Full Episode of History’s “Bible Secrets Revealed” Episode One: “Lost In Translation” Available Online

Bible Secrets Revealed on History

In case you missed it, you can watch the FULL EPISODE of History‘s Bible Secrets RevealedLost In Translation” online for free.

And don’t miss next week’s episode, “The Promised Land“, airing Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 10/9c.

Tweet your comments and feedback about the show with hashtag #BibleSecretsRevealed

near eastern archaeology vol 74 no 2 now available online

NEA CoverFrom the ASOR Blog:

ASOR is pleased to announce that NEA 74.2 (June 2011) has now been posted online at Atypon Link. This issue (and 4 years of back issues) is available to online subscribers of NEA and to ASOR members who have chosen an online subscription as part of their membership.

The following is an abbreviated table of contents:

-Stefan Münger, Jürgen Zangenberg and Juha Pakkala: Long Article on Kinneret
-Rami Arav, John F. Shroder Jr., Steven Notley: Forum Responses on Bethsaida
-Amihai Mazar: Forum Article on “The Iron Age Chronology Debate”
-Ann E. Killebrew, Lorenzo d’Alfonso, Brandon R. Olson: Fieldnotes
-Hans Barnard: Fieldnote
-Garth Gilmour: Fieldnote

A detailed table of contents is available here.

In fact, the last 4 years of ASOR journals are available to ASOR members. Click here for details.

Go, read, and learn.

call for papers for the ‘blogging and online publication’ section at the 2011 sbl annual meeting is now open

Biblioblogger logoThe call for papers for the ‘Blogging and Online Publication’ section at the 2011 SBL Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA is now available. The meeting will be held November 19-22, 2011.

SBL members wishing to present papers should submit proposals on the SBL website here by March 1, 2011.

The SBL Blogger and Online Publication section invites proposals for papers for its 2011 annual meeting session. The open session calls for papers focusing on any area of blogging and online publication in relation to biblical studies, theology, and archaeology of the Levant. Special consideration will be given to those papers addressing:

  • the politics and etiquette of blogging professionals
  • issues dealing with anonymity, identity, and authorship
  • the utilization of blogs by professionals for creating, responding to, and redacting content for publication elsewhere
  • podcasting and video blogging
  • issues examining solo blogging vs. community blogging

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact:

Dr. Robert R. Cargill
Center for Digital Humanities
UCLA
1020 Public Affairs Building
Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1499

or email cargill@humnet.ucla.edu.

new game ‘the bible online’ puts you in the role of bible characters

The Bible Online GameA new game MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) role playing strategy game is under development that allows players to assume roles of biblical characters, only this game is far from a What Would Jesus Do simulation. In “The Bible Online,” players assume the roles of biblical characters of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and play out more than a few of the scenes from the Bible that aren’t typically discussed in Sunday school.

According to online gaming news site Destructoid:

If you’ve ever read all the rape, genocide and deep-seated racism in The Bible and thought to yourself, “Man, that sounds like my kind of world,” then this is the game for you! The Bible Online allows players to “slip into the role of Abraham and his descendants and have the opportunity to reenact and witness the incidents of their times.”

The game is going to be split into chapters with The Heroes being the first released. The basic setup is that of an MMO strategy game, where players control their own tribe, build a city, and naturally wage war in the name of God. It won’t be a case of holding onto territory, however, as the ultimate goal is leading one’s band of merry savages into the promised land.

