Biblical Studies Carnival XVI (March 2007)

[Brandon Wason, Novum Testamentum Blog, April 1, 2007, original URL:


Biblical Studies Carnival XVI

Posted in weblogs at 9:18 pm by Brandon Wason

Welcome to Biblical Studies Carnival XVI, a highlight of blog posts on Biblical studies during the month of March 2007. For more information on this phenomenon, see Tyler Williams’ recent article in the SBL Forum.

I wanted to start off this carnival by dedicating it to the memory of Herman Ridderbos (1909-2007). Ridderbos, Reformed theologian and New Testament scholar, passed away on March 8. Matthijs den Dulk links to a few Dutch obituaries, I wrote a little about it, but Phil Gons has gone the extra mile by collecting together some good information about Ridderbos’ life.

Before addressing the various trends around the blogosphere, I thought I would point readers to April DeConick’s post on the future of biblical studies.

Ancient Near East/Hebrew Bible

Tyler Williams has a nice post on Neo-Babylonian creation texts.

Kevin Wilson has three posts on the two priestly layers of Numbers 1-10 (1, 2, and 3). Also with a triumvirate of posts, Kevin Edgecomb discusses the rulers of Aram-Damascus (1, 2, and 3). John Hobbins talks about the aramaic poetry in the Book of Daniel. Joe Weaks reviews the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Kansas City, and Jim West reviews the documentary, Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls.

H. H. Hardy highlights a theory on the construction of the Great Pyramid, and Reb Chaim HaQoton has a post on Jochebed and the New King of Egypt.

On a lighter side of things, Steve Caruso posts on bad Hebrew tattoos and offers advice to people seeking to get a tattoo in Hebrew.


Gordon Lyn Watley lays out some preliminary studies for the Sibylline Oracles, and Jim Davila gives us a summary of the Coptic Apocalypse of Abraham.

New Testament and Christian Origins

For the generalist, Andreas Köstenberger has posts a list of recommended NT commentaries. The list stands by itself with no annotations or notes on the commentaries. Chris Tilling continues to work his way through Richard Bauckham’s book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chris is nearly completed with his detailed review and during March has written on chapters 13-18. Here is a list of Chris’ updated posts. Be warned, however, it might be quicker to read the book than Chris’s exhaustive review. For a shorter assessment of this work, see Stephen Carlson’s thoughts (cf. also Josh McManaway).

Loren Rosson explains what is meant by Jesus calling the temple a “den of robbers.” In Lukan studies, Ed Cook suggests a new reading for Arni in Luke’s genealogy, while Richard Anderson has a couple of very good posts on the centrality of Jerusalem in Luke-Acts (here and here). Mike Bird asks the question, “What if Paul went East?” and Ardel Caneday outlines some thoughts on Chris VanLandingham’s book, Judgment and Justification in Early Judaism and the Apostle Paul. Sean du Toit has two good posts on James 5:6, here and here, and Celucien Joseph has a series of posts on the Logos in the Johannine Prologue (Jn 1:9-13,1:6-8, 1:1-5, and Conclusion). Additionally, Michael Pahl just began a series discussing his dissertation—leaving us as addicts waiting for our next fix!

Rick Brannan has started a series on the Pastoral Letters in the Apostolic Fathers. This past month he’s written five parts (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) on Pastorals in the Epistle of Barnabas. He also completed a lengthy series on the Didache which he began in April(!). Keep up the great work, Rick.

Textual Criticism

On the textual criticism front, Fred MacDowell asks the questions, “Why should we prefer the Masoretic text?” John Hobbins discusses the Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ). Maurice Robinson looks at Acts 9:25a and asks why scholars, such as Haenchen, suggest that the better reading in the Byzantine text is a correction of the Alexandrian corruption, rather than embodying the original reading. Also on the topic of TC, Rick Brannan discusses homoioteleuton with respect to J.K. Elliott’s book, The Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.


If it’s conferences you’re interested in, we have a few reports. Chris Heard on the SBL West Coast Regional Meeting: here and here; Jim West on the SBL Southeastern Regional Meeting (1, 2, 3);

David Ritsema on the SBL Southwest Regional Meeting; and Mark Goodacre on the Mid-Atlantic SBL Regional Meeting. I also posted on the FSU Graduate Symposium.


Studying the Akkadian language? Charles Halton has some helpful notes on Wolfram von Soden’s Grundriss der Akkadischen Grammatik.

Simon Holloway talks about learning Ugaritic and its interpretive openness. Judy Redman addresses Coptic grammar and resources.

What languages are necessary for biblical studies? The answer obviously will depend on the specific discipline, but some bloggers have attempted to respond to this question. James Crossley began the discussion by asking how important languages like Coptic, Aramaic, and Ethiopic are to scholars studying Christian origins. In a post already mentioned above, April DeConic writes, “No one who studies early Christianity should be allowed to graduate with a Ph.D. without having learned Coptic. There are too many early Christian documents in Coptic for it to be considered just an ‘additional’ language any more.” Jim West and Danny Zacharias both give their two cents.

