Saturday, October 31, 2009

Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception

The new Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception is now appearing on library shelves, and the VTS library now has the first two volumes, up through the entry on "Atheism." One of my contributions is in vol. 2, “Apocalypses and Apocalypticism, II. Hebrew Bible / Old Testament,” in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Volume 2, Anim – Atheism (ed. Hans-Josef Klauck, et al.; Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2009) cols. 321–324.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Wonderful Occasion

The celebration for Bob Wilson was a marvelous event, and one I will long remember. The book has come out beautifully, and Bob was delighted to see it for the first time---just perfect. The attendance was huge and the many speeches a delight.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Transit to New Haven

I'm between Wilmington and Philadelphia on the Acela Express in route to Yale to present our new Tribute Volume to Dr. Robert Wilson. The event tonight promises to be very special, with plenty of major OT scholars in attendance.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trick-or-Treating Day at the Seminary

-- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Episcopal Church: Who Are We?

My friend the Rev. Frank Logue recently sent me this video his church has put on youtube with a vision of who the Episcopal Church is. It was partially inspired as a more humorous alternative to the video posted by the national church ("815") at: It is at once powerful and lighthearted. Comments welcome...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Invitation to a Festschrift Honoring Professor Robert Wilson

Here is the invitation to next Thursday's Festschrift Presentation to Robert R. Wilson issued by the Dean's Office at Yale Divinity School (click to enlarge):

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Sessions at the 2009 SBL Conference

Following up on yesterday's post, here are the sessions where I am on the 2009 SBL program:

Levites and Priests in History and Tradition
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Regent - MR
Theme: Levites in Urban and Rural Social Context
Sarah Shectman, Binghamton University, Presiding

Jeremy Hutton, Princeton Theological Seminary
Modern Perspectives on the Levitical Cities Lists and Levitical Function (20 min)
Diana Edelman, University of Sheffield
Non-‘Priestly’ Roles of the Kohanim in the Hebrew Bible (20 min)
Stephen L. Cook, Virginia Theological Seminary
Those Stubborn Levites: Overcoming Levitical Disenfranchisement (20 min)
Joel S. Baden, Yale University
The Violent Origins of the Levites: Text and Tradition (20 min)
Mark A. Christian, Middle Tennessee State University
Middle-Tier Levites and the Plenary Reception of Revelation (20 min)
Jeffrey Stackert, University of Chicago
The Cultic Status of the Levites in the Temple Scroll: Historical and Exegetical Considerations (20 min)
Discussion (30 min)

Exile (Forced Migrations) in Biblical Literature
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom B - SH
Theme: Exilic Prophetic Gattung: North American Perspective
John Ahn, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Presiding

David L. Petersen, Emory University
Prophetic Rhetoric and Exile (30 min)
Louis Stulman, University of Findlay
Speaking on Behalf of the Losers: Reading Ezekiel as Disaster/Survival Literature (30 min)
Christopher Seitz, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
Provenance and Interpretation: Isaiah 40--66 (30 min)
Stephen L. Cook, Virginia Theological Seminary
Second Isaiah and the Aaronid Response to Judah's Exile (Forced Migrations) (30 min)
David McLain Carr, Union Theological Seminary
Markers of Potential Exilic Dating of Biblical Literature (30 min)

In addition, John Ahn and I will be doing a special presentation of Robert Wilson's Festschrift at the Yale University Reception:

Yale Alumni Reception
11/22/2009 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Room: Gallery - SH

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2009 SBL Annual Meeting, New Orleans, November 21-24

As of today, the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature is just one month away. It will be held in New Orleans from November 21-24. To see an overview and links, click here. To accessthe online program booklet, click here. (To see the entire preliminary program book, leave all the fields blank and click the submit button. )

I have made my plane reservation, and will be flying in a smaller size jet called an Embraer-175. Here is a file-shot of the interior of one:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

George H. W. Bush and Virginia Seminary

Before faculty meeting started today, the dean talked a little about his meeting with former president George H. W. Bush, and showed us the presidential cufflinks that he was given. The visit was also the topic in the dean's blog today. Here are some excerpts:

...I had the opportunity to meet with former President George H. W. Bush and then later in the day with his Secretary of State James Baker. ...As a lifelong Episcopalian, President Bush mused on his many and varied connections with clergy in our church (leaders like M. L. Agnew, Peter Cheney, and Russ Levenson). Virtually every single priest he mentioned was an alum of Virginia Theological Seminary. ...As we listened to the President reflect on his years of service in various administrations and at the highest levels of leadership in this country, we also heard about the service of our alums who provide a careful faithful witness to the Gospel that supports the people of God....

Monday, October 19, 2009

VTS Football Team Victorious Saturday!

Our Seminary Football Team, The Fighting Friars, fought aptly and bravely on the field Saturday, beating General Theological Seminary 62-38 in a cold, rainy game. GO FRIARS!

photo credit: Cayce Ramey (click to enlarge photo)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

2009 Zabriskie Lectures: Part 1

The first of our convocation lectures was given today by Dr. Eboo Patel - perhaps the first Muslim scholar to give these lectures. Patel is Founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. He was recently appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Initiatives. The presentation was an eloquent and engaging "pep talk" on living together in a diverse world, finding a way to build bridges in a pluralistic society. The audience loved the lecture, although I found its main thrust rather obvious, viz., that in a pluralistic world it is better to build "bridges" than to live in "bubbles" or throw "bombs" (the talk was based on "b" words). Patel believes that the real issue and challenge in bridge-building is not at the intellectual-theological level but turns on skill-building at praxis--getting youth from diverse backgrounds together to work improving this world, accepting each others full humanity and dignity. Unfortunately, this left the talk rather devoid of theological reflection. Things started to get more interesting in the discussion period following the lecture. Prof. Elizabeth Kimball, tomorrow's lecturer, pressed Patel on the question of ultimate truth in a world of diversity. At this point it became clear that Patel is not advocating a strong pluralism that believes all religions are equally true, but a weaker sort of pluralism that celebrates diverse ethnic, racial, and religious groups each maintaining and deepening their claims to have the best insights while committing to improve together this present, concrete world.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Big Tree Down

The huge tree in front of the campus house of my colleague Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams is down (the old Jim Ross and then, Ellen Davis, house). This was the tree on Seminary Road so large, the sidewalk circled around it. It fell suddenly, late enough at night that no cars or pedestrians were hit. Apparently, much of the root-system was dead; this was a felling waiting to happen. The tree will be much missed by the walkers and runners who passed it every day.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Jonah "In the Belly of the Whale" (Music-Video)


Friday, October 02, 2009

New English Translation of the Septuagint

After many years (since the 19th century work of Lancelot Brenton), there is now a new English translations of the Septuagint: "NETS" = Pietersma, Albert, and Benjamin G. Wright III, eds., A New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included Under That Title (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007; pp. xx + 1027).

Update: An online version is available free as PDF files: click here.

I understand that the textual base of NETS is the Göttingen Septuagint, and that where that work is not yet complete, the edition by Rahlfs (1935) is used. As for translation theory, it may be considered a modified NRSV.

I hope that the folks at BibleWorks will be able to get a license to incorporate this into the program! Accordance already has it as an add-on module. I had an email this morning that Dove Booksellers has the volume for about $27 (click here), but Amazon has it for $19 (use the link-box above).