Thus Begins the Blog Tour


With the recent release of T. Michael Law’s book, When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible, Brian LePort has kicked off the blog tour with an introductionMake sure to follow the tour for a wide range of perspectives on the book. I’ll be posting my review of chapters 3 and 4 on July 23rd.

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I Sermon I Really Hated


I have listened to many sermons during my time as a Christian. Though I have sought to glean what is good and helpful from each, there have been few that I would say were truly paradigm shifting.

This past Sunday I sat under preaching that profoundly impacted me. In fact, I would say it has made it into the top ten most helpful sermons I have heard. The text was James 3:13-18. Our preaching pastor, Ryan Fullerton, did not uncover any new or hidden meaning, he simply preached the text, bringing it to bear on what I discovered to be my hard heart.

For those of us who spend our days studying the text, it can be easy to assume that we are growing in “wisdom” as we grow in knowledge. On Sunday I was reminded of the reality that there is a “wisdom” that is unspiritual at least, and demonic at worst. I hated this sermon, but I needed it.

I know that everyone recommends sermons,  but really, give this one a listen and let me know if you find it helpful (find it here).

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Prophecy and Apocalyptic Annotated Bibliography

IBR bibliography

As any student can attest, research can be a difficult but rewarding venture. My research generally follows a common pattern: after my own exegetical work, I begin the task of gathering “conversation partners” (ie. sources). This step can often be daunting for those new to a particular field or even new to the research process itself. Questions like “what if I leave out some authoritative source?” or “has my topic been exhaustively covered in some old monograph somewhere?” can often plague the minds of a careful researcher. For this reason it is good to have some “go-to” resources handy.

One such resource for me is the IBR (Institute of Biblical Research) bibliography series. The purpose of these works is to compile and evaluate works in a particular field of biblical studies (Pentateuch, Jesus, Old Testament Introduction, New Testament Theology, ect.) in an easily accessible format for the student or researcher.

I have greatly benefitted particularly from the volume on Prophecy and Apocalyptic, compiled by D. Brent Sandy and Daniel M. O’Hare. This book is a wealth of information on the background, literary features, and interpretive issues in prophetic/apocalyptic literature.

The bibliography is divided into two sections (Prophecy and Apocalyptic), with each section further arranged by resources on: 1) Information and Orientation; 2) Definition and Identification; 3) Conception and Communication; 4) Composition and Compilation (Prophetic section only); and 5) Transmission and Interpretation. Each segment contains lists of important works, summarized by the authors with the major contribution of the work identified.

One additional benefit for most students will be the emphasis on literature in English. While many significant works on prophecy have originated in German and French, the authors focus on books published , or at least translated, into English. For those who have not brushed on their research languages, this feature can save time while simultaneously sparing you the guilt of omitting works that appear important but are not accessible. We all know that Google Translate can only take you so far.

Of course, as with any work of this nature, the book can be outdated before it was even released. Since its publication in 2007, more research has been done in each area addressed by the volume. Regardless, the resources included in this bibliography provide a good starting point for a researcher. Gaining a handle of the standard works on a particular topic is always a good starting place. There is no doubt that, in some cases, this work can save students and researchers alike a significant amount of time performing complex database searches and shelf browsing. As I once read in a review of another monograph, “if this resource is not on your shelf, it is in the wrong place.”

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SBL Program Book Now Available


If you missed it, a preliminary SBL program book is now available on their website (see here). Though I have only taken a glance at the units, two sessions look particularly interesting: 1) A Book of the Twelve session looking at “The historical context of the writings of the Twelve Prophets.” And 2) A session on the theology of the Hebrew Scriptures asking, “what is biblical theology?” I’ll be sure to post more updates as they become available.

(HT: Daniel McClellan)

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Malachi: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text


Back in March, I mentioned Duane Garrett’s volume in the Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible series on the text of Amos (see here). The current edition of the Review of Biblical Literature has a review on another monograph in the same series on the text of Malachi (see here). The review is generally positive, noting some of the negative aspects that I alluded to in my post. This looks like it will be another good resource, particularly for beginning Hebrew students.

