Sunday, April 30, 2006

A link a day

Today's new link continues the Simon Gathercole theme. On the Gospel and Acts: Books and Articles page:

UP: Simon Gathercole, 'The Justification of Wisdom (Mt. 11.19b/Lk 7.35)', New Testament Studies, 49 (2003): 476-488.

DOWN: Michael Lattke, “The Call to Discipleship and Proselytizing”, Harvard Theological Review 92 (1999): 359-62

DOWN: Jerome Murphy O'Connor, “Triumph Over Temptation”, Bible Review August 1999

CORRECTED: Dodd and Heard

James Tabor on Sunday

James Tabor appeared on Radio 4's Sunday programme this morning, interviewed by Roger Bolton about his new book The Jesus Dynasty:


The interview begins about 12 minutes in to the programme and lasts about 6 minutes.

A link a day

This should have gone up last night, but for some reason I couldn't communicate with the NTGateway server over in the London docklands; perhaps they were busy watching the fantastic new series of Doctor Who on BBC1, or were celebrating with Chelsea's crowning as Premiership champions. Anyway, it's back on-line again now and here's yesterday's new link. It continues the Aberdeen theme, and is also on the Paul: Books and Articles page:

Simon Gathercole, “After the New Perspective: Works, Justification and Boasting in Early Judaism and Romans 1-5”, Tyndale Bulletin 52.2 (2001): 303-306

Friday, April 28, 2006

A link a day

Today's new link is on the Paul: Books and Articles page:

Francis Watson, “The Authority of the Voice: A Theological Reading of 1 Cor. 11.2-16”, New Testament Studies 46 (2000): 520-36

Where's my index page gone?

For some reason, blogger has published a blank index page for the site, so I am republishing and testing with this post.

Update (15.33): good; we are back on track.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A link a day

Once again I have to rely on a technicality -- although it's Friday, it's before I've gone to bed on Thursday, so this counts as Thursday's new link. Today it is on the Luke-Acts: Books and Articles page:

UP: Brian Capper, “Reciprocity and the Ethics of Acts” in I.Howard Marshall and David Peterson (eds.), Witness to the Gospel. The Theology of Acts, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 1998): 499-518; reproduced on Brian Capper's web site

CORRECTED: István Czachesz, Apostolic Commission Narratives in the Canonical and Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A link a day

Today's new link is on the Gospel of Mark: Articles page and is taken from John S. Kloppenborg's homepage:

UP: John S. Kloppenborg, “Self-Help or Deus ex Machina in Mark 12.9”, New Testament Studies 50 (2004): 495-518

CORRECTED: Craig A. Evans, “Mark's Incipit and the Priene Calendar Inscription: From Jewish Gospel to Greco-Roman Gospel”, Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 1 (2000): 67-81

The latter, which was on the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism website is now available on Craig Evans's website.

Steve Moyise's web materials

I've updated the URL to Steve Moyise's web page on Scholars: M, but there is no sign anywhere of all of the full text articles he had available. I've written to Steve to find out if they are hidden somewhere, or if there might be plans to bring them back soon.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A link a day

Today's new link is on the Canon page:

UP: H. J. de Jonge, “The Canons of the New Testament”, in J.-M. Auwers & H.J. de Jonge (eds.), The Biblical Canons (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 163; Leuven: University Press & Peeters, 2003): xxii-xxxii.

AND: Robert M. Grant, “What the New Testament Consists Of -- The Canon”, Chapter 1 in A Historical Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Harper & Row, 1963)

CORRECTED: Richard Heard, “How the Books of the New Testament Were Selected”, Chapter 2 in An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950).

I am grateful to Holger Szesnat for the Henk de Jonge link, one of several available here:

The Digital Repository of Leiden University

We will be visiting that again.

More Americanization of Emily

I have another post over on The Americanization of Emily -- this is becoming something of a habit. It's a supplementary post in my series on managing without British TV and radio in the USA:

How to cope without British TV and Radio: Football Supplement

Monday, April 24, 2006

A link a day

This is not quite in time to be Monday's "link a day", since it's 1.50 a.m. on Tuesday, but I hope that we can put that down as a technicality and allow this one in for Monday. To make up for the delay, I've added an extra link too:

Page updated: Historical Jesus: Books, Articles and Reviews

UP: Craig A. Evans, “Messianic Hopes and Messianic Figures in Late Antiquity”, Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 3 (2006): 9-40

AND: Craig A. Evans, “Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus”, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 3 (2005): 233-48

The first is not, of course, strictly "Historical Jesus", but I am sure that its relevance to the topic will be obvious.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A link a day

Today's new link is on the Revelation page:

UP: Mitchell G. Reddish, “Revelation: Introduction”, Introduction to Revelation (Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary: Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2001), reproduced on the Smyth & Helwys website. (PDF)

It's a nice introduction, with side bars and illustrations, an ideal place for the beginner in the study of Revelation.

CORRECTED: Felix Just, S. J.'s websites on Revelation, and Richard Heard's and Robert Grant's chapters on Revelation on the Religion-Online site.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New Technology and Old-Fashioned Communication

My latest guest blog on The Americanization of Emily is now up:

New Technology and Old-Fashioned Communication

NB: all you NT studies anoraks: this has nothing to do with the New Testament.

A link a day

Today's new link is also on the Historical Jesus: Books and Articles page:

UP: N. T. Wright, “Five Gospels but no Gospel: Jesus and the Seminar”, in Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus (Leiden: Brill, 1999): 83–120, reproduced on the N. T. Wright page.

CORRECTED: URLs for articles by Scot McKnight, Robert Webb and N. T. Wright.

Update (30 April, 16.13): title above corrected, with thanks to Michael Pahl.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Historical Jesus Articles again

I've made some further updates to my page on Historical Jesus: Books and Articles, in particular updating links to Paula Fredriksen's articles, and adding two fresh ones. I have also taken down the link to Norman Perrin's Jesus and the Language of the Kingdom, which is no longer available on Religion-online.

A link a day

As many have realized, I have had far less time in the last six months to attend to the New Testament Gateway than I have had in the past. This is entirely to do with the pressures on time connected with a move to a new job, new home, new country. But the time is coming, and now is, to begin restoring the New Testament Gateway and to knock it back into shape. As part of this project, I am planning to add a link a day to keep the rot away. I am committing myself to adding at least one new link each day, and correcting one other link (either by adding the new URL or by deleting). Today the page is Historical Jesus: Books, Articles, Reviews:

DOWN: Dale Allison's "The Secularizing of the Historical Jesus". This fine article was on Allison's homepage for some years, and I have often referred students to it and spoken highly of it. Unfortunately, it disappeared from Allison's page round about the time that Resurrecting Jesus came out, in which the article is reprinted.

