Sep 7, 2013

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below.

Lawrence Boadt; Richard Clifford and Daniel Harrington, eds.
Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction
Reviewed by Richard G. Smith

David J. A. Clines and Ellen van Wolde, eds.
A Critical Engagement: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honour of J. Cheryl Exum
Reviewed by George Savran

James G. Crossley
Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism: Quests, Scholarship and Ideology
Reviewed by Halvor Moxnes

Walter Groß and Erasmus Gaß
Studien zum Richterbuch und seinen Völkernamen
Reviewed by Trent C. Butler

Todd R. Hanneken
The Subversion of the Apocalypses in the Book of Jubilees
Reviewed by Robert Foster

Jonathan Kearney
Rashi—Linguist Despite Himself: A Study of the Linguistic Dimension of Rabbi Solomon Yishaqi’s Commentary on Deuteronomy
Reviewed by Siam Bhayro

William E. Mierse
Temples and Sanctuaries from the Early Iron Age Levant: Recovery after Collapse
Reviewed by Jonathan S. Greer

Jonathan T. Pennington
Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction
Reviewed by Cornelis Bennema

Jacqueline S. du Toit
Textual Memory: Ancient Archives, Libraries and the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Ingeborg Löwisch

Yair Zakovitch
Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch
Reviewed by Ronald Hendel

Sep 6, 2013

Some Advice on Writing

Even though some of Brian Doyle's advice here is not as relevant for academic writing, I think that there is still wisdom to be gleaned. Use the link above to read the entire article, but these two humorous paragraphs are what I found most helpful.

The best writers do not write about themselves but about everyone else. The best writers are great listeners. Learn to ask a question and then shut your mouth and listen. Use silence as a journalistic tool; people are uncomfortable with it and will leap to fill the holes, often telling you more than they wanted to. Women especially will do this. (Do not misuse this great secret, son.) Everyone has sweet sad brave wonderful stories; give them a chance to tell their stories. So many people do not get the chance. Listening is the greatest literary art. Your ears are your best tools. No one is dull or boring. Anyone who thinks so is an idiot. 

Many fine writers do not get credit for the quality of their prose because they were famous for something else: Lincoln, for example. The best writing is witness. The lowest form of writing is mere catharsis. Persuasive writing generally isn’t. The finest writers in newspapers are often sports and police reporters. When in doubt about a line or a passage, cut it. All writing can be improved by a judicious editor, except the King James Bible, and even there we could stand to lose some of the Old Book, I think. (Don’t tell that to your mother.) Do not let writing be a special event; let it be a normal part of your day. It is normal. We are all storytellers and story-attentive beings. Otherwise we would never be loved or have a country or a religion. You do not need a sabbatical or a grant to write a book. Write a little bit every day. You will be surprised how deep the muck gets at the end of the year, but at that point you can cut out the dull parts, elevate your verbs, delete mere catharsis, celebrate witness, find the right title, and send it off to be published. Any questions?

Sep 5, 2013

New Archaeological Resource: ASORtv

The Americans Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) has created a new resource called ASORtv which is hosted at YouTube. Here are links to some of the presentations.

“ASOR Fellowships: Excitement on a Dig”

"ASOR Fellowships: How Fellowships Help Students"

Tel Hazor Iron I and Iron IIa Slide Show

Tel Hazor Bronze Age Slide Show

Sep 4, 2013

Free eBook: The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor

Go here to download a free eBook entitled, The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor by John Piper and D. A. Carson. There are also links on this page to video presentations from both Carson and Piper.

Sep 3, 2013

"To the Unknown Preaching Method"

Do check out this post by Dr. David Allen entitled, "An Altar Inscribed 'To the Unknown Preaching Method.'” The post begins with this great paragraph.

On any given Sunday in today’s preaching pantheon, one can observe a diverse group of devotees, some paying homage to the chapel of “creativity,” others sitting at the feet of the “culturally relevant.” Some are transfixed at the nave marked “narrative,” while others have their hearts strangely warmed at the chasse of “pop-psychology.” There is never a shortage of worshippers at the “new homiletic” altar, and the “topical” shrine always receives its share of Sunday patrons. Fearful that some as of yet undiscovered homiletical “method” might be missed, the gatekeepers of the pantheon have installed an altar inscribed “to the unknown preaching method.” It is that method which I declare unto you. Actually, the method itself is not “unknown” at all, and like the true church on earth, it has always had its practitioners in every era of church history. In fact, it is the oldest method in the preaching pantheon, having been used by the earliest preachers as far back as the apostolic era of the church. It is called “expository preaching.”

Read the rest here.

Sep 2, 2013

Hurtado on Learning from Fallacies

Larry Hurtado has a good word here on the importance of being self-critical and cautious about new proposals in biblical studies. As Hurtado sums up, "if such great scholars of the past could hold confidently ideas that we now know to be fallacies, today’s scholars need to learn from this."  This is especially worth hearing in a discipline that seems to be enamored with novelty.