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John William Wevers’s Notes on the Greek Text… Coming to Logos

November 23, 2014

Wevers Notes on Greek Text

 

The best (only?) complete set of books on the Greek Pentateuch is now up on Pre-Pub through Logos Bible Software: John William Wevers’s Notes on the Greek Text.

The Society of Biblical Literature’s book page has a helpful write-up of the Deuteronomy volume, which gives a sense of what this series is about:

Wevers [spent] most of his adult life studying the Septuagint, the last thirty years being devoted to the Pentateuch. The author considers the Greek text to be the first commentary on the Pentateuch ever written (in the third century B.C.E.) and not merely a collection for emendations of the Hebrew text. The work focuses on how the translator accomplished his task and on the vocabulary and syntax of the resulting text, rather than on either scholarly opinions on the text or how interpreters subsequently used the text. The Notes are intended for students who would like to use the Greek intelligently but are not specialists in Hellenistic Greek or LXX studies.

You can find the 5-volume set on pre-pub at Logos here. Wevers also wrote valuable LXX-Pentateuch text histories, which are available free online in .pdf form, detailed here.

Feel Young Again with Copeland: Album Review of Ixora

November 22, 2014

Copeland Band Image

 

Listening to Copeland’s new album Ixora, you wonder if Aaron Marsh is making a promise to you. It has been six years, after all, since the re-united band’s last album, You Are My Sunshine.

I can make you feel young again
I can make you feel nothing at all for the years
that led you here.
Now all your tears that have fallen will never show.
I can make you feel young again.

I felt young(er) as soon as Copeland announced their reunion. The last time I saw them in concert was three children ago. Yet their first released single, “Ordinary,” speaks of embracing the mundaneness and routines that come with growing older:

Since you came along my days are ordinary.
We laugh just like yesterday,
and I kiss you like the day before,
and I hold you just like ordinary.
Perhaps when the day is new,
we’ll find tomorrow is just ordinary too.

That track is all swoony vocals and Marsh’s delicate piano playing. The band tantalizingly released a video clip of them rocking out in the studio, paired with the audio of the reflective “Ordinary.”

Then came “Disjointed,” a second single. It’s got the more familiar feel of Copeland’s Eat, Sleep, Repeat, and the band feels totally on their game here. On Ixora it’s track 2 after the gentle opener of “Have I Always Loved You?” It’s Copeland at their best–electric guitars, hypnotically beautiful piano, strings, tight bass, and drums with carefully produced tone.

By the time the band released the third track, “Erase,” I felt again like the teenager who used to wait impatiently for new albums that were sure to alter the course of my destiny forever:

 

 

Everything about “Erase” is perfect. The build, the band entrance, the string swells, the groove, the production. It is one of the best five Copeland songs ever. “Ever I was searching, endless all these days,” Marsh croons in his sweet falsetto. Even if you’re too tired to feel young again, you’ll yearn with Marsh for days “you can’t erase.”

By the time I came to the full album, I might have been hoping for too much. My first few listens left me wanting more of the transcendent moments of “Erase” and “Disjointed,” and less of the production decisions that led to the lead guitar tone at 0:34 of “I Can Make You Feel Young Again.” It calls to mind the first guitar notes of Sarah McLachlan’s “Sweet Surrender” much more than anything you’d expect from Copeland. (Though I do love “Sweet Surrender.”) The song “Lavender” felt more like it could have been a Peter Gabriel cover on Copeland’s Know Nothing Stays the Same. And “Chiromancer” has been for me the rarest of Copeland tracks that I’m likely to skip on future listens.

Ixora Cover ArtBut maybe those are just the kind of inevitable “ordinary” moments that Marsh sings about. Ixora has grown on me, after all, even as an unremarkable daily routine can become comforting.

And there are other standout tracks besides “Erase” and “Disjointed.” What I really love about the opening track, “Have I Always Loved You?”, is that the band eases in, instrument-by-instrument, as if they’re coming back from behind the stage one-by-one to play an encore an adoring audience didn’t think they’d actually get.

Is this Copeland’s best album to date? I still think Eat, Sleep, Repeat holds that title. Ixora has some of the unevenness that I thought characterized You Are My Sunshine, but this album holds together better. And I will probably listen to it another 20 times next week, too.

Copeland is an inspiring band; they bring the listener up with them into moments of transcendence in a way that few other bands in their genre do. I’m thrilled that they’re back together, and hope that Ixora is just the beginning of many more Copeland albums to come.   8.5/10.

 


 

You can get Ixora on iTunes and Amazon this coming Tuesday. Thanks to Big Picture Media for the pre-release stream so I could review the album before my iTunes pre-order arrives.

You can stream also stream Copeland’s Ixora on Spotify here:

 

 

Review of Anker 10W Home and Travel Wall Charger

November 21, 2014
Anker Plug

Anker 10W (2A) Home and Travel USB Wall Charger

 

I’ve been testing and using a fast, reliable, and highly portable wall charger from Anker lately: the Anker 10W (2A) Home and Travel USB Wall Charger.

Any USB cable connects to it, so you can charge your iPhone (of any generation), iPad, Samsung, etc.

Here are a few things I like about it:

  • It charges a device quickly
  • It doesn’t get hot when plugged in (one of my Apple chargers does)
  • The prongs fold in–especially useful for travel or putting it in a pocket
  • It’s compact and lightweight (under two ounces)
  • Sleek and simple design
  • There’s an 18-month warranty

I haven’t found anything so far that’s not to like. The wall charger seems built well and looks to last a long time. It’s $7.99 at Amazon.

