Miscellaneous, Random

Memory or something else?

When I think of certain scholars, such as Jacob Neusner, Thomas Schreiner, Darrell Bock, N. T. Wright, et al, one thing always comes to mind–how do they write so much?? Seriously, one look at Neusner’s published bibliography is enough to make many scholars retreat to a corner sucking their thumbs while quietly weeping. To be serious, though, how do they do it? I figure it’s a rare blend of tremendous memory recall and an above-average ability to sit and write for long periods of time, but surely there is more to it than these factors (granted these would account for most of it).

As I have comprehensive exams a couple of months away (which will require lots of sitting and writing) and a dissertation to follow, I wish I could say I can write like these men; however, I can’t–not even close. I’m sure these (and others) have developed their abilities over their many years of research and writing, so I have no delusions that I could somehow develop such abilities, either in the near or distant future. Nevertheless, I would like to get better, more efficient when it comes to writing. I would love to hear what some of you do to to maximize your writing time. Thanks in advance!

Αυτω η δοξα

Books, Miscellaneous, Seminary

My New Study Aid

For my birthday last week, I received gifts that were nothing if not practical. For me, this is a good thing. The older I get, the more the things I want need to be of some use. In addition to clothes, accessories, and funds (!), I got something I’ve wanted for some time–a book stand! More specifically, it’s a Witzem Rosemary Book Stand and it’s a big one–it measures at practically 2′ x 1′–it’s huge!

Photo Mar 17, 10 41 06 PM

To give you an idea of the size, the pictures below feature BDAG, which is a behemoth of a book, and BDAG alongside BDF. How’s that for space?!

Photo Mar 17, 10 40 52 PMPhoto Mar 17, 10 41 46 PM

The size was part of the reason I wanted this particular one–it would have to be large enough to accommodate two books. I mean seriously, I never only have one resource open at a time, so this was a must. In addition to the size, a bookstand simply must keep the book open. I’m one who would never crack a book’s spine just so it will stay open, so this book stand appealed to me because it sports four flexible arms that swivel and can the pages at any point.  The stand itself is adjustable, so if I wanted to lay a book at a different angle, I could do so easily.

It has been a frustration of mine for many years that there was no good way to have multiples books open at once for easy reference. Now, I can at least have two open and know that the pages will stay put and I can refer to them easily while typing. Maybe I should get another?

Αυτω η δοξα

Biblical Studies, Miscellaneous

Random Apocryphal Verse of the Day

Just for fun, I thought I’d see what verse/text I could find by opening J. K Elliott’s The Apocryphal New Testament to a random page and randomly selecting a text to share. There are some real gems in this book, so there’s no telling what will come up. Could be inspirational, could be revolting–there’s only one way to find out!

And the randomly chosen text is….from The Arabic Infancy Gospel, 40. The texts reads (at the end of the section)

The Lord Jesus therefore said, ‘Come, boys, let us go and play.’ And immediately, while these women were standing by, the kids were changed into boys.

The dating of this texts probably goes back to the fifth-sixth century and is reminiscent of The Gospel of Thomas. Like many texts, this one makes little sense without context. The kids here are not children–they are goats. So, what we have is Jesus transforming kids, i.e., young goats, into people. Now that’s quite a feat! Ah apocryphal works–you never cease to entertain!

Αυτω η δοξα




Things that Fascinate Me

Just a random thought for a post–a few subjects that fascinate me.

In no particular order:

