Bible

326 posts

How to Read Ancient Texts

I am reading the proofs of my contribution to The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries. The following quotes from Daniel Boyarin are true not only for dealing with what the Talmud has to say about Jesus but for any time we are engaging ancient texts. The effort must be made to read the texts in their own context and resist the temptation to ask of the texts the questions we have, but […]

Why “Shepherd”?

This past Sunday was “Good Shepherd Sunday,” so-called because of the reading from John 10. The entire chapter is full of sheep and shepherd imagery and, for many of us, it is a reminder of how far away from that agrarian experience we are. A colleague on Facebook asked, “So what’s a good 21st C equivalent of a Good Shepherd? Good Librarian? Good Trash Collector? Good Barista?” I think it is an excellent question, a […]

SBL Bible Odyssey & Cruise!

Many who read this blog are members of the Society of Biblical Literature or familiar with it, but many are not aware of the NEH-supported project “Bible Odyssey.” BO was developed to help address the fact that while the Bible has tremendous impact on history, literature, popular culture, and politics, it is more often than not misunderstood, misrepresented, and misused. It was to address such concerns that the Society of Biblical Literature launched the website […]

Targum MS Valmadonna 1 in the Museum of the Bible

There is much debate about the Museum of the Bible, their exhibits and the provenance of some artifacts. One manuscript whose provenance is not in doubt is the Targum MS Valmadonna 1, this was purchased the Green Foundation at Sotheby’s on December 22, 2015 and was gifted to the MOTB. It is the MS I have used for much of my research and I see they now have a nice page up about the MS […]

CS Lewis and George MacDonald on Theological (un)Certainty

This image was on a Facebook meme, so I am not sure of the source of the quotes. The one from Lewis is in keeping with various other analogies which he has made in The Problem of Pain. [Others have pointed out that the quote above is from his Reflections on the Psalms.] There is a passage in his chapter “Divine Goodness” (pp. 32-33) that also provides an analogy with dogs that speaks to this […]

Targum Lamentations Thesis in eBook

I have finally finished editing my doctoral thesis (from 20 years ago!) to make it accessible in ePub format! I have made no substantive edits to the text, so any errors present in the earlier version remain (the PDF is still available here). There are some quirks. The fonts seem to have come through ok, but where Hebrew/Aramaic/Syriac text is followed by a footnote the footnote sometimes(?) ends up at the end of the word, […]

Ruth in a time of Depression

This week the Daily Office readings take us through the Book of Ruth and today (Wednesday) we begin chapter two. The chapter opens with a bit of foreshadowing, letting us know that “Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.” I have written elsewhere that Boaz is a marginalized figure in the Book of Ruth, who has a key role but is […]

Morning Prayer and Ruth

The Old Testament reading in the Daily Office this week (7 Epiphany, Year A) is the Book of Ruth.1 An appropriate text as we head into Lent, Naomi and Ruth experience the vicissitudes of life, from grief and widowhood, migration and isolation, to friendship, loyalty, and love. If you are looking for more resources on the Book of Ruth you will find at the menu above my brief commentary on the Book of Ruth, essays […]

Confusion is Sovereign

Warning: This short post is the definition of pedantic. I am going to quibble with the use of the word “sovereign” as applied to God by many Reformed theologians.  It is not surprising that exploring the topic of suffering and grace has led me to consider questions of humanity’s free will, predestination, and God’s sovereignty. For many, the origins and purpose of suffering are directly related to the latter, God’s control over all of creation and history. If God is truly “sovereign” then all events in our lives are controlled and dictated by God. God truly is sovereign . […]