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bryan

John,

Not so sure that calling James (a NT scholar) part of the Sheffield School of "postcolonial Biblical Studies" even makes sense?

JohnFH

Bryan,

Nice of you to pick up on this. It is of course true that Sheffield has a degree program, the only one in the world, entitled "The Bible and postcolonial Biblical Studies."

It is also true that the NT is part of the Bible, I would think, even in a postcolonial setting.

Finally, it seems to me that James lectures at Sheffield.

So I don't see anything wrong with my shorthand for a school of thought, a bit nebulous though it be, in which Crossley fits.

I'm sure you're right that people teach at Sheffield who do not have a "postcolonial" mindset. That is irrelevant.

That's like carping at the label "Frankfurt School" for a school of neo-Marxist critical theory because not everyone who taught or teaches in Frankfurt belong to it, and some of the theory's most famous proponents are not associated with that locale.

Labels like these are terms of convenience only.

bryan

John,

I'll grant you the "School" reference to be a matter of convenience, even though I don't think it is very helpful...

But doesn't your use of the term Copenhagen/Sheffield betray a different set of shared ideas, namely minimalism in regard to the historicity of the tanak? Minimalism seems to be very different than postcolonialism, no?

I have not read James book, mainly due to poor American distribution, so I can't comment on his brand of postcolonialism, but I am not sure that there is a Sheffield brand of postcolonialism, that is why I am not sure it is helpful to brand them as a school of thought here. Perhaps ethos might be a better descriptive term, but even here Hugh and James think and operate very differently?

I would also be interested to see you flesh out your ideas on imperialism as it relates to the the biblical texts you cited in your post.

Thanks,

JohnFH

Hey Bryan,

It seems to me that minimalism in a broad sense - a radical questioning of the things we thought we knew happened as reported in the Old and the New Testaments - is put to good use as it were by James Crossley among others at Sheffield and beyond in the quest for a "postcolonial" politics.

The politics are not unusual on university campuses of a certain type. They are of course unusual to non-existent everywhere else.

It is the fusion of a radically skeptical approach to the study of the Bible with a number of leftist political imperatives that one naturally associates with Sheffield and Copenhagen.

There are clear limits, of course, to "school" designations. But of course I didn't invent this designation, nor is it likely to go away any time soon.

Perhaps you can be more specific about what you would like me to flesh out. Since I wrote my dissertation on the topic of imperialism in First Isaiah, I could, of course, bore everyone to death with details of the subject matter.

Jordan Wilson

Anytime one of the Copenhagen or Sheffield minimalist writes something, ole Jim becomes hot and bothered no matter what they say. I imagine Thompson, Lemche, and the others view him more as a groupie than a promoter.

steph

There is of course a response to this post.
http://earliestchristianhistory.blogspot.com/2009/03/john-hobbins-jesus-in-age-of-terror-and.html

JohnFH

Hi Jordan,

The Jim West I thought I knew is both a groupie and a promoter of the Copenhagen / Sheffield school. Perhaps, however, Jim is now seeking to jump off of that bandwagon. Perhaps someone is pushing him off of it. He goes on as if he doesn't want to be viewed as "one of them."

Steph,

Thanks for pointing that post out. It's hilarious.

The rhetorical effect reminds me of a game of hide-and-seek. If I play hide-and-seek with my 5 year old, she justifiably gets upset if I end the game by discovering where's she hiding right away. The unwritten rules of the game state that I must circle around and pretend I know a lot less than I do, and make the discovery only after a suitable lag in time.

So it is with Crossley. He's crying in his beer because I've pointed out something he doesn't want his readers to know upfront: that he operates from a bunker in la la land when it comes understanding the realities of contemporary geopolitics. The bunker is lined with "masses and masses of evidence" as interpreted by Gregory, Said, and Chomsky. From that bunker he takes potshots at others. Sorry to blow your cover, James. But I think you blow your cover on your own.

steph

You're being ridiculous. Perhaps you should read the book now. NT Wrong has also responded to you. Nobody is crying but I'm thinking you might have lost a bit of credibility here.

James C

John, that is an appalingly bad and childish answer. You've not answered a single thing and just responded with cheap rhetoric. You could answer the points I raised in the book or on the blog instead of the cheap rhetoric. You could also read the book instead of inventing things.

