has put up a new website, on which you can read a lot of older theological theological books. Some of them are later to be scanned and included in their Logos Bible Software, but in the meantime they are available for reading on screen on this site.

They present their site thus: ” We have more than 8,000 classic works from seminary libraries, and we’re still scanning more. During the beta period you can search and view all of the books for free.”… is still under development; you will see new books uploaded and indexed on a regular basis, as well as improvements to text recognition and indexing. We want your feedback; please email us at While we may not be able to respond to every suggestion individually, we will read and consider them all.

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Review of ‘Dear Zion’

I would like to direct your attention to a review of a book, published by a colleague of mine, Magnar Kartveit: Rejoice, Dear Zion!: Hebrew Construct Phrases with “Daughter” and “Virgin” as Nomen Regens. Read it here.


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Review of Studia Philonica 2010

Somewhat late, but a very appreciative review of Studia Philonica XXII 2010 is posted in :
“There are few fields of biblical or cognate studies scholarship better served than Philonic studies by The Studia Philonica Annual, which includes major articles on Philo as well as extensive bibliographic sections. The Studia Philonica Annual: Studies in Hellenistic Judaism Volume XXII, 2010 is especially excellent because of the mix of young and established scholars. “

“This volume is a terrific addition for the library of anyone interested in Philonic studies.”

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A Publishing event

Last Tuesday, on March 25, two books were released from their publishers. Both books were also published in digital formats, and the very same morning both books where available on my IPad. These two books also represent something special in another way: the one volume was announced as critical to some central Christian interpretations of Christ in the New Testament; the other book was announced as a kind of counter book, opposing the interpretations of the other one. I am of course thinking about the following books:

Bart Ehrman,  How Jesus became God.  The exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. (HarperOne, 2014), and Michael Bird, ed,. How God became Jesus.  The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—A Response to Bart Ehrman (Zondervan, 2014).

Both books had received a lot of publicity in the weeks and even months before they were published. And all this was very well organized by the publishers themselves. The book by Bart Ehrman was first announced, and than it was made known that there would be another volume arguing against the former. And then they were published at the same time. Of course, the authors of the latter had read the manuscript of the former; it was made available by the publisher.

I don’t think that kind of arrangement has ever been done before. It reminds me very much about a couple of books published in the late 1970s. I am here thinking of The Myth of God Incarnate, written by edited by John Hick and published by SCM Press in 1977. There was a lot of discussion of the views and theses of this volume, but no counter volume was published at the same day, we had to wait to later in the same year. Then a volume was published, labeled as The Truth of God incarnate, edited by Michael Green (Eerdmans, 1977). I remember the debate around these issues as somewhat heated (depending upon the person who judge), and provocative (again depending on whom you ask), but as far as I remember, the debate did not last very long. The controversy prompted a sequel, Incarnation and Myth: the Debate Continued (1979), edited by Michael Goulder. But after that, the heat went out. I might stand corrected, but that is how I remember this.

The two volumes published this week have already received some comments in the blogs, and is also getting picked up by the general news media. But I doubt there will be as much ‘fuzz’ around these as there was in the late 1970s. Is that positive or rather depressive?



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Jacob Jervell 1925-2014

Jacob Jervell, professor emeritus, Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, born May 21, 1925 passed away March 2. He was professor in New Testament studies from 1960 to 1988, when he retired and settled down north of Oslo, on a farm belonging to his wife’s family. Here he continued to work as a scholarly writer, preacher and opinion maker for many years, but relieved from the academic burdens of administration and teaching.

Prof. Jervell is most probably to be remembered today for his works on early Christianity. His dissertation (University of Oslo, 1959), was his magnus opus, a great tome only rarely seen today and not at all as a dissertation work, a study of early exegesis of Genesis 1:26f. His last work was also a great volume in many respects, his commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, published in the famous German series Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar uber das Neue Testament (1998).

In his research on the early church, and especially in his works on the Acts of the Apostles, he often went against prevalent opinions, and worked out a coherent view of the early Christians. This he published in several studies (see Luke and the people of God. A new look at Luke-Acts, Minneapolis (USA) 1972; The Unknown Paul. Essays on Luke-Acts and Early Christian History, Minneapolis 1984; The Theology of the Acts of the Apostles, Cambridge  1996), but above all in his great commentary on the Acts of the Apostles.