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June 2013 Biblical Studies Carnival

carnival sign

I would like to welcome you to this month’s Biblical Studies Carnival. Herein you will find a host of blog posts in biblical studies and related fields. I apologize in advance for any omission of worthy posts. Enjoy!

Hebrew Bible/Early Judaism

As the first link in this section, I thought it only appropriate to post a list of ‘firsts’ in Old Testament Studies by Rusty Osborne.

The World's Oldest man (Died this month at 116 years old)

The World’s Oldest man (Died this month at 116 years old)

You thought this guy was old? How about the continuing discussion of the world’s oldest Torah scroll.

Charles Savelle linked to a lecture by Alan Millard addressing the question “Did Moses Know the Alphabet? Was There Writing in Ancient Israel?”

Leon Kass explained why the Decalogue Matters.

Sure to incite a lively discussion, Andrew Perriman challenges the assertion that Genesis 3:15 is a protevangelium. He concludes that “if we can’t establish a gospel on an honest reading of the texts, it’s not worth establishing.” For anyone interested, a friend of mine will be presenting at the upcoming IBR meeting in Baltimore on “The Genesis of Resurrection Hope: Exploring Its Early Presence and Deep Roots” (see here).

Speaking of Genesis, have you seen “The Genesis Code?” Me either. But James Pate has some good thoughts on creation and evolution based on the film here.

Claude Mariottini wrestles with the Cain and Abel narrative in his post Cain and his Offering.

Steven over at Triablogue has ventured some parallels between the Genesis and other ANE creation accounts.

An unexpected voice in discussions on the Hebrew Bible, New Testament scholar Bart Erhman has fielded the question of the origin of Israel in the land of Canaan. Ehrman, not surprisingly, rejects the testimony of the deut. hist. that Israel entered Canaan by conquest. What is his conclusion? Subscribe to his blog to find out. You can see an excerpt here.

Looking for some good resources on Psalms? David Murray gives you his top 70 online resources.

Thomas Schreiner reminds us that we all need wisdom for our daily lives. What better place to glean wisdom than Proverbs. See his intro to Proverbs here.


For many, the word “Pharisee” is a pejorative term synonymous with hypocrite. Yet, Derek Leman seeks to set the record straight by summarizing common myths and truths about the Pharisees. Also see James Pate’s great post on the Pharisees.

There have been  many attempts to explain the function of the Hebrew verb. One recent undertaking is by Jan Joosten in his book The Verbal System of Biblical Hebrew: A New Synthesis Elaborated on the Basis of Classical Prose. Doubtlessly a significant book for the study of Hebrew, Kurtis Peters has posted a review here.

We have all heard various understandings of Gehenna in the Hebrew Bible. See this post on Hell and Stuff at Faith Seeking Understanding. Similarly, see Tim Bulkely’s part 1 of “is Hell an Important Christian Doctrine?”

Libby Anne posts a discussion with Judaism 101 on the Messiah.

Chana at The Curious Jew compares David and Moses in The Making of a Leader.

New Testament/Early Church

For those too poor (or lazy) to travel to the libraries and museums of the world to view New Testament manuscripts up close, a new (old) online tool called the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room may be for you. Charles Jones gives the info here.

Mike Bird linked to a new site with resources on the 4 Gospels run by a bunch of smart guys from Cambridge.

Brian Davidson steps out of the LXX to show that Luke states what the other Synoptic Gospels imply.

Yoda read

Have you ever asked, “Does 2 Clement evidence awareness of Star Wars tradition?” Of course not. But that does not mean that we cannot somehow draw a meaningful connection between the two. Just see Rick Brannan’s post.

Shawn Wilhite has valiantly lead a group of men through the Didache the last several weeks. See his Reflections on the Διδαχή Reading Group.

What does it mean to be unequally yoked? Michael Palmer has listed some observations on Paul prohibition in 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Phil Long has posted a series on the Pastoral Epistles (see background of P.E. here). Some of my favorites have been his post on 1 Tim 1:3-7 and 3:1, but I highly commend all of them to you.

Mark Goodacre has collected various performances of the Gospel of Mark in preparation for an upcoming SBL paper.

Mike Kok has a helpful handout on the book of Acts.

The question of the New Testament canon is a complex one, with decades of scholarship drawing the battle lines. Yet in the midst of a heady debate, Michael Kruger lists 10 basic facts about the NT canon that Christians should memorize (only 8 are available thus far).