So we’re about to have an online role playing game that takes us through all of those Bible stories that no one talks about: Genesis 6:1-7 (angels having sex with humans), Genesis 22:1-17 (the akedah – command from God to sacrifice a child), Genesis 30:14-16 (Leah purchasing sex with Jacob from Rachel with mandrakes), Genesis 34 (rape of Dinah and the slaughter of Shechem and the city) Genesis 38 (spilling seed, Judah and Tamar), Numbers 31 (massacre of the Midianites and apportionment of the remaining women), Deuteronomy 7:1-5; 20:10-17 (various instructions for genocide), Joshua 7:2-26 (the stoning of Achan and his family/belongings), Joshua 10:16-27 (the execution of five foreign kings), Joshua 11:21-22 (the massacre at Anakim), Judges 1:8 (the massacre of Jerusalem), Judges 11:34-39 (Jephthah kills his virgin daughter), Judges 19:22-30 (gang rape and dismemberment), etc., etc.
(h.t. to Brick Testament for the illustrations.)

I’m not sure how I feel about this game. I am traditionally one to encourage students to read all of the Bible and not just those sanitized portions they find appealing. The Bible is full of sex an violence, oppression and injustice on all sides that often appear as commands from God. In that regard, it is good for people to come to terms with what is actually claimed in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. On the other hand, how much will this game overemphasize the sex and violence of the text and skew its significance in comparison to the good that the text is attempting to communicate (as I have done above)? Will the game developers build in a sense of morality or will the game be little more than Grand Theft Auto: Holy Land? We’ll see.

(ht: john lynch)

harvard courses now on itunes u

Harvard University Crest

harvard university is the latest major university to begin placing their university courses on itunes u. categories include science and health, history, arts and culture, and national and world affairs. and while their offerings are still limited, it will only be a matter of time before harvard’s course offerings are as robust as yale’s ‘open yale‘ courses and itunes u offerings, duke university, and, of course, ucla’s itunes u courses.

progress is a good thing, as is making university-level learning available directly to the public.

attention bloggers and coders: introducing google’s pubsubhubbub

PubSubHubbub

PubSubHubbub: A simple, open, web-hook-based pubsub protocol & open source reference implementation.

google is introducing pubsubhubbub.

it’s an open protocol for training atom and rss feeds into realtime streams. or, in nontech terms, it’s a subscription model that allows two completely different websites to communicate in realtime through a hub. in even simpler terms, it’s a cross-platform subscription service. for example, if you blog on wordpress, you can publish your content to your wordpress blog and to subscribers on other systems instantly, in realtime.

asor publications now available online for free

ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research) Logothe american schools of oriental research (asor) have made a very wise and forward-thinking decision: they are making their journals available online for free.

i applaud this decision because it will not only increase public access to credible archaeological information, but it will also increase readership of their journals and ultimately drive both asor membership and subscriptions to print versions of asor journals. at the same time, the public will have ready access to quality, peer-reviewed archaeological information. this should increase the public’s awareness about the ancient near east and will help combat the sensationalism that can be found in other for-profit archeological publications that focus on issues of religion and biblical studies that are not peer-reviewed like biblical archaeology review.

why pay for adverts on content that is sensationalized, opinionated, and not peer-reviewed when you can read articles about the archeology of the ancient near east written by the best scholars in the world for free?

  • near eastern archaeology is available here.
  • basor (bulletin of the american schools of oriental research) is available here.
  • journal of cuneiform studies is available here.

chuck jones has the details here. you can also access quick links from dr. jones’ post to all of the older volumes on jstor.

many thanx to asor for making this data available online for free.

stanford to accept digital dissertations

The Seal of Stanford Universitythis is great news for scholars – both graduate students and professors.

stanford university has decided to accept digital dissertations. that’s right, you heard me correctly:

Put away your checkbook. Don’t bother buying reams of acid-free paper. Just hit the “submit” button to digitally upload dissertations under a new program that begins in November.

i was a year (and 312 miles) too soon. i would have loved to have a policy like that in place last september.

in my ucla doctoral dissertation (now available as a book), i provided a new methodology for testing digital reconstructions of archaeological remains in virtual reality. in writing my digital humanities dissertation, i lamented the fact that original research involving three dimensional reconstructions that are able to show complex architectural development over time is not suited for a two-dimensional printed page. while i can describe the methodology involved, the actual model i describe requires an actual three dimensional space to in order to be visualized, and a fourth dimension of time is required to see the diachronic development of the site.

