Sunday 19 June 2022

Genesis 24:27 - Evensong Lesson for the second Sunday after Pentecost


Evensong Lesson for the second Sunday after Pentecost (pdf)

Here is the first time I have noted the joy of the relative pronoun in the music. Normally, the pronoun is not emphasized, but it has the same sound and letters in Hebrew as asheri - the word expressing joy and happiness, the opening word of the many beatitudes of both Old and New Testament.

How will an English reader put across the joy of the relative pronoun without performing this in some way? (Or if he is old, having a younger singer perform it.)

Also in this lesson are lowly prepositions, passed over as understood in the English assumptions of our hearing, but they too are pregnant with sense. Just consider verse 3: No one, not even Young's so-called literal translation (impossible term) uses 'in' for the prefixed 'b' of  בַּֽיהוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י bihvh alohi.

Why not? Because English uses swear with the preposition on or by or against - all of which might be glosses for 'b', but the dominant gloss for 'b' is 'in', and it is very suitable for this usage.

Full text of the lesson

brawit cdGenesis 24
a vabrhm zqn ba bimim
vihvh birç at-abrhm bcol
1 And Abraham was old when it comes to days,
and Yahweh blessed Abraham in everything.
b viamr abrhm al-ybdo zqn bito hmowl bcl-awr-lo
wim-na idç tkt irci
2 And Abraham said to his servant, the eldest of his house, the governor of all that was his,
Set, if you will, your hand under my thigh.
g vawbiyç bihvh alohi hwmiim valohi harx
awr la-tiqk aiwh lbni mbnot hcnyni awr anoci iowb bqrbo
3 And I will have you swear in Yahweh the God of the heavens, and the God of the land,
that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanite among whom I have settled.
d ci al-arxi val-moldti tlç
vlqkt aiwh lbni lixkq
4 For to my land and to my kindred you will go,
and take a wife for my son, for Yitschaq.
h viamr aliv hybd aulii la-tabh haiwh llct akrii al-harx hzat
hhwb awib at-bnç al-harx awr-ixat mwm
5 And the servant said to him, Perhaps the woman would not consent to walk after me to this land,
must I have your son return to the land from which you came forth?
v viamr aliv abrhm
hiwmr lç pn-twib at-bni wmh
6 And Abraham said to him,
Keep watch for yourself lest you return my son there.
z ihvh alohi hwmiim awr lqkni mbit abi umarx moldti vawr dibr-li vawr nwby-li lamor lzryç atn at-harx hzat
hua iwlk mlaco lpniç vlqkt aiwh lbni mwm
7 Yahweh, the God of the heavens, who took me from the house of my father and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, To your seed I will give this land,
he will send his angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.
k vam-la tabh haiwh llct akriç vniqit mwbuyti zat
rq at-bni la twb wmh
8 And if the woman will not consent to walk after you, then you will be exempted from this oath.
Certainly do not bring my son back there.
't viwm hybd at-ido tkt irç abrhm adoniv
viiwby lo yl-hdbr hzh
9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master,
and swore to him concerning this matter.
i viiqk hybd ywrh gmlim mgmli adoniv vilç vcl-'tub adoniv bido
viqm vilç al-arm nhriim al-yir nkor
10 And the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master and he went. (For all the good of his master was in his hand).
And he arose and he went to the Aramaean rivers, to the city of Nahor.
ia vibrç hgmlim mkux lyir al-bar hmim
lyt yrb lyt xat hwoabot
11 And he made the camels kneel outside of the city by a well of the waters,
at the time of evening, at the time to emerge to draw water.
ib viamr ihvh alohi adoni abrhm hqrh-na lpnii hiom
vywh-ksd ym adoni abrhm
12 And he said, Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, let it transpire, if you will, in my presence today,
and do kindness with my master Abraham.
ig hnh anoci nixb yl-yin hmim
ubnot anwi hyir ioxaot lwaob mim
13 Behold I will take a stand over the spring of water,
and the daughters of those of the city will emerge to draw water.
id vhih hnyrh awr aomr alih h'ti-na cdç vawth vamrh wth vgm-gmliç awqh
aoth hockt lybdç lixkq ubh ady ci-ywit ksd ym-adoni
14 And let it be the lass to whom I say, Stretch out please your pitcher that I may imbibe, and she says, Imbibe, and also I will let your camels drink.
Let her be the one who is correct for your servant, for Yitschaq, and in her I will know that you have done kindness with my master.
'tv vihi-hua 'trm cilh ldbr vhnh rbqh ioxat awr iuldh lbtual bn-mlch awt nkor aki abrhm
vcdh yl-wcmh
15 And it happened before he finished speaking, and behold Rebekah emerged, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, wife of Nahor, brother of Abraham,
and her pitcher over her backside.
'tz vhnyrh 'tobt mrah maod btulh vaiw la idyh
vtrd hyinh vtmla cdh vtyl
16 And the lass was very good of appearance, a virgin, and no man had known her,
and she came down toward the spring and filled her pitcher, and came up.
iz virx hybd lqrath
viamr hgmiaini na my't-mim mcdç
17 And the servant raced to encounter her,
and he said, Let me gulp, please, a little of the water from your pitcher.
ik vtamr wth adoni
vtmhr vtord cdh yl-idh vtwqhu
18 And she said, Imbibe my Lord,
and she was swift and brought down her pitcher onto her hand and gave him to drink.
i't vtcl lhwqoto
vtamr gm lgmliç awab yd am-cilu lwtot
19 And when she finished letting him drink,
she said, Also for your camels I will draw, till even they have finished imbibing.
c vtmhr vtyr cdh al-hwoqt vtrx yod al-hbar lwaob
vtwab lcl-gmliv
20 And she was swift, and she upended her pitcher into the flume, and raced further to the well to draw,
and she drew for all his camels.
ca vhaiw mwtah lh
mkriw ldyt hhxlik ihvh drco am-la
21 And the man in a commotion for her,
kept silent to know, Did Yahweh prosper his way or not.
cb vihi cawr cilu hgmlim lwtot viiqk haiw nzm zhb bqy mwqlo
uwni xmidim yl-idih ywrh zhb mwqlm
22 And it happened that as the camels finished imbibing, that the man a took gold earring, a bekah its weight,
and two circlets for her hands, ten shekels weight of gold.
cg viamr bt-mi at hgidi na li
hiw bit-abiç mqom lnu llin
23 And he said, Whose daughter are you? Tell me please.
Is there in the house of your father a place for us to lodge?
cd vtamr aliv bt-btual anoci
bn-mlch awr ildh lnkor
24 And she said to him, I am the daughter of Bethuel,
son of Milcah, to whom she gave birth for Nahor.
ch vtamr aliv gm-tbn gm-mspoa rb yimnu
gm-mqom llun
25 And she said to him, both straw, and also silage in abundance, we have,
also a place to lodge.
cv viiqod haiw viwtku lihvh26 And the man bowed his head, and prostrated himself to Yahweh.
cz viamr bruç ihvh alohi adoni abrhm awr la-yzb ksdo vamito mym adoni
anoci bdrç nkni ihvh bit aki adoni
27 And he said, Blessed is Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his kindness and his truth with my master.
I, on the journey, Yahweh guided me to the house of the brother of my master.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Proverbs 8 - questioning the translation

