No Fooling

Anumma blog is two years old today.

Now be careful out there today. (Or is one of these things not like the others?)

[No Fooling was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/04/01. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

We’re All #1 Meme

James McGrath, at Exploring our Matrix, has proposed a new meme: We’re All #1.

See the background at the original post, but the idea is: What Google search term produces your blog as its first/highest hit? The search term cannot be your name or the name of your blog, and the search term cannot use quotation marks.

What am I #1 in?

  • phlebotinum Bible
  • Bible woo

What are you #1 in?

Seven Biblioblogs I Make Sure to Read

You can get the history on this meme from Chris Heard. John Anderson asks which seven biblioblogs we actually read most often (so, not necessarily favorites). I point out that the question is complicated by the fact that not everybody posts at the same rate. It is also complicated by the fact that I follow a lot of darned blogs. So, these are the seven that, if I’ve got 185 unread posts in my NetVibes feed and not enough time to really catch up, I make sure to read these.

  • Akma’s Random Thoughts. Besides being a friend and example, Akma has always been, and will continue to be, my liaison to even other smart people with good ideas: Michael Wesch and David Weinberger alone have changed many of the ways I think about my vocation, and I first gave them a hearing simply because Akma seemed to think it a good idea.
  • Higgaion. Chris Heard’s was one of the first Bible-related blogs that I discovered. My current rubrics for research papers are in direct descent from his grading flow chart, and who can thank him enough for his series on The Exodus Decoded? As one of the centurions was heard to exclaim,

Others Chris saved (from having to produce a point-by-point refutation to Jacobovici’s migraine-inducing woo-fest); himself he could not save!

  • Abnormal Interests. Duane, I don’t want to encourage you in your unseemly hero-worship, but here’s an anecdote you might like. I found Mark Twain’s short story “About Barbers,” and liked it so much I read it aloud to my wife Michelle. After I read it, I asked her if she could guess the author from the prose style. Without hesitating she ventured, “Akma?”
    Shoppers who like Abnormal Interests may also enjoy Karyn Traphagan’s Boulders 2 Bits, Charles Halton’s Awilum and C. Jay Crisostomo’s mu-pàd-da.
  • Hevel. Bryan is a friend, classmate, and fellow backpacker. Like Akma and Chris, Bryan does the work, so I don’t have to: if Bryan wants to figure out open-access education and Macintosh productivity software in his limited spare time, I should reinvent those wheels? Also, he’s a genuinely good person, so when social convention insists I pass as one I sometimes can just try to do like Bryan (but with a Chicago accent) and hope for the best.
  • Exploring Our Matrix. I wasn’t raised in a conservative biblical tradition, but I teach many students who are. So, I have to seek out conversations that are critical aware and which engage thoughtfully the concerns of biblical maximalist readers. James McGrath is critical, generous, and his comment threads draw controversy like a post-diluvian sacrifice draws gods.
    Shoppers who like Exploring Our Matrix may also like Doug Mangum’s Biblia Hebraica and Art Boulet’s finitum non capax infiniti.
  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry. Always keep up on John Hobbins, except when I find a certain critical mass of Italian, whereupon I simply stare for a few seconds and nod sagely in case anyone is watching. I wish more translators would “work out loud” like John does.
    Shoppers who like Ancient Hebrew Poetry may also enjoy Philip Sumpter’s Narrative and Ontology.
  • בלשנות Balshanut. It’s not easy being a lazy semiticist: so much to read, so little time budgeted for keeping informed. Pete Bekins makes the impossible possible by reporting on his reading with detail and clarity. Like Chris Heard above, Pete does the work, so I don’t have to.
    Shoppers impressed that Pete Bekins, Art Boulet, Charles Halton, Karyn Traphagan, Philip Sumpter, and C. Jay Crisostomo accomplish so much blogging as students will also enjoy these other students with high-quality blogs: Adam Couturier at משלי אדם mišlê-ʾadam, John Anderson at Hesed we-ʾemet, Brandon Wason’s Sitz im Leben, and probably other student biblioblogs as well (thanks to Daniel and Tonya).

What seven biblioblogs do you make time for when time is short? (And what student biblioblogs are you reading?) If you take up John’s meme, trackback, ping, or link to this post so I can be sure to see it!

