Monday, December 26, 2011

A "Natural History of the Book": Joshua Calhoun's "The Word Made Flax"

A few months ago my colleague Katy Scrogin passed along to me an article for the MLA Journal. I've been meaning to comment on it for some time now, as I found it thought-provoking and, at many points, exquisite.

Joshua Calhoun's "The Word Made Flax: Cheap Bibles, Textual Corruption, and the Poetics of Paper" [PMLA 126.2 (March 2011): 327-344] takes as its central concern the question of "a printed Bible made of culturally processed natural resources, a Bible that is a palimpsest of plants and animals, social circulation, religious tradition and textual production" [341]. Calhoun's thesis is that Bibles throughout the history of their production have carried in their physical forms the traces of the materials and conditions from which they were produced. Moreover, Calhoun finds clear evidence that readers through the ages have been quite adept at decoding these markings of material provenance, and using that knowledge as part of a rhetoric of interpretation.

To demonstrate his point, Calhoun offers a reading of a 1655 poem by Henry Vaughn, "The Book," which "engages in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates about cheap media and the production of a vernacular Bible in England" [329]. Take, for example, the following lines from the second stanza of "The Book":

[God] knew'st this papyr, when it was
Meer seed, and after that but grass;
Before 'twas drest or spun, and when
Made linen, who did wear it then:
What were their lifes, their thoughts & deeds
Whither good corn, or fruitless weeds [329].

"Like many seventeenth-century readers," Calhoun explains, Vaughn "still lives in close proximity to the materials that make his paper" [337]. Unlike the paper stocks of today, made primarily of wood pulp, the linen papers of Vaughn's day were made primarily of rags--that is to say, they consisted of well-worn, cast-off garments. "Vaughn, like his contemporaries, comprehended the natural origins of paper and understood that flax had to be literally inhabited--broken in as clothing--before it could be used in papermaking" [333].

Calhoun demonstrates that this close proximity to the life-cycle of paper made readers like Vaughn highly attuned not only to the provenance of books, but moreover to the relative qualities of paper employed in fashioning those books. In the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries Bibles (for demonstrably economic reasons) began to be printed on cheaper and cheaper grades of paper. Calhoun observes that "scholars have focused on the increased portability, distribution, and ownership of cheaper Bibles. What tend to be overlooked, at least in current criticism," he continues," are the rhetorical effects of the surfaces on which words appear" [328].

Drawing not only on his masterful reading of Vaughn, but also contemporaneous critics who despaired that the words of God were now to be found printed on thin papers far inferior to papers on which Shakespeare's plays were printed, Calhoun makes a well-supported claim that the rhetorical effect of printing cheaper Bibles was often to cheapen the reverence for the Bible itself. "[T]he Protestant Reformation made the Bible--and, by extension, other books--more vulgar" [328]. The Bible was now literally in the hands of the readers, graspable, and "graspability had interpretive consequences" [328].

"Examining the poetics of paper in Renaissance English texts, I assert the value of a critical approach that accounts for the rhetorical effects of what might be called a 'natural history of the book,'" Calhoun states. Upon reading his article, I was struck by the similarities that exist between his "natural history of the book," arising out of the disciplines of English literary criticism and bibliographic studies, and my own concerns of "material scripture," which arise out of the disciplines of theology and biblical criticism.

I recently contacted Joshua Calhoun, who is at present finishing his dissertation in English at the University of Delaware, Newark. He was very receptive to my description of what SCRIPT is up to, and I am pleased to report that he was quick to see the similarities in our methodologies, and very open to staying in contact and perhaps getting involved in some of the work we do at the conference level. We have made a first foray into cross-disciplinary conversation. I am hopeful that others who read this blog, and who are involved in the Iconic Books conversations and SCRIPT, will also begin to engage Calhoun's work (out of privacy and spam concerns, please get in touch with me directly for contact information). I have no doubt that he will be an excellent and valuable interlocutor as these conversations move forward.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

All I want for Christmas is a Controlled Vocabulary...

...or, at least, to start a conversation about one.

A "controlled vocabulary" is a standard used in taxonomies to help control ambiguity about objects and resources. It cuts down on syntactic clutter.

What sort of clutter? Consider the word "football." The term means one thing in America, sure. As soon as we are out of the US, however, it could easily refer to what we yanks call "soccer," or even (in other parts of the world) rugby. As a descriptor, "football" is a poor one.

In the worlds of Iconic Books and Material Scripture, we have a similar problem. Our terms, especially terms like "book" and "text," are imprecise and (at worst) utterly confusing. Since these are the core objects of our discussions, it makes sense to take up discussions to adopt a standard of terms, a "controlled vocabulary," that will allow us to reduce ambiguities as we move forward in our research.

I am by no means the first person to call for such a move. Those who attended the third Iconic Books symposium in 2010 will remember Deirdre Stam's "Talking About 'Iconic Books' in the Terminology of Book History." I feel now - as I said then, as we were commenting on her paper - that this is the single most important matter facing our research. Hands down.

Now that SCRIPT is viable and attracting new members, we are at a perfect point to undertake a serious conversation about finding a scholarly standard for our bibliographic terms - a shared, controlled vocabulary that we can endorse and encourage the use of in all SCRIPT-related endeavors and publications. (Think of this is terms of the SBL Style Guide, for example - in principle if not in execution - offering a standard reference to writers in the field.) Now, precisely when things are still small and manageable, is the ideal time to put such standards in place.

I speak from bitter experience. In the process of writing my dissertation, I concocted an 80-page chapter where - in my utter ignorance - I attempted to develop a vocabulary out of whole cloth for theologians to talk about physical books. It was terrible; a Frankenstein's monster sort of affair. Moreover, it was executed in complete ignorance of the excellent groundwork in bibliographic studies that already exists.

It is my fear, if we don't establish such a standard, that my experience will be shared by many SCRIPT scholars to follow. Each will take their turn at the attempt to define their subject from the ground up, wasting time and effort that could be spent advancing the conversation in new directions.

For those who have never thought about these issues before, let me suggest two starting points for discussion. The first (shorter) is G. Thomas Tanselle's "The Arrangement of Descriptive Bibliographies," from Studies in Bibliography, Volume 37 (1984) and available online here. In the article, Tanselle suggests the second (longer) starting point, which I'd like to also include here, Principles of Bibliographic Description, by Fredson Bowers.

What is needed, ultimately, is a set of terms upon which we agree, that we will use moving forward to reduce ambiguity in our scholarly conversations. Tanselle and Bowers are two sources I have come across in my own research, but I have no doubt many readers of this blog have encountered others that they might suggest. Please do.

My hope (my Christmas wish!) is that this discussion will be taken up across all quarters of the SCRIPT universe in the next couple of years. I encourage my colleagues to follow Deirdre Stam's lead, and to present papers and perhaps whole conference panels where options for standards can be presented and debated. I also encourage robust discussion on these blogs about the question.

There are well-established, robust standards of bibliographic description out there. Let's share them, search out new ones, and eventually decide on the one that will best serve our scholarship. Then let's agree on it, use it, and move forward to the frontiers.

I'm very interested in suggestions and responses. Please share them in the comments below! Thank you, and happy holidays,

David Dault, Washington, PA

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Call for Papers - "From Text(s) to Book(s)" - International conference


An international and SHARP-sponsored conference
‘From Text(s) to Book(s)’
21-23 June 2012
Nancy-Université (Université de Lorraine from Jan. 2012), France

Deadline for proposals: 15 December 2011

I.D.E.A. (‘Théories et pratiques de l’Interdisciplinarité Dans les Etudes Anglophones’ / Interdisciplinarity in English Studies), the research group of the Nancy-Université English Department, will be hosting an international and SHARP-sponsored conference on the subject ‘From Text(s) to Book(s)’. This conference will provide a forum to discuss the ways in which texts are materialised for consumption by the reading public, both historically and in the contemporary context.

Full call for papers can be found here. Conference website is here.

An extended interview with Bible translator Robert Alter

The Jewish Daily Forward has an interview with Robert Alter posted recently.
"Alter argues that the KJV is frequently inaccurate, and that both the King James and its successors fail to convey in English the refined narrative style and linguistic rhythms of the Hebrew original. It is an argument that is all the more persuasive because it is backed by groundbreaking contemporary scholarship on the literary artistry of the Bible — namely, his own."

Read the rest of the interview here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Society for Textual Scholarship 2012 Call for Papers


The Society for Textual Scholarship

International Interdisciplinary Conference

31 May ­ 2 June 2012

The University of Texas at Austin

Program Chairs: Coleman Hutchison & Matt Cohen, The University of Texas at Austin

George Bornstein, The University of Michigan
Jeffrey Masten, Northwestern University
Phillip H. Round, The University of Iowa

Deadline for Proposals: January 2, 2012

This off-year conference will bring the Society for Textual Scholarship to a campus with internationally significant archival holdings, in one of the most interesting cities in the United States. A number of on-campus resources–the Harry Ransom Center, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, and the Benson Latin American Collection, among others–and the vast multicultural attractions of Texas¹s capital city and technology hub make this an exciting venue for the meeting.

The Program Chairs invite a broad set of proposals on the discovery, enumeration, description, bibliographical analysis, editing, annotation, and mark-up of texts in disciplines such as literature, history, musicology, classical and biblical studies, philosophy, art history, legal history, the history of science and technology, computer science, library and information science, archives, lexicography, epigraphy, paleography, codicology, cinema studies, new media studies, game studies, theater, linguistics, women¹s studies, race and ethnicity studies, indigenous studies, and textual and literary theory.

Given the local context of the conference, we especially encourage submissions dealing with issues of race, ethnicity, cross-cultural textual questions, and translation–issues reflected in our choice of keynote speakers. As always, the conference is particularly open to considerations of the role of digital tools and technologies in textual theory and practice. Papers addressing aspects of archival theory and practice as they pertain to textual criticism and scholarly editing are also most welcome.

Submissions may take one of the following forms:

1. Papers. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. They should offer the promise of substantial critical or analytical insight. Papers that are primarily reports or demonstrations of tools or projects are discouraged.

2. Panels. Panels may consist of either three associated papers or four or five roundtable speakers. Roundtables should address topics of broad interest and scope, with the goal of fostering lively debate between the panel and audience following brief opening remarks.

3. Workshops. Workshops should pose a specific problem, tool, or skill set for which the workshop leader will provide expert guidance and instruction. Examples might include an introduction to forensic computing or paleography. Workshop leaders should be prepared to offer well-defined learning outcomes for attendees, and describe them in the proposal. Proposals that are accepted will be announced on the conference website <> and attendees will be required to enroll with the workshop leader(s). NB: All workshops will be scheduled for Thursday, 31 May 2012.

Proposals for all formats should include a title; abstract of the proposed paper, panel, seminar, or workshop (500 words maximum); and the name, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation for each participant. Workshop proposals in particular should take care to articulate the imagined audience and any expectations of prior knowledge or preparation.

***All proposals should indicate what, if any, technological support will be required.***

*NB: We have secured on-campus housing for the conference at the rate of $70 per night. Conference participants who wish to arrive early and/or stay late–perhaps to take advantage of UT’s vaunted archival resources or Austin’s music scene–are welcome to do so.*

Inquiries and proposals should be submitted electronically to:

Professor Coleman Hutchison

Additional contact information:

Department of English
1 University Station B5000
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712

Phone: (512) 471-8372
Fax: (512) 471-4909 (marked clearly to Coleman Hutchison¹s attention)

All participants in the 2012 STS conference must be members of STS. For information about membership, please contact Secretary Meg Roland at <> or visit the Indiana University Press Journals website and follow the links to the Society for Textual Scholarship membership page: <>.

For conference updates and information, see the STS website at <>.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Call for Papers for a special issue of English Language Notes

The following Call for Papers was passed on to me by S. Brent Rodriguez Plate, president of SCRIPT:

ELN 50.2 (Fall/Winter 2012): “Scriptural Margins: On the Boundaries of Sacred Texts.”

English Language Notes

Contact email:

Deadline: March 15, 2012

This special issue invites nontraditional examinations of sacred texts from major religious traditions, including those of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. We seek readings of scriptures that carve out an interpretive space between religious and secular modes of response. Such readings may be informed by recent critical movements – queer theory, affect theory, ontotheology, biopolitics, etc..

They may investigate the usually complex and uncertain process by which a text moves from sacred to secular status (or from sacred back to secular). They may engage the question of how traditional interpretations bend, mutate, or sustain themselves in the wake of cultural changes or political exigencies.

They may examine the dynamic and mutually transformative exchanges between religious hermeneutics and secular modes of interpretation (e.g. legal, literary, psychoanalytic). Papers submitted for this issue may theorize on the relationship between commentaries, treatises and sacred texts - - on the ways, for example, that commentaries enter into the historical lives of scriptures, inscribing them with meanings that become naturalized. Or they may explore the paths by which scripture flows into non-scriptural writings -- poetry, fiction, or song – and how such paths reconfigure or coexist with the division between a sacred and a non-sacred text. Or they may track the fate of a sacred text as it moves across cultural and geographical boundaries, finding new communities of believers and generating new readings, whether as recognitions or misrecognitions of the readings adopted by preceding schools of believers. In all cases, contributors will be motivated by a desire to operate outside the engrained opposition between religious and secular discourses and by the desire for a mode of reading that isn’t reducible to spiritual or anti-spiritual programs, to immediately recognizable acts of heterodoxy or piety. Consideration will be given to critical essays, creative writings, and to writings that are combinations of the two. We also welcome round-table discussions on particular sub-topics and reviews or review articles of recent books relevant to the issue’s theme.

Please send double-spaced, 12-point font contributions adhering to the Chicago-style endnote citation format in hard copy and on CD-ROM to the address below:

Special Issue Editor, “Scriptural Margins”
English Language Notes
University of Colorado at Boulder
226 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0226

Specific inquiries may be addressed to the issue editor, Sue Zemka, The deadline for submissions for the first issue is March 15, 2012

Friday, November 18, 2011

Report from the AAR pre-conference meetings

I arrived Thursday afternoon, and have been having a very fruitful set of discussions with colleagues as part of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning pre-conference plenary.

Peter Ochs, the organizer, has characterized the discussions as "the first Abrahamic revival meeting." Our sessions were divided between time spent doing SR around a collection of texts on music, and discussions of the future of SR practice in Europe and North America.

For the music study, we looked at several Suras from the Qur'an, a passage from Chronicles, and a passage from the Book of Revelation. What I found most fascinating (and had not known before beginning the study) is that there is no mention of music in the Qur'an. I found that incredibly surprising, but as time went on, that fact opened up an amazing discussion about the way in which interpretive traditions will insinuate and "read" things into texts that are not literally present, and the hermeneutic problems (and possibilities) that ensue.

This evening I will participate in a second (and unrelated) pre-conference symposium dealing with the upcoming edited anthology from the Liturgical Press's Rock and Theology project, to which I have contributed a chapter.

Exhausting day, but a really good day as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Several interviews with Robert Alter

Robert Alter is speaking at the University of Memphis tomorrow evening (Thursday, November 10th, 2011 at 6:30pm in the University Theater). As a result of his visit, several local blogs and publications are printing interviews.
"Working as a translator of the Bible," Alter says, "has paradoxically increased both my admiration for the KJV and my reservations about it. The grandeur of the seventeenth-century translation and, at least in the prose, its adherence to the wonderful simplicity and concreteness of the original, have become more vividly clear to me. At the same time, as I look over my shoulder at my fellow-translators of four centuries past, I am sometimes exasperated with them for deploying wordiness where the Hebrew is beautifully compact, for ignoring the expressive rhythms of the Hebrew poetry, and for introducing ecclesiastical terms alien to the original."
You can read the full interview at the Chapter 16 blog, run by the Nashville Public Library.

Leonard Gill's &tcetera blog also has an interview. One question Gill asks Alter in particular was of great interest to me:

Gill: What do you think of the proliferation of "niche" Bibles today — loose translations to appeal to a particular group of contemporary readers?

Alter: The King James had become more or less canonical for English readers, but in the late 19th century, when it was thought there were problems — that it was archaic; that it was inaccurate — there was a revised version, which still tried to preserve the general translations of the King James Bible.

But after the Second World War, there were various committees producing different translations: the New English Bible, the Catholic Jerusalem Bible, the Jewish Bible from the Jewish Publication Society. All these were guided — or, I would say, misguided — by the principle that you have to render the Bible in ways that are entirely compatible with modern idiomatic usage. They abandoned word-for-word translation drastically. They repackaged the syntax. They substituted modern idioms for biblical ones.

Stylistically, the consequences of that strategy have been pretty disastrous. In my own translations, I've gone back much closer to the word-for-word strategy.

Again, you can read the whole interview at the &tcetera blog, run by the Memphis Flyer.

SCRIPT call for papers for EIR 2012

Just got this announcement from Jim Watts:

Call for Papers

SCRIPT will meet concurrently with the Eastern International Region of the AAR again on May 4-5, 2012, in Waterloo, Ontario.

