The report is attributed to a "staff reporter" and suggests that "University theology departments are facing a turbulent autumn with rounds of staffing cuts and closures." At this point is difficult to see if the concerns expressed are legitimate or not.  Bangor's School of Theology and Religious Studies is mentioned, but it appears that the closure is in fact the result of a merger with the department at Trinity Saint David.  The University of Birmingham's Theology and Religion department, my former home, gets a special mention too, with an unnamed "source" speaking about low morale.

The rather vague nature of the claims, and the anonymity of the sources quoted, lead to some scepticism about the scale of the potential threat, at least at this point, but this will be one worth watching, especially in the light of the recent Sheffield and Gloucestershire situations.

HT: Roger Pearse, but I completely dissociate myself from his extraordinary take on the report.

Manuscript Rediscovery

ITSEE: News reports a scoop. That report in full:

Manuscript rediscovery

Dr Hugh Houghton and Dr Damaris Romero Gonzales of ITSEE recently located microfilms of complete images of an important manuscript of the Latin Bible, Codex Complutensis I, which suffered major damage in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The microfilm, held at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, has been digitised and it is hoped soon to make the images of this virtual manuscript available through the Virtual Manuscript Room in Birmingham. A full set of pictures of the manuscript in its current state is available on the Universty of Madrid Biblioteca Complutense website.

For news reports of this discovery, see:
Rediscovering an ancient text in Collegeville (medievalists.net)
Lost medieval bibles found at Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (St Cloud Times)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Return of the Biblical Studies Blog Carnival

As James McGrath notes, a Biblical Studies Carnival has been spotted over on Jim West's blog, Zwinglius Redivivus. From what I recall, this is the first such carnival for a while; Tyler Williams's page records nothing for several months. So a big thanks to Jim for putting this one together with his customary eye for detail. It's a bit light on references to the NT Blog, but all you need to know about what's been happening here is some rambling about my trip to Israel and a discussion with several other bloggers about the future for online textbooks, a discussion that looks likely to run into August too.