Verbum FBOM is Wonderful!

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Beloved | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Aug 1 2019 2:26 PM

Wow! Berit Olam 4 out of 14 volumes for under $21 is an absolute gem of a value. I warn you you're going to want the full set so be fore warned.

https://verbum.com/monthly-sale#free 

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

Posts 46
Darrell Tan | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 1 2019 5:48 PM

Thanks for the info.

There's some discussion on Berit Olam in the other FBOTM thread: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/183019.aspx

Would you like to share what you find good about the series? Some of us have not heard much about it.

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Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 1 2019 6:17 PM

Darrell Tan:

Thanks for the info.

There's some discussion on Berit Olam in the other FBOTM thread: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/183019.aspx

Would you like to share what you find good about the series? Some of us have not heard much about it.

Rather than bore you with a feeble attempt at analysis, I will share a bit of text on the supremely familiar Ps 23. 

Psalm 23 begins and ends by speaking about the Lord. In the center the poet addresses God (vv. 4–5). In Hebrew the emphatic pronoun “you,” ʾattâh, is pronounced as the divine shepherd accompanies the psalmist during the perilous passage “through the darkest valley.” Confidence is unshaken because “you are with me” (v. 4; see Gen 26:3, 24; 28:15; 31:3; Deut 31:6; Josh 1:5, 9; Ps 91:15), which is what Psalm 23 is all about. The direct address of God intensifies the sense of intimacy. This “you” is framed by the personal name Lord (third person) at the beginning and end. The poet underscores the relationship with God by the use of pronouns (which are suffixes in Hebrew), “my shepherd,” “he makes me lie down,” “leads me,” and “restores my soul.” The similarity between the Hebrew words for “evil” (rāʾ) and “my shepherd” (rōʿî) is noteworthy (the consonants that form the words are the same). This wordplay pits the shepherd against threatening evil, which is not to be feared. For the moment, God disappears from the text and the lone psalmist negotiates dark valleys (v. 4a). The emphatic declarations “you are with me” and “they comfort me” bring God and the psalmist together again. This intimacy is summarized in the last line, “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.”

 Schaefer, K. (2001). Psalms. (D. W. Cotter, J. T. Walsh, & C. Franke, Eds.) (pp. 58–59). Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

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Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 1 2019 6:53 PM

Mark Barnes:

Paul Caneparo:
Has anyone got any views on the Verbum +1s.

I've never found Berit Olam useful in ministry (nor indeed academia for that matter). This extract from the description of the 1 Samuel volume may help you to understand why:

While drawing on the resources of biblical “narratology,” Jobling deviates from mainstream methodology. He adopts a “critical narratology” informed by such cultural practices as feminism and psychoanalysis. He follows a structuralist tradition which finds meaning more in the text’s large-scale mythic patterns than in close reading of particular passages, and seeks methods specific to 1 Samuel rather than ones applicable to biblical narrative in general. If that sound useful to you, go get it! But to me, it appears to be shorthand for saying that he is going to ignore grammatico-historical criticism and impose his own meaning on the text. (So much so, that it's not even a commentary, but a series of essays on loosely-related themes.)

I really respect Mark and value his opinions and observations. My view in this matter is that this commentary series is useful for the reason it is criticized. It examines the Bible as narrative and comes at the text from a viewpoint that is rare among commentaries. I really enjoy the series. But I'm a layperson so I lack training in these matters.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

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Darrell Tan | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 1:25 AM

Thanks. I liked what I read on Ps 1.

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 4:52 AM

Beloved:

I really respect Mark and value his opinions and observations. My view in this matter is that this commentary series is useful for the reason it is criticized. It examines the Bible as narrative and comes at the text from a viewpoint that is rare among commentaries. I really enjoy the series. But I'm a layperson so I lack training in these matters.

I'm delighted to see a layperson aware of these distinctions! And your statement comes so close to what I was also going to say, namely, that the very thing Mark doesn't like about it is exactly why I'll like it. In fact, previously, I hadn't really paid much attention to the one volume I owned (now it's 4; I may eventually grab them all), but I am now eager to read these offerings thoughtfully. "Critical narratology" and related approaches have always been my methods of choice.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 8:48 AM

Beloved:
I really respect Mark and value his opinions and observations. My view in this matter is that this commentary series is useful for the reason it is criticized. It examines the Bible as narrative and comes at the text from a viewpoint that is rare among commentaries. I really enjoy the series. But I'm a layperson so I lack training in these matters.

I'm sure that some of the volumes are better than others. Looking at some other reviews, it seems Jobling's is perhaps the most egregious from my perspective, but it's the one I'm most familiar with. Perhaps I should give some of the others a try.