 All translations interpret. All readings of the Hebrew by Hebrew speakers interpret. Like it or not, we are locked into what we have been indoctrinated with, whether we wake or sleep!

So I came across the literature professor's translation the other day of a bit of Proverbs. (See this post for the detail I am commenting on.)  this is a chapter that I have always loved for earlier inarticulate reasons, but now maybe I can offer a few. Torah is from before the foundation of the world, - earth, universe, whatever. Who knows what the ancients meant by tbl - but it seems from verses 26 and 31 that it is similar to our usage or world. Alter and I agree on this gloss.

Lots of things we don't agree on. The two readings have several departures from each other. (Mind you, neither of us was reading the other, so they can scarcely be said to depart from the other. Mostly I was departing from the non-concordant translations from the King James to the Jerusalem translation of the '60s. I hate people making axe-grinding decisions for me.)

Verse 1: I phrase this as a question. It's a typical beginning of a question, Does not x?: hloa-kcmh tqra // utbunh titn qolh. I don't see any reason to depart from the question format.

Verse 2: Alter's glosses, top of the heights and crossroads are nice turns of phrase. They would even meet my concordance rules. I don't use the sound made by road much - only twice, and in each case I could have used path. In one of the cases, I didn't want to use path and pathway so close to each other since they are not related sounds. That may be where road first appeared in my work. Then as I worked further, it may have glossed itself automatically via my prediction algorithm. See my concordance glossary page and search for path. (I don't imagine there is one for Alter's work but I know from interviews that he uses such tools.)

Verse 3: Alter is more accurate than I am in following the Hebrew word sequence - my error. I should change this, and who knows I might some day. Fits better with the music too. I am surprised I did not notice. [- Done - changed - stamped in the database - will find its way into all the books eventually. Must correct unnecessary idiosyncrasies.]

Verse 4: Alter uses 'men' - I try to reserve this word for roots that imply males only. I never use the word humankind. Instead I use children of humanity, in this case an accurate rendering, al-bni adm. For alicm aiwim aqra, the English rhythm 'each and every one of you' fits the shape and intent of the music with its recitation on the dominant.

Verse 22-23: I have more serious reservations here. If he uses Holy One in capitals, what does be use for וְלִקְד֥וֹשׁ and similar phrases in Isaiah. See these instances in the concordance. He misses the purchase metaphor in this verse. From whom did Hashem purchase Wisdom? It was not created. I know he uses the gloss create in Genesis 1:1 and this is not the same word.

And he puts a line return in verse 23. There are no pausal accents in this verse. The music is a simple descent from the third to the tonic. g f# revia, e. There are only two verses in Scripture that have this form of accentuation (the other is Psalms 76:5 Light-giving you are more excellent than mountains of prey). I imagine that someone versed in literature may not be able to make such a connection in the music. In fact few people can study the accents this way or hear them because the musical traditions are very confusing without the deciphering key I have noted in my books and on this blog almost everywhere you look.

Also he misses the allusion to sacrifice, the libation that was poured out before the foundation of the world. (Like Torah). It's a unique use of the root in Proverbs. The word, … a quantum fluctuation that was in the beginning when time could not be defined. The gloss shape I associate with building (bnh) rather than sacrifice. No - it's not a potter and pot image in this case.

Verses 24-25: spawned? Sounds like a salmon farm. I have a concordance conflict with birth. My use of it here is perhaps not perfect. The agony of the dance and writhing and turmoil before the created order is perhaps a real libation. We are to be born through that same agony. But you can't say everything at once.

Verse 26 - fauna vs clods. I used clods for rgb. Fauna strikes me as a bit more creative for ypr - dust - maybe already there in asteroids. Where did our carbon come from?

As I discovered in preparing words for my children, it takes a hundred pages to find the language to encapsulate an idea. For us, it has taken billions of years and 300,000+ words to encapsulate the instruction and the grief of God.

Having diverged from each other in these verses, we have a few more inconcinnities as things progress in the chapter. My punctuation and capitalization is debatable, but it is what I intended - incomplete thoughts piling on each other. I could ask about his glosses for delight and whether there is an unavoidable overlap between roots here, but perhaps it is immaterial.

This is not immaterial: I don't use strengthen (yzz) for engrave (kqq) the word occurs twice here in verses 27 and 29. He uses two different unrelated glosses: traced and strengthened. The poem contains two identical words that are part of the recursive structure in the poem. They should be identically glossed. Especially when they are so close to each other. This is the Torah given by the lawgiver (hqq) before the foundation of the world.

Yes - waters do flout, I guess.

Alter has great knowledge and experience, but some things there need to be corrected. If I had his translation in my database, the errors could be made evident with an algorithm. Still - he has hype and a team behind him - and they can't or haven't read very critically.

Proverbs 8

Proverbs 8:1 raw data

The Hermeneutrix has posted a translation of a bit of Proverbs 8 by Robert Alter. Some of you may have noticed my use of this chapter in a recent section of my letters to my children. I thought it would be instructive to compare what I have done with Alter. 

My work was done with a view to music and concordance in translation rather than literature. I am under far greater constraints than Alter. I must preserve word order where feasible (and I don't always do that) and I should not drop or add syllables (impossible of course). But I do not allow myself to slip from one synonym to another without a high degree of algorithmic care. If I break my rules, my algorithms show me and I have to make a decision whether to bypass the rules or not. There are thousands of decisions that a translator makes - some of them on the fly. A translator needs a host of feedback mechanisms - people are best, but lacking them, algorithms are tougher to hide from.

