Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How did the disciples...

know what Moses and Elijah looked like? I never gave it much thought but today, I just started wondering about this scene in Mark 9:2-10 (pars. Matthew 17:1-9, Luke 9:28-36) when Jesus took his inner circle (Peter, James, and John) up to the mountain where he talks with Moses and Elijah in transfigured form. I don't know if this is an irrelevant question, but honestly, in a day without pictures or videos, how would you be able to identify someone a thousand years past? Would they tell their children, "Look son, if you ever see a man with a long white beard with a cool staff, he's Moses, and if you ever see a man wearing a garment of hair with a leather belt, he's Elijah"...? Or did Jesus say, "By the way guys, this is Moses and Elijah, say hi"? I might be missing something altogether, but this was very odd to me as I was reading the passage today... Anyone have any thoughts?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BibleWorks 8, Part 3

Now that I've spent a few weeks using BibleWorks 8, I am ready to add the final thoughts to my series of blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2). In a word, BibleWorks 8 is... genius. I loved the interface in BW7 and I love it even more now with the added tabs in the analysis window. For anyone wanting to do serious work in original languages of the Bible, I don't think it gets any better than BW8. That being said, I've also used Logos and while BW8 is geared for working in the biblical texts (hence the name I suppose), its lack of a "library" per se stunts its potential. But, that doesn't mean they don't offer any additions (which they do) as modules, which you can buy here.

The ease and user-friendly nature of this program makes it a huge bonus and well worth every penny you'll pay for the program. One cool thing about BW8 is 'Ermie,' an external resource manager that allows you to get your hands on some of the tools that are not installed in BW8. This is probably selfish, but since I am very interested in doing research in Greco-Roman literature with its relationship to the New Testament, I wish somehow the LCL would be available and searchable within BW8 (I know, I know, there's no program that does that, as far as I know, but still...). If there is a program that contains LCL (searchable), you let me know! Anyway, BW8 is lightning fast and if you add to that some modules for some extra cash like BDAG and LSJ, this is one application you won't do without.

Regardless, paying a few hundred dollars for anything is not an easy task, but if you are serious about doing biblical studies in the original languages, this program is a must. Hopefully you have some rich friends or family who can buy this program for you as a present for your birthday or Christmas. The more I work with the program, the more I wonder what biblical scholars did in the hey-days before any of these programs were available. Here's a snapshot of what you get when you highlight the 'Resources' section of the program:

Pretty impressive, no? It's amazing just how much stuff you get with this one program. I know (as I've shown above) that we always want more than what we get, but honestly, BW8 comes jam-packed with a slew of resources and translations to keep you busy for a while.

Again, I'm very thankful to Jim Barr and the awesome folks over at BibleWorks, first for making an awesome program and second for sending me a review copy. Hopefully these blog posts will have helped some of you sitting on the fence to go out and purchase this program, and if I have any other thoughts or new surprises I find in the program, I will definitely post that up as well.

Grade: A++
Price: $349 (Full Version), $149 (Upgrade from BW7)
System: PC (Windows XP, Vista, 7 / Mac users can use through other means)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Institutio oratorio, Part 1

Quintilian was a Roman rhetorician, a contemporary of Paul (ca. A.D. 35-100), and supposedly a teacher of Pliny and Juvenal. I just started reading his The Orator's Education volume 1 in the Loeb Classical Library because I have some interest in rhetorical-criticism as well as Hellenistic influences on the New Testament. Also, I might do a research paper sometime this semester on Paul and rhetoric so here I am. Anyway, so far it's been a very fascinating and quick read, so I thought I'd just post some quotes from it as well as my thoughts:

"There is one point which I must emphasize at the start: without the help of nature, precepts and techniques are powerless. This work (i.e., his books), therefore, must not be thought of as written for persons without talent, any more than treatises on agriculture are meant for barren soils. And there are other aids also, with which individuals have to be born: voice, strong lungs, good health, stamina, good looks. A modest supply of these can be furthered developed by methodical training; but sometimes they are so completely lacking as to destroy any advantages of talent and study, just as these themselves are of no profit without a skilled teacher, persistence in study, and much continuous practice in writing, reading, and speaking."
-- Quintilian, Institutio oratoria, 1.26-27

This must be the type of perspective that pervaded Roman Corinth in the first century as the Corinthians were apparently unimpressed by Paul's rhetorical skills:

"For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.""
-- 2 Cor. 10:10

More quotes from Quintilian to come.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Animal Apocalypse

I've been reading through 1 Enoch these days for a possible research paper, and I have to say the section known as the Animal Apocalypse (1 Enoch 83-90) is the weirdest (and kind of the funniest) so far. I would like to quote you something from this very interesting section (I think you will have a knowing smirk by the time you're through reading it):

"But thenceforth I saw how the wolves even intensified their pressure upon the sheep. They, the sheep, cried aloud--they cried aloud with all their strength. Then their Lord came to the rescue of the sheep, whereupon they began to whip those wolves. So the wolves began to make lamentations, but the sheep thereafter became quiet and stopped crying aloud. I continued to see the sheep until they departed from the presence of the wolves, and the wolves until their eyes were dazzled; yet the wolves went out to pursue those sheep, with all their might. But the Lord of the sheep went with them as their leader, while all his sheep were following him; his face was glorious, adorable, and marvelous to behold. As for the wolves, they continued to pursue those sheep until they found them at a certain pool of water. Then the pool of water was rent asunder, and the water stood apart on this and on that side before their very eyes, and their Lord, their leader, stood between them and the wolves. Those wolves were still not able to see the sheep, and the sheep walked through the pool of water; then the wolves followed the sheep and ran after them into that pool of water. Then when they saw the Lord of the sheep, they turned in order to flee from before his face. But that pool of water gathered itself together and immediately returned to its normal state, the water became full and rose high until it covered completely those wolves. Thus I saw till the wolves which pursued those sheep perished and were drowned."
-- 1 Enoch 89:19-27

Does the story sound familiar? Oh, and do you remember Animal Farm from George Orwell? I kind of got reminded of that allegory as I was reading through this section. Maybe Orwell read 1 Enoch.

40% off sale

For those of you that are interested, is having a 40% off sale on some good items such as the Greek New Testament and lexicons among others. The one that caught my eye is the Greek-English Synopsis of the Four Gospels, so if you're interested head on over and save some bucks! Oh, and the promotion code is SCHOL40

HT: NT Resources Blog

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Article needed!

Does anyone have an electronic copy (or even soft copy) of Adela Yarbro Collins' article in New Testament Studies 40:4 (1994), "From Noble Death to Crucified Messiah"? Unfortunately my school's electronic version goes back only to 1999...

Give me a comment if you are feeling helpful!