Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A new conservative bible translation

Episcopal Cafe notes a new conservative bible translation by the Conservative Bible Project at Conservapedia is underway. It is intended to "develop a conservative translation that can serve, at a minimum, as a bulwark against the liberal manipulation of meaning in future versions."

Here's their on-line version of Mark's Gospel. Having scanned chapter 1, here are my reactions at Episcopal Cafe: "No one thinks any translation is perfect. But does substituting "The Divine Guide" for the term "Spirit" in e.g. the baptism narrative convey Mark's ideas about Jesus' Baptism or the Spirit itself? And the translation of the verb in Mark 1:12 "the Divine Guide then led Jesus into the desert" is just wrong. I simply disagree that translations not using the term "man" to speak of Jesus emasculate him. Changing "scribes" or "Pharisees" to "intellectuals" in passages reporting controversies pits the latter against Jesus. Is this the message we want a bible translation to convey? Finally, the proposed translation of Mark 1:34b: 'he commanded the devils to be silent, because they knew Jesus as God' introduces a description of Jesus that simply isn't in the text."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Virgil's Bees: Carol Ann Duffy


In support of the 10:10 campaign to reduce carbon emissions, Carol Ann Duffy (UK poet laureate) wrote a poem Virgil's Bees printed by the Guardian.

Bless air's gift of sweetness, honey
from the bees, inspired by clover,
marigold, eucalyptus, thyme,
the hundred perfumes of the wind.
Bless the beekeeper

who chooses for her hives
a site near water, violet beds, no yew,
no echo. Let the light lilt, leak, green
or gold, pigment for queens,
and joy be inexplicable but there
in harmony of willowherb and stream,
of summer heat and breeze,
each bee's body
at its brilliant flower, lover-stunned,
strumming on fragrance, smitten.

For this,
let gardens grow, where beelines end,
sighing in roses, saffron blooms, buddleia;
where bees pray on their knees, sing, praise
in pear trees, plum trees; bees
are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.

The picture is a lime tree (I think) taken at a Kent farm this July. To take this picture is to hear thousands of bees swarming and buzzing around and on it...

Here's a link to The Georgics Book 4.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The supper at Emmaus by Ceri Richards

The supper at Emmaus
Ceri Richards (1903-1971)

1958

Methodist Collection of Modern Christian Art, No.26

Commentary by Francis Hoyland

The yellow cross formed from light falling over the table, and of light itself divides the square format of the painting asymmetrically, for it is centred well to the left of the composition.

This asymmetry is partially compensated for by the fact that the centre of the figure of Christ is situated to the right of the upright part of the cross.

Only the right side of his head is, however, in the middle of the picture. It is worth responding to the divisions of this painting because they are clearly emphasised and obviously deeply considered.

For instance, the blue area to the left of Christ is a rectangle like but not geometrically similar to the yellow shape that surrounds Jesus. It is subdivided by a dark line which bounds a series of horizontal lines that must stand for a shutter.

This blue area is echoed below by another which is again like but not similar to it. This lower area is divided by a horizontal line and part of the mat.

Although these rectilinear areas are very strongly stated, some of them are partially masked by figures. For instance in the area at the top right hand corner above the table bounded by the central glow.

This is not square but nearly so. In fact areas like the shape to the left of the white jug that at first sight look square, turn out not to be. The body of the jug itself makes a white rectangle.

All these rectangles are parallel to the edges of the square format of the painting and echo and reinforce it. Variety is given by harmonic sub divisions of the format which are never quite what one expects - together they make up what is actually an abstract painting.

The figures are deployed and drawn in a completely different idiom; they are intensely, even vulgarly physical with enormous hands and feet. They bless, move and revere with a vengeance and yet the painting as a whole does work - how is that?

Well, this physicality is really carried by the contour everywhere except in the exposed areas of flesh which are firmly modelled. The insides of the figures are almost as plainly painted as the abstract surround, so they do sit down and interpenetrate with them.