Here's my arrangement of 8:1 for the music in English.

Proverbs 8:1 arranged

And here is the next verse: rhythms of the English are taken advantage of.
Proverbs 8:2 raw data

Proverbs 8:2 arranged

The full score is available - a mechanical performance of the second day is here.

Now the two translations side by side.
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, trans. Bob MacDonald Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, trans. Robert Alter
Does not wisdom call, 1 Look, Wisdom calls out,
and understanding give her voice? and Discernment lifts her voice.
At the head, from the high ground, by a way, 2 At the top of the heights, on the way,
the house of pathways, she stands firm. at the crossroads, she takes her stand,
From the hand at the gates, to the edge of the town, 3 by the gates, at the city’s entrance,
she shouts at the entrance of the doors. at the approach to the portals, she shouts:
To each and every one of you I call, 4 To you, men, I call out,
and my voice is to the children of humanity. and my voice to humankind.
Yahweh bought me, the beginning of his way, 22 The HOLY ONE created me at the outset of His way,
preceding his work from then. the very first of His works of old.
From everlasting I have offered libation from the beginning, out of the precedents of earth. 23 In remote eons I was shaped,
at the start of the first things of earth.
When there were no abysses, I was birthed, 24 When there were no deeps I was spawned,
when there were no springs, heavy with water. when there were no wellsprings, water sources.
From ere hills were ringed, 25 Before mountains were anchored,
before the presence of hillocks, I was birthed. before hills I was spawned.
While he had not made earth or outsides, 26 He had yet not made earth and open land,
or the preeminent fauna of the world. and the world’s first clods of soil.
In the establishing of the heavens, there am I, 27 When He founded the heavens, I was there,
when he engraved the ambit on the face of the abyss. when He traced a circle on the face of the deep,
When he assured the skies from above, 28 when He propped up the skies above,
in the strength of the springs of the abyss. when He powered the springs of the deep,
In his defining to the sea his decree, and the waters not to bypass his mandate, 29 when He set to the sea its limit, that the waters not flout His command,
when he engraved the foundations of earth, when He strengthened the earth’s foundations.
And I was next to him as confidante, 30 And I was by Him, an intimate,
and I was reveling day by day, I was His delight day after day,
gamboling in his presence all the time, playing before Him at all times,
gamboling in the world of his earth, 31 playing in the world, His earth,
reveling with the children of humanity. P and my delight with humankind.

So what questions would you have for the translator(s)? See my answers here.

miwli k Proverbs 8
a hloa-kcmh tqra
utbunh titn qolh
1 Does not wisdom call,
and understanding give her voice?
b braw-mromim yli-drç
bit ntibot nixbh
2 At the head, from the high ground, by a way,
the house of pathways, she stands firm.
g lid-wyrim lpi-qrt
mboa ptkim tronh
3 From the hand at the gates, to the edge of the town,
she shouts at the entrance of the doors.
d alicm aiwim aqra
vqoli al-bni adm
4 To each and every one of you I call,
and my voice is to the children of humanity.
cb ihvh qnni rawit drco
qdm mpyliv maz
22 Yahweh bought me, the beginning of his way,
preceding his work from then.
cg myolm niscti mraw mqdmi-arx 23 From everlasting I have offered libation from the beginning, out of the precedents of earth.
cd bain-thomot kollti
bain myiinot ncbdi-mim
24 When there were no abysses, I was birthed,
when there were no springs, heavy with water.
ch b'trm hrim hu'tbyu
lpni gbyot kollti
25 From ere hills were ringed,
before the presence of hillocks, I was birthed.
cv yd-la ywh arx vkuxot
vraw yprot tbl
26 While he had not made earth or outsides,
or the preeminent fauna of the world.
cz bhcino wmiim wm ani
bkuqo kug yl-pni thom
27 In the establishing of the heavens, there am I,
when he engraved the ambit on the face of the abyss.
ck bamxo wkqim mmyl
byzoz yinot thom
28 When he assured the skies from above,
in the strength of the springs of the abyss.
c't bwumo lim kuqo umim la iybru-piv
bkuqo mosdi arx
29 In his defining to the sea his decree, and the waters not to bypass his mandate,
when he engraved the foundations of earth,
l vahih axlo amon
vahih wywuyim iom iom
mwkqt lpniv bcl-yt
30 And I was next to him as confidante,
and I was reveling day by day,
gamboling in his presence all the time,
la mwkqt btbl arxo
vwywuyii at-bni adm p
31 gamboling in the world of his earth,
reveling with the children of humanity. P

Friday 10 June 2022


This was part of the group - Letters to my Children, but I decided not to include it. May reconsider this.