It’s especially suited and recommended for those who travel often, and need a charger that is quick and easy to pack up.

 

Thanks to Anker for the review sample, offered for my honest impressions. The case reviewed above can be found at Amazon here.

Coming Soon: Greek Psalms in a Year

November 20, 2014
LXX Psalm 1

LXX Psalm 1

It’s funny–I was just thinking the other day about how much I missed Greek Isaiah in a Year. More than 200 of us read through the Septuagint text of Isaiah in a year, roughly five verses a day. Both the readings and the discussion were rich.

I didn’t do anything like that this past year, though the Greek Isaiah in a Year Facebook group I’d created stayed active, as folks went after it a second time.

Just this afternoon I learned that Russell Beatty, a member of the Greek Isaiah group, has started a Greek Psalms in a Year group, to launch January 1, 2015.

That group is on Facebook, and you can see the well laid out reading plan here.

I preached through some Psalms this past summer, which greatly deepened my love for that book of the Bible.

I can’t wait to get started–feel free to contact me or request to join the Facebook group if you’d like to read along with us.

SBL/AAR 2014: The Best Exhibitor Discounts

November 18, 2014

sblThe Annual Meeting for the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion is this week: November 22-25.

I’m not going, but if I were, here are the three exhibitor booths I would head to first:

 

EISENBRAUNS and CARTA JERUSALEM (Booth #814)

 

Front CoverI love Eisenbrauns’s books. Look especially for this deal.

And Carta is fast becoming one of my favorite publishers. At the very least, treat yourself to a look inside Carta’s magnificent Sacred Bridge (or see some images here). Carta will be featuring new titles like Understanding Biblical Archaeology (by Paul Wright) and Understanding the Alphabet of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

ACCORDANCE BIBLE SOFTWARE (Booth #549, #328 at ETS)

 

Acc 11_Simply Brilliant_logoYou can see Accordance 11 for yourself. Check out their booth for some even-better-than-usual conference discounts this year, as well as some new releases.

More specifically, at SBL/AAR (and ETS) you’ll find:

  • 20% discount on general purchases
  • New N.T. Wright modules
  • 50% off the Essential Collection (for new users only, have to show a conference badge), which is a deal I can’t recommend highly enough
  • Anchor Bible Commentary (86 volumes) for $1099

 

FORTRESS PRESS (Booths #734 and #735)

 

DBWE17You can get the whole 17-volume set of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works at a discounted price ($564; regular price is $940), which includes a free copy of Interpreting Bonhoeffer (a good book). See my look inside the brand-new DBWE 17.

Fortress has just released The Fortress Commentary on the Bible, which they’re offering at the special conference rate of $78 (regular price is $120).

There’s a 30% general discount, too, with some deeper discounts on ebooks. All of what Fortress has to offer (including sessions) is here.

 

Really Cheap Ebooks (Whether You’re At the Conference or Not)

 

Whether you’re at the conference or not, here are three collections of really low-priced ebooks.

Happy book-hunting!

 

UPDATE: I nearly forgot to mention again that the BHS Reader’s Hebrew Bible is 50% off at Hendrickson’s booth. More here.

Two More Greek Gems from †Rod Decker

November 17, 2014
Rod Decker on Mark

Long awaited

 

Before Prof. Rodney Decker passed, he finished writing his Koine Greek Grammar, with which I’m already impressed–having just begun working through the Appendixes!

One other last (and sure-to-be lasting) contribution to the world of Greek readers is his two-volume commentary on the Greek text of Mark, from Baylor University Press. It is part of the Baylor Handbook on the Greek Text, which I’ve reviewed (Luke) here.

The two-volume set came in the mail today, courtesy of Baylor. Decker’s Koine Greek Reader is the best resource of its kind. His scholarship was always careful and engaging. These Baylor books–about which I will post again in the future–look like about the first thing you’d want to have by your side when reading through Mark.

You can find the books here.

Words on the Word Cited in Brill Book on Digital Humanities

November 16, 2014

You Google yourself about every three months, too, right?

To my surprise, a few months ago I found that Words on the Word had been quoted in a Brill book about digital humanities in biblical studies. (Apparently “digital humanities” is an academic field in which this blog participates.)

Here is one of the citations:

WotW in Brill

 

Brill Digital HumanitiesThe book is called Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish and Early Christian Studies, edited by Claire Clivaz, Andrew Gregory, and David Hamidović. Words on the Word makes its appearance in the chapter called “The Seventy and Their 21st-Century Heirs. The Prospects for Digital Septuagint Research.”

The footnote in the image above cites this primer I wrote on the Göttingen Septuagint; part 2 of the primer also receives mention.

Here is the publisher’s description of the book:

Ancient texts, once written by hand on parchment and papyrus, are now increasingly discoverable online in newly digitized editions, and their readers now work online as well as in traditional libraries. So what does this mean for how scholars may now engage with these texts, and for how the disciplines of biblical, Jewish and Christian studies might develop? These are the questions that contributors to this volume address. Subjects discussed include textual criticism, palaeography, philology, the nature of ancient monotheism, and how new tools and resources such as blogs, wikis, databases and digital publications may transform the ways in which contemporary scholars engage with historical sources. Contributors attest to the emergence of a conscious recognition of something new in the way that we may now study ancient writings, and the possibilities that this new awareness raises.

You can find the book at Brill here and here at Amazon. Looks fun! But, of course, now I’m biased.

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