I'd also be curious if you could answer the following:

Give me plenty of examples of how I operate 'from a bunker in la la land when it comes understanding the realities of contemporary geopolitics.' Are my examples factually wrong? So do you think it was right to support Karimov? Do you think the sanctions and high levels of death and suffering in Iraq were necessary? Do you think it is important to lie about Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians? I mean, the latter is at the heart of my argument.

Also could you explain this: 'the bunker is lined with "masses and masses of evidence" as interpreted by Gregory, Said, and Chomsky.'

Oh and this:
'Sorry to blow your cover, James. But I think you blow your cover on your own.'

Go on John, try argument with evidence rather than cheap unsubstantiated rhetoric of high school debating society variety.

Bryan

John,

In regards to fleshing out your views of imperialism and Isaiah perhaps you could respond to a possible interpretation proposed at my blog.

JohnFH

Steph,

Wow. N. T. Wrong rises from the dead to promote Crossley's book. Cool. Can you provide a link?

I see I've touched a nerve.

James,

Here I am, creating buzz for your book, and this is how you respond? Back off a little.

I have your book on order, but as others have noted, it's hard to get a copy of it this side of the pond. You are of course welcome to send me the contents of the book in some other form, so that I can cite chapter and verse. If you don't, the kind of sustained critique you call for won't be possible, until I have the book to work with.

But your post on your blog in reply to this one is eloquent proof that I was right about the ideological bunker from which you take aim at others: it is the Gregory-Said-Chomsky foxhole. I'm pleased that you do not pretend otherwise.

I realize that by daring to criticize Chomsky's politics, and your commitment to his style of politics, I have crossed a red line from your point of view. I haven't decided yet whether it's worth the time to write up a critique of Chomsky's politics. It's been done so many times before.

The fact is, James, that our interests overlap though we have significant differences at the level of interpretation.

No less than you, I think it's urgent to explore the nexus between the contents of the Bible, the field of biblical studies, and the politics of the United States and other countries with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and attitudes towards Israelis, Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians.

But I happen to come at those questions with a very different set of commitments and loyalties than you do. I have been and will continue to be clear about those loyalties and commitments.

It's beneath you, really, to leave yours undeclared in one paragraph, and then trumpet them in the next. Either the views and opinions of Gregory, Said, and Chomsky orient your analysis, or they do not.

You yourself clarify that they do. My "educated guess," as you call it, is that your ship would be rudderless without them as your ideological navigators.

JohnFH

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for the dialogue on Second Isaiah and Persian imperialism (FYI, my dissertation was actually on First Isaiah and Assyrian imperialism).

I'll try to find time in the next couple of days to respond. In the meantime, here is a question for you: lots of disputation in Isaiah 40-66, but where do you see "Israel" disputing the notion of Cyrus as liberator? Chapter and verse, please.

Bryan

John,

I take 45.9 to be in response to YHWH's choosing of Cyrus in 45.1. The objects of the woe would thus be Israel.

JohnFH

Steph,

I found N. T.'s comment on Crossley's thread. Very interesting. It will be fun to interact with it in a forthcoming post.

john

I must confess, there is one aspect of this affair that I find slightly amusing.

Jim touts James for boldly investigating "the politics of the bibliobloggers, and how those political points of view color (or shade, or distort) their ability to analyze current events."

Of course, we all know that James and Jim would "never" let their political views color, shade or distort their ability to analyze current events.

As someone who has read both of their blogs, all I can say is:

Give me a break! Talk about being blind!

All of which, reminds me of:

Let them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind.
And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

&

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye,
but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye,
and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Pax,
John

PS Jim Davila was right.

JohnFH

John,

I'm probably not the only one wondering in what instance Jim Davila was right. If you have a quote handy, it would be nice to hear it.

Bryan,

Thanks for your response. I'll take a look at that possibility. I'm always up for new ideas.

john

Hello John,

Back in 2005, after Jim West had repeatedly distorted something he had said. Jim Davila advised his readers to ignore anything further Jim West had to say on the matter.

In hindsight, a blanket application of that advice would have been preferable.

In my opinion, reading West's blog is like watching an emotional train wreck. A lot of Sturm and Drang and not that much of interest.

