July 2012 Biblical Studies Carnival

With record heat nearly everywhere in the world this summer, July seems like a down month for Bibliblogs.  I noticed quite a few of the “top fifty” were more or less dormant for the month, perhaps bloggers hibernate between academic terms. But some are out excavating  or other important, non-blog related tasks. Still, there are too many dead links in the Complete Biblioblog list.

Jim Linville quit his blog, posting that he does not have “the time or patience for this anymore.”  Jim did a great job organizing the Biblioblog carnivals for the first half of the year, in addition to creating funny cat pictures and religious bras.  I will be taking over for the second half of 2012.  Jim West has graciously volunteered to host the August Carnival at Zwinglius RedivivusTim Bulkeley will cover September; BLT (Bible, Literature, Translation) will cover October.

If you are interested in hosting a Carnival for November and December (or in 2013), please contact me and I will get you on the schedule.

Hebrew Bible

Peter Enns comments on Divine Violence in the Old Testament, using an older post from John Piper. Enns takes issue with “Piper’s hyper-literalistic defense of Canaanite genocide.”  John Byron adds his comments, Denny Burk wants to draw the discussion back to inerrancy, “This is about the inerrancy and authority of scripture, which Enns seems to call into question at every turn.”  Enns expands his thoughts a bit here, and then again here.  Enns confesses “a bit stunned by those who do not seem the slightest bit concerned about God ordering the Israelites to cleanse the land from Canaanite impurity.”

Things have been quiet at Ancient Hebrew Poetry lately, but John Hobbins has added a detailed review Gender Representation in Ancient Hebrew, in dialogue with David E. S. Stein.

Charles Halton comments on why the study of ancient culture is inseparable from translation at Awilum.com.  Bottom line: too much time spent on paradigms and not enough time reading texts!

Sansblogue asks for help developing a rubric on humor in the Hebrew Bible.  Thankfully this does not involve creating LOL cat pics.

Duane Smith at Abnormal Interests makes some interesting connections between an Akkadian omen text and Isaiah 8:21, “he shall belittle (?) his king and his divine beings.”  Smith describes his work as “no more than a wild speculation,” but it is intriguing nonetheless.

James Pate muses on Psalm 84Psalm 85Psalm 86, and Psalm 87 at Thoughts and Musings. These posts are good running commentaries on the Psalms.

kol-ha-adam has a comment on “true and false prophecy”, interacting with  James E. Brenneman’s article in the Dictionary of Old Testament Prophets. In the end, he wonders “if greater emphasis on the ambiguity of the prophecy itself would have allowed for a more creative and imaginative discussion of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible.”

Meanwhile, Tim Bulkeley is reading through Isaiah at Five Minute Bible Studies.

Henry Neufeld at the Participatory Bible Study Blog offers a reading of Psalm 89:20-37 in the light of Jeremiah 18, including the warning that “a rebellious church might consider a serious reading of Jeremiah 18.”

Second Temple Period and Archaeology 

Roland Boer at Stalin’s Mustache has an insightful post on marketplaces in ancient Israel, summarizing  a fwe of the main pointsin Aharon Sasson’s  Animal Husbandry in Ancient Israel: A Zooarchaeological Perspective on Livestock Exploitation, Herd Management and Economic Strategies (Equinox, 2011).

Abram K-J collected a number of  resources for the study of the Septuagint.

J. K. Gayle contributed a lengthy post on “Interpretive Spins in the Ψαλμοὶ: post-Biblical Torah in Greek in Egypt,” following a trajectory from the Hebrew Bible through the Septuagint.  ” …to bilingual Greek-Hebrew readers, the Greek [of Psalm 78] reads as an insider Jewish translation, one that suggests that Torah study addresses problems in very creative ways.”

Claude Mariottini makes a few comments on The Lost Tombs of the Maccabees.

Luke Chandler shares a picture of a sling stone discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa. I expect this to be the cover story for the next BAR, with the headline “David’s Sling Stone Discovered!!!” Chandler also hints another inscription has been found.

James Tabor has been extremely busy on his blog, including a detailed article on Locating Golgotha.  He surveys evidence for possible locations and concludes that “the traditional site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre fits none of this evidence.”  In unrelated posts, Tabor reviews April DeConick’s Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas and provides a few links to photographs of the Western Wall (kotel) when Abraham Lincoln was president.  These photographs are from the Library of Congress collection.  I am always amazed to see the difference between then and now, especially the depth to which the hill has been excavated.