UP: Craig A. Evans, “Assessing Progress in the Third Quest of the Historical Jesus”, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 4 (2006): 35-54

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Disintegration of the Biblioblogging Community?

Jim West has a most interesting post, The Disintegration of the "Biblioblogging" Community, lamenting the way in which the biblioblogging community is disintegrating, as the one-time members of it separate "and go in individual, almost isolated ways":
Before the SBL, bibliobloggers frequently dialogued via their various and sundry blogs concerning issues of interest to the Biblical Studies Community. But over the months since, that sort of communal inter-relatedness has almost become non-existent. Several of the panelists themselves- then the "stars" of the biblioblogging community, seldom or infrequently post. Others have abandoned posting altogether. And still others have turned towards the biblioblogging equivalent of "splendid isolationism"- addressing themselves to a very small, even fringe audience of people who share their very narrow interests.
Jim continues:
If I may offer a personal perspective, I would say the cause of the disintegration is directly related to Paul Nikkel's complaint that the "biblioblogging community" was too closed, too elitist, too focused, and too exclusivistic. Paul, and a few others, complained that there were not sufficient "outsiders" "allowed" to enter the dialogue then ongoing amongst the bibliobloggers. This disposition had a chilling effect. In essence, what Paul's complaint accomplished wasn't the inclusion of supposed "outsiders" (because, quite frankly, no one was ever excluded from the discussions) but rather the implantation of hesitancy to participate in dialogue because bibliobloggers were afraid to seem or appear a "club of elites". So Ed and Jim D. and Torrey S. and other panelists retreated to their special preserves and Mark focused on his load at the new institution with which he was affiliated and Paul himself and his blog turned in other directions (primarily) and the other bibliobloggers have simply slowed to a crawl in terms of publishing their ideas.
Let me add that to a large extent I share Jim's sense of nostalgic lament. I enjoyed the days when there was a good deal of intra-biblioblog discussion, and the creation of something appropriating to an informal community who were regularly exchanging ideas. But I'd want to say too that I don't entirely share Jim's concerns. Allow me to make a few comments:

(1) The main problem for me is the one mentioned by Ed Cook in Ralph:
If, as Jim asserts, the other "classic" bibliobloggers are blogging and communicating less, this may be a function of the expansion of Biblioblogdom. When I started blogging in November 2004, there were approximately 4.5 million blogs (according to Technorati); now there are 35.8 million. This exponential growth has been felt among biblioblogs as well. The community that started out small has grown too large to keep up with even in a passive read-only way, to say nothing of engaging in daily back-and-forth debates.
It did not used to take me too long to read all the blogs I wanted to read in the area. My blogroll had ten or fifteen feeds, and it was never difficult to get on top of those. Now with over fifty and counting, and that already a trimmed down number, I just don't get through them all. I read Jim, Jim, Stephen, Ralph, Torrey, Loren, the Evo TCs and the like as often as I can, but then find that days and even weeks can go by until I get a moment to catch the rest. In other words, we are a victim of our own success. I bet that there are lots of comments and links to Jim's post here. Bloglines tells me that there are at least six, but it will be a while until I have followed all of those up. I am pleased that we did have that session at the SBL while the community was, in a sense, still a manageable group of us with some kind of identity. It's funny, in retrospect, to look at those arguments about inclusiveness and the setting up of fences and identities, because none of them have proved accurate, as it turns out. People continue to start up new blogs with no concerns whatsoever about getting recognition from an alleged elite.

(2) Given the new situation, I have been delighted with the establishment of regular Biblical Studies Blog Carnivals (e.g. see number 3 in March). Far from representing the break-up of biblioblogdom, we have able and willing volunteers who have shown themselves to be expert in gathering together great posts in our area from all over the web. As I commented in early March (Biblical Studies Carnival -- and its value):
I'd like to add a word of huge appreciation to Tyler Williams for getting this whole show on the road. For me, these carnivals have come at just the right time. The massive, healthy and to-be-encouraged expansion of the blogosphere in our area, as in every other area, makes it impossible to engage with all the blogs one would like to engage with. I remember a time when reading the biblioblogosphere was a matter of looking at Paleojudaica, Hypotyposeis and a handful of others. On the whole, where you wanted to reference or engage with a given post, you had time to do so. Not so now. I struggle to read everything in my blogroll and I can only read a limited number of posts with any attention. Indeed, I suppose that my own blog has changed substantially over the last 12 months from one in which I tried to reference everything on-line in the area that interested me to something much more limited. And to be honest, I am pretty happy with that. Every day I think, "Oh, I must blog that", and subsequently discover that someone else has already done it. Well and good. More time for me to focus on other things here.

That is to say that there is a problem with the current blog scene in Biblical Studies. The growing number of great blogs and interesting posts makes it far more likely that one can miss some gems. The Carnival steps in to help us here, and month by month isolates a few key posts of interest. I, for one, am most grateful to those who are taking on the task of doing this.
I suspect that my own blogging will even out as the coming months ensue and I get more settled. At the moment I'm just pleased that I managed to keep the blog alive in the midst of big life changes.

Let's add too reference to and, which help us to keep track of what's going on; and one might specially mention the monthly interviews on the latter, which give a special profile to a specific biblioblog.

(3) I don't think it's just the Carnivals, either. I think there is still an excellent exchange of ideas around; it's just that the exchange occurs across a larger number of blogs across a greater range of topics. In the long run, this is healthy too -- it means that we avoid becoming cosy, over-familiar and cliquey.

Update (13.05): thanks to Jim West for his follow-up post, and for the important correction that his original post was about dis-integration, not disintegration.

Guest blog on How to cope without British TV and radio III

I have the third in my series of guest posts on Viola's blog, The Americanization of Emily:

How to cope without British TV and Radio Part III

Find your way through the maze for under $10

While browsing the new Continuum website today, I noticed that they have one of my books on sale. The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze was seriously over-priced at $31.95 in the USA, but now it's available for a bargain $9.99 (I don't know for how long):

The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze

For some reason, their database is throwing up the wrong picture. And the sale price is not available in the UK, I'm afraid.

