Category Archives: Biblical Studies

Of Oar Fish, Sea Monsters, Dragons of Chaos, and the Bible

Of Oar Fish, Sea Monsters, Dragons of Chaos, and the Bible

The recent find on October 13th of a dead, 18 foot oarfish off the California coast brought to mind all the books I read as a child about sea monsters. Seeing the pictures of the long, narrow body of the  typically deep sea fish (which can actually grow up to over 50 feet), it is easy to understand why sailers of an earlier time would have thought, on the rare occasion one approached the surface, that it was a giant “sea serpent“.  Coincidentally, the Smithsonian ran a fascinating article just a few days later promoting the release of two new books (here and here) dealing with maps and sea monsters.

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George Athas on Discoveries of Ancient Inscriptions in Israel and the Bible

George Athas on Discoveries of Ancient Inscriptions in Israel and the Bible

One of the scholarly dangers in our field is letting the excitement of an inscriptional find take us down avenues where we want to go, rather than having a more restrained approach. Part of the problem with this is, as many archaeologists and historians have found in recent years, the news media are prone to sensationalizing finds when they bear upon ‘biblical’ times without our coaxing. The result is the dissemination of misinformation. And news certainly travels quickly these days.

Read More At The ASOR Blog
(image courtesy of the Israeli Antiquities Authority)

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Newly Discovered Coptic Fragment of the Gospel of John

Newly Discovered Coptic Fragment of the Gospel of John

On his blog Brice C. Jones has written about his discovery of an unpublished Sahidic Coptic fragment of John and his upcoming published presentation of the find in New Testament Studies next spring (April 2014).   According to his post, this fragment is the earliest known all Coptic manuscript containing commentary on the Gospel text delineated by the heading “hermeneia” (“interpretation” or “explanation”).  He does not mention the possible dating of the fragment, however.  According to Jones, other Coptic manuscripts containing hermeneia segments are bilingual, with a mixture of Coptic and Greek.

Congrats on a great find!

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Free Resources On Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism

Free Resources On Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism

Well known scholar Dr. Lawrence Schiffman has made two brief works on early Judaism available for free on his website. I have not read these particular essays (yet), but I have read some of his published material and have listened to entire semesters worth of Schiffman’s lectures on topics such as Second Temple Judaism, the Hebrew Bible, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I highly encourage anyone who is interested in early Judaism or the contextual background of the New Testament to take advantage of this opportunity to download these resources. Continue reading

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Tensions In the Bible: The Importance of Scripture’s Individual Voices

Tensions In the Bible: The Importance of Scripture’s Individual Voices

Chris Tilling has posted the following quote from Ernst Kasemann:

‘Every simplification which forces the original variety of voices [of the biblical texts] into a well trodden path, is sin against the Spirit’!

—(from his essay “Justification and salvation-history in Romans”
Kasemann in Pauline Perspectives – Tilling’s translation from the German original, p. 118)

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