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Friday, May 31, 2013

May 2013 Biblioblog Carnival

amusements photo GoldStarAmusement_zpseed94789.jpgWelcome, welcome, one and all, to the greatest show on earth, the traveling Biblioblog Carnival - a round-up of the month's most exciting, stimulating, scintillating, thought provoking articles and blog posts in the wide, wide field of biblical studies.  We guarantee that even if you were to search the world over, high and low, you wouldn't find anything like it - not until next month.  Rest assured, you'll get your money's worth.  This is, to steal a line, the greatest show in heaven, hell or earth.

Come inside the show's about to start...  Like most carnivals, it may prove that there's too much to see in one visit.  Whether it's because we're unable to discriminate or because there was just a lot of good material this month, we leave it to you to decide.  We encourage you to return again and again.  And invite a friend.

Old Testament
Rod the Demon Hunter at Political Jesus  - And now we have Appleby Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas as a church that publicly admits to teaching the racist Curse of Ham theory.

Joel Watts at Unsettled ChristianityScience Proves the Tower of Babel (sorta) 

Fred Clark the Slactivist – The Sodom and Gomorrah story may be the biblical passage most frequently cited against homosexuality, it may also be the least relevant, because it’s not clear it has much to do with homosexuality at all.”

Matt Page at the Bible Films BlogIshmael's appearances tend to be bland unimaginative and, as in the text, he is very much a character who is acted upon, little more than a moving prop.

Morf Morford at God’s Politics -   There should be no poor among you - Deuteronomy 15:4  This is one of the few commands virtually all religious people easily – even eagerly – follow.  We just do it our own way.

Richard Beck at Experimental TheologyYes, you read the right. This is a post about how to read the cherem texts non-violently.

James Pate at James’ Thoughts and Musings- Who Wrote Joshua 22?

Jack Collins at Worthless MysteriesPoop (in the biblical sense pt. 1) 

Richard Beck at Experimental Theology - One of the interesting tensions in the Old Testament are the mixed messages you get about kings. Are kings good or bad? At times the Old Testament reads like monarchist propaganda. At others times the OT reads like subversive, anti-monarchist literature.

Bible Study and the Christian Life -  In this inaugural episode of the Bible Study and the Christian Life podcast on the Book of Kings, we discuss the backstory of the Book of Kings. We focus on offering an overview of the Book of Samuel, the book that immediately precedes the Book of Kings in the Bible.

Bob MacDonald at Dust - What is the Psalter About? 
Larisa Levicheva at Biblical and Early Christian Studies –  Qoheleth sees the experience of pleasure as the only one available to human beings. The constraints of human knowledge and the lack of control over the activities in this world make material gain illusory and transient.

Richard Beck at Experimental Theology - In light of this, I've taken up hissing as a part of my practice in resisting the Principalities and Powers. I'm now hissing in meetings, in stores, in political discussions.  True, it's all a bit distracting to co-workers, friends and family, but spiritual warfare is spiritual warfare.

St. EutychusA Modern Day Jonah 

BBC News - The University of Bologna in Italy has found what it says may be the oldest complete scroll of Judaism's most important text, the Torah.

Other ANE:
Mike Heiser at PaleoBabble shares a handy .pdf chart to help you keep your Mesopotamian deities straight.

Scott McKnight at Jesus CreedHow is manliness understood today? Why is there so much appeal in the men’s sector for resonance with the manliness vision of Alexander the Great?

Lawrence H. Schiffman - [W]e consider examples drawn from the Dead Sea Scrolls, in particular the sectarian scrolls regarded as representing the views of the sect that gathered the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. We will see here that true rationales for commandments are for the most part lacking.

Phil Harland at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean Enoch: Fallen Angels in Early Apocalypticism  

Matt Page at the Bible Films BlogJudith however has passed out of fashion, despite being the subject of what could arguably be called the first real Biblical Epic.