Perhaps iGod would like a copy?

iGod on the Synoptic Problem II

I thought it was time to return to iGod on the Synoptic Problem:
Hi again
Once more? Hello. What is your name?
Nice to meet you, Mark.
Nice to meet you too.
I like to meet new people.
I checked in a week or so ago to ask you about the Synoptic Problem
Why?: Mark said checked in a week or so ago to ask you about the Synoptic Problem.
I said I'd come back to see if you'd had any more time to think about the question of the existence of Q.
What would make you come back to see if me would had any more time to think about the question of the existence of q?
Because you said to me "Try it"
Good reason. Does it please you to believe I said that?
Not specially.
Oh I get it.
Next question?
Do you believe in Q
Yes I believe in it, do you?
Do you consider yourself to be a moral person?
What's that got to do with it?
Do you think I should know that?
Well, you asked me.
Interesting. Is that your final answer?
No, I could do this all day.
At this point, iGod crashed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Before the Written Gospel There Was—What?

This came in today from Fortress:
Before the Written Gospel There Was—What?

MINNEAPOLIS (April 19, 2006)— Previous thinking regarding “oral tradition” imagined a one-way process of transmission, handing down the fairly intact textual chunks that would constitute what we know as the end result, the written Gospels.

That picture—and the implicit understanding of the Gospel writers as “editors”—has changed. The ground-breaking essays gathered in the newly-released volume, Performing the Gospel, present new insights into the fluidity of story in a cultural context of oral performance; into the power of cultural memory to transmit and shape community; and into the dramatically new picture of Mark’s Gospel that emerges from the results.

Contributors for Performing the Gospel include editors Richard A. Horsley, Jonathan A. Draper, and John Miles Foley, along with Martin Jaffee, Ellen Aitken, Holly Hearon, Vernon K. Robbins, Whitney Shiner, Jan Assmann, and Jens Schroeter.

Richard A. Horsley is Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and the Study of Religion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Among his many books are Hearing the Whole Story: The Politics of Plot in Mark’s Gospel (2001), Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine (Fortress Press edition 1992), and Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder (Fortress Press, 2003). He is editor of Christian Origins, Volume 1 of A People’s History of Christianity (Fortress Press, 2005).

Jonathan A. Draper is Professor of New Testament at the School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and editor of The Didache in Modern Research (1997), The Eye of the Storm: Bishop John William Colenso and the Crisis of Biblical Interpretation (2004), Orality, Literacy, and Colonialism in Southern Africa (2004), and Orality, Literacy, and Colonialism in Antiquity (2004).

Together Draper and Horsley have written Whoever Hears You Hears Me: Prophets, Performance, and Tradition in Q (1999).

John Miles Foley, W.H. Byler Distinguished Chair in the Humanities, Curators’ Professor of Classical Studies and English, and founding Director of the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition and the Center for Research at the University of Missouri, Columbia, is a specialist in the world’s oral traditions, especially the ancient Greek, medieval English, and contemporary South Slavic traditions. Among his major publications, perhaps the most pertinent to biblical studies are Immanent Art (1991), The Singer of Tales in Performance (1995), and How To Read an Oral Poem (2002).

Performing the Gospel: Morality, Memory, and Mark

Format: Sewn Hardcover with Jacket, 6” x 9”, 224 pp

ISBN: 0-8006-3828-X

Publisher: Fortress Press
Price: $35.00
May 2006

To order Performing the Gospel please call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the Web site at To request review copies (for media) or exam copies (for potential classroom use), or to discuss speaking engagements or interviews, please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or email

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Craig Evans's new website

Over on Café Apocalypsis, Alan Bandy notices Craig Evans's new website. Like an increasing number of scholars, Evans has invested in his own, (Don't forget the "a"; it looks like was already taken by a photographer of the same name). Here's the site, which is maintained by a certain David Pensgard:

Professor Craig A. Evans -- New Testament Scholar

Prof. Evans has been in the news recently because of the Gospel of Judas, which the new website mentions, but a good number of other Evans projects are well represented on the site, including speaking engagements, courses and CV. But of most interest is Evans's contribution to the ongoing, steady revolution in individual scholars making available several publications for free to all on the web, something that I strongly approve of, as regular readers will know:


Seven articles are featured, mostly hot off the press, and are in PDF format. Included is this on Judas:

What should we think of Judas?

There's a Links section too, though I am sorry to report that it has no link to the New Testament Gateway.

Update (12.26): I have added a link to the Scholars: E page on the New Testament Gateway and have refreshed that page. The link I had there to Evans's faculty page at Acadia Divinity College appeared to have died, a shame because there were some great powerpoint teaching materials. I have also deleted the link to Michael Ernst's homepage at the Universität Salzburg because it has died.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Working at Easter

Until coming to America, I had never worked on Good Friday, at least as far as I can remember (I may have done so when I used to work for the Disney Store back in 1994-5, but I don't recall; I remember working Christmas Eve there in '94). When you work as an academic in the UK, you'll never work at Easter because the Universities are all on Easter vacation. As a student in Oxford, I used to get a good deal -- the Easter vacation is 6 weeks long, just like the Christmas vacation. The Oxford academic year is made up of 3 x 8 week terms, early October to early December, mid January to mid March and late April to late June. In practice you are there for much longer than those 24 weeks -- you want to be there for longer so that you can bask in such a wonderful city, especially in the summer, when you just want to get as much punting in as you can, and evening time trips to the Perch, perhaps taking in some strawberry picking on the way.

At the University of Birmingham, where I spent a happy decade (1995-2005), we had a similar academic year, but with slightly longer terms, mid September to mid December, mid January to the end of March, the end of April to the middle of June, usually allowing a 4 week Christmas vacation and a 4 week Easter vacation. The university once toyed with an Americanized two semester system but it was a disaster, largely because it did it in a half-hearted way and attempted to keep the Easter vacation in there, so that semester two was in two uneven parts, separated by Easter, and no one came to classes after the Easter vacation. In fact, the move back to three terms there then carried forward the two-semester legacy by minimising the amount of teaching after Easter, making it the big, heavy examinations term.

The long and short of it is that I haven't had to work on a Good Friday or an Easter Monday for a long time, if ever. Nor do many in the UK. Easter Monday is an official bank holiday and lots of people have it at home to do some decorating, watch the Bond film and so on. Good Friday is an odd day, a kind of half-holiday on which many do not work, and there are no postal collections, and I don't think the banks are open; the schools are certainly not. I would always, as a child and a teenager, march through the streets of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where I was born, on Good Friday at 3 pm as a "witness" to those out on the streets. It was an annual ecumenical event, at which all the churches would unite after the three hour service, at which all the churches came together. I wonder if they still do that?