Also the shapes between those physical rhythms are as 'abstract' as any of the others. The shape, for instance between Christ's raised hand and the blue area of the near disciple slashes, diagonally, across the centre of the painting; the other arm of the same disciple crosses the yellow end of the table and the round, white plate in such a way as to set up near triangles and two segments of a circle. Discovering things like this is one way of reading a painting.

Personally I find the figures of the disciples more successful than the figure of Our Lord. Sometimes when trying to draw or paint Our Lord painters tend to project too much of their own personalities onto him.

This figure is not really Christ-like because it is too complicated. It is the worried face of a man wrestling with some kind of inner disturbance. The huge self-conscious hands underline this psychological disturbance.

However a painting of Our Lord that we do not think looks like him serves the purpose of making us visualise our Saviour for ourselves. The whole picture, though, is marvellously intelligent and well-ordered.

Matthew to Go?

From Now You Know Media comes a 4 CD set with downloadable Study Guide to Matthew's Gospel by Donald Senior. I'd be happy to recommend this one. One caveat: while they say they are nfp and not affiliated to any organization or church, many of their speakers are Roman Catholic.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

UK find of Anglo Saxon gold


The largest find of Anglo Saxon gold has been made public. This hoard of 1500 (mostly martial) objects from Staffordshire (heartland of the kingdom of Mercia) is perhaps the most important collection of Anglo-Saxon objects found in England. On the left is the "folded cross."

Monday, September 21, 2009

John Tavener: Composer of the Week

Sir John Tavener is composer of the week on Radio 3. This would be a good opportunity to be introduced to his compositions and learn something of his development and musicianship. Tomorrow there's to be a discussion of his acceptance into the Orthodox Church.

There's a concert including Tavener's music coming up in the NYC area:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

JOHN TAVENER: Requiem (U.S. Premiere)
VALENTIN SILVESTROV: Diptychon (U.S. Premiere)
JOHN TAVENER: The Veil of the Temple (excerpts)
SERGEI RACHMANINOV: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (excerpts)

Blackburn Cathedral rethinks its policy on HC

A recent press release announces that the practice of offering wafers previously consecrated by a male priest when a woman priest was presiding will be discontinued.

“It will now be the case that the sacrament at any celebration of the Eucharist will be consecrated solely by the person who is presiding,” said a statement from the Chapter, the Cathedral’s governing body.

The Chapter said that although there will no longer be separately blessed wafers available for those opposed to the ordination of women, when a woman presides at a Eucharist, the Cathedral would continue to offer services on a Sunday where a male priest would preside.

The Cathedral statement added: “As a Chapter working very harmoniously together, we continue to seek a way forward that emphasises beyond any differences our common baptism in Christ.”

(HT: Anglicans OnLine)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Biblical Perspectives on Marriage and Relationships at St Luke in the Fields on Monday night

Marriage and Relationship: Biblical Perspectives
September 21, 28, & October 5
Our fall programming will start with a three-part series led by Dr. Deirdre Good, Professor of New Testament at General Theological Seminary and author of the recently published book Jesus’ Family Values. Through exegetical examination of various Biblical passages, Dr. Good will help us explore various views of marriage, family, and relationship in ancient times, and how these views can guide and inform our Christian understanding today.

Monday Night Series
7pm-8:30pm, Laughlin Hall

Friday, September 18, 2009


William Holman Hunt, O.M. (1830–1910)
Nazareth, 1855 and 1860–61

Hunt was one of the founder members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 and one of the most important painters of the nineteenth century; he visited Egypt and the Holy Land in 1854–55 and again from 1869 to 1872. Today some of Hunt's paintings, including The Light of the World, The Hireling Shepherd , The Awakening Conscience, and The Triumph of the Innocents, are considered icons of the Victorian era.

Hunt left Jerusalem on October 17, 1855, and reached Nazareth six days later, recording enthusiastically in his diary : "Sweet Nazareth of Galilee—never did I imagine thee so lovely in all the many times that I have tried to picture the abode of our Lord." This watercolor was largely painted on the spot between October 24 and 27.

Currently on display in the exhibit "Pastoral to Postindustrial: British Works on Paper at the Whitworth Art Gallery" at the Grey Art Gallery at NYU.

ADDRESS: Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 100 Washington Square East, NYC 10003

HOURS:
Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
OPEN LATE Wednesdays: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturdays: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays.

SUGGESTED ADMISSION: $3.00, Free to NYU students, faculty, and staff

DIRECTIONS: The Grey Art Gallery is located within the NYU Silver Center at 100 Washington Square East. Situated at the meeting point of SoHo and the East and West Villages, the Grey Art Gallery is easily reached by public transportation. SUBWAY: A, B, C, D, E, F, N, or V to West 4th Street; R or W local to 8th Street; 6 local to Astor Place; 1 local to Christopher Street. BUS: M1, M2, M3, M5, and M6 to
8th Street.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Gospels & Christian Life in History and Practice, Valantasis, Bleyle and Haugh

A copy of The Gospels and Christian Life in History and Practice (June 2009) arrived today and I am looking forward to reading it. In the meantime, here's the publicity:

The Gospels And Christian Life reads the four canonical Gospels as handbooks for religious formation through communal practices. The book focuses on the communities that produced each gospel, the dynamic energy each gospel displays for creating and sustaining community life, the different interpretations of the person of Jesus, and the different systems of organization and leadership each gospel promulgated. The authors carefully describe the social context of each Gospel and delineate the practices the texts prescribe. Each gospel has an imaginative portal, an introductory chapter introducing the necessary background for understanding the social, intellectual, and religious setting for each gospel. Their reading of each Gospel builds on these foundations to illustrate the nature and scope of the community's practices. Their work starts from the assumption that the communities did not look to the Gospels for biographical data on the life of Jesus to offer the reader a powerful reading of each Gospel community, its unique practices, and the way people were trained to become members of it. This book is aimed at undergraduate and graduate teachers and students, pastors, and the general audience eager for new ways to understand the New Testament.

- A unique approach to the gospels, studied as windows on the communities that created them.

- The portal to each gospel offers the historical, social, political, and intellectual background necessary to understanding each gospel in its particularity.

- Treats the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles together as a unit.

- Incorporates information about non-canonical gospels such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas, as well as the apocryphal infancy gospels.

- The Introduction prepares readers for the study of Early Christian Literature in an historical context.

- Uses both ancient and modern analogous situations to make understanding the gospels more accessible.

About the Authors
Richard Valantasis is Co-Director of the Institute for Contemplative Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and on leave as Professor of Ascetical Theology and Christian Practice and Director of the Anglican Studies Program at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is an ordained Episcopal priest.

Douglas K. Bleyle is Co-Director of the Institute for Contemplative Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He earned his M.Div. at Iliff School of Theology in Denver and his Th.M. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is an aspirant to holy orders in the Episcopal Church.

Dennis C. Haugh is an adjunct professor at the Iliff School of Theology and a Ph.D. candidate in the joint Iliff-University of Denver doctoral program. He is a Roman Catholic lay person with extensive experience in the areas of adult faith formation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mark Goodacre: Admitting Our Ignorance About the Historical Jesus

Prof. Mark Goodacre posts a useful reflection, "Admitting Our Ignorance About the Historical Jesus":

There are lots of things that we can know about the life of Jesus with a degree of confidence, his healing activity, his proclamation of the kingdom, his connection to John the Baptist, the call of disciples who continued the movement after his arrest and crucifixion, and so on. Beginning from this kind of secure information, one can produce a good sketch of the life of Jesus, and E. P. Sanders has illustrated how much one can do with this kind of data when we integrate them into an informed understanding of Jesus' historical context.

