> Welcome to Biblical Studies Carnival XX. The Biblical Studies Carnival XX is a selection of the best posts dealing with academic biblical studies published by bibliobloggers during the month of July. Since July is a month when many people are off on vacation, the submissions were few, but all of the posts selected demonstrate the quality of writing produced by bibliobloggers.
Before I begin my selection of the posts for July, I would like to make a proclamation. Jim West is a prolific writer, a writer whose blog attracts many readers every day. During the month of July, Jim wrote 181 posts for his blog, more than any other blogger. Although Jim does not need any more titles, to recognize his tremendous output in July, I would like to proclaim Jim West King of the Bloggers. “Hail, Jim West, King of the Bloggers.”
In July there were several issues that prompted bibliobloggers to enter into dialogue with each other. The appearance of controversial issues becomes a good occasion for bloggers to post on these issues and raise questions that prompt other bloggers to respond. This month there were several issues that produced good blogs and a huge amount of give and take among the readers.
1. One controversy began on July 1 with my interview with Jim West. In that interview Jim asked me a question about interpretation. In response to Jim’s question, I said that believers were better interpreters of the biblical texts than unbelievers. Duane Smith took issue with my assertion that “atheists cannot be good interpreters of the Bible because they already begin with the assumption that the Bible is a bunch of nothing.” I defended my position here and Duane defended his position again here. The discussion was joined by Christopher O’Brien, by Iyov here and here, and by Jim West here and here. The amount of comments by the readers of these posts reflects their interest in the topic. One of those readers was Angela Roskop Erisman, who in response to my post, left three comments in which she said that there are people who do not belong to a faith tradition but who often study the Bible to deepen their faith in God.
2. Another controversial issue was the declaration by Pope Benedict XVI that Christian communities other than the Catholic church are not real churches and that these communities are defective because they cannot trace their origin to Peter. The Pope’s statement gave rise to a series of blogs on this issue. The Pope’s comments were discussed by me here, by Darrell Pursiful, and by J. P. van de Giessen. Airton da Silva provided a list of Vatican documents that have been discussed by bibliobloggers. His post also lists several blogs where these documents were discussed.
3. My article on the call of Jeremiah and prophetic ministry drew a strong reaction from Doug Chaplin who took me to task over my use of etymology. John Hobbins continued the discussion by saying that, at times, the use of etymology has its place in biblical interpretation. The same argument was presented by Iyov in a long response to Doug’s blog. Even Milton Stanley, who writes mostly for pastors, left a comment on my blog disagreeing with my use of etymology.
4. The issue that attracted the attention of most bibliobloggers in July was the discovery of the Nebo-Sarsekim (Nabu-sharrussu-ukin) Tablet. The discovery, translation, and publication of the tablet produced a vast amount of dialogue among bibliobloggers. The number of blogs addressing this issue is so large that it becomes difficult to say who responded to whom. Modesty aside, it seems that I was the first one to address the issue of the tablet and how some translations dealt with the name of the Babylonian official. I wrote two more posts on the Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet, here and here. In this last post, I cited Jack Lundbom’s commentary on Jeremiah 37-52, published in 2004, in which he anticipated much of the debate created by the discovery of the tablet.
The discovery of the Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet was considered by some to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the past one hundred years. The tablet generated much discussion among bibliobloggers and a vast amount of publications. Since the issues dealt with in these posts varies, I will just list the posts here. The Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet was discussed by Chris Heard here, here, here, and here; by Peter Kirk, by Kevin Edgecomb, by John Hobbins, by Kevin Wilson, by Duane Smith here and here, by Stephen Hebert, by Doug Chaplin, by Henry Neufeld, by J. P. van de Giessen, by BK, and by Todd Bolen. Jim West dismissed the importance of the discovery in a post dated July 11 and updated several times. The last revision was published on July 25.
Even Christianity Today reported on the importance of the discovery. Christianity Today linked its post to the post of three bibliobloggers: Peter Kirk’s, Jim West’s, and mine. The SBL Forum had a brief reference to the Nabu-sharrussu-ukin Tablet and referred readers to Chris Heard’s post for additional information. The importance of the discovery of the tablet is reflected in the fact that soon after the tablet was published, an entry for Nebo-Sarsekim appeared in Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article makes reference to two of Chris Heard’s articles; it also mentions John Hobbins’ article.
Suzanne McCarthy has a good study of Proverbs 31 titled “Song of a Valiant Woman.” The article was written in several parts: one, two, three, and four. She wrote additional posts in this series that I am not mentioning here. Drew Kaplan continued the study on Proverbs 31 by asking how to translate “אשת חיל: How To Translate Eshes Hayyil?” Iyov has a study of the law of the muzzled ox in Deuteronomy 25:4 in which he calls attention to efforts by some writers to relate this law to the law of the levirate marriage. He also has a series of posts on Harry M. Orlinsky and his contribution to the JPS Version of the Bible. You can begin reading on Orlinsky by clicking here, here, here, and here.
Chris Price at CADRE Comments has an excellent post in which he rejects the view that Origen’s claim that Josephus’ reference to the judgment of God falling on the Jews because of the martyrdom of James may indicate the existence of an interpolated passage in Josephus’ writings.
Richard H. Anderson’s post on the “Weeping Jesus” associates the weeping of Jesus in Luke with the act of ritual mourning by Micah and sees them as prophetic symbolic acts representing God’s forgiveness of his people’s sins.
Michael Pahl has two posts dealing with the origins and development of the Jesus tradition through the first century and into the early second century. The first post introduces his “working hypothesis” and the second traces the development of the tradition.
Michael Barber studies the Rabbinic eschatological reading of Psalm 89, which understood the phrase “the footsteps of the messiah” (Ps 89:51) as a reference to a suffering messianic figure, and relates the concept to how Peter used Psalm 89 and 53 in discussing the suffering of Jesus.
Suzanne McCarthy’s study on 1 Corinthians 7:1-4 shows that the NIV has mistranslated verse 1.
Two Personal Notes
First, a note of appreciation. It was a great experience for me to visit the site of all bibliobloggers this month. I have to confess that this is the first time I visited every blog listed in bibliobloggers but I can assure you it will not be the last. I learned much about the interests and concerns of fellow bibliobloggers. Since the number of blogs is increasing, it becomes almost imperative that bibliobloggers submit their entries to Biblical Studies Carnival every month. I am guilty of not submitting my own entries each month, but I learned my lesson. If you are diligent in submitting your entries in August, Duane will not have much problem in preparing his selection for September.
Second, a note of public apology. The other day I wrote a blog in which I was trying to point to a blog that had put some titles after the name of Jim West. My intension was to be humorous and let Jim know what another blogger had done. But, what can be humorous to one person can be offensive to another person. I never tried to hurt or offend Jim, so, if I did, I offer a public apology.
Biblical Studies Carnival XXI
Biblical Studies Carnival XXI will be hosted by Duane Smith at Abnormal Interests. Duane’s selection will be published around September 1, 2007. I encourage you to submit your entries as soon as your posts are published. Biblical Studies Carnival looks for blog articles that make a contribution to academic biblical studies.
To submit your entries, visit the Blog Carnival submission page or use the Biblical Studies Carnival email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). When you submit your entry, be sure to include the title and permalink URL of the blog post, the author’s name, a short summary of the blog post, “Biblical Studies Carnival XXI” in the subject line of the email, your name, and your email address. You can also obtain more information on the Carnival by visiting the Biblical Studies Carnival homepage.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary