Canon – An Ancient Jew Review Forum

Ancient Jew Review forum on canon

Ancient Jew Review hosts a forum on biblical canon, exploring how the concept emerged, if at all, in ancient Judaism.

When did the Bible become the Bible? Recent scholarship has problematized anachronistically projecting our notions about the Bible onto the Second Temple period. Scholars are now asking a series of related questions: What was the function of scripture for specific communities? Which textual traditions were dominant? Which texts were considered ‘scripture’?

This forum highlights some of the issues regarding the form and function of the “Bible” in the Second Temple period. In particular we’re interested in two specific dimensions of this problem:

  • Authority: how do we judge the authoritativeness of a text? Does authoritativeness mean that the text should be categorized as ‘scripture’? Can a text be scriptural or authoritative despite being fluid and appearing in different versions?
  • Canon: how are canons formed? How are these individual texts incorporated into a canon? Are there different kinds of canon? Is there a major difference between the earliest canons and the canon as it is known today?

The forum consists of the following articles:

Timothy Lim, “Understanding the Emergence of the Jewish Canon“, December 2, 2015

Eva Mroczek, “Imagining Scriptures Before the Canon“, December 9, 2015

Brennan Breed, “Canon: Process, Not Product?“, December 16, 2015

Sidnie White Crawford, “Canon: A Response“, December 23, 2015


On James Crossley’s Redirection of the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Syndicate symposium


There is a symposium at Syndicate on James Crossley’s book, Jesus and the Chaos of History: Redirecting the Life of the Historical Jesus (2015).

The following critical responses to the book are available on the Syndicate website:

Symposium Introduction, by Chris Tilling.

“Historical Jesus, Epistemic Modesty”, by Helen Bond, November 23, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “Rethinking Upheaval: A Response to Helen Bond”, November 23, 2015

“How Chaotic is the Kingdom Tradition?” by Brent Driggers, November 25, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “The Dictatorship of God Is among You? A Response to Ira Brent Driggers”, November 25, 2015

Reply by Brent Driggers, “Clarifications and Further Questions”, November 25, 2015

Reply by James Crossley, “Imperialism or Liberation?”, December 12, 2015

“A Man in His Time”, by Rafael Rodríguez, November 30, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “Jesus and the Permanent Revolution? A Response to Rafael Rodriguez”, November 30, 2015

Sin, the Law, and Purity“, by Paula Fredricksen, December 2, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “Living Legally in End Times: A Response to Paula Fredriksen”, December 2, 2015

The Historical Jesus, His Illiteracy, and a Memory Approach: A Syndicate Symposium on Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite


There is a symposium at Syndicate on Chris Keith’s book, Jesus against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict (2014).

The following critical responses to the volume are available on the Syndicate website:

Symposium Introduction, by Chris Tilling.

“Put into Perspective By an Illiterate Jesus”, by Dagmar Winter, October 10, 2015.

Response to Chris Tilling and Dagmar Winter by Chris Keith, “Jesus, Scribal Illiteracy, and Conflict: In Grateful Dialogue with My Respondents”, October 12, 2015.

“Text-Brokering and Social Upheaval”, by Tobias Hägerland, October 14, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Understating the Significance of Jesus’ Success: A Response to Tobias Hägerland”, October 14, 2015.

“Literacy, Iconoclasm, and a Maddening Portrait of Jesus”, by Christopher Skinner, October 19, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Embarrassment and the Unpalatably Illiterate Jesus: A Response to Christopher Skinner”, October 19, 2015.

“Will the “Real” Jesus Stand Up?”, by Jason Lamoreaux, October 21, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “‘Perspective’ and the Debateable Legitimacy of Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again: A Response to Jason Lamoreaux“, October 21, 2015.

Can Evangelicals do Historical Criticism? A Syndicate Symposium


There is a symposium at Syndicate on the volume edited by Christopher M. Hays and Christopher B. Ansberry, Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism (2013).

The following critical responses to the volume are available on the Syndicate website:

Symposium Introduction, by Chris Tilling (see also special redacted extracts introducing each chapter in the book, on the author’s blog)

Welcome to the Conversation“, by Kenton Sparks, with response by Hays and Ansberry, and further response by Sparks, May 25, 2015

How Now Shall We Read“, by Ashleigh Elser, May 27, 2015

Scripture Making: The Authority of Moses and the Apostle Paul“, by Sarah Whittle, May 29, 2015

Things Done (pretty well), and Things Left Undone“, by Stephen Fowl, June 1, 2015

Though I Walk through the Valley of the Shadow of the Critics“, by David Crump, June 3, 2015

929 – A chapter of the Bible each week day


The Israeli website 929 discusses each chapter of the Hebrew Bible, every week day, for 929 days.

The website commenced on December 21, 2014, and each chapter receives comment not only from rabbis and scholars, but from intellectuals, artists, public figures, and from a variety of perspectives. 929 offers videos, audio, short commentaries, photos, and cartoons, on each chapter of the Tanach.

But why the Bible?

אינספור מילים כבר נכתבו עליו. זהו טקסט מכונן, מכנה משותף ברמה בינלאומית, שסיפוריו וקווי המחשבה שלו מהדהדים בחיינו עד היום. כספר, הוא מדהים בעושרו: מהנה, הרפתקני ונוגע ללב, וגם רצוף סתירות, מעורר מחשבה ושנוי במחלוקת.