Jim West pointed out that ASOR now has a Facebook page, so go and “like” it.  You can also go read their website for reliable, up-to-date archaeology news.

New Testament:  Gospels 

Larry Hurtado started the month off with a short note on Early High Christology.   He states that “the sort of Jesus-devotion reflected and affirmed in Paul’s letters seems to have characterized also Jewish-Christian circles of the very first years.”

Michael Kok contributed a piece on “Forgiving Sins… Like God?” at Kata Markon. He wonders if the usual view that Jesus is claiming a divine prerogative in forgiving the paralytic’s sin is correct.

Craig Keener contributed an op-ed peice for the Huffington post declaring that Jesus Existed.  John Byron at The Biblical World made a few comments on the article, as does Larry Hurtado.  Neil Godfrey, on the other hand, is a bit tired of the whole thing.

Thomas Verenna offers this insightful post on Matthew 5:17-18 – Did Jesus abolish the Law?  Thomas thinks that “it is worth mentioning also that Jesus did not fulfill the law.  He did not complete the role of messiah.”  He goes on to say that “the concept behind the denouncement of the old laws really stems from Paul, not Jesus.”  I agree, especially since the saying in Matthew is embedded in a sermon on the proper way to keep the Law!

Jeff Carter comments on the rather obscure line in Mark 6:48, “He was about to pass them by.”

Jim Grey takes a dispensational look at the Olivet Discourse over four posts, in the fourth post he argues that the destruction of Jerusalem in Luke 21 is A.D.70, while the destruction in Matthew and Mark is eschatological.

Ken Schenck at Quadrilateral Thoughts has warns us on the dangers of harmonizing the synoptic gospels, suggesting that “a great deal more artistic license was allowed in telling the story in the ancient world than we would use today?”

The Christian Meets World podcast interviews Ben Witherington III and James Loftus (perennial biblioblog top-dog).  This is the first two parts of a five part series asking believers “How would the gospels look different if they were false?” and non-believers “How would the gospels look different if they were true?”

Michael Bird creates a scholarly paraphrase of Mark 1:1-15.  Like The Message, only funnier.

New Testament: Acts and Paul 

Ferrel Jenkins has several posts collecting photos illustrating Acts 1Acts 2Acts 3, Acts 4,  Acts 5,  Acts 6. These are nice resources, I assume that the series will continue!

Brian LePort at Near Emmaus did a nice post on Stephen’s Speech and another on Paul’s synagogue speech in Acts 13.  He in a related post on The temple in the Book of Acts, LePort says “it seems fair to say that the church was somewhat anti-temple like Qumran,” but “they didn’t abandon it though they thought it had been corrupted.”

Charles Savelle gathers a number of texts in Acts which use the name of Jesus into four categories.  He has another post which lists the women mentioned in Acts, which is helpful but he does not draw any conclusions from this material.

James McGrath points out that “the whole thrust of Paul’s writings has as its central pillar the conviction that God can enlarge his people and be still more inclusive than he had been in the past.”

Tim Gombis has two posts on The Faithfulness of Jesus Christ (Part Two) reflecting on the “lively exchange” between John Barclay and Richard Hays over the phrase pistis Christou in Paul. Gombis offers a “a sort of hybrid between a subjective genitive and adjectival genitive.”

Victoria Laidler at Gaudete Theology has been working through Zondervan’s Five Views on Justification, comparing the Progressive and Traditional views with a few not in the book, such as Orthodox theologian Constantine Scouteris.

Bill Herroman at NT/History wrote a detailed piece on Galatians Chronology, pointing out that “chronological* work on Galatians shouldn’t be about when we think Paul ‘would have said’ what he wrote in Galatians.”  In another post, Bill raises the possibility that Paul escaped from Damascus twice.

Tom Schuessler has been doing a nice series on the relationship of Jesus and Paul, now in three parts with more to come.  “If Paul  had created something new as to his description of Jesus” says Schuessler, “the mother church in Jerusalem would have rejected Paul when he came to them.”  These posts drew my attention to the Pauline Theology blog written by David Capes, who posted an excerpt from his article in Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, ed. Craig A. Evans (Routledge Press) on the Jesus Tradition in Paul. (Yes, I realize that this post is three years old, but it is from July 2009, and this is a July carnival.)