  1. Greco-Roman mythology – This is a more recent development, primarily because of my research interests over the last couple of years. While mythology encompasses a great deal, my primary interests have been mythological monsters/creatures, the underworld, and religion–quite a trinity, eh?
  2. Imperial Rome – There is also plenty of mythology bound up in the study of Imperial Rome! My interests here are less on the mythological side; I enjoy reading and learning about the mystique and personas of the emperors. Yes, some of them were terrible people and committed acts that are grotesque and barbarous to modern minds (probably too for those who were the recipients of their deeds), but other aspects of their lives and influence are quite interesting. I suppose that’s why empire criticism has also been a subject on which I’ve been reading in recent years.
  3. Sasquatch, or Bigfoot – I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve always been fascinated by this legendary creature. I would trace it partly to my childhood when my uncle showed me the movie The Legend of Boggy Creek. Even now I still love that movie, bad as it may be. I have seen/currently watch also every episode of Finding Bigfoot, as well as practically every documentary ever televised on the subject. Do I believe sasquatches exist? Possibly, though without conclusive videographic, biological, and/or other compelling evidence, I’ll remain undecided.
  4. The assassination of JFK – Again, I’m not sure what’s so compelling about this, but I have been intrigued by this tragedy for many years. We were recently downtown and walked over to Dealey Plaza where the whole tragic event sequence unfolded. It was quite eerie to be sure, seeing the window from which Oswald fired his rifle, the yellow X on the street marking where Kennedy was struck, and the grassy knoll where the alleged second gunman was situated. I’m not one given to conspiracies, but I find the various theories swirling about this event fascinating (awkwardly discussed in this scene from Slacker). For the record, I don’t believe Oswald acted alone–there had to be a second gunman.
  5. 9/11 – This one is perhaps the most explicable–it was an event that happened in my lifetime, in adulthood no less. Like so many, I remember where I was and what I was doing when the news of what happened arrived. Every year I look forward to the deluge of 9/11 programs on TV. My fascination is not consumed with the conspiracies–I don’t believe it was inside job–but with the whole story. I should also say that my fascination with 9/11 is not some morbid enjoyment of watching those images and the utter dismay that came in the wake of that day–it was a horror, a tragedy. I suppose my interest in it is more contemplative, though I can’t quite explain it.
  6. Atomic weaponry  – Perhaps the most terrifying possibility that became a reality was the creation of atomic weapons. Like 9/11 and JFK’s assassination, my curiosity here is one filtered through the lens of historical observation and study. I suppose that atomic weaponry was inevitable, but it is one fruit of scientific advancement that most probably wish had never been discovered.
  7. The Mafia – I know, a trend is becoming apparent–I am intrigued by things of a less than savory nature! Like other subjects in this list, I can’t explain this one. I suppose part of my curiosity with organized crime centers on how a comparatively small group of immigrants grew into an organization that wielded unimaginable authority and control over society. I love the movies, the biographies and documentaries, and books about the mafia, particularly the obvious GoodfellasThe Sopranos, and The Godfather.

So, those are a few things that fascinate me. What about you–what plucks your strings of curiosity?

Αυτω η δοξα

Books, Miscellaneous

Long Book Titles

As I’ve refined the tentative title of my dissertation a few times, it has remained thus far fairly manageable. Some of my fellow doctoral students, however, have had to trim theirs down considerably. Longer titles are commonplace in academic writing, but it seems that several generations ago there was a tendency, at least with some, to disambiguate to death their subject matter with the title. Take a look at this doozy!

The Apostolical Authority of the Epistle to the Hebrews: An Inquiry, in which the Received Title of the Greek Epistle is Vindicated, against the Cavils of Objectors, Ancient and Modern, from Origen to Sir J. D. Michaëlis, Chiefly upon Grounds of Internal Evidence Hitherto Unnoticed: Comprising a Comparative Analysis of the Style and Structure of this Epistle, and of the Undisputed Epistles of St. Paul, Tending to Throw Light upon Their Interpretation.

Rattle this off to the kids at story time and they’ll be counting sheep before the first semicolon!

Αυτω η δοξα


Packaging is Important

As the ever-wise George Costanza rightly noted, important things go in a case! The implication here is that things that are important need to be protected from the outside, especially items that are in transit.

The other day we ordered some new salt and pepper shakers and they arrived yesterday. The shakers were made of glass, so naturally we expected protective packaging for their journey to our home. But Amazon went above and beyond to ensure their safe arrival!

20150113_231650337_iOSThe shakers were (obviously!) in the smaller box, nicely wrapped in cellophane to keep them nice and snug. The larger box was filled with those air-filled plastic pouches to provide suitable shock absorption for the ride.

20150113_231710854_iOSOne thing is for sure–I can’t fault Amazon for being too careful!

Αυτω η δοξα


Custom Packaging

Thankfully, when it comes to ordering things online (which we do a lot!), we rarely have issues with packaging (there was one exception a few years ago). The other day I ordered a replacement key for my laptop. Being such a small item, I figured it would arrive in a small padded envelope. It didn’t–it arrived in a standard letter envelope. But the mailer was nice enough to provide some custom packaging to ensure the key’s safe transport and arrival.

Photo Dec 15, 11 26 37 AMYes, that is a piece of paper towel affixed to the invoice with box tape. What’s more is that I paid for shipping! It wasn’t much, but it was more than the cost of a stamp, which is surely all this small key required!

To be fair, the key was the right one and it did arrive safely. They get no style points here, though if they gave awards for cheapest packing material, they’d get my nomination for sure!

Αυτω η δοξα