July 23, 2021

First, although not specifically about the Bible and music, music in Christian worship is a major focus in this upcoming event, a four day virtual revival that begins July 27th. Very Rev. Kim Coleman writes about this retreat, “History buffs will enjoy learning about the original Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Collection of African American Spirituals and Other Songs that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and was the precursor to the Lift Every Voice and Sing II hymnal many Episcopal… Read more

July 20, 2021

I’m grateful to Brandon Hawk and to Rockridge Press for a review copy of Hawk’s new book, Apocrypha for Beginners: A Guide to Understanding and Exploring Scriptures Beyond the Bible. The book does something important that no other book does in a comparable way, namely offering a succinct, affordable overview of the range of texts that can be categorized as “biblical apocrypha” in the broad sense. The book includes the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical works proper, making clear that what is in that category… Read more

July 13, 2021

Those who have read my book What Jesus Learned From Women and/or have heard some of my recent presentations about Mandaeism (or Gnosticism more generally) will be aware of something that has come to the fore across several of my (otherwise seemingly unrelated) research areas. We focus on the Jewish context of early Christianity more than on its broader Roman context, and appropriately so. However, the broader heritage of Israel is generally neglected or mentioned only in passing when the Samaritans come… Read more

July 7, 2021

Time for some more biblical music for your enjoyment. Listening to a symphony by George Walker recommended by YouTube led me to his two Psalm settings. Here is “O Praise The Lord” (Psalm 117): Here is his setting of Psalm 96: Also listen to his violin sonata. For another Psalm setting, here is Herbert Fromm’s “Grant Us Peace”: For more biblical music, here is one of R. Nathaniel Dett’s Bible Vignettes, “Other Sheep”: Igor Stravinsky composed a work called Babel… Read more

July 2, 2021

This post relates to the book project that I’ve taken the first steps towards working on as a major focus the academic year after next, on the historical figure of John the Baptist. There is a longstanding puzzle I’ve wrestled with, and recently had some ideas about, and having put them in writing in an email for someone who was interested in the topic, I thought I would also share them here. The Mandaeans use the term Nasoreans (Mandaic nasurai)… Read more

June 30, 2021

There was enough blogging about Revelation recently to merit a blog post collecting them for convenience of blog readers. Four Tips for Reading the Book of Revelation (Guest: Dr. David deSilva) Why My Book on Revelation Has Been Different To Write Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars: Guffey, The Book of Revelation There is no actual connection between this and Revelation, but there is an imaginary one: Christian Man Sues Employer, Saying Getting Fingerprinted Violates His Faith     Read more

June 24, 2021

The lectionary reading for this coming Sunday is one that I devote a chapter to in my book What Jesus Learned from Women. If you’re a minister still trying to figure out what to preach this Sunday, I commend it to you. Indeed, I’d like to hear from anyone who uses my book (whether an individual chapter or the whole thing as a sermon series) for the purpose of preaching. I could see it being helpful, and can even imagine preachers… Read more

June 23, 2021

This call for papers came to my attention and seemed worth sharing: Religious Futurisms: A Call for Papers We are pleased to announce a call for papers for a forthcoming collection of essays on the broad topic of Religious Futurisms, to be edited by Sumeyra Buran Utku and Jim Clarke. Religious Futurisms derives its intellectual inspiration from the emergence of Afrofuturism and other Alternative Futurisms as ideological and analytical frameworks in recent years. Religious Futurisms can manifest as ideology, criticality,… Read more

June 22, 2021

As I shared on Facebook yesterday, an article I wrote for The Conversation about the Mandaeans has now been published. It is a real privilege to be able to study the texts and traditions of this fascinating community, and to count some of their number among my friends. Mandaean Artist Yuhana Nashmi has brought together 100 stories in a new book that will launch later this month: 100 Souls 100 Stories 100 Tiles. I had the privilege of meeting Yuhana when… Read more

June 16, 2021

When people are asked what distinguishes a robot from a human being, they will often point to the potential of the latter to act freely, and thus to surprise you. And yet human beings – at least when considered in larger groups – act in ways that are repetitive, traditional, and thus often predictable. For this reason, when it comes to the question of how historic human religious traditions will respond if artificial intelligence in the fullest sense is developed,… Read more

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