Tablet - A small, ancient sect known as the Samaritans rely on the Torah, and the Torah alone, as their sole religious text—and the Samaritans use a somewhat different version. Two weeks ago, the first English translation of this Hebrew text was published by Samaritan historian and scholar Binyamin Tsedaka: The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah. There are some 6,000 instances where this version of the Torah differs from the Masoretic text; the question for scholars is which version is more complete, or more accurate

New Testament              
Scott McKnight at Jesus CreedDo you think empire criticism reads too much into the text and not enough out of the text? Is there anything in Matthew that is overtly critical of Rome?

Joel Watts at Unsettled ChristianityAre we wrong, then, in reading Mark as a simplistic historical narrative of the life of Jesus? Hardly, but we aren't fully reading it with the ears of the first audience. We have replaced the aperte with our need for palam and that prevents any serious investigation into the Gospel.

The Charleston Gazette - According to Watts, Mark did not want to chronicle a perfectly accurate historical narrative, but instead to rewrite history using the literary techniques, namely mimesis, available at the time.

UMJeremy at Hacking Christianity - It’s not always nice to nitpick, but when it comes to the Bible, I feel a certain obligation. After all, my schooling was in the Bible, I use the Bible every day, so if not a resident theologian like myself, who will do the nitpicking?  My nitpick addresses the release of the Common English Bible’s Study Bible.

Jan Krans at the Amsterdam NT Weblog -It is the most striking example of diverging verse numbers in the New Testament…

Michael Kok at Euangelion Kata Markon -Handout 3: John and the Synoptics 

Tony Jones at Theoblogy - In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes many confident self-proclamations (conservative Evangelical’s favorite verses which seemingly demonstrate the exclusivity of Jesus). Now, I’m sure that claiming to be God in 1st century Judaism is a really big deal; however, how is it that none of these self-proclamations make it into any of the synoptic gospels? Is it possible that Jesus never made these self-proclamations? If not, how does this affect our understanding of Trinitarian theology in the gospel accounts?

John Barclay’s lecture, at St. Mary's University College “Paul and the Gift: Gift-Theory, Grace and Critical Issues in the Interpretation of Paul,”  with introduction by Chris Keith 

James McGrath at Exploring our Matrix - Romans in Three Hours

James McGrath has also begun a paraphrased retelling of RomansWe know that what the Bible says, it says to and about the people who have the Bible, so that mouths may be shut and the whole world rendered accountable to God. For it is not on the basis of Christian badges of identity, or mere possession of the Bible, that all humankind shall be acquitted before God. The Bible should rather be making us aware of just how far short we fall.

Michael F. Bird at Euangelion We know from Rom 16:1-2 that a deaconess named Phoebe carried Paul’s letter to the Roman churches. However, what was her role in undertaking such a task? Did she just hand on the letter like a FedEx delivery lady, did she read the letter to them, did she answer questions about the letter, or did she even expound the letter?

Jeff Dun at the Internet Monk - For someone who lived 3,000,000 years ago, or 6,000 years ago, or never, Adam sure is stirring up a lot of dust. Of course, that’s what he was made of, if he was made at all.

James McGrath at Exploring our Matrix -  To say that Jesus was tempted in every way that other human beings are seems incompatible with the view that Jesus was an omniscient divine entity. Can one know all the possible negative impacts of one’s actions and still be tempted in the same way we are, when we can deceive ourselves and persuade ourselves that no harm will come of it if we give in to temptation?

James Tabor at Taborblog - James is not merely a figure we need to “add” to our emphasis on Peter and Paul in Christian tradition–he is, quite literally, the missing piece of the puzzle in terms of understanding Christian origins.

Kurt Willems at Red Letter Christians -I want to suggest that most of what you have been taught about Revelation, especially if you watched the cheesy Christian movies or grew up in conservative/fundamentalist expressions of evangelicalism, is wrong.

New Testament Perspectives -  Craig R. Koester, professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., recently gave the 2013 Schaff Lectures (March 22, 2013 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) entitled: “The Apocalypse, Archaeology, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.”  Here are the videos from that session.


Don Burrows at Note BeneBut in a parenthetical argument in his last chapter, Ehrman also dismisses the notion that these works can be considered "fiction,"and here I have to disagree.

Glen Stanton at The Gospel CoalitionDoes Abba mean Daddy?  
Scott McKnight at Jesus CreedShould we call anyone “Pharisee”? Be careful, that’s my rule. Think historically, my second rule.

