What did the ‘Bible’s Buried Secrets’ Unearth?

Last Wednesday saw the first of three programmes, ‘The Bible’s Buried Secrets’, in which Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou of Exeter University looked at what archaeology tells us about the Old Testament. This first episode explored whether there was evidence for King David’s ’empire.’

What did we learn?

1. Subjective Bible versus Objective History?
From the opening, Stavrakopoulou and other commentators

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Esther: for such a time as this

I am working with Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible. The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.

Here are the key verses and summary for the story of Esther (‘For such a time as this’), to be broadcast this Sunday 20th Mar from around 8.20 am:

Summary

How do you respond to experiencing a narrow escape from certain disaster? Perhaps the only thing to do is to look back and laugh—and this is what the book of Esther does. Another really surprising inclusion in the Bible, it is quite different from anything else we find in it.

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Great commentary on Ephesians

There is a very good, detailed survey of commentaries, published Biblical Studies Bulletin (which is sent to subscribers to the Grove Biblical series) and available online here. We did a full survey of commentaries on Ephesians some time ago in 1999, and updated it in 2004. Since then Ben Witherington has contributed a volume (on his way to writing commentaries on all the books of the New Testament) and I would strongly recommend anyone adding it to their ‘must buy’ list. It combines comment on Philemon, Colossians and Ephesians as three ‘captivity’ epistles directed at an Asian audience.

Witherington is well known for his use of ‘socio-rhetorical’ criticism, and whilst not all are persuaded of its value, I think it is a very significant approach, particularly for those interested in the application of scholarship in a ministry context. Since this approach focuses on the original impact of the forms of language we have before us, it bridges the divide between ‘historical’ and ‘literary’ approaches to text, and potentially offers a disciplined way of engaging with the formational power of the text.

Men and women in Ephesians 5

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 pages! Due out later this month. I am aiming to cover Gen 1, Gen 2 and 3, Luke 24, John 20, Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Cor 111 Cor  14, Eph 5 and 1 Tim 2.

Here is the (short) section on Ephesians 5.18–6.9.

Ephesians 5–6.9 sets out the contrast that arises from our being ‘imitators of God’ (5.1), with the characteristics of the ‘works of darkness’ (5.11) listed in the first half,

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How to upgrade the hard drive on your MacBook

It is very likely that, if you are using a Mac, the machine will outlast your drive. I had a 250GB hard drive a year ago, and it is fairly full, so I decided to upgrade to a 1 TB. A full disk is usually the number 1 reason for the dreaded spinning ball or generally slower performance on your Mac.

But help is at hand; fitting a bigger hard drive is really easy.

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Transforming encounters: John’s gospel

I am working with Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible. The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.

Here are the key verses and summary for the story of the Gospel of John (‘Transforming Encounters’), to be broadcast this Sunday 13th March from around 8.20 am:

Verses: John 8.3–11

They brought in a woman caught in adultery and made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

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Gender in Genesis part (ii)

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 pages! Due out later this month. I am aiming to cover Gen 1, 2 and 3, Luke 24, John 20, Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Cor 111 Cor  14, Eph 5 and 1 Tim 2.

My colleague David Firth has kindly offered to contribute the section on Genesis 2.4–25:

It is apparent that we have a parallel creation passage here. Although there are

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How to extract YouTube video clips

There is a lot of interesting material on YouTube these days, since it has moved on from being the home of dodgy student home videos to being the near-universal place for all sorts of video material. (See St John’s theology stream here.)

But how can I use these clips in a church or teaching context? If you have reliable internet access where you want to use it, the simplest thing is probably to play the clip from YouTube direct. But what if this is not possible? Or you want to keep the video clip for the longer term?

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Can women be pioneering church planters?

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 pages! Due out later this month. I am aiming to cover Gen 1, 2, 3, Luke 24, John 20, Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Cor 111 Cor  14, Eph 5 and 1 Tim 2.

Here is the section on Acts 18.

This passage relates Paul’s first visit to Corinth and the establishment of a congregation there, followed by his first visit to Ephesus. His partners in ministry are named as Priscilla and Aquila, believing Jews with Latin names who have come from Rome following the Emperor Claudius’ edict expelling the Jews. There are some uncertainties around the dating of this edict, and whether Acts matches other contemporary accounts. But the most likely dating for the edict is 49 AD, so Paul’s visit should be dated to around 50, since Priscilla and Aquila had arrived in Corinth ‘recently’.[1] The passage is rather compressed, giving a briefer account of Paul’s 18-

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Giving it up for God: Leviticus

I am working with Sarah Julian and Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible. The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.

Here are the key verses and summary for the story of Leviticus (‘Giving it up for God’), to be broadcast this Sunday 6th March from around 8.20 am:

Verses: from Leviticus 19
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.

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