We invite paper proposals in all areas of interest to SCRIPT. Each proposal should contain the following in a single e-mail attachment in MS Word format:

  • One-page abstract (300 words maximum) describing the nature of the paper or panel
  • Current CV for the participant(s)
  • Cover page that includes the submitter’s full name, title, institution, phone number, fax number, e-mail, and mailing address. For panel proposals, identify the primary contact person.

Send proposal to The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2012. Only those proposals received by the deadline will be considered for inclusion in the program. Scholars must be members either of SCRIPT or the AAR in order to register for the conference and present papers.

Presentations are limited to twenty minutes, with ten minutes allowed for questions. If you require technological support for your presentation/panel (such as an Internet connection or audio and projection equipment), you must request it with your proposal.

Make a wish...

The other day my friend Maria and I were discussing what she called the "Magic 8 Ball" approach to the Bible - basically where you express magical thinking by assuming that whenever you open a Bible randomly, it will answer your question and tell you what to do.

So I was very pleased to run across this cartoon by David Hayward this morning:

You can see this image in its original post, and see other works by Hayward, by clicking here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Robert Alter to speak in Memphis, November 10, 2011

Robert Alter will deliver the keynote lecture for the 1611 Symposium -- a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible -- at the University of Memphis. The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the University Center.

From 1 to 5 p.m. Friday at Blount Auditorium at Rhodes College, he will join five other scholars in a roundtable discussion of the King James Bible.
The events are free and open to the public.

More information about the events can be found here, and a review of Alter's book on the KJV, Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible, can be found here.

Distinguished Bible scholar Jack Lewis writing on the KJV's legacy

Jack P. Lewis, professor emeritus of Harding School of Theology here in Memphis, has written a short article about the legacy of the KJV, which appeared online this morning on the Commercial Appeal's "Faith in Memphis" website.

The article offers an overview of the history -- and some of the misconceptions -- that surround the provenance of the "Authorized Version":
King James was not a translator. History records no financial contribution by King James to the preparation, nor any official act of approval by King or church. Nevertheless, the KJV has been known as the Authorized Version, meaning it was authorized for use by the Anglican Church. Bible printing in England was a royal monopoly. In America, there is no organization to authorize for Christendom.
Lewis points out as well that, contrary to popular belief, the KJV was in fact the ninth version of the Bible to appear in English, following on the efforts of Tyndale and earlier versions such as the Bishop's Bible and even the Catholic Douay-Rheims.

Lewis also points out that the KJV, though highly esteemed by many, is by no means a perfect translation, particularly for contemporary readers. "The English language also has changed dramatically so that the KJV has 800 words that have changed their meaning. Some like 'prevent' or 'let' now have the opposite meaning."

I had the chance to meet Dr. Lewis several months ago at a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James held at Harding Seminary, and I am pleased to commend to you both his scholarly graciousness and his erudition. You can find the full text of Dr. Lewis's article here.

(My thanks to Scott Newstock of Rhodes College for bringing the article to my attention)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Christian Brothers University in Memphis Celebrates 400th Anniversary of King James Bible

CBU Celebrates 400th Anniversary of King James Bible
Dr. Ellie G. Bagley to Discuss the Catholic Response

Dr. Ellie G. Bagley, Assistant Professor of Religion at Middlebury College and international expert on the Catholic response to the King James Bible, will present “Catholics and the King James Bible: Stories from England, Ireland, and America,” as part of the Catholic Roundtables at Christian Brother’s University, Monday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. in Spain Auditorium on the CBU campus.

This fall, CBU is joining with other area institutions to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. This Bible is celebrated as a monument of English literature and a central text in British and American Protestantism, but what did Roman Catholics think of it? Bagley’s talk will present a variety of Catholic responses to the King James Bible, from its initial publication in 1611 through its 300th anniversary in 1911. The textual and theological objections posed by Catholic authors in England, Ireland, and the United States rallied support for the Douai-Rheims Bible in Catholic communities while also causing Protestants to re-examine their loyalty to the King James Bible, especially in the 19th century.

Dr. David Dault, Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy, notes "I'm very appreciative of the efforts of our colleagues at Rhodes College and across the city who are helping to make this series of events around the 400th anniversary a reality. We hope that Dr. Bagley's visit will add an important Catholic perspective to the symposia and discussions occurring throughout the fall here in Memphis in honor of the King James Version."