Suzanne McCarthy contributed three posts at BLT on the name Junia in Romans 16.  First, Junia in the Manuscripts, then Junia in the Vamva Bible, and finally Junia in the Patrologiae.  The Manuscripts post is excellent, especially since it includes a number of photographs of the manuscripts discussed.

Roger Olson sermonizes on Grace Works (Philippians 2:12-13). “The paradox of this passage: salvation is both gift and task.”

New Testament:  Jewish Christian Literature 

Brian Small offers a long review of King L. She, The Use of Exodus in Hebrews.  Small remains unconvinced of the significance of Exodus for the book of Hebrews.  Check out Brian’s own Hebrews Carnival for June.   Abram K-J offers a review of Steve Moiyse’s The Later New Testament Writings and Scripture.  

Rich Rhodes at Better Bibles Blog has a post on gender in Hebrews 2:6, in dialogue with Rick Shields, at “believe, teach, confess.”

Bible X has a few comments on doing systematic theology in Hebrews.


Thomas Verenna interacts with Steve Ramey’s article “Can an Atheist Believe in God?”   (See also Political Jesus, Can Atheists Be Pastors?) In related news, Verenna’s book is out, ‘Is This Not the Carpenter?’ The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus.  It is a collection of essays edited along with Thomas Thompson.  Order a copy for your school library, unless you teach at Bob Jones University (actually, order two copies if you teach at BJ!)

Rookie blogger Benjamin Barkley reviews Jason Dulle’s article on the prayers of Jesus to the Father.

J. R. Daniel Kirk at Storied Theology has a long post on Corporate Election, discussion “some of the most insightful and the most troubling of the Church Dogmatics.”

Mark Cortez at Everyday Theology commented on Humans, Hamsters and the Image of God.  He says, “Even rabbits “reflect” God.”  You are going to have to go and read that in context.

Livius has an interesting post linking the view of judgment in 1 Enoch / Paul to Dante.

Jeremy Myers at Til He Comes has been posting excerpts from his book on The Unforgivable Sin.

Scot McKnight collects his thoughts on Dominion Theology / Christian Reconstructionism. Paul C. McGlasson’s  No! A Theological Response to Christian Reconstructionism. 

Richard Dahlstrom warns us against the danger of saying “I just do what the Bible says…” For one thing, no bacon.

Book Reviews

Joel Watts reviews Go and Do: Becoming a Missional Christian by Don Everts. He concludes tthat this book “serves as a push out the door for American evangelicals. No longer should evangelicals simply rely on mission networks in other countries to preach to others, but Christians are being called to always be a missionary.” 

Mason Slater has been reading Cross-Shattered Christ by Stanley Hauerwas.  

Michael Bird has a short review of Colin Kruse’s new Pillar Commentary on Romans.

BiblicalStudies.org.uk reviews David Instone-Brewer’s recent The Jesus Scandals.

Jonathan Robinson at xenos interacts with Leslie Newbigin’s book, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, asking if we really know what a worldview is. 

James McGrath reviewed  Gregory Mobley, The Return of the Chaos Monster.

Ted Gossard reviews Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life, by Lois Tverberg. “This book uniquely helped me better understand the Jewish mindset, or way of life, and how Jesus fulfills that.”

Abram K-J reviews David Garland’s recent Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on Luke.

Steve Wiggins at Sects and Violence in the Ancient World reviewed Jon Butler’s New World Faiths: Religion in Colonial America.

I reviewed Tremper Longman, Introducing the Old Testament from Zondervan. ” …for many people this book will be a handy introduction to books of the Bible which are less familiar.”

Roger Olson reviews Peter Leithart’s Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christianity (IVP 2010).  He calls this a “preliminary review,” although it is quite long and has a number of trenchant criticisms of the book.  “What concerns me most” says Olosn, “is Leithart’s claim that there was no “structural flaw” in Constantine’s relations with the churches.”  My favorite line: ” Who even reads Rushdoony except Christian Reconstructionists?”

Jim West posted a short note on Máire Byrne, author of The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Basis for Interfaith Dialogue in his “Scholars You Should Know” series, as well as a book note on James Crossley’s  Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism.  For a much more detailed examination of Crossley’s book check out Robert Myles’s review on Auckland Theology, part two is here.  Since these lengthy posts only cover the first two chapters, look for more from Myles.

