Online Jewish and Biblical source databases

I received this as an email today, so I thought I would pass it along as the resources it mentions would seem to be helpful to those involved in Jewish studies. Sadly the resources are not free.

Beth Ilan UniversityI’m writing on behalf of C.D.I. Systems in concert with Bar Ilan University. We have several unique online databases that I believe would be of interest to your faculty and students. We specialize in Jewish and Biblical source databases such as our Talmud Text Database, Cotar, and most importantly, our Online Responsa Project. Some of the most successful universities in the world, such as Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, have already subscribed to our services, and I invite you to join them

The Online Responsa Project includes thousands of sources, from biblical all the way to modern Hebraic texts, representing a period of over three thousand years of knowledge and source material.

For more information you can check the website.

The Talmud Text Online Database. This site encompasses virtually all primary textual witnesses of the Babylonian Talmud, including hundreds of complete manuscripts and first printed editions and well over one thousand fragments from the Cairo and European archives- many as both text and digital images.  The site’s URL for more information on this project.

And finally, Cotar is a comprehensive and unique repository of articles that provide answers to Halachic questions. The database contains more than 2400 topics with direct links to the relevant articles.

To find out even more about our online databases please click on this link.

New Book on Revelation by Dr Pieter Lalleman

Dr Pieter LallemanDr Pieter Lalleman, Tutor in Biblical Studies at Spurgeons College in London, has written 10 studies on Book of the Revelation. Pieter writes:

The Book of Revelation is not as inscrutable as many think.  I have written a series of ten studies on the more accessible parts of Revelation, with special attention to the connections of these passages with the Old Testament.

The Lion and the Lamb by Pieter LallemanI do address the question of the situation of the first readers, but my book has no scholarly pretensions.  It is meant for use in church groups, although it will of course also benefit individual readers.  It contains questions for reflection and discussion which help to see how relevant John’s message – which is Jesus’s message – is for today’s church.  Whatever the Book may say about the future, it has enormous relevance for us!  More details and the option to order a copy here.

The publishers description reads:

The book of Revelation is first and foremost a letter addressed to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Like any normal letter the book contains references to the situation of the readers. As later readers we look over the shoulders of the original readers into a correspondence which initially was not directed to us.

Yet Revelation is also a prophetic book. John himself makes this claim in 1:3 and 22:7, 10, 18 and 19; in 10:11 his work is called prophesying. But what is prophecy in the Bible? People such as Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah were messengers of God who spoke his word to their contemporaries. God gave them spiritual insight into their time so that they could shine God’s light on it. They knew God’s precepts and applied these to the situation. Prophets warned people if they were not living as God wanted, but on the other hand they encouraged positive developments. Prophets pointed people to the consequences of their behaviour and in that context they also spoke about the future.

Jewish and Christian prophecy is thus not primarily a form of prediction of the future. It was first and foremost relevant for those who were being addressed; it confronted them with God’s opinion of their situation, with his hopes, his promises, and sometimes also with his judgement in case they would not listen. But when they repented, God adapted his plans, as we see in the book of Jonah. We will approach Revelation in the same way in which we handle all prophecy: by asking what kind of situation is in view and what was expected of the first hearers. Subsequently we will raise the question how this might be relevant to us in the twenty-first century.

Revelation is a letter and a prophecy, but it is also an apocalyptic book. The Greek word for ‘revelation’ in 1:1 is ‘apocalypse’. We often use this word in such expressions as ‘an apocalyptic event’, but we must be careful that our modern language does not hinder our understanding of the Bible. Apocalyptic texts are books which claim to contain revelations about the heavenly world and/or about the future, but not necessarily about disasters. And they challenge us to check our behaviour.

The studies in this book discuss the more readily accessible parts of Revelation, with special attention to the connections of these passages with the Old Testament.

Dr Lalleman is available for interviews about his book and can be contacted via Spurgeon’s College.

Resources on the Book of Daniel

Daniel in the Lions' Den by Briton Rivière (1890)
Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Briton Rivière (1890)

In addition to its extensive collection of theological journals BiblicalStudies.org.uk offers detailed bibliographies on every book of the Bible. These are usually divided into Introductions, Commentaries and other subjects – such as material on the book’s background, authorship, historicity  and dating. As well as providing links to Amazon listings,  many of the resources are available for free download. The page on the book of Daniel, for example, links to over 100 on-line resources.

These articles include many which are not available elsewhere on the Web and are difficult to find in print, even in the UK. Here are some examples of what is available:

Articles on Daniel

G. Ch. Aalders [1880-1961], “The Book of Daniel: its Trustworthiness and Prophetic Character,” The Evangelical Quarterly 2.3 (July 1930): 242-254.

David W. Gooding, “The Literary Structure of the Book of Daniel and its Implications,” Tyndale Bulletin 32 (1981): 43-79.

Robert J.M. Gurney, God in Control: An Exposition of the Prophecies of the Book of Daniel. Worthing: H.E. Walter Ltd., 1980. Revised and updated for the Web by the author in 2006.

Kenneth A. Kitchen, “The Aramaic of Daniel,” Notes on Some Problems in the Book Of Daniel. London: The Tyndale Press, 1965. Pbk. pp.31-79.

Prof. W.G. Lambert, The Background of Jewish Apocalyptic. The Ethel M. Wood Lecture delivered before the University of London on 22 February 1977. London: The Athlone Press, 1978. Pbk. ISBN: 0485143216. pp.22.

Alan R. Millard, “Daniel in Babylon: An Accurate Record?” James K. Hoffmeier & Dennis R. Magary, eds. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? Crossway, 2012. Pbk. ISBN-13: 978-1433525711. pp.263-280.

Edward J. Young, Daniel’s Vision of the Son of Man. London: The Tyndale Press, 1958. pp.28.

So, whether you are looking for free resources to enhance your sermon preparation or research material for your College essay BiblicalStudies.org.uk is a good place to start.