Saturday, June 23, 2012

"How We Got Our Bible"

The audio for the seminar I gave on "How We Got Our Bible" at Calvary Chapel Birmingham (UK) recently is now online at It is a very brief two-hour lay introduction to issues of canon, textual criticism, and translation.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Many Chronologies of the Genesis Flood Narrative

On June 9th, I was able to present my paper "The Many Chronologies of the Genesis Flood Narrative: An Exercise in Evaluating Interrelated Variants" at the 2nd Annual St. Andrews Graduate Conference for Biblical and Early Christian Studies. I surveyed the divergent chronologies in the manuscript tradition and presented my synthesis of the data. I think it went well and was generally well received. I did, however, get some tough questioning from Johannes Magliano-Tromp and Kristin De Troyer, the latter of which in particular made me defend (in much more detail than I anticipated) my position on the relationship of Jubilees and several Greek manuscripts that share some of Jubilees' dates. So we had some good challenging and critical interaction that has sharpened my approach.

The conference was also a great time to get to visit St. Andrews and meet a number of other young scholars with similar interests at different institutions. I suspect that we will all see much more of each other during our careers.

Calvary Chapel Birmingham - "How We Got Our Bible"

Today I got to do a two-hour presentation at Calvary Chapel Birmingham (UK) on "How We Got Our Bible." We surveyed three major editorial issues that underly our English translations.

1) Which books do we include in our Bibles? (canon)
2) Which text of these books do we include in our Bibles? (textual criticism)
3) How do we translate these books into English? (translation)

It was a very brief overview of the issues for a lay audience, but I hope it was clear enough and gave some helpful context for using our English Bibles.

We also did a practical demonstration of textual criticism afterwards by letting participants hand copy a paragraph I had written summarizing the manuscript tradition. I then selected four manuscripts and attempted to reconstruct the original text. We succeeded in reconstructing it exactly for all but a few small cases. In the original, long numbers were written out, whereas in the manuscripts they all became abbreviated as digits. Similarly, the word "and" became "&" or "+". Also, the first copyist committed parablepsis and lost six or seven words, an error which was found in all of the manuscripts we examined. It was a very illuminating exercise for those who stuck around afterwards.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament

I was just informed that a new online, open-access journal called the Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament has now published its first bi-annual volume. The journal will publish on "ancient Near Eastern backgrounds, Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinics, Linguistics, Research Methodology, Literary Analysis, Exegesis, Text Criticism, and Theology as they pertain only to the Old Testament." The journal will feature research from an evangelical framework. It looks like there are some interesting articles in the first volume. Perhaps we will see some good text-critical work from the journal as it develops.