J.K. Gayle reviewd Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James on BLT (which stands for Bible, Literature, Translation, not Bondage, Lesbians and Transsexual).  Lest you think this is a blatant attempt to generate traffic (like my description of his post was), Gayle is more interested in the reactions to the book in the Christian blogging world.  The post includes a kind of mini-Fifty Shades carnival, covering the many posts treating the issues raised by the book and subsequent reactions in the blogging world. The main focus is of course Jared C. Wilson on the Gospel Coalition blog, whose initial post has since been moved/removed.  (Read the original post and follow up here at the Dunedin School, both posts now removed from the Gospel Coalition site.)

Eric Reitan had a few pointed comments to make as well, opining that Wilson’s view “treats gender egalitarianism as the problem and gender hierarchy as the solution, but it seems clear that the reverse is far more likely to be true.”  Suzanne McCarthy has a follow up post entitled “Sex, Submission and 50 Shades of Grey,” which is once again more concerned with the deeper issues behind Wilson’s original post.  She says, ” If we need to use metaphors, can’t we use the metaphors of biblical poetry, of tenderness and love, rather than the metaphors of ‘penetration and colonisation?'”  [I want to ban the word “colonisation” from all polite conversation, FWIW.]

Patriotism and Faith

The fourth of July usually means that there is a steady stream of American Patriotism in all media, Biblibloggers are not immune to the temptation to comment on the Bible and American patriotism.

Scot McKnight has a few comments on Jack Balkin’s book, Living Originalism (Harvard, 2011), on the danger of “treating the Bible as our ‘constitution’”

James McGrath reviews Os Guinness’s new book, A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2012). Timothy Dalrymple also comments on this book at Philosophical Fragments,  America’s Slow-Motion Suicide, an interview with Guinness. 

Rod over at Political Jesus has a few things to say about the Founder’s Bible. The sorts of things that might get him sent to the Gulag.

J. R. Daniel Kirk shares some of his Gleanings on Pacifism.  Kirk says  “I would like to be a pacifist. But then there’s the real world. I hate living in this tension.”  The Itinerant Mind has a series of posts interacting with Dale Allison’s The Sermon on the Mount: Inspiring the Moral Imagination in the light of Christian Anarchism (“the belief that there is no legitimate source of authority other than God.”)  In short, the Itinerant Mind is not happy with Allison.  Read his Pacifism and the LawPacifism and LovePacifism and the Unforgiving Servant, and Pacifism and Hyperbole.

James McGrath comments on Mike Huckabee’s analysis of America’s problems as the result of removing God from schools  McGrath points out that “We read nothing in the New Testament about early Christians trying to impose their beliefs on the Temple in Jerusalem or in pagan temples around the Roman Empire.” In another post, McGrath links to a study on murder rates, showing that the presumably godless countries have a much lower rate than America.  I’d like to see McGrath and Huckabee discuss this over a cup of coffee at Starbucks…oh wait.  Finally, McGrath wonders if Church and Culture are both collapsing together.


Ross Douthat’s July 14th op-ed piece for the NY Times, “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?”, generated a great deal of comment this month.  Rachel Held Evans comments “The real question” she says “is not ‘Can liberal Christianity be saved?’ The real question is: ‘Can Christianity be saved?’”  John Byron also comments on this issue, “I move between various groups feeling like I am a secret agent from the opposing team.”  Brian LePort has two impressive lists of quotes from various blogs on Douthat’s article.

Joel Watts wonders if we really should boycott Chik-A-Fil.  He has some good thoughts, but the article made me very hungry. Check out Stephen Bedard’s thoughts on boycotting Starbucks and/or Chik-a-Fil.

In “What Emergent Christians Don’t Tell You About God’s Glory” , Rod at Political Jesus wonders if the guy that wrote “20 ways to Smoke Cigars for God’s Glory” has thought about applying that principle to a few other practices.

Sansblogue defines marriage and then asks “Why Marry?”

Darren Carlson at  The Gospel Coalition suggests churches give up on short term missions trips.  Citing Robert Lupton, “Contrary to popular belief, most missions trips and service projects do not: empower those being served, engender healthy cross-cultural relationships, improve quality of live, relieve poverty, change the lives of participants [or] increase support for long-term missions work.”  He suggests some ways to improve short-term missions in a follow-up article.

