Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The principle of continuity (long)

Oswalt has an extensive discussion of subject-object distinction. Huh? What that means is that the object is distinct from me, that there is a reality that exists apart from my existence. Something doesn't have to relate to me to have meaning. Am I making sense? Maybe this snippet will help:

If there is anything that is discontinuous with me, it is meaningless. If it is truly separate from me, it does not exist for me; I cannot participate in its life and it cannot participate in mine. Things only have meaning for me as they relate to me. It is pointless to make a distinction between me the subject and something that is not-me. What else is there but me the subject? Of what importance is anything except as it relates to me?”—The Bible Among Other Myths, page 53

This has some important ramifications:

When this understanding is projected on the divine, the result is obvious. Deity must be part of me as I must be part of it. To say that I am not divine, or that the divine is not me, or to say that the deity is not the world, or that the world is not the deity, is to make life uncontrollable and meaningless. As the source the divine is the subject, but as the manifestation it is the object. Because of continuity, it must be both at once. To distinguish between the source and the manifestation is to make the source unreachable through the manifestation, a circumstance that is highly undesirable.—The Bible Among Other Myths, page 53

Oswalt applies this to the Golden Calf incident:

Since Moses was worshiping the invisible One, the source, on the mountain, why should not the people worship one of his visible manifestations as a part of the Many in the valley? So God could be the invisible Creator and the visible created (the bull) at one and the same time. The text shows us that this is how they were thinking when it tells us that Aaron said of the image, “Behold your God [Heb. 'elohim] who brought you forth from Egypt” (Ex. 34:4, lit. trans.)

Aaron and the people did not consider themselves to be doing anything heretical. After all, this is religion as they had observed it in Egypt for years. As the source, God is One, and other than creation. But as a manifestation he is many and a part of creation. The mythmaker sees no contradiction. But Moses understood that the God who was revealing himself to the Israelites was somehow distinctly other than creation. Thus, no blurring of God and creation could be allowed to exist. To permit it to exist would be to deny that nature of reality as Yahweh was revealing it to his people.—The Bible Among Other Mythspages 53-54 (brackets his)

<idle musing>
Did you follow that? I hope so, because it is essential to his arguments throughout the book. Oswalt is arguing that the mythmaker looks around at reality as (s)he sees it and projects that onto the divine. There is no distinction (his principle of continuity) between the two realms. What you do in the visible realm is effective in the invisible realm because the two are essentially one. This is why magic, rituals, liturgies, etc., are effective; you are forcing something to happen in the divine by declaring it in the visible.

This reasoning is the basis for the “name it, claim it, stomp on it and frame it!” reasoning of some “christians'” use of the Bible. Many people use the Bible as a book of magic; find a verse you like, or a promise that is appealing, speak it forth verbally and, voila! it has to happen. By speaking it, you have tied God's hands; he has to do it! Talk about paganism at its most blatant! Yet, that is accepted in some circles as “good Christian practice.”
</idle musing>

Danker's Concise Lexicon

The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

Edited by Frederick W. Danker
University of Chicago Press, 2009
408 pages, English and Greek
ISBN: 9780226136158
Your Price: $55.00

I just received Danker's new Concise Lexicon and thought you might like to know a bit more about it.

In the preface, he says that it is not an abridgement of BDAG, although it owes much to it. It is also not a reworking of his earlier (1983) Concise Lexicon. Rather, it is a fresh work that owes a bit to many sources, including a modern Greek, a Ms. Krug, who offered insights that he found helpful (this follows nicely with the recent thread on Greek NT scholarship by modern Greeks). In fact, she is even included on the title page.

The entries are short, with a brief etymology (where known), a definition, glosses, and references for the gloss. As befitting a work of this sort, many irregular verb forms are listed, referencing the correct lexical form.

I especially liked where he stated in the preface that Greek does not exist to serve the translator and is unapologetic for coining neo-logisms where English is inadequate.

This work certainly won't replace BDAG, but it isn't intended to. At $55.00, it is more affordable for the beginning student, but I would hope that whoever purchases it would eventually/soon use BDAG also.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The chaos monster!

"...myths are tied to the 'status quo.' They have two chief concerns: explaining why things are as they are now, and maintaining things as they are now. These concerns spring directly out of the human terror of chaos. We are afraid of chaos because it always destroys our security, and security is perhaps the greatest of all human longings. if we are to gain the security we so desperately want, the first order of the day is some sense of intellectual order. If we can explain why things are the way they are, then we have that sense of intellectual order, and we also have the feeling that we know how to relate to the thing explained."—The Bible Among Other Myths, page 49

<idle musing>
In other words, we want to be God; Genesis 3 all over again...the more things change, the more they stay the same. We don't want to submit to God; we don't want somebody else to have any authority over us. We are in control; we are God—NOT! We are not in control; we are not God. And we never have been! We are in need of God's empowering presence in the form of the Holy Spirit (some call it grace...) for our very existence from breath to breath.
</idle musing>

Monday, September 28, 2009


As you probably noticed, I'm back from 2 weeks of wandering the world. OK, actually, I'm back from 2 weeks of spoiling the grandchildren :)

We had an enjoyable time—and an interesting time. While visiting Joel and Renee, I went on a day hike/canoe with Joel and Ryan (our son). Along the way up the Gunflint Trail, your tax dollars were at work; they had torn up 5 miles and it was some of the worst road I have ever driven on. For part of it, you couldn't exceed 10 miles per hour, and even then it was horrendous.

We made it to our put-in point and canoed to the bluffs we wanted to climb. You can see some nice pictures of them and from them here. After an enjoyable morning and afternoon, we headed back—over the same bad road. At the end of the washboarding, I shifted into second, accelerated...and heard a whine and clunk. Uh-oh. As I pulled over to the side of the road, transmission fluid spilled out onto the road. A short hike to the nearest phone (cell phone reception? are you kidding!) to call the tow truck and Renee and all was in control. Well, maybe.

The tow truck driver said he could repair it by Friday, if he could find the parts, which seemed likely. Once Renee came, we headed in to town to see him at the shop. His first words were, "We've got problems." He led me to the car and pointed to a nice separation of the axle from the frame. Literally shaken loose by the washboarding. Since a Metro is a unibody, there was nothing to do except bury it.

No problem; we can rent a car and drive it back, or so we thought. God had other ideas. Who would think that there wouldn't be a single car available for rental in Duluth and Minneapolis-St. Paul on a Tuesday! Guess we need another option.

We headed to the shop to see if he had any junkers we could buy cheaply. He had just gone to lunch! Hmmm...How about the local car dealer? Ryan and I walked in and I told him my car had jut died. He asked what I was looking for. I told him I was used to getting 50 miles per gallon. Rather than the expected look of terror, he said he had a used 2006 Prius. Ouch. I haven't had car payments for 14 years. But, that seemed to be what the Lord was directing. So, we are now the owners of a Toyota Prius with 50,000 miles.

By the way, it gets 57 miles to the gallon :)

Augustine and the Jews

Ok, I've been promising this for a while, so here we go (yes, I really did do something while on vacation other than spoil grandchildren!):

Augustine and the Jews

Augustine and the Jews
A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism
by Paula Fredriksen
Doubleday, 2008
xxiii + 500 pages, English
ISBN: 9780385502702
List Price: $35.00
Your Price: $29.75

The book is divided into three sections: The legacy of Alexander, which describes the cultural background of Augustine's world, The prodigal son, which a biography of Augustine, and God and Israel, which deals with Augustine's evolving theology of what to do with the Jews.

The first section could almost be a book on its own. The cultural background, with the importance of paideia (the way society educated its young, especially wealthy, males) for worldview, the importance of rhetoric in daily life, the role of the gods in society, are all laid out in a very coherent and understandable way. The heavy influence of the Platonic/Neo-platonic disdain for the physical is highlighted, as it will have an important role in the development of Christian theology.I could recommend the book for this section alone. I only have one complaint, and that is that she has bought the current academic fad that there were multiple christianities that were all equally valid prior to “the triumph of orthodoxy.” But, that is another argument for another day.