In the introductory chapters to that commentary he summarizes his own views in seven points, emphasizing the Jewish nature of both the Acts, and early Christianity thus (pp.51-52):

1. No christology in the New Testament is as Jewish as the one of Luke.
2. The ecclesiology of Luke does not find its way of expression in the word ‘church’, but in the term ‘people’ (laos), and this denotes Israel in opposition to all other people, the only People of God.
3. The soteriology of Luke demonstrates that all promises of salvation are given to Israel, and is never abolished.
4. Posing the question about the Torah, the Law of God, Luke emphasizes that it remain still for all Jewish Christians, even the ritual and ceremonial laws. The Law is still the mark of identity of the People of God.
5. The works of Luke are full of Jewish words, terms and usages from Luke 1 to Acts 28.
6. The Acts of the Apostles, does not present to us Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles, but as the Apostle to the Jews and the world, that is, the Diaspora.He is the Pharisee, not the ex-Pharisee.
7. Even the Language is important. Most of the times the language is ‘biblizistisch’, obviously influenced by the Septuagint, because he more than any other author in the New Testament proves his sayings from the Scriptures that have their legitimate place in the Synagogue.

This highly condenced presentation of his argumentation does not give full credit to his views, but might serve to point out that to Jervell, it is obvious that the Jewish Christians were a more significant and greater part of early Christianity even after 70 CE,. than often presupposed and presented in New Testament studies and that this aspect has to be even more studied than has been done so far.

Prof. Jervell was also very active as a church politician, or rather, opinion maker, especially in the 1960ies and into the early 1990ies. Some people found his ways of presenting and arguing somewhat hard to cope with; he might be heard or read sometimes as an arrogant ‘besserwisser’ and was not always on good terms with the Norwegian Christian lay movements. This might be said to be partly due to his ways of arguing, but also to some of his viewpoints that many persons found hard to accept, while on the other hand, some found them relieving and refreshing. As a scholar deeply influenced by his years of studies in Germany in the 1950ies, he was in some ways a student of Ernst Kasemann, and as an popularizing writer and lecturer he could find great pleasure in presenting his arguments in a sharp and critical, almost criticizing way.

His influenc was  felt not only through his books, but also through his many sermons and public lectures, and through his participations in radio and TV programs.

In 2000 he was given the honour of being knight of  1. class of  St. Olavs Orden. He was given a Festschrift both in 1985 and in 1995.

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The Origin of Evil Spirits

Archie T. Wright, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent University, Virginia, USA, is about to have a revised version of his PhD dissertation published by Mohr-Siebeck.

The Origin of Evil Spirits.
The Reception of Genesis 6:1-4 in Early Jewish Literature.
Published in English.
2., rev. Ed. 2013. XVI, 258 Seiten.

Archie T. Wright here examines the trajectory of the origin of evil spirits in early Jewish literature; that is, he traces the development of the concept of evil spirits from the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 6) through post biblical Jewish literature.

Posted in Bibliography, Book, Old Testament, Philo | Leave a comment

Digitalizing the Loeb editions (II)

philo loebAs mentioned in a brief posting in last November, Logos is now working on digitalizing and making available  with their Logos Bible Software, Logos 5, several of the volumes of  The Loeb Classical Edition.
So far- from info gathered on their website – it looks like the folks at are working on too many of the volumes to list them all here. But you might have a closer look by checking out these pages.
Some of the works are still gathering interest, while others are underdevelopment.

Among the latter, one might mention

Some of the Loeb sets are also already available for downloading, like e.g., Clement of AlexandriaHomers Iliad and Odyssey, Select works of Virgil, and some more.

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Digitalizing Loeb editions (I)

Scholars who have dealt with the so-called classical Greek and/or Latin texts from Antiquity will know  The Loeb Classical Library; the small green volumes containing Greek texts and the read ones containing Latin texts are well-known and dear to most scholars in the fields concerned here. And those interested in Philo will most probably have used the Colson/Whitaker edition of Philo’s texts contained in 10 +2 small green volumes. It has been said that the volumes were made small so they could fit into a scholar’s pocket; now you can soon have not only one but all the volumes in your pocket, because the The Loeb Classsical Library is getting to be digitalized!

The Harvard University Press now announces that The Loeb Classical Library digitalized will be presented and be available in late fall 2014! On the link provided on the line above this, you will find more information. They assert that with the digital version you will be able to:

  • Read every Loeb volume in print, including biannual additions
  • Toggle between single- and dual-language reading modes
  • Browse works and volumes of the library by author, language, period, form, genre, and subject
  • Search across the full Loeb corpus in English, Latin, and Greek
  • Bookmark, organize, and annotate content in personal digital workspaces
  • Share notes and reading lists with classmates, students, and colleagues

They do not tell you, alas, what the price will be, and if there will different packages containing various sets of volumes, or if you have to buy volume by volume.

