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Iyov

If Ecclesiasticus is being read as Scripture, then most certainly it should be read in the Greek or Latin, because that is the preserved tradition of Christianity. Ben Sira in Hebrew is an interesting novelty that may shed light on the textual tradition (which is doubtlessly why the (N)RSV uses it) but in its Hebrew version is a bit of a novelty, much as the Hebrew (Shem-Tov) "Matthew".

Moreover, I was under the impression that there is no complete single copy of Ben-Sira, and that the fragments that do exist have numerous discrepancies. The ultimate Talmudic dictum on Ben-Sira is clear: while some "good things" can be extracted from the text, Sanhedrin 100a quotes a number of passages rejected as unworthy of Scripture culminating in a stricture against its study in Sanhedrin 100b. Thus, your praise of it seems rather overstated -- it is a work explicitly rejected by Judaism. While it is a work that obviously some Jews valued (otherwise, why go to the trouble of explicitly banning it) I am unaware of any evidence that it was ever valued by the majority of Jews.

But I am simply stunned by your unsupported assertion that Pirkei Avos "co-inheres" with the passage cited. I wonder if you will justify the assertion in a later post -- I am certainly skeptical that the unique (and rather un-scriptural) style of Pirkei Avos in anyway models this passage.

Now, to a certain extent, one could make an argument that virtually any two literary works "co-inhere" simply because all literature reflects common human values. (For example, one can search for and find parallels between the plays of Shakespeare and the Tale of Genji -- a pair of well known works that were certainly written without either influencing the other. Note that my claim that all literature reflects human values loses none of its force even if one claims that a particular piece of literature was partly or fully divinely inspired.) But can you find anything distinctive in the quoted passage and Pirkei Avos that is not a common point widely reflected by Mediterranean values of the time (for example, a point found only in Jewish literature and not in Greco-Roman literature)? Alternatively, can you find any distinctive Hebrew features between the quoted passage and Pirkei Avos that are not found throughout post-Biblical Hebrew literature?

I must express considerable skepticism that you will be able to answer these questions affirmatively.

JohnFH

Iyov,

your comparison of Ben Sira in Hebrew with Hebrew "Matthew" is off the wall. Scholars regard the fragmentary copies of Ben Sira recovered from Qumran, Masada, and the Cairo Genizah as more or less accurate copies of a work originally written in Hebrew by a mainstream Jew of the 2nd cent BCE. What do scholars say about the Hebrew "Matthew"? The quotation marks are there for a reason.

It has been proven that portions of Ben Sira's work were taken up almost verbatim in the Jewish liturgy. It is well-known that the Talmud contains numerous favorable citations from Ben Sira.

It is beyond question that Ben Sira in Hebrew is a pre-rabbinic work that helped shape what became rabbinic Judaism.

You are certainly free to ignore Ben Sira as we now know it from exquisitely Jewish sources. If you're lucky, you will never read an article by a (Jewish) scholar that points out to you exactly which parts of the liturgy go back to Ben Sira. It would be a shame, wouldn't it, to discover that a passage you love much is taken, in some cases word-for-word, from a work that was "explicitly rejected" by Judaism as you define it.

You misunderstood my point about the word "avot" as found in ben Sira and Pirkei Avot, which, whether you like it or not, is used in the two works in similar ways. My point is about diction in translation. Do you want to continue referring to Pirkei Avot in English as "Sayings of the Fathers," or do you want to switch over to the gender non-specific "Sayings of the Ancestors"?

A case can be made for retaining 'fathers' as such when Ben Sira and Pirkei Avot are translated into English as a way of maintaining a terminological tradition.

In my reflections about canon in the Jewish tradition, I have been careful to be clear about the sense in which a work like ben Sira has been and continues to be appropriated by Jewish tradition. The debate about whether ben Sira ought to be included in what we now call the Tanakh is long over and no one to my knowledge is suggesting that the question should be re-opened. You are setting up a straw man.

If and when a diglot Hebrew-English edition of Ben Sira comes out, it's up to you, Iyov. You can wash your hands of it, or you can put it next to your study edition of the Dead Scrolls, which includes a few fragments of it anyway, alongside of fragments large and small of many, many works that were not preserved by later rabbinic Judaism. True, some of these works were treasured by Jews who joined the movement that eventually became what we refer to as Christianity. Now if that fact means that the works in question, despite their origins, are suspect in your eyes, I feel for you.

If, on the other hand, your goal is to dissuade Christians from reading a translation of Ben Sira from the Hebrew as Scripture, you are late to the game. Anyone who reads Ben Sira now as Scripture in an English translation, whether that be NRSV, REB, NAB, or NJB, is already sometimes reading a translation from the Hebrew. Inconsistently, but nevertheless clearly, modern Christian translators of ben Sira have thought it appropriate to set aside the Greek, Latin, and Syriac in specific instances and return to the hebraica veritas. If a diglot edition of everything we have of ben Sira in Hebrew is published, it is possible that it will serve to expand this tendency.

Why would that bother you?

Iyov

I think, John, that you have proved my point precisely. (I will skip over the point that there is no extant copy of Ben Sira -- only tiny fragments which frequently disagree with each other.)

I find many Christians who are careful to distinguish what constitutes and does not constitute Christianity. For example, according to many Christians' account, Mormonism and Unitarianism are not Christianity. I believe you have said as much in one of your posts.

Moreover, Christians are careful to define what counts as heresy and as "orthodox" (lower-case "o") Christianity. For example: Adoptionism, Albigenses, Apollinarianism, Arianism, Docetism, Donatism, Gnosticism, Kenosis, Modalism, Monarchianism, Monophysitism, Nestorianism, Patripassionism, Pelagianism, Socianism, and Tritheism are not accounted as Christianity. Somehow, Christians are allowed to define what counts and does not count as Christianity, and yet every work with some Jewish relationship counts as equally valid form of "Judaism as [I] define it"?

It would seem that in your open-minded view, there are two forms of Judaism: Talmudic Judaism and non-Talmudic Judaism. In your world view, the former always needs the adjective "rabbinic" to indicate that it is of narrow, benighted scope. Now, perhaps this view might be forgiven if you were referring to tiny sects such as the Kairites (who are really Egyptian Jews and far more Talmudic than they profess) or Falasha. But the truth is the main expositors of "non-Rabbinic Judaism" are groups such as the Subbotniks and the so-called "Messianic Jews."

Indeed, it is only a small step from declaring "Ben Sira" Jewish to declaring "Matthew" Jewish -- in the version of Shem-Tov or in some Greek manuscript.) And indeed, "Matthew" was clearly influenced by Judaism. However, it is not a Jewish book -- it is part of the Christian canon.

If you cannot accept my argument that "Judaism = 'Rabbinic Judaism' " on the basis of the right of Jews to define their own religion (rather than to let Christians define it for them), then accept it simply as a matter of terminology -- it is convenient to have a word to describe the religion that believes that both the Written and Oral Torah were given at Sinai.

When you imply that "Judaism as [I] define it" is just one of a number of "Judaisms" each of which is (presumably) equally valid (and perhaps, you slyly hint, equally viable) you cheapen that religion.

If you will care to look at the Sanhedrin 100b you will see that there is little doubt of the Talmudic view on the matter -- while R. Joseph explains that there are good things we may expound upon, there are many passages which he mocks. These include:

* Do not strip the skin [of a fish] even from its ear, lest thou spoil it, but roast it [all, the fish with the skin] in the fire, and eat therewith two [twisted] loaves.

* A thin-bearded man is very wise: a thick-bearded one is a fool: he who blows away [the froth] from off his glass [of liquor] is not thirsty; he who says, with what shall I eat my bread? — take the bread away from him; he whose beard is parted will be defeated by none.

Should you find sublime inspiration in these passages, then more power to you. If you are certain, despite unambiguous Jewish tradition to the contrary that they were written by a "mainstream Jew" then present your evidence. But how do you defend your definition of certain beliefs as outside the boundaries of "Christianity"?

You will recall that R. Joseph's explanation is a commentary to Mishna 9:1, which defines the boundaries of heresy -- there is no room for ambiguity in this section. "The following have no portion in the world to come ... one who reads uncanonical books...."

You know, Mary Baker Eddy had some good lines in Science and Health, as did Joseph Smith in The Book of Mormon. I am sure that in their time, Nestorius and Pelagius must have had the occasional good quote. However, an inspired line or two hardly makes for a divinely inspired work.

As to the question of whether Christians should read their book of Ecclesiasticus or Sirach in the Latin or Greek or whether (as you put it) they should read "inconsistently" translated works that include a word or two from some fragment of Ben Sira -- well that is a matter of personal choice.

Just don't call the resulting mishmosh Jewish.

Iyov

By the say, should you wish to point out that the verses I quote (which the Babylonian Talmud says are in Ben Sira) are not to be found in your copy of Sirach, then I simply respond that this is further evidence that we have no "Hebrew Ben Sira" (Israel Levi not withstanding.)

JohnFH

You will discover, Iyov, that Ben Sira is universally considered, by those who have studied the question in depth, to represent mainstream Judaism of his day.

To be sure, we are more aware than we used to be that Judaism in antiquity was a diverse entity, but I have never seen ben Sira presented as anything other than within the bounds of normative Judaism of Jerusalem in the second century BCE.

Qohelet stands out as a more eccentric work than does ben Sira.

If you are not satisfied with these blanket statements, I will be happy to supply you with a catena of quotes along the same lines from the usual scholarly sources. If you wish, I can even limit myself to citing Jewish scholars who so argue. But I can't guarantee that the scholars I cite espouse a variety of Judaism that you feel comfortable with. If you know of a professor at Yeshiva University or wherever who has argued that ben Sira represents an anomalous form of Judaism for his day, let me know. I will be happy to engage the arguments.

Whether you like it or not, most Jewish scholars who contribute to the field of biblical studies regard ben Sira as a bona fide Jewish work, and, with careful qualifications, might also speak of the gospel of Matthew as a Jewish sectarian work.

I'm hoping you can see the distinction here. The gospel of Matthew is a sectarian Jewish work. Its author and the community for which he wrote appear to have accepted Pharisaic halakhah after a fashion, but combined that acceptance with belief in Jesus as the Messiah, something the Pharisees in general found abhorrent.

Ben Sira is not a sectarian work. Some of its parts are less memorable than others; if you want, I can give you a list of statements made by Qohelet that are pretty offensive, too. Because Qohelet is in the canon as Jews and Protestants understand it, believing Jews and Protestants feel an obligation to deal with Qohelet's statements sympathetically.

Or at least I thought that was the case, until James Kugel came along, and started using the Hebrew Bible as a negative foil to the later Jewish tradition of the Talmud and related writings.

Most Christians, a majority of Protestants excluded, feel an obligation to treat ben Sira with respect - in any of the languages and versions in which it is preserved. I notice a number of Jewish scholars doing the same.

To what extent ben Sira is considered to be inspired in the same sense as Qohelet is, or Psalm 37 is, is something that Orthodox and Catholic Christians have one point of view on, many Anglicans and some Protestants, another, and some reformed and conservative Jews, another.

There are, of course, plenty of Protestants and orthodox Jews who regard ben Sira as a pernicious and dangerous work, to be read at the risk of exclusion from the world to come. I hadn't thought you belonged to that category, but maybe you do, and if so, I want to respect your position.

But surely you will also accept that those who have made very different choices, those Jews included who read ben Sira with a sympathetic eye, are within their rights.

I do find it entertaining that whenever I speak positively of and show an interest in a Jewish work like the Septuagint or ben Sira, you get bent out of shape. I think you know I have great respect for Judaism, orthodox Judaism included. But you are asking a lot if you expect me to share orthodox Judaism's antipathies for membra disjecta of its own past and present.

JohnFH

What's going on here, Iyov? Does Israel Levi belong to your list of kosher Jews, and Moshe Zvi Segal, Zeev Ben-Hayyim, and Elia Samuele Artom do not?

Ben Sira is two-thirds preserved in Hebrew. I could produce a list a mile long of Jewish scholarship which feels comfortable with studying the "Hebrew ben Sira," which you now claim doesn't exist.

You're digging yourself into quite the hole here.

Iyov

To summarize:

(1) The Talmud says Ben Sira is heretical.

(2) You claim you have a Hebrew Ben Sira. And you cite the Talmud as evidence of the integrity of that work. But in fact, the Talmud cites verses that are not found in your Hebrew Ben Sira. This calls into question the integrity of your edition.

(3) Christians claim that Gnostic works such as The Gospel of Judas are heretical, yet you would seemingly deny the right of Jews to make similar distinctions with their Scripture.

(4) Christians have historically claimed that they are the possessor of the "true Jewish Bible", the Septuagint, and as part of its persecution of a religious minority, have tried to thrust that Bible onto the Jews, who they claim have corrupted the Hebrew Scriptures under demonic influence.

So, it seems at best insensitive for a Christian pastor to seemingly return to the old line that Christians have the right to define Jewish Scripture: the Septuagint.

In contrast, I say, let Jews define Jewish Scripture, and let Christians define Christian Scripture.

My argument in detail:

John, if a number of secular scholars study a subject (regardless of their religious affiliation), it does not grant religious legitimacy to a topic. As an example, I can cite any number of Christian scholars who have written about Gnosticism. Does that make Gnostic beliefs Christian? One notes that in the resultant fallout from the publication of the English translation of the Gospel of Judas there were any number of religious authorities who went to some length to explain that this was not a work esteemed by Christianity. Indeed, I seem to recall you making some fun of that work (although perhaps my memory is faulty at this point, or perhaps you were only making fun of the hype while regarding the Gospel of Judas with the same respect you accord "Ben Sira".)

Can you cite a religious authority (as opposed to a secular scholar), "Orthodox" or not, who argues for the devotional reading (as opposed to a historical reading) of Ben Sira? Given your rhetoric, one might expect you can provide me a list, well, a "mile long."

(As you are undoubtedly aware, standards for publication and promotion in academia stress novelty and creativity -- and are thus an unlikely guide to religious orthodoxy.)