Since I have lived with this material for so long, I tend to forget that most people don't know about the multiplicity of gods and their role in the ancient world. I was reminded of it just the other day while on vacation. I made some statement, which I thought would be self-evident, and had to spend the next ½ hour explaining polytheism and the concept of placating the deities. This section of the book would make a good read on that subject.

The second section, Augustine's biography, is a look at his journey through school, Manicheeism, and his eventual return to Christianity. The role of the Latin classics and translated Greek classics (Augustine never did learn Greek well enough to read it easily) in his spiritual journey is recounted. Along the way, Fredriksen highlights the importance of these ideas in Augustine's intellectual development and the way they informed his later ideas, especially in Confessions.

The third section finally gets to the title of the book! But, the first two sections are essential to the development of her arguments. You can't jump right in to the last section and understand how Augustine arrived at his, for the time, radical ideas about the Jews. The role of Faustus the Manichee is highlighted—indeed, many of Augustine's more important ideas are the result of his invectives against the Manichees. She examines Augustine's way of reading scripture, which included the, normal for the time, allegorical reading. But, he also read scripture ad litteram, which Fredriksen translates “historically.” This was unusual for the time, but it allowed Augustine to read the Old Testament as a document that wasn't just an allegorical statement pointing to the coming of Christ. He took the unique view that these things actually happened, and that by doing these things, the Jews were actually doing what God wanted. The common Christian viewpoint, under the heavy influence of Neo-platonism, was that the Jews misunderstood what God wanted and the physical fulfilling of the sacrifices was a punishment and didn't really please God at all.

As an example of how far the allegorical interpretation had taken hold, the confrontation between Peter and Paul in Galatians was seen as a ploy. The common view, held by Jerome and others, was that Peter knew that the law was no longer of value, and as a teaching tool he and Paul staged the confrontation. Augustine's reading of the text ad litteram allowed him to say that it was a genuine confrontation. He was more concerned that deceit not be in the scriptures than that Peter looked like a fool. Needless to say, Jerome launched an attack such as only a person of Jerome's personality could! He cited Patristic sources (all in Greek, since he knew Augustine couldn't read it!) showing how the church had always seen it as a ploy, but Augustine held firm. He saw that the New Testament church was—gasp—Jewish! The Jewish Christians continued to live as Jews, while the Gentile Christians continued to live as Gentiles. This was the only way that Augustine could make sense of the New Testament.

Augustine's realization that the Jews were fulfilling God's commands by doing the sacrifices allowed him to value the Jews in a way that the rest of the church didn't. It was this understanding that caused him to write of the value of the Jewish people. Fredriksen chases the development of what this entailed through Augustine's later writings. Realizing that rhetorical statements and real life don't always line up, she looks for any real encounters that Augustine might have had with Jews. Finding two, she examines them and finds that here, at least, Augustine was consistent with his rhetoric.

I would recommend the book to anyone who is interested in the history of the late Roman Empire, or the theology and history of the church in the fourth-fifth century. As I mentioned above, aside from her acceptance of the current academic fad of “all early versions of Christianity were of equal validity,” her presentation of the culture of the late Hellenistic-Roman Empire is excellent and could be read with profit by itself.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cyclical reasoning

OK, looks like the review will have to wait...vacation starts at 5:00 PM today!