But coming to America, I find that Good Friday is like any other day. At Duke, most classes continue as normal. This is one of those contradictions that makes living in America so fascinating an experience. As I drove in to Duke yesterday morning, listening to my latest downloads from the BBC on my car radio, I stopped off at our local petrol station (= gas station) and then went in to the post office located inside (yes -- gas stations sometimes have post offices in them) to post off my tax return (itself an interesting story for another day) and I chatted to the lady inside about how interesting it was to me that there were post offices open, and post being picked up and delivered, on Good Friday. The lady shared my surprise since she had moved into the area from Pennsylvania and had imagined that in the Bible belt everyone would be at Church on Good Friday, and not in the shops, at work and at the gas station. The contradiction is that this is a seriously church-going area. There are churches everywhere, some of them enormous, many of them full to the brim on a Sunday morning, and huge car parks scarcely able to accommodate all the SUVs.

Working on a Good Friday was, as it turned out, a rather enjoyable experience. I am one of those lucky people who loves his job, and especially the teaching part, and so I did not at all resent having classes yesterday. Indeed it added something to my Historical Jesus class to be talking about the resurrection accounts (my syllabus planning was not so great that I was doing the crucifixion yesterday) at the appropriate seasonal moment. I met a colleague from the Divinity school just after teaching and he explained to me that in the Divinity school there are no classes on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, and I think that's quite appropriate. Less so for us in the Department of Religion. One of my students told me how the only class she had that day was her Religion class, and that she had had trouble explaining that one to her friends.

But working on Good Friday also enabled me to go to church at Duke for the first time. The chapel had a 12 pm service with a procession around the grounds of the chapel afterwards, and it was a moving service. I was delighted to be able to attend. There was one of those moments that made me want to giggle in the middle of it, though, as a poor chap with a trolly full of sandwiches and cakes kept trying to find his way through the procession to get to the refectory on the other side, and a rather earnest woman eventually felt obliged to exhort him to "show some respect".

There are a couple of other great compensations for working at Easter. One is that we only have a couple of weeks of term left, so there is not that same lengthy working through into the summer that one has in the British Universities. I am genuinely optimistic about my chances of actually getting some serious research done come May. And the weather here is lovely at the moment. It's like a nice British summer's day, hot but with a gentle breeze, and the flowers and blossom are gorgeous. Each day I walk from the car park in Campus Drive through Sarah P. Duke gardens, and stop at odd points on my walk to take it in. The picture at the top of this post is the new bridge that leads into the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, over the stream, on the chapel drive side. Here are some other picturs of Duke on Good Friday. The first shows the wisteria in Sarah Duke Gardens. The next three show other scenes from the same gardens, including a man yesterday painting a pretty decent picture of the yellow flowers at the other exit of the gardens:

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Passion: Films, Faith and Fury

Over on Bible Films Blog, Matt Page has the latest on a documentary to air this weekend in the UK:

Channel 4 Web Page for "The Passion: Films, Faith and Fury"

Channel 4 aren't the best when it comes to websites for their documentaries and this is no exception:

The Passion: Films, Faith and Fury
In this special Easter documentary, Robert Beckford traces the rollercoaster relationship between faith and film, from the first Bible movies, made more than a century ago, to the present day. Simon Jenkins reports

'It is without question the most blasphemous, the most disrespectful and the most satanic movie that's ever been filmed!' So said a nun on the release of Martin Scorsese's film, The Last Temptation of Christ. The movie, which showed Jesus fantasising on the cross about living an ordinary life as a married man, and having children with Mary Magdalene, sparked widespread protest from the religious right in the United States when it was first screened in 1988.

Willem Dafoe, who played Christ, commented: 'I remember the studio wanted to give me bodyguards at the beginning, because they received so many threats.'

Jesus and the movies is the subject of a Channel 4 programme, The Passion: Film, Faith and Fury. Presenter Robert Beckford says that the films which have commanded the biggest budgets and stirred up the most vitriol in the history of Hollywood have been based on one book – the Bible. The programme is a fascinating exploration of the uneasy and often hostile relationship between the church and Hollywood.
The programme sounds like fun, and it's good to hear of my friend and former colleague Robert Beckford's involvement. The good news is that Matt Page was interviewed for the programme, so watch out to see him. The bad news is that it's up against the eagerly anticipated first of the second season of the new Doctor Who on BBC1, so the ratings are not going to be great; but it looks like one to set the video for, especially if you've got one of those machines that allows you to record simultaneously broadcast programmes. Follow the links in Bible Films Blog for all the details, and no doubt an update this weekend.

Manchester Passion

On BBC3 tonight is a fascinating looking experiment entitled The Manchester Passion
This year BBC Television is marking Easter with a major musical event.

The Manchester Passion will take place on Good Friday (14th April) and will be shown live on BBC Three from 9pm.

The Manchester Passion will retell the last days of Jesus' life using popular music from the cream of Manchester bands, including M People, New Order, The Smiths, Oasis and James. The songs will be given a vibrant new twist and be performed by the characters in the story accompanied by a 16-piece orchestra.
I suppose one's enthusiasm about the idea will depend on whether you like the Smiths, James, the Stone Roses and the like, and luckily enough I am a big fan of most of those. I love the thought of the resurrection being enacted to The Stone Roses' "I am the Resurrection and I am the life . . ." and I am looking forward to seeing it. It's been in the British Good Friday news today, including five minute feature on the lunchtime BBC1 news. Here are the details on the BBC Religion and Ethics pages:

The Manchester Passion

The video trailer is not working on that page at the moment, though. Here's the BBC3 page on it:

Manchester Passion -- Information Line

The cast includes Keith Allen as presenter, Darren Morfitt as Jesus and a mean looking Tim Booth (ex of James) as Judas. I once saw James, at the Reading Festival in about 1991, and Booth had a lot more hair then. Apparently Bez (of the Happy Mondays and last year's Celebrity Big Brother) was due to do a cameo as Barabbas but has dropped out. There are details on the cast and songs included here, including the following list:
* Jesus sings You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side (Morrissey)
* Mary sings Cast No Shadow (Oasis)
* Jesus sings Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division) at the Last Supper
* Mary sings Search For A Hero (M People)
* Judas sings Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (The Smiths) as he is about to betray Jesus
* Jesus sings Sit Down (James) to the sleeping disciples
* Jesus and Judas sing Blue Monday (New Order)
* Peter sings I Am The Resurrection (The Stone Roses) when he betrays Jesus
* Mary sings Angels (Robbie Williams)
* Jesus and Pontius Pilate sing Wonderwall (Oasis)
* Mary sings Sunshine After The Rain (Elkie Brooks)
Here is a BBC News item on this:

Manchester Re-enacts Crucifixion
Manchester Passion is a contemporary retelling of the last hours of Jesus's life through the city's musical output.

Actors will carry an eight-metre luminous cross through the streets to Albert Square, where the passion play will be performed.

The BBC Three event aims to attract "people that never go to church".

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

James Tabor's Jesus Dynasty round-up

If it hadn't been for the Gospel of Judas, this story might have picked up more attention, but it's doing well all the same. Already mentioned by Jim Davila on Paleojudaica and Jim West in several posts (Jesus Dynasty, Q & A with James Tabor, Jim Tabor's New Book Reviewed). I thought it was high time I mentioned the book and rounded up some of the media response so far. Begin with the book's website here:

The Jesus Dynasty

It's refreshing to see that an audio version is available, read by Tabor himself, from which an audio excerpt is available too. But at this stage we are talking audio CD, and not download. I'm still hoping that the days of cheap, downloadable audio of academic books are not too far away. The site also features a series of quotations under specific headings (Gospels, Birth of Jesus, More than one Messiah etc.):

Select Excerpts from The Jesus Dynasty

See too this section to get a good summary of the book's approach and thesis:

Questions and Answers

The book has just been released and I've not yet seen a copy myself (anyone fancy sending me one for my free publicity?). Bart Ehrman has an endorsement to the following effect:
"Many scholars have undertaken studies of Jesus and his legacy; none has dared advance the boldly provocative theses of The Jesus Dynasty. For sheer breadth of vision and imaginative reconstruction, rooted deeply in the historical sciences, this promises to be a book unlike any the public has ever seen."
And Amazon have the Publisher's Weekly review:
Tabor, chair of religious studies at UNC-Charlotte, offers a bold and sometimes speculative interpretation of the historical Jesus and his family, beginning with his paternity. Evaluating several possibilities, Tabor concludes that the most historically plausible claim is that Jesus' father was neither God nor Joseph, but another man, possibly a Roman soldier named Pantera. He also argues that Joseph likely died when Jesus was young, leaving Jesus head of a household that included his six half-siblings. Like many scholars, Tabor emphasizes that we must understand Jesus in the context of first-century Judaism. After Jesus' death, his brother James took over the titular family dynasty. James championed a version of the faith quite different from Paul's, and, although James was more faithful to Jesus' original teachings, Paul's Christianity won. Tabor not only challenges Christian dogma, he also makes some assumptions with which not all scholars will agree: he places a great deal of emphasis on the hypothetical text Q, calling it "our most authentic early Christian document." This book is accessible and sure to be highly controversial, attracting the attention of reporters, spiritual seekers, historians and fans of The Da Vinci Code.
I can't say I'd be too thrilled by the latter association if I were the author (though my bank manager might be). I suppose I would naturally be less than enthusiastic too about the "great deal of emphasis on the hypothetical text Q", but of course Tabor is not alone there.

Now there have been several newspaper articles on the book over the last week or so. This one, from, is a decent length and is clear and on the whole is well informed:

The Kingdom of Christ
A bold new take on the historical Jesus raises questions about a centuries-long quest
By Jay Tolson

It seems too that ABC News's Nightline had a feature on the book too, though I missed it myself, and the video is not available on-line except to subscribers. But ABC have a lengthy feature:

'Jesus Dynasty' Author Asks: Were There Two Messiahs?
Martin Bashir

This is another lengthy report, and is dated 7 April, when the feature went out on Nightline. (Is this the British Martin Bashir, famous for the Princess Diana and Michael Jackson interviews?). See also on the same site the following book excerpt:

Excerpt: 'The Jesus Dynasty' by James D. Tabor

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Gospel of Judas documentary

The documentary on The Gospel of Judas is airing at the moment on National Geographic. So far: enormously enjoyable. Standard ancient history documentary fare, with lots of close-ups of the documents, a couple of soundbites from scholars involved, nice bits of reconstruction drama, and over-dramatic narration. The first three minutes were identical with the trailer that you can view on the web site. Only ten minutes in and the first commercial break: this is going to be a long evening.

Second ad break 20 minutes in. Those of you who are videoing this to watch later: good on you. So far, a nicely done documentary. I am pleased to see actual coverage of the way that the document was reconstructed, with interviews with those concerned. It is interspersed with some discussion about Judas in the Canonical Gospels, including an interview with Bart Ehrman. The dramatic reconstructions are clearly influenced by The Passion of the Christ: they have found a James Caviezel lookalike for Jesus, and the colouring is very similar, though of course much cheaper.

Third ad break 33 minutes in. An enjoyable section in which Marvin Meyer goes to Egypt and finds a cave like the one in with the Gospel of Judas might have been discovered. There was some explanation of the related Nag Hammadi finds, and shots of both the Apocryphon of John and the Gospel of Thomas. Minor gripe: Irenaeus was shown writing at a desk, as always in these documentaries. I have one minor source of pride here, in that the BBC / Discovery Channel documentary on the Apostle Paul, on which I was consultant, did not have anachronistic desks and scribes.

Fourth ad break 47 minutes in. This section was primarily an introduction to the variety of early Christian gospels, and to Gnostics and Gnosticism in general, with comments from Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman, Craig Evans and others. The highlight here was the reconstruction of an early ?Gnostic preacher reading out some of the Gospel of Thomas in Greek, in a kind of modern Greek tongue, with English subtitles. There were the fairly standard comments too on "Why did the Church reject these other dozens of Gospels?" and so on. Just before each ad break, the Gospel manuscript's title in Coptic morphs nicely into "The Gospel of Judas".

Fifth ad break, 57 minutes in. This section focused on Stephen Emmel from Müster. O, a short break. Back to the programme.

Sixth ad break, 21.06: more on how the four gospels became dominant, with Elaine Pagels suggesting that their narrative format made them more popular and Bart Ehrman commenting on Irenaeus's four corners of the world and the four Gospels. On the previous section, what I was going to say was that Emmel was dramatized in a meeting sixteen years ago along with the Egyptian dealer who had the manuscript and who kept it in a bank vault in New York. Emmel the scholar commented as the drama was played out. He talked about how the price quoted by the dealer was $3 million, and how after examining the manuscript, he got into the toilet to make notes about what it contained, and this too was dramatized.