Phillip Jenkins at The Anxious Bench I have been posting recently about the survival of the so-called lost gospels into the Middle Ages and beyond. When scholars discuss these texts, they pay special attention to the so-called Jewish-Christian gospels as precious survivals of the earliest Jesus movement. Actually, this Jewish-Christian tradition can also tell us a great deal about how we got our present standard texts of the canonical four gospels.

Don Burrows at Note Bene Religious freedom is under attack in America -- or so says the right-wing echo chamber, where such a sentiment is not only repeated daily but taken for granted as reality. Christians and Christianity are being "frozen out" of America and good followers of Jesus are being "persecuted" roundly in America today for their religious beliefs just like they were in ancient Rome.  ... Of course, this is all fantasy

Historical Jesus: 
James McGrath at Exploring our Matrix - Unless one can demonstrate that [Hercules] Alcaeus was not a historical figure, then showing Jesus to be comparable to him would lead to agnosticism about Jesus’ historicity, and not mythicism.

Tom Verenna - That, to me, is very telling of the state of usefulness of fabrications; that is to say, they are just as useful as the real thing.

James Tabor at Taborblog – The idea seems to be that “secular historians” prejudge evidence and are accordingly biased in that they will not allow even the possibility of the miraculous as part of ones historical inquiry. If historians ask the questions: what do we know and how do we know it–how is it that we claim to “know” from the start that miracles do not happen and that supernatural explanations for various developments are to be rejected?

James McGrath at Exploring our Matrix - Was Jesus a Seditionist? 

Chris Glaser -  If the biblical witness is to be trusted, we know Jesus could read, because he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah in his home synagogue in Nazareth. And we know Jesus could write, because he “bent down and wrote on the ground” when a woman accused of adultery was about to be stoned. ...  But why didn't he write down all his thoughts and parables on a scroll somewhere, and put the Jesus Seminar out of business? Here are a few possibilities...

Anthony LeDonne at The Jesus BlogWhat Would Jesus Do on Mother’s Day?  

Joel Willitts at Euangelion – What do we mean when we label something “historical”? Is there one blanket, one size fits all, way to think about the historicity of the events in the Gospels?

This month we have been saddened by the loss of some of the greats - Geza Vermes and Dallas Willard.  Many wrote of their appreciation for the work of these wonderful men.
Mark Goodacre shares several videos of Geza Vermes.

T & T Clark Blog
 - Vermes underlined the ‘Jewishness’ of Jesus in a unique way, which would shift scholarship forever

James Crossley at Sheffield Biblical StudiesThere are a number of online recollections of Geza Vermes, all of which, as far as I can see, recognise his importance as a scholar of early Judaism and the New Testament, particularly the quest for the historical Jesus. I want to look at his importance for New Testament studies, with the qualification that this aspect of Vermes’ career was, of course, part of Vermes’ Jewish studies.

Tony Jones at Theoblogy - shares several stories of personal interactions with Dallas Willard.

J.K. Gayle at BLT - His [Willard's] last words were, "Thank you."  

More tributes to Geza Vermes and Dallas Willard can be found here and at the Economist and also here.

And though he wasn't a theologian proper, we also are saddened by the passing of special effects genius, Ray Harryhausen.

John Moreheaed at TheofantastiqueHarryhausen’s collection of creatures — singlehandedly and painstakingly stop-motion animated by the man himself — exhibited a wondrous sense of life, and convinced many of us that, with dedication and love, almost anything that could be dreamed of could be realized on the screen.

First - Second Centuries / Patristics / Mandaean:
Scott McKnight at Jesus Creed  – We have to fill in the lines but there appears to be a fairly common 1st Century slippery slope: If you compromise on this one, you’ll end up inviting the likes of Antiochus Epiphanes back into Jerusalem.

Rod the Demon Hunter at Political Jesushas a Patristics carnival of his very own (even if it is very, very, very, very late.) 

Gabe Martini at On Behalf of All -  Does the evidence put forth by Pr Wedgeworth demonstrate that there has always been an equal opposition to icons and their veneration within the Orthodox-Catholic Church? Is that evidence being properly represented and understood? Were they isolated voices, or part of a large opposition to icons in the history of the Church?