After basically adopting Child's definition of myth (in Myth and Reality, pp. 27-28), Oswalt goes on to say:

Thus, myth is a form of expression, whether literary or oral, whereby the continuities among the human, natural, and divine realms are expressed and actualized. By reinforcing these continuities, it seeks to ensure the orderly functioning of both nature and human society...The fact is that the Bible has a completely different understanding of existence and of the relations among the realms. As a result, it functions entirely differently. Its telling does not actualize continuous divine reality out of the real invisible world into this visible reflection of that reality. Rather, it is a rehearsal of the nonrepeatable acts of God in identifiable time and space in concert with human beings. Its purpose is to provoke human choices and behavior through the medium of memory. Nothing could be farther from the purpose of myth.—The Bible Among Other Myths, pages 45-46

<idle musing>
Sounds like myth is a Platonic construct, doesn't it? We have the “idea” in the divine realm which we want to make real in the human realm. Does this definition of myth still make sense? Is it still commonly accepted? I don't know; the date on Childs is 1960. Can somebody help me out here?
</idle musing>

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New sale

Eisenbrauns is running a new sale. Because I will be gone for two weeks, this sale will be longer than normal. Here's the skinny:

There will not be a BookNews for the next 2 weeks. I'm heading
to Minnesota to enjoy 2 weeks with two new granddaughters, some
nice hikes along Lake Superior, and, hopefully, some canoeing.

Meanwhile, enjoy the extended weekly sale, and don't forget
the monthly sale, as well: up to 50% off on Hebrew and
Ugaritic titles.

As always, all sales on this web sale are final; no returns
will be permitted. Offer is good only on orders placed at through September 27, 2009.

To go directly to the weekly sale, click on this link:
"Ottoman Izmir: Studies in honour of Alexander H. de Groot"
Edited by M.H. van den Boogert
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 107
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2007. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9789062583188
List Price: $45.00 Your Price: $36.00

"Anatolia and the Jazira during the Old Assyrian Period:
Old Assyrian Archives, Studies, Volume 3"
Edited by J. G. Dercksen
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 111
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2008. Paper. English and French.
ISBN: 9789062583225
List Price: $49.00 Your Price: $39.20

"Constructing Communities: Clustered Neighbourhood Settlements of the Central Anatolian Neolithic ca. 8500-5500 Cal. BC"
by Bleda S. During
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 105
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2006. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9062583164
List Price: $72.00 Your Price: $57.60

"Zur Chronologie der Kaufmannsarchive aus der Schicht 2 des Karum Kanes: Studien und Materialen"
by Guido Kryszat
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 99
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2004. Paper. German.
ISBN: 9062581005
List Price: $49.00 Your Price: $29.40

"Old Assyrian Studies in Memory of Paul Garelli"
Edited by Cecile Michel
Old Assyrian Archives 4
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2008. Paper. English, French, and German.
ISBN: 9789062583232
List Price: $67.00 Your Price: $53.60

"The Ilipinar Excavations II"
Edited by J. Roodenberg and L. C. Thissen
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 93
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2001. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9062580947
List Price: $129.00 Your Price: $103.20

"Hittite Votive Texts"
by Johan de Roos
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 109
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2007. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9789062583201
List Price: $69.00 Your Price: $55.20

"Elusive Silver: In Search of a Role for a Market in an Agrarian Environment--Aspects of Mesopotamia's Society"
by G. van Driel
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 95
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2002. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9062580963
List Price: $85.00 Your Price: $68.00

"Veenhof Anniversary Volume: Studies Presented to Klaas R. Veenhof on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday"
Edited by Wilfred H. van Soldt
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 89
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2001. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9062580912
List Price: $111.00 Your Price: $88.80

"Tell Sabi Abyad II - The Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Settlement: Report on the Excavations of the National Museum of Antiquities
Leiden in Balikh Valley, Syria"
Edited by Marc Verhoeven and Peter M. M. G. Akkermans
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 90
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2000. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9062580904
List Price: $97.00 Your Price: $77.60

The warrior

Lawson Stone, of Asbury Seminary is doing a 365 day project: one photo per day. That's no big deal, except it is a self-portrait and usually contains some good insight. Today's rings very true for me. Here's a snippet:

The uninitiated, the new student in a biblical studies program, seminary, or young scholar, encounters a gaggle of disconnected methods, a cacophony of voices, and a chaos of ideological values, typically supported by the power and resources of the scholarly guild, tenure review committees, and major publishers. It confuses, but it also dazzles and hypnotizes. The literary critic and philosopher George Steiner has pilloried the tribalized academy as “…covens which celebrate this or that rite of explication.”