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Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 9:32 AM

The reviews I've read suggest the 1 Samuel volume comes from a liberal standpoint; the Genesis volume is light where you'd want more comment; but I haven't really seen too many reviews on the Psalms volume, although they seem generally warm. I guess the question is whether I'd rather spend $8.99 on something I know I'll value. I've never seen this series in any "must buy" lists - including individual volumes rather than the series as a whole. I might be persuaded to try to Psalms volume, although the last time I preached from Psalms was 25 years ago!

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 1:04 PM

Paul Caneparo:
The reviews I've read suggest the 1 Samuel volume comes from a liberal standpoint;

It's not classical liberalism – more postmodern deconstructionism.

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Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 1:41 PM

Mark Barnes:

Paul Caneparo:
The reviews I've read suggest the 1 Samuel volume comes from a liberal standpoint;

It's not classical liberalism – more postmodern deconstructionism.

Thanks Mark. This was the review that made me feel the 1 Samuel volume definitely wasn't worth it for me:

David Jobling's Berit Olam (1998) on I Samuel is strong on literary and structural issues, from a very critical perspective that is explicitly and deliberately feminist and postmodernist. If you care about structuralist and Marxist readings of Samuel or interpretations focusing on the Philistines as "the other", you'll enjoy this, but if you're interested in understanding the text this wouldn't be my recommendation. Some conservative reviewers nonetheless find valuable insights in this commentary, but he stands far apart from any attempt to reconstruct authorial intent or to discover what message the text offers to us apart from whatever concerns we might want to derive from it. In some ways this isn't exactly a commentary on the text if that means that it moves through the text in order to discuss it. It reads more like a series of essays that are arranged in a more generally chronological order. 

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 1:49 PM

Paul Caneparo:

... I guess the question is whether I'd rather spend $8.99 on something I know I'll value ...

That was my question as well.  Postmodern deconstructionism is not an approach that I find particularly valuable.  I ended up grabbing the other three, but not the 1st Samuel volume.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 4:10 PM

EastTN:
I ended up grabbing the other three, but not the 1st Samuel volume.

Same here.

And congrats to your 1000th post!

Running Logos 8 latest beta version on Win 10

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 4:17 PM

Here’s a review on 1 Samuel:

3.0 out of 5 starsStimulating, but with liberal assumptions

July 5, 2010

Format: Hardcover Jobling provides us a good example of where liberal assumptions can take us in biblical interpretation - if the Bible is only a fallible record of human experience, there is no reason to believe it contains an accurate portrayal of God. Sure enough, Jobling believes that 1 Samuel portrays God as childish and irrational (p. 84). Despite this outrageous statement, Jobling raises some important questions that do need to be answered. For example, why does David remain king despite all his sin, whereas Saul is rejected after a trifling offence? Jobling puts it down to God's inconsistency, but there is a better explanation: the LORD made an everlasting covenant with David (2 Samuel 23:5), whereas he did not make one with Saul.
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 5:14 PM

Mark Barnes:

But to me, it appears to be shorthand for saying that he is going to ignore grammatico-historical criticism and impose his own meaning on the text.

First, any publisher associated with a religious order AND with a school of thought formed by reception history and a teaching magisterium, would be highly unlikely to be the source of a commentary "impose(s) his own meaning on the text". Were I to make such a judgment about such a commentary, I would assume there was a stream of commentary tradition with which I was unfamiliar and set about finding and learning about the tradition.

Second, from the document "Interpretation of the Bible in the Church" comes the excerpt from the index:

Interpretation of the Bible in the Church:

I.  METHODS  AND  APPROACHES  FOR  INTERPRETATION

      A. Historical-Critical Method
      1. History of the Method
      2. Principles
      3. Description
      4. Evaluation
      B. New Methods of Literary Analysis
      1. Rhetorical Analysis
      2. Narrative Analysis
      3. Semiotic Analysis
      C. Approaches Based on Tradition
      1. Canonical Approach
      2. Approach through Recourse to Jewish Traditions of Interpretation
      3. Approach by the History of the Influence of the Text (Wirkungsgeschichte)
      D. Approaches That Use the Human Sciences
      1. Sociological Approach
      2. The Approach through Cultural Anthropology
      3. Psychological and Psychoanalytical Approaches
      E. Contextual Approaches
      1. The Liberationist Approach
      2. The Feminist Approach


Yes, I edited the list to omit methods not recommended to avoid offending fans of the methods. These are the methods that one would expect that the author would choose among.

