Friday, June 26, 2020

Origen and the Hexapla: the Text & Canon Institute Interviews Dr. Peter Gentry

Several months ago, I and Peter Gurry had the chance to sit down and talk with Peter Gentry about Origen as philologist, his Hexapla, and the Text & Canon Institute’s upcoming colloquium (now rescheduled for March 11–12, 2021). In just over 20 minutes we touch on Origen, his great scholarly editions (the Hexapla and the Tetrapla), and also modern efforts to reconstruct the remains of Origen’s work. Also, I’m told I’m quite distracting in the video (but in a good way!). So enjoy that at least :).

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Summer sale on To Cast the First Stone

Summer sale until 28 June on my and Jennifer Knust's book To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story – 50% discount and free shipping worldwide (!) with code PUP50 at checkout. Paperback here for $14.98 and hardback here for $22.50.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bibliographie Papyrologique online

The good folk at the Bibliographie Papyrologique - an historic resource for bibliographical resources in papyrology (as one might expect from the name!) - have recently announced an up-date. The free online resource runs a year behind the paid subscription service, but has over 50,000 items in the database. A quick search for P. Bodmer II (i.e. P66) came up with 64 items (including extensive lists of book reviews tagged with books and lots of articles) – and the whole list is downloadable. 

So that is a great resource for people to be aware of and use responsibly.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Ward: A Rising Tide Sinks All Boats: The Legacy Standard Bible and Stewarding the Church’s Trust


The following guest post is from Mark Ward (PhD, Bob Jones University), who serves the church as an academic editor at Lexham Press (though his opinions in this piece are solely his own). His most recent book is Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible, and he produced a Faithlife infotainment documentary by the same title.

It’s time for someone to stand athwart American Christianity and yell “STOP!”—to anyone planning yet another “centrist” English Bible translation. By “centrist” I mean versions designed to be used by actual churches rather than for specialized study purposes.

Making a new “centrist” translation is precisely what a man I greatly respect and love, Dr. John MacArthur, is doing with his recently announced Legacy Standard Bible; and yet I must stick to my guns. Nerf guns. I am not shooting to kill or even to wound but to dissuade: faithful are the foam darts of a friend. And I don’t care to fire even these at Dr. MacArthur in particular; my words apply to all evangelical institutions who might now be planning their own centrist English Bibles. MacArthur is simply the most recent, so he has the privilege of occasioning this piece.

MacArthur has long used the 1995 New American Standard Bible in his world-famous teaching ministry. Its reputation fits his well: both are focused on a careful, literal approach to Bible interpretation. And of these things I have no complaint. But as the NASB branches into a 2020 revision (while promising to continue to print the 1995 edition), MacArthur is branching off in a different direction. One Bible translation (the NASB) is becoming three (NASB95, NASB20, and LSB) in a very short space. ETC has already announced this, but I’ve been invited to subject the LSB decision to some of my foam darts.

Different kinds of English Bible translations

I’m actually a big fan of English Bibles, plural. When someone asks me, “Which is the best Bible version?” I answer with sincerity, “All the good ones.”

I use multiple Bible translations all the time in Bible study, because the ones I use have staked out usefully different spots on the continuum between formal and functional. You’ve seen that continuum in the standard diagram:

Translation chart

The “centrist” translations are the ones that go from about the NASB on the left to the NIV on the right. These are the translations that in my unscientific experience actually get used as the main translation in doctrinally sound evangelical churches. (I could be generous and include the NLT, too.)

Any further toward the left than the NASB and you cross into translations that are designed to be Bible study tools for those who know the original languages (the NASB itself is also often used this way). My own employer’s Lexham English Bible, born as a set of interlinear glosses, is an example. I see room for more translations that are hyper-literal like the LEB, because no one sees them as competing with the centrist ones to be used in churches. They are tools for study.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Optimal Substemmata Now Available for Acts

Just today I noticed that the CBGM for Acts has added substemmata to its repertoire. This is really exciting. When I produced the portion of the global stemma for the Catholic Letters in my thesis, Klaus Wachtel had to personally provide me substemmata using software on a very old Mac. And the data were not publicly available. The ability to do this online means that, using my faster approach explained here (pp. 167–168) and here (p. 102), one could probably put together a global stemma for Acts without too much trouble. I should say that I can’t find any documentation on the CBGM site for this new feature. If anyone has more details about it, please let me know.