Pax,
John

steph

No nerves touched. Your criticism of a book you haven't read is amusing in fact. Arrogant ignorance comes to mind...

JohnFH

Steph,

And you know what is even more amusing? What I do know about the book's points of departure, line of argumentation, and (foregone) conclusions, after having read excerpts and summaries only, within the context of everything else I know about Crossley and his point of view, was sufficient grounds for making the general remarks I made.

It has not been shown that I have mischaracterized the book's contents in any way. Was I wrong in suggesting that Crossley is indebted to Gregory-Said-Chomsky in terms of analytical framework? Of course not. Was I wrong in suggesting that Crossley's politics are at odds, politically, with other options out there, like Realpolitik, neoconservatism, and isolationism? Of course not.

Oh, I forgot. Crossley has no politics of his own. He is merely a witness to the Truth, with a capital "T."

Gimme a break.

N. T. Wrong

It has not been shown that I have mischaracterized the book's contents in any way.
- John

There is one major mischaracterization that almost every one of your posts and comments have repeated. Crossley's book primarily concerns the dynamics of media representation, and shows how these dynamics are very similar in biblioblogging and biblical studies. However, you have mistakenly argued against the book as though it is tackling the substantive political issues represented by those media. Crossley's book tackles the 'how', while your uninformed, unread, presumptuous, straw man criticisms have tacked the 'what'. You have addressed the substantive political issues, while Crossley's book concerns the dynamics of propaganda. The argument of the book does not, centrally, concern the impossible ability to transcend politics (another of your straw men), but the way in which hegemonic political ideologies replicate themselves in the media. Likewise, the issue of being 'politically correct' does not address this issue. You miss the target completely.

In essence, you have fired at the wrong target. At best, your criticism is a complete miss. This is understandable, as you haven't yet viewed the target. But, it's not justifiable.

JohnFH

Wrong,

You say:

"you have mistakenly argued against the book as though it is tackling the substantive political issues represented by those media."

Please. Do you actually believe your own rhetoric? Is it truly the case that my critique presupposes that Crossley allows Gregory-Said-Chomsky to orient and color his analysis of the world of bibliobloggers, whereas in fact he doesn't?

No one reading this thread, I assure you, will be so naive as to believe that Gregory-Said-Chomsky provide people of whatever ideological persuasion with a neutral grid through which the world of propaganda might be interpreted. That being the case, your distinction between the "how" and the "what" holds no water whatsoever.

But let's take an example. It's all about the *how*, is it? I guess that explains Crossley's differential handling of Jim Davila and Jim West.

Keep digging that hole. This is getting more interesting by the moment.

N. T. Wrong

Crossley, like Chomsky, does not claim political neutrality. But again, this is beside the point, a straw man, which you would know if you had read the book you criticise.

The book concerns the manner by which government propaganda is replicated. You didn't realize this, because you hadn't read the book. Subsequently, your criticism has missed the mark. Criticism of Crossley's politics is criticism of something that is decidedly secondary in the book. By reading the book can you realize this. You can't refuse to make a distinction between the secondary matter of the book's implied political stance and the primary subject-matter of the book's analysis of the propaganda model in biblioblogging and biblical studies - without seriously misrepresenting the book. The rhetorical stance here is yours. I freely acknowledge Crossley's political stance, as far as it is discernable from the book. "It's all about h *how*, is it?" No, as I said, the book primarily concerns the "why". The false dichotomy is your own. From actually reading the book I can make the discerning observation that this is not primarily what Crossley's book is about.

You asked how you mischaracterized the book, and now I have explained how you did.

N.T. Wrong

erratum:

read "the book primarily concerns the "how"" instead of "the book primarily concerns the "why"".

JohnFH

It will be instructive to compare Crossley's chapter and verse on the "how" of Jim Davila vs. the "how" of Jim West.

The two are the most important bibliobloggers of the pioneer generation. If Crossley doesn't get the "how" right in their case, the book might as well be judged a failure.

Out of politeness, I am happy to postpone evaluating the question further until I have had the opportunity to read Crossley's full argument.

steph

"It has not been shown that I have mischaracterized the book's contents in any way."

That's hilarious. How do you think I knew you hadn't read the book? And give you a break? All you give is alot of angry rhetoric and puerile attacks against the author and his book, a book which you haven't even read - something you didn't declare (and most probably wouldn't have admitted) until you were accused. Thus, arrogant ignorance comes to mind. It would have been "polite" to read the book.