But knowing things about the historical Jesus is not the same as being able to write his biography. (The New Testament scholar Rudolf) Bultmann rightly pointed out that we do not have the data available to trace his psychological development in the manner of contemporary biography. Yet recent years have seen an increasing confidence in our ability to paint something approaching a complete picture of Jesus' life and personality, as if all the relevant and necessary materials for that complete picture are available somewhere. It just takes a bit of effort to get at them. We spend many painful hours sifting and honing criteria because we feel that the literary deposit is somewhere bound to contain all the material of real importance. Only matters peripheral to the task of reconstructing the key elements in his life have disappeared.

This kind of assumption develops out of an unrealistic perspective on the task. We proceed as if we are doing the work of restoration, clearing the dirt, the damage, the rust in order to unveil the real Jesus. But the quest is not about restoration. It is a task of ancient history and when understood as ancient history, discussion about the historical Jesus should constantly involve the reminder that massive amounts of key data must be missing.

It may be that we seldom reflect on this fact because the ideological investment in Jesus affects our historical research on him. Those ideological interests are, of course, many and varied, but the same kind of optimistic assumptions about the data set are shared by those from different ends of the spectrum, from those whose faith commitment compels them to regard the scriptural deposit as definitive, to those who look to a range of materials and methods in a bid to reconstruct a Jesus who is uncongenial to later Christian orthodoxy.

Let me illustrate the kind of thing I am talking about. According to almost everyone, one of the most certain things that we can know about the historical Jesus is that he was a disciple of John the Baptist. This is bedrock stuff and anyone familiar with Jesus research will know all about why. As it happens, I am inclined to agree with this; I suspect that Jesus did indeed have an association with John the Baptist and that it was important, in some way, in his development. But how important was John the Baptist, as an influence on Jesus, in comparison to other people? We know about the link between the two men because John the Baptist was himself famous -- Josephus devotes more time to him than he does to Jesus. So the tradition remembers and underlines the association between the two men.

But our influences are seldom solely other famous people. Perhaps the major influence on Jesus was his grandfather, whose fascination with Daniel 7 informed Jesus' apocalyptic mindset. Or perhaps it was Rabbi Matia in Capernaum who used to enjoy telling parables drawn from local agriculture. Or perhaps it was that crazy wandering Galilean exorcist Lebbaeus who used to talk about casting out demons by the Spirit of God. The fact is that we just don't know. We can't know. Our knowledge about the historical Jesus is always and inevitably partial. If we take the quest of the historical Jesus seriously as an aspect of ancient history, we have to admit that many of the key pieces must be missing.

The problem is that we are in denial. We simply do not want to admit that we do not have all the data we need to paint a complete picture of the historical Jesus. Good scholarship is sometimes born from a desire to fill in the gaps, and informed speculation can be a virtue. But over-confidence born out of an unrealistic expectation of the evidence will make future generations wonder what we were playing at.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Accordance Seminar September 26th at GTS

The New York, NY Seminar is quickly approaching and you only have a few more days to register!
Not sure if you are using Accordance to its highest potential?
Why not attend an Accordance seminar? Our main goal at a seminar is to equip people to use Accordance to its maximum capabilities in order to aid them in their personal devotion time, classwork, sermon preparation and ministerial work. Seminars are suitable for users of Accordance or individuals who would like to observe and learn more about the program. You will receive coaching on the original language features as well as use of the general interface, searching capabilities, graphics and other features. The New York, NY seminar will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will consist of two sessions with a break for lunch. You may bring a laptop if you wish, but it is not essential. The demonstration will be projected. There will be the opportunity to update and add to your Accordance program, but we recommend downloading version 8 ahead of time. Most people who take the time to come are extremely grateful to learn all the things that they never knew they were missing. Please make the sessions known to the staff and students at any institution in the area, as well as to any users you know.

SEMINAR REGISTRATION We have decided no longer to charge for registration at seminars, so they are completely free to all attendees. However, it greatly aids our planning if attendees do let us know as soon as possible if they plan to come, and inform us if their plans change. Please register by Tuesday, Sept. 22nd by sending an email to seminars@accordancebible.com. You can also use this address for any questions about the seminars.