My personal take: Each method of study asks particular questions not asked by other methods. If one keeps asking the same questions, one risks always getting the same answers and never growing in one's understanding of scripture. I refer to this as "putting in one's study time without risking a challenge to one's beliefs". Some questions are based on methods I do not understand - I reserve judgment on them until I fill the gaps in my knowledge. I am willing to give the remaining methods a fair trial - I figure that even if the method turns out to be "crap", that God is still perfectly capable of using the questions as a springboard to teach me what I am to learn. I also find that using a broad range of tools, allows me to engage a broader audience as they learn to apply the questions they know how to ask to the Scripture. A drama major changed my view of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery by pointing out the physical relationship between the two. An auto mechanic made the skills required to build the ark realistic. A housewife who read widely pointed out motifs in OT stories that I had missed. A feminist sent me off on the trail of women given names in Hebrew folklore or Jubilees that are unnamed in Scripture. ...

Beloved:
My view in this matter is that this commentary series is useful for the reason it is criticized.

So Beloved, this is my agreement with you.


Note: this particular volume does have its flaws. See, for example, the review on JSTOR

Reviewed Work: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry by David Jobling Review by: James R. Linville  Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 120, No. 2 (Summer, 2001), pp. 356-358 (3 pages) Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Paul Strickert | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 8:58 PM

MJ. Smith:
My personal take: Each method of study asks particular questions not asked by other methods. If one keeps asking the same questions, one risks always getting the same answers and never growing in one's understanding of scripture. I refer to this as "putting in one's study time without risking a challenge to one's beliefs". Some questions are based on methods I do not understand - I reserve judgment on them until I fill the gaps in my knowledge. I am willing to give the remaining methods a fair trial - I figure that even if the method turns out to be "crap", that God is still perfectly capable of using the questions as a springboard to teach me what I am to learn. I also find that using a broad range of tools, allows me to engage a broader audience as they learn to apply the questions they know how to ask to the Scripture. A drama major changed my view of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery by pointing out the physical relationship between the two. An auto mechanic made the skills required to build the ark realistic. A housewife who read widely pointed out motifs in OT stories that I had missed. A feminist sent me off on the trail of women given names in Hebrew folklore or Jubilees that are unnamed in Scripture. ...

 

<respectfully snipped by me>

What a remarkable paragraph!  I like it so much I ought to frame it.  Bravo, MJ!

Posts 451
Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 10:48 PM

Paul Strickert:

MJ. Smith:
My personal take: Each method of study asks particular questions not asked by other methods. If one keeps asking the same questions, one risks always getting the same answers and never growing in one's understanding of scripture. I refer to this as "putting in one's study time without risking a challenge to one's beliefs". Some questions are based on methods I do not understand - I reserve judgment on them until I fill the gaps in my knowledge. I am willing to give the remaining methods a fair trial - I figure that even if the method turns out to be "crap", that God is still perfectly capable of using the questions as a springboard to teach me what I am to learn. I also find that using a broad range of tools, allows me to engage a broader audience as they learn to apply the questions they know how to ask to the Scripture. A drama major changed my view of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery by pointing out the physical relationship between the two. An auto mechanic made the skills required to build the ark realistic. A housewife who read widely pointed out motifs in OT stories that I had missed. A feminist sent me off on the trail of women given names in Hebrew folklore or Jubilees that are unnamed in Scripture. ...

 

<respectfully snipped by me>

What a remarkable paragraph!  I like it so much I ought to frame it.  Bravo, MJ!

I also find myself resonating massively with this passage, and would go as far to say, this is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. And I believe this approach is encouraged by scripture (Proverbs 18:17; Proverbs 15:22).

Even so, I also see where the other side is coming from too, especially those who are preparing sermons on a regular basis. At such times, especially for those with competing church/work commitments, a certain degree of utility is required. I know from my own prep that I tend to stick to the circle of commentaries that are broadly within my tradition and tradition of interpretation. The reason for this is simple, in the trenches of sermon prep, I just don't have the time to do what MJ outlines above. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend this commentary series to another preacher or bible study leader. 

However, I do want to be as MJ describes in my personal read and day-to-day study. In which case, I want as many perspectives on scripture at my fingertips as humanly possible - even those I disagree with. Personally, experience alone tells me that I often learn most from reading those don't agree with. I also need the Holy Spirit's strength to provide the intellectual humility to engage with such writers in a way that gives them a fair hearing. In saying this, I am not implying that those who do not rate this commentary are not giving it a fair hearing, I am simply giving my personal perspective as it relates to me.

So I picked up the Samuel version of the second reason, not the first.

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 2 2019 11:37 PM

MJ. Smith:
My personal take: Each method of study asks particular questions not asked by other methods. If one keeps asking the same questions, one risks always getting the same answers and never growing in one's understanding of scripture. I refer to this as "putting in one's study time without risking a challenge to one's beliefs". Some questions are based on methods I do not understand - I reserve judgment on them until I fill the gaps in my knowledge. I am willing to give the remaining methods a fair trial - I figure that even if the method turns out to be "crap", that God is still perfectly capable of using the questions as a springboard to teach me what I am to learn. I also find that using a broad range of tools, allows me to engage a broader audience as they learn to apply the questions they know how to ask to the Scripture. A drama major changed my view of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery by pointing out the physical relationship between the two. An auto mechanic made the skills required to build the ark realistic. A housewife who read widely pointed out motifs in OT stories that I had missed. A feminist sent me off on the trail of women given names in Hebrew folklore or Jubilees that are unnamed in Scripture. ...

 

Thanks MJ. I understand and respect Mark and Paul’s perspective from the point of view of a preacher preparing a sermon, but I am not doing that but rather wanting to do what you have articulated so well.

The link you quote from on methods looks interesting to and one worth converting into a personal book to have on hand.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 3 2019 1:53 AM

MJ. Smith:
First, any publisher associated with a religious order AND with a school of thought formed by reception history and a teaching magisterium, would be highly unlikely to be the source of a commentary "impose(s) his own meaning on the text". Were I to make such a judgment about such a commentary, I would assume there was a stream of commentary tradition with which I was unfamiliar and set about finding and learning about the tradition.

I do know the stream of commentary tradition this volume comes from: as I said, in very broad terms it's coming from a postmodern deconstructionist tradition. That tradition is part of the reader-response tradition, where (in shorthand) the reader trumps the writer in determining meaning and value. That is why I said the volume imposes its own meaning on the text. I'm really not sure that can be disputed. Even the (positive) review you cite at one point criticises Jobling because he 'appeals to the “plain meaning” of a text', which the reviewer rightly says is 'not easily compatible with a deconstructive analysis'.

Whether a useful commentary ought to 'appeal to the "plain meaning" of a text', we could perhaps debate. (As my goal is to understand the human and divine authorial intent, the "plain meaning" matters enormously to me.) But I don't think we can debate whether Jobling's book does that or not. As the review says, his approach is simply not compatible with a concern for the text's "plain meaning".

Onto the broader question of what one should do with resources one doesn't agree with. As a minister, I prepare three sermons each week, and therefore am forced to take a functional approach to the study of Scripture. I don't have the luxury of it being a hobby I can take my time with. Each sermon is limited to 6-10 hours of preparation, of which only 1-3 hours can be spent in commentaries. That situation forces me to prioritise, and I will therefore ensure that I will do three things:

  1. I will read commentaries that help me understand the text as it was written (because my job is to explain and apply that text).
  2. I will read commentaries that answer the questions I and my congregation are asking (because anything else is indulgent).
  3. I will read commentaries that are of the highest quality (because I need to maximise the value I get).

Therefore, when I am preparing a sermon I have in mind three or four 'must-read' commentaries, and up to ten others that I will consult for passages that I'm particularly struggling with. I will ensure that the 'must-read' commentaries have different approaches to the text (grammatical, devotional, historical, theological, etc.) and that the other six or seven will include those with a different viewpoint to my own (they may include liberal or Jewish views, for example). In that sense, my approach does not differ from your own.

I have not rejected Jobling on Samuel because he challenges my beliefs. I simply do not have the time (nor indeed the desire) to read a series of essays that set out to do something that I have no interest in doing and does not attempt to contribute to my purpose. There is nothing so inefficient as doing well something that need not be done at all. So, for me, Jobling on Samuel is put aside. Life is too short, and Sunday is too soon.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 3 2019 2:39 AM

DIsciple II:
The link you quote from on methods looks interesting to and one worth converting into a personal book to have on hand.

It is available in Verbum/Logos but I deliberately linked to the online version so people would not have to purchase it to read it. https://verbum.com/product/163596/the-interpretation-of-the-bible-in-the-church 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 3 2019 3:09 AM

Mark Barnes:
Even the (positive) review you cite at one point criticises Jobling because he 'appeals to the “plain meaning” of a text', which the reviewer rightly says is 'not easily compatible with a deconstructive analysis'.

I chose the review precisely because it was critical ("Note: this particular volume does have its flaws. See, for example, the review"). I neither think your response accurately reflects what I was intending to convey nor believe that this is the place to address some very basic philosophical differences between us  I assume that everyone wishes to identify the plain meaning of the text - that is fundamental regardless of the critical methods' questions you choose to ask. Based on my experience of decades developing and leading Bible study groups and giving reflections (lay sermons) approximately once every three weeks, I simply believed that the perspective of someone who was more sympathetic with the intent of the author and publisher was needed. Put in folk terms "don't judge an orange for not being an apple".

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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