Daily Gleanings: New Books (18 June 2019)

"Documents from the Luciferians" cover imageColin Whiting has a new volume out with SBL Press, Documents from the Luciferians: In Defense of the Nicene Creed:

This volume includes English translations of several documents written by the Luciferians, a group of fourth-century Christians whose name derives from the bishop Lucifer of Cagliari, that highlight connections between developments in Christian theology and local Christian communities in the course of the fourth century. The most important document, the Luciferian petition called the Libellus precum, has never been published in English. The theological tract De Trinitate was last published in English in an otherwise unknown anonymous version from 1721. An introduction provides an overview of the development of late antique theology and Christianity, a discussion of Luciferian beliefs, and discussions of the texts.


Forthcoming from Bloomsbury this November is Matthew Crawford and Nick Zola’s The Gospel of Tatian: Exploring the Nature and Text of the Diatessaron.

The volume is currently available for pre-order. Ahead of the volume’s release, Bloomsbury has published an interesting interview with the editors about the volume. They comment, in part,

There are several provocative chapters in this volume. Francis Watson contends that the Diatessaron is much better read as a Gospel in its own right, and not a gospel harmony. James Barker, on the other hand, suggests that however Tatian might have classified his work, he could not have hoped to supplant the Gospels that came before him. Ian Mills argues that what is commonly considered the oldest surviving fragment of the Diatessaron (the Dura Fragment) is actually a piece of some other gospel harmony entirely. Charles Hill overturns a general consensus by demonstrating there is no direct evidence that Tatian employed extra-canonical written Gospels as sources for the Diatessaron. Finally, the opening chapter features the last published essay of a recently passed pioneer of the field, Tjitze Baarda; and the final chapter (by Nicholas Zola, one of the co-editors) calls for a moratorium on citing the Diatessaron in the apparatus of the Greek New Testament, after tracing the general failure of this enterprise.

For the balance of the interview, see the original post.

Daily Gleanings: RBL (17 June 2019)

Among recent releases from the Review of Biblical Literature:

  1. David Briones reviews Thomas Blanton IV’s A Spiritual Economy: Gift Exchange in the Letters of Paul of Tarsus (YUP, 2017). Briones offers some constructively critical comments but assesses Blanton’s contribution by saying, in part,

Much of what Blanton writes about the nature of the gift is insightful, and his interaction with the Roman context and secondary literature on Paul is impressive. One can also appreciate Blanton’s interdisciplinary approach to Paul and gift. It certainly is a bold and admirable attempt to “become all things to all people” in a single volume. It therefore makes sense that he would invite his readers “to exercise clemency in their judgments” because of the various fields he engages in a single volume .…

pp.3–4
  1. Marc Groenbech-Dam reviews Jesper Høgenhaven, Jesper Tang Nielsen, and Heike Omerzu, eds., Rewriting and Reception in and of the Bible (Mohr Siebeck, 2018).
  2. Groenbech-Dam’s summary assessment is that

Overall, this volume is well-crafted and an interesting read as it presents several creative essays on the nature of rewritten Bible and the reception of the Bible. The book is suited for biblical students/scholars and students/scholars of comparative literature, or anyone who wishes to see some of the fruits of the Univeristy of Copenhagen’s research on the gospels as rewritten Bible (Evangelierne som genskrevet Bibel), which was spearheaded by Mogens Müller and Jesper Tang Nielsen. The latter part of the book contains insightful essays on how one can appropriate Müller’s ideas into a different and sometimes more modern context, which makes it not only a fitting gift to Müller but also a contribution to biblical scholarship in general.

p.5

Authorities for SBL Style: Classes, Miscellanea

In this series, we’ve discussed several kinds of authorities for SBL style. These include house styles (from a publisher or a school), the SBLHS and its blog, IATG3, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

There are more authorities we could discuss. But in this final post in the series, we’ll cover just two more. These authorities are commonly used for specific cases in a wide range of writing projects. And they are the SBLHS Student Supplement and the Chicago Manual of Style.

4.3 For Class Essays: The SBLHS Student Supplement

For class essays, students can consult the Student Supplement for The SBL Handbook of Style, Second Edition (SS.SBLHS). SBL makes this supplement freely available online.

The SS.SBLHS contains a great deal of helpful, practical guidance. It specifically addresses how SBL style applies to a project like a seminar paper or other class essay. These include such things as recommendations for title pages, tables of contents, and heading styles.

SS.SBLHS is, though, only 19 pages. So it’s scope is much more limited than SBLHS, and therefore, SS.SBLHS can’t really replace consulting the fuller handbook.

