Daily Gleanings: Productivity (1 January 2020)

Erik Fisher and Craig Jarrow discuss essential time management tools.

The conversation includes a good deal of helpful material to consider. But perhaps the most helpful segment is the stress on simplicity and contemplation of what kinds of basic tools really are necessary for knowledge work.

Daily Gleanings: Community Rule (31 December 2019)

Now available from SBL Press is Sarianna Metso’s critical edition of the Community Rule.

According to the Press,

The Community Rule serves to illuminate the religious beliefs and practices as well as the organizational rules of the group behind the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, there is no single, unified text of the Community Rule; rather, multiple manuscripts of the Community Rule show considerable variation and highlight the work of ancient Jewish scribes and their intentional literary development of the text. In this volume, Sarianna Metso brings together the surviving evidence in a new edition that presents a critically established Hebrew text with an introduction and an English translation.

The edition addresses all surviving witnesses for the Rule and includes a critical apparatus.

Daily Gleanings: DRH (30 December 2019)

The Database of Religious History (DRH) “is a massive, standardized, searchable encyclopedia of the current best scholarly opinion on historical religious traditions and the historical record more generally.”

Much of the challenge the DRH tries to address is the volume of scholarly literature being produced on religious history and the difficulty of keeping current with it all.

Happy New Year 2020!

This week, I’m out of the office and celebrating the new year.

If you’re also celebrating, I hope you’re able to enjoy time with those who matter most to you. And I hope you’ve already enjoyed some enriching time around the Christmas holiday.

Looking Back

As this year winds to a close, now might be a good time to look back over it. You can take stock of what worked, what didn’t, what went well, and what you’d like to do better moving forward.

As you do so, think both personally and professionally. You are, after all, a whole person living a life in which biblical studies fits—not the other way around.

I’ve recently done this kind of yearly review myself, and it’s always a helpful experience.

Looking Ahead

As you look forward to 2020, think carefully too about articulating what you want to achieve in the year ahead.

You can do this by:

  1. Brainstorming 10–12 things you’d most like to accomplish in the coming year.
  2. Turning each brainstormed item into a SMARTER goal statement.
  3. Assigning each goal to a particular quarter (or semester).
  4. Each week next year, asking what you can do to move toward one or more of your quarterly (or semesterly) goals.

One of the changes I’ve made for this coming year is to chunk down into smaller units larger projects that can’t be completed in one quarter.

This naturally means using up for that larger project more goals out of my annual budget of 10–12.

But it will hopefully mean that any given quarterly goal will be achievable within the time frame of that quarter even if that goal might ultimately connect with others from other quarters to form a larger project.

This approach should give me a still better sense of just how committed the year ahead already is. It should also help me see better throughout the year what progress is or isn’t really being made on those kinds of larger projects.


Your thinking back over 2019 and ahead to 2020 may well highlight something different you want to change.

Whatever it is, apply what you learned from 2019 to help you be more intentional now about the time you have in front of you in the new year.

What do you want to achieve in 2020? How might you plan out the work you need to do to complete those goals?

If you haven’t done so yet, please take just a couple minutes to complete the 2019 reader survey and help shape the content I release in 2020.

Header image by Annie Spratt

Daily Gleanings: Romans (27 December 2019)

Chris Tilling has a very fine two-part lecture on Karl Barth’s commentary on Romans (part 1, part 2).

In particular, the lecture addresses several ways in which Barth’s commentary is likely to evoke criticism from New Testament scholars. On the other hand, Tilling also sketches some things that New Testament scholars can learn from Barth about both Romans and doing theology.

Daily Gleanings: Paul (26 December 2019)

In TC 24, Katja Kujanpää discusses the source of Paul’s quotation in Rom 11:35.

Typically, this is found in Job 41:3. But Kujanpää argues the source is actually a variant form of Isa 40:14.

According to the abstract,

Romans 11:35 is almost unanimously treated as a quotation from Job 41:3. Although it differs significantly from preserved Greek and Hebrew readings of that verse, few have questioned this attribution. In this article, I will argue that Rom 11:35 has nothing to do with Job but is a verbatim quotation from Isaiah. Scholars have mostly ignored the fact that Rom 11:35 agrees word for word with a Greek textual variant, a remarkably well attested plus in Isa 40:14. In the previous verse in Romans, Paul quotes Isa 40:13.

The essay draws attention to the importance of having as full as possible a sense of the Septuagintal textual tradition(s) when working on Paul’s (or the New Testament’s) use of Scripture.

It’s always possible that the source for a given New Testament quotation or allusion is represented in the apparatus rather than in the main text of a modern, critical Septuagint.

There are some cases where this possibility wouldn’t obtain (e.g., if a New Testament text has demonstrably influenced Septuagintal copies). But that doesn’t change the need to be on the look out for this possibility.

For the full essay, see TC 24’s webpage.