“Quality,” my tailor is in the habit of saying through a mouthful of pins, as he sizes up my underarm reach for my latest houndstooth and cavalry twill, “will always out.” And for this month’s Biblical Studies Carnival it is quality all the way…
For one thing, this month’s Biblical Studies Carnival is hosted by Tim Bulkeley – he with the chocolatey, velvet-smooth voice of the wonderful 5 minute Bible videos. Now, I have to concede a personal bias here. I like and respect Tim as a scholar and a human being, and so pretty much anything he does is going to get my vote. I appreciate immensely his integrity and that he never conducts himself as anything less than a gentleman; I should imagine a debate with him would be rather like being pummelled to death with a pillow filled with moles’ cheeks (gently effective).
Tim has been part of the carnival since Moses was a boy and so it is doubly great to have him steer the 120th (which is coincidently ‘CXX’ in Roman!! Now what are the odds of that happening?!!) Carnival safely into port.
You know you have quality when, four words in, you find your first detailed footnote (*sobs of joy*). In fact, this post has no fewer than thirty-three footnotes (complete with little blue arrow-things to take you back to the appropriate part of the text). This is not a post, this is a work of sublime scholarship!
If one drags oneself away from the footnotes, a range of items is clearly and beautifully laid out before us. Tim is right to headline the move of RBL (Review of Biblical Literature – a staple resource for biblical scholars, students and anyone serious about the Bible) from free open-access to behind the ‘paywall’ (i.e. SBL members only). As someone fiercely committed to making the fruits of scholarship available to as wide an audience as possible, this is yet one more worrying trend. To the casual and lay person who wants to access decent material on the Bible on the internet one more avenue will prove to be a dead-end, possibly driving them to those sites that we, as lecturers, pour so much scorn upon! To read Tim’s open letter to the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) who run and administer the site, click here.
In the UK, we are experiencing a bit of a Tolstoy ‘love-fest’ – the result of a new BBC production of War and Peace being shown on the television. David Gowler has produced a four part series on Tolstoy’s short story “Where love is, God is”.
Another series that might be particularly of interest to Newman Students who are taking Tom’s modules are Loren Rossen’s trilogy of posts on the concept of ‘Holy War’ in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
I won’t mention Paul for fear of causing a revolt among our second and third years, but others might be pleased to note that there are some posts on *ssssshhhh P__l, you know who* too.
Podcasts are an, often overlooked, valuable resource and Tim has included a useful section on them. One that particularly caught my eye was an interview with Roland Boer about his fascinating book The Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel (Westminster John Knox, 2015).
In case you missed it, a useful update of recent additions to Biblical Studies online (which are always worth a look).
…. and talking of quality…
Jim has been travelling to exotic locations and has been lecturing at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong. It is ok, he was invited – although, it has to be admitted, that has not, as yet, been corroborated. For those who missed his tweets/fb posts, you can catch up here.