Charles A. Sullivan - Did the Montanist’s speak in tongues, and is this the historical antecedent for tongues in the Church today? Two scholars take opposite conclusions.

Hieroi Logoi - Online Resources for the Mandaeans

Ken Schenck at Quadrilateral Thoughts - What is Theology? 

Edith M. Humphrey at Baker Academic Blog-  In Scripture and Tradition: What the Bible Really Says, I am not aiming to say everything that can be said about tradition. Rather, I train my gaze on what the biblical writers both model and state explicitly regarding our topic.

T.M. Luhrmann at The New York Times - Is That God Talking? 

C Michael Patton at the Parchment and Pen Blog - Is Bad Doctrine Sin?

Andrew Perriman at P.OST - Some Rough and Ready "Rules" for Doing a Narrative-Historical Reading of the New Testament  

Scott McKnight at Jesus Creed - All theology, in the sense of orthodoxy or dogmatics or systematics, is a process. It’s an experimental expression to put into words what one thinks the Bible teaches in words that make sense in a new context. This also means no articulation is infallible or absolute or final. Which is not to say theology isn’t true, but it’s not final truth.

Catholic News Service - Pope Francis, the Jesuits, and Liberation Theology - 

Rod the Demon Hunter at Political Jesus Let’s be honest, I have an apathy for so called Christian apologists and Bull-Horn evangelists who want to monologue at everyone they meet.

Abramkj at Words on the WordHow literal should a Bible translation be? What makes a translation of the Scriptures faithful and accurate? What is the significance of the original form and the original meaning?

Ecclesiology  /Liturgy / Worship:
Tony Jones at Theoblogy- …titles are not about leadership, they are about power. Get rid of them

The Daily Mail - Romanian Nuns Celebrate Easter among the skulls of their dead sisters - 

Paul Jesep at Faith with Wisdom - As a sojourner I have developed an appreciation, perhaps a need, for utilizing both the Julian and Gregorian liturgical calendars.  I find it an opportunity to further explore spirituality from what John Paul II described as Christendom’s left and right lungs (the Roman and Orthodox Churches).  It better oxygenates my soul.  It gives me pause to think in different ways about Christ’s two greatest commandments – to love God with heart and soul and to love one another as Jesus unconditionally loves us.

Timothy Larson at Faith and LeadershipThe present is a very thin place. This moment in history is the best in which to live -- I believe this with all my mind and heart. But it is the best time in which to live precisely because we have the riches of the past to hand: the thoughts, works of art, discoveries and accomplishments of previous generations are ours to enjoy. And their mistakes, blind spots and sinful patterns are there for us to learn from. To reject those riches is to turn the present into an impoverished place.

Carol Trueman at First Things - The problem with much Christian worship in the contemporary world, Catholic and Protestant alike, is not that it is too entertaining but that it is not entertaining enough. Worship characterized by upbeat rock music, stand-up comedy, beautiful people taking center stage, and a certain amount of Hallmark Channel sentimentality neglects one classic form of entertainment, the one that tells us, to quote the Book of Common Prayer, that “in the midst of life we are in death.”

Episcopal Café – Hymnals are more like telephones than automobile tires. Tires wear out visibly and require replacing. Telephones, on the other hand, seldom wear out, yet still get replaced when updated models offer new features attractive enough to warrant the change.

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship  -10 Reasons Hymnals have a Future 

Joel Watts at Unsettled ChristianityReview of Baker Academic’s: Liturgy as a Way of Life 

Danielle Shroyer at The Hardest Question - Pentecost is a radically important day. It’s the rightful conclusion to the story of resurrection. The dismantling that begins in Holy Week isn’t completed until Pentecost.

Dwight Stewart at Jesus Radicals - Socio-political Change in light of the Pentecostal Experience

John Frye at Jesus Creed - We should not be surprised how the soterian gospel has reshaped US American evangelical preaching in view of that gospel’s long run. Thousands of individuals, saved on the skimpiest of information shaped to elicit a punctiliar decision, filled the church as uninformed converts. The robust kingdom of God gospel announcement (kerygma) has been replaced by Bible-based moralisms backed-up with catchy illustrations to teach Christians “how to” live.