And, we might add, eager for new initiates. The student began simply enough with a love for God and his word and a desire to study scripture responsibly, rigorously, and faithfully. But now she feels an undertow, a pull toward the fashions, predilections and preoccupations of the academy. A new acculturation begins to take place, the desire to please a particular professor, to appear on top of the latest trends, current, relevant…to whom?

Then there are the insistent demands of a church that is all too often in the tank with popular culture and impatient with analysis and reflection in its rush to be relevant. We demand that God speak to our problems right now, and any explanation of the Bible that isn’t “practical” is rejected. The concept that we might need to set our needs and agendas aside and simply listen to God…who does that? But in fact, if I don’t think the Bible applies to my life, maybe it is my life that is in the wrong place!

<idle musing>
Do read the whole thing; very insightful. Biblical studies can indeed be a dangerous place...
</idle musing>

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The hound of heaven

Ok, I was hoping to post a review of Augustine and the Jews, but I ran out of time. Maybe tomorrow or Friday; if not, then it will be done while I am on vacation. Meantime, I started reading Oswalt's The Bible Among Other Myths. Here's a brief snippet from it:

When we ask the Israelites where they came up with these fantastic concepts, they tell us they did not “come up” with them. They tell us that God broke in upon their lives and dragged them kicking and screaming into these understandings. They tell us that they did their best to get away from him, but that he would not let them go. He kept obtruding himself into their lives in the most uncomfortable ways.—The Bible Among Other Myths, page 17

<idle musing>
Augustine called the Holy Spirit the “hound of Heaven.” He doesn't let us go, but chases us, woos us, pursues us to the depths of our being; he never lets us go. Praise God for that!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A bit of perspective

"The empire, neither demonic before 312 [the date of Constantine's "conversion"] nor holy thereafter, lacked any absolute religious significance. And events whether positive (such as the universal proclamation of the gospel) or negative (famine, earthquake, or the fall of Rome) were eschatologically opaque: they could not be matched with scriptural prophecy to indicate anything of the divine plan. However certain in their faith, Christians could never be certain of their circumstances. For the period of time that stood outside the biblical canon, history's patterns and the ultimate significance of events, like God's standards of justice, were occultissimi [most hidden] as well."—Augustine and the Jews, pages 342-343

<idle musing>
Would that some of our modern "prophecy experts" would learn from Augustine! Why do we not heed the cry of Jesus that no one knows the day or the hour except the Father? Oh wait, I know, it's because we want to be God and know all things! Genesis 3 again; I might have guessed it. :(
</idle musing>

Monday, September 07, 2009

Free will

"But will operated with extreme internal constraints. The will as now constituted—as Augustine argued brilliantly when explicating Romans 9 to Simplicianus; as he demonstrated brilliantly in his narration of his own past in the first eight books of the Confessions—is undermined by its own self. Conflicted, ineffectual, this will is indeed "free"—no star or demon or external power compels it—but it is free only to sin. Absent grace, the best that a person can do is to want not to sin, though he cannot not sin.—Augustine and the Jews, page 277

<idle musing>
I don't disagree with this. But, I do disagree about the extent of grace; Augustine believed in apportioned grace. I believe in free grace—free to all, free from limits, free!
</idle musing>

Friday, September 04, 2009


Bugs haven't been much of a problem this year; it has been quite dry; the garden hasn't suffered, though because of the drip irrigation. But, the rain 2 weeks ago sure changed things!

For the last few days, you can't hardly walk outside without being accosted by mosquitoes. I have started wearing long pants and a rain jacket while working in the garden. They bite right through a regular shirt; the nylon jacket seems to stop them. But, my hands and head are getting attacked continually while I am working.

