Biblical Studies Carnival 190 for December 2021

First, let me apologize to Bob MacDonald for not posting a link to his carnival last month. I simply forgot. I blame the end of a busy semester, SBL hangover, COVID, anything but old age. Bob did a great job, still worth visiting the November 2021 carnival.

So what is a Biblical Studies Carnival? In the early days of blogging, people would collect blog posts on a particular topic and call it a carnival. I have no idea why a carnival (as opposed to a yard sale, a circus, or a monthly index… it’s an internet thing). There were psychology carnivals, sociology carnivals, etc. In March 2005, Joel Ng posted the first Biblical Studies Carnival at his now defunct blog, Ebla Logs. But nothing is really dead on the internet. You can still read that first carnival on The Wayback Machine. The first link is to Jim Davila, at, a remarkable blog still going strong after all these years. I notice the one-time keeper of the Biblioblog Top Fifty list, Peter Kirby (although his blog Christian Origins is now gone). Jim West hosted in November 2006, although that version of his blog no longer exist (as far as I know). Some of the older blogs have (sadly) been taken over by spammers.

Prior to 2012, Jim Linville kept the list of Biblical Studies Carnivals. When Jim retired from this role in August 2012, I volunteered to be the “keeper of the carnival list.” This means I try to draft (harass) people into volunteering to host the Biblical Studies Carnival. I keep a master list of Carnivals with links here on Readng Acts (in the banner, or click here).

Blogging has come and gone, and maybe come back again. Some bloggers moved into podcasting or producing YouTube videos. Others remembered they had a real life beyond blogging. Sometimes students blogged for a few years then graduated and got jobs that took them away from regular posts. Nevertheless, some have persisted. Even though I would love to see the return of N. T. Wrong, there is a new generation of biblical studies bloggers.

Here are the upcoming Biblical Studies Carnival Hosts with their twitter feeds so you can spam them with links to your own blog the moth they are hosting.

  • 191 January 2022 (Due February 1) –  Jim West,  Zwingli Redivivus  @drjewest
  • 192 February 2023 (Due March 1) – Bobby Howell, The Library Musings  @SirRobertHowell
  • 193 March 2022 (Due April 1) – Amateur Exegete,  @amateurexegete
  • 194 April 2022 (Due May 1) – I Need a Volunteer!
  • 195 May 2022 (Due June 1) – Bob MacDonald at Dust  @drmacdonald

I have opened for the second half of the year, so if you want to volunteer, now is the time to step up. Contact me via email plong42 or twitter, @plong42. If you want, you can follow me on twitter too, I am relatively harmless.

Now on with the December 2021 Biblical Studies Carnival!


Hebrew Bible

H-Judaic mourns the passing of  Baruch A. Levine. Judith Kovacs died on December 28. Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Norman Golb died on December 29.

Alex Finkelson at Scribes of the Kingdom, Eden’s Serpent sans Satan: Protoevangelium as curse

Gary Greenberg started a new series on “Why Can’t We Date the Exodus?” Here is Part I: Introduction. Part 2 covers The Merneptah Stele and the Book of Judges.

Kevin Chen posted an interested article at Cateclesia Institute, The “Deuteroevangelium” in Numbers 21–24. I am pretty sure he made the word deuteroevangelium up. Chen defines it as “a second proclamation of the gospel based squarely on Gen 3:15 and fleshed out with greater detail and scope with the help of Abrahamic covenant texts.”

Jesse Johnson on The Beauty of Proverbs 31.

Claude Mariottini, The Book of the Prophet Micah – Part 2 (part one was posted in October). Claude also rang in the new year with Is God Violent? in anticipation of his new book, Divine Violence and the Character of God.

On December 7, Michael Bird tweeted “Sweet Mother of Melchizedek!” Twitter users went a bit crazy over this (some probably added as a tattoo over their hearts), but Claude Mariottini responded with “Who Was Melchizedek’s Mother?”

Bob MacDonald has been working with John Forbes, D.D., LL.D., Emeritus professor of Oriental Languages, Aberdeen, following some wild geese (namely messianic beliefs in the nineteenth century). There are at least eight parts to this series so far, and yes, there is music involved.


Andrew Lawler, Unearthing David’s city, from his chapter on archaeologist Eilat Mazar in Under Jerusalem (2021). I read the book and highly recommend it. Here is a review from the WSJ.

The Madaba Plains Project After Fifty Years (youtube)

Cache of 13,000 ostraca unearthed in Upper Egypt’s Sohag

The Ten Best Ancient Greek Archaeological Discoveries of 2021

Second Second Temple period synagogue found in Magdala. Mostly just news reports for not, looking forward to reading what the archaeologist say.

10,000 Roman coins in Huntingdon hoard.

Best physical evidence of Roman crucifixion found in Cambridgeshire

Archaeologists debate over the location of the biblical city of Bethsaida

Fact or fiction? The mass-suicide at Masada

Carl Rasmussen has a short report (with photos) of changes at Sardis to make the site more accessible for visitors. He opines, “I am not certain if this change is ‘good.'”