FEATURED SEMINAR
New York, NY
Saturday
September 26th
9am - 5pm
General Theological Seminary
Seabury Auditorium
175 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY 10011

Directions:
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, on the west side of Manhattan, occupying the full city block between West 20th and West 21st Streets and between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. The entrance is on 21st Street halfway between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Diocese of London +Study Sessions 2009 +James MacMillan

Session 1: The Word transforming
The composer James MacMillan and the poet Michael Symmons Roberts
Thursday 29 October
12.00-1.30pm

Location: St Faith's Chapel, St Paul's Cathedral

This sacrament of transformation in which bread, wine and people are changed and put to new purposes has also inspired artists of all kinds. In particular, the words of the eucharistic rite have been transformed into a variety of musical forms. They have also inspired poetry and prayer. What changes when the words are ‘translated’ into a new medium? How do contemporary poets and composers find inspiration in the eucharist? And does this indicate that there is something about artistic creativity itself that has analogies with the eucharist: the processes by which ordinary things become graced; by which the divine depth or excess in material creation is opened up for our new appreciation?

James MacMillan CBE is one of today’s most successful living composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is profoundly shaped by his Christian faith, his social conscience and his Scottish heritage, and blends Celtic, Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music with a classical Western tradition running from Victoria through Bach to Wagner and Messiaen. He has written several Mass settings, including one for children which is used in churches all over the world every week. www.intermusica.co.uk/macmillan.

Michael Symmons Roberts is an award-winning poet, novelist, librettist and dramatist. His works include the recent collection of poetry Corpus, and the BBC1 film Miracle on the Estate, screened on Good Friday 2008, which won the Premier Prize for Television at the Sandford St Martin Awards in June this year. He has collaborated on a number of occasions with James MacMillan. www.symmonsroberts.com.

Other Speakers and Events here.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Synagogue at Migdal Discovered

News of a discovery of a first century synagogue at Migdal has been announced. The synagogue has been dated to the years 50 BCE – 100 CE. A rectangular stone bearing the Menorah relief stands inside its central chamber. The chamber is about 120 square meters in size and stone benches line its sides. Mosaics and a fresco have also been found. (Aerial view to the right)

The dig was conducted by Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Arfan Najer of the Antiquities Authority. According to Gorni, the find is “unique and exciting.” "This is the first time that a Menorah decoration is discovered from the days in which the Temple still stood,” she said. “It is the first Menorah that is discovered in a Jewish context, which is dated to Second Temple times – the early Roman period. We can estimate that the inscription that appears on the stone... was made by an artist who saw the seven-branched Menorah in the Temple in Jerusalem. The synagogue joins only six synagogues known in the world from Second Temple times.”

The dig was conducted on land owned by a company which intends to build a hotel on the property.

Ancient Migdal – or Migdala, in Aramaic – was mentioned in Jewish sources and served as one of the central bases for forces under the command of Josephus Flavius (Yosef Ben Matityahu), who commanded the Galilee rebellion but later crossed over to the Roman camp. Resistance at Migdal continued after Tiberias and the rest of the Galilee had surrendered.

Migdal is also mentioned in the Christian “New Testament” as the place where Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Magdala, came from.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Friday's commemoration at Ground Zero includes a reading of all the victims' names and a moment of silence to mark the impact of the two hijacked planes and the collapse of the towers. Beams pointing skyward will be lit at night from Ground Zero.

Here is a list of events in NYC:

8:46AM:
The Bell of Hope will ring at St. Paul's Chapel. Ceremonies at Ground Zero including the reading of the names and singing by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. This link shows the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Rehearsing the day before.

10:30AM:
Mass will be held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in honor of the firefighters who fell on 9/11.

12:30PM:
Day of Remembrance Liturgy followed by prayers for healing and anointing with oil at St. Paul's Chapel.

5:30PM:
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the first annual National Day of Service and Remembrance.

All day:
Concerts will be held throughout the city organized by The September Concert.

Here's a link to a piece on Remembering the Rescue Dogs at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Chelsea's Newest Bookstore


Managed to visit Posman Books in Chelsea Market today. They are expanding into the space which is larger than one might think. They plan to have a children's section and a place for readings. Bought a copy of Mind's Eye by HÃ¥kan Nesser. It is a great day when a new bookstore opens in one's neighbourhood!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

There Were Giants in the Earth in Those Days (Gen 6:4):
The Sad Tale of the Cardiff Giant
Date: September 15
Time: 7:30
Location: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua {one block from train station from Grand Central)
Speaker: Ken Feder, Department of Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University

Abstract:
In October 1869, Stub Newell, a farmer in upstate New York, uncoveredthe remains of what appeared to be a giant, recumbent man whose bodyhad turned to stone. Geologists and archaeologists immediately declared it to be fraudulent, but such pronouncements meant little tothe hordes who descended on the Newell farm to see the giant forthemselves. Circus impresario P.T. Barnum was so impressed by thearchaeological fake that he tried to purchase it for his sideshow. Theperpetrator confessed just a few months after the giant?s discoverybut the giant himself continues as a tourist attraction at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Though not nearly as well known as the Piltdown Man hoax, the Cardiff Giant fraud is one of the most instructive in the history of archaeology. And it's much funnier.

Short bio: Feder has taught in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University since 1977. He is the founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project, a long-term investigation of the prehistory of the Farmington River Valley. He is the author of several books including: Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology; A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site; The Past In Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory; and Linking to the Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology.

********************************************************************************
Dr. Peter Feinman
Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education
PO Box 41
Purchase, NY 10577
914-933-0440
feinmanp@ihare.org
www.ihare.org

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A new ministry (and which translation is in the pews of the new church)

Yesterday, we drove off to a nearby state to visit a friend who is starting a new ministry as rector of a church. After a tour of the rectory, we were given a tour of the lovely church.

As I sat in a pew to take in the architecture and the stained glass, I found a NLT Bible. Every pew had several. Of course, it's a good thing to find bibles in pews and not that common in Episcopal Churches. And yet, this particular translation is a disappointment. Here's why.

Take the NLT translation of Romans 16:1-2, I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God's people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.

This description of Phoebe, "for she has been helpful" doesn't do her justice. Look at the NRSV:
"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well."

The translation "benefactor" from the the Greek word prostatis is a Latinism, the Greek rendering of the Latin word patrona, the feminine form of patronus. How should we render this? Both diakonos and prostatis contains a dimension of "assistance" as well as a dimension of authority and leadership. Perhaps we can say that Phoebe in her role as diakonos of the church of Cenchreae fulfilled a leading role in that community. As for prostatis, this word connotes "patron" or "protector." In the passage then, Phoebe is a sister, deacon and a benefactor of the ekklesia at Cenchreae. Now the NLT transmits two out of three terms but obscures the third. And if it does this in regard to one prominent woman, are we not justified in being suspicious of the work of these translators?

Other scholars have noted that the NLT is not a new translation but rather a revision of the 1971 Living Bible translation. One of the scholars who worked on it, Craig Blomberg says of this translation (in 2003):

Years later I relished the chance to work on the NLT (New Living Translation) team to convert the LBP into a truly dynamic-equivalent translation, but I never recommend it to anyone except to supplement the reading of a more literal translation to generate freshness and new insights, unless they are kids or very poor adult readers.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Sisters of Sinai by Janet Soskice (NYTimes Book Review)

Ah well, better to have a review than not! Caroline Alexander rates it positively.

THE SISTERS OF SINAI How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels By Janet Soskice Illustrated. 316 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.95

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Paddock Lectures: Beyond “Sexuality”: A New Christian Theology of Desire

The Paddock Lectures this year are to be given by Sarah Coakley from Sept 23-24th.

The Rev. Dr. Sarah Coakley is a widely published systematic theologian. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Cambridge. She has taught at Lancaster University and the University of Oxford and, since 1993, at Harvard Divinity School. In 2006, she became Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. She has wide interdisciplinary interests, including feminist theory, and is presently at work on a four-volume systematic theology. In 2008 she received General Seminary’s honorary doctoral degree. The three lectures are as follows:

I. Lessons of the Sex Scandals: Why Desire Matters. Wed., Sept. 23, 3 pm.
Beyond the modern preoccupation with “straight” or “homosexual,” consider the more fundamental category, “desire.” Here are the resources for a new theology of desire free of false binaries.

II. The Eucharist, Desire and Gender: Why Women Priests Matter. Thu., Sept. 24, 10 am.
What does this new approach mean for a woman's place at the altar: what sort of “eroticism” is involved in the priestly role itself, and how is “gender” to be understood theologically in the light of it? How does this approach answer the Roman Catholic objection to women priests?

III. Desire, Gender and Contemplation: Why Systematic Theology (Still) Matters. Thu., Sept. 24, 2 pm.
The indispensability of a properly "theological" view of gender and desire are urged as part of a new project in Anglican systematic theology where both play a crucial part. The ecumenical promise of this is underscored.

The Paddock Lectures were founded in 1880 by General Seminary benefactor George A. Jarvis and named in honor of the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Henry Paddock, Class of 1852. The lectureship has featured many of the world’s leading Anglican scholars. Join us for these insightful and dynamic lectures. Reservations are required. Please contact Bridget Hogan at Hogan@gts.edu

More of Codex Sinaiticus detected

The Independent (UK) reports:

Nikolas Sarris spotted a previously unseen section of the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates from about AD350, as he was trawling through photographs of manuscripts in the library of St Catherine's Monastery in Egypt.

The Codex, handwritten in Greek on animal skin, is the earliest known version of the Bible. Leaves from the priceless tome are divided between four institutions, including St Catherine's Monastery and the British Library, which has held the largest section of the ancient Bible since the Soviet Union sold its collection to Britain in 1933.

Academics from Britain, America, Egypt and Russia collaborated to put the entire Codex online this year but new fragments of the book are occasionally rediscovered.

Mr Sarris, 30, chanced upon the fragment as he inspected photographs of a series of book bindings that had been compiled by two monks at the monastery during the 18th century.

Over the centuries, antique parchment was often re-used by St Catherine's monks in book bindings because of its strength and the relative difficulty of finding fresh parchment in such a remote corner of the world.

The article continues:

Mr Sarris later emailed Father Justin, the monastery's librarian, to suggest he take a closer look at the book binding. "Even if there is a one-in-a-million possibility that it could be a Sinaiticus fragment that has escaped our attention, I thought it would be best to say it rather than dismiss it."

Only a quarter of the fragment is visible through the book binding but after closer inspection, Father Justin was able to confirm that a previously unseen section of the Codex had indeed been found. The fragment is believed to be the beginning of Joshua, Chapter 1, Verse 10, in which Joshua admonishes the children of Israel as they enter the promised land.

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Father Justin said the monastery would use scanners to look more closely at how much of the fragment existed under the newer book binding. "Modern technology should allow us to examine the binding in a non-invasive manner," he said.

Mr Sarris said his find was particularly significant because there were at least 18 other book bindings in the monastery's library that were compiled by the same two monks that had re-used the Codex. "We don't know whether we will find more of the Codex in those books but it would definitely be worth looking," he said.

The library in St Catherine's does not have the laboratory conditions needed to carefully peel away the binding without damaging the parchment underneath but the library is undergoing renovations that might lead to the construction of a lab with the correct equipment to do so.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Women Bibliobloggers?

April DeConick has a good point about the dearth of women Bibliobloggers and wondering just why that is could be useful. Got any thoughts?

  1. Time. Clearly, not all of us have enough time and energy to give to blogging.
  2. Interest. Blogging just isn't interesting to all women scholars.
  3. Benefits. Could be there just aren't enough benefits for women scholars in blogging .
Update: informal conversation with several women colleagues indicates interest in this provided that the purpose of the blog was clear.