Friday, May 29, 2009

de Gruyter's Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (forthcoming) invites contributors

I just came across an article in the Association for Jewish Studies periodical, Perspectives, announcing an ambitions, ten-year long project from Walter de Gruyter publishers. This Encyclopedia is projected to be 30 volumes in total, and to cover the growing scholarly field of "reception history" and its cognate fields.

Most importantly, they are looking for contributors. Barry Dov Walfish, one of the editors, writing in Perspectives, said, "If anyone has expertise in a topic of biblical interest and would like to write for EBR, please be in touch with me or one of the other area editors."

Barry Dov Walfish can be reached via email at

I am reproducing the information from the de Gruyter website below.


Cover Edited by Hans-Josef Klauck
Bernard McGinn
Choon-Leong Seow
Hermann Spieckermann
Barry Dov Walfish
Eric Ziolkowski

in cooperation with Dale Allison, Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Donna Bowman, Brian Britt, Michael Cameron, Mordechai Z. Cohen, Joseph Davis, Jamey Deming, Martin Forward, Peter Gemeinhardt, Haim Goldfus, Ann E. Killebrew, David W. Kling, Volker Leppin, Paul Mendes-Flohr, Martti Nissinen, Dennis T. Olson, Nils Holger Petersen, S. Brent Plate, Christine Roy Yoder, Thomas Römer, Günter Stemberger, Marvin A. Sweeney, Johan C. Thom, David R. Thomas, Samuel Vollenweider, Jan G. van der Watt, Sidnie White Crawford

The new indispensable biblical research tool from de Gruyter

New Circumstances in Biblical Studies
Biblical studies have fully participated in the recent interdisciplinary exchanges among the humanistic and social scientific disciplines. Today, aside from the classic historical questions about the conditions and circumstances of the Bible’s origins, inquiries into the reception and culture-forming influence of the Bible are drawing considerable attention.

Formation and Reception of the Bible
Responding to these new circumstances, the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR) pursues a twofold task. EBR offers a comprehensive and in-depth rendering of the current state of knowledge on the origins and development of the Bible according to its different canonic forms in Judaism and Christianity. At the same time, EBR also documents the history of the Bible’s reception in the Christian churches and the Jewish Diaspora; in literature, art, music, and film; in Islam, as well as in other religious traditions and current religious movements, Western and non-Western alike.

Indispensable Compendium of International Research
With this broad program of reception history, EBR moves into new terrain, seeking to do justice to the fact that the biblical texts not only have their own particular genetic background and setting but also have been received and interpreted, and exerted their influence, in countless and diverse religious, theological, and aesthetic settings. EBR will shape scholarship on the Bible and its reception.

EBR is a resource tool for scholars in biblical studies and related fields but also accessible to general readers interested in the Bible. It is edited by an international team of scholars, all experts in their fields. EBR will be published in English, and the articles will appear in print and online.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Aquinas College forum on Sacred Scripture, June 15 - 19, 2009

[n.b. - I am participating in this forum, and giving a presentation for it on the 17th entitled, "Living in the Bible Belt: The Fundamentals of Fundamentalism." I am particlarly excited about Fr. Rosica's report on the 2008 Vatican Synod on Sacred Scripture, on the morning of the 16th. If you are in town, and interested in the Bible, I would strongly urge you to join us for these discussions - they promise to be very fruitful!]

St. Thomas Aquinas Forum 2009

Each summer, the St. Thomas Aquinas Theological & Catechetical Forum at Aquinas College offers an intensive weeklong study of a particular point of Roman Catholic doctrine or devotion, led by one or more Aquinas College faculty members. The half-day sessions include daily Mass and opportunities for personal prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, and sacramental Reconciliation. Attendance can be counted toward hours needed for diocesan catechist certification programs.

Sacred Scripture:
The Word of God...Living and Active

Date: Monday - Friday, June 15 - 19
Time: 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Daily Mass: 9:00 a.m.
Registration fee: $100

Registration form (1.13MB pdf)

2009 Flyer (1.28MB pdf)

2009 Speakers:

Reverend Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. holds advanced degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture from Toronto, Rome, and Jerusalem and has lectured on Sacred Scripture at universities in Canada from 1990 to the present. In October 2008, Father Rosica was appointed by the Vatican as the Media and Communications Liaison to the Synod of Bishops on The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. Last February, Pope Benedict appointed Father as consultor to the Pontifical Council of Social Communications. Father also served as the National Director of World Youth Day 2002 and the Papal Visit to Canada, and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Salt and Light Catholic Television Network.