Now there is a religious community for which Sirach in Greek is a work of devotion. They are called "Christians." And to the majority of them, Sirach is inspired literature. Let us not confuse that community with Jews. Let us not compound the error of historic anti-Semitism by allowing Christianity to define what Jews should believe by claiming the Septuagint is the "correct" version of the Bible for Jews to study.

Now, I want to take you at your word. You write:

Isn’t it about time that the Ben Sira tradition in Hebrew as known to us from Qumran, Masada, the Cairo Genizah, and the Talmud be made available in English?

Well, I've cited you the Ben Sira tradition as it is quoted in the Talmud. And here is the problem -- it includes passages not found in "your" so-called Hebrew Ben Sira.

So let's review where we are. You are claiming a spiritual work that was retrieved from a ... Jewish trash dump in Cairo. (Judaism requires special disposal of non-kosher works that contain the tetragrammaton -- whether they became non-kosher because of wear and tear or because they were heretical.) Now you claim the works retrieved from the trash dump form a coherent whole, but I've given you an example of several Ben Sira quotations (according to the Talmud) that cannot be not found in your Hebrew Ben Sira -- which I think is pretty strong evidence that we do not have a definitive Hebrew Ben Sira.

Now furthermore, I've asked you to present your evidence that Ben Sira was a work of a "mainstream Jew." You've replied by dropping names -- not even article citations, much less actually make the case itself. Certainly, whether I appeal to you as a Biblical literalist or as a scholar, you can see the problem with your stance here.

I have yet to ever meet a Jew who "reads Ben Sira with a sympathetic eye." Indeed, I think it is safe to say that fewer than one Jew in a thousand has even heard of Ben Sira outside of its negative mention in the Talmud. However, should I one day meet one, I will know that they are outside the boundaries of the religion as defined by the Talmud -- which you have sharply criticized in your writings, but is in fact a foundational document of contemporary Judaism -- unlike Ben Sira.

(The Mishna I cite is by no means obscure -- Sanhedrin 9:1 is by tradition reprinted in every copy of Pirkei Avos, which in turn is the most widely distributed portion of the Talmud -- even to the extent of being reprinted in full in the prayer book. It has, if you will, a status equally elevated to that of the Nicene Creed. Well, perhaps you think belief in that creed is optional for Christians.)

Finally, is this a scholarly argument:

If you want, I can give you a list of statements made by Qohelet that are pretty offensive, too.

Please do. Because, my Biblical fundamentalist friend, when you cite such passages, then I will have a chance to explain to you how tradition interprets those passages, and perhaps lead you to a greater respect for that work which you call the Bible.

JohnFH

Iyov,

If it is a point of doctrine for you that Ben Sira is a pernicious and heretical work, such that you are religiously bound to regard it in negative terms, be my guest.

You seem to take pleasure in imputing to me viewpoints I have never expressed. I will let it pass. It doesn't worry me. I am confident that just about anyone who reads this thread will catch on to your tactics.

I am happy to keep the conversation going, regardless.

You ask:

Can you cite a religious authority (as opposed to a secular scholar), "Orthodox" or not, who argues for the devotional reading (as opposed to a historical reading) of Ben Sira?

I never said I could. I said other things, such as "Ben Sira represents mainstream Judaism of his day," and that there are plenty of Jewish scholars that treat ben Sira with respect. The fact is, Iyov, many of my Jewish teachers, including those who are rabbis and thus qualify as religious authorities from your point of view, would not be caught dead speaking as you do with disdain and disrespect for a component of pre-rabbinic Jewish tradition.

So let's be precise about the challenge, and if I can't deliver, I promise to buy you dinner at the kosher restaurant of your choice the next time we happen to attend the same scholarly convention.

It seems to me that all I have to do to prove you wrong is to come up with two or three examples of rabbis, Orthodox or not, who have made positive and sympathetic statements about Ben Sira as a Jewish author. Perhaps you wish to restrict me to rabbis who teach in seminaries as opposed to those who teach at Harvard or Brandeis. I'm ready, Iyov. Let me know if I have misinterpreted you.

I stated:

Ben Sira is not a sectarian work. Some of its parts are less memorable than others; if you want, I can give you a list of statements made by Qohelet that are pretty offensive, too.

You invite me to point out offensive statements in Qohelet, as if there were none, and in the same comment, you label me a biblical fundamentalist. Too funny.

Since you also come very close to defining me as an anti-Semite, confirming by your reactions a version of Godwin's law, I will quote from one of my teachers, Michael Fox, and you can direct your anti-Semitic accusations in his direction. Quotations are from his "A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up: A Rereading of Ecclesiastes" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999).