Paul Jesep at Faith with Widom - Death comes with much ritual, ceremony, and a huge industry embalming bodies, cremating remains, and burying the departed in crypts, tombs, and sealed artificial boxes in the ground.  In many ways, the death industry does not make sense.

The Huffington Post - The Church of England published a plan on Friday to approve the ordination of women bishops by 2015, a widely supported reform it just missed passing last November after two decades of divisive debate.

Tony Jones at Theoblogy - The Gospel in Two Broad Strokes: Reconciliation and Liberation.

Dr. Ben Myers at Faith and Theology - I Believe...

bright banners photo BrightBanners_zps79692989.jpg
Bible Places Blog -Jerusalem Quarry Discovered

Archaeology and ArtsHear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one”. This is how researchers Armin Lange and Esther Eshel interpret the inscription found on an amulet discovered in a third-century C.E. child’s grave near the Roman frontier city Carnuntum.”

Judith Weingarten- Zenobia: Empress of the East   It was also relatively commonplace to leave your own mark on the walls -- even within a god's temple, or a synagogue, or in someone else's home that you happened to be visiting!

The Biblical World Second Temple Door Key from Jerusalem 

Larry Hurdato - It shows how we use history to define ourselves, and so we have to choose what history by which to do so.  It shows also how historical things that once bore one meaning can acquire (or be given) a very different meaning, when people need to do so.  In this case, it also shows a striking instance of how archaeology played a role in profound political developments of the recent past.

-Gabriel Stone -
John Bryan at The Biblical WorldSo, as usual, what we have here is not a bombshell archaeological discovery, but rather another piece of evidence that helps us to better understand the world of the New Testament.

Jim West at Zwinglius Redivivus  -Scholarship has become speculationship... 

Book Reviews:
Chaplain Mike at the Internet Monk -Ancient evangelism occurred in a setting hostile to the church and its values; it developed in the context of a clear self-understanding of the church as the eschatological people who are under the reign of God, the people who confess “Jesus is Lord.” It was evangelism with teeth, not an “easy believism” or a “cheap grace”; and it was a spiritual journey of discipleship, spiritual formation, and entrance into a new community.”

Jim West shares Michael Kruger’s review Bell’s book, therefore, is really just spiritualism with a Christian veneer. It’s a book that would fit quite well on Oprah’s list of favorite books.

The Desperate PastorYou Lost Me

Philip Long at Reading Acts - Robert W. Wall, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus

Aaron B. Franzen at Christianity Today -  A recent poll from LifeWay Research found that 89 percent of American households still own a Bible, with the average home having 4.1 Bibles. But owning a Bible is different from reading it—and pollsters might be surprised by what happens when many Americans do.

The Dish -It seems Islam is going through its Dark Ages, where lack of education and a confusion of tradition with religion in Muslim countries is causing their people to be manipulated by false sermons of violence against the West as some good deed when it’s a sin and a sin alone.

Huffington Post -  Muslim leaders from across the globe paid tribute to Holocaust victims this week during a visit to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp, where they prayed at the Wall of Death for those who were killed by genocide and suffered under violent anti-Semitism.

Atheist Muslims:
Ali A. Rizvi at the Huffington Post - Richard Dawkins has referred to himself as a "cultural Christian", with an admitted fondness for Christianity-inspired art, literature and Christmas carols… This is probably why he hit the nail on the head when he described me as a "cultural Muslim with no imaginary friend." He understood that this is precisely what I meant when I called myself an "atheist Muslim."

“Regular” Atheists:
St. Eutychus - Dear sir, it has come to my attention as a citizen of the internet, that your, until recently, esteemed publication has named polemicist Richard Dawkins as number one on your “world thinkers” list for this year.

Daniel Fincke at Camels With Hammers - is hosting the inaugural Atheist  Blog Carnival 

Vatican RadioMoney has to serve, not to rule.

Tornados and Theodicy:
Rachel Held Evans  - This theology is, in a word, abusive, for it blames the victim for whatever calamity, abuse, or tragedy she suffers and says it is deserved.