but the resistance to ‘digital’ forms of published dissertations lies not in the technology, but in the traditional skepticism of the academy of anything other than a typewriter typed dissertation on acid-free paper. i said as much in the conclusion of my book:

This research also realizes the overt incompatibility of publishing a book involving digital reconstructions in three-dimensional space in the traditional paper and ink format. It is, of course, highly ironic that this three-dimensional research is looked down upon by many, who prefer the time-honored, traditional medium of the printed book, which cannot fully convey the technological approach described within its pages. It is as incomplete as literally trying to describe a picture with a thousand words! Thus, the present research calls on scholars, publishers, dissertation committees, and departments of archaeology, architecture, and other related programs to make themselves more accommodating to newer digital forms of publication. As the word processor has replaced the typewriter, so too will digital and three-dimensional formats soon replace analog and two-dimensional formats for publishing archaeological materials. These new digital formats should not be seen as “alternative” or lesser means of publication, but as “progressive” media that are on the cutting edge of modern archaeological research. (Cargill, Qumran through (Real) Time, p. 217-18)

apparently, stanford is listening:

Speaking at the Oct. 22 Faculty Senate meeting, University Librarian Michael Keller said the digital world offers a “much greater palette of expression” to graduate students, because they will be able to include more graphics, color and character sets in their dissertations than in paper copies.

not only can doctoral students print their research with greater ease and at a lesser expense, but other scholars will have greater and cheaper (read: free!) access to the new dissertations:

“We were clearly in favor of a less expensive alternative to ProQuest and one that has far greater intellectual reach through some agreement with Google or some other Internet carrier,” Roberts wrote in an email message.

in addition to cutting down on paper costs, helping the environment, ridding the tedious process of printing out multiple copies of a 300-page document, and not having to pay pro-quest to re-digitize a paper dissertation that was originally written in digital format on a computer, digital dissertations will allow for the publication of more innovative technological research in the sciences and digital humanities. this process preserves the rigorous process of ensuring credible research approved by a disertations committee, but eliminates the hassles of printing, which are now nearly obsolete since most of us read others’ dissertations online anyway.

i applaud the move and encourage ucla to adopt a similar policy.

snl spoofs online universities

SNL "Online University Commercial" sketch on Hulu

SNL "Online University Commercial" sketch on Hulu

i recently posted about the perils of attending online internet colleges. now, snl has joined in the fun and spoofed online universities. check it out.

on the ‘accreditation’ of bibliobloggers

SBL Biblioblog Badge

SBL Biblioblog Badge

the following was originally an excursus within an earlier essay on role of online universities. i have posted this revised and expanded excursus as its own essay here. -bc

some have recently complained about the recent announcement of the society of biblical literature’s affiliation with individuals who identify themselves as ‘bibliobloggers’ – a loosely connected group of biblical scholars and students dedicated to publishing their thoughts, research, and opinions online. a general objection appears to be a discomfort with the attempt to organize and officially recognize a group of scholars who, by the independent nature of their chosen medium of publication – blogging – are often more comfortable as independent voices. however, a repeated, acute objection appears to revolve around the fear of an oversight body with the power to bind and loose confirm or reject a blogger’s legitimacy.

i have addressed some of these issues in previous posts. this new affiliation results in a new section within sbl dedicated to the practice of biblical research via blogs, websites, and other online technologies (i.e., biblioblogging). the sbl affiliation is an attempt to coordinate the efforts of bibliobloggers, many of whom are already members of sbl, instructors at universities, or both, and establish a venue at the national meeting to present, discuss, and share new ideas and experiences in a dedicated session. a steering committee was formed to guide the new group, coordinate the new sbl section’s efforts, and hopefully bring a bit more legitimacy to a growing practice increasingly being adopted by biblical scholars around the globe.

