Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library

Photo from National Geographic

I’ve only recently become aware of the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. It is a fascinating website with some incredible pictures of the scrolls. You can search for the scrolls by site, language, or content. I’d highly encourage you to take a look and practice reading! Be sure to afterwards remember how thankful you are for printed critical editions!

You can see the site here.

Narrative Criticism and North America

Over at Crux Sola, Christopher Skinner has a very intriguing post on narrative criticism research on the Gospels being geographically located mainly in North America or to North Americans who study abroad. Conversely, research in Europe has continued to focus more on historical questions. I think his question is an intriguing one, why are North Americans and Europeans asking different questions?

As I’m at my second UK university, I can verify that generally (but not all) of the research among faculty members is of a historical nature. A correlation I’ve noticed has been that scholars who are doing more narrative critical work tend to be those who are seem to be either be more hermeneutically self-aware or who are interested in reading the Bible as scripture. This isn’t the only factor, but a trend I’ve noticed.

Do you have any thoughts?

Kevin Vanhoozer on Inerrancy

Below is Kevin Vanhoozer’s presentation of an Augustinian perspective on inerrancy of Scripture that was shown at the annual ETS meeting in November. I’m generally in agreement with most of Vanhoozer’s work on hermeneutics and am also happy with his nuancing here as opposed to some others. Hope you enjoy.

HT: Mike Birtd

C.S. Lewis as a ‘Man of Letters’ rather than Scholar

downloadAs many are quite aware, this year marks the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death and there have been various functions in Cambridge to commemorate his life and work since moving here in October. In whatever time has alloted this term, I have been trying to read more Lewis and books about him.

Recently I read Jacqueline Glenny’s short booklet, “C.S. Lewis’s Cambridge” and I came across a quote from John Stevens, one of Lewis’ Magdalene College colleagues at Cambridge. Stevens’ description of Lewis is a healthy reminder to those of us engaged in biblical research.

“…if talk was his play, books were his love. The enthusiasm and relish which C.S.L. brought to his reading, and that not only in the fields where he was acknowledged master, were infectious. He did not regard himself as a scholar, but as a man of letters. The backgrounds of academic controversy, research and criticism were kept rigorously in their place. He spent his time reading texts rather than reading about them.”

See:

Jacqueline Glenny, “C.S. Lewis’s Camridge”, Cambridge: Christian Heritage Press, 2003.

John E. Stevens, ‘In Memoriam: Professor C.S. Lewis’, Magdalene College Magazine and Record, 8, (1963-1964), p.13.

Gordon McConville on the Paradox of Deuteronomy

Lately much of my research has focused on the Solomon narrative in 1 Kings 1-11. With this it is impossible to escape the voluminous amount of secondary literature that has been written on the Deuteronomistic History where the narrative is embedded. While researching various theories on the DH and the theology of Deuteronomy in general I came across a lecture on Deuteronomy from Gordon McConville. McConville is a leading scholar on Deuteronomy and OT Theology. This lecture is on the Paradox of Deuteronomy that he delivered at the Lutheran School of Theology in Aarhus. You can listen to the lecture here.

Brian LePort’s Short Review of Runge’s Greek Discourse Grammar

Brian LePort recently posted a positive short review of Steve Runge’s Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Hendrickson 2010). My linguistic journey began when I was introduced to using linguistics as tool for exegesis when I took a Biblical Hebrew Syntax course at Southeastern Seminary. Then while at Edinburgh I purchased Runge’s DGGNT and ultimately utilised the concepts from the chapter on Information Structure (Word Order Analysis) for my MTh dissertation on fronting in Amos 3-6.

Three things confirmed for me on the reasonableness of the concepts advocated in DGGNT: First, it was a cross-linguistic approach. The principles found in the grammar have been utilised by linguists and fieldworkers working in numerous types of languages. Thus, the principles are reasonable because they derive from how language works and is processed.  Second, while at Edinburgh I worked with a lecturer in the linguistics faculty and she found the framework linguistically responsible. Here was a linguistics scholar, not a Greek scholar, validating the linguistic framework. The last reason is the explanatory power I found while writing my dissertation. I found that I could explain particular phenomena in Amos that either scholars just make intuitively, but with no exegetical basis, or simply could not answer because they felt the evidence was ambiguous.

A great quote from Brian’s original post that sums my own feelings:

I confess that prior to reading this book I overlooked most (or read without being very conscious) of the devices used by authors to do things as simple as emphasizing the main theme over against an athematic point, or when the author seems to be commenting/explaining the text within the text, or when the author wants to introduce a change in time or place. In fact, many of these chapters introduced ideas that were completely new to me. If not completely new, then paradigm shifting and mind expanding. I found that my reading of the text seemed to go from 2-D to 3-D in the process.

Read the entire review here.

Starting at Tyndale House

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’s Three Applications for becoming a Better Writer

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 provingarguingdemonstrating, but it does not prize writing.”

Read the entire post here.