Lonely Planet has a helpful list of the Top Ten museums in Istanbul and Carl Rasmussen alerts us to a museum in the Istanbul airport (with plenty of pictures)

New Testament


Ian Paul asks, “At what time of year was Jesus really born?” Read the post, it is very good. His conclusion is spot-on: “The main point of Christmas is not chronology but theology.”

David Turner mixes a little apocalyptic into the Advent season.

No, “Xmas” Was Not Invented to Advance a Secularist Agenda

Where was Jesus born?

How Joseph Met Mary In the [Apocryphal] Gospel of James, and The Magi, Herod, and A Flight to Egypt from Sententiae Antiquae. Not a biblical studies blog per se, but it has become one of my favorites over the last few months. Well worth following on twitter: @sentantiq

Doug Campbell comments on his open source article The Future of New Testament Theology. Follow the link to read or download the article.  He has several other Christmas posts worth reading: Why do Matthew and Luke offer different birth narratives?  What happens when we read the Magnificat with the Benedictus?  and The preaching of John the Baptist in Luke 3.

The Old Testament and the Infant Christ is an Advent meditation on Matthew 2:1–21 by Trevor Laurence from the Cateclesia Institute’s event “An Unexpected Glory: A Night of Advent Worship.”

Not really a blog, but HaAretz has a fascinating look at Jerusalem’s Aqueducts, arguing Pilate built the system. At least go check out the photographs.

Marg Mowczko has an excellent post on Damaris in Athens (Acts 17).

Jacob Prahlow had several great posts this month, including Paul and the Gentile Problem and The Letters of Paul in Justin Martyr (Part 1)

Tommy Wasserman posted a report on a New Lectionary Leaf (L1663) in Uppsala to Evangelical Textual Criticism.

James McGrath comments on Jonathan Bernier’s Rethinking the Dates of the New Testament.

An excellent long-read at Marginalia by Steve Mason, Why Josephus Matters.

The History of the Ancient Greek City of Smyrna


Mark Edward, @biblemarkedward – The Origins of Jesus as Divine Agent

John MacDonald – LGBTQ + Rights And The Birth Of Christianity (Remembering The Work Of Bishop John Shelby Spong). John also responded to a video by Mike Licona on the historicity of the resurrection.

Peter Goeman wonders What is Covenant Theology?

Jim West has a few things to say about Theological Anthropology, 500 Years after Martin Luther, a new volume from Brill.

Book Reviews

Academic Book Review

David Beldman, Judges (Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary; Eerdmans 2020). Reviewed by Phillip J. Long

Jacob N. Cerone and Matthew C. Fisher, Daily Scriptures: 365 Readings in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (Eerdmans 2021), Reviewed by Brent Niedergall, my review is here (from November), and here are Jim West’s thoughts.

James K. Hoffmeier, The Prophets of Israel: Walking in the Ancient Paths (Kregel Academic, 2021). Reviewed by Phillip J. Long.

Greg Lanier and Will Ross, The Septuagint: What It Is and Why It Matters (Crossway, 2021) Reviewed by Brent Niedergall.

John Goldingay, Ecclesiastes. The Bible in God’s World Commentary (Cascade Books, 2021). Reviewed by Brent Niedergall.

Aron Dotan, Studies in Hebrew Linguistics and Masora (Bialik Institute, 2021). Reviewed by Kim Phillips.

Christoph Heilig is the winner of the 2022 Lautenschaleger Award for is (open access) book Paulus als Erzähler? Eine narratologische Perspektive auf die Paulusbriefe. (via  Félix Cortez, Within the Veil: The Ascension of the Son in the Letter to the Hebrews (Fontes Press, 2021), Reviewed by Spencer Robinson

Jim West posted a note on an upcoming book: Karl Barth’s Epistle to the Romans: Retrospect and Prospect.  When the book is released in late May 2022 it will be open access.

Steve Walton has a short comment on Craig Keener’s new book (Miracles Today). He likes it: “this is a nuanced, well-evidenced and thoughtful account which repays reading.”

Peter head has a short note on a new book on Edgar Goodspeed, Todd M. Hickey & James G. Keenan, Edgar J. Goodspeed, America’s First Papyrologist (California Classical Studies 8, 2021)

Brian Small has a note on new English translation of Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Hebrews.

Other Randomness

Academic Research

Michael Bird has been posting to Substack, “Word from the Bird.” For example, he reflects on listening to “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” Podcast. Just recently, he commented on his own upcoming book, “Why I Wrote a Book on Religious Freedom.” Most of this is behind the Substack paywall, so we may never know.

Anyone want to play “Where in the world is Dirk Obbink?”

Bobby Howell asks (and offers answers) to the question, Should you pursue a Ph.D.?

Prehistoric Israelis enjoyed their booze some 7,000 years ago

Here is the Christianity Today’s 2022 Book Awards. they missed your favorite, but the top two in the biblical studies categories are both worthy.

Clint Archer at Cripplegate asks, “Is Elder-rule an Orwellian Nightmare?” He says, “As freaky as it is to know you have someone watching over you, the Bible portrays this reality as a blessed privilege of a healthy church.”

Strange that it needs to be said, but don’t introduce laypeople to verbal aspect theory.






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