James C

Oh John, you are making so many things up I wouldn't know where to start (thanks to others for trying). I made points about the book discussing scholarship as a product of events of the past 40-odd years and the generalisations about others and so on. You don't need to predict, *I gave you questions on my blog and you could answer them.* Just read the book. At the very least you might find out you've not understood the issue.

Not that you've bothered to answer my questions but I'll answer yours. The Choimsky stuff etc is used in addition to a load of material I've collected over the years and a load of material from Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. The argument works with or with out Chomsky, aid and others, though they put the points well. The material, to the best of my knowledge, is all factually accurate. The case that stereotypes about the Arab and Muslim become highly prominent in Anglo-American media in the past 40 years seems strong enough. that such stereotypes in NT scholarship emerged around the same time in a sustained way seems strong enough. That there was a turn to Israel and 'Jewishness' post 1967 seems strong enough. That there was a turn towards issues of Jewishness post 1967 seems clear enough. That all this is tied in with American imperialism seems strong enough. I don't make that many judgments on the rights or wrongs of arguments (some I do where I think the stereotypes of others are offensive) but I am trying to explain why things are happening in NT scholarship now.

That is the heart of my argument. It could be accepted by right or left and then the judgments of rights or wrongs could come in, in a sustained way. But that's another issue.

I've summarised this before in response to you and now I give you the opportunity to respond directly to those point and not some crazy right wing rant...pretty please...

JohnFH

Steph,

Nice try. Keep coming at me, I'll keep coming back at you.

James himself, in reply to this post, tied himself up in knots claiming that his not-so-subtle broadsides against scholar after scholar in his book had nothing to do with his politics or his reliance on Chomsky.

But of course his politics are the sole and sufficient explanation for his withering critique of the measured rhetoric of a Jim Davila and his chummy non-criticism of a Jim West.

The facts, really, are beyond dispute. Crossley's broadsides in his book are well-known already, and will be, whatever Crossley's intentions, exactly what people remember about the book, whether they bother reading it or not.

But hey, your loyalty to the cause is obviously sincere.

Post-colonial readings of the Bible and biblical scholarship are just as interesting, just as theory-driven, and just as overbearing as are, e.g., feminist readings and queer readings.

JohnFH

James,

I will say once again that I think you would be better off being clear about your reliance on the political analysis of others. No one is going to buy your assertion that a neo-con will read your book and say, "a fair and balanced presentation of the facts on the ground." The narrative you construct is aligned with a political stance. It is not neutral by any means.

Are you unaware of the many exposes of the politicization of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch?

At this point, you may be the only one on the planet who thinks it's possible to collect a lot of data over the years on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on that basis, show how biased those whose politics you find reprehensible are.

This is a problem all ideological readings of the Bible and biblical scholarship run into. I'm not the first and I won't be the last to point it out.

steph

Tied himself up in knots? Don't be ridiculous. No, you have tied yourself up in knots John, trying to argue against a book you obviously haven't read and know nothing about.

JohnFH

Thanks for the conversation, Steph.

Your insistence that I know nothing about the book amounts to an invitation to concentrate on the same points I have already made all over again, when Crossley's book finally arrives, and I review it more fully.

I don't mind. It will give me another opportunity to point out how ideological Crossley's approach really is.

steph

Review it more fully? You haven't even started John. And after your little tirade, I'm not holding my breath. Anyway Roland pointed out the obvious on James' blog. :-)

JohnFH

Compliments and smiley faces will get you nowhere, SLF. :-)

stephanielouisefisher

Is "plain stupid - a mish-mash of political bull[] and biblical comments - and he seems to know little about both" complimentary, JFH? I always smile. :-)

JohnFH

Hey Stephanie,

How sweet of you to use brackets. Roland Boer's deprecatory comments are compliments to my ears. Dyspeptic criticism of my criticism of Crossley by Roland, the same Roland who regards the Bible as "bile," suits me just fine.

