Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Online Course at revJohn

Beginning January 20, look for a new online course here at revJohn:

Paul and the Philippians

Each week we'll cover one of the four chapters in Paul's letter to the young church at Philippi. No text required, just your Bible. And we'll visit a few online sites as well.

I hope you can participate.

One Last List for 2009. Really. I Promise.

Here are two blogs that I look forward to reading each time a post show up in Google Reader:

April DeConick - The Forbidden Gospels (academic biblioblogger)

Bob Cornwall - Ponderings on a Faith Journey (Disciple minister, theological blogging)

If you haven't visited these two quality sites, bookmark them as part of your 2010 resolutions.

2009 New Testament Books

Ben Witherington gives us his Top 10 New Testament books for 2009. Any thoughts on his list?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Surfing Safari

Here are five websites/blogs that I enjoyed this year. When you're in the mood to surf the net, give them a visit.
  1. The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Ree Drummond (cowboy cooking)
  2. My Jewish Leaning (all things Jewish)
  3. Chart Porn (data visualization)
  4. Jesus Creed - Scott McKnight (Christianity from a scholarly, evangelical perspective)
  5. Lecturefox (free university lectures, especially see the Yale series)

Novels You Might Enjoy

Here are six novels that I really enjoyed this year, although all came out before 2009. I'm a little behind in my reading. In no particular order, the books are:
  1. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (heaven and healing)
  2. The March - E. L. Doctorow (Sherman's march - get in step)
  3. Winter's Bone- Daniel Woodrell (a 17 year-old holds a poverty stricken family together deep in the Ozarks; I think my cousins are in this)
  4. The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon (an alternative history, murder mystery, word fest)
  5. People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks (a mystery about a book - the Sarajevo Haggadah)
  6. Gilead - Marilynne Robinson (an aging third generation preacher writes to his son about life and family and of course theology)

Theology After Google

Here's an announcement about Theology After Google, a conference in March that will be of interest to progressive Christians and churches communicating theology through blogs, social networks, etc.

"Progressive Christian theologians have some vitally important things to say, things that both the church and society desperately need to hear. The trouble is, we tend to deliver our message using technologies that date back to Gutenberg: books, academic articles, sermons, and so forth. We aren't making effective use of the new technologies, social media, and social networking."

Tony Jones gives us some insights into why new technologies are important for theology.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Torah: A Women's Commentary

If you plan on doing Old Testament Studies this upcoming year, let me strongly recommend The Torah: A Women's Commentary edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss. Here is the link to three comprehensive reviews of the volume at the Review of Biblical Literature. Three characteristics that make this volume unique are:
  • It follows the liturgical division of Torah into 54 sections (parashah) for the public reading of Torah in they synagogue during the year (all of Torah is covered during the annual cycle of reading)
  • It is written by scholars who are all Jewish and who are all women
  • Contributors represent a variety of approaches (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, as well as unaffiliated and secular)

There are five elements that make up the commentary of each Torah portion:
  1. The Central Commentary - scholarly exegesis of the biblical text
  2. Another View - a short essay that supplements or challenges the central commentary
  3. Post-biblical Interpretation - rabbinical teachings on the text
  4. Contemporary Reflection - a section by a rabbi or adult education expert on the meaning of the text for Jews today
  5. Voices - creative responses to the Torah section (mainly poetry)
For more information, here is the Amazon listing.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nicholas of Myra (alias St. Nick or Santa Claus)

Thanks to Judy Hancock for sending along this link to a fascinating article on the background of Nicholas of Myra and the reconstruction of his appearance by facial anthropologists using the latest in computer technology.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ben's Best for 2009

Ben Meyers at Faith and Theology gives us his take on the best theology books of 2009.

Nazareth Dwelling Discovered

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the discovery in Nazareth of a family dwelling that dates to the time of Jesus.

The Excavation Director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority said: "The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth and thereby sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus. The building that we found is small and modest and it is most likely typical of the dwellings in Nazareth in that period. From the few written sources that there are, we know that in the first century CE Nazareth was a small Jewish village, located inside a valley. Until now a number of tombs from the time of Jesus were found in Nazareth; however, no settlement remains have been discovered that are attributed to this period."

James Tabor on the Birth of Jesus

James Tabor from the University of North Carolina has an article up at The Bible and Interpretation on the origin of December 25 as the birth date of Jesus. And it has nothing to do with the Winter Solstice or pagan holidays. Read here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What Jews Can Learn from the New Testament

Jewish scholar Martin Lockshin at My Jewish Learning writes about what Jews can learn from the New Testament. He writes: "It is a rich source of Jewish history, Jewish thought, Jewish law, and the history of anti-Semitism."

It is helpful to see how those outside the Christian faith tradition perceive the foundational documents of our faith. To read Martin's complete essay, click here.

Torah at Bibledex

We are studying portions of Torah in our Sunday morning church adult education class. Bibledex, a project of the University of Nottingham's Department of Theology and Religious Studies, now has video introductions up on each of the five books that comprise the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Take a look.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Illustrated Bible Commentary

Here is a new bible study resource that is on my wish list. The series is entitled the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Commentary: Old Testament. John Walton from Wheaton is the General Editor.
Perhaps this light-hearted marketing video will peek your interest:

For the website, click here.

Lutheran Airlines

Thanks to Scott McKnight for sharing this YouTube video. And to our Lutheran brothers and sisters for allowing us to laugh with you, not at you. There is no first class on Lutheran Airlines!

Julia O'Brien - The Bible for Adults

Julia O'Brien teaches at Lancaster Theological Seminary. Her website is one to bookmark. One of the features on her web page is Reading the Bible as an Adult, an ongoing series of articles on how to read the bible as a literate adult. She also blogs regularly. Make a visit when you've got a moment.

Book Lists at Year End

Books are the perfect gift at Christmas time. Here are three sources of "best lists" that you may find helpful.

First, the people that inhabit Amazonia have given us a great list of their editors top 100 books from 2009.

Bill Tammeus On Faith Matters can always be counted on to provides an update on religious books. Here is a recent blog entry that has quiet a variety to pick from.

And finally, Scott McKnight at Jesus Creed gives us his list of theological books from an evangelical perspective.

December - Work, Work, Work

Yes, that's my excuse, and I'm sticking too it. Between the two Hs, Helzberg and Hillside, it's been difficult to find time for blogging.

At Hillside, two year end courses are finished - a four week brown bag series on 1 Corinthians and a three-week class How In the World Did Jesus Become God using Larry Hurtado's video series produced by the Wesley Ministry Network.

At Helzberg, it's December in the retail business. Enough said. But now its back to blogging.