Aug 16, 2014

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. 

Johann Cook and Hermann-Josef Stipp, eds.
Text-Critical and Hermeneutical Studies in the Septuagint
Reviewed by Ken M. Penner

Carol J. Dempsey
Amos, Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk
Reviewed by Stephen Breck Reid

Ralph K. Hawkins
The Iron Age I Structure on Mt. Ebal: Excavation and Interpretation
Reviewed by Robert D. Miller II

Reinhard Gregor Kratz
Historisches und biblisches Israel: Drei Überblicke zum Alten Testament
Reviewed by Göran Eidevall

Steve Moyise, Bart J. Koet, and Joseph Verheyden, eds.
The Scriptures of Israel in Jewish and Christian Tradition: Essays in Honour of Maarten J. J. Menken
Reviewed by Arie W. Zwiep

Pheme Perkins
Reading the New Testament: An Introduction
Reviewed by Thomas P. Nelligan

Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Land, eds.
Paul and His Social Relations
Reviewed by Jin Hwang

Johanna Stiebert
Fathers and Daughters in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by George Savran

Marie-Laure Veyron
Le toucher dans les Évangiles
Reviewed by Abson Joseph

Samuel Wells and George Sumner
Esther and Daniel
Reviewed by Timothy J. Stone

Aug 15, 2014

Thoughts on Using Robin Williams in Your Sermon

Allen White has some good advice here about using Robin Williams in your sermons. In general I think that if you are going to use Robin Williams as a way of showing your audience that your preaching is relevant then don't. If your congregation doesn't already know that your preaching is relevant then this will not help. But if you see that referencing Williams is a genuine teaching moment then proceed with caution for at least the reasons outlined in the article.

Aug 13, 2014

Hurtado on the Septuagint

Larry Hurtado has a brief primer on the Septuagint and some suggestions on related helpful resources here.

Aug 12, 2014

The Preacher and Text Criticism

Steve Patton, in the latest issue of Preaching, has some helpful advice here on handling text-critical issues in the context of preaching.

Aug 11, 2014

The Problem of "Unconscious Writing"

Every now and again, I meander through my bookshelves. While doing this the other day, I noticed a slim volume on writing and my curiosity got the better of me. In it, I found the following observations to be true of much of what I read in biblical studies and uncomfortably close to the mark in some of my own work.

"Most of the novice's difficulties start with the simple fact that the paper he writes on is mute. Because it never talks back to him, and he because he's concentrating  so hard on generating ideas, he readily forgets—unlike the veteran—that another human being will eventually be trying to make sense of what he's saying. The result? His natural tendency as a writer is to think primarily of himself—hence to write primarily for himself. Here, in a nutshell, lies the ultimate reason for most bad writing.

"He isn't aware of his egocentrism, of course, but all the symptoms are of his root problem are there: he thinks through an idea only until it is passably clear to him, since for his purposes, it needn't be any clearer; he dispenses with transitions because it's enough that he knows how his ideas connect; he uses a private system—or no system—of punctuation; he doesn't trouble to define his terms because he understands perfectly well what he means by them; he writes page after page without bothering to vary his sentence structure; he leaves off page numbers and footnotes; he paragraphs only when the mood strikes him; he ends abruptly when he decides he's had enough; he neglects to proofread the final job because the writing is over . . . Given his total self-orientation, its no wonder that he fails repeatedly as a writer. Actually, he's not writing at all; he's merely communing with privately with himself—that is, he's simply putting thoughts down on paper.

"I call this 'unconscious writing.' The unconscious writer is like a person who turns his chair away fro a listener, mumbles at length to the wall, and then heads for home without a backward glance."     

John R. Trimble, Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing, 2nd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000), 4-5.

Aug 10, 2014

Cultivating Humility in Seminary

Some sound advice here for those in, or considering, seminary.