War is the forcing of a puzzle piece.

You know there is a war going on in Ukraine. The Russian leadership is describing the war to their own people falsely. Saying it is a ‘special military operation’ and not a war, they hide from their people the destruction that they are doing in Ukraine. Many of the leaders and their followers have come to believe these lies so they can’t turn back from the evil that they are doing. When the people see the damage and the dead, perhaps that will tell them to change their minds about Mother Russia and her false selfies and then they will refuse to follow where their leaders are taking them. The leaders of Russia and their soldiers will have to face the crimes that they have done and their consequences also.

Will they turn of their own accord to face their crimes or will they be forced to turn? Does God force puzzle pieces?

As the preacher says:

And further I saw, under the sun, the place of judgment. Heading there was the wicked. And the place of the righteous. Heading there was the wicked. I myself said in my heart, This God will judge the righteous one and the wicked one, for the time for every delight and concerning every particular deed there.

And I saw that there is no good but that the earthling should be glad through its deeds for this is its share, for who will make it come to see into what is that will be after it?

What hope is there that both the righteous and the wicked are heading to judgment? What hope is there in the face of increasing disorder? - the second law of thermodynamics (which I didn’t explain). These questions seem related. But neither judgment is 'everlasting' in a temporal sense since time is limited on both ends and its limitations are so far distant from us that they are irrelevant to the problem of living together. So why do we care and tell the truth and keep promises? Why do we want the puzzle to be complete - without forcing?

How astonishing that such a thought should even exist!

Where is this place of judgment that is "under the sun"?

I myself have learned to pray. I would not be here today if I had not taken up conversation with this mysterious God who is, who was, and who is to come. Prayer is instant and easy and continuous. To start, just ‘turn your heart’, the depth of who you are, to this God who cares for you. It’s a very slight turn. Suppose you were inside and you wanted to see the park. You could just open the curtains. It’s that easy. You will find that this God makes everything new. Surprising.

Prayer hooks us into an alternate reality, more real than what we imagine. I am still convinced that the gifts of life are good and I can be thankful for them. Thank-you is also a prayer.

Here is something I read about recently concerning the war and connecting truth to prayer: Truth is energy. It is the energy which ‘converts’, which sparks the compunction that can lead to repentance. It is the ‘engine’ of prayer.

I don’t use those words compunction or repentance, but I know them. Compunction is realizing that we have done wrong. It is associated with a feeling of guilt, but not necessarily remorse, or a feeling of being sorry for what you have done. Repentance is the act of turning away from the actions and thoughts that have caused the problem. Turning away is a necessary thing, but who gives the power to turn away if we have not turned towards a power that is greater than our desires?

When we turn (also known as repent for what I think are slippery reasons) we turn to God who has the power to keep us safe. Or you can think of the word conscience. A healthy conscience does not stop at guilt but takes action to repair the damage. 

It's one thing for an individual to imagine turning from evil and towards God - but how will a nation do this without imploding into its own destruction? 

If we look at the destruction that has been happening over the last 3000 years we will see that we never have understood the God we are dealing with.

Till the next letter ...

Friday 3 June 2022

12. Brokenness

Dear children,

You said to me: if only what was broken could be put back together the way it was before. I have thought about this question for 6 weeks and I think we now have the words to consider it.

You have told me how many families have broken up among your school friends. It is indeed common today for marriages to fail. But let me assure you, it has never been easy to make a marriage work. Even the apostle Paul quipped: if you marry, you will have trouble in this life. But this is not one of his best lines. Such relationships are hard work. (And you know this yourselves, because brothers have to work together too - and learn to say sorry. Now there’s a wordle answer. Probably the hardest five-letter word to say.) But the work is worth it.