Fiddler Did you say “Tradition!”? Well, Brian Renshaw has a series of posts assessing David Nienhuis’ book on the Catholic Epistles. Among my favorites is his discussion of Early James Traditions.

Larry Hurtado is a foremost name in the conversation of Christian origins. In a recent post he links to a paper on “Trajectories” and “Interactive Diversity” in early Christianity.

Martin Shields has summarized the origins of the use of κυριος for יהוה in the early Christian movement.

What was it like being a woman in Jesus’ world? Scot McKnight would love to tell you in these two posts (Part One, Part Two).

Richard Fellows responded to a thesis addressing the motivation and legality of Paul’s collection for Jerusalem.

It’s amazing how a three letter Greek connector can generate so great a discussion. Here again is a proposal for the function of γαρ in Romans 1:18 as signaling a switch in speaker.

breaking-glassDid Jesus turn water into grape juice at Cana? John Byron responds to this claim in his post Was Jesus a bartender?

Are the symbols used in Revelation 20 and Revelation 12 incompatible in describing the same period of time? Matt McMains does not think so (see here).

Jason Gardner has reviewed Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul.

Phil Long also did a two-part review of New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity (see Part One and Part Two).

LXX/Text Criticism/Linguistics 

With the much anticipated release of Timothy Michael Law’s book When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible, Brian LePort announced a Forthcoming Book Blog Tour.

Greg Martini weighs the textual evidence for a particular reading of Genesis 41.

I heard a fantastic paper on a text-critical problem by Brian Davidson this past semester in an Isaiah seminar. He has posted an excerpt in ‘Warning’ or ‘Turning’ in Isaiah 8:11.

Brian also reminds us that references to 1QIsa-a in the BHS apparatus should always be checked with the use of digital images in this post.

Contrary to popular belief, John Meade, now assistant professor of Old Testament at Phoenix Seminary, is still alive on the blogosphere. His resurrection post καίγε in Joel 2:29 and Acts 2:18 assesses an interesting variant, asking whether the NT authors had a choice of texts before them or simply used the only available resources.

Also, If you have a suitcase and a Septuagint, the program for the upcoming International Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies is posted (see paper abstracts here).

One of the First Things that Came up When I googled "Colonial Nonsense"

One of the First Things that Came up When I googled “Colonial Nonsense”

Dirk Jongkind thinks it’s time to end colonial nonsense and give a home back to a few dispossed verses in Romans 14.

Did the Corinthian church think Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus? Stephen Carlson can help by weighing in on a variant in 1 Corinthians 1:1.

Technically a post from last month, but we’ll include it anyway. Clifford Kvidahl thinks out loud about a variant in Ephesians 1:1.

Have you ever seen P46 in the flesh? Well, Dan Wallace has. In fact, he has given some thoughts on the absence of the Pastoral Epistles in the manuscript here.

Need more proof that “context is king?” Mark Ward welcomes your applause for his post Usage Determines Meaning.

For all my formal-equivalence brethren, Bill Mounce discusses the singular translation in the ESV of two plural words in the Greek of 2 Corinthians 7.


Typology is a buzzword in the debate on biblical theology. While some have championed a typological hermeneutic, Joel Willitts raises a caution about the common application of this approach. In his view, typology in many cases leads to supersessionism. He asks, “Can biblical theology be done without a supersessionistic application of typology?” (also see his follow-up posts here and here). Also, see Fred Zaspel’s post on The Warrant for Typological Interpretation of Scripture.

In a related vein, Russell Meek answers the question, “What hath Paul to do with Moses?” (The Relationship between the two Testaments).

Chris Heard has some interesting thoughts on the inspiration of scripture (starting here).

For those who take seriously Paul’s warning to examine yourself before partaking of the Lord’s Supper, approaching the table can be daunting. But Mike Leake gives his thoughts on “Should I Voluntarily Abstain from the Lord’s Supper?


N.T. Wright in 1980

Rachel Held Evans, as part of her “ask a…” series, has interviewed N.T. Wright. The range of topics covers a wide amount of subject matter from eschatology to sexuality.

Blake White likes Greg Boyd. In this post he makes some comments on Universalism.