You, too, have been bilious on this thread. I'm fine with that. Bile is exactly what everyone who dares to criticize Chomsky "the political scientist" knows to expect from his groupies.

stephanielouisefisher

:-) sweet bile :-) it's what you get for making stuff up, and being arrogantly ignorant about a book you haven't read. :-)

James C

Ok John, one final response because this is going nowhere and I'm reading more and more stuff you say about me that isn't true. I mean this in good spirit and I just want to clarify the latest:

1. 'No one is going to buy your assertion that a neo-con will read your book and say, "a fair and balanced presentation of the facts on the ground."'

I did not 'assert' that of course and I don't argue it. I suggest that people *could* agree from all sides that a system using stereotypes about others for political support could be accepted by right or left. Whether this is a good thing of a bad thing is another judgment of course. In fact some in the neo-con Strauss tradition do accept similar arguments about propaganda etc (and there have even been arguments saying Chomsky got the propaganda thing right but the system is a good thing not a bad thing).

2. As for Amnesty and HRW, they were merely further examples of sources and I make no claims about non-politicisation or politicisation. As it happens, I've collected far more material from newspapers (including those on the right) and additional sources from the military and governments (and so on) on this subject over the years and I'm hardly going to make the claim about those types being non-politicised am I? My point was that Chomsky et al are part of that collection. I make no claims of political neutrality about anything or anyone, including myself. The key point is that the material I collect is, to the best of my knowledge, factually accurate.

3. On Davila-West debate I didn't actually make a judgment on who was right or wrong on that. I said the debate played out certain ideological positions which were explicit enough (in fact contemporary politics were mentioned by both explicitly too). On Davila as a whole, I actually think his blog criticisms of the media and beyond are regularly on the mark (as I point out) but they only focus on one side of certain debates rather than necessarily being wrong in what is being pointed out. I do criticise him for some comments where I think he got Abu el Haj wrong and I think some of the problems of presentation of biblically related stories in the US media might have more to do with ignorance in the US media (as Davila and other bloggers regularly point out with other media presentations) but another day…

4. John you say 'At this point, you may be the only one on the planet who thinks it's possible to collect a lot of data over the years on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on that basis, show how biased those whose politics you find reprehensible are.'
Let’s b fair, this is more of your rhetoric and misrepresentation and your argument is wrong. I collect data that I think we could all agree is factually accurate or a generally fair representation and ask why it is being avoided by scholars in their presentations. Now everyone has to make selection decisions but regularly it is easy enough to detect ideological positions at play. The same is true for when there are lies and distortions said about Palestinians and Israelis. All this is different to what you say of me. I'm hardly the only person on the planet who does things like these, right, left or centre, illiberal or liberal. You've heavily over-dramatised a very basic point.

5. You keep generally saying what my politics are without evidence other than the vague ‘blog’. On a previous post you said, 'I realize that by daring to criticize Chomsky's politics, and your commitment to his style of politics, I have crossed a red line from your point of view.' 'Realised' is, obviously, a very subjective term and I can’t say what is going on inside your head of course! But it is not a fair representation of my position because what made me react was the combination of a lack of evidence and assertion over argument when dealing with my book that you haven’t read. I mean, I thought that should have been obvious. You can go off on one about Chomsky all day but if you never mentioned me or my book and just hit at Chomsky I’d almost certainly *not* have responded (there loads and loads of that sort of evidence free or evidence distorting Chomsky bashing on the internet and elsewhere of the sort you have pushed on your blog and one more would make no difference).

Also could you also tell me what you mean by 'your commitment to his style of politics'? His (sort of) anarchism? His activism? I don’t know what you mean here. You’ll have to be clear on this one so I can respond.

6. I stress again and again (but I don't see you engage with this as far as I am aware) but the most explicit judgments I make in the book by a long, long way are against very dubious stereotypes about Arabs, Muslims and Jews. What is so problematic about that? And I have said this to you repeatedly. Why not rely on this evidence than your not very helpful guesses? On this issue, as it turns out, there are figures from the US military who make similar allegations about the use of outdated anthropology in the study of ‘the Arab mind’. The criticism of racism is hardly confined to the left. Will you at least answer me on that one as I’ve repeatedly asked you? If you have, could you let me know where? You say this, with more rhetoric, ‘James himself, in reply to this post, tied himself up in knots claiming that his not-so-subtle broadsides against scholar after scholar in his book had nothing to do with his politics or his reliance on Chomsky.’ No one has to rely on Chomsky to level ‘broadsides’ against stereotypes of Jews, Muslims or Arabs! I keep making this argument. I assume you are not a fan of such stereotyping and I assume you don’t rely on Chomsky for such views (correct me if I’m wrong on either). And I repeat, *you have not read the book* and you write about ‘not-so-subtle broadsides against scholar after scholar’! The reality is more nuanced that this rhetoric. As for me apparently claiming this ‘had nothing to do with his politics or his reliance on Chomsky’ that’s not true. I explained why I chose Chomsky (because he collects similar evidence) and I explained political stance, I have done again, and will do now…