A marriage is the start of a new family. Within a family, there are a special set of bonds of affection and love. Love is a puzzle piece I have not specifically turned over, but I have used a definition of it in the first letter. I signed off with “all my will towards your good”. That’s love - all my will towards your good. Even if I didn’t like something that you did, my will is still towards your good. That’s what love is about.

My will towards your good has to do with the things I've written about already, security, sanctuary, trust, covenant - a special name for agreement and promise, - care within those boundaries that keep us all safe and able to grow. Who defines 'love' - that comfortable feeling of belonging - as an act of will, an act of determination? What a weird notion! Well, love is for the good of the other, not just for our own good. The problem is that we have to be able to know what is good for the one we love - that too is a tough problem. Suppose the other only wants to watch TV and so never learns to climb or run. Those who care for you don't want you to turn into a couch potato. Too much TV is clearly not good for your physical health. And besides, how do we judge what is good TV? That's another set of issues. My point is that 'love' is more than a feeling.

Families grow through birth or adoption. Each of these is a commitment of one or more people to the good of the one who is born or who is adopted. A commitment is a promise to continue even when continuing is difficult. We all have things that are hard to live with. Because of the promises made, families are a secure place where we learn to chip away the roughness in our character, and we learn strength and cooperation. We also learn honesty and truth. The partnership requires trust because the whole process of creating and nurturing a family is a lifetime's work. And promises are made in truth.

But serious mistakes can happen in a marriage. When they do, the will to the other partner's good requires clear words. Clear words may be hard to find and hard to say - but something like "This thing you have done hurts me and hurts us and will hurt others." The other can stop and say "I'm sorry. I will stop it". And so the other turns from the thing that is doing harm. They can't just say sorry and do nothing. Continuing such a mistake will break a marriage and cause further harm to others.

Still - even with these considerations, there are many reasons why marriages break up. Among them are finances, sickness, adultery, or lack of commitment. The source of the breakup can come from either partner. When there are children, the hurt may be deep and the healing process for them may take years. If parents break up, the next generation may also come to have marriages that break up because the errors and weaknesses will pass from one life to another. This is not good.

Our churches and our cultures have learned to live with the failures. Divorce or annulment of a marriage releases the parties from their commitments. This process is the least bad solution to such trouble.

Several puzzle pieces here - finances, sickness, adultery, commitment. With money, people worry about paying bills, or people don't take care about spending and the family gets further and further into debt. One part of the marriage promise that each makes to the other is this: all my worldly goods with you I share. That means the care for those worldly goods is shared. But worldly goods have to be paid for and if one partner cares about it more than the other, this can cause trouble.

Also in the marriage covenant is a promise to love and cherish in sickness or in health. We know we all get sick and we hope we will get better. You know about sickness, disability and trouble too. You have seen and you care for those who cannot move and have to be in a wheel chair. You have first hand knowledge of helping others who have difficulty with walking. Whether it would be easier or not, no one who has a will for another's good would walk away from such hard things.

The third piece, called adultery, we saw in the seventh commandment, the one that has only 6 letters: la tnaf - you will not commit adultery. In the marriage promises, each party promises to be faithful to the other, excluding everyone else from the closeness of their relationship. That means a man will not live with another man’s wife, and a woman will not live with another woman’s husband, or anyone else.

Finally, these pieces only fit together if both partners were serious about their mutual commitment for life. The marriage covenant says until we are parted from each other by death. So these promises are not made lightly as if we could just decide that we don't want to be married anymore.

There's a great deal about marriage in the tradition of the Bible. Throughout the Bible there is a metaphor of the marriage of God to his people, and in the New Testament, of Messiah to his bride the Church. This image emphasizes the commitment of God to this special relationship with us. The first commandment - you will have no other gods but me - nothing we worship, nothing we bow down to except God. This is our response to what God has done for us. In the Old Testament, it is delivery from slavery in Egypt - a long story. In the New Testament, it is the power to participate in the death of Jesus and the growth, strength, and love that we learn from this. No one can learn this for you or tell you in words what it means.

But it is, in fact, about fixing things that are broken. Brokenness does not go back to what it was before. If you shatter a vase, it will be beyond repair. Putting it back together with glue doesn't make it like new again. But we can remember both the good times and the brokenness and hope to learn even from them. Maybe we will recycle the pieces and make something else with them.