Nick Norelli at Rightly Dividing “enthusiastically recommends”  Except for Fornication: The Teaching of the Lord Jesus on Divorce and Remarriage, by H. Van Dyke Parunak.  In another interesting post, Nick expresses a bit of frustration in a “semi debate” with a Muslim.

Rod at Political Jesus ended the month with a great post on Barriers To Racial Reconciliation.

Science and Faith 

In July scientists welcomed the Higgs Boson into the world, a bouncing baby particle weighing in at a mass between 125–127 GeV/c2.   It was a difficult birth, but mother and child are both doing well.  Usually referred to as The God Particle in the press (stop calling it that!) and the existence of this little thingy allegedly calls into question the existence of God.  Deepak Chopra says it doesn’t,  but that might not settle the question for everyone.  Thankfully.

James McGrath commented that anyone who thinks that the God Particle as anything to do with Theology are “most likely misunderstood both physics and theology.”  I agree, but that does not stop Scott Paeth from wondering about the implications, although he ultimately says “no one should realistically believe that it will provide all answers or dispell all mysteries.”  Taylor Burton-Edwards at emerginumc thinks that “the outcome of disciples of physics collaborating worldwide to live out their discipleship and deliver on a common mission.”  Steve Barr at Big Questions Online asks, “Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God?”  Since most people to not understand God or Quantum physics, I am not sure this is a fair question.  Nevertheless, it is an interesting read.

A church in NewZealand posted a sign declaring that Jesus heals cancer, the Advertising Standards Authority makes them take it down. In all fairness, the church did say he only heals cancer on Sundays, 10AM and 5PM.

Joseph Kelly has a couple of posts on כל־האדם on ecological issues, Climate Change and Biblical Prophecy and Climate Change and Ecological Justice.  Reading Isa 34 “alongside the forecasts of climate scientists” is enlightening.

Blogging and Etc. 

Mark Stevens reflected on “Blogging as a Fluid Discipline,” which he considers his “theological and reflective outlet,” the “home of pensive reflection and egaging conversation.”

Sabio Lantz at  Triangulations made a few observations about the relationship between blog-post length and comments.  From his observations, a shorter post generates more comments.

Aaron White  gives his insight into long-distance PhD programs at Mosissimus Muse, a  new blog started this month.

Joel Willits expresses his love for studying the Bible, “I came to realize that I standing up in front of a group of people to preach a message from the Bible was thrilling.”

Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition encourages Pastors to Fight for the Time to Read by making you read a pair of quotes from Spurgeon and Piper.

David Miller compares teaching languages in Seminary to “Tilting with Windmills” in anticipation of his workshop ” designed to help Greek teachers develop proficiency in spoken Koine.”  He also has some pointed criticisms of Logos Bible Software, “For those who want to misread the Bible like never before, Logos 4 is the ideal program.” Read his post and the comments, it is a stimulating discussion!

Tim Widowfield wonders if the phrase “scholarly consensus” in biblical studies means anything. “The appeal to consensus as ‘a refusal to think.'”

BiblicalStudies.org.uk has some useful information on digitizing books and other study material to share on the Internet. These two posts cover the technical aspects of scanning and creating the files, but also copyrights and other legal issues.


William “The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse” Tapley contributes a peppy tune in support of Mitt Romney for President (via Joel Watts).

From The Onion, Faith Based TV Repair Shop Severely Backed Up.

Take the Fundy Purity Test at Stuff Fundies Like.

Via Thomas Verenna, Biblical Minimalists reenact the Last Supper.

Overzealous Tambourine Player Tazed at Church. It is about time this sort of thing happens.

Why the American Atheist conference is more exciting that the Evangelical Theological Society meetings.

Leeches invade Sea of Galilee.  Possibly this is a reference  to certain televangelists running Holy Land tours.


That’s it for the July 2012 Biblical Studies Carnival.  Thanks to all those that nominated links, I tried to use as many of them as I thought best.  Join Jim West next month for the August Carnival.

14 thoughts on “July 2012 Biblical Studies Carnival

  1. I will now have to remove “colonization” from my vocabulary forever!

    • Maybe it is OK when discussing 18th century British history, but not Fifty Shades.

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