You want me to be clear about my political stance in the book. For emphasis, I’ll repeat again. It is about the portrayal of ‘others’ by scholars (‘the Jew’, ‘the Arab’, ‘the Muslim’) or avoidance in the case of Palestinians. In the sections on the media and culture (outside biblical studies), I was driven by the ways in which there has been ignoring or downplaying or even advocating of murder and torture in the ‘war on terror’ and how this is tied with stereotyping. I’m also concerned that too many academics buy into dominant political systems without question and I think there should be more questioning of certain basic assumptions. As for educated guesses about my politics, I’m sure you can guess that issues of racism concern me, as do issues of torture and human rights. As for anything more definite, I simply don’t know how I’d define my political stances. But the political motivations behind the book I have outlined are perfectly simple to understand.

I also said explicitly in the book that I could have chosen any number of people to understand propaganda and culture but chose Chomsky, Said etc because they use so much relevant contemporary political material and relate it to elite culture and higher education. That there are different ideological positions at play can be done with or without those and has been done successfully in NT studies before (most obviously with Nazi NT criticism) and I’ve done this before without any reference to Chomsky et al.

Look, John I am, seriously, happy to engage with you on this issue *if* you quit all that evidence-free rhetoric, evidence-free assertion, non-argument, distortion and misrepresentation. As it happens, I couldn't care less about polemic but I am far too busy and I have to pick and choose what I can do and I have no desire to repeatedly clarify and correct someone who has not to this point, to be fair, shown any serious interest in fair representation. If you want a debate and are willing to enter the debate and you are at least prepared to try and represent me fairly then great, I’m happy to do that (though probably after the book is read). If not and you want to continue the way you are, fine by me, but it really is a waste of my time and yours so I’ll have to refuse.

PS as you may know, the Leonard review was a spoof.

JohnFH

James,

I am pleased that you wish to take the conversation to another level and I will be happy to do that, assuming that your publisher gets around to supplying Amazon and Amazon, me. That way, I will have more to base myself on.

But don't expect me to pull rhetorical punches any more than you do, when I take apart your book's analysis of the biblioblogosphere's part in, or opposition to, the war on terror.

And you are more than welcome to allow Chomsky and Said to be your consultants on whatever subject you choose.

If instead, you had chosen Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami, that would have been equally fine, and if you do not agree, then we have irreconcilable differences.

It should be obvious that the views of all four, precisely on the war on terror, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and so on, are extremely controversial. Nor do they agree on much of anything.

When it comes to these topics, there is no set of indisputable facts about which people of various ideological persuasions agree. It is precisely the case that there are clashing meta-narratives in play. I remember the fireworks well at a Pax Christi peace conference in the Netherlands I attended back in the days with Said as one of the featured dialogue partners. The member of the PLO who was invited to attend and accepted didn't make it. He was murdered by his own before he could.

James C

Sounds fair enough but I'll have to be blunt here: if there's more vague 'so and so is just a dreamer', 'crying into beer' or pushing views that I don't hold for the sake of rhetoric then I'm not going to get involved. Not that I have a problem personally with name calling etc (though I get a little puritanical when it comes into play over argument in the academic world) but that kind of fun is firmly placed sporting side of my life (and with your love of rhetoric I'm starting to see why you like poetry...). And, as I say, I'll have to pick and choose what I do and I'll do what I either enjoy the most or find the most pressing. That's nothing personal, it just is what it is.

'...when I take apart your book's analysis of the biblioblogosphere's part in, or opposition to, the war on terror...'

If you keep an open mind, you might yet be surprised (and I don't think what you say is quite what I'm trying to do incidentally). In some cases, I spell out the ideological background and only really go for someone when the stereotyping comes in.