A renowned expert on the Catholic response to the King James Bible, Bagley is currently presenting at conferences and exhibitions worldwide marking the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Her work draws attention to the criticisms posed by Catholics from 1611 through 1911 and their effects on Protestant communities in England, Ireland and the United States. Besides being an international lector, Bagley is well published and the author of Catholic Critics of the King James Bible, 1611-1911 which is forthcoming with Ashgate Press. Her current research focuses on the Catholic vernacular Bibles of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. Bagley earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology from University of Oxford and M.A. in Editorial Studies and B.A. in English both from Boston University.

This lecture, as part of the CBU Catholic Roundtables, is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. David Dault at (901) 321-3341 or

Monday, September 12, 2011

APHA Conference deadlines approaching

For folks who might be interested in attending the 2011 American Printing History Association conference in San Diego this fall, the deadline for Early Bird registration is this Thursday, September 15th.

The theme this year is "Printing from the Edge":

What have been the transformative moments in printing history that have changed the direction of printing, typography, papermaking, bookbinding, or book design, and moved us to a new edge? What are today’s frontiers? Where is tomorrow’s edge?
The conference takes place October 14-15 at UC San Diego. More information can be found here at the APHA website.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Format changes coming soon

Dear Material Scripture readers -

I imagine you've noticed that I have not been updating much these past few months. It's not because there's not items to write about. Instead, I've increasingly found the format of this site constraining. Blogger has been very, very good to us these past four years, and I appreciate it. However, the time has come for some changes, so that the site can continue to be a resource for folks interested in these materialist approaches to the Bible.

So in the coming few days, this blog will be shifting to a new site - There's not much there at the moment, so for the time being continue to check in here. I'll post when the new site is up and functional (probably mid-week the first week of April, 2011). At that time, this site will become dormant.

All the archives will move over to the new site, and there will be plenty of new features. We'll have some static pages that will help explain to new readers what Material Scripture is and how it works, as well as the chance to introduce some new media formats - like video podcasts, which is something I've been wanting to try for a while.

So thanks for reading and staying interested, and look for the announcement about the switchover in the next few days.

Best regards,

David Dault
proprietor, Material Scripture blog

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 2011 Conference Update

This month I presented papers pertaining to Material Scripture at two conferences. They were well received, and the conversations that followed were fruitful. So fruitful, in fact, that I'm looking into expanding at least one of them into a journal article. Here's hoping I find the time!

The first paper is "Hidden Among the Leaves: Protestant and Catholic Battles for Theological Identity Across the First Pages of Scripture," which I presented at the SECSOR conference in Louisville, KY. This paper describes some of my findings from last Summer's visits to the Pitts and Concordia rare book archives. Listen to audio of the presentation here.

The second paper is "A Hospitality of Suspicion: Scriptural Reasoning and Material Scripture in the Tent of Meeting," which I presented in a panel on Scriptural Reasoning at the Mid-Atlantic regional meeting of the AAR, held in New Brunswick, NJ. Audio from the presentation is available here.

At both conferences I got the chance to tell folks about SCRIPT, and made good new connections with people interested in asking material questions about Scripture.

In May, I'll be heading to Syracuse to present in a panel on Iconic Books.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bart Ehrman to speak at MTSU Friday, Feb 18th

If folks are in or near Murfreesboro (about 40 miles south of Nashville) this weekend, this will be worth your time.

The Middle Tennessee State University Department of Philosophy
is happy to announce a lecture by

Professor Bart D. Ehrman
"Misquoting Jesus: Scribes Who Changed the Bible and Readers Who May Never Know"

Friday, February 18 at 3:30
State Farm Room of the Business and Aerospace Building

The lecture is free and open to the public. Professor Ehrman will be signing copies of his books immediately following his lecture.

Bart Ehrman is the James A. Gray Professor with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among Professor Ehrman's fields of scholarly expertise are the historical Jesus, the early Christian apocrypha, the apostolic fathers, and the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.
He is the author of over twenty books. Among his most recent are a Greek-English edition of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press), an assessment of the newly discovered Gospel of Judas (Oxford University Press), and three New York Times Bestsellers: Jesus Interrupted ( an account of scholarly views of the New Testament), God's Problem (an assessment of the biblical views of suffering), and Misquoting Jesus (an overview of the changes found in the surviving copies of the New Testament and of the scribes who produced them). His books have been translated into twenty-seven languages.

The lecture is part of the annual Applied Philosophy Lyceum sponsored by the Department of Philosophy with appreciation to the Distinguished Lecture Committee.