Andrew Minto, Ph.D. is professor of Sacred Scripture and Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. A former account executive in the financial services industry, Dr. Minto earned his bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University, a master's in Theology from Franciscan University, and a Ph.D. in Sacred Scripture and Theology from The Catholic University of America. Dr Minto also serves as Consultant to Redeemer Pacific College in Vancouver, British Columbia; Assistant Editor of Fides Quarens Intellectum; and reviewer for Oxford University Press on a proposed new study Bible in the Catholic Tradition.

Sister Mary Dominic, O.P. teaches linguistics and Scripture at Aquinas College. Prior to joining the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation in 1987, Sister earned a Ph.D. in linguistics and taught at Auburn University. In 2003, Sister earned an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Providence College. She has published a number of scholarly articles on linguistics and Scripture.

Sister Jane Dominic, O.P. is a member of the theology faculty at Aquinas College. Sister is a popular speaker on a variety of topics related to religious life and theology and has presented to young adult groups, parenting groups, RCIA classes, and lay organizations in Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, South Bend, Ind., and other cities around the country. She is currently studying at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, the Angelicum, in Rome.

David Dault is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and holds degrees in philosophy, religion and theology. He is currently writing a book for Yale University Press on the phenomenon of "designer" Bibles. A convert to the Catholic Faith, David's presentations often reveal his appreciative sense of humor toward the challenges facing Catholics in the "Bible Belt."

For more information on the St. Thomas Aquinas Forum, please call (615) 297-7545 or email

Gregory Boyd reviews The Patriot's Bible

My brother Allyn brought this to my attention. It comes from the Christianity Today website. Dr. Gregory Boyd (of Letters from a Skeptic fame) does a two-part, in-depth review of The American Patriot's Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America (KJV, Thomas Nelson, 2009). The following quotation will provide a good overview of his conclusions:
[T]he selective retelling of American history found in the Patriot’s Bible is not what concerns me the most. What disturbs me more is the way the commentators attempt to give their idealized version of American history divine authority by weaving it into the biblical narrative.

The review can be accessed through these links: Part 1 and Part 2.

What is particularly interesting to me, from the standpoint of material-Scriptural questions, are some of his analyses, toward the end of the review, in which he examines the effect of interleaving a jingoist reading of American history with the biblical text itself:
I have no doubt that those who contributed to the Patriot’s Bible are sincere, godly people who genuinely believe they’re doing America and the Kingdom a service by publishing this work. And had they published their particular interpretation of American history in a separate volume, I would have had much less trouble with it. What grieves me deeply is that the Patriot’s Bible fuses this interpretation with the biblical narrative in an attempt to give it divine authority. As such, this version of the Bible virtually incarnates the nationalistic idolatry that has afflicted the Church for centuries and so thoroughly compromised the beauty of the trans-national, self-sacrificial Kingdom Jesus came to bring.

There is a lot of conversation to be had around these sorts of interleavings.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Quest for the Historical John Wyclif

The following extended quotation is from John Wyclif: Myth and Reality by Gillian R. Evans (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005):
No work in English which can be attributed with certainty to John Wyclif survives; nor is there any evidence that he actively got the work of translating the Bible into English under way or was even directly involved in it. Not a single "great book," or any book of lasting importance, bears his name. We can point to no quotation so memorable that it echoes down the years. He was not the only one among his contemporaries putting forward the particular arguments which came to be associated with his name and the only 'English freedom' he certainly fought for was the refusal to pay taxation decades overdue to the papacy from the kingdom of England; even there he was acting as one of a diplomatic mission and not as a solitary hero. It is not at all easy to say in the end what Wyclif's achievement was [243].

I haven't read the full book yet - I only just learned of it from a book review by James A. DeJong in the Calvin Theological Journal (44:1, April 2009, 172-173). It seemed interesting enough, just from this quotation, to mention. Given the Protestant hagiography surrounding him, this foray into revisionist history opens up interesting questions about the early development of the English Bible.

Worth a look, certainly. What do you think?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Conference on Codex Sinaiticus, July 6-7, British Library

[From the conference website:]

Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world's outstanding manuscripts. Together with Codex Vaticanus, it is one of the earliest extant Bibles, containing the oldest complete New Testament. This treasured codex is indispensable for understanding the earliest text of the Greek Bible, the transmission of its text, the establishment of the Christian canon, and the history of the book. Over 400 leaves survive and are held across four institutions: the British Library, Leipzig University Library, St Catherine's Monastery and the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg.

To celebrate the virtual re-unification of all extant leaves of Codex Sinaiticus, on 6-7 July 2009, the British Library is hosting an academic conference on topics relating to Codex Sinaiticus. A number of leading experts have been approached to give presentations on the history, text, conservation, paleography and codicology, among other topics, of Codex Sinaiticus. Selected conference papers will be edited and published as a collection of articles.

[For more information and to register for the conference, click here]