The mechanism for learning and for repair of what is broken is in our turning to God, admitting our situation, and asking for what we need to continue. We cannot lie to God who sees our inner thoughts before we even speak them. There is power to heal in such truthfulness - even if we only are able to say the truth to God in private. Jesus tells us who learn from him: when you pray, go into your room, and close the door and pray in secret, and your God in glory who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Finally, Jesus spoke of his body as being broken for us. He suffered violence and death. He has been through trouble so he knows what it’s like and is therefore able to help.

Till the next letter ...

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Biblical Studies Carnival 195 - May 2022

BS Carnival #195 - May 2022
On Time
It's about time courtesy of Andrew Perriman on Defying History
See also the follow-up to this somewhat gentle seismograph.

Old Testament

Paul Davidson writes about the house of Joseph.
Pete Enns ruins Leviticus.
Avi Faust on distinguishing walled city and settlement with respect to the Jubilee.
Rachel Barenblatt on a portion of the holiness code, Kedoshim - we live in a society.
Hilary Lipka on the prohibition of marrying a father's wife.

Jonah & the Fish
Airton José da Silva notes a Dicionario de Ciência da Religião among other books on Joshua for the Month of the Bible, 2022.
Claude Mariottini on Samson's mother.
David Glatt on Hezekiah's delayed Passover.

Rob Bradshaw points to resources on the web, e.g., for Isaiah.
Claude Mariottini on Living with Scorpions, concluding with a note from Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Judith Newman writes about Jonah on Prayer.
Kathleen Goldingay posts a link under the prophets to a document by John on Hosea 12-13.

The Melisende Psalter,
Upper cover with scenes
from the life of David
Rebecca Kaplan (via Jim Davila) reviews the Golem in Star Trek.

David Koyziz, from Qumran on David's prolific compositions.

Chantry Westwell marvels at Queen Melisende’s gold and ivory Psalter.

Ben Myers heralds a 15-year-old wonder poet.
Claude Mariotinni with a snippet from the film, The story of Ruth.
David Curwin explores the sense of Qohelet 2:8.
Jim Gordon reflects on the role of historical fiction to illuminate the political context of books like Esther and Daniel

How the singular Hebrew God became morphologically plural.
Atilla Marossy on differentiating the holy, The Development of the Term Havdalah.
Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala on the Bible in Arabic.
Bill Heroman on Ankersmit.
Brent Niedergal reviews a Greek Reader, by Mark Jeong.
Drew Longacre posts on Robert Crellin's word division in NW Semitic and Greek.

New Testament

Brandon Scott on the translation of the prodigal.
Stephen Carlson on the synoptic problem, refined by Joe Weaks, and a reply from Paul Anderson (lest John be ignored).
James Tabor explores the transformation of Mary from a "Jewish woman, likely widowed, of seven to ten children, to a barely human –even heavenly figure– of piety". Hear his conclusion.
A younger JT posted a 2006 video on the tradition of Matthew in Hebrew with further clarifications and comments here.
Phillip Long writes on Tithing and Purity Laws in Matthew.
Travis Proctor posts on Demons and Christians in Antiquity.
H. A. G. Houghton describes the recovery of a gospel from a palimpset.
Matt Page on a 99 year old silent film on Jesus the Christ (1923).
Andrew Perriman interacting with Allan Bevere and James McGrath on the undomesticated Jesus.
James McGrath and modern parables: LaGuardia Airport, the Call Center and the Lost Sock.
LaGuardia - a random snip

Ian Paul, following the lectionary, about the significance of the raising of Tabitha and the gospel entering Europe.
Anna Giovanetto writes about Ananias and Sapphira.
Andrew Perriman on Paul in Athens.
Heather A. Thiessen reflects on the Ascension.

Heather also reflects on Romans 8:18-30 and Galatians 5:1-15.
Bart Ehrman deals with 1 Corinthians 15: Perhaps, Bart suggests, Paul writes to correct this sort of error:
As Greek-speaking and Greek-influenced pagans, they would have been raised on the very Platonic idea that the soul is immortal and cannot die, and that life after death involves a separation of the soul from the body, for a soulish existence forever. Possibly these pagan converts still think so as Christians. For them, there is no resurrection of the dead because life in the body forever is an absurd, even repulsive idea. The body is the problem. What lives on is the soul.