Biblical Research

There is a new scholarly journal beign published by Eisenbrauns, called Journal of Theological Interpretation (edited by Joel Green). James Spinti explains the need for it. Ben Myers and Chris Tilling both review it.

The place of Wikipedia in research has always been a controversial subject, and in just the last few days the debate has resurfaced. Mark Goodacre has brought up several good points in defense of this medium, namely that is is up-to-date, easily accessible, comprehensive, and emphasizes the use of sources. Jim West argues against the use of Wikipedia since it can be edited by anyone, thus susceptible to misinformation. Goodacre responds to West. Loren Rosson, and Rick Sumner fall on the side of Goodacre in this debate. Duane Smith, while conceding that Wikipedia could be accurate, questions typical uses of encyclopedias and states that they should be used by people looking for a place to begin research and those looking for a superficial knowledge of a subject. Danny Zacharias enters the discussion with further comments on Wikipedia as well as links to further resources. Earlier in the month, Rick Mansfield posted an article exposes a certain Wikipedia editor. I also began to write a post on the Wikipedia, but never found the time to finish it. I use the site daily and have to side on its usefulness, although at times it may yield misinformation.


April DeConick writes two posts on Gnosticism (”What is Gnosticism?” and “More about Gnosticism“), while Loren Rosson discusses the use of the term Gnosticism. Phil Harland has an interesting discussion of the Golden Rule amongst the pagans. Roger Pearse informs us of the text of Philip Sidetes, and David Ker addresses the topic of kissing throughout the bible.

Have you ever noticed the great tradition Durham University has in biblical studies? Ben Blackwell points it out for us.

Blogos has a nice chart showing name weights for biblical characters (update). I always like to see biblical data displayed visually. Suzanne McCarthy has a nice nine-part study on the Lindisfarne Gospels (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9), and Ben Witherington is undertaking a novel on his blog, called The Lazarus Effect (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6).

On the sillier side of things, both Ben Myers and Chris Tilling wrote panegyrics for Rudolf Bultmann. James Darlack quotes from ancient library instructions from Uruk, which are a little more harsh than your average theological library. Kevin Wilson is considering running for the president of the USA—I’d vote for him.

That wraps it up for this month’s Biblical Studies Carnival. I hope you enjoyed it. Oh, wait, there was also something about a Jesus tomb or something.

The Talpiot Tomb

So much has been written on the Jesus tomb that I will not be able to do justice to the discussion. From what I can tell, the two best sources of information on the subject are (1) James Tabor, who has interacted with the criticisms, and (2) Mark Goodacre, who has stayed on top of the various aspects of Talpiot Tomb dialogue. That said, there are countless other posts that hit on the topic. Tyler Williams has the pre-March roundup.

Regarding the Discovery Channel documentary, Matt Page has both a before and after post. Both

Jim West and Mark Goodacre give a segment-by-segment overview. R. Kirk Kilpatrick and the Targuman [I love that name] discuss the Chevron symbol. Steve Caruso and Chris Weimer (and again) address the inscriptions on the tombs; Richard Bauckham has a discussion of names (with addenda) and talks about the ossuaries and prosopography. Jay Cost, Randy Ingermanson (here and here), and Stephen Carlson comment on the statistics related to the claims. Others such as Christopher Rollston, Airton José da Silva, Bruce Fisk, and Robert Gundry have also chimed in on the various discussions. Peter Nathan interviews Shimon Gibson and Joe Zias, Kevin Edgecomb highlights some of the interesting language surrounding the discussion, and Andreas Köstenberger has his twelve lessons from the Jesus Tomb “saga.”

The SBL Forum, though technically not a blog, has a number of good articles and notes on the Talpiot Tomb. Jodi Magness questions the identification of the Tomb as Jesus’ family tomb, stating that “[i]t is a sensationalistic claim without any scientific basis or support.” Christopher Rollston, based on prosopography, argues that there is simply not enough evedence to suggest that this was Jesus’ tomb. James Tabor responds to both Magness and Rollston. Further, Jonathan Reed casts doubt on the Tomb; Tabor responds; Reed responds back. Stephen Pfann says that one of the ossauaries does not read, “Mariamene the Master,” but “Mariame and Mara”; Tabor responds. François Bovon also addresses his role in the documentary and a criticism of its overall thesis. A couple of other non-blogs, but relevant, were the contributions by James Charlesworth (PDF), and Joe Zias.

One thing is for sure. Though you might not agree with his conclusions, James Tabor has done a good job of interacting with criticisms.


March has been a very active month for the biblioblogs! It seems that the trend of blogging has been moving toward the writing of multi-part studies on various topics. Many of the blogs that I have looked at contained series that began before March and are still ongoing. Rick Brannan’s study on the Didache had been going on since April. It is also always encouraging to see how wide-ranging the various posts are. The discussions surrounding the biblioblogs are always helpful to learn from scholar and student alike, and I look forward to the forthcoming carnivals. Thanks to Tyler Williams who has done such an excellent job of organizing the Biblical Studies Carnival. Next month it will by hosted by Chris Heard at Higgaion. I hope I have been able to incorporate most of the good posts, though undoubtedly I know I’ve missed some! Please comment any corrections or additions.