Biblical Studies Carnival XXXII

John Hobbins at Ancient Hebrew Poetry has posted a huge, intricate, and thoroughly enjoyable tripartite Biblical Studies Carnival covering posts from July 2008. Thank you very much, again, John, for all your hard work!

Go read all three parts, which are separated according to a coherent taxonomy:
Part One: Rock Hard Rockin’ Scholarship based on Primary Sources
Part Two: Controversies — Handling Commenters Who Overstep your Bounds
Part Three: Posts on Specific Texts.

Biblical Studies Carnival XXXIII will be hosted by Michael Halcomb at his blog Pisteuomen.

Doublemint Biblical Studies Carnivals

It took Tyler Williams a while, as he’d been quite busy, but Biblical Studies Carnival XXX is now up and available at his fine blog Codex. Following immediately on its heels is Biblical Studies Carnival XXXI, hosted by James Getz at Ketuvim.

Scanning through these carnival posts, readers will find that they, like myself, have quite a lot of interesting reading ahead of them, and some blog roll updating to do, no doubt.

Thank you very much, Tyler and James!

Biblical Studies Carnival XXIX

Jim West has just posted the 29th Biblical Studies Carnival. (Wow. It’s already May 2008!) He’s done a wonderfully thorough job. I see he’s mentioned a few new sites to visit, which is always a pleasure, and several things I missed over the course of the month.

Quick, go look before he changes his theme again!

Tyler Williams is the one organizing the Biblical Studies Carnival, so if you’d like to get on the list to host one, just drop him a line.

A joyous fish of a carnival

(Francophones, don’t tell! Let them wonder!)

Chris Weimer has been very busy! He posted an earlier joke version of Biblical Studies Carnival XXVIII which I missed, and that makes me sad! But the real carnival is now posted, and it’s also very funny! There is much to see there, and he’s had fun with people’s names, all in the spirit of April Fool’s (or, as in this case, Fools’) Day. Good job, Chris! Thank you very much for your hard work!

Biblical Studies Carnival XXVII

Wow, another month is past already! Kevin Wilson at Blue Cord has posted the latest installment of the Biblical Studies Carnival, the twenty-seventh, in fact. One of my favorite parts of these carnivals is the discovery through them of new websites and new blogs, and Kevin (fine name, that) has plenty of them listed! Thanks for the fine job, Kevin!

Next month’s carnival will be hosted at Thoughts on Antiquity, which is a group blog maintained by Ben Smith, Chris Weimer, Chris Zeichmann, Peter Kirby, Roger Pearse, and Walter Shandruk.

To see the lineup for past and future carnivals, and to sign up to host one, go to the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage, which is maintained by Tyler Williams at Codex.

Biblical Studies Carnival XXVI

Welcome to the Biblical Studies Carnival XXVI, covering blog postings made on subjects of academic Biblical Studies over the course of January 2008 (give or take a nickel). It’s been a productive month, so this is a very long carnival.

I was going to use a rather humorous theme or artifice for this carnival, preceding every heading with “Jesus'” so as to have things like “Jesus’ Tomb Symposium,” “Jesus’ Seal Discovered,” and “Jesus’ Paragaogic Nun Discussion,” because it seems these days to be all the rage to claim that various things belong to Jesus: ossuaries, tombs, and whatnot; however, after reviewing the entries for the initial subject, with my levity dampened and diplomacy worn thin, my concern is to avoid making this field of studies any more of a laughingstock than it already is. If only that concern were universally shared!

To begin with, I will open this carnival with some perceptive words on the role of the critic from the well-known poet and literary critic T. S. Eliot:

At one time I was inclined to take the extreme position that the only critics worth reading were the critics who practised, and practised well, the art of which they wrote. But I had to stretch this frame to make some important inclusions; and I have since been in search of a formula which should cover everything I wished to include, even if it included more than I wanted. And the most important qualification which I have been able to find, which accounts for the peculiar importance of the criticism of practitioners, is that a critic must have a very highly developed sense of fact. This is by no means a trifling or frequent gift. And it is not one which easily wins popular commendations. The sense of fact is something very slow to develop, and its complete development means perhaps the very pinnacle of civilization. For there are so many spheres of fact to be mastered, and our outermost sphere of fact, of knowledge, of control, will be ringed with narcotic fancies in the sphere beyond. To the member of the Browning Study Circle, the discussion of poets about poetry may seem arid, technical, and limited. It is merely that the practitioners have clarified and reduced to a state of fact all the feelings that the member can only enjoy in the most nebulous form; the dry technique implies, for those who have mastered it, all that the member thrills to; only that has been made into something precise, tractable, under control. That, at all events, is one reason for the value of the practitioner’s criticism—he is dealing with his facts, and he can help us to do the same.

And at every level of criticism I find the same necessity regnant. There is a large part of critical writing which consists in ‘interpreting’ an author, a work. This is not on the level of the Study Circle either; it occasionally happens that one person obtains an understanding of another, or a creative writer, which he can partially communicate, and which we feel to be true and illuminating. It is difficult to confirm the ‘interpretation’ by external evidence. To anyone who is skilled in fact on this level there will be evidence enough. But who is to prove his own skill? And for every success in this type of writing there are thousands of impostures. Instead of insight, you get a fiction. Your test is to apply it again and again to the original, with your view to the original to guide you. But there is no one to guarantee your competence, and once again we find ourselves in a dilemna.

We must ourselves decide what it useful to us and what is not; and it is quite likely that we are not competent to decide. But it is fairly certain that ‘interpretation’ (I am not touching upon the acrostic element in literature) is only legitimate when it is not interpretation at all, but merely putting the reader in possession of facts which he would otherwise have missed.
Excerpted from the essay, “The Function of Criticism,” section IV

Continue reading “Biblical Studies Carnival XXVI”

Biblical Studies Carnival XXV

The Biblical Studies Carnival XXV, showcasing the work of academic Biblical Studies blogs during December 2007, has been posted by Christian Brady, proprietor of the blog Targuman. Check out the neat idea of Christian in declaring this International Biblical Studies Writing Month. What fun! Or, in other words: Get back to work!

And though he may think his carnival is ‘a mere morsel, a simple mutt jumping through a little girl’s hula-hoop with the little brother making arm-pit noises behind a sheet marked “Amazing Pig Boy” rather than a full-fledged carnival,’ we’re free to disagree and declare his a fine carnival!

Okay, so, get busy writing good stuff and start sending me nominations for the next carnival, or, by the showering stars of the Geminids, I swear I’ll make stuff up. I have a vivid imagination, too.