What is the “Wizard of Oz” of Biblical Studies Articles?

It is a little known fact – at least it was to me – that The Wizard of Oz (1939) is the most quoted and alluded to movie of all time. Think of how many times you hear lines like “Well Toto, we’re not in Kansas any more!”, “There’s no place like home”, “I’ll get you my pretty…” and “I’m melting!”
If we applied the same criteria to articles in the field of biblical studies, which article would be the most cited? Well, my suggestion is this article by Samual Sandmel:Samuel Sandmel, “Parallelomania,” Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (1962): 1-13.Not only have I seen it cited many times but it deserves credit for adding a new word to the English theological dictionary.Sandmel writes:

We might for our purposes define parallelomania as that extravagance among scholars which first overdoes the supposed similarity in passages and then proceeds to describe source and derivation as if implying literary connection flowing in an inevitable or predetermined direction.

Surely the exhortation to avoid the error of parallomania is as valid today as it was in 1962?

Perhaps you have a nomination for the title – I’d love to hear it.

Many thanks the Society of Biblical Literature for their kind permission to reproduce this article.

New Biblical Studies Journal

I received this email today and thought that it would be of interest to others:

THE ORTHODOX CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF BIBLICAL STUDIES (OCABS) is pleased to announce the launching of its new, on-line academic journal, The Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (JOCABS).

The mission of JOCABS is to promote scholarship in biblical studies, homiletics, and religious education among Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians around the world.

Although submissions in English are preferred thus ensuring greater accessibility, academic papers in other languages (especially Arabic, Armenian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, and Spanish) will be considered by our multi-lingual editorial board and its international associates.

Articles may be submitted in the following areas:

  • Old Testament and Cognate Studies. Including (but not limited to) critical studies in Hebrew Bible; Septuagint; Pseudepigrapha; Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture; Syro-Palestinian Archaeology.
  • New Testament and Cognate Studies. Including (but not limited to) critical studies in New Testament; Early Christian Literature; Apocryphal Literature and Traditions; Classical Studies; Archaeology of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
  • The Bible in Homiletics and Christian Education. Including theoretical and methodological studies dedicated to the practical applications of biblical scholarship to both preaching and pedagogy.
  • Book Reviews. Submissions of critical reviews of books related to the field of biblical studies will be accepted and invited.

JOCABS is committed to promoting scholarship among scholars and graduate students and encourages them to submit papers to its peer-reviewed process. The first issue will appear in the Summer of 2008, and semiannually thereafter.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Nicolae Roddy, at [email protected] or Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian, at [email protected].

To submit an article online, please visit http://www.ocabs.org/journal/.

Tiny tablet provides proof for the accuracy of the Old Testament

Personally I don’t have any doubts that the Bible provides an accurate historical record of the people and events it describes. Even so, it is nice when someone comes up with yet another piece of hard evidence for this. The evidence doesn’t get any “harder” than than the 2,500 clay tablet discovered recently in the collection of the British Museum. This tablet is a receipt from one of the temples of Babylon to Nabu-sharrussu-ukin “chief eunuch” of Nebuchadnezzar. According to a recent article in The Daily Telegraph It is almost certain that this is the same person as is mentioned in Jeremiah 32:3:

Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. [NIV]

The find is being hailed as the most important find in Biblical Archaology for 100 years, Prof. Irving Finkel of the British Museum is quoted as saying:

This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find, … If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power.

A writer who set out to write about the fall of Jerusalem might be expected to know the name of the Babylonian king that captured the city, but such secondary details demonstrate that the book is, as it claims, a contemporary eyewitness account.