Debbie read somewhere that Bounce™ sheets work for repelling insects, so she has started attaching the sheets to herself. Last night, she had one pinned in her hair, one on each sleeve, and one on her belt loop. It looked pretty funny—and she still got bit!

It reminds me of living in the north woods! But, "count it all joy..." keeps coming to mind.

New monthly sale at Eisenbrauns

Another back-to-school sale this month. Here's the blurb from BookNews:

BookNews from Eisenbrauns

As school starts again this fall, I'm sure many of you have read the Beloit College "Mindset List" ( They missed one very important item this year: Waltke & O'Connor's "Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax" has always been the standard by which other Hebrew grammars are judged.

In keeping with that theme, Eisenbrauns is offering you savings of 10-50% on Hebrew and Ugaritic resources for the entire month of September.

As always, all sales on this web sale are final; no returns will be permitted. Offer good only on orders placed at through September 30, 2009.

To easily access all the sale items, please visit:
"Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax"
by Bruce K. Waltke and Michael Patrick O'Connor
Eisenbrauns, 1990. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0931464315
List Price: $59.50 Your Price: $41.65

"Beginning Biblical Hebrew"
by Mark D. Futato
Eisenbrauns, 2005. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 1575060221
List Price: $44.95 Your Price: $31.47

"A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew"
by Choon L. Seow
Abingdon, 1995. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0687157862
List Price: $36.00 Your Price: $23.40

"A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax"
by Bill T. Arnold and John H. Choi
Cambridge University Press, 2003. Paper. English.
ISBN: 0521533481
List Price: $19.99 Your Price: $15.99

"Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar: Edited and enlarged
by E. Kautzsch; Second edition"
Edited by E. Kautzsch
by William Gesenius
Clarendon Press, 1910. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0198154062
List Price: $69.95 Your Price: $55.96

"A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar: With minor revisions"
Edited by Christo H. Van Der Merwe, Jackie A. Naude, and Jan H. Kroeze
Biblical Languages: Hebrew - BLH 3
Sheffield Academic Press, 2002. Paper. English.
ISBN: 1850758565
List Price: $72.00 Your Price: $50.40

"The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon with an
appendix containing the Biblical Aramaic: Coded with the
numbering system from "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible""
by Francis Brown, et al.
Hendrickson Publishers, 1995. Cloth. English and Hebrew.
ISBN: 1565632060
List Price: $34.95 Your Price: $20.97

"A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament"
by William L. Holladay
Eerdmans, 1971. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0802834132
List Price: $40.00 Your Price: $24.00

"Dictionary of Basic Biblical Hebrew: Hebrew-English"
by Shlomo Karni
Carta, Jerusalem, 2002. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9652204986
List Price: $24.95 Your Price: $19.96

"Ezra-Nehemiah: Biblia Hebraica Quinta"
Edited by David Marcus
Biblia Hebraica Quinta - BHQ 20
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 2006. Paper. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052806
List Price: $98.00 Your Price: $63.70

"General Introduction and Megilloth: Biblia Hebraica Quinta"
Edited by Adrian Schenker, et al.
Biblia Hebraica Quinta - BHQ 18
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 2004. Paper. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052784
List Price: $98.00 Your Price: $63.70

Edited by J. de Waard
Biblia Hebraica Quinta - BHQ 17
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 2008. Paper. Hebrew.
ISBN: 9783438052773
List Price: $98.00 Your Price: $63.70

Edited by Carmel McCarthy
Biblia Hebraica Quinta - BHQ 5
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 2007. Paper. Hebrew.
ISBN: 9781598561982
List Price: $99.00 Your Price: $64.35

"Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Large Format"
Edited by K. Elliger and W. Rudolph
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 1987. Cloth. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052180
List Price: $79.99 Your Price: $47.99

"Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Paperback Edition"
Edited by K. Elliger and W. Rudolph
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 2001. Paper. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052229
List Price: $34.99 Your Price: $26.24

"Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Small format"
Edited by K. Elliger and W. Rudolph
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 1987. Cloth. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052199
List Price: $69.95 Your Price: $41.97