זהו קלידוסקופ של תחומי עניין: מהיסטוריה, פוליטיקה והנדסה ועד עיצוב ובישול. הוא פורש בפני הקוראים מסעות אישיים ומשפחתיים, אהבות קטנות ואימפריות גדולות, אנקדוטות משעשעות ומיתוסים חוצי-תרבויות, נבואות זעם בצד שירה נוטפת רוך, אגדות מסעירות ודברי הגות.
התנך הוא בסיס רחב מאין כמוהו לגילוי עצמי, למשמעויות אקטואליות ולשיח אישי, חברתי ותרבותי. ומעל הכל – זה פשוט סיפור טוב.

Online List of Q Scholarship and Resources

The Goodacre Q

Dr Michael Kok has assembled a useful list of scholarship and resources on the Q hypothesis, the theory that, in addition to their use of the Gospel of Mark, Matthew and Luke independently used an extensive second source (Quelle) to compose their gospels.

Kok divides the scholarship and resources into the following categories:

  • The Synoptic Problem and the Case for/Against Q
  • The Text of Q as reconstructed from Matthew/Luke
  • Theories about Q and Christian Origins

The Bible and Interpretation

Bible and Interpretation

The Bible and Interpretation website offers a mixture of news and articles by biblical scholars and archaeologists. It is aimed at an audience of not only biblical scholars and archaeologists but also the general public.

It is our endeavor to bring the latest news and information in the field of biblical studies to a wide readership and to contact scholars for comment and analysis…. It is this site’s philosophy that biblical scholarship is only relevant when it is accessible to a wide audience interested in the field of biblical studies. Contributors to this site are asked to write in an informative and comprehensible style. Therefore, Bible and Interpretation will enlist scholars noted for their clarity, analysis and commentary of biblical topics, literature, and archaeology. In addition, we will feature new scholars whose ideas may receive first recognition on the Web site.

The Bible and Interpretation is edited by Mark Elliott and Patricia Landy.

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library

Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library provides high-quality digital images of thousands of Dead Sea Scrolls, made available by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The Scrolls are searchable by site (Qumran caves (by number), Wadi Murabba’at, Nahal Hever, Wadi Daliyeh, Masada), language (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Nabatean), or genre of text (biblical, parabiblical, poetic/liturgic, sectarian, Babatha’s archive). In addition, a search-bar allows searches by keyword.

Ultimately, the images will be accompanied by meta-data including transcriptions, translations and detailed bibliography.

Early Jewish Writings (Peter Kirby)

Peter Kirby’s website Early Jewish Writings provides online translations and short commentary for many texts, including Hebrew Bible/Old Testament texts, other early Jewish texts, Philo, Josephus, and the Talmud.

The online translations are, in the main, older and out-of-copyright (yet still very useful) renditions, and the website provides references for newer translations which are available offline.

Early Christian Writings (Peter Kirby)

Early Christian Writings
Peter Kirby’s website Early Christian Writings provides online translations and short commentary for many texts, including New Testament and other early Christian texts, Gnostic texts, the Apostolic Fathers, Apologists, and the early Church Fathers.

The online translations are, in the main, older and out-of-copyright (yet still very useful) renditions, and the website provides references for newer translations which are available offline.

In Our Time: Online and Podcasts (BBC Radio 4)

In Our Time is a BBC Radio 4 programme on the history of ideas and is presented by Melvyn Bragg. Its range of episodes are classified under the headings ‘Religion’, ‘History’, ‘Culture’, ‘Philosophy’, and ‘Science’. The format consists of Bragg asking questions to, and leading a discussion with, a panel of academics. There are over 600 episodes – either for listening online and/or download – and the full archive is available here. There are numerous episodes covering topics in biblical studies and relevant areas:

Prophecy (13 June, 2013)

Gnosticism (2 May, 2013)

King Solomon (7 June, 2012)

Judas Maccabeus (24 November, 2011)

The Dawn of the Iron Age (24 March, 2011)

The City [Part 1] (25 March 2010)

The Augustan Age (11 June 2009)

St Paul (28 May, 2009)

Miracles (25 September, 2008)

The Greek Myths (13 March, 2008)

Hell (21 December, 2006)

Heaven (22 December, 2005)

Archaeology and Imperialism (14 April 2005)

Angels (24 March, 2005)

Zoroastrianism (11 November, 2004)

Babylon (3 June 2004)

The Fall (8 April, 2004)

The Alphabet (18 December, 2003)

The Devil (11 December, 2003)

The Apocalypse (17 July, 2003)

The Lindisfarne Gospels (20 February, 2003)

The Soul (6 June 2002)

In addition to the episodes listed above, there are episodes on a range of topics and individuals which will be directly relevant to certain areas of biblical studies research (e.g. Plato, Pliny, Roman satire, Wyclif, Erasmus, Milton, historiography, cultural memory).

Marginalia: A Review of Books in History, Theology and Religion

Biblical studies and related areas have a strong presence in the broader scope of Marginalia: A Review of Books in History, Theology and Religion. Its About page explains:

The Marginalia Review of Books is an international, open access review of literature along the nexus of history, theology, and religion. MRB examines, critiques, and illuminates the traditions, institutions, discourses, and practices of religions and their believers. We aim to connect the academic and public worlds by providing an intellectually rich and broadly accessible conversation that does not merely summarize previous work but contributes new ideas.

Marginalia also includes occasional essays, editorials, interviews, forums, and obituaries.

The Publisher and Editor-in-Chief is Timothy Michael Law.