Chad Chambers has a helpful bibliography of Paul’s use of “in Christhere. Also, see his post on συν Χριστω (“with Christ”) here.

Guy Davies at Exiled Preacher has posted some of Herman Bavinck‘s thoughts on conversion and Evan Roberts.

Andrew Byers publicly confesses researching zombie theology.

Brian LePort posted a substantial review of Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism.


The prophets envisioned a day when the nations would stream to Mount Zion. Well, that day has not yet come. But in the meantime, you can read a post from James Tabor on archeologist excavating Mount Zion.

Want to visit ancient Israel? There’s an app for that. This app can take you back in time to see things as they were.

The guys at have mentioned a virtual tour of the Herod exhibit at the Israel Museum.

What would you do if you found a remnant from the first-temple period? Keep it quiet? That’s what some have said the Israeli authorities have sought to do with this pillar recently unearthed by a tour guide (see original story here). Jim West remains unimpressed (see here).

The ASOR blog has posted on The Renewed Hazor Excavations.

Duane Smith discusses his new book on Gezer VII.

Jameel mentions a Mysterious Underwater Building Discovered in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).

Ferrell Jenkins draws attention to three cooking pots and lamps that further support a Roman seige of Jerusalem.


If you ask yourself why a separate category for history/church history is necessary, then you should probably read Michael Svigel’s posts on 10 Reasons to Learn Church History (I particularly commend reason 9).

Over at Libanius Redux – Antiochepedia, you can find a post on the effects of Palmyrene vassals of Rome on Antioch.

Many over the course of Christendom have thought through the what exactly happened at Pentecost. What were tongues all about? Charles Sullivan makes some comments on 11th century Greek theologian Michael Psellos’ thoughts here.

Creed Bratton

Creed Bratton

Not that Creed. But Robin Parry has some thoughts on how to handle the gaps in church creeds. Also see Mike Bird’s post on Scripture and Creeds.

There is no doubt that the Reformation has left a mark on the history of Christianity. But what was the Reformation all about? While many have forgotten, C. Michael Patton boils down, in his view, the two central issues.

If I could sit and listen to anyone lecture for 12 hours straight it would be Michael Haykin. You too can hear him lecture on Being Baptist.

Do you need convincing to read Jonathan Edwards? Let Owen Strachan persuade you with 3 Reasons you Should Start Reading Jonathan Edwards.

Sure to make someone happy, Roger Pearse announces the availability of Didymus the Blind’s Commentary on Ecclesiastes online.

Turn in your Bibles to the book of 2 Maccabees…Oh wait, it’s not there? Ever wonder why? Philip Jenkins gives his thoughts on  the economic reasons for the exclusion of the Apocrypha.

Roger Pearse has posted some of Detlefsen’s thoughts on the “indices” of Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History.”

Alex Poulos alludes to the complexity of Origen’s view of Eternal Punishment.

John Byron links to this great 3D virtual tour of Rome in 320 C.E. (see original post here).

Other Interesting Stuff

Oddities Alive

Ever wonder what happens in the Vatican? David Stark has pointed to a portion of National Geographic’s “Inside the Vatican” available online.

Speaking of the Vatican, ever wondered why C.S. Lewis did not link arms with the Roman Catholic Church? John Burgay gives us an answer here.

Brice Jones welcomes Tommy Wasserman to the editorial board of New Testament Studies here.

James McGrath has collected several Ancient/Middle East Academic Resources Online.

For you married guys, this is a lesson worth learning: It’s Not About the Nail

Are you a pastor? Can you read? If the answer is “yes” to both questions then Nijay Gupta suggests six academic journals that you should be reading.

Princeton Theological Seminary announced the appointment of Dr. Dale Allison as the Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies.

Apparently this seminary student didn’t care for the Creation Museum.

Two posts this month addressed the question of what you need to be able to read and understand the Bible. Check out James McGrath’s Do You Need a Ph.D. to Understand the Bible (i’ll give you a hint…the answer is yes…) and Preston Spinkle’s You Can’t Read the Bible Alone.

Brian LePort collected links to some good book reviews.

