Review of Biblical Literature Newsletter (July 3, 2014)

The latest reviews in the Review of Biblical Literature include:

Jewish Scriptures and Cognate Studies

New Testament and Cognate Studies


Review of Biblical Literature Newsletter (June 27, 2014)

The latest reviews in the Review of Biblical Literature include:

Jewish Scriptures and Cognate Studies

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Journal of Biblical Literature 133, no. 2

The Journal of Biblical Literature 133, no. 2 includes:

  • Joram Mayshar, “Who Was the Toshav?”
  • Amitai Baruchi-Unna, “Two Clearings of Goats (1 Kings 20:27): An Interpretation Supported by an Akkadian Parallel”
  • Ryan E. Stokes, “Satan, Yhwh’s Executioner”
  • Saul M. Olyan, “Jehoiakim’s Dehumanizing Interment as a Ritual Act of Reclassification”
  • John L. McLaughlin, “Is Amos (Still) among the Wise?”
  • Christine Mitchell, “A Note on the Creation Formula in Zechariah 12:1–8; Isaiah 42:5–6; and Old Persian Inscriptions”
  • Kristian Larsson, “Intertextual Density, Quantifying Imitation”
  • J. R. Daniel Kirk and Stephen L. Young, “‘I Will Set His Hand to the Sea’: Psalm 88:26 LXX and Christology in Mark”
  • Jennifer Knust and Tommy Wasserman, “The Biblical Odes and the Text of the Christian Bible: A Reconsideration of the Impact of Liturgical Singing on the Transmission of the Gospel of Luke”
  • Brittany E. Wilson, “The Blinding of Paul and the Power of God:Masculinity, Sight, and Self-Control in Acts 9”
  • Brice C. Jones, ”Three New Coptic Papyrus Fragments of 2 Timothy and Titus (P.Mich. inv. 3535b)”
  • Nicola Denzey Lewis and Justine Ariel Blount, “Rethinking the Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices”

This issue also introduces the “JBL Forum,” which is intended to provide “an occasional series that will highlight approaches, points of
view, and even definitions of ‘biblical scholarship’ that may be outside the usual purview of many of our readers. The format may vary from time to time but will always include an exchange of ideas on the matter at hand” (pg. 421). This issue’s forum includes:

  • Ronald Hendel, “Mind the Gap: Modern and Postmodern in Biblical Studies”
  • Stephen D. Moore, “Watch the Target: A Post-Postmodernist Response to Ronald Hendel”
  • Peter Miscall, George Aichele, and Richard Walsh, “Response to Ron Hendel”

Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine

Edward Robinson (1794-1863)
Edward Robinson (1794–1863; Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Internet Archive has the three main volumes of Edward Robinson’s Biblical Researches in Palestine (Boston: Crocker and Brewster). The volumes record observations from Robinson’s mid-19th century travels in Palestine with Eli Smith and others. On Internet Archive, the volumes are included on the same page with several others, and the labeling is somewhat unclear. The direct links for the Biblical Researches files are, however, as follows: vol. 1, vol. 2, and vol. 3.

Review of Longman, ed., “Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary” in Logos

Baker’s Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary (BIBD) was produced chiefly under the editorship of Tremper Longman, with Peter Enns (Old Testament) and Mark Strauss (New Testament) serving as associate editors. Logos Bible Software was kind enough to provide a copy of their release of the text for this review.

In the preface, the editors highlight the difficulty that

the Bible is not always easy to understand. The main message is clear enough, but much remains obscure. . . . The places named in the Bible are strange, and the number of people mentioned is virtually countless. We are distanced from both the Old and New Testaments by vast periods of time and culture. (vii)

BIBD is intended to help address this situation with its “more than five thousand articles written by well over one hundred contributors” (vii). Specifically as an illustrated dictionary, a good portion of the value the text intends to provide its users comes through the various visual supplements its entries provide. The text includes “1,700 full-color pages” (Baker; Logos). Some of this color markup in the print version seems primarily to highlight particular textual elements for easier reference (e.g., 994). Consequently, not all of this information will be represented or represented in exactly the same way in the Logos version of the text, which follows the software platform’s coloration scheme conventions and may include, by default, still some further visual cues.

