The New York Times has an interesting piece about a machine that was discovered in a Greek shipwreck.Â The device consisted of gears and dials and was used to calculate astronomical movements.Â The machine is dated to around the second century BCE.Â Some are calling it the world’s first computer.Â This is one more piece in a long string of evidence that shows that ancient peoples were very intelligent and had a very sophisticated society.Â For the abstract of the official report that appeared in Nature, click here.
I was flipping through John Van Seters’ new book from Eisenbrauns, The Edited Bible, and I noticed a box on one of the blank back pages.Â The box contained information concerning the environmental impact of printing The Edited Bible on 50% post consumer recycled paper.Â According to the information provided this decision saved: 9 trees, 3,726 gallons of water, 1,499 kilowatt hours of electricity, 411 pounds of solid waste, and 807 pounds of greenhouse gases.Â For more see the Green Press Initiative.
My guess is that the choice to print this book on recycled paper may have raised costs a bit and thus raised the final cost of the book as well.Â If this is correct, I am more than willing to pay a bit more in order to help preserve the environment.Â Good books on green paper–keep up the great work Eisenbrauns!
Ben Witherington has a nice post about his experience at the conferences in which he draws a parallel between the Society of Biblical Literature and the Cirque d’Soleil tent that was pitched right across the street from the convention center. I agree that the tent was very hard to miss and it was a quite ironic piece of symbolism.
Tyler Williams is now in the frozen north after his foray into the relatively tropical climate of DC. Like Tyler I also saw the new Bond flick with some friends and I think it’s the best one yet.
Kevin Wilson has some reflections upon the conference as well and he lists the books that he purchased. So, in this spirit, here are the books that I purchased with a conference discount:
- Shmuel Ahituv, Handbook of Ancient Inscriptions from Eretz Israel
- Horowitz and Oshima, Cuneiform in Canaan
- John Van Seters, The Edited Bible
- Rainey and Notely, The Sacred Bridge
- Miller and Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah, 2nd Edition
- John Goldingay, Old Testament Theology, Volume 2
- Christopher Wright, Knowing the Holy Spirit Through the Old Testament
- Christopher Wright, The Mission of God
- John Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament
- Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
- Allen P. Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory
- Brad Young, Meet the Rabbis
- Keel and Schroer, Creation (technically, I ordered this from last year’s conference, but the publication of this volume has been delayed so I hope to get it sometime in the Spring)
- Lawrence and Millard, The IVP Atlas of Bible History
Have you ever wanted to know more about ancient Egypt?Â The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago is offering a distance education class on ancient Egyptian architecture.Â Here is their promotional blurb about the class and if you want to register for it, click here (P.S. They have many other classes as well including hieroglyphics, the Nabateans, King Tut, and excavating Megiddo).
One of the greatest and most famous legacies of ancient Egyptian civilization is its architecture. Explore this rich legacy in an audiotape course that will trace the architectural history of ancient Egypt from the Early Dynastic Period to the Roman era. Listen at home, in the car, or on the go to discover the materials, tools, and techniques employed by the ancient engineers, the impact of changing technology on architectural forms, and how myth and ritual are reflected in the design of ancient Egyptian temples and tombs.
Offered in eight taped lessons over 16 weeks, the course also includes special slide presentations on the Oriental Institute website to show full-color views of ancient sites, artifacts from the Oriental Institute Museumâ€™s galleries, and photographs from the instructorâ€™s personal collection. Supplemental readings and optional assignments are also provided. Those who complete all course assignments will receive a certificate of course completion from the Oriental Institute.
Instructor: Emily Teeter, who holds a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago, is a Research Associate at the Oriental Institute. She is the author of numerous publications on ancient Egypt, including Ancient Egypt: Treasures from the Collection of the Oriental Institute, Egypt and the Egyptians (with Douglas Brewer), and Scarabs, Scaraboids, and Seals from Medinet Habu.
The course will begin on January 22, 2007 and end on May 14, 2007.
Registration deadline: January 10, 2007.
Fee: $295 OI members/$325 non-members
Pre-registration is required. Call 773-702-9507 to register.
I am taking a break from unpacking by reading a bit from my newly purchased 2nd edition of Shmuel Ahituv’s volume on ancient Semitic inscriptions in the Land of Israel. It is a very handy resource. There are other books on this topic, but this is the only one that provides a picture of the inscription (and if the picture is hard to read a hand copy is included), along with the inscription rendered in a modern Hebrew font, a vocalization of the inscription, and a short treatment of the text–all in the same page(s). KAI for instance has some of these features but provides them in separate volumes. If you are interested in ancient Semitic inscriptions, I recommend this volume. It provides a very convenient overview of the inscriptions and Ahituv’s vocalization is interesting to see also (of course you should not be locked into his interpretation as the only possible one, but instead as a good guide). This book is written in modern Hebrew, and if you don’t know modern Hebrew but would like to (and if you already know biblical Hebrew), you might want to check out Muraoka’s Modern Hebrew for Biblical Scholars. Modern Hebrew is a very valuable scholarly language for biblical studies and it should not be ignored alongside French and German.
