June 10, 2011
Goddess Behaving Badly
Chomolungma, the Goddess Mother of the Earth, is one harsh deity. Otherwise known as Mt. Everest, this tallest of the world’s peaks has claimed the lives of over 215 climbers in nearly sixty years. Several months ago I attended a presentation by a home-town young man who had ascended Everest several months earlier and was giving an account of his experience on the expedition. In fact he is the son of a famous Everest climber.Continue reading "Goddess Behaving Badly"
Posted by Dan Reid at 10:59 AM
February 5, 2010
Donald J. Wiseman (1918-2010)
On February 2 Donald J. Wiseman, editor of IVP’s Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series and New Bible Dictionary, died. An email notice from Tyndale House (Cambridge, U.K.) included the following piece by Alan Millard and some further information about his remarkable experiences during World War 2.Continue reading "Donald J. Wiseman (1918-2010)"
Posted by Dan Reid at 2:44 PM
September 9, 2009
An OT Theology Sampler
I’m looking over the third volume of John Goldingay’s Old Testament Theology before we send it to the printer. And I’m repeatedly enticed to descend from my cruising altitude of 30,000 feet—from which I’m viewing the broad topography of the book for meta-errors—to land on an attractive patch of text and explore again the terrain at ground level. Here are some of those enticements, random places that caught my eye:Continue reading "An OT Theology Sampler"
Posted by Dan Reid at 2:27 PM
September 4, 2009
Only Superlatives Will Do!
Back in June I mentioned and excerpted John Goldingay’s forthcoming Old Testament Theology, Volume 3: Israel’s Life. We’re getting ready to send it to the printer, and this week I was selecting excerpts from endorsements (some call them blurbs) to put on the back cover. The real estate on the back cover is shrinking, folks—even the ISBNs and bar codes are crowding out the good stuff. so to offset my frustration of not being able to allow the endorsers their full due, here, dear readers, are the endorsements in full!Continue reading "Only Superlatives Will Do!"
Posted by Dan Reid at 3:55 PM
August 6, 2009
The Lost World of Genesis One Again
Several weeks ago I blogged here and here on John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One. Over at Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed, Scot is reading and commenting on the book (along with RJS), and there is lively interaction in the comments section, with John Walton weighing in from time to time (e.g., see Wednesday, 8/5). This is an important book for evangelicals and deserves a wide reading and serious discussion. It’s great to watch this happening. Follow the blog—and read the book!
Posted by Dan Reid at 12:21 PM
June 23, 2009
Old Testament Spirituality
How about a preview of what’s coming in the fall? One academic book that’s heading for publication in October is John Goldingay’s Old Testament Theology, Vol. 3: Israel’s Life. And yes, volume three is the final installment of this truly magnum magnum opus. If you’ve been following Goldingay, you know how these volumes unfold. But let’s have Goldingay set it out in his own words:Continue reading "Old Testament Spirituality"
Posted by Dan Reid at 12:30 PM
June 16, 2009
Sins of the Fathers
A few days ago I was biding some time before an appointment, sipping coffee outside a coffee shop (yes, it was Starbucks) on the corner of First Ave. South and Yesler Way in the Pioneer Square section of Seattle. From where I sat I had a wonderful view of a classic illustration of the sins of the fathers of Seattle back in 1853. Doc Maynard, who owned the property to my south, had oriented his streets by the cardinal points of the compass, while Arthur Denny and Carson Boren, who owned property to my north, ended up orienting their streets according to the shoreline of Elliott Bay. Apparently they tried to work out a solution with Maynard, but it didn’t happen.Continue reading "Sins of the Fathers"
Posted by Dan Reid at 8:04 AM
March 20, 2009
And the Winner Is . . .
Last night (March 19) the annual Christian Book Award winners were announced by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). In the Bible Reference & Study category the winner was our Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings, edited by Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns.
We offer our hearty congratulations to the editors as well as to the numerous contributors who put time, scholarship and energy into making this volume a success!
Other volumes in this series (often called the “Black Dictionaries” for their distinctive covers) that have won this award (when it was called the Gold Medallion Award and there was a wider range of categories) are
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, editors (1993 winner)
Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G. Reid, editors (1994 winner)
Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, Ralph P. Martin, Peter H. Davids, editors (1998 winner)
Dictionary of New Testament Background, Craig A. Evans, Stanley E. Porter, editors (2001 winner)
Posted by Dan Reid at 8:14 AM
January 30, 2009
The Greatest Bargain in Academic Books
Psst. Wanna know a book-buying secret? Up to ten books for sixty bucks.