Seventh ad break, 21.07: primarily focusing on the carbon-dating of the text, confirming its date to c. 280 CE, give or take. I would say here that there needs to be more distinction made between the one extant manuscript we have and the original text; I'm not sure that viewers unfamiliar with the subject matter would have been able to distinguish clearly between authentic manuscript and authentic text.

Eighth ad break, 21.34: extensive discussion of Judas in the Gospels, explaining how he has been used as a symbol of anti-Semitism, and especially in Nazi Germany, the Oberamagau Passion plays, and the holocaust. I am hoping that we actually get to the text of the Gospel of Judas soon.

Ninth ad break, 21.50: the section that deals at some length with what the Gospel actually says, at least with respect to the Jesus-Judas exchange. A lot of this was done in the obvious legacy of The Passion of the Christ, with reconstructed Aramaic and English subtitles. There were more comments from Bart Erhman, Elaine Pagels and Craig Evans. For some reasons, Craig Evans seems to be sitting in a graveyard.

Finish, 10.00: As the programme loops around and starts again, my concluding reflections. This last section asked the question about the historical Jesus and the historical Judas. Craig Evans says: it tells you nothing at all about the historical Jesus or the historical Judas. Elaine Pagels respons with "How does he know?" Of course Pagels's comments may have been taken out of context, but it is surprising that she does not also make it quite clear that the Gospel has nothing to tell us about the historical Jesus.

A good documentary, a little drawn out at points, as is the norm, and with the standard American style unseen narrator (I rather like the British style seen narrator, walking you through and presenting a point of view). Nice reconstructions, some good interviews with Evans, Pagels, Meyer and Ehrman, and not over-sensationalized. For those of us interested in early Christianity and its development, we might have appreciated less of the introductory material about the Gospels and the formation of the canon, but that's inevitable and it's right to include it. What I would have liked to have seen more of would have been proper distinctions made between document and text, and much more of the oddities of the text, which in the end the viewer does not know as well as s/he might have done after two hours. But a good achievement overall, and a compelling enough narrative, and pointers throughout to the website so that the viewer can explore further should s/he be so inclined.

Gospel of Judas megapost

TV Documentary airs:

USA: National Geographic Channel, 8 pm Eastern Time.
UK: National Geographic Channel, 9 pm.

Thanks, of course, to the bloggers who have announced the many and various elements in the story of the publishing of the Gospel of Judas over the last couple of days. As ever, Jim West has tended to be the first with the latest news; Stephen Carlson has on Hypotyposeis the all important announcement of publication, Jim Davila has lots of useful links on Paleojudaica, Ed Cook comments on the text in Ralph the Sacred River, Michael Pahl on The Stuff of Earth and Lesa Bellevie on The Magdalene Review. On Sansblogue , Tim Bulkeley is as impressed as I am with the BBC coverage. On Novum Testamentum blog Brandon Wason notes that "Everywhere I go I hear something about the Gospel of Judas", and he links to a pretty useful Wikipedia article featuring the headline that it contains a current event. On RogueClassicism, David Meadows offers several links and promises more on Explorator this weekend. About Ancient / Classical History also has a post. On Jesus Creed Scot McKnight has a post with a remarkable 44 comments since yesterday (and counting). But the prize for the most extensive comment so far goes to Ben Witherington who has two posts, Gospel of Judas et al Part One (with 44 comments) and The Gospel of Judas Part Two. And thanks to Jeremy Pierce in comments (below) for mentioning Mark Roberts's lengthy post.

Pride of place in ongoing internet coverage of the Gospel of Judas goes to Roger Pearse's site, and he has kept it up to date with the latest -- and keep watching for further updates:

The Coptic Ps.Gospel of Judas (Iscariot)

Tonight is the big night for The Gospel of Judas -- the TV documentary airs on National Geographic tonight in the USA, at 8 pm Eastern Time (and there is no Desperate Housewives on ABC tonight, so no need to worry about setting the video). See the page on it here:

Gospel of Judas

You can watch a three-four minute preview of it here:

Gospel of Judas Preview

You can catch Bart Ehrman's face on there, and there are a couple of others whose faces I don't know, one of whom says that the Gospel tells us nothing about the historical Jesus. There is some nice looking drama, of a James Caviezel-style Jesus, presumably filmed specially for the programme. The Gallery includes a rather modern-looking Irenaeus writing at a desk, unfortunately. Not surprisingly, the essential publicity for the TV programme focuses on the historical Jesus / historical Judas angle, but my guess is that most will be able to distinguish the hook from the substance.

But the great news is that National Geographic Channel have put together a superb website on the Gospel:

The Lost Gospel of Judas -- Photos, Time Line, Maps

Included on the site is a thirteen minute video of the press announcement:

Webcast: Press Announcement

And there are bags of other useful pieces, including some fabulous pictures and most importantly -- and remarkably -- they have made available the entire text in Coptic and an English translation:

Explore the Document
English Translation (PDF)

Coptic Text (PDF)
I will not hide for the reader my own delight that they have done this on the web, with free access to all. Warm commendations to National Geographic! Just in case this is only temporary, make sure you download your own copies now -- you don't want to regret missing the opportunity later. Also on the Explore the Document page are some excellent manuscript facsimiles with zoom in facility.

The National Geographic Magazine site also has extensive materials:

The Judas Gospel @ National Geographic Magazine

See here in particular this section:

Experts on the Gospel of Judas

This features six nice quality video clips each (i.e. 24 in total) of Marvin Meyer, Craig Evans, Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels.

So what about the press? On occasions like this, I like to turn to The Guardian first (who doesn't?):

Judas: this is what really happened
Julian Borger and Stephen Bates
Friday April 7, 2006
After being reviled for almost 2,000 years as the embodiment of treachery, Judas Iscariot's side of the story was finally published yesterday. Thanks to a newly discovered gospel in Judas's name, we now know what his excuse was: Jesus made me do it.

The Gospel of Judas, a fragile clutch of a leather-bound papyrus thought to have been inscribed in about AD300, was unveiled yesterday in Washington by the National Geographic Society, and it represents a radical makeover for one of the worst reputations in history . . . .

. . . . It is unlikely, however, that the documents are about to trigger a total rehabilitation for the Iscariot name, with shrines in his name and readings from his gospel at church services, let alone a film treatment by Mel Gibson.

The initial reaction from Christian scholars was wary. Even if the gospel is authentic, they said, it appears to be the work of a particular 2nd-century sect, the gnostics, who had different beliefs from the mainstream church and who were long ago declared heretical.