Nevertheless, this is a major achievement, and surely something to be welcomed.


Posted in Bibliography, software | 1 Comment

The Stavanger International Conference


The Stavanger International Conference on Disability, Illness and Religion 7-9 May 2014 aims to promote discussions within the fields of theology and religious studies that focus on illness and disability.

Disability studies, Dignity studies and other interdisciplinary approaches are fairly new approaches in these fields. These perspectives have, however, become important avenues for new insights. Within the field of Biblical Studies, we have seen several edited volumes and monographs that engage with Disability Studies and apply this approach on the biblical texts. Within systematic theology we have seen constructive attempts at creating a disability theology. Within religious studies, we have seen engagements with issues such as the intersection of religion, disability, literature and art, and the intersection of environmental crisis and disability. Further investigations are nevertheless called for and should be encouraged.
The program for the conference is now set and we believe the conference will offer an exciting opportunity to address and discuss a wide range of issues from many perspectives. We are honored to have several keynote speakers who will address disability, illness and religion issues from various points of view. We have also received many abstracts within a wide variety of fields.
In order to register for the conference, click here.
To see the brochure for the  conference, click here.
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Language learning and Bible Software

Almost about 4 years ago, I had a posting discussing the future of Hebrew in theological curriculums; see   Exit learning Hebrew?. I did not draw any firm conclusions, just presenting some pro and contra arguments.

Now we have a group of at least three fabulous Bible Software programs (Accordance, Bibleworks and Logos Bible Software), that should make us rethink not only how we teach the Biblical languages, but also what such programs might represent to our present students, and perhaps not at least what help they can offer when our students go out and start working in the parishes.

I don’t use to quote extensively from other blogs or colleagues’ writings, but this time I would like to present some input by quoting extensively from a brief article by Joel B. Green, published in Fuller, Theology, News & Notes:

“I think about . . .  working with biblical languages. What difference should it make to the way we prepare Christian leaders for working with biblical texts that we now have shelves full of commentaries that work with Greek and Hebrew, numerous lexical aids on which to draw, and Bible software on our computers? What difference does it make that I can access many of those tools from web-supported devices that I can wear on my belt and carry into an adult education class or into the local coffee shop? In the last couple of decades, the world of biblical study has been revolutionized. Should we continue to use slide rules? Will we allow graphing calculators? Should the way we prepare students for working with Scripture change on account of the increasing availability of tools that do so much of the heavy lifting for us?

When entering the office of a pastor or teacher, I invariably survey the books. And I find myself looking for the placement of this pastor’s Greek New Testament, her copy of the Greek-English lexicon, and maybe even the companion Hebrew Bible and Hebrew-English lexicon. Most of the time, those books are present and accounted for, but they are across the room from her desk, and are older editions, versions of those texts current when she was in seminary. It is hard not to conclude that work in the original languages, required in seminary, has not been her constant companion since graduation. Can we prepare students for working with Scripture in the original languages in ways that actually make a difference long-term? Might the increased availability of language-based tools assist us in this work?

It is true, of course, that some of our students and graduates want and need advanced expertise in the biblical languages. Fuller Seminary has been and wants continually to be a school whose graduates contribute to biblical and theological scholarship at the highest level. Advanced work with the biblical languages for such people is simply a prerequisite, and Fuller Seminary will continue to provide language instruction that serves the church in this way.

It is also true that not all of our students are called to contribute to biblical and theological scholarship at the highest level. What capacity for working with Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible is needed for the community worker in San Jose, California, or the pastor in San José, Costa Rica? For such Christian leaders, we are mapping an alternative route, one that accounts for the technological advances that are changing our lives in so many ways. Rather than asking them to devote long hours to flipping endless vocabulary cards and memorizing verb charts, we show them how they might immediately access that information and then how to use that information as they work through a biblical text. The bottom line is that basic information about a term is readily available—number, case, and the like; what is needed, then, is instruction and practice around what to do, what exegetical judgments to make, once this information is in hand. Those students and graduates will be able to work easily with original language tools like Bible-study software, lexicons, and resources like the Word Biblical Commentary. And, we trust, they will continue to do so throughout their ministries.”

I quote this with approval, but I have a certain feeling, that we are just at the beginning of exploring what Biblical Software might represent for both our curriculums, our teaching and learning,- and for our students and their future work as pastors.

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