"Konkordanz zum hebraischen Alten Testament"
by Gerhard Lisowsky
Edited by H. P. Ruger
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 1958. Cloth. Hebrew and German.
ISBN: 343805230X
List Price: $84.99 Your Price: $67.99

"Biblical Hebrew in Its Northwest Semitic Setting:
Typological and Historical Perspectives"
Edited by Steven E. Fassberg and Avi Hurvitz
Eisenbrauns, 2006. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 1575061163
List Price: $49.50 Your Price: $34.65

"Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine, 1000-586 BCE"
by W. Randall Garr
Eisenbrauns, 2004. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 1575060914
List Price: $47.50 Your Price: $28.50

"Untersuchungen zur verbalen Valenz im biblischen Hebraisch"
by Michael Malessa
Studia Semitica Neerlandica - SSN 49
Van Gorcum, 2006. Cloth. German.
ISBN: 9023242408
List Price: $85.00 Your Price: $68.00

"The Verbless Clause in Biblical Hebrew: Linguistic Approaches"
Edited by Cynthia L. Miller
Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic - LSAWS 1
Eisenbrauns, 1999. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 1575060361
List Price: $49.50 Your Price: $29.70

"Hebrew Verse Structure"
by Michael Patrick O'Connor
Eisenbrauns, 1997. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0931464021
List Price: $59.50 Your Price: $29.75

"Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Linguistics"
Edited by Robert D. Bergen
SIL International, 1994. Paper. English.
ISBN: 1556710070
List Price: $42.00 Your Price: $33.60

"Ugaritic Textbook: Grammar, Texts in Transliteration,
Cuneiform Selections, Glossary, Indices"
by Cyrus H. Gordon
Analecta Orientalia - AO 38
Biblical Institute Press / Editrice
Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1998. Paper. English.
ISBN: 8876532382
List Price: $128.00 Your Price: $115.20

"A Basic Grammar of Ugaritic Language
with Selected Texts and Glossary"
by Stanislav Segert
University of California Press, 1984. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0520039998
List Price: $70.00 Your Price: $63.00

"Ugaritic Grammar"
by Daniel Sivan
Biblical Encyclopaedia Library - BEL 9
Bialik Institute, 1993. Paper. Hebrew.
List Price: $32.00 Your Price: $25.60

"Ugaritische Grammatik"
by Josef Tropper
Alter Orient und Altes Testament - AOAT 273
Ugarit-Verlag, 2000. Cloth. German.
ISBN: 3927120901
List Price: $100.00 Your Price: $80.00

"Ugaritisch: Kurzgefasste Grammatik mit Ubungstexten und Glossar"
by Josef Tropper
Elementa Linguarum Orientis - ELO 1
Ugarit-Verlag, 2002. Paper. German.
ISBN: 3934628125
List Price: $24.00 Your Price: $19.20

Sound familar?

"...any male member of the cural class from whatever religious or ethnic group would have been educated within and would have reaped the benefits of a purely pagan curriculum. Despite traumatic episodes of earlier pagan hostility, then, and despite the vituperation heaped upon civic celebrations and entertainments by their own church leaders, Christians, like Jews, accommodated themselves to majority culture, evidently with much less difficulty than some of their leaders would have liked. That is because majority culture, in many ways, was their culture. All of these people were themselves Romans."—Augustine and the Jews, pages 95-96

<idle musing>
The more things change, the more they stay the same...change the name from Roman to whatever culture you're in, and you get the same results.
</idle musing>

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Define Consumer Christianity

Out of Ur ran a contest of sorts last month. They requested that people define or provide illustrations of "consumer christianity." They posted the results today. Some of them are quite funny, in a sad sort of way. Definitely take the time to read them.