The smart money’s on reference books. Take one of IVP Academic’s “Black Dictionaries” (e.g., Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings), with about 800,000 words for $50 to $60 (and discounted at what rate?). The same amount of material might occupy 7 to 10 academic books, priced out at a retail of $200.00 or more. And the material in the reference book is likely to have a longer shelf life than that in other books. Plus it will serve a wider variety of purposes.Continue reading "The Greatest Bargain in Academic Books"
October 17, 2008
Wise Old Henry
I recently rediscovered a quote I’d copied out a couple of years ago from James Orr, The Problem of the Old Testament, pp. 486-87. Orr quotes from Matthew Henry (1662-1714):
Inspiration does not create the materials of its record, but works with those it has received. It reveals itself in the insight it shows into them, and in the use it makes of them. An interesting illustration of this truth is furnished in a note of the old commentator, Matthew Henry, on 1 Chron. viii. 1-32. “As to the difficulties,” he says, “that occur in this and the foregoing genealogies we need not perplex ourselves. I presume Ezra took them as he found them in the books of the kings of Israel and Judah (chap. ix. 1), according as they were given in by the several tribes, each observing what method they thought fit. Hence, some ascend, others descend; some have numbers affixed, others places; some have historical remarks intermixed, others have not; some are shorter, others longer; some agree with other records, others differ; some, it is likely, were torn, erased, and blotted, others more legible. Those of Dan and Reuben were entirely lost. This holy man wrote as he was moved of the Holy Ghost; but there was no necessity for the making up of the defects, no, nor for the rectifying of the mistakes of these genealogies by inspiration. It was sufficient that he copied them out as they came to hand, or so much of them as was requisite to the present purpose, which was the directing of the returned captives to settle as nearly as they could with those of their own family, and in the places of their former residence.”
There has been a lot of work done on OT genealogies since the time of Matthew Henry. But his approach to the problem is interesting to find in an evangelical forebear of the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries, and it is certainly applicable to various other historical issues we encounter. A mature evangelical doctrine of Scripture today should be capacious enough to embrace this approach.
Posted by Dan Reid at 10:03 AM
March 17, 2008
Those Old Scribes
Karel van der Toorn’s Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Harvard University Press, 2007) is a fascinating work for anyone interested in the possible processes by which the Hebrew Bible reached its canonical shape. As a twenty-first century book editor interested in this from both a scholarly and editorial standpoint, it’s doubly fascinating. Chapter Five is on “Making Books: Scribal Modes of Text Production.” There he discusses “six ways in which scribes produced written texts. They might engage in (1) transcription of oral lore; (2) invention of a new text; (3) compilation of existing lore, either oral or written; (4) expansion of an inherited text; (5) adaptation of an existing text for a new audience; and (6) integration of individual documents into a more comprehensive composition.” His discussion of each of these is supported by evidence from the ancient Near East (Egypt or Mesopotamia or both) as well as evidence from the Hebrew Bible.
I suspect some evangelical scholars will take issue with some of the claims of biblical evidence. Fair enough. For one thing, the work of someone like Alan Millard is not fully appreciated by van der Toorn (who buries in his footnotes a somewhat snarky comment regarding Millard’s work). But one point I think van der Toorn establishes is that the notion that scribes were mere copyists, just “editors,” and not involved in the literary production or composition of texts is deeply flawed.Continue reading "Those Old Scribes"
February 15, 2008
Yahweh’s Bathtub Toy
Here’s something delightful from the DOTWPW.
Kathryn Schifferdecker, in her article on “Creation Theology,” comments on Leviathan (known in Canaanite religion as Lotan, the twisting sea serpent) in Psalm 104:
Psalm 104 speaks in similar terms of Leviathan, as a creature that God created and in which God takes pleasure (Ps 104:26). In fact, in Psalm 104 God creates Leviathan as something of a bathtub toy, placing the chaos monster in the sea so that God can “play” or “sport” (shq) with it.
Later she returns to the subject:
The word used for Woman Wisdom “playing” (shq) before God is used also in Psalm 104:26 of God’s “playing” or “sporting” with Leviathan. Many English translations of Psalm 104:26 are similar to that of the NRSV: “There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it [the sea].” The verse can also be translated: “There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to play with.” In order to make the antecedent of “it” the sea, one has to go back to the previous verse. It is more likely that the antecedent of the pronoun is found in the same verse, in the name “Leviathan.” God “plays” or “sports” with Leviathan as one would with a bath toy or a pet.
So there goes Leviathan—old Lotan, the monstrous and twisting sea serpent, erstwhile bad boy of Baal epic. Fear not! He’s nothing but Yahweh’s wubber ducky!
Posted by Dan Reid at 9:35 AM
February 13, 2008
The Known, the Known Unknown and the Unknown Unknown
As a very unpopular U.S. Secretary of Defense once declaimed about matters related to the contemporary Middle East:
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.
He was ridiculed for that. But the fact is that for interpreters approaching OT wisdom, poetry and writings, the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings offers something in each category of Rummy’s known and unknown, and not a few things “we don’t know we don’t know.” And that latter category can make all the difference!Continue reading "The Known, the Known Unknown and the Unknown Unknown"
Posted by Dan Reid at 5:32 PM