"Qohelet has no hope that human action can correct or even alleviate wrongs. He takes a deterministic, passive attitude toward injustice. . . . When faced with governmental corruption and abuses, all he has to offer is lame advice not to be surprised at the sight, because that's just the way things are (5:7). . . . Such resignation is foreign not only to prophecy but also to Wisdom Literature, which demands the pursuit of righteous actions and charity and assumes that the individual can futher social justice; see, for example, Prov. 14:31; 19:17; 22:9, 22; 24:11-12; 29:14; 31:19." (p. 66)

On this particular issue, not a minor one for either a Jew or a Christian, Qohelet is the eccentric one, and Ben Sira is the traditional one. I encourage to read through what we have of Ben Sira in Hebrew and see for yourself.

By the way, I am absolutely convinced that despite this unacceptable aspect of Qohelet's wisdom, his work is a splendid gift from God to both Jews and Christians, and whenever I write and speak about Qohelet, I spend most of my time detailing the perfections of his work.

I'll come up with another example or two in a bit; for the moment, my daughter Anna, who wants me to read for her before going to bed, takes precedence.

JohnFH

Well, my dear Iyov, I'm back.

Thank you for provoking me to look around for an online quote from an orthodox Jewish source which, it turns out, bends over backwards to give the most lenient interpretation imaginable to the ban on reading Ben Sira you are so concerned to defend. See the post which follows this one.

You asked me to back up my claim that Qohelet contains, though it is part of the canon, offensive statements. I gave one example in which Ben Sira is more in line with the rest of Jewish tradition than is Qohelet. I will now give an example where the two authors are equally offensive from a contemporary point of view.

Ben Sira is famous for its author's misogyny. To be sure, cooler heads have noted (for example, Claudia Camp) that the statements need to be understood as a reflection of the time.

I agree, but according to some, the Bible is supposed to be a timeless book such that God would have protected authors of Holy Writ from making, for example, misogynist statements.

It's a nice theory, but it does not stand up to critical scrutiny.
Take a close look at Qohelet 7:25-8:1a. As Michael Fox notes (see previous comment for reference):

"Despite the valiant efforts of some exegetes, this passage remains irreparably misogynistic. . . . Though there are several uncertainties with this passage, there is no ambiguity about one thing: Qohelet is not defending the honor of women. Qohelet is crabby. He doesn't think too highly of men either, and there's no reason to expect him to have much good to say about women." (pp. 266-67).

See, crabby Iyov, you are in good company. By the way, Qohelet's crabbiness is the flip side of his greatness. He would never have attained his insightful analysis of the absurdity of life if he had had a sunny disposition.

I would also point out that someone who, on the basis of a text like this, feels authorized to be equally misogynist, lacks an adequate hermeneutic.

A sound hermeneutic knows that scripture is to be read in light of all other scripture, and in accordance with the principle of charity. This hermeneutic is not a modern discovery. It is already enunciated by the Fathers in Christian tradition. The rabbis practiced it as well.

Martin Shields

As far as Qohelet is concerned, I think a quick look at the Targum demonstrates how "imaginative" the exegesis had to be in order to render it less disturbing (and no doubt offensive). Qoh 7:25ff was probably less offensive when it was written than it is today, but perhaps it is useful to have it cause us offense when much of the offense elsewhere seems lost on modern readers (OK, perhaps that's not really a valid hermeneutical approach!).

JohnFH

I follow you, Martin.

I would want to stress that flawed and very difficult human beings, with rough edges that may include anything from misanthropy (which is what Qohelet was; his misogyny is a function of that) to narcissism, are vulnerable to the perception of existential truths to an extent that better adjusted human beings are not.

Exhibit A: Kierkegaard. Exhibit B: Nietzsche. Exhibit C: Dostoevsky.

Iyov

There are 70 ways of reading Torah, John, and none of them lead to a condemnation of Koheles.

Without Ecclesiastes, Shakespeare could not his brilliant adaption of that book, which we conventionally call written Hamlet.Through Hamlet's encounters with his "women" (Gertrude, Ophelia, madness) he finds more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets. To dismiss Hamlet (Ecclesiastes) as misogynistic is to miss a chance to encounter a deep humanity -- one that is universal for the ages.

But if an appeal to aesthetics does not work, then here is a traditional view (not at all original, but still worth quoting). We must read the Bible meticulously -- character by character. And, we must look at the entirety of Shlomo haMelech's writings. We find his two great comments on women (the other being Mishlei 18:22):

מצא אשה מצא טוֹב

He who has found a woman has found good

ומוצא אני מר ממּות את האשה

And find I bitterer than death the woman

These obviously contradict each other, so we must examine them very carefully to resolve them, if we follow the teachings of tradition.