Philip Jenkins (via Jim Davila) asks What happened to the rest of Paul's letters?
Chris Kugler tweeted on what is already realized.
Allan Bevere quoted John Nugent on 1 Timothy and apples - that deceptive fruit.
Phillip Long reviews Tremper Longman's Revelation through Old Testament Eyes.


Richard Beck gives us a touch of experimental theology to set us on our responsible feet.
John A. MacDonald writes about sacrifice.
Marg Mowczko writes of Shekinah.
Elaine Graham on Modern Theology, What are we doing when we talk about God?
Phil reviews the third edition of Maier's Genuine Jesus.

Matt Page of the Bible Films Blog is interviewed on BBC4.
Claude reveals his love of Old Testament films and the influence of his son on his blogging.
Targuman is up to S and T, about which much has been said this month.
Mark Goodacre posts NT Pod #99 on Women in the Bible.
Amy Kenny joins Pete and Jared on disability in Scripture.
Via OTTC, Brent Nongbri on The Ethics of Publication.

Perry Glanzer writes to the class of 2022.
Phil Long is on a trip to Israel and Jordan this month
and so is James McGrath at the end of the month.
Philip Jenkins asks about peopling the Biblical world.
Clayton Carlson and Julia Oostema try another image with junk DNA, the redemption of all genes.
Bernard Brandon Scott on Religion and Abortion.
Jim Gordon on Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Lawrence Hoffman continues his letters with an open letter about life after death.

Don't spill them on
your keyboard or clothes
Bart Ehrman reveals his number 1 most commented post in the last 10 years. He is also beginning a book project on wealth and poverty. And he, like Larry Hoffman, is pondering a problem with time. Is there any present? he asks, having noticed his tea-towel in the office the next morning after eating tacos.

Along similar lines, your host has been struggling to say something useful in a series of posts under the label "For the children".
James McGrath notes similar themes in Strange New Worlds, mechanisms operated by music and the judgment of faith. It just so happens that the opening verse of the Scripture is a major chord - apparently sufficient to move an asteroid.
A major triad encompassing a perfect fifth opens Genesis
Why wait for ever? Enter into the rest of God on the subdominant and take part in a perfect 'present' in a performance persisting longer than a picosecond.
Not sure that I have time for this, but James Tabor posts the question Did Paul think Jesus pre-existed

Before this carnival was published, it was already next month in New Zealand - so as Brent stole the fourth of May in the last carnival, I will steal the next Sunday, Pentecost, the 50th day of Easter from tomorrow today.

There was much ado about Abba towards the end of the month, a memorable celebration. Via a VIP.

In Memoriam
Via Airton Johan Konings.
and a guest post by Elizabeth Stone on Abdualmir Hamdani, W. Robertson Nicoll

Next Carnival
If you would like to do a carnival, please get in touch with Phillip Long who invites you thus:
I have no volunteers until August. I would love to get the others lined up, so if you have thought about hosting, now is the time to step up and contact me via email, or DM on twitter (@plong42) to discuss hosting a summer Biblical Studies carnival in 2022. If you are a new BiblioBlogger, this is a good way to get your blog some recognition. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about hosting a Carnival this summer.
  • 196 June 2022 (Due July 1) -
  • 197 July 2022(Due August 1) -
  • 198 August 2022 (Due September 1) - Ben the Amateur Exegete, @amateurexegete
  • 199 September 2022 (Due October 1) - 
If you are new to blogging the Bible and related scholarship, here are some sites that post good stuff on old things frequently: The TorahJim Davila's PaleoJudaica, and Phillip Long's Reading Acts. On Twitter, you can follow the Biblical Studies lists, like Emil Brunner (started by veteran blogger Jim West). If anyone has suggestions for social media feeds, blogs, lists, or groups, feel free to put them in a comment.

Phil has a full list of carnivals. Here is the recent past made present.

196 TBA – June 2022 (due July 1)
195 Bob MacDonald – Dust – May 2022
194 Brent Niedergall – April 2022
193 Ben – The Amateur Exegete – March 2022
192 Bobby Howell – The Library Musings – February 2022
191 Jim West – Zwingli Redivivus – January 2022
190 Phillip J. Long, Reading Acts – December 2021
189 Bob MacDonald at Dust – November 2021