Friday, April 30, 2010

Jeremiah, Trumeau, South Porch, St. Pierre Church

We finished our treatment of Jeremiah in OT-3 class this morning. We started the discussion with a look at the above image of Jeremiah brought in by my student Shivaun, who had enjoyed studying it in her medieval art history courses. It is from the Abbaye St-Pierre de Moissac, which was on the pilgrims route during the Middle Ages and is generally considered a treasure of Romanesque architecture. Shivaun had several interesting observations about this figure, which for her communicates something of the intense emotions and suffering of Jeremiah. The animated body reveals the passionate nature of the soul within. There was a good bit of discussion of how he displays a scroll where his prophetic vision is written. It was the burning Word of God that he bore as a prophet in the tradition of Moses that created such pathos and polarity of emotion in his interactions with God and with his fellow Judeans.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Jeremiah 18:6, The Potter" by Lisa Ann Hoffman

A few posts ago I shared an image depicting Isaiah by one of my OT-3 students, Lisa Ann Hoffman, candidate for Holy Orders, Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. Well, we've been deep into Jeremiah in OT class lately, and we have looked at a second piece of art by Lisa, an image based on Jeremiah's metaphor of God as "potter." Here is the drawing:

Our discussion included reference to the supple nature of reality as revealed by contemporary Chaos Theory, and God's need to work with, and at, shaping a "wobbly" creation that is far from fully stable and predictable. Human history is far from a reflection of God's will (what Heschel spoke of as a type of pantheism) but is rather much more like unpredictable clay on a potter's wheel. One student noted that even an expert potter never really knows when one of her clay vessels might explode in the kiln! Your observations, reflections, and comments are most welcome (click "comments" below).

Monday, April 26, 2010

John F. Kutsko named new SBL Director

The Society of Biblical Literature has just named John Kutsko the new SBL Executive Director. Congratulations John! For the complete announcement from the SBL, click here. He has an impressive background. He completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1997 under the mentorship of Peter Machinist. His revised dissertation was published as Between Heaven and Earth: Divine Presence and Absence in the Book of Ezekiel. He has worked as Associate Editorial Director at Hendrickson publishers, and most recently since 2003 has been a publisher and director at Abingdon Press.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Interactive Map of Archaeological Locales

On the University of Southern California Website, there is available a searchable map of archaeological sites in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The map shows about 7,000 archaeological locales, including well known spots such as Shiloh and the Qumran caves along with many less-familiar sites. To access the map, click here.

Click to access the map

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Isaiah 14:12" by Lisa Ann Hoffman

I have a talented artist in my OT Introduction course this year, Lisa Ann Hoffman Candidate for Holy Orders, Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. Briefly at the start of class this morning she shared her drawing of Isaiah 14:12, part of the widely known poem about the thrusting down out of heaven of a boastful figure, described in astral imagery. Here is the image:

Isaiah 14:12

Comments (click below) are welcome. Lisa has said she welcomes hearing how others see and interpret her artwork. Part of what Lisa notes about this image is the strong impression that the figure is heavily weighted down under God's judgment. I believe she conveys well how frail all opposition appears over against Isaiah's vision of God's rock-solid reality.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More on Waltke, Bible, and Evolution

As a follow up to my last post on Bruce Waltke, here is an ABC News video on the uproar, filed by Dan Harris.

As you'll see, the video notes that Dr. Waltke has quickly found a new position at another (un-named) evangelical school. Their are briefs responses in the video critiquing the foolishness of the anti-evolution position by two folks I know: Randall Balmer who teaches at Barnard College right next to UTS where I once taught, and Peter Enns, who has appeared in this blog before. The video has a caption noting that Peter is now a Senior Fellow at the Biologos foundation.

update: my thanks to stephen carlson for updating this post (see comments). for more on the story from christianity today, click here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Prof. Bruce K. Waltke Forced Out of His Seminary