some, however, have objected, worried that the new group may serve as a blogging police or worse yet, an accrediting agency. however, this is simply not the case. several hypothetical straw man (and straw woman) arguments have been made in an attempt to contest the sbl’s formal affiliation with bibliobloggers. but, perhaps the most appropriate comparison to the straw man arguments made by dissenters is the academy’s current response to online universities.

online universities are businesses that offer degrees to students who pay tuition to take classes that are completely online. many of these institutions possess little-to-no oversight, no accreditation, and offer little real education. they are essentially paper mills offering worthless pieces of paper degrees to anyone that will pay the $500 tuition. it is therefore possible that some phony ‘institutions’ call themselves ‘universities,’ and that those they graduate regularly and proudly place the degrees they have ‘earned’ online after their names (like ‘m.b.a.,’ ‘ph.d.,’ or ‘m.div.’).

what is true for online universities and their graduates is also true of bibliobloggers. it is true that nutballs can theoretically claim to be a ‘biblioblogger’ by typing the word ‘biblioblog’ on their blog or creating a badge and affixing it to their site, just as it is possible for someone to ‘achieve’ a ph.d from an unaccredited paper mill (online or otherwise). but, possession of an online degree doesn’t make the degree worthwhile, the recipient legitimate, or one’s subsequent claims respectable. all it means is that one is claiming to be something, even if they are actually not what they claim to be.

it is not the job of the government to tell these people that their ‘degree’ is worthless; they have a right to buy a piece of paper with the words ‘ph.d.’ on it if they choose. in the same way, it is not the job of the sbl or any biblioblogger steering committee to regulate, control, or otherwise sanction who is and who is not claiming to be a biblioblogger. this is traditionally the job of accrediting agencies, and it is important to remember that accreditation is voluntarily sought by the institution seeking accreditation. that is, a university voluntarily submits itself to the accreditation process, it is not imposed upon them.

universities are governed by accrediting agencies. the government list of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs lists national, regional, and state accrediting agencies like the western association for schools and colleges, the new england association of schools and colleges, the north central association of colleges and schools, etc.  but within the academy, ‘accreditation’ (i.e., worthiness) of individual scholars is informal, and is usually based upon their academic affiliation (where they work/teach), their role within the academy (committees, contributions to higher education, etc.), or their record of publication (contribution of original research to society), even though no formal accreditation process exists for individual scholars. (one could argue that the tenure process serves this purpose, but one need not hold a tenure-track position to be a credible lecturer or researcher.)

similarly, at the intersection of blogging and academic biblical studies, this informal ‘accreditation’ may include a blogger’s affiliation (with a university, church, or professional organization like sblaarasor, etc.), one’s role within the biblioblogging community (reputation, commitment to online resources and research, etc.), and one’s record and consistency of publication online (contribution to the online community). however, no formal organization, committee, or individual exists to grant accreditation to bibliobloggers, nor will it (at least not with the steering committee for the sbl-affiliated bibliobloggers). credibility and ‘accreditation’ rests with the peer-review process; an informal collective of scholarly peers ultimately decides which bloggers are credible and which are not. thus, the same factors that weigh into decisions of accreditation or legitimacy of a university or an individual scholar should weigh into the ‘accreditation’ or legitimacy of a biblioblogger – no more and no less. again, this ‘accreditation’ is not a formal document as it is with universities, but better resembles the ‘street cred’ that is earned only through years of dedication and experience to one’s craft.

so, while anyone may claim to be a degree-granting university or a thought-dispensing biblioblogger, those that do so are judged by their peers on credible measures of reputation, publication, and contribution to the field, regardless of whether they have the word ‘university’ or ‘biblioblogger’ on their websites. like the accreditation of universities, colleges, and online universities, accreditation is ultimately a peer-review process. many will claim to be bibliobloggers, but only some will be recognized by an academy of their peers to be worthwhile.

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