Handbook of Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions
From the Period of the First Commonwealth and the Beginning of the Second Commonwealth (Hebrew, Philistine, Edomite, Moabite, Ammonite, and the Bileam Inscriptions)
Encyclopaedia Miqra’it Library – EML 21
by Shmuel Ahituv
480 pages with 400 illustrations,Hebrew
List Price: $65.00
Your Price: $39.00
Modern Hebrew for Biblical Scholars
An Annotated Chrestomathy with an Outline Grammar and a Glossary
by T. Muraoka
xlv + 183 pages,English
Your Price: $54.00
I am now back in Cincinnati after 5 days spent catching up with old friends, making new ones, and hearing presentations…I had a fantastic time at this year’s conferences. It really is an amazing thing that so many academics throughout the world participate in this yearly ritual. I hope that the rift that is forming between AAR and SBL will not diminish either organization nor the conferences that they support. More on my trip later, right now I need to unpack.
The Wall Street Journal ran a piece today concerning the websites that pastors use to get inspiration for a sermon or in some instances they just read off someone else’s entire sermon. Anyone who has been to seminary or has pastored has probably thought about these issues–while I was at seminary I definitely saw students and pastors “borrowing” from others. This “borrowing” ranged from using an idea for an introduction or illustration to a pastor paying seminary students to transcribe sermons that the pastor heard on the radio or internet so that the pastor could recite the entire sermon.
Several pastors mentioned in the WSJ piece, including the purpose-driven Rick Warren and my fellow Cincinnatian Steve Sjogren, have no problem with pastors preaching their sermons without citing them. Sjogren calls attribution “a waste of time” and Rick Warren states that this activity “is not plagiarism.” I believe that Mr. Warren has confused his understanding of the definition of plagiarism. If Mr. Warren gives consent to let others use his intellectual property without attribution, which he is well within his rights to do, then when pastors use Mr. Warren’s material without attribution they are not committing theft because they are respecting the author’s intended use. However, they are still committing plagiarism–it is just legal plagiarism. The Oxford American Dictionary gives this as the definition of plagiarism:
to take (the work or idea of someone else) and pass it off as one’s own
This brings us to the question of how deeply must one borrow from someone else in order to commit plagiarism. I believe, contra to Warren, that the same general rules apply in formal oral discourse as apply in written discourse. If the ideas and inspiration are general and broad enough to be considered part of the public domain then you might not need to cite someone. If an idea or situation helps as you structure your sermon then again, you might not have to cite someone. But, if we are talking about particular phraseology, or information that you would not know off the top of your head or that you did not generate through your own research, you probably should cite your source.
Furthermore, it is a very different situation when one uses an idea for an introduction versus using a majority of someone else’s sermon (in the WSJ piece Ed Young states that the people that he “gets inspiration from” take 70% of their material from other people’s sermons). The question really is, have you worked with the material at hand enough to make it your own. If you are just cutting and pasting this is plagiarism.
This brings us to the question of why pastors should credit sources at all. As Warren and Sjogren propose, why not let the “experts” generate the sermons while the rest of the pastors just read them off on Sunday morning? This my friends will be the subject of an another post, but feel free to leave your comments regarding these issues.
James Spinti has had some good posts lately on Idle Musings of a Bookseller.Â James points us to a test version of a new look for the Eisenbrauns site (I really like it and it is compatible with my Safari and Firefox browsers for my Mac).Â He also has a nice review of the New Interpreter’s Dictionary.Â It will be a tall order to replace the Anchor Bible Dictionary, but I will reserve judgment until I see it, but it is odd that the bibliography is only in English.Â They certainly won’t be the definitive dictionary if they don’t offer a more comprehensive scope and bibliography.
According to a Wall Street Journal piece today [paid subscription required], poorly constructed PowerPoint presentations waste so much of the audiences’ time that $252,000,000 is flushed down the drain–per day. So, how are you and I going to stop this “giant sucking sound” from wasting our students’ time?
- Don’t write your whole presentation on the slides. If you want your audience to read your slide then email it to them and don’t require them to come to class.
- Only put information to help students follow the flow of class and keep up with the topics being discussed. This is the main point of PowerPoint.
- Put information on a slide that you think is particularly important or that you want to stress. Other information doesn’t belong there.
- Use slides for emotional impact. The reason people come hear you in person rather than over teleconference or read you in print is to experience the “intangibles” of human to human contact. Facilitate this through your use of PowerPoint.
- PowerPoint is not for conveying data–this is what handouts are for.
- Display pictures, charts, graphs, and emotive words and phrases–not text.
I hope these tidbits help. If we tighten up our presentations we can help save $252,000,000 a day!
Do you have any helpful hints?