In an earlier post I mentioned that one major producer of Bible software actually suggested that aside from the Bible itself, major reference works like lexicons and grammars are about the only electronic resources one would want to use on a computer. Commentaries, individual books, and theological journals (just to name a few things) would continue to be used in printed form, not in electronic format. The article went on to suggest that because software companies go out of business and software formats change, a large investment in electronic resources for your computer did not make sense.
The fifth issue April DeConick raises is found in the Gospel of Judas 56.17-18. The alternate translations here are:
"You will exceed them all of them." (National Geographic Critical Edition)
"You will do worse than all of them." (April DeConick)
Deciding which Bible software program is right for you can be a daunting task. The previous post was mostly a history lesson, intended to show how we got to the present situation. Now, assuming you're new to the world of Bible software, the question is, "How to get started, and which path should I choose?" I will start with the situation of a complete beginner with no previous Bible software experience, and make some suggestions for this case.
Many may not be aware of a joint statement issued last winter between moderate Islamic leaders and many evagelicals. It was a first tentative step toward a call for dialogue. It produced some reaction in the evangelical community, showing just how sensitive living in a pluralistic religious global context can be.
Last summer Pope Benedict XVI promised to Jewish leaders to address the wording of a key prayer tied to Good Friday celebratiosn that was said to offend Jews. That new prayer has been announced. The fact that the prayer continues to ask for the salvation of Jews has led to Jewish leaders' reaction against the new version as not having done enough.
In an earlier post I said that I would cover Bible software in future post(s). I realize it is going to take more than one to do this topic any justice at all. For several years now I have been teaching two courses on the use of software and Internet tools for New Testament exegesis (master's level elective) and for biblical exegesis (D.Min. level). Every year the list of available programs and resources gets longer. It's best to start with some basics.
The fourth error that DeConick points out has already produced agreement in the period after the original release. What the original National Geographic translation of 46.25-47.1 read as:
"They will curse your ascent to the holy [generation]"
now reads as:
"...You will not ascend to the holy [generation]" (DeConick)
Nicholas Kristof is not an evengelical by his own admission, but he is concerned about issues of human rights around the world. Kristof is an editorial writer for the New York Times. He recently worte an editorial about how evengelicals are addressed in the public square and suggests that they may not be appreciated for what they are doing around the world.
On one of my earlier posts about using commentaries in Bible study, I was asked a question about what commentaries to use and how to pick them. It occurred to me that this is a topic I cover in my Introduction to Exegesis class and it would probably be of benefit to comment on it here. What I'm talking about is not which commentary to use on a particular Bible passage or book, but the more general notion of how do I choose commentaries for my personal library. Related themes are (1) How many commentaries do I need?
The Episcopal church has posted a fascinating commentary by Richard Hughes giving conservative Christians a hard time for claiming that our nation was founded as a Christian nation. Clarity on this point IS important. Our Constitution does endorse religious freedom, separation of church and state, and does not provide for a state religion.
Martin Hengel and Anna Maria Schwemer have published a new work on Jesus in German, Jesus und das Judentum (Mohr/Siebeck is the publisher in the WUNT series). Hengel is professor emeritus at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Schwemer has been his research assiatant for years. I am reading it right now. It is a solid look at Jesus in the Second Temple Jewish context.
A recent comment on my post "Using lexical tools in Bible study" asked a question about the lexical tools keyed to the Strong's numbers in the NeXtBible Learning Environment
Beyond the use of commentaries, another important area in personal Bible study is the use of lexical tools (dictionaries and word study helps). In many cases these reference works are somewhat more objective than commentaries in dealing with the meanings of words and phrases because they are not always directly tied to the meaning of specific passages, but are attempting to cover the range of meaning across numerous passages.
The current NET Bible logo uses as background an image of an ancient Greek manuscript of the Gospel of John (P66) which fades into the English translation of the NET Bible, suggesting the transparency between the NET Bible as a translation and the original language text of the New Testament.
James Charlesworth gave the Jerusalem Post a long interview on January 24-25 about the Jesus Tomb. It can be found at this link:
We now return to our walk through the Gospel of Judas discussion and April DeConick's six translation observations.
The issue here is whether we have an interjection or a question in 46.6-7.
The line then reads either:
"Master, could it be that my seed is under the control of the rulers?" (So the National Geographic translation seeing a question)
In a previous post we talked about different kinds of commentaries and how they can help the Bible student understand a particular passage more effectively. This time I would like to give some specific tips on using whatever commentaries you have available, regardless of whether they are fairly technical or more popular.
The murder trials of those accused of killing three Christians in Malatya, Turkey continues. Direct Compass issued this summary of the trial today. We have been watching this situation closely. So here is the full update:
Everyone is weighing in now. The following is a statement from multiple scholars about the tomb, decrying the way the media portrayed the event. Here it is in full. Mark Goodacre posted the statment which had several signees. I am about done posting these and blogging on the "revival" of this theory; but this one, with so many signatories, could not be ignored.
Here it is:
Occasionally I'm asked by both seminary students and people at church about the use of commentaries in one's personal study of the Bible. First, let's define what a commentary is: Commentaries are books that contain comments (observations) on the biblical text. Usually the comments are arranged in verse order, that is, in the same order as the text of the Bible.
Several others are now making statemnts about the Jerusalem Meeting. I will not post them all, but just give the links.
Ben Witherington has also just made a post. I will post much of it.
Here is Witherington's take:
Before I head to church, here is a report James Tabor sent out about the conference. It confirms the responses I have been getting. What is important here is that these reports to me are coming from all sides of those who attended–so I trust they reflect a balance of the views. Anyway, here is his report in full, used with his permission.
In an important development for those of you interested in the original languages of the Bible, it is now possible to use original language texts of BHS (Hebrew Bible), NA27 (Greek NT), Rahlfs LXX (the OT in Greek), and the Vulgate (the Latin Bible) online free from the German Bibel Society’s new website, http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/online-bibeln/
This CD marked one of the early offline software releases of the NET Bible. The CD contained the New Testament only, in Logos Bible Software format (1998). Its release coincided with the first print publication of the NET Bible New Testament version 1.0 (no longer beta version) with a color, hardbound cover.
One of the first software versions of the NET Bible to be published offline (aside from the online HTML version) was the CD of the New Testament released in November 1998 in the Logos Bible Software format. This was released at the same time the first printed edition of the NET BIble NT was published. Note that the cover says "version 1.0" which meant this was no longer a beta release of the NT. This was just under three years from the beginning of the NET Bible translation project.
Well, it has been one of those weeks. Semester starts, New web site launched. Jesus tomb resurrects. Judas talk rages. It is hard to keep up with it all.
April DeConick of Rice emailed me to let me know of her respoinse to Marvin Meyer's 13th Daimon on the Gospel of Judas. She has divided it into short segments. The site is:
There is a new web-blog site launching on bible.org.
It is PrimetimeJesus.
Take a look (Right now it is merely cross-posting my last few entries from here, but it will be an independent TEAM blog starting next week). To get there try: