The reason I’ve been slow to complete a new post lately is mainly because I’m buried in so much new reading. The major reading project that has taken most of my time is attempting to get on top of the relationships between the various Old Testament and Second Temple books as they address, in particular, the Fourth Servant Song (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12) and the Suffering Servant. The Suffering Servant — and his Messianic function — did have an impact on some Jewish sects before Christianity emerged on the scene. The difficulty is – and this is why I’ve been so involved in more reading than writing lately — that each book I read raises further citations that I am keen to track down and also read more fully.
Recently I read and wrote about Raglan’s hero classification scheme. That, and hearing that another scholar (another one who is primarily an ancient historian and not a theologian) had applied Propp’s work on folktales to the story of the Exodus, prompted me to read Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale. I have nearly completed this now and have been wondering if and how it might apply to the Gospels. Reading this has meant I’ve had to pause my study of Lévi-Strauss’s The Raw and the Cooked that takes another perspective on the way mythology is put together. I don’t know yet how much of all of this I’ll find applicable to the Gospels but I’m interested in working on that project once I’ve got a handle on both Propp and Lévi-Strauss.
And I’m also reading several articles (some quite lengthy ones) that a few readers have asked me to take a look at and comment on.
So it’s been a time of learning more than writing lately. (But the act of organizing thoughts for writing, and double-checking things, is also when I learn the most thoroughly.)
My writing outlet has come in sporadic comments on the earlywritings.com forum and the occasional comments on other blogs.
I still want to resume several other series of posts but they’ll just have to wait. I need to work, too.
I almost posted a couple of links to interested news stories. One was on research demonstrating that problem gamblers were more likely to be cured of their habit if given educational information. That is, they were more likely to stop serious gambling once they understood how the mathematics really were stacked against them than when treated by other means addressing “addictions” per se.
I liked that. It shows, I guess, that we are more rational than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.
Oh, I’ve also been surfing other biblioblogs lately, too. I am thinking it might be an idea to do a review of them. I have yet to find one that is free of Christian or political ideological interest. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough yet. Despite that, however, there are a very few that look quite interesting and usefully informative. I should write about those.
I am dismayed to be reminded how so very — can I say “immature”? — some of the bloggers sound as they vent and fan their apologetic interests. I’m reminded of the psychological impact of cults and can see the same sorts of stunting of psychological maturity among some of the most verbose blogging Christian scholars.
Oh and one more thing, I also learned that Peter Kirby seems to be handling the biblioblogging rankings now. Last I had heard the scholars had banded together to remove Vridar from the show altogether. Now I see Vridar is back in the listings. But woe oh woe — it is a lowly #29 last time I looked. It used to be in the top 10. No doubt that has something to do with the slower pace of activity here. I’d like to find ways to make the blog more widely relevant and to come to the attention of more of those who would be interested in the sort of stuff Tim and I write about.
And must not forget to do a proper review of Richard Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus.
Thanks for reading. Cheers.
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7 thoughts on “A Pause – and What’s Been Happening on This Side”
Take as much time as you need. I really liked the myth building side of looking at the Gospels.
Thank you Neil and Tim for your reading and writing. I haven’t found a better biblioblog than this one. But I am very interested in your survey and comments of others. Enjoy your summer, too.
Neil, I can’t wait until YOUR book comes out! Until then Vridar will remain the No. 1 Biblioblog in my heart…
As happens so many times for me, real life has gotten in the way of writing for Vridar. Like Neil, I’ve still been reading quite a bit, and I intend to continue with the Memory Mavens soon. However, working on the road takes its toll on the brain, and I frequently find that my road to hell (or at least to bed) is paved with good intentions.
I’ve also been thinking a lot recently about the psychological and social effects of Mithridates VI of Pontus on the Romans — as well as the population of Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine — in the period from about 120 BCE to 135 CE. Maybe I’ll have something in a few days.
In the meantime, thanks for reading Vridar.
Neil, This fellow’s work looks fascinating, the lastest of which is, The Gospel of Mark: A Hypertextual Commentary (European Studies in Theology, Philosopy and History of Religions) Hardcover – March 27, 2014 by Bartosz Adamczewski
Hey there Ed! Tell us more about this Adamzewski book…
It does look interesting but. I checked a few reviews of his work on the databases and some are kind but not positive. Not that reviews alone should tell us how to think, of course. But in this case there does appear to be room for caution. See the worst review at Mark Goodacre’s blog.
He rewrites more than just Mark. His Retelling the Law —
He argues Luke followed Mark and Matthew adapted Luke. From another review of his Q or not Q?: