Friday, August 31, 2012

Coptic Language Resources

Lexicity Ancient Language Resources has some wonderful ones for Coptic. Here's Layton's Coptic in 20 Lessons. Here's online Crum. And some online Biblical Texts.

Yeshiva University Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project

Professor Steven Fine

The Yeshiva University Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project, A Preliminary Report on Discoveries at the Arch in July, 2012

Please join us this coming Tuesday, September 4, during the Academic Hour (5:45-6:45), for the first Yeshiva University Jewish Studies Colloquium of the new year

The Colloquium will meet in Furst Hall (500 West 185th Street, New York, NY 10033), room 535.

This lecture will present, for the first time in a public forum, the results of the YU Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project pilot excursion to Rome in July, 2012.  It will highlight discoveries by an international team led by Prof. Fine that revealed the original golden pigment of the Arch of Titus menorah using the newest technological means, and plans for a full expedition in Summer 2013 (pending funding).  This lecture will explore the significance of this search for the original polychromy of the Arch of Titus for our understanding of Roman Imperial art, the vessels of the בית המקדש, and the First Jewish Revolt (66-74 CE)
Dr. Peter Feinman
Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education
PO Box 41
Purchase, NY 10577

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Parthenos--virgin, unmarried and young/unmarriageable

A new discussion by Mark Wilson of the Greek word parthenos at a recent Greek-Turkish Symposium on Epigraphy can be found here. At a paper given by the

Greek epigrapher Angelos Chaniotis, he discussed a 2nd-3rd century C.E. funerary inscription of a young Aphrodisian woman named Melition Tatis who was called a parthenos in the inscription. The proper translation of this Greek word is still debated in several Biblical texts. Is the meaning in Isaiah 7:14 “virgin” (niv) or “young woman” (nrsv)? However, all translations of Matthew 1:23, which quotes the verse from Isaiah and speaks of Mary, read “virgin.” So I was intrigued whether this newly found inscription might help us understand better how parthenos was used in antiquity.
In Chaniotis’s handout, the word was translated “virgin.” But he suggested verbally that it was better understood as a class of young women. Chaniotis shared with me later that such a use was not just localized to Aphrodisias. And I learned that parthenos and its derivatives could even be a female name, probably indicating the person’s youthful appearance rather than her status of virginity or being unmarried. Chaniotis’s research has revealed that parthenos has three closely related yet distinct meanings: virgin, unmarried, and young/unmarriageable. While it may not always be possible to distinguish among them, an awareness of this difference can help us better understand Biblical texts. For example, the niv and nrsv both use “unmarried” in Acts 21:9 to designate Philip’s daughters, a better translation of parthenos than “virgin.” Listening to Chaniotis, I was reminded again of the importance of context in translating and interpreting Greek words.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Marvin Meyer, R.I.P.

The National Geographic has a tribute to Marvin Meyer (with whom they worked on the Gospel of Judas). They cite the tribute from Chapman College where he taught:

The following letter was released from Chapman University’s Office of the Chancellor last Friday:
Our dear friend and colleague Marvin Meyer, Ph.D., Griset Chair in Bible and Christian Studies, passed away on Thursday, August 16 at the age of 64, of complications from melanoma.  As some of you know, he had battled an earlier occurrence of the disease a few years ago; successfully, it was believed.  But just last month the cancer was found to have recurred.  In typical Marv style, he maintained his optimism, asking just two weeks ago for leave from teaching and his other duties so that he could devote all of his considerable strength to what he – and we – knew was to be a titanic battle.  It was with great shock and sadness that we learned Thursday that he had lost that battle.
Marv was a remarkable teacher, a gifted translator and scholar, and a pillar of the Chapman community.  Serving as director of the Albert Schweitzer Center and Chair of the Religious Studies Department, he did so much more for the University, taking on at one point or another nearly every position of faculty leadership and service in his 27 years at Chapman.  Yet though he reached levels of fame as a scholar that few do – as a frequent on-camera commentator on History and Discovery Channel documentaries, as one of the National Geographic team of scholars who translated the famous Gospel of Judas – he was always there with a smile, his laugher infectious, engaging his colleagues in discussions of their research work or teaching or travels and offering encouragement to any and everyone. And he was always ready with a story or “magic spell,” whether it be at convocation, commencement and graduation activities, or as our first president of the Faculty Senate.
Marv brought the ancient world alive in his lucid and poetic translations and in his teaching both inside and outside the classroom, not only for students and colleagues but also for others around the globe.  Beloved by his students, he was extremely generous with his time, working individually with them, taking groups to Egypt and teaching Greek and Coptic on top of his regular courses, and challenging students to think deeply about life’s meaning and purpose in his Schweitzer and Freshman Foundations courses.  He was a true leader in challenging times and situations on campus, with a talent for putting people at ease and moderating between diverse constituencies, and he never shied away from such challenges.
What many of us will always remember is Marv’s deep love of the Gnostic authors whose writings he helped bring out from the darkness, where they had long been dismissed as heretical.  He invested decades in learning the languages so he could enable their ideas to speak in a way both fresh and true. Marv never sought fame, although it deservedly came to him — but he sought to bring ideas hidden by history into the open. If anyone ever loved learning for learning’s sake—utterly and unabashedly so–it was Marv Meyer.  And he loved even more opening this astonishing world of ideas to his students who had never thought there was a gospel beyond the canonical four. Marv helped his students to see the world with different eyes, to see how exciting and fun it could be, and always, always to think about the ethical dimension of ideas.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Richard Beard's book Lazarus is Dead on Sept 26th at 192 Books

An evening with Europa Editions
(Europa, 2012)
Wednesday, September 26th, 7PM, 192 Books

In the gospels, Jesus is described as having only one friend, and when this friend dies, Jesus does something that he does nowhere else in the Bible: he weeps. Novelist Richard Beard begins here. Mixing Biblical sources, historical detail and an infinite variety of fascinating references to music, art and literature, and abundant reserves of creative invention, Beard gives us his astonishing and amusing take on the greatest story ever told about second chances.

As children, Lazarus and Jesus were fast friends. But following a mysterious event, their friendship dwindled in early adulthood. Lazarus is Dead is set during the final period of each man's life—or, to be more precise, each man's first life. Both know the end is near, and, though they're loath to admit it, they long for reconciliation. For that to happen they will need to find reasons to believe in each other before time runs out. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Penelope poems


In the pathway of the sun,
In the footsteps of the breeze,
Where the world and sky are one,
He shall ride the silver seas,
He shall cut the glittering wave.
I shall sit at home, and rock;
Rise, to heed a neighbor's knock;
Brew my tea, and snip my thread;
Bleach the linen for my bed.
They will call him brave. 
Dorothy Parker


By Carol Ann Duffy
At first, I looked along the road
hoping to see him saunter home
among the olive trees,
a whistle for the dog
who mourned him with his warm head on my knees.
Six months of this
and then i noticed that whole days had passed
without my noticing.
I sorted cloth and scissors, needle, thread,
thinking to amuse myself,
but found a lifetime’s industry instead.
I sewed a girl
under a single star—cross-stitch, silver silk—
running after childhood’s bouncing ball.
I chose between three greens for the grass;
a smoky pink, a shadow’s grey
to show a snapdragon gargling a bee
I threaded walnut brown for a tree,
my thimble like an acorn
pushing up through umber soil.
Beneath the shade
I wrapped a maiden in a deep embrace
with heroism’s boy
and lost myself completely
in a wild embroidery of love, lust, lessons learnt;
then watched him sail away
into the loose gold stitching of the sun.
And when the others came to take his place,
disturb my peace,
I played for time.
I wore a widow’s face, kept my head down,
did my work by day, at night unpicked it.
I knew which hour of the dark the moon
would start to fray,
I stitched it.
Grey threads and brown
pursued my needle’s leaping fish
to form a river that would never reach the sea.
I tried it. I was picking out
the smile of a woman at the centre
of this world, self-contained, absorbed, content,
most certainly not waiting,
when I heard a far-too-late familiar tread outside the door.
I licked my scarlet thread
and aimed it surely at the middle of the needle’s eye once more.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No creature has meaning
without the Word of God.
God’s Word is in all creation, visible and invisible.

The Word is living, being,
spirit, all verdant
all creativity.
This Word flashes out in
every creature.
This is how the spirit is in
the flesh – the Word is indivisible from God.

God's Word is In All Creation: Hildegard of Bingen

Today's morning walk included this lovely creature crossing the road in front of us. Reuben sniffed it and then it stopped moving, alas. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Judas: Twenty Minutes (Radio 3) followed by Elgar, The Apostles

At 2.50pm today there's a program (Twenty Minutes: Radio 3) on Judas with Richard Holloway described thusly:

Judas is a name synonymous with betrayal and evil. Remembered for his act of betrayal that set in motion the story of the Passion, Judas the man is himself only briefly sketched in the Gospels and the Church portray him simply as a figure of hate. Richard Holloway explores the myth of Judas Iscariot and discusses some of the many representations of the character in history and fiction including Philip Pullman in his novel The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ; Anthony Payne in Elgar's Apostles; and historian Herb Krosney in the apocryphal Gospel of Judas.

It's followed by a rare performance of Elgar's oratorio The Apostles part 1 live from the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Mark Elder conducts the Hallé and a distinguished cast of singers in one of the English choral tradition's major works: Elgar's dramatic and Biblical oratorio The Apostles. Elgar explores the inner feelings of Judas Iscariot with dramatic intensity, and Christ's anguished cry from the cross becomes a wordless lament.
Elgar conceived the idea for The Apostles as a schoolboy, but the project came to fruition only in 1903 - after both The Dream of Gerontius and a visit to Bayreuth to hear Wagner's The Ring and Parsifal.
Elgar: The Apostles (part I)
Rebecca Evans (Soprano - The Angel Gabriel / The Blessed Virgin Mary)
Alice Coote (Mezzo-Soprano - Mary Magdalene / Narrator 2)
Paul Groves (Tenor - St John / Narrator 1)
Jacques Imbrailo (Baritone - Jesus)
Clive Bayley (Bass - Judas)
David Kempster (Baritone - St Peter)
Musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester (Chorus of Apostles)
Hallé Choir
Hallé Youth Choir
London Philharmonic Choir
Mark Elder (Conductor)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Reading the Bible/Studying the Scriptures in the Episcopal Church

I've been working on an article for the Living Pulpit on reading the Bible in the Episcopal Church and when it's published, I'll link to it. It's due out later this fall with all the other presentations at the June 18th conference on Reading Scripture in various denominations held at the ABS in NYC. It has been heartening to hear and see so much Spirit inspired activity around reading the Bible in Episcopal Churches up and down the country. I've talked to people in Illinois, South Carolina, Maryland, and the North East. In the meantime, let me encourage people and priests in congregations to consider reading the Bible! There are plenty of resources out there: the Bible Challenge from St Thomas Whitemarsh (they also have a FB page), for example. Here's one from the national church.

The first thing to do is to create a welcoming atmosphere--one that avoids notions of guilt or shame or "shoulds" that people harbor for not having read the Bible at all or enough. "No one's ever invited me to read the Bible before," one parishioner said. Invite people into a wonderful joyous exploration that will be theirs for the rest of their lives.

Plans for a yearly or monthly or weekly Bible Study need to cater for those who can't do all the readings. There might be different tiers of study including maximal and minimal participation or advice that says, "Don't try to catch up if you are behind! Start each week afresh."

Any plan for reading could include a password-protected webspace or discussion board where people can post contributions, comments and discussion topics. This includes participants from the outset and values their contributions.

Making provision for weekly bible reading discussion groups in a parish context are essential even if participation varies. Some parishes had men's breakfast bible studies, choir bible studies, young parents/mothers bible studies, teen bible studies and young adult bible studies. All these could be in addition to the adult education slot on Sunday.

All Bible Study is best undertaken in prayer.

 “BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Podcast Conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education

 Just thrilled that our podcast conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education are available here: https://podcast...