Exit 2 

Thanks for stopping by this month’s carnival (as always, inclusion does not equal endorsement). Again, my apologies for any worthy posts that may have been overlooked. Now my charge to you: keep the carnival’s coming. In fact, the next two months are needing able hosts. Contact Phil Long ( if you are interested. They are a great way to get your site out there as well as network with other biblical studies bloggers. And with that I wish you all well.


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Forthcoming book blog tour

the archives near Emmaus

61Dirz1lajL._SY300_Timothy Michael Law’s When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible is scheduled to be released by Oxford University Press on July 19th and this blog will be the coordinating hub for a book blog tour. I am excited about this book. Law has described it as a “…narrative history of the Septuagint’s origins and influence in early Jewish but especially Christian history,” which means it “does not attempt to be another introductory textbook…but narrates the story in an original way.” Since the Greek Bible proved to be very influential for incipit Christianity this study should be attractive to readers of this blog.

Tentatively, this is the schedule for the tour, i.e., what chapters will be reviewed, by whom, and when:

BRIAN LePORT (Friday, July 19th)
Introducing the blog tour

JOEL WATTS (Sunday, July 21st,
1 Why this Book?
2 When the…

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Did Amos See a Plumbline?


I read  a recent post making some notes on Amos 7:7-17. Although there is much I would care to comment on, one issue in particular caught my attention. As with the author of this particular post, most Bible translations render the Amos 7:7 something like the NASB: “Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand” (An exception appears in the NET Bible). While the idea of a “plumbline,” appearing four times in vv. 7-8, has become a cherished image (not to mention a controlling feature of many sermons!), I want to join those who raise a red flag on this translation.

As many commentators note, the Hebrew noun אֲנָךְ is woefully ambiguous. A host of interpretive renditions and emendations have been put forward, but no degree of consensus has emerged. The widely adopted “plumbline” has its roots in the Akkadian cognate annaku “tin,” which some view as interchangeable with the metal lead. The latter became the standard interpretation following Medieval exegesis. The logic of this interpretation is that the metal lead by metonymy represents a lead weight ie. a plumbline. The idea that this noun represented some type of metallic object is supported by several ancient versions such as the Old Greek and Symmachus (ἀδάμας “steel”?), Theodotion (τηκόμενον “molten”), as well as the Peshitta and Vulgate.

Yet is “plumbline” really what Amos envisioned? Granted, it does fit the context. Yet against this view is the analysis of Landsberger (“Tin and Lead: The Adventures of Two Vocables.” JNES 24 [1965]: 285-96″) and others, who have shown that אֲנָךְ cannot be understood as “lead,” and thus cannot mean plumbline. While one need not except Landsberger’s conclusions that “tin” is the preferred translation, we can agree that the Medieval interpretation itself stands on shaky ground.

I do not in anyway want to overly simply the text-critical problem in this passage, but I do want to voice a caution. Whether a clear alternative will win the votes of scholars is not likely. Indeed, plumbline may be here to stay. Yet, I would be hesitant to make too much of this point.

The focus of the vision is the inevitability of judgment for Israel. Yahweh will no longer pass by the people as he did for the exodus generation (v. 8b). Their guilt was self evident even without a plumbline. The idolatries of the high places and foreign sanctuaries were ripe for judgment and were destined for the same end as their chief patron, the king. Whatever Amos saw, he recognized it as an means of retribution. One that would do its work until Yahweh saw fit to rebuild fallen the booth of David (9:11).


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Jim West Reviews Hosea: A Commentary based on Hosea in Codex Vaticanus

I previously mentioned a commentary on the text of Hosea in Codex Vaticanus (see here). Lawrence Schiffman, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Yeshiva University, has posted a review by Jim West here. An excerpt:

The Septuagint is an edition of the Bible in its own right and here it is treated with the grand respect it richly and rightly deserves. Glenny does a stellar job in allowing readers of LXX Hosea to hear the voice of the text itself without the Hebrew edition constantly whispering in the reader’s ear.


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A Discussion about the Unity of the Twelve


A couple days ago I mentioned a book that I had just discovered entitled Two Sides of a Coin: Juxtaposing Views on Interpreting the Book of the Twelve / the Twelve Prophetic Books. Though I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on it yet, I have found some helpful reviews (The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures and Review of Biblical Literature).

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