In the former, the perfect form of the verb indicates that the unified soul-essence (Zohar 3:43b, 1:85b), united before birth (Sotah 2a), has been found; the latter uses the active participle, indicating a consciousness only in the present -- almost the definition of a mind obsessed with self-gratification. The moral is obvious.

Further, in the former, the verb ("find") is directly followed by its object ("woman"); in the latter, the subject ("I" is interposed between the two. The search for the latter is most concerned with the search for oneself -- again, self-gratification.

Now, if this strikes you as unnecessary grammatical gymnastics, I ask you -- do you find this explanation more inspiring than saying Koheles was crabby? Which explanation brings you closer to God?

JohnFH

Very nice, Iyov. You are a fine exegetical gymnast and you have an eminent tradition of the same at your back. Your contextualization of your exegesis within a larger stream of tradition is admirable and adds depth to the whole.

If the explanation that results satisfies you, if not as a statement about what Qohelet had in mind (I doubt you would go that far), at least as a reflection of a divine intention, why should I quarrel with you?

I agree with the result, but I prefer to arrive there by a more direct route, which includes, not condemning Qohelet, but facing up to the limitations of his thought.

Most people would agree that Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche were open to existential truth of a high order precisely because they suffered from things like misanthropy, paranoia, and narcissism. Great art and great insights often depend on a dark flipside in order to emerge. A recognition of these facts is not that unusual. It is just a bit unusual to apply them to a biblical author.

And yes, it draws me very close to God, and inspires me with great hope, to think that God found a use for crabby Qohelet, and brought great good precisely out of the banal evil which afflicts the lives of most human beings.

