Tuesday, May 28, 2024

An "Eggsegesis" of Amos 8:1-12, by Graham McKim


Click the images to greatly enlarge them. My student Graham McKim submitted this artwork as his final exegetical assignment in my OT-2 course this spring. The use of the Pysanky egg to illustrate key themes of Amos 8:1-12 is innovative and effectively executed, making the project a standout example of integrating traditional exegesis with creative expression. The egg features two main images: a basket of ripe fruit with flies (representing the coming demise due to exploitation) and a balance scale with unequal weights (representing economic injustice).

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Amos 8:1-12, A Linocut Project by Gabriel Oakes

The image below can be greatly enlarged by clicking it: 

Here is an excerpt from Gabriel's own explanation of the linocut: "The societal connotations of fruit as a sign of abundance are quickly evoked through bold fruits and bright colors in the piece. However, as one looks closer, it becomes clear that all is not well. The background of the image is filled with swarms of bugs, a sign of the imminent destruction and defilement of the fruit. The bugs in the image are a creative embellishment on the text, meant to illustrate the theme of God’ s destruction and the lack of purity in even the seemingly good members of society, who are castigated in the pericope for their abuse of the poor and needy from their positions of community trust and economic power." 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Liturgical Dance: JOB 23:1-17

Four of my Seminarians composed, crafted, and performed this liturgical-dance interpretation of Job 23 as a final exegetical project in my OT-2 course this Spring. Classmates Santana Bartoldos, Maggie Paul, Ellie Singer, and Lydia Arnts collaborated in creating the dance and recording the video embedded below. Music Composed and Performed by Santana Bartoldus; Liturgical Dance Composed and Performed by Lydia Arnts, Ellie Singer, & Maggie Paul. 

As the video begins, Lydia enters as Job and lays his legal case before God (vv. 4-5). Job kneels on the ground in rebellion (v.2) and God (Maggie) faces away reflecting Job's sense of abandonment but also God's allowing Job space to vent and imagine. Job's beckoning hand movements reflect his imagined ideal of being able to summon God. As Ellie takes up the part of Job (@ 00:26), she enacts vv. 8-9, where Job looks to every direction in search of God, but cannot see him. Job’s fragility is expressed in broken, echoing F major clusters which pass quickly into a circular triplet motive with an upward-reaching, stretched-thin top voice. The circularity of the gesture conveys a sense of motion and also of futility, as Job cannot catch God’s tail, try though he might. She arises as "gold" (v. 10) at 00:47. Then she proceeds to walk in step with God. Planing octave+third chords convey Job’s steadfastness in keeping God’s way. Verses 13-14 come to life as Ellie embodies God's pumping up God's arms. Job's dread seen in v. 15 comes to life as Maggie, as Job, is covered by darkness (v. 17), yet at the end she raises her head expressing the persistence and defiance expressed in the NIV's rendering of v. 17.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

ICON on Job 23:1-17, by Kate Mumey


Kate Mumey created this icon as part of her final project in my Spring Old Testament Interpretation course. Here is an excerpt of her description of Job: "This is not an icon of a man who feels himself embraced by the loving arms of a just and true God. This icon is fear, anger, and the most feverish desperation. In Job’s own words, he is in search, and the language [of finding God], reverential though it is, implies the absence of God, and he has searched for this elusive and unresponsive God. There is panicked energy in the arms of Job. You can almost see it shooting out of his fingertips in desperation for confrontation and understanding from his God."

Monday, May 13, 2024

Visual AI Meditations on Psalms 51 and 121 by Greg Williams

 For his final project for my Psalms class, Greg Williams leveraged his experience with prompt engineering and design and development of artistic concepts to create DALL-E (ChatGPT) images illuminating Psalms 51 and 121. Below are some of his images and excerpts of his discussion of them:  

Psalm 51:3, "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me." The image reflects the psalm's "profound and raw honesty with respect to...the depth of sin." The ash and charcoal style fits the liturgical deployment of the Psalm on Ash Wednesday. 
Psalm 121:3, "He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber." Greg explains the image as follows: "John Brown chose Harpers Ferry as the site of his famous raid and attempt to start an abolitionist slave revolt because of the importance of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the underground railroad and the ability of enslaved African-Americans to move in secret and with some safety in the many nooks and crannies of this mountainous region. The final inspiration for this image, then, is the concept of enslaved African-Americans escaping through treacherous mountains at night guided and protected by God." The Harlem Renaissance style is Greg's deliberate choice. 

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Star Hebrew Students Graduating Today

Luke, Katie, Myself, Thomas, Tom


Wednesday, May 08, 2024

ARTWORK on Psalm 13 by Daisy Colón


Graduating M.Div. Senior Daisy Colón created this mixed-media artwork as part of her final project in my Psalms course this semester. The artwork offers a powerful visual corollary to Psalm 13's themes of distress and hope. Daisy notes that the cry "how long?" occurs multiple times in the poem (four times in vv. 1-2). Here is human wretchedness, alone under a giant sky, on rough, black sinking ground.