'If instead, you had chosen Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami, that would have been equally fine, and if you do not agree, then we have irreconcilable differences.'

Well, that may well be the case for our respective understandings of Islam and Anglo-American foreign policy at least because I find neither remotely helpful.

'It should be obvious that the views of all four, precisely on the war on terror, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and so on, are extremely controversial. Nor do they agree on much of anything.'

Yes, it certainly is obvious and I think you'd find each referencing the other negatively (I can certainly remember reading this a few times off the top of my head).

'When it comes to these topics, there is no set of indisputable facts about which people of various ideological persuasions agree.'

Well not quite. Or at least I wouldn't like to word it like that. I mean, all will agree that so and so died at this time, or that there was a war some other time and so on. The question is more about the judgment on such things and whether the details are ignored.

'It is precisely the case that there are clashing meta-narratives in play.'

Yes, that is undoubtedly true. In fact that hits at the heart of what I am trying to say in many ways. Something like the Lewis line on the roots of Muslim rage is a major view and in general terms is one that is replicated and agreed up throughout Anglo-American culture at least. Indeed, Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami have been influencial in the higher levels of American power. I would say that there are alternative ways of reading the evidence that get ignored but *theoretically* you might say the Lewis line is wonderful and it is a good thing that it is dominant whereas I would disagree. But that is precisely why *theoretically* we could both agree that one discourse is dominant but disagree on its value, just as Said, Chomsky, Lewis, Faoud could *theoretically*. That's the point I've been trying to make. Does that make sense?

No doubt this will make the SBL bloggers' meal even more interesting.

Until next time,

James

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a community of bloggers

  • Abnormal Interests
    Intrepid forays into realia and texts of the Ancient Near East, by Duane Smith
  • After Existentialism, Light
    A thoughtful theology blog by Kevin Davis, an M. Div. student at University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • AKMA's Random Thoughts
    by A. K. M. Adam, Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow
  • alternate readings
    C. Stirling Bartholomew's place
  • Ancient Hebrew Grammar
    informed comment by Robert Holmstedt, Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, and John Cook, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore KY)
  • Antiquitopia
    one of the best blogs out there, by Jared Calaway, assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Illinois Wesleyan University.
  • Anumma - Hebrew Bible and Higher Education
    by G. Brooke Lester, Assistant Professor in Hebrew Bible, and Director for Emerging Pedagogies, at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston IL)
  • Awilum
    Insightful commentary on the Bible and the Ancient Near East, by Charles Halton
  • AWOL - The Ancient World Online
    notice and comment on open access material relating to the ancient world, by Charles Jones of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
  • Balshanut
    top-notch Biblical Hebrew and Semitics blog by Peter Bekins, Ph. D. student, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati OH, faculty member, Wright State University (archive)
  • Believing is Knowing
    Comments on things like prophecy, predestination, and reward and punishment from an orthodox Jewish perspective, by David Guttmann
  • Ben Byerly's Blog
    thoughts on the Bible, Africa, Kenya, aid, and social justice, by Ben Byerly, a PhD candidate at Africa International University (AIU), in Nairobi, Kenya working on “The Hopes of Israel and the Ends of Acts” (Luke’s narrative defense of Paul to Diaspora Judeans in Acts 16-20)
  • Berit Olam
    by a thoughtful Matt Morgan, Berkeley CA resident, grad student in Old Testament at Regent University, Vancouver BC (archive)
  • Better Bibles Blog
    Discussion of translation problems and review of English Bible translations by Wayne Leman, Iver Larsen, Mike Sangrey, and others
  • Bibbia Blog
    A Bible blog in Italian and English by former students of the PIB and PUG
  • Bible Background research and commentary
    by Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Bible Design & Binding
    J. Mark Bertrand's place
  • BiblePlaces Blog
    a spotlight on the historical geography of the Holy Land, by Todd Bolen, formerly, Assistant Professor at the Israel Bible Extension campus of The Master's College, Santa Clarita CA
  • Biblicalia
    The riches of orthodoxy brought online by Kevin Edgecomb, a seminarian at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline MA)
  • Biblische Ausbildung
    by Stephen L. Cook, professor of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible at Virginia Theological Seminary
  • 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.