Women Biblical Scholars Blog – Check It Out!

So I stumbled across this blog, Women Biblical Scholars, the other day and it looks AMAZING! It is a blog solely dedicated to women in biblical scholarship.

Throughout history women have loved, studied, and taught the scriptures. Unfortunately, many of us have never heard of these biblical scholars and theologians. Often they are left out of history books and classrooms. The goal of this blog is to draw attention to the works of these women and discover what they contribute to our understanding of the biblical text. With greater awareness, this scholarship can shape course curriculum, homilies, public discourse, and academia itself. (from the blog’s About page)

This is like my meager, short-lived (but not necessarily retired!) Frauen Friday series on steroids and I’m super excited about it. I’m probably a little late to the party but if you haven’t seen it yet you should definitely check it out. It is relatively new but there are already tons of interviews and videos and it looks like it is updated pretty frequently so mosey on over and dive on in.

Also, you can follow @Women_Scholars on Twitter for updates. Kudos to this new blog and I look forward to being a regular reader!

Linguistics and the Greek Verb Conference Announcement!

Jessica Parks:

If you like Greek, you need to be there. Check it out!

Originally posted on Old School Script:

Posted by Chris with a “C”

I am very excited to announce “Linguistics and the Greek Verb: Recent Discussions and their Implications for NT Exegetes” — a Greek linguistics conference taking place in Cambridge, England, this July!

Linguistics and the Greek Verb Flier pic

The aim of the conference is to bring together NT scholars, linguists, and Classicists to discuss the Greek verbal system in a way that is clear and that moves the conversation forward while acknowledging and respecting the discussions of the past three decades within Biblical Studies. (If you would like to read the backstory of this conference, see my post “How We Got to Where We’re Going: A Story.”) I am incredibly excited about this conference. Not only will we have some phenomenal speakers from within the Biblical Studies guild, but we will also have the benefit of learning from Classicists, voices often not heard in Biblical Studies.

The conference is an…

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How We Got to Where We’re Going: A Story

Jessica Parks:

For all you Greeksters out there, check out what my former classmate and friend Chris Fresch has been planning…

Originally posted on Old School Script:

Posted by Chris with a “C”

Some may have seen my cryptic tweet the other day:

I hope I did not keep too many in suspense for too long.

… and I hope you do not mind being kept in suspense a little bit longer.

I would like to tell you a story …

In November of 2012, at ETS in Milwaukee, I had dinner with Steve Runge, Randall Buth, Josh Westbury, and Brian Schultz.  During our conversation, Randall mentioned the book The Prominence of Tense, Aspect and Mood by D.N.S. Bhat, a cross-linguistic, typological study of the interaction of tense, aspect, and mood in verbal systems. Randall told us that we had to read it and that it would inform our understanding of Greek.  We did.  It did.  For me, this was the beginning of really thinking about the Greek verbal system linguistically.

A year passed.  During the fall of…

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Cassiodorus on the Violence in Psalm 137

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare
down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!
– Psalm 137:7-9

Psalm 137 is one of the most violent Psalms in the famous Judeo-Christian prayer book. It’s a classic “problem text” for many Christians, as the prayer that the children of one’s enemy may have their head smashed upon rocks seems completely at odds with Jesus’ command to love one’s enemies.

How should Christians read this text?
Can a Christian legitimately pray this prayer about one’s own enemies?
How can we reconcile this text with Jesus’ teachings?

As explained in detail in Mark Sheridan’s Language For God in the Patristic Tradition: Wrestling with Biblical Anthropomorphisms (full review coming soon), the church fathers almost unanimously considered this text to be irreconcilable (on a literal sense) with the teachings of the New Testament. This led them to various interpretive strategies such as the use of allegorical interpretations.

Cassiodorus, in his commentary on this Psalm, quotes 1 Corinthians 10:11 and says that “we must interpret these events spiritually.” He goes on to say:

“They are still addressing the flesh, stating that the person who takes hold of his little ones, meaning his harmful vices, is blessed, because he has already made progress towards controlling them; for when we hold something we take it in our power, and it ceases to be free since it has begun to be enslaved by us…. We do will to analyze their phrase: Thy little ones, meaning sins of the flesh born of a wretched mother. While small they are easily grasped and effectively dashed against the heavenly Rock; but once they begin to mature and reach a most vigorous manhood, sterner struggle is commenced with them, and they are not easily overcome by our weakness.” (Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms; ACW 53:364.)

Notice two things here:
– Cassiodorus agrees with the majority of early Christian interpreters (from both the Alexandrian and Antiochene schools) that a literal sense of the text (the wishing of children’s skulls to be crushed on rocks) is unfitting (“not worthy of” … a common interpretive move by the Church Fathers when encountering anthropomorphisms or violent/angry language) of God and Christians.
– Cassiodorus also agrees with many of the other church Fathers in his interpretation that the “small children” represent the beginning stages of growth of vices which must be put to death in the Christian life, including, ironically, the desire to see enemies punished and killed. (Other Church Fathers who have a similar interpretation: Origen, Eusebius, Hilary of Poitiers, Augustine, and John Cassian.)

What do you think about Cassiodorus’ interpretation?
How would you suggest Christians read Psalm 137’s violent prayer?

The hardships of Biblical Scholar’dom (or, Beware the buzzwords, my son!)

Jessica Parks:

Some good stuff here from my friend Kris over at Old School Script… check it out.

Originally posted on Old School Script:

Biblical scholars have always been in a difficult place. Trying to interpret the message of ancient people through ancient writings. So many disciplines must be incorporated and roles played to accomplish this task.

Stack of hatsSociologist.

Grammarian.

Historian.

Literary critic.

Translator.

Anthropologist.

Theologian.

Textual critic.

Fill in the blank…

Eclecticism is the name of the game. And what a difficult game it is. To grapple responsibly with so many different disciplines, all the while determining the appropriate level of expertise or detail with which it is necessary to interact with the field can be an incredibly daunting task. And honestly, I think a good many biblical scholars do a da[r]n good job juggling a handful of these roles at the same time.

If this wasn’t hard enough, a new role has come on the scene over the past several decades: the Linguist. Now biblical scholars are faced with several choices: to entertain…

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