September 28, 2022

I have been reading Francis Watson’s recent book What Is a Gospel? (not least because I will be giving a talk in Durham University’s New Testament Seminar on October 24th, but also because Eerdmans kindly sent me a review copy). The book is rich with insights and suggestions that are bound to move discussion forward not only on the subject of the genre of the Gospels, but also on related subjects like the Synoptic problem and the relation between canonical and... Read more

September 26, 2022

There is an exciting new Global Faith And Media Study that has been released, gathering perspectives from journalists and the public all over the world in order to assess the current situation when it comes to reporting on religion. As I began to take a look at the data, as well as the public-facing summary of it in infographic form, I immediately experienced two different reactions. On the one hand, my worst fears about trends in journalism and media coverage... Read more

September 21, 2022

I had the opportunity to read Doug Cowan’s latest book The Forbidden Body before it was published, and just recently participated in a recorded Zoom conversation with him and other academics who share our interest in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and religion. Cowan’s book is marvelous – often disturbing and shocking, but it is about sex and horror and so that could not be otherwise. As someone for whom horror is the genre of popular culture in which I’ve had the... Read more

September 19, 2022

I watched the Queen’s funeral live this morning. In addition to having lived in the UK for many years and being about to live there again for a few months, and in addition to simply wanting to be part of this historic moment, I also have a great love of modern British music and a strong interest in how the Bible is interpreted through music (the focus of an open textbook I have written that will be published soon). When... Read more

September 19, 2022

As the school year begins, parents and educators are thinking about students shifting gears from the things they’ve spent their summer doing to what they’ll need to do to succeed in their classes. Many may be fretting  that students have been playing video games all summer, and wondering what effect this will have on their ability to concentrate and focus. Instead of wringing our hands, I suggest that video games provide reason to be cautiously optimistic. Whether playing something as... Read more

September 15, 2022

Recent years have seen a lot of firsts for me, publishing my first short story followed quickly by several others, including in subgenres ranging from flash fiction through to novelette. Now I’ve had my first poem published, assuming that posting them on my blog doesn’t count (nor anything that appeared in an elementary school creation). I have dabbled in poetry from time to time, and of course have written song lyrics, but it was the theme proposed for Volume 6... Read more

September 13, 2022

Great news from the Society of Biblical Literature! I suspect that every New Testament scholar is aware of and has benefited from things that were published in the SBL Seminar Papers – and that I am not the only one who has at times wished that some of the volumes were more readily available or accessible. Well, now they’ve been digitized! Dear Colleague, Each November from 1971 through 2003 the Society of Biblical Literature published a collection of papers that... Read more

September 9, 2022

A Palestinian-American comedian tweeted and then shared on Facebook this statement: “Elizabeth was a pious Palestinian woman who lived in Ein Karem, a village south of Jerusalem. She was the mother of John the Baptist, a Palestinian. And the cousin of Mary and Jesus, also Palestinians. Subsequently, some white people named their queens after her.” Before proceeding, let me mention that Palestinian did indeed have an equivalent in that era as a geographic term, Philistine Syria, that part of the region... Read more

September 8, 2022

I heard the news of the death of the longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II, as I had been thinking about my upcoming trip to England, and reminiscing on the many years I spent their previously as a student. During my undergraduate days I was in close connection with conservative Evangelicals (although the vast majority of British conservative Evangelicals, with some exceptions to be sure, are nowhere near as extreme as their counterparts in the United States).... Read more

September 1, 2022

Qumran was the first major stop on this trip that I had been to on every single visit to the Holy Land. Even so, driving a rental car rather than either participating in a tour or leading a group of students meant that I could do things that I had not done before, such as hiking. I did not venture as far as it is possible to go, but am glad I explored the hiking trail at least somewhat. The... Read more

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