In relation to SS.SBLHS also, two cautions are in order:

  1. The supplement is a good tool. But it tends to be slightly more prone to errors or inconsistencies than the SBLHS itself. So you need to use the supplement cautiously and always defer to other higher authorities like the full handbook.
  2. SBLHS doesn’t explicitly (or, I think, even implicitly) rank the student supplement in its list of applicable authorities. As such, it may well be that the supplement should rank lower as an authority than does the Chicago Manual. This may also be preferable given some of the supplement’s errata over the years. So you may want to see if your school’s house style gives you any guidance for locating SS.SBLHS among your list of authorities for SBL style. But I’ve included it here (above the Chicago Manual) on the principles that (a) SS.SBLHS is style guidance directly from SBL Press and (b) any errata will presumably get corrected sooner or later on the more-authoritative SBLHS blog.

4.4 For Everything Else: The Chicago Manual

4.4.1 Using the Chicago Manual in General

Okay, so let’s say you’ve gone through the SS.SBLHS and the other higher authorities we’ve discussed in prior posts. But you’ve still not found the answer to your style question. If that’s the case, then according to SBL Press, follow the advice in the current edition of the Chicago Manual.

In consulting the Chicago Manual, much the same advice applies as we’ve already given in connection with the SBLHS.

4.4.2 The Relationship between the SBLHS and the Chicago Manual

On the preparation of the second edition of the SBLHS, SBL Press comments that

while the first edition tended toward minimal duplication, relying on users referring to The Chicago Manual of Style, feedback from users noted that it would be more efficient to have style guidance in one place. Consequently, the second edition contains more complete information and requires less consultation of The Chicago Manual of Style.

SBLHS, xii.

In my use of the second edition, I’ve certainly found that I need to refer to the Chicago Manual for fewer questions than was the case with the first edition of the SBLHS. That being said, if you are writing a project of any appreciable length—even in a class paper or journal article, but certainly in a thesis or dissertation—there will likely be innumerable minor details for which the Chicago Manual will be your best guide.

That is, with the second edition of SBLHS, you do need to consult the Chicago Manual about fewer things. But there are so many minor details that SBLHS simply doesn’t include that I find myself regularly using the Chicago Manual as well.

Any one of the things I have to look up in the Chicago Manual I might only come across once in a given project. Yet, if you add up all the things that you have to look up once per project in the Chicago Manual, you may well find that you too will want to have your own copy within arm’s reach.

Conclusion

In sum, the SBLHS provides some inestimably helpful guidance geared specifically for challenges and questions that confront biblical scholars.

At the same time, SBLHS is self-confessedly not on an island by itself. Instead, SBLHS draws from and leans on other authorities to help it focus on what it does best—guide biblical scholars about questions that (almost) uniquely pertain to biblical scholars.

But because scholarly writing in biblical studies has such a wide range of possible forms, not even as full a guide as the SBLHS can hope to be truly comprehensive without also becoming quite unwieldy. Just think of what it would look like to add the SBLHS to IATG3 and the Chicago Manual in something resembling a single publication (!).

With this in mind, all of us who write in biblical studies need to be intimately familiar with the SBLHS and the other basic guideposts on which the SBLHS leans. This whole group of guides is there to help us produce the cleanest writing we can so that our readers can concentrate as fully and transparently as possible on what we are trying to argue.

Are any of the additional authorities we’ve discussed beyond the SBLHS new to you? If so, which one(s)? Which authority(ies) do you need to use more fully?

Daily Gleanings (14 June 2019)

Asbury Theological Seminary recorded recent a biblical studies seminar on the New Perspective on Paul. The primary faculty participants were Joseph Dongell, Ben Witherington, and Craig Keener.

The session flows through the two following recordings. The New Perspective discussion starts at approximately the 4:00-mark in the first recording.

Update: Unfortunately, the video embedding I attempted previously in this post didn’t work out as it had looked to. The links to the relevant pages on Vimeo’s website are:

HT: Craig Keener

Daily Gleanings (13 June 2019)

Todoist has a helpful guide on getting started with the Pomodoro technique. The guide comments in part:

half of all workday distractions are self-inflicted — meaning we pull ourselves out of focus

It isn’t just the time you lose on distractions, it also takes time and energy to refocus your attention. After switching gears, our mental attention can linger over the previous task for upwards of 20 minutes until regaining full concentration. Indulging the impulse to check Facebook “just for a minute” can turn into 20 minutes of trying to get back on task.

How can we teach ourselves to resist all of those self-interruptions and re-train our brains to focus? That’s where the Pomodoro technique comes in.

What makes the Pomodoro method so effective? It completely changes your sense of time.

When you start working in short, timed sessions, time is no longer an abstract concept but a concrete event.

For more about the Pomodoro technique itself, as well as its integration with Todoist, see the full post.


Peter Gurry discusses some recent work on the Harklean Syriac text.

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