Another snippet from Augustine and the Jews, this time about persecution of the Christians:

We are so accustomed to "knowing" that Rome persecuted ancient Christians that we can fail to see how odd, unprecedented, and anomalous such a persecution, in such a society, actually was. Pragmatic religious pluralism had long characterized ancient Mediterranean kingdoms in general, the Roman Empire in particular. (No one wanted to have to deal with an angry god.) To understand the sources of this unhappy social innovation—the invention of religious persecution—we need to recall what concerned ancient people when they engaged in what we think of as "religious" activities. Ethnicity and antiquity; the standing obligations to one's own gods; the importance of communal cult acts, of showing and being seen to show respect; the premium placed on maintaining the pax deorum, the concordat between heaven and earth that guaranteed the well-being of city and empire: These are the considerations that mattered to them. Cult, the ancients assumed, made gods happy; and when gods were happy, humans flourished. Conversely, not receiving cult mad gods unhappy; and when gods were unhappy, the made people unhappy.

The problem with gentile Christians, then, in the view of the pagan majority, was not that these people were "Christian," but that they were "gentile," or rather that they were still "pagan"...Gentile Christians became the objects of local resentments and anxieties precisely because they were deviant pagans, refusing to honor the gods upon whom their city's well-being depended. In consequence, when things went wrong—as things tend to do—gentile Christians were easily, readily blamed...Divine anger would affect everybody. In brief, ancestral obligation, not particular beliefs—what people did, not what they thought—was what mattered.—pages 86-87

<idle musing>
I fear I might have cut too much out. I hope that makes sense to you. Atheism is what Christians were accused of—not in believing in no god, but in not honoring all gods!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

More about gods

Another selection from Augustine and the Jews. Speaking about Paul's view that the other gods are subservient to the true God:

But Jewish apocalyptic convictions, such as Paul expresses to his communities, represent an extreme attitude toward foreign gods and thus are by definition exceptional. On a day-to-day basis, for Jews as well as for others, what mattered was deciding how to deal with the gods of outsiders while dealing with their humans as well. This was a practical question: Any god by definition was more powerful than any human, and gods as a group tended to be incensed when slighted. In general, most people opted for a sensible display of courtesy, showing and (perhaps just as important) being seen to show respect. Such courtesy went a long way toward establishing concord both with other gods (who, if angered, could be dangerous) and with their equally sensitive humans.—pages 10-11

<idle musing>
Sort of like avoiding breaking a mirror, or not letting a black cat cross your path, know the kinds of things I'm talking about. Rule 1: Don't tick off the gods. Rule 2: If you do, get it right, now! Or you might not be around to find out why they got mad.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The ancient world

A few selections from Augustine and the Jews over the next few days, then—hopefully!—a short review.

...the existence or nonexistence of the gods of outsiders (those of a different genos or natio) was not at issue. Ancient people generally assumed that various gods existed, just as their humans did. When these gods, with their humans, were encountered, various kinds of recognitions and acknowledgments might occur. When Alexander conquered Egypt, for example, a priest of the god Ammon greeted him as Ammon's son. Deified himself, Alexander was depicted on coins in gorgeous Hellenistic profile, the ram's horns of the Egyptian deity growing out of his head. As culture encountered each other, their gods might be identified with, associated with, or assimilated to each other. Thus the Roman Jupiter took on characteristics of the Greek Zeus; statues of the Roman Minerva replicated aspects of Athena; indigenous Semitic gods (such as Ba'al shamim, "lord of heaven") gained currency by being present under Olympian names ("Zeus"). When different peoples clashed, their gods were imagines as fighting, too. But this was not always the case. The Romans, ever practical, bagan sieges by addressing the presiding deities of the enemy. Through rituals of evocatio ("calling out"), the Romans summoned the city's gods ot come over to them, promising in exchange for victory to respect and to continue their cult.—pages 8-9

<idle musing>
If there is one thing that people need to realize when studying the ancient world, this is it. The gods were/are real to these people. They have an affect on what you are, what you do, etc. These are not theoretically constructed deities for the sake of theological argument. They are real, and can really mess you up if you tick them off! Don't ever forget that!
</idle musing>