Bruce K.Waltke

I have only met Prof. Bruce K. Waltke a few times at the SBL meetings, but he seemed a very nice person. Like most Hebrew Bible scholars, I also regularly refer to the Hebrew Syntax volume that he co-authored with Michael Patrick O'Connor. I was shocked to learn recently that Waltke has been forced out of Reformed Theological Seminary. The dismissal of such a well-known, and well-published scholar is really newsworthy. He was forced out for expressing his judgment that faith and evolution are compatible, and that evangelical Christianity could face a crisis for not coming to accept science. "If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult ... some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God's Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness," he stated in a video that has now been removed from the website of the BioLogos Foundation. I first learned about "BioLogos" in October of 2008, when Dr. Francis Collins, head of the human genome mapping project, endorsed the group in a talk he gave here at Virginia Seminary. In that same talk he presented some slides of the genetic evidence that establishes evolution as unquestionably true. Collins worries very much about what will happen to conservative Christian students when they get to college and see this evidence, conservative Christians who have been convinced that one must choose between the Bible and evolution. The BioLogos Foundation is trying to popularize the alternative view that Christianity and evolution can be embraced together.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Reader's Hebrew and Greek Bible


A while back in February 2008, I posted on the Reader's Hebrew Bible, and offered some sample pages for your review (click here). Now, I've just received free in the mail from Zondervan a beautiful leather-bound copy of the complete Reader's Hebrew and Greek Bible, treating the two Testaments of the Christian Bible. It really is a beautiful fine-grained black European leather volume with a neat design that should help people keep their Hebrew and Greek fresh, and get in the habit of reading Scripture without having to look so much up in a dictionary. All Hebrew words in the text occurring less than 100 times are footnoted with context-specific glosses. Proper nouns occuring less than 100 times are in gray. In the NT, all Greek words occurring less than 30 times are defined in the notes. There are lexicons included in the volume listing the Hebrew words occurring more than 100 times and the Greek words occurring more than 30 times. I plan to recommend the volume to students who have had a year of biblical language and want to keep it fresh and practice reading over the summer, or after graduation. The authors of the volume offer encouragement, anecdotes, and instructions about this in the preface material.

The Hebrew text is essentially what you would find in BHS, with the accents in place and the poetry laid out properly. All that is missing is the text-critical apparatus and the spaces between poetic cola that the BHS editors inserted. The Greek text used bears mentioning, as it is a somewhat different ecclectic text than most will be used to. The volume uses the reconstructed Greek text that lies behind Today's New International Version (but, there are footnotes showing how this text differs from time to time from the UBS-4 text).

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Anastasis Fresco

We had our Easter Week seminary-eucharist today, Wednesday being our normal all-seminary eucharistic gathering day. The image on the bulletin cover, which Katherine Grieb also commented upon in her sermon, was the celebrated 14th century Byzantine fresco from Saint-Saviour-in-Chora, Istanbul, entitled Anastasis / Resurrection.

The image is extremely rich, but here are few of the observations that I have begun to pick up about it. There is a strong sense of the defeat of death and sin, symbolized in part by the broken doors of Hades under Christ's feet and by all the locks and keys of Hades that lie scattered across the bottom of the image. Interestingly, though, Adam and Eve seem unaware of their new freedom, and need to be actively pulled by Christ out of their tombs. They do not grab hold of him at all, but have Christ pulling them by their wrists up and into his presence. This is a very moving emphasis on Christ's dynamic initiative in our salvation. The prerogative and action are all on Jesus' side. Jesus is pulling them, yanking them, upward, out of the enslavement of sin and death, into life, even into the divine life of the Trinity.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Erich Zenger, 5 July 1939 - 4 April 2010

Hebrew Bible scholar Erich Zenger died on Easter day, April 4th, at the age of 70. I've used Zenger's work in my teaching, particularly in my Psalms seminar, and I have had occasion to mention at least one of his books in a blog post (click here). I found his close work with the Hebrew text to be on target, illuminating, and theologically sensitive. Zenger was described as a passionate and energetic man, a committed supervisor of many doctoral students, and as an untiring advocate of Jewish-Christian relations.

HT: Agade mailing list.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt Today at Judy's


Friday, April 02, 2010

April 1 at Eisenbrauns

Eisenbrauns Book Sellers has posted their wonderful yearly April 1st, Winged Bull, specials! Click here.

The Royal Outhouses of Ashurbanipal

The Royal Outhouses of Ashurbanipal

by Professor P. Spewforth
Winged Bull Press, Forthcoming, Summer 2010
250 pages + 25 plates, English and Akkadian