Carnival. Noun. (2)…

…“An exciting or riotous mixture of something.”

That about sums it up. Yes, yes, yes: the latest Biblical Studies Carnival is up! Go see it at Duane’s.

I may be hosting the upcoming Biblical Studies Carnival right here at Anumma: announcement coming when I get a ’firm.

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Feed the Beast: Biblical Studies Carnival

Bragging rights for feeding the beast: get ’em here! Nominate anybody’s post(s) to Duane, come back here, and tell us in the comments that you fed the beast.

Each month, a volunteer blogger hosts the Biblical Studies Carnival: she posts an entry that links to the best posts in academic biblical studies from the previous month. “Best” is determined simply: whatever posts readers nominate to the host, subject to the host’s vetting.

The carnivals themselves are a hill of fun.

It is not unheard of for good carnivals to die, because they run short of volunteer hosts, especially when readers are slow to nominate posts and the hosts have to chase around choosing posts on their own. There has been some talk about how to ease the burden for Biblical Studies Carnival hosts.

So: I have dedicated this post to bragging rights for nominators. Go find a post in biblical studies from January—something you thought good enough to bookmark, or to link to on your own blog or on Facebook, or that sparked some other kind of activity in your life—go find that post and nominate it for the January Carnival.

Then come back here and post a comment. Do not tell us what you nominated, but simply tell us with pride: “I fed the beast!”

Biblical Studies Carnival XLVIII

Biblical Studies Carnival XLVIII (“48” to the Arabists out there) is up, hosted by Doug Chaplin at Clayboy. And, it starts with a section on media resources! A great carnival: take a look.

Biblical Studies Carnival XLVI is Up

Clear some time this weekend for some reading, kiddoes: the latest Biblical Studies Carnival has been posted by Daniel and Tonya.

For those readers who are unacquainted with the concept: a monthly “carnival” includes links to a great many blog posts in biblical studies, all written during the last month.

Posts are nominated for the carnival by readers. Carnivals are hosted by volunteers. Carnivals are cool. Like it says in the Bible, “Come and see.”

You can find links to previous Biblical Studies Carnivals over at the Carnival’s home page.

Biblical Studies Carnival 45…

…is up and running: links to many great Bible-related blog posts from the last month. Come and get it at the Golden Rule.

You can find lots—I mean lots—of Bible-related blogs on the latest Biblioblog Top 50 list.

Promises to Keep

(Btw, you will have heard it elsewhere already, but Biblical Studies Carnival 44 has erected its tents and opened for admission over at Jim West’s place.)

Every now and then, in order to keep a post under a thousand words or so, I’ve thrown out a promise to flesh some idea out more fully in the future. Here, I’m going back to try to list some of those outstanding promises.

  • “Being a Student” series: I offered suggestions for students planning to ask for letters of reference, and said I would occasionally offer similar posts on “being a student.” I’ve done a bit, and may step up that series as we get into the academic year.
  • I haveseveraltimesusedtheterm “woo,” a term used by science bloggers and atheist bloggers to describe instances of pseudoscientific claims and arguments. At least once, I have promised to devote a post to justifying the term “Bible woo.” I keep deferring the post, because it calls for some fairly serious platform-building, including 1) distinguishing evidentiary “biblical studies” from devotional “Bible study”; 2) establishing how historical studies and literary criticism sit among the sciences; 3) figuring out how not to have to bring in an explanation of modernism and post-modernism if it can be avoided by any means; 4) distinguishing unsuccessful but methodologically sound “biblical studies” from fraudulently-conceived, pseudoscientific “Bible woo.”
  • In a related vein, I once suggested that the dichotomy “science v. religion” might profitably be swapped out for the distinction between “literal speech and figurative speech.” That is, if religious speech would try to be more clear about whether it means to be literal (and therefore falsifiable) or figurative (and therefore subject to the different critical canons of literary art), then much of the “science v. religion” conflict is sidestepped. My one post on the topic addressed a particular news item (Obama’s nomination of Francis Collins as Director of National Institutes of Health). I would like to write a follow-up post that fills in the argument that I started there.
  • These two are promises I’ve made to myself in the form of drafts or outlines: I would like to write a post about how we users decide what new technologies or platforms are for (“What is Twitter For?”); and I would like to further promote awareness of iTunes U and YouTube/Edu by featuring particular items from time to time.
  • As SBL gets closer and my fall teaching progresses, I will be testing out ideas about my paper topic: How strategies in distance learning contribute to the brick-and-mortar classroom.

By writing this post, I don’t mean that I’m going to drop everything until every item is neatly scratched off with a fine point pen. In fact, August (with class preparation amping up into high gear) might not even be the most fruitful time for the careful thinking that these plans ask for. But, it puts my loose ends of yarn into one basket here at my elbow.

What of these plans, if anything, would you like to see taking shape first? What other kinds of posts would you like to see more of?

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.