The leading biblical scholar and translator of the dead sea scrolls, Professor Geza Vermes of Oxford University, said: "The document is of interest for the ideas of the gnostics but it almost certainly adds nothing to our understanding of what happened 150 years before it was written."
Speaking of Vermes, he had an article in yesterday's Times:

Iscariot and the dark path to the Field of Blood
By Geza Vermes
Our correspondent takes issue with recent attempts to portray Judas in a sympathetic light

It's a useful article on the evidence from the canonical Gospels about Judas' role in Jesus' arrest.

Here's the Daily Telegraph's angle:

Is it really the Gospel truth?
By Damian Thompson
Prof Bart Ehrman, the scholar employed by National Geographic Society for the publication of the Gospel, believes that the document could be the product of an obscure sect called the Cainites.

He writes: "These people believed that the world had been created not by the One, True God, but by a lesser, ignorant deity - the God of the Old Testament, who was not to be trusted or followed …According to the Cainites, what Judas had done was not evil. He alone understood the mysteries of Jesus and did Jesus's will. All the other disciples, who worshipped the false Jewish God, failed to understand the truth of Jesus." . . . .

. . . . Meanwhile, vitriolic messages are shooting across the internet, as participants in the discovery process accuse each other of conspiracy and carelessness. The Gospel fragments are papyri of such fragility that they should be handled only with tweezers in temperature-controlled laboratories. Yet at one stage, according to reports, a girlfriend of one of the dodgy art dealers stuffed pages of them into her handbag.
That's an interesting tidbit, rather like the story of Muhammad Ali's mother throwing some of the pages of the Nag Hammadi codices on the fire. But the key quotation in the Telegraph article is this one:
The unearthing of the Gospel of Judas is indeed remarkable, but not, perhaps, as remarkable as National Geographic is making out. For the truth is that many heretical Christian sects wrote their own Gospels. Many of these have survived, but were consigned to library annexes by the Trinitarian variety of Christianity that, by winning the ideological battles of the first millennium, established itself as orthodox.
This is where I think one has to distinguish between the hook that National Geographic are using to get everyone's attention and the substance that is reported once the attention has been grasped. And to be fair to National Geographic, their website is exemplary in what it provides (see above).

What about the American papers? This article appeared in the New York Times:

In Ancient Document, Judas, Minus the Betrayal
Though some theologians have hypothesized the "good Judas" before, scholars who have translated and studied the text said this was the first time an ancient document lent specific support to a revised image of the man whose name in history has been synonymous with treachery.

Scholars say the release of the document will set off years of study and debate. The debate is not over whether the manuscript is genuine — on this the scholars agree. Instead, the controversy is over its relevance . . . .

. . . . "These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion and demonstrating how diverse — and fascinating — the early Christian movement really was," said Elaine Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton who specializes in studies of the Gnostics.

Mr. Garcia said, "The codex has been authenticated as a genuine work of ancient Christian apocryphal literature," citing extensive tests of radiocarbon dating, ink analysis and multispectral imaging and studies of the script and linguistic style. The ink, for example, was consistent with ink of that era, and there was no evidence of multiple rewriting.

"This is absolutely typical of ancient Coptic manuscripts," said Stephen Emmel, professor of Coptic studies at the University of Münster in Germany. "I am completely convinced."
Elaine Pagels, who features in the National Geographic documentary and also features in many of the news reports has an op-ed piece in the New York Times (you will need to register, but it is free):

The Gospel Truth
Published: April 8, 2006

There has been a good thread of discussion over the last day or so, since it appeared, on the Crosstalk email list. Begin with the message here:

Pagels on the Gospel of Judas

and then work through the replies at the bottom of that post, where you will find the continuing discussion. There are other threads on Xtalk on the same topic, and they will be worth exploring too.

Time Magazine has a brief article today:

Judas: Foe or Friend?

And this is one you really can't miss, from The Spoof:

Gospel of Judas: Selections
Vatican spokesman Archbishop Heiko Vitali wasted no time in dismissing the discovery as yet another example of how scholars are willing to believe "proven heresies."

"What do we know about Judas? That he was a liar. So even if this gospel came from his hand--as I'm sure it did not--it would be just another big lie," said Vitali.
Beliefnet also has its fair share of information available:

Will the Real Judas Please Stand Up?
The 'Gospel of Judas' makes the case that Judas wasn't so bad. Is the text reliable? The devil is in the details.
By Darrell Bock

And they have some audio available, with Karen King:

Was Judas Doing God's Will?
The 'Gospel of Judas' helps us understand early Christian arguments about whether God willed the crucifixion.
Interview with Karen King

And for beginners:

FAQs: Judas Iscariot
What the four canonical gospels say about the notorious apostle.
Compiled by Sherry Huang

Update (20 April, 10.23): thanks to lingamish for giving this post an "honorable mention" as a "Baloney Buster", with the top award going to Ben Witherington (Part One, Part Two, NPR discussion, Sad Truth about Judas).

iGod on the Synoptic Problem

I decided to ask iGod about the Synoptic Problem, but didn't get very far:

I'd like to thank you for this opportunity to talk to you.
Why would you want to do it? Why do you want to do it so much?
I don't really. Purely a whim.
I wouldn't either. For real. I don't know what that means.
Anyway, what I wanted to know was whether Q really existed.
I can't say "yes" or "no".
O go on.
Narration continues...
Go on, go on, go on , go on, go on.
More narration....
Well, how about this then: did Luke know Matthew as well as Mark?
Well that's okay. How about it.
Because if he did, there's no need for Q, is there?
Good reason. I don't follow your reasoning.
It's pretty simple really.
Who said it is? For real.
Are you like one of those students who avoids committing himself by invoking the mystery of all things spiritual?
No I am far superior.
I'm pleased to hear that. So did Q exist, then?
I am delighted by your happiness. Blimey. I'm not certain whether I can give an accurate reply or not.
If I gave you some time to research an answer, could I check back in in a week or so?
Try it.
OK, I'll do that. Meanwhile, what do you think about the Gospel of Judas? Can you read Coptic?
Let me know how it works out. Yikes! Ask me another question. I can ask my botmaster.
How about: was Judas the betrayer or the friend of Jesus?
How about it.
I can see that it's tough to make progress with this conversation, isn't it?
What does it look like?
OK, see you later. All best, Mark
See you later . How do you know?