Fair Havens Image Export
Right click an image and choose “Image” in the menu to show export options.

Either in a physical print volume or in the Logos electronic format, the text’s main visual supplements include its more than 400 “visual illustrations, charts, pictures, and maps” in full color (front cover, vii). With its articles and visual supplements, BIBD should prove “helpful . . . to support everyday Bible reading as well as to prepare for group Bible studies or to follow up on sermons, and for many other reasons” (vii). Many visual elements do provide helpful information that is much easier expressed in images than in words. An additional benefit of the text in Logos is that images can be sent directly to PowerPoint or saved for use in other presentation platforms. Doing so may help save time in searching elsewhere for ways of showing what might be more difficult to describe with words.

A number of BIBD‘s visual elements might be more useful in explaining the reception of rather than the background for particular biblical texts. For instance, the entry on Aaron depicts a carving of Moses and Aaron by Andreas Schultze (17th c.; 1), the entry on Eschatology includes a portion of Hans Memling’s (15th c.) Last Judgment (518), and the entry on Ezekiel includes an Austrian carving (16th c.; 554). Even so, seeing options for understanding particular elements within the biblical text that differ from those to which one is generally accustomed can be helpful in showing up where contemporary readers’ unrealized assumptions may lie. The ease of searching BIBD in the Logos format may provide an additional benefit for finding and using BIBD‘s visual elements where a given element might be relevant to multiple BIBD entries but not included with each.


In Logos (v. 5 Gold was used for this review), especially if BIBD is set as a preferred dictionary, lookups from Bibles are very simple. For discussion of and instructions about setting preferred resources, see the “Get the Most Out of Your Logos Library” webinar. Lookups work most directly from English Bibles through the right-click menu. In theory, when working with Bibles in other languages, users with access to the Bible Sense Lexicon can pull appropriate results from that resource and then choose one of the topic guide links to collate relevant entries from BIBD and other similar Logos resources. As of this writing, BIBD does not seem to display with other similar resources in the “Topic” section of the “Topic Guide.” To the best of my understanding, however, this behavior is simply a quirk for which a remedy is being investigated. In any case, it would make a nice feature enhancement if the software could pull through Bible Sense Lexicon information to build right-click menu preferred Bible dictionary entries when using, for instance, a Biblia Hebraica or Nestle-Aland text much it does when using an English Bible. Direct lookup by opening the resource and navigating its contents tree is, of course, also an option and perhaps the one to which I still tend to default most (since it most resembles pulling a book off the shelf and working through it to whatever relevant information).

BIBD and Logos Timeline
Click a date flag in the BIBD text to open the Logos timeline and see what else was happening at or around the same time.

Another nice enhancement in the Logos version of BIBD are the timeline flags that appear with dates throughout the text. Clicking the flag will bring up the Logos timeline feature to show what else was happening at or around the time a given event is noted to have happened in BIBD. Clicking one of the timeline’s event bars then opens a fly-over menu with a list of resources that contain additional information about that event.

In short, BIBD seems to be very helpful as a basic reference text, and the visual elements it includes should be useful both for students and for teachers. Digital and print media both have their virtues, but BIBD plays very nicely in the Logos ecosystem. Some of the Logos platform’s supporting features provide helpful enhancements to BIBD, and having BIBD in one’s Logos library certainly helps foster the “network effect” that plays to the digital library’s strengths.

Perthes, Life of John Chrysostom

Frederic Perthes

This month, Logos Bible Software has Frederic Perthes’ Life of John Chrysostom (John P. Jewett, 1854) available for free. According to Logos’s description,

Based on the investigations of Neander, Böhringer, and others, Life of John Chrysostom details the “golden-mouthed” orator’s influence on Asia Minor. It offers a look into his role as preacher and bishop, his interactions with different sects and notable persons during his life, and an exacting account of his three-year exile.

For more information or to download the resource, please visit the Logos website.