Monday, January 1, 2018

A carnival of carnivals

I am reviewing the Biblical studies carnivals for the year to see who is active and what is being written about in this field. Am I missing sources?

Carnivals were very regularly controlled this past twelve months by Phil Long. January saw the carnival for December 2016 from Jennifer Guo. This was carnival 130. But I was surprised to see in my recent list a couple of throwbacks by Michael Kok. Carnival 45 (XLV) republished from September 2009, and also #66 (LXVI) from July 2012.

Cassandra Farrin posted Carnival 131 for January.  The February carnival was at Jacob Prahlow's Pursuing Veritas. ξἐνος from Dunedin, southern New Zealand has March hare. April from Joseph Kovacs at theologians, Inc., May from Jeff Carter, June the Avignon from Jim West, and June BS from the same who hides his serious links behind a command, Read it. July from carnival master Ruben, August from Jason at Eis Doxan, September from Phil himself. October from Doug Chaplin, November from Jim West, and December from Phil again.

It is a very full year and somewhat daunting to take on the coming month of January, carnival 143.  Please send me your suggestions for links in the month of January as it progresses. Just from a quick look at these posts, I see how much I have been avoiding.

What is it that is done in Biblical Studies?  A host of subjects. I myself am only on the preliminary steps: to read the text in the language that has come to us from the Hebrew tradition, and see what it seems to be saying. The text is there in front of me and it is by no means a simple text or a simple or single message. It is a bit like Everest - one climbs it because it is there.

But there are many side trips on this journey in the text and many bloggers who are on these trips: 
  • the linguistics of the source languages.
  • the textual sources and variations.
  • the history of commentary and reception.
  • the archaeology and culture of the empires that ran to and fro through the lands of the Bible.
  • specifics on each area of the text. One can easily spend a lifetime on Isaiah or Torah or Matthew or, pick a book or imagined author.
  • there is much about the characters that inhabit both TNK and NT, both the human and otherwise.
  • it is hard to avoid theology, but that is a different study, except to the extent that a student may count theology as a form of reception history. Yet, if Il Papa ventures into translation and language, comments might come from anywhere, even Newspapers.
  • equally hard to avoid dogma, derived, but again a different study.
  • similarly modern cultural issues. But one could show the history and its impact on politics, gender relations, business and employment practice.
  • and liturgical practice? I found in a recent carol service that after 10 years immersion in the OT, the NT had more to offer than I expected. But could I make this scholarship? Maybe some day.
  • and there is technology: apps, books, and reviews. A good review is nice, but advertising is not on.
  • but one has to have tools, bias, and opinion. So the avoided subjects will creep in. 
I have probably left out much. The BS Carnival is supposed to be scholarly. I.e. the carnival master might pick articles that cite their references. But they are blogs and you know they won't cross every t.

It is good to find things that generate a conversation. As Tim Bulkeley said in November about Doug Chaplin's carnival and a post by Mark Zvi Brettler, "it is careful scholars with whom I disagree a little from whom I often learn the most!"

Bias - we need to learn to pay attention to the things we may have learned wrong. The Biblical Studies scholars I think would agree that this is a suitable frame. But in a carnival, it is background. The foreground is to be fun.

Anyway - carnival 143. Please send me your suggestions for links during the month of January as it progresses. I will try and put them in a context for February. Feel free to include any suitable social media conversations.

Happy New Year