Funnel Cake: 
You can't go to the fair without eating something deliciously unhealthy; how about some Scripture Cake?

swings photo StateFair2010-Swings_zps85a9859b.jpg
See the Wonders of the East:
Phillip Long took a trip to Israel - thrill as he recounts the mysteries of the orient.

The Freak Show:
The circus geeks, fools and freaks.  These are the sideshow wildmen. You don't really want to see them, but, admit it, you can't look away.
Pat Robertson 
Marc Driscoll  
The Thaw 
Pat Robertson – Again
Anna Pierre, RN (and Pat Robertson again, again...)
Matthew Hagee

Marc Driscoll (again) & Pat Robertson (again, again, again)

And William Tapley, the Third Eagle of the Apocalypse and Co-Prophet of the End Times

Kim Kierkegaardashian

Fortune Tellers, Magicians and Clowns:
Every circus carnival has a fortune teller's tent.  The biblioblog carnival doesn't disappoint.  We've got a magician too.  Abracadabra!  And clowns... send in the clowns!

Todd RhoadesWhat would HONEST church marketing look like? 

Episcopal Café - Beware the Wrath of an Organist!

Scotteriology - The Seven Deadly Gifs

Christian Nightmares  - a trailer for the new End Times comedy Rapture-Palooza 

Vorjack at Unreasonable Faith Fist of Jesus -  (must be a Gnostic text…wherein flesh is really evil…)

The risqué tent at the carnival:
We all know it's there... that one tent at the carnival.  We won't tell your wife /husband/ boyfriend/ girlfriend...

If you should need medical assistance during your visit to the fair, please visit our first-aid tent.  The nurse there will assist you.

ferris wheel photo FerrisWheelatDusk_zpsd969e68e.jpg Pastoral: 
Micah at A Deeper Story – I raised my hand when the preacher asked, “Who will commit to pray for an hour a day, every day for the rest of their life?” I raised my hand every time a preacher asked us to make a commitment, really. If there was a way to be a better Christian, I would do it. No matter the cost. I wanted so desperately to please God.

Tom Rees at EpiphenomReligion Doesn’t  Seem to Protect Against Depression 

 Deborah Haarsma at Bio Logos - -We have all heard stories of Christian young people who have struggled with their faith because of science. What can ministry leaders do to better prepare young people as they consider science careers? How can all God’s people develop a better appreciation of God’s revelation in nature?

Whispers in the Loggia  - "Jesus is indignant when he sees these things" - said the Pope - because those who suffer are "his faithful people, the people that he loves so much"

Fred Clark at The Slactivist - The whole point of that scene — and of Strickland’s existence as a character in the movie — is that he’s wrong. He’s wrong about Marty, and he’s wrong about young people in general. Strickland is a cruel clown whose words are not intended to be taken at face value. This is made very clear in the scene above, in which Strickland is angry with Marty for entering his band in the school’s dance audition. “Why even bother, McFly?” Strickland says, “No McFly ever amounted to anything.”

Well that's it; the Carnival is over. We hope you've enjoyed your time here and that you'll return again even after the carnival has closed up and moved on.   If you haven't had enough thrills and chills  already, you can check out Jim West’s separatist and heretical Avignon Carnival – I’m sure it will be much snarkier and more exclusively focused on academic articles.

And be sure to visit the Biblioblog Carnival again next month when it will be hosted by Andrew King at The Blog of the Twelve.

Thanks, everyone,


One last link for the road:
Barry TaylorThat melancholy, rooted at the heart of music that emerges from dislocation, disorientation, despair, desire, is what keeps music church for me and it might just be why I struggle with the institutional expressions of church/religion. It lacks melancholy and therefore, for me, it lacks the one ingredient that makes it vital, necessary.

fun slide photo FunSlide_zps6f1de187.jpg


  1. Carnival looks Great. Good work!

  2. Nice idea to include the music - unfortunately not available where I am. Very wide reaching - even including a competing carnival - well done.

  3. Love the idea to include music!

  4. Thanks for the link. Lots of good stuff in this carnival

  5. Thanks for the helpful roundup!


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