Five Primary Sources

Looks like Kevin is the one who got the ball rolling on this meme. DanielandTonya, while kindly stopping by to see my “Five Books or Scholars” post, invited my response to this one. [Whups: also tagged by Adam.] I like the idea, I just wish it were easier to narrow things down. As before, Duane’s Caveat applies: this is the list you get today. Ask me tomorrow, you’ll likely get a whole different list (like one with Sinuhe in it!).

Ugaritic Baʿlu cycle (with Bryan): the characterization and activity of Baʿl and ʾEl just wonderfully illuminate many (most?) of the ways that the God of Israel is represented throughout the Hebrew Bible in his several hats (warrior, fertility god, judge, lawgiver, king, god of the father). What is more, the several conflicts of the monarchic period—temple or tent; dynastic succession or prophetic legitimation; centralized authority or local control—all are better understood in the light of this material.

Zakkur and Mesha inscriptions: yeah, I’m cheating by lumping some favorites into pairs. I put these together because they both show in Israel’s neighbors the belief that the king or people has a special relationship with the god, and that the god intervenes decisively in history on behalf of the king or people. The devotee of Baalshamayn and Chemosh, as much as that of YHWH, experiences the protective love of the god for the god’s own people.

Hammurapi: both for the prologue and the laws. I love how the prologue illuminates elements of the royal theology: that the god takes the king by the hand, and the human king imitates the divine king by protecting the weak from the strong, the poor from the rich. (You also get this about Marduk in Enuma Elish, right?) And of course the laws continue to raise excellent questions about the genre of the biblical law codes, particularly about their setting and function.

Jubilees, 1 Enoch 1–36: overlap with Jim here. Who can help but love these early co-readers of the Bible? Like us, they read with care the details of the biblical text at hand (like Gen 5:24; or Gen 6:1-4; or Gen 22), and like us, they found themselves saying, “Now, what the…?”

Kuntillet Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom: again I’m with Bryan here. Whether Asherah is imagined as a consort of YHWH or no, the symbol is associated with eighth-century goddess worship that likely descends contiguously from that known from earlier iconography.

Have you not yet been tagged on this meme? You have now.

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Five Book Meme

Yikes! So, Art tagged me way back when, and I missed it, and the meme has passed. But if I were of a disposition to be able to leave a loose end untied, I wouldn’t have completed even a week of grad school.

“Name 5 books or scholars that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible.” (The collected links to other five-book-meme-ing bibliobloggers are at the bottom of Biblical Studies Carnival 43. Congratulations on your discovery, Patrick!)

Duane’s caveat pertains: this is the list for today. Ask me tomorrow or the next day, you will likely get a very different list.

Here we go:

  • Clark M. Williamson, A Guest in the House of Israel. Two thousands years of Christian teaching of contempt for Judasim, including the most unlikely candidates (like Bonhoeffer and Barth). Only one chapter is on scripture, but the whole book has made me alert to the double standard by which Christians read the OT (good stuff = proto-Christianity, bad stuff = proto-Judaism).
  • Thorkild Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion. My Intro to OT teacher, J. Gerald Janzen, had us read this before we read the Hebrew Bible. I still find myself reading God in the OT in terms of the providential numen, the king, and the parent, and blendings of the three.
  • Shlomith Rimon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics (2nd rev. ed.). There are plenty of great lights in biblical narrative criticism, but it took a critic from outside the field to make for me of narrative criticism a truly organized and phenomenological undertaking. Reading biblical narrative critics allowed me to appreciate the approach, but it took Rimmon-Kenan to teach me to do it.
  • J.R.R. Tokien, LOTR and Silmarillion. Sorry, but this soaked into me so early that I compare everything to it. For me, the stories of Middle Earth will always constitute “the canon that got there first.”
  • David Sibley, Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Sibley taught me to go beyond bird listing and into bird watching. Even your 500th Red-wing Blackbird still has something to teach, some wonder to disclose. What is true of my 500th Red-wing Blackbird is true, then, of my 500th reading of Gen 22, Psalm 23, or 2 Sam 7.

I don’t know that there can be anyone left in the biblioblogistanosphere to tag, and I’m ambivilent anyway about tagging at the tail end of a meme’s natural lifespan. If anyone comes on this post and wants to scoop it up into some other corner of the web, then consider yourself tagged and have fun.