Today is my second “official” day of research since moving to Cambridge to begin reading for the PhD in Hebrew Bible. My research will be done as a reader at Tyndale House during the next three years or so. Tyndale is a Biblical Studies research library that has a strong reputation as a facilitator of Biblical scholarship set in the context of Christian community.
This being only my second day here, I easily see these two themes. Everyday at 11:00am and 4:00pm readers emerge from their desks and gather for tea and coffee, taking a break from the workload to chat and get to know one another. Some of the readers, like myself, are here at Tyndale to conduct long term research, such as for their PhD, but there are also others who may be here for shorter amounts of time – from a single day to a sabbatical. This provides great opportunities to chat with scholars about your research and hear some feedback on your ideas.
In addition to daily tea and coffee, once a week the staff and readers at Tyndale gather for chapel to pray, sing, and listen to Scripture. Today’s chapel, being the first of the new term, was particularly focused on setting our scholarship within the larger context of worship and service to the Church.
During lunch today, George Guthrie (Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union University), who is on sabbatical, gave an hour long presentation on “Technology & the Research Workflow.” This was a valuable time to hear from George on the tools that he uses and continues to refine for his own work. These include scanning, Google books, databases, and bibliographic software. It was a beneficial time for me especially as I am at the beginning of my project.
Today represents one of the largest reasons for wanting to do my research at Tyndale. Not only does it house one of the best research libraries for Biblical Studies but it also has a wonderful Christian ethos among its staff and readers that encourages one another to do the best work he or she can do. I am excited to see what the next 3+ years hold for me here.
Michael Law has posted three helpful applications for becoming a better writer on his blog www.timothymichaellaw.com. His three applications are: read, write, and edit. These applications are not a how-to for writing better, rather they are the practice of becoming a better writer. Some advice given to academics he writes,
“If you’re an academic read at least one piece every day that is not academic. If you imbibe only the fruit of the academic vine you shouldn’t expect to improve. “Academese” is one style of writing that champions proving, arguing, demonstrating, but it does not prize writing.”
Read the entire post here.
Mike Bird recently posted a 25 min. interview with N.T. Wright on his new Pauline book Paul and the Faithfulness of God. It’s a nice interview giving a bit of the history of the book and Wright’s understanding of Paul in the context of Jewish expectation of YHWH’s return to his people.
You can watch the video here.
Christopher Wright has an article over at Christianity Today on reading Old Testament law and the Christian life. The starting place for his article are two recent books: A.J. Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible and Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood which show how clueless many of us can be when thinking about how Scripture speaks today. In his article, Wright provides some helpful ways for us to think about how law still functions as Christian Scripture. My favourite line from the article:
The idea that all the imperative statements in the Bible should be taken literally, as if they all apply to me, is a nonsensical way of handling Scripture.
You can read the whole article here.
I’m several days behind the news but I thought it was still worth posting. On his blog NT Discourse, Steve Runge posted about his article due out next year that critiques Stan Porter’s linguistic framework that was used in his seminal work Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood and subsequent projects. Critique always occurs in scholarly discussions but this one is much more personal for Steve because Stan was his Greek teacher and Steve even served as his TA.
Steve’s entire post is worth reading about the subsequent history between him and Stan as well as the stretches he went to in order to discuss the issues before deciding to write this article for publication.
You can read the post here.
One of my favourite Catholic theologians is Stephen Colbert. In this video he interviews author Dan Brown. Hope you enjoy.
Because I’m studying at a major university, source criticism seems to always be on the horizon even if unspoken. Also, because I live in the UK my American friends usually tend to make reference to Downton Abbey quite often. I never thought these two worlds would collide, but alas they have. To find out about the sources behind Downton Abbey click here. It will change the way you watch the show.
Over at Marginalia Peter Williams, Warden of Tyndale House, has reviewed the 28th edition of Nestle-Aland. Click here to read Peter’s review.
Over at the Tyndale House Tech blog, David Instone-Brewer has again done those of us interested in Old Testament studies a huge favor by compiling electronic tools that will that will aid research in the Old Testament.
In his post he discusses things such as the Mac vs. PC, unicode, Bible software, along with other online resources. If you are interested in Old Testament research, you should visit his post.