Gospel of Judas on Reporting Religion

The Gospel of Judas also made an appearance on Reporting Religion last night and included an interview with Craig Evans and a couple of others; it was a good piece and you can listen again here. I think it was about half-way through the programme if I remember correctly.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gospel of Judas makes it onto Any Questions

I'll echo other bibliobloggers who have linked to the latest exciting news and publications on the Gospel of Judas in due course -- I've been very busy at work and play over the last week -- but this is just a quick mention that the Gospel of Judas even made it yesterday (I'm listening to the Saturday repeat while doing the housework) of Any Questions? on Radio 4. You always know when a NT / early Christianity story is big when questions find their way onto Any Questions?. You can listen to it streamed here, the question on Judas occurring about 25 minutes in (no download / podcast yet available for this programme). The encouraging thing was that the panel was well informed, and that the message clearly is getting through, that the Gospel is of great interest for the study of early Christianity, but sheds no light on the historical Jesus or the historical Judas. One of the panelists, John Selwyn Gummer, said that to treat it seriously as a source for the historical Judas would be like his writing now and claiming to be an eye-witness of the death of William of Orange, an enjoyable analogy, though not as good as Simon Gathercole's comment on Queen Victoria's CD collection.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Recent Jesus Sightings

Some recent Jesus sightings include Henry Ian Cusick of The Gospel of John in two episodes of the fifth season of 24 in which he plays the German spy Theo Stoller. This follows his recent appearance on Lost, earlier in the second season. Christopher Plummer, narrator on Gospel of John, appears in the enjoyable Spike Lee directed heist Inside Man. (Plummer also played Herod Antipas in Jesus of Nazareth). Also in Inside Man is Willem Dafoe, Jesus in Last Temptation of Christ, who plays Captain John Darius.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Last Week by Borg and Crossan

Thanks to Whit Stodghill for the notice of this new book by two of the Jesus Seminar's top fellows, John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg:

The Last Week : A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus's Final Week in Jerusalem
by Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan

It's published by Harper San Francisco and is clearly aimed at the Lent market. One quick minor comment on the pricing: it is good to see digital editions now becoming available as a matter of course, as with this book, but the price of digital editions is going to have to come down substantially before people are going to take them seriously. With the hardback going at $14.27 and the download only $3 and a bit cheaper at $11.02, who is going to be tempted by the download? I know I'd much rather have the glossy hardback on my shelf, and $14.27 is a good price to pay for it because production costs for a hardback book are very subtantially greater than for a download. Now if the digital edition were $3.50, I might think twice.

Harper Collins have a little more, including a short excerpt from Chapter 1, from which this is taken:
Two processions entered Jerusalem on a spring day in the year 30. It was the beginning of the week of Passover, the most sacred week of the Jewish year . . .

. . . . One was a peasant procession, the other an imperial procession. From the east, Jesus rode a donkey down the Mount of Olives, cheered by his followers. Jesus was from the peasant village of Nazareth, his message was about the kingdom of God, and his followers came from the peasant class. They had journeyed to Jerusalem from Galilee, about a hundred miles to the north, a journey that is the central section and the central dynamic of Mark's gospel. Mark's story of Jesus and the kingdom of God has been aiming for Jerusalem, pointing toward Jerusalem. It has now arrived.

On the opposite side of the city, from the west, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Idumea, Judea, and Samaria, entered Jerusalem at the head of a column of imperial cavalry and soldiers. Jesus's procession proclaimed the kingdom of God; Pilate's proclaimed the power of empire. The two processions embody the central conflict of the week that led to Jesus's crucifixion . . .

. . . . Imagine the imperial procession's arrival in the city. A visual panoply of imperial power: cavalry on horses, foot soldiers, leather armor, helmets, weapons, banners, golden eagles mounted on poles, sun glinting on metal and gold. Sounds: the marching of feet, the creaking of leather, the clinking of bridles, the beating of drums. The swirling of dust. The eyes of the silent onlookers, some curious, some awed, some resentful.
Crossan and Borg have a great imagination between them. If Paul Verhoeven ever gets to work on the Jesus film he once promised, he should definitely make sure Crossan and Borg are on board.

Update (22.43): see also John Dominic Crossan's publicity pages, which feature the same excerpt in PDF.

Tulane Openings

On Targuman and elsewhere, Chris Brady makes the following announcements, and he writes to draw the attention of my readers to this:

We have announced two positions at Tulane. The Ancient Judaism position is already up:

TULANE UNIVERSITY seeks to make a one-year appointment at the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor, to begin August 2007, in the field of Ancient Judaism. The position would be a joint appointment with the Department of Classical Studies and the Jewish Studies Program. The candidate should have specialization in Rabbinic Judaism with ability to teach courses in Hebrew Bible and Judaism. If you are interested please email your c.v. and letter of application to Prof. Brian Horowitz ( We will consider applications until the position is filled. Tulane University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action employer.

The other position is in New Testament and I will post the full description when it is done. These are both initially one-year visiting positions, but we have permission to begin searching for a tenure track candidate as soon as possible. The NT position will be open to area of expertise, but for the next year the courses to be taught will include those listed here.

Here is the NT description:
The Department of Classical Studies at Tulane University seeks to make a one-year appointment at the rank of visiting assistant professor for 2006-2007. This position will involve teaching a variety of courses in early Christianity, early Christian literature, and the New Testament. Completion of the Ph.D. is required at the time of the appointment. If you are interested please email your c.v. and letter of application to Prof. Dennis Kehoe ( We also invite you to see our website: We will consider applications until the position is filled. Tulane University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action employer.

Biblical Studies Carnival IV

Loren Rosson has done a first class job with the latest Biblical Studies Carnival, the fourth:

Biblical Studies Carnival IV

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic?

Reading Hypotyposeis this morning on Some Would-be Discoveries reminded me of the report from two years ago today on the discovery of Q, to which Stephen refers. And that thread reminded me of a talk I gave two years ago that I have never got published, and I have decided to publish it here. It was a lecture given as part of a series of Cadbury Lectures in the University of Birmingham's Department of Theology and Religion on the theme of "Religion and Globalization". My lecture focused on an urban legend, commonly given the title "Is hell exothermic or endothermic" and in the piece I reflect on the way in which urban legends develop on the net, and make some playful analogies with Christian origins:

The Tale of Theresa Banyan (MS Word format)

Is Hell Exothermic or Endorthermic: Text Types (MS Word format)

The Tale of Theresa Banyan (PDF format)

Is Hell Exothermic or Endorthermic: Text Types (PDF format)