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  • C. Orthodoxy
    Christian, Contemporary, Conscientious… or Just Confused, by Ken Brown, a very thoughtful blog (archive). Ken is currently a Dr. Theol. student at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, part of The Sofja-Kovalevskaja Research Group studying early Jewish Monotheism. His dissertation will focus on the presentation of God in Job.
  • Catholic Bibles
    a thoughtful blog about Bible translations by Timothy, who has a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum) and teaches theology in a Catholic high school in Michigan
  • Chrisendom
    irreverent blog with a focus on the New Testament, by Chris Tilling, New Testament Tutor for St Mellitus College and St Paul's Theological Centre, London
  • Claude Mariottini
    a perspective on the Old Testament and current events by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Chicagoland, Illinois
  • Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot
    by Tyler Williams, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and cognate literature, now Assistant Professor of Theology at The King's University College in Edmonton, Alberta (archive)
  • Colours of Scripture
    reflections on theology, philosophy, and literature, by Benjamin Smith, afflicted with scriptural synaesthesia, and located in London, England
  • Complegalitarian
    A team blog that discusses right ways and wrong ways Scripture might help in the social construction of gender (old archive only; more recent archive, unfortunately, no longer publicly available)
  • Connected Christianity
    a place to explore what it might be like if Christians finally got the head, heart, and hands of their faith re-connected (archive)
  • Conversational Theology
    Smart and delightful comment by Ros Clarke, a Ph.D. student at the University of the Highlands and Islands, at the (virtual) Highland Theological College (archive)
  • Daily Hebrew
    For students of biblical Hebrew and the ancient Near East, by Chip Hardy, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago
  • Daniel O. McClellan
    a fine blog by the same, who is pursuing a master of arts degree in biblical studies at Trinity Western University just outside of Vancouver, BC.
  • Davar Akher
    Looking for alternative explanations: comments on things Jewish and beyond, by Simon Holloway, a PhD student in Classical Hebrew and Biblical Studies at The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Deinde
    News and Discussion by Danny Zacharias
  • Discipulus scripturae
    Nathan Stitt's place
  • Dr. Claude Mariottini
    balanced comment by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary, Lombard IL
  • Dr. Platypus
    insightful comment by Darrell Pursiful, editor at Smyth & Helwys Publishing, on the New Testament faculty of Mercer University
  • Dust
    A diary of Bob MacDonald's journey through the Psalms and other holy places in the Hebrew Bible
  • Eclexia
    The heart and mind of this Bible and theology blogger sing in unison
  • Eat, Drink, and be Merry
    The journey of a grad student with a love for ancient languages at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (archive)
  • Elizaphanian
    Rev Sam tussles with God, and limps away
  • Emerging from Babel
    Stephen investigates the potential of narrative and rhetorical criticism as a tool for expounding scripture
  • Evangelical Textual Criticism
    A group blog on NT and OT text-critical matters
  • Evedyahu
    excellent comment by Cristian Rata, Lecturer in Old Testament of Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology, Seoul, Korea
  • Exegetica Digita
    discussion of Logos high-end syntax and discourse tools – running searches, providing the downloads (search files) and talking about what can be done and why it might matter for exegesis, by Mike Heiser
  • Exegetisk Teologi
    careful exegetical comment by Stefan Green (in Swedish)
  • Exploring Our Matrix
    Insightful reflections by James McGrath, ass't. professor of religion, Butler University
  • Faith Matters
    Mark Alter's place
  • Ferrell's Travel Blog
    comments of biblical studies, archaeology, history, and photography by a tour guide of Bible lands and professor emeritus of the Biblical Studies department at Florida College, Temple Terrace (FL)
  • Fors Clavigera
    James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, thinks out loud.
  • Friar's Fires
    an insightful blog by a pastor with a background in journalism, one of three he pens
  • Gentle Wisdom
    A fearless take on issues roiling Christendom today, by Peter Kirk, a Bible translator
  • Giluy Milta B‘alma
    by Ezra Chwat and Avraham David of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jewish National and Hebrew University Library, Jerusalem
  • He is Sufficient
    insightful comment on Bible translations, eschatology, and more, by Elshaddai Edwards
  • Higgaion
    by Chris Heard, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University
  • Idle Musings of a Bookseller
    by James Spinti of Eisenbrauns
  • if i were a bell, i'd ring
    Tim Ricchiuiti’s place
  • Imaginary Grace
    Smooth, witty commentary by Angela Erisman (archive). Angela Erisman is a member of the theology faculty at Xavier University
  • James' Thoughts and Musings
    by James Pate, a doctoral student at HUC-JIR Cincinnati
  • Jewish Philosophy Place
    by Zachary (Zak) Braiterman, who teaches modern Jewish thought and philosophy in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University
  • kata ta biblia
    by Patrick George McCollough, M. Div. student, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA
  • Ketuvim
    Learned reflection from the keyboard of Jim Getz
  • Kilbabo
    Ben Johnson’s insightful blog
  • Kruse Kronicle - contemplating the intersection of work, the global economy, and Christian mission
    top quality content brought to readers by Michael W. Kruse
  • Larry Hurtado's blog
    emeritus professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh
  • Law, Prophets, and Writings
    thoughtful blogging by William R. (Rusty) Osborne, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies as College of the Ozarks and managing editor for Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament
  • Lingamish
    delightful fare by David Ker, Bible translator, who also lingalilngas.
  • Looney Fundamentalist
    a scientist who loves off-putting labels
  • Menachem Mendel
    A feisty blog on rabbinic literature and other Judaica by Michael Pitkowsky, Rabbinics Curriculum Coordinator at the Academy for Jewish Religion and adjunct instructor at Jewish Theological Seminary (New York)
  • mu-pàd-da
    scholarly blog by C. Jay Crisostomo, grad student in ANE studies at ?
  • Narrative and Ontology
    Astoundingly thoughtful comment from Phil Sumpter, a Ph.D. student in Bible, resident in Bonn, Germany
  • New Epistles
    by Kevin Sam, M. Div. student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon SK
  • NT Weblog
    Mark Goodacre's blog, professor of New Testament, Duke University
  • Observatório Bíblico
    wide-ranging blog by Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica/Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, Brasile (in Portuguese)
  • Observatório Bíblico
    Blog sobre estudos acadêmicos da Bíblia, para Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica / Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, SP.
  • Occasional Publications
    excellent blogging by Daniel Driver, Brevard Childs' scholar extraordinaire
  • old testament passion
    Great stuff from Anthony Loke, a Methodist pastor and Old Testament lecturer in the Seminari Theoloji, Malaysia
  • Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog
    A weblog created for a course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, by James Davila (archive)
  • On the Main Line
    Mississippi Fred MacDowell's musings on Hebraica and Judaica. With a name like that you can't go wrong.
  • p.ost an evangelical theology for the age to come
    seeking to retell the biblical story in the difficult transition from the centre to the margins following the collapse of Western Christendom, by Andrew Perriman, independent New Testament scholar, currently located in Dubai
  • PaleoJudaica
    by James Davila, professor of Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland. Judaism and the Bible in the news; tidbits about ancient Judaism and its context
  • Pastoral Epistles
    by Rick Brannan and friends, a conceptually unique Bible blog
  • Pen and Parchment
    Michael Patton and company don't just think outside the box. They are tearing down its walls.
  • Pisteuomen
    by Michael Halcomb, pastor-scholar from the Bluegrass State
  • Pseudo-Polymath
    by Mark Olson, an Orthodox view on things
  • Purging my soul . . . one blog at a time
    great theoblog by Sam Nunnally
  • Qumranica
    weblog for a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, taught by James R. Davila (archive)
  • Ralph the Sacred River
    by Edward Cook, a superb Aramaist
  • Random Bloggings
    by Calvin Park, M. Div. student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton MA
  • Resident aliens
    reflections of one not at home in this world
  • Revelation is Real
    Strong-minded comment from Tony Siew, lecturer at Trinity Theological College, Singapore
  • Ricoblog
    by Rick Brannan, it's the baby pictures I like the most
  • Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
    Nick Norelli's fabulous blog on Bible and theology
  • SansBlogue
    by Tim Bulkeley, lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College (New Zealand). His Hypertext Commentary on Amos is an interesting experiment
  • Ancient Near Eastern Languages
    texts and files to help people learn some ancient languages in self study, by Mike Heiser
  • Midrash, etc.
    A fine Hebrew-to-English blog on Midrash, by Carl Kinbar, Director of the New School for Jewish Studies and a facultm member at MJTI School of Jewish Studies.
  • Phil Lembo what I'm thinking
    a recovering lawyer, now in IT, with a passion for a faith worth living
  • Roses and Razorwire
    a top-notch Levantine archaeology blog, by Owen Chesnut, a doctoral student at Andrews University (MI)
  • Scripture & Theology
    a communal weblog dedicated to the intersection of biblical interpretation and the articulation of church doctrine, by Daniel Driver, Phil Sumpter, and others
  • Scripture Zealot
    by Jeff Contrast
  • Serving the Word
    incisive comment on the Hebrew Bible and related ancient matters, with special attention to problems of philology and linguistic anthropology, by Seth L. Sanders, Assistant Professor in the Religion Department of Trinity College, Hartford, CT
  • Singing in the Reign
    NT blog by Michael Barber (JP University) and Brad Pitre (Our Lady Holy Cross)
  • Stay Curious
    excellent comment on Hebrew Bible and Hebrew language topics, by Karyn Traphagen, graduate, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia PA (archive)
  • Sufficiency
    A personal take on the faith delivered to the saints, by Bob MacDonald, whose parallel blog on the Psalms in Hebrew is a colorful and innovative experiment
  • The Sundry Times
    Gary Zimmerli's place, with comment on Bible translations and church renewal
  • Sunestauromai: living the crucified life
    by a scholar-pastor based in the Grand Canyon National Park
  • ta biblia
    blog dedicated to the New Testament and the history of Christian origins, by Giovanni Bazzana
  • Targuman
    by Christian Brady, targum specialist extraordinaire, and dean of Schreyer Honors College, Penn State University
  • Targuman
    on biblical and rabbinic literature, Christian theology, gadgetry, photography, and the odd comic, by Christian Brady, associate professor of ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature and dean of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
  • The Biblia Hebraica Blog
    a blog about Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the history of the Ancient Near East and the classical world, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, early Judaism, early Christianity, New Testament interpretation, English Bible translations, biblical theology, religion and culture, philosophy, science fiction, and anything else relevant to the study of the Bible, by Douglas Magnum, PhD candidate, University of the Free State, South Africa
  • The Forbidden Gospels Blog
    by April DeConick, Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University
  • The Naked Bible
    by Mike Heiser, academic editor at Logos Bible Software
  • The Reformed Reader
    by Andrew Compton, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (focus on Hebrew and Semitic Languages) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • The Sacred Page
    a blog written by three Catholic Ph.D.s who are professors of Scripture and Theology: Michael Barber, Brant Pitre and John Bergsma
  • The Talmud Blog
    a group blog on Talmud News, Reviews, Culture, Currents, and Criticism
  • Theological German
    a site for reading and discussing theological German, by Mark Alter
  • theoutwardquest
    seeking spirituality as an outward, not an inward quest, by David Corder
  • This Lamp
    Incisive comment on Bible translations in the archives, by Rick Mansfield
  • Thoughts on Antiquity
    By Chris Weimer and friends, posts of interest on ancient Greek and Roman topics (archive). Chris is a graduate student at the City University of New York in Classics
  • Threads from Henry's Web
    Wide-ranging comment by Henry Neufeld, educator, publisher, and author
  • Tête-à-Tête-Tête
    smart commentary by "smijer," a Unitarian-Universalist
  • Undeception
    A great blog by Mike Douglas, a graduate student in biblical studies
  • What I Learned From Aristotle
    the Judaica posts are informative (archive)
  • Bouncing into Graceland
    a delightful blog on biblical and theological themes, by Esteban Vázquez (archive)
  • Weblog
    by Justin Anthony Knapp, a fearless Wikipedian (archive)
  • Writing in the Dust
    A collection of quotes by Wesley Hill, a doctoral student in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK), and a Christian who seeks the charism of chastity
  • גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב
    by David Miller, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism, Briercrest College & Seminary, Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • ואל-תמכר
    Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, and understanding - a blog by Mitchell Powell, student of life at the intersection of Christ, Christianity, and Christendom
  • משלי אדם
    exploring wisdom literature, religion, and other academic pursuits, by Adam Couturier, M